There are two major races in Pennsylvania this week, and one is in our backyard.
The Port Royal Speedway hosts the Living Legends Dream race this evening. The purse is huge - in the $60,000 range.
Two major figures will be honored. Car owner Al Hamilton and retired driver Lynn Paxton will receive awards. Both will be on hand to meet and greet fans. A number of cars and another Paxton car owner will be on hand. This program will be fun for all.
If I had to have a pre-race pick it would have to be Greg Hodnett, who has had a great season. Hodnett is the current points leader at William's Grove and is third at Port Royal. Hodnett always seems to be a factor in big money races.
Another driver getting back on track is Lance Dewease. Dewease seems to be picking up the pace and the team is starting to come together strong. No matter who wins I'm sure it will be a great show.
Port Royal had some outstanding competition and racing last Saturday night. Many feel it was their best show of the season. The Pro Stocks are also on tonight's card at the Juniata County oval.
Who would think we are heading into the home stretch of another racing season? The Knoxville, Iowa Sprint Car Nationals are next week and many folks have already headed to the midwest. Before I get into that let's talk about the other big show in our state.
The Pocono International Raceway hosts their second Sprint Cup race of the year tomorrow in Long Pond. There's plenty to talk about. Start with the fact that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the current Sprint Cup points leader for the first time in eight years. Pocono Raceway President and CEO Brandon Igdalsky is giving a lucky fan $100,000 dollars should Junior win tomorrow's race. If you are going to the track you can enter the sweep stakes at any official Pocono Raceway souvenir stand, tent or trailer.
I would love to see some one take home the money. Junior has already picked up one win this season. ESPN has television coverage tomorrow and race time is 1 p.m. Brad Keselowski is the defending race champion.
One driver who will not be in the starting field is A.J. Allmendinger, who I reported last week was banned indefinitely by NASCAR for failing a substance abuse test. Allmendinger has been fired this week by Penske Racing as a result and Sam Hornish will drive the No. 22 Dodge this weekend.
How about Tony Stewart? Stewart did it again. He beat the World of Outlaws Sprint Car drivers for the second time in two weeks this past Tuesday night. Stewart won at Ohsweken Speedway in Ontario, Canada.
With the Knoxville Nationals starting this Wednesday night, one area driver opted out of tonight's Port Royal race to head west. I'm speaking of Daryn Pittman who will run in the Knoxville 360 Sprint Car Nationals which are currently underway. Pittman did well at Knoxville last year finishing fifth. Pittman feels he needs track time there before the 410 shows start to dial in his race car.
Another driver with current ties to Central, Pa. is Danny Lasoski, who will run the 360 races before climbing into John and Pee Wee Zemaitis Zemco car for the 410 races. Tyler Walker will join up with Charlie and Dawn Sorojach's team for next weeks Nationals. Curt Stroup of Evandale will run the car tonight at Port Royal.
We talked about tires a couple weeks back in local sprint car racing. Goodyear is the supplier and has the exclusive contract for 410 tracks in most of the country. Area distributors are experiencing shortages and William's Grove and Port Royal have opened things up to all tire companies this weekend.
In the past, there have been spot shortages before the Knoxville Nationals but not to this years extent. It may make for better racing tonight at Port Royal. One area supplier said the tracks over reacted and that the tires they are currently running are not the tires they will need.
Who knows. I've heard complaints all year from drivers and with the hot weather and dust, there will be plenty of drivers putting on Hoosier and American Racing rears. It's my belief that Goodyear realizes they are in the final year of their contract and they are not going to over produce anything in case they do not have their deal renewed. They may want their inventory at a minimum. Just something to think about.
Hagerstown Speedway hosts a support class show tonight headlined by the limited late models. At Lincoln Speedway, the URC 358/360 Challenge Sprint Car Series will be run. Selinsgrove Speedway has a 358 sprint car/late model/pro stock program. William's Grove will headline with Super Sportsman cars and Susquehanna leads with the 358 late models. As you can tell, there's a lot of racing going on tonight.
The World of Outlaws are in action at I-55 Speedway in Missouri tonight. The All Stars race at Southern Iowa Speedway Monday and then every one moves into Knoxville Wednesday.
I must not fail to mention that Selinsgrove Speedway is in action tomorrow night with a 305 and 360 sprint car show. Race time at the Snyder County oval is 7:30 and if you are coming from Pocono you can be there for your second race of the day. I had no problems getting back to Harrisburg for modified races after Pocono at the now defunct Penn National Speedway years ago.
Keep your eyes out for NASCAR drivers tonight at Port Royal. You never know who may slip in to watch the race. It has happened before. But please keep it low key if they are spectators. Many of them just want to relax.
Have fun at a race track of your choice this weekend. I'll be back with more news and opinions next week. Until then, remember, speed is for the speedway and not the highway.
Craig Rutherford writes about Motorsports for The Sentinel.