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the PITS 2013Central PA
Central PA Racing.....by Brad Vores
Just 70 miles apart
and a whirlwind of
difference as far as
emotions of sprint
Brian Leppo has been outside looking in as the 2013 Central PA sprint car season passes by.
But last week, the New Oxford racer received a call from car owner John Zemaitis wondering if he’d be interested in driving the Zemco Speed Equipment sprint car for a few races.
It was an easy answer for Leppo, whose career took a hard dive last May when then car owner Jesse Keen passed away leaving the racing community saddened and Leppo without a ride.
He did drive for Dietz Motorsports at Lincoln Speedway last year but Leppo left that team at the end of the year and has been hoping for an opportunity to come along this year.
And it did after Zemaitis and driver Danny Lasoski parted ways last week following Pennsylvania Speedweek.
Leppo was scheduled to drive the car last Friday at Williams Grove Speedway to get seat time for this weekend’s World of Outlaw show but when that race rained out, the team made the decision to give Leppo seat time Saturday at Port Royal Speedway.
“I just can’t thank John and PeeWee enough for giving me the opportunity to get back in the seat after some time off,” stated Leppo, who drove for the Zemco team one night in 2012 and won against the All Stars at Williams Grove. “Tommy, Ryan and the crew have a fast race car, that’s for sure but I was a little nervous to knock the rust off. I haven’t raced since October and everyone else has been racing all year.”
Leppo knocked the rust off alright as he finished fifth in a tough heat race which put him 20th on the starting grid for the feature event.
And as the first 23 laps of the feature event went non-stop at the Port, lap after lap saw Leppo getting faster and faster in the potent No. 1 sprinter as he found his way into the top 10 and passed the likes of Lance Dewease, Doug Esh and Mike Erdley along the way. When the checkered flag fell, Leppo sat a very respectable seventh in the finishing order but was one of the four fastest cars on the track at the end of the race.
“After a strong first race and being able to pass some quality race cars at Port, gave me some much needed confidence,” Leppo added. “But it keeping it in perspective, this weekend could always be very difficult because the Outlaws are the best for a reason and their format is tough too. We’re just going to go out and try and put ourselves into a position that we can capitalize on each night.”
Nothing is set in stone after this weekend but it sure would be nice to see this young man land this quality ride to finish out this season and build on something stronger for the future. But that is up to the car owners and crew. Leppo has certainly proven that he is more than capable to get the job done given the right situation.
“I’m just looking forward to working with such a great race team and also again, just very thankful for whatever opportunity I’m provided,” he added. “I guess Jesse (Keen) was getting anxious to see me race again too. He always liked Port and we have his decal on the No. 1 too.”
RYAN SLOTHOWER INJURED
Another racer was injured last weekend as rookie 410 sprint car driver Ryan Slothower sustained injuries in a heat race crash at Lincoln Speedway.
Slothower, of Wellsville, was involved in a double flip with Lincoln track point leader Fred Rahmer and ended up spending the night at the hospital.
Slothower suffered compression fractures and transverse fractions in his spine along with muscle whiplash throughout his lumbar and lower back. He will be out of commission for three to six months and then faces therapy.
Get well wishes go out to Slothower in his long road to recovery.
OUTLAWS VERSUS POSSE ROUND TWO
The World of Outlaws Summer Nationals are up next this weekend at Williams Grove Speedway.
This will be the second of three weekends that Outlaws battle with the Posse on Grove soil as Donny Schatz scored the win back in May with a last lap, last turn pass on Greg Hodnett to secure the win.
The May show in Saturday was rained out despite the Grove attempting to hold out for several hours after late afternoon rain.
This Friday night’s Summer National prelim pays $8,000 to win with the winner of Saturday night’s event taking home a $20,000 payday plus another $5,000 going to the winner of the Morgan Cup, which will be the winner of Saturday’s feature.
Cody Darrah is the defending Summer Nationals winner in the Kasey Kahne Racing owned sprinter.
They say consistency wins championships.
Well sort of, in most cases.
Greg Hodnett ended Fred Rahmer’s two year stronghold on Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek as the Thomasville driver made up an 80 point gap in just two nights to put together his fourth career Speedweek title run and first for car owner John Trone.
But what was even more impressive was that Hodnett, of Thomasville didn’t even have all top 10 finishes and still took home the title and never once did the defending Williams Grove Speedway track champ ever feel like didn’t have a chance at the title.
