Hello to all during this holiday weekend. I hope all is well with you and yours.
Kids take center stage tonight at Port Royal Speedway. An Easter egg hunt will be held in the speedway infield prior to race card. Have your child there by 5:15 p.m.
As for the racing, the sprint cars are joined by the late models and super sportsman. Gates open at 4 p.m. with racing at 6.
Selinsgrove Speedway will make up last year's National Open for 358 sprint cars tonight starting at 6. They are joined by the roadrunner class. This is a big deal for the 358 drivers. Getting to run such a high dollar race this early in the year is a good thing for them. All the heavy hitters will be racing at Selinsgrove.
Don't forget Bedford Speedway opens up the year next Friday night with a five division show. Bedford hosts the Lucas Oil Late Model series April 23.
Speaking of heavy hitters, Kasey Kahne will be driving a 410 sprint car tonight at Lincoln Speedway. Kahne was scheduled to drive Friday night at Williams Grove as well. The 358 sprint cars and 358 late models also are part of the show.
I have to ask a question - why is it that Kahne ends up running Saturday night at Lincoln? He doesn't think of venturing up to Port Royal. There's not that much difference in money. What's a grand to Kahne?
He has raced Port Royal before. Lincoln doesn't do business with the World of Outlaws, whom Kahne supports with his sprint car teams. He also just promoted a race at Bulls Gap. It was an All Star sanctioned event and Port Royal and Lincoln both support them. In fact Port Royal even has an All Star late model event this year. Why not Port Royal, Kasey? Just wondering why he wouldn't think about running another big track on his weekend off. Can some one tell me?
For the record, I'm just wondering and not trying to assume anything. Race fans have asked me the same question.
Rumors are circulating that Hagerstown Speedway is about to be sold by longtime owner Frank Plessinger. Doug Timmons' name has been whirling around in those rumors. I'll keep you posted as more information becomes available.
Here are a few notes and observations from last weekend:
I was wrong. The late model car count was 29 at Port Royal last week. I thought there would be 40. Those cars that were there were very good. Jeff Rine ventured over from Selinsgrove and won the feature. Rine will be back at Port Royal tonight. Selinsgrove starts with late models next week. Rine will race at Bedord Speedway on Friday nights and Selinsgrove Saturdays. He will drive the Bob and Tim Elbin-owned car at Bedford.
Scotty Haus started sixth and was running third when he was eliminated from competition after hitting the wall at Port Royal. Haus may be an independent driver this year, but you couldn't tell it by his performance Saturday. Two other drivers who excelled were Mifflin County drivers Tim Wilson and Nick Dickson. Wilson finished second with Dickson third. Dickson was the fastest car on the track when the checkered flag came out. I hope Dickson sticks around some this year.
Lewistown driver Waylon Wagner had some mechanical problems and fell out. Hopefully Wagner's luck will change for the better tonight.
Jeff Rine and John Heane set new late model and pro stock track records on the new Port Royal track surface last week. Good job guys. They may not be the last ones as drivers get their cars dialed in.
As for the sprint cars, Rick Lafferty had plenty to smile about after picking up his first win of the season. Lafferty was win less last year. Lafferty towed his car from New Jersey to Port Royal with a dump truck after blowing up the motor in his tow vehicle. Lafferty joked, "Most guys blow up the race car engine, I blew up the truck." A couple more runs like last week and he will have enough money to fix his truck. I wish him well.
Todd Shaffer's night didn't end well. Shaffer had a good chance of catching Lafferty in lapped traffic and it looked like a good battle would develop for the lead. Shaffer and Craig Robinson made contact. Shaffer flipped and tempers flared. I couldn't see what happened but I'm told crews were busy separating the pair. I even heard that Keith Kauffman had ahold of Robinson and helped pull him from the scene. Kauffman is doing well in his new role as coach. Maybe that will spill over into keeping other drivers from losing their cool.
I had a chance to talk to Kauffman last week. You are not going to see him in a race car unless a quality deal comes up. That's a smart move on his part. If I've heard it once, I've heard it a hundred times. Folks stating if they won the lottery, Kauffman, would be the benefactor of the best of everything. Sounds like a dream, I know. But is illustrates how many folks care and miss Keith Kauffman.
Look for Terry Naugle to race in the late model class tonight. Naugle will run late models when the pro stock cars are not in action.
Where will Steve Campbell race this season on Saturday nights? I'm told another car owner made sure Campbell has a season reserved parking spot for Port Royal this season. Will Campbell use it every week? We'll see.
Here's a question for us all. Can anyone tell me how old Brian Towsey's pro stock car is? It keeps coming back, winning races, and is fast. That car has to go back to the 1990s. It's a credit to Towsey and his crew to be fast with the car after all these years.
Eric Zembower missed last Saturday's season opener at Port Royal. The late model driver will be at Port Royal tonight with a new Ford motor under the hood. Zembower won a feature last year at Port Royal.
Here's a news flash for you late model fans and drivers: Car owner Ed Powell has joined up with Port Royal Speedway management as a sponsor for the Butch Renninger Memorial race in August. The race will be 33 laps long and pay nice money through out the field. Lap sponsorships are being sought at $ 100 dollars per lap. 15 laps are already sold. Powell is putting money into the purse from himself and others and it isn't all going on the top. There is a catch, though - Powell suggested that the money be paid to Port Royal regulars and those who are willing to support the track when possible.
He reminded officials of a practice that was used for Port Royal's Labor Day races of old. If you want to race the Butch Renninger Memorial Race for big money, you must qualify. Back in the day, Labor Day drivers had to attend and try to qualify for at least five feature events prior to the show. That shouldn't be a problem for most locals as there are several races where other tracks don't run late models.
Work is under way promoting the two day Bob Weikert Memorial race May 8-9 at Port Royal. Billboards will be going up around the area and folks will be canvassing the community in hopes of making this years race the best yet.
One final note before wrapping it up: Peach Boyer is battling serious medical problems. Peach is the wife of longtime Port Royal Speedway scoreboard operator Paul Boyer. Please keep Peach, Paul and their family in your thoughts and prayers as we enter this holy week end. Happy Easter to all. And please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel. He is associated with Port Royal Speedway.