It's been an interesting week in auto racing.
Last week the Keith Kauffman Tribute Night went off with out a hitch in front of a large crowd. It was a fitting tribute to a man who has meant so much to auto racing and especially Port Royal Speedway. Kauffman will quit in a few weeks and call it a career. His Hall of Fame career has been outstanding.
Many folks spoke honoring the man from Mifflintown, I had a chance to talk with Kauffman recently and he will not be going away from the sport completely and that's a good thing. He's still needed for the good of the sport and is a huge asset.
While I'm talking about tribute nights it's just one week from the Butch Renninger Memorial race at Port Royal. The Three States Flyers series will sanction that event. The winner earns a $3,333 paycheck and every starter will receive at least $300. $33 of lap money will be paid to each lap leader. It's the 10th year of the event and I can't believe it's been that long since Renninger left us.
Tonight the Port Royal Speedway hosts open wheel madness with a triple sprint car show. The 410 sprint cars are joined by the URC 358/360 Challenge Series program and 305 sprint cars. Race time is 7:30.
Lincoln Speedway is racing 410 sprint cars along with Central PA Legends cars and the American Outlaw car series.
At Selinsgrove it's late model night this evening. The high powered cars will run a tune up race for next weeks World of Outlaws late model series visit. Time trials will be utilized. The 358 sprint cars and road runners also are on the card and the pro stocks will race for an increased purse.
One thing I'm sorry to see happening is that Selinsgrove and Port Royal both have high-dollar races for late models scheduled next week against each other. The Three States Flyers against the World of Outlaws is not a good deal for the guys wanting to cross Route 35 and compete. Next year maybe a date can be moved around by one track or the other because it will help each track's car count.
The annual Juniata County Fair starts next Saturday night. In addition to the Renninger Memorial there is a truck and tractor pull on the race track Sept. 1 and the two-day Tuscarora 50 program is Sept. 6-7.
A pleasant change is no outside gate admission fee is being charged for the fair during those racing programs.
In the world of NASCAR one of the season's most exciting races is tonight at Bristol Motor Speedway. Denny Hamlin won last year's event. Tonight's action gets under way at 7:30 on ABC. Jimmie Johnson is the current points leader with a 41-point lead over Clint Bowyer. Mark Martin has been hired to run in 12 of the remaining 13 races replacing Tony Stewart, who now officially is listed as being out for the season. Stewart has two broken bones in his right leg.
Area points races are down to the final weeks at Lincoln and Port Royal. It will be interesting to see how things come out. At Port Royal, Blane Heimbach holds a 100-point advantage over Chad Layton in sprint car competition. Terry Naugle has a comfortable lead over Brett Schadel in late model action. Tim Krape is 80 points up on Scott Landis in pro stock competition.
At Lincoln Speedway Fred Rahmer has a comfortable lead over Brian Montieth in the 410 sprint car class.
How about young Logan Schuchart picking up two wins last week end at Williams Grove and Port Royal speedways? His car is owned by his grandfather, Hall of Fame driver Bobby Allen, who stated this week he may take the youngster on the road next season with the World of Outlaws. Schuchart is following in his pap's foot steps and doing it just like "scruffy" did it. By that I mean a low-dollar team running from race to race and being successful. I wish them well.
Lucas Wolfe is still home and has been doing some racing in the second Michael Heffner owned race car. Wolfe was tentatively penciled in to race last night at Williams Grove Speedway in that car.
I noticed that Joan Swarmer, wife of former great driver Pete Swarmer, passed away recently. She was a great supporter of her late husband's racing career and her son Steve is active helping out at Port Royal Speedway. Condolences to him and other family members.
I've had a number of favorite drivers over the years and I don't normally talk about them but I've decided I will. Pete Swarmer was my first. Then Lynn Paxton came along, followed by Keith Kauffman. I also liked Smokey Snellbaker, Butch Renninger and Ed Spencer. All were what I refer to as franchise drivers in that they brought the crowds to the Port Royal Speedway in particular and other tracks.
All remaining races at Hesston Speedway for the 2013 season have been cancelled due to serious health problems of promoter Dave Eriksen. I wish him well. He has done a great job bringing Heston Speedway back to life. Ericksen has posted a statement on the speedway's website that states, "Due to my ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer, the remainder of the 2013 racing season has been cancelled." The track will refund parking pass fees on a pro-rated basis.
Congratulations go out to Mike Wagner on winning last Sunday night's Bedford Speedway 410 sprint car feature. Bedford has raced sprint cars several times this year and hosted the midget cars last night. The track has a long history of open wheel racing and were a regular stop on the fair circuit for URC sprint cars for years. They run a successful weekly late model program.
That's going to do it for another week. Have a fun racing weekend. Until next week please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.