“Never say never,” Hodnett said about his come from behind Speedweek title run. “Anything is possible and I knew after Lincoln we were heading back to tracks that we’re decent at and I knew we had a good shot at making up some points if we just kept plugging away and if we kept doing our jobs, we’d be alright. We had terrible draws (for time trials) for most of the week but you figure at some point, the law of averages will work out for everyone. Nobody has that much luck and everyone has good nights and bad nights. Consistency and perseverance always prevails.”
And that it did.
Hodnett started the week with his single win of the series at Williams Grove Speedway and took an early point lead, one that we would play catch up from that point on.
The driver of the Trone Outdoor Motorsports sprint had all top five finishes with the exception of both nights at Lincoln Speedway, where he was 12th and 13th. These two finishes coming a week after the team won at Lincoln.
What was even more impressive is that Hodnett raced half of Speedweek without crew chief Lee Stauffer, who was on vacation in Hawaii for his sister’s wedding.
“Obviously with Lee being away, we came up with a baseline that we were going to go with and obviously our car was prepared with fresh stuff so we could get through the week hopefully without any major issues,” said Hodnett, who has 23 career Speedweek wins. “Set up wise, we felt we would be okay and were able to put ourselves into position almost every night to be there at the end. We were competitive every night with the exception of Lincoln and were usually going forward, very rarely did we get passed. There were opportunities and maybe if a few other things would have fallen our way, it would’ve been even better.”
Alan Krimes was the Saturday night winner at Lincoln Speedway as Texas driver Sam Hafertepe, Jr. won his first career Speedweek show at Big Diamond Raceway.
NASCAR driver Dave Blaney won at Hagerstown Speedway with Stevie Smith taking a thriller in the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial at Lincoln Speedway. Danny Dietrich came out on top of the Mitch Smith Memorial at Williams Grove while Blane Heimbach recorded the Saturday night win at Port Royal Speedway.
Tuesday night action at Grandview Speedway and Sunday’s finale at Selinsgrove Speedway were both lost to rain. Believe it or not, these were not the first ever rainouts during any Speedweek series as many races over the years have been lost to the weather. It’s a part of the game folks!
Hodnett finished with 887 points to beat Fred Rahmer (872), Smith (863), Hafertepe (860) and Lance Dewease (822). Rounding out the top 10 money paying points positions were Brent Marks, Dietrich, Danny Lasoski, Chad Layton and Brian Montieth.
With the help of the big Mitch Smith win, Dietrich led all drivers in money earned for the week with a total of $16,295 followed by Smith ($15,850), Hodnett ($14,300), Hafertepe ($12,950) and Marks ($11,350). Money totals include final point fund payoff which paid $1,500 to win for Hodnett.
Seventeen different drivers had at least one top five finish during the week with Hodnett leading the way with five overall in the seven completed shows.
Seventy-two different drivers and 76 different teams competed during the series with an average car count coming in at 34 per race. Port Royal’s 40 cars was a series high while 24 signed in for the Big Diamond show.
Of those 72 drivers, 14 different drivers competed in all seven shows while three drivers made six starts and another three made five starts. Six different drivers competed in four events with 12 drivers making starts in three and two events as well. Twenty-two drivers competed in just a single Speedweek show.
Dan Stone took home the big $4,044 payday after winning Sunday’s Revolution 2013 Ufo/Three State Flyers late models series feature at Hesston Speedway. He defeated Kenny Pettyjohn, Jamie Lathroum, Devin Friese and Scott Lebarron.
Saturday night will be Kids Night at both Lincoln and Port Royal Speedway’s. Kids at both tracks will be treated to lots of great prizes and be able to partake in events during the evening at the tracks. Port will also feature bicycle, big wheel and power wheel races.
The late models go in a championship event Saturday at the Port paying $2,000 to win.
Donny Schatz and Daryn Pittman were winners on the World of Outlaws Sprint car tour last weekend with wins at Dodge City Raceway. Schatz won Friday night over Jason Sides, Kraig Kinser, Chad Kemenah and Pittman while Pittman scored the Saturday win over Paul McMahan, Cody Darrah, Sides and Tim Kaeding. Pittman continues to hold a commanding lead in the points as the Outlaws head to Eldora Raceway for this weekend’s Kings Royal before heading to Pennsylvania next week for Tuesday night’s Don Martin Silver Cup Twin features and then onto Williams Grove Speedway for the Summer Nationals.
Rahmer Week” is set to begin
Friday night at Williams
The upcoming Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to the summer season and with it brings a huge slate of holiday racing action.
Gone is the Keystone Cup Sprint Week that’s been on the racing card for the past several seasons but there are still plenty of good paying 410 sprint car events all weekend long in the area.
And if you are a lover of time trials, you will love this weekend as all weekend 410 events will utilize time trials to set the starting lineups.
