Hello again race fans. There's plenty to talk about this week so let's get going.
Last week's racing action was good at area speedways. Mike Wagner scored a popular sprint car win at Port Royal Speedway. His wife, Ellen, was not on hand as she attended a ballgame with one of the couple's kids. Scotty Haus scored win No. 4 in late model action after grabbing the lead from Rick Singleton on Lap 19. New Jersey driver Tom Wyckoff scored his first Pa. super sportsman win and Jen Powell was back on top in powder puff action.
At Selinsgrove, Jeff Rine continues to roll. Rine won his third late model race of the season.
Both Rine and Scotty Haus competed in the Lucas Oil Late Model Series race last Friday at Bedford Speedway. Jimmy Mars won the 50-lap feature which paid $10,000 to win. After working with and viewing the Lucas race, I have to conclude it is the premier late model series in the country right now. Sixty-three late models attempted to qualify for the main event. The Lucas staff is organized and professional and the show was well run. The only problem that came up was a glitch in a new computer program which I'm sure will be corrected. A huge crowd attended the show.
Tonight at Port Royal, the sprint cars have their final tune-up before Guy Webb's All-Star Circuit of Champions invade the speedway for next week's two-day Bob Weikert Memorial racing weekend. The late models, pro stocks ans enduro cars are part of tonight's show which starts at 7 p.m. Next Sunday night the 358 late models join the sprint cars for the Weikert race. Race time is 5 p.m. for that show.
Apparently Cody Darrah was a bad boy last Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway. Darrah threw his steering wheel at Sean Michael's car following a crash during the Tommy Classic. Darrah received a one-week suspension and planned to race last night at Lernerville Speedway, north of Pittsburgh. Darrah will be home to race tonight at Lincoln. The All-Stars are in the area this weekend and were scheduled to race at Williams Grove last night, but were rained out. Daryn Pittman is currently on top of the All-Star points. I'm glad for Pittman and his team. Mechanic Kevin Frey and car owner Pete Postupack are good folks.
Williams Grove Speedway presents another Saturday night super sportsman race this evening. The general admission price is just five dollars, which is a great price. Action starts at 7 p.m.
Gary Wolford hosts his annual fish fry Sunday at the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds. The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing will be open. Admission is by donation to all events. Wolford, Don Wolfe, Russ Smith, Fred Rahmer and a mystery driver will run a three-lap race around the track blindfolded with instructions from back seat passengers in junk cars. Needless to say it's all in fun and there won't be much speed. Lynn Paxton called the event a happening.
I notice that long time Charlotte Observer reporter David Poole died this past Tuesday of a heart attack at age 50. Poole was well-known in NASCAR racing and someone I respected. Poole called it the way he saw it and if he made a statement, you knew he meant what he said and believed it with all his heart. You might not have agreed with what he said but he made you think. To me that is what makes a good columnist. Even if you think a writer is full of it, if they made you read and think, then they did a good job. David Poole was that kind of writer. Rick Hendrick said it best this week when he said Poole never drove a car or turned a wrench, but he was a racer. His final column was about last week's Talladega accident and he made the case that racing is out of control at Daytona and Talladega. Poole asked if it was it going to take fatalities for NASCAR to change course at these tracks.
I'd like to weigh in on that subject also.
First Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were interviewed by Associated Press writer Jenna Fryer earlier this week about restrictor plate races and tracks. The drivers are teammates at Hendrick Motorsports and have opposite opinions about the subject. Johnson realizes that, short of tearing up the track, there's little NASCAR can do. Dale Jr. doesn't feel anything can be changed with the state of the economy and current conditions of the company that owns the tracks.
But consider that Dale Jr. runs well at both tracks and no racer wants any changes that could hinder him. That's the nature of being a racer.
You can call me crazy. That's happened before. I think that Jimmie Johnson is starting to get the picture. I have privately stated before that the only way to slow these cars down at Daytona and Talladega is to do what Johnson said this week. Tear up the corners and take banking out of the tracks. That requires a driver to lift and will slow the cars down. Restrictor plates could be removed and drivers could race again.
Indianapolis and Pocono are 2 1/2-mile tracks and do not need plates. You wouldn't need them elsewhere if the tracks are changed. Daytona ran its first race in 1959. Talladega came about in 1969. They were built in another era of technology when no one ever figured speeds would be possible like they are today. The human body can't withstand the blunt force trauma of crashes at these tracks without plates. Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a crash that didn't look that bad, but it was still fatal. By changing the banking, tracks could be made safer. Cars would be slowed down and possibly fans would see a better race. The fastest speeds do not always produce the best show. That's just my opinion.
The Sprint Cup cars race at Richmond this evening in the Russel Friedman 400. Kurt Busch is the current points leader. Jeff Gordon is second with Jimmie Johnson third. Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.
The weather could be in question this weekend, so check for information before you head out. Drive safely. I'll be back next week with more news and information.
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel. He is affiliated with Port Royal Speedway.