Hello race fans. The season is in the final stretch before area tracks start their finales.
Tonight, Port Royal Speedway hosts a triple 305/URC 360/410 sprint car program, which will be exciting for open wheel fans. The late models and pro stocks have the night off. Action gets under way at the Juniata County oval starting at 7 p.m.
Selinsgrove Speedway offers a regular weekly show of 358 sprint cars, late models, pro stocks and roadrunners. The green flag falls at the Snyder County oval at 7:30.
Hagerstown, Md., Speedway runs a support class program headlined by the limited late models. Susquehanna Speedway in York County does the same. Williams Grove continues its Super Sportsman, limited late model program with $5 general admission.
Lincoln Speedway has a special show this evening and will present its 60th anniversary Twin 20 sprint car program plus 358 sprints and legend cars. The Pigeon Hills oval gets under way at 7:30.
Guy Webb's All Star Circuit of Champions cars are working their way back east and will race in Mercer tonight. You may remember that Port Royal Speedway promoter Steve O'Neal has booked the All Stars for the Friday and Saturday night Tuscarora 50 racing program coming up in just two weeks. The 50 will be the final points race for Webb's eastern series with the All Stars so all their drivers that are high in points should attend. Friday night is always a challenge for the track since going to a two day format and O'Neal is attempting to change that this season. With the 50 on Saturday night the All Star presence could help. Let's hope it works out well.
While I'm already talking about Tuscarora 50 weekend, let's not forget that the first weekend of the fair is also important. The Butch Renninger Memorial Race will kick off the fair and this season it will be a Three States Flyer Late Model race for the first time. That decision will make the race a premier event for the late model class. However, that decision has been met by mixed reaction from area drivers. Several I have spoken with are not pleased that the sprint car class at Port Royal receives both high-dollar local shows and also traveling series. They would like the same for their class. Hopefully, a compromise will be reached in the future.
The late models deserve a local show that pays well. The support of the class has been outstanding and yesterday I went through purse sheets I have dating back to 1990. The payoff hasn't changed much and some teams are tired of it. I predict turmoil ahead unless people reach an agreement.
While on the subject of late model racing, the World of Outlaws Late Models will be at Selinsgrove Speedway Sunday night for what should be a great show. York driver Rick Eckert will lead the travelers to the track. Eckert has done well in Pennsylvania and I would expect that to continued. Racing starts at 7.
The World of Outlaws sprint cars race this evening at Nokad, N,D,, Speedway before heading west to the state of Washington on Wednesday night. That's a long haul in only three days and exactly why things have changed here in Central Pa. I didn't think I would see the day that our area would again take over from the travelers as the place to race. It is happening and we are better for it.
Area promoters are getting smarter and not blindly following Outlaws rules changes. The latest example is the tire situation, where I think the Outlaws and All Stars will sign a deal with American Racer Tires for a spec tire next season. Locals including car owners are saying "no way" and "hold on" because they want some input into this deal. They may end up getting it and that will be good for the sport. More teams here want Hoosier race tires that American.
Who will win out? Probably who ever has the larger check book.
Don Ott is the driving force behind uniting sprint car owners to have a say in rulemaking for 410 sprint cars. It would be wise for area tracks to set down and listen in an attempt to make racing better. There are two many complaints of follow-the-leader racing and no passing going around to not be taken seriously.
Area tracks do not have to wait on the Outlaws to make local racing better. Let's go guys. Make changes and improve things. Fans will love you. Most love sprint car racing but many tell me they are not really having fun coming to the races. We all need to change that and fast. Just my opinion.
Tim Wilson is clinging to a 45-point lead in late model action at Port Royal Speedway over challenger Brett Schadel of Herndon. Wilson is a Mifflin County driver from McClure. Chad Layton holds a 160-point margin over defending champion Mike Wagner in sprint car points at Port Royal.
Until next week, please remember speed is for the speedway and not the highway. I hope I see you at your favorite race track. So long!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.