Friday night action at Williams Grove Speedway will feature a Race for Charity as the winner of the 410 sprint car main can determine an organization that Williams Grove Speedway will match the night’s 50/50 portion. Therefore, the more 50/50 tickets fans buy, the higher the amount that will not only be donated to the chosen charity for the Grove’s 50/50 portion but also whatever one the winning driver chooses as well.
The 410 Sprint main will pay $4,000 to win and also on the card will be the PASS 305 sprints and fireworks.
Saturday night features two big racing programs at Port Royal and Lincoln Speedway’s.
Port Royal will present the Fallen Heroes Championship Triple 25’s for 410 Sprints, late models and PASS 305 Sprints. The fields for the 410 sprints and late models will set by times trials with $5,000 going to the 410 sprint winner with $2,000 awaiting the late model winner with both purses increased back through the field. Port will also have fireworks to celebrate the evening.
Meanwhile at the Lincoln Speedway, former track owner/promoter Hilly Rife will be represented with a 30-lap $5,000 to win 410 Sprint car program joined by the 358 sprints and Central PA Legends.
Selinsgrove Speedway will also honor the memory of a racing legend in the area with Sunday night’s Ray Tilley Classic for 410 sprints. The event pays $5,000 to win as well as the PASS 305 Sprints and Super Sportsman join the action.
It will the biggest weekend of the season for the Super Sportsman series as they will see action every night this weekend.
The Sportsman tour heads south to Hagerstown Speedway for a rare Friday night program joining the Three State Flyers late model series at the Maryland oval.
Saturday night it will be back to its normal schedule at Williams Grove Speedway as the series honors one of its fallen drivers-Wild Bill Heckert- in the double points Bill Heckert Memorial.
Then, as mentioned earlier, the Sportsman tour closes its weekend with a Sunday night date at Selinsgrove.
With the triple race schedule plus the double point show, this weekend will be pivotal as series drivers look to put themselves into position for a shot at the 2013 Sportsman tour title.
The SNS Meet and Greet will be all Sportsman drivers as Steve Wilbur, Eric Eckert and Rick Barr will meet and greet fans in the infield prior to the races.
WHY THE BAD RAP?
It amazes me how bad of a rap Williams Grove Speedway and owner Kathy Hughes take each and every week from race fans and drivers.
Williams Grove continually pays the largest weekly payout of any local speedway in the area and week after week, Hughes gives back to the drivers in the way of bonuses for lap money and bonuses for winning races from specific starting spots.
How many of you knew that she put up an extra $5,000 on top of the winners share to win the World of Outlaw show last Saturday night. Unfortunately it was rained out and a driver wasn’t able to take advantage of her generosity. She surely didn’t or doesn’t have to do that.
Speaking of the rain, come on people. It rained pretty good for nearly an hour and then the humidity was at 82%. Had they raced, the track would be have been too fast and racing would have been lousy in a one lane hammer down groove around the top. And I bet, people would have complained about that as well!
But in the end, just like most of the other cancellations this season at the track, the Grove made the right call by canceling when they did because it rained again about an hour and a half later and everyone’s night would have been completely wasted.
Let’s look at it this way, perhaps those not wishing to support the track and constantly complaining about does or doesn’t happen, better enjoy it now because it sure would beat the alternative. And in this day and age, the alternative may not be too far down the road so enjoy what you have because someday you’ll be wishing you had it back.
Danny Holtgraver captured Saturday’s All Star Circuit of Champions event at West Virginia’s I-77 Raceway Park over lady racer Paige Polyak, Jim Stinson, Cole Duncan and Cap Henry.
Kraig Kinser became the 14th different winner in World of Outlaws sprint car action with his first win Monday night at Orange County Speedway over Chad Kemenah, Tony Stewart, Paul McMahan and Donny Schatz. Central PA racer Ryan Smith had a ninth place finish.
World of Outlaws late model regular Rick Eckert picked up his first win for car owner Paul Crowl Saturday night at Winchester Speedway. He defeated Dale Hollidge and Tommy Armel for the $2,000 payday.
Doug Esh was
in a tough predicament last
winter when his former car
owners Dick and Leslie Leach
announced that they were
retiring from sprint car
Austin Hogue is enjoying the best start of his young racing career.
The 21-year-old Manchester resident has driven to three feature wins at three different speedways so far this season and hopes the good luck continues.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate so far with starting up front but we won’t be starting up front anymore,” said the driver of the family owned No. 52 358 sprint car. “It’s always good to get the wins out of the way early and it’s good for the team to be running so well right now. It’s been a lot of fun and we’ll see if we can keep it going.”
