One of Port Royal Speedway's biggest programs of the season is tonight.
The seventh annual Living Legends Dream Race will honor the late Gary Beam and wife Patty along with driver Todd Shaffer. Shaffer was by far the most successful and longest-tenured driver in the Beam car.
Shaffer has been inactive in racing the last two seasons. He has spent time becoming an even more successful building contractor and following his daughter's collegiate sports career.
What can fans expect at this evenings Dream race? First, plenty of racing that pays the drivers well. No team should leave the track with less than $350 and a $50 contingency award. Approximately $55,000 is on the line.
An autograph session will take place with Shaffer, Patty Beam, NASCAR star Dave Blaney (who will race), Scott Gesford, Larry Jackson, Kevin Nouse, T.J. Stutts and Chuck Reinert. Car owners Jim and Laura Allenbach of Souderton also will sign. The Allebachs briefly supplied race cars for Shaffer at one time. The autograph session gets under way at 5:30 p.m. and should wrap up at 6:15 behind the main grandstand.
Tonight's format has been changed since the original 50-lap, $30,000-to-win program. The field will be split into two groups that will each run a 16-lap semi-main event with separate pay days. Then a 30-lap "A" main will run; there will also be a non-qualifiers race paying $500 to win.
Past winners of the event are Sean Michael (2007), Greg Hodnett (2008), Cody Darrah (2009), Chad Layton (2010), Stevie Smith (2011) and Blane Heimbach a year ago. So do you have a favorite to win tonight's Dream race at Port Royal? My picks would be Greg Hodnett, Fred Rahmer, Doug Esh, or Blane Heimbach.
Elsewhere, Selinsgrove Speedway presents a late model championship paying the winner $2,000, with 358 sprints cars, pro stocks and roadrunners. At Lincoln Speedway the URC 360/358 challenge race will be run. The same program was presented Friday at Williams Grove. The Steel Block Bandits late model series is the headline class tonight at Hagerstown Speedway. Susquehanna Speedway leads with a $1,000 street stock feature tonight. Path Valley Speedway races 305 sprint cars and Legends cars. Hill Valley Speedway near Orbisonia has steel-block late models.
Beaver Springs Dragway is in action Sunday with time trials getting under way at 10 a.m. Eliminations start at 2. The program is an IHRA points race.
NASCAR is at Pocono International Raceway. Jeff Gordon is the defending race champion in an event that was marred by a lightning strike last year. Jimmie Johnson enters competition 75 points ahead of Clint Bowyer. Johnson, who is on the pole, also won the June race and is looking to sweep both Pocono races for the second time in his career. Johnson is a six-time winner at the track.
The race will be telecast by ESPN Sunday starting at noon. Green flag is set for 1 p.m.
The Camping World Truck Series comes to Pocono today starting at 1 on Speedchannel. The trucks are fresh off a successful event on the dirt at Eldora Speedway where Tony Stewart's staff and NASCAR did an excellent job. One thing a reporter does not want to do is ask Stewart when he is going to give up on silly dirt racing. One misinformed reporter did just that this past week and Stewart about tore his head off and told the reporter he should come over the table and hit him. The incident can be viewed on You Tube.
Last Tuesday night, Grandview Speedway was in action and it ended up being a Fred Rahmer farewell tribute night. Since I last penned a column Rahmer announced he is retiring at the end of the season. I was a bit surprised by the announcement but upon further investigation I found Rahmer almost called it quits after last year. Apparently racing isn't fun for Rahmer any more but the Salfordsville driver decided to run one more season to prove he is leaving on his own terms and not washed up.
Rahmer has had a fine season to date and finished fifth at Grandview. Greg Hodnett won the event over James McFadden, J.J. Grasso, Alan Krimes and Rahmer.
Lucas Wolfe will drive the second Michael Heffner Racing entry tonight at Port Royal. Wolfe was scheduled to drive the car Friday at Williams Grove.
The Knoxville, Iowa, Sprint Car Nationals are coming up next week and some area drivers plan to compete. Greg Hodnett, Lance Dewease, Danny Dietrich, Stevie Smith, Logan Schuchart, Brent Marks and Jacob Allen are PA regulars heading west.
Don't forget, Port Royal Speedway salutes retiring star Keith Kauffman Aug. 17. The sprint cars will run a 33-lap feature and the late models will go 21 laps. Both are car numbers Kauffman made famous.
Elliott Sadler's NASCAR show car will appear from 6-8 p.m. Monday at the Best Western in Milroy. Also on hand will be late model stars Tim Wilson and Waylon Wagner plus 305 drivers Ronnie Aurand and Eric Parker. Mark Williams from Joe Gibbs Racing, a Mifflin County resident, will be on hand to answer questions and show fans features of the car. This particular car last competed two seasons ago and was left intact except for the removal of the radio communications and scoring transponders.
Here's one last thing to ask this week: Will Tony Stewart be in our area tonight competing at Lincoln or Port Royal? On the same dates last year, Stewart raced Williams Grove on Friday and Port Royal Saturday. This year there are two days of 360 sprint car racing and that could land Stewart at Lincoln if he decides to go dirt racing tonight.
Let's hope the weather cooperates and we have a full week end of local racing.
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.