Hogue opened the season a few weeks ago with a win at Trail-Way Speedway then came back a week later to win the 358 sprint car opener at Williams Grove Speedway. Then last Saturday night, Hogue made it three wins in seven starts with a win at Lincoln Speedway.
Hogue said his team will concentrate on Friday night’s at Williams Grove and Saturday’s at Lincoln this season.
“We really like Trail-Way, it’s a great track and a lot of fun to race but we are kinda branching out this season,” Hogue said. “We need to run the big tracks and learn as much as we can about these sprint cars and we knew we had to run Williams Grove to get better. So far it’s worked out.”
Hogue was thrilled to get that first career win at Williams Grove and equally thrilled to win last week at Lincoln.
“Anytime you can win at Williams Grove, it’s pretty cool,” he added. “It’s just neat to race on such historical tracks that we have around here but it’s also cool to just win anywhere in these things. And it’s always great to get to talk to Wayne Harper (Lincoln’s track announcer) and if you get to talk to him, you know you did something right at Lincoln. Lincoln’s been a tough track for me but I think we’ve found something and we’re excited to get back there and make sure that win wasn’t a fluke.”
Hogue, whose car is sponsored by the family business-BAPS Auto Paints and Supply- along with Livingston Lawn Care, PPG Automotive and Refinishing, 3M, Automotive Systems Warehouse, Zirkle’s Garage, Sitescape Landscaping, Crismor Machine Shop and Dick Smith Motorsports isn’t getting caught up in points racing and is just looking for wins.
“We’re going to just focus on winning races,” said Hogue, who is the current Central PA 358 Sprint Series points leader. “We have some family vacations planned so we’ll miss some races but if you go and win races, the points take care of themselves at the end of the year. We’re just looking to have fun and keep winning.”
ALL STARS INVADE POSSELAND
The University of Northern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions invade Central PA this weekend with races Friday at Williams Grove and Saturday’s biggie at Port Royal Speedway.
No card-carrying member of the All Stars has ever won at Williams Grove against the Posse and the top of the local drivers will be looking to keep that streak going in Friday’s $5,000 to win Diamond Series event.
The biggest race of the early season in the area will take place Saturday night as Port Royal presents the Bob Weikert Memorial paying $10,000 to win out of a $34,000 purse.
The race is run in memory of one of Pennsylvania’s most decorated sprint car owners.
Upstart sprint car racer Logan Schuchart, who won his first career race at Lincoln Speedway last Saturday will carry the familiar Weikert Livestock No. 29 color scheme Saturday night and will meet and greet fans before the races along with his grandfather Bobby Allen.
Aside from the great purse offered to the race teams, fans in attendance will also get a chance to win some prime Weikert Livestock beef patties in ticket giveaways and the first 200 paying fans will receive a free Weikert hat.
Greg Hodnett is the defending race winner and will be returning to competition this weekend after suffering a broken hand during Port Royal’s season opener a month ago. Hodnett will also be in action Friday at Williams Grove.
Stevie Smith will return to the seat of the CJB Motorsports No. 19 sprint car for 40 races this season. The team will begin racing at Williams Grove on May 10th and will be in action over 30 times in Central PA this season. Smith will also run the entire PA Speedweek series in the car that will be a team car to Paul McMahan.
Steve Kinser finally visited victory lane last week with the World of Outlaws with a midweek win at El Paso Speedway Park while Tim Kaeding scored his third series win Saturday night at Tri State Speedway. Daryn Pittman continues to lead the WoO points.
Thanks to driver and business owner Jim Shuster, the Super Sportsman division will see some extra paying events this season in the Dynamite Series which will reward competitors in all Tour races this season. Shuster and his Newville Construction Services will add to the feature payoff at all tour events which will now see the winner earning a $1,200 payday plus higher payoffs for spots 18-24. Shuster will also sponsor a season ending race featuring the top ten drivers in heat race challenge points. That race will pay $1,000 to win.
Eight years ago, no one really knew if the Saturday Night Series at Williams Grove Speedway would ever be successful.
Williams Grove Speedway came on board to pick up the regular divisions left homeless when Silver Spring Speedway was sold.
This Saturday night will make the beginning of the eighth season and could prove as the most successful ever if 2012 is any indication.
Last season, the SNS was highly successful with car counts and featured several attendance records throughout the season thanks to Grove track owner Kathy Hughes.
Hughes has made the SNS a family friendly show by making the program just $5 for grandstand admission for the past few years. Hughes will have the great priced racing events again this season as 17 of the 18 Saturday night shows will be just $5 adult-general admission. Children 12 and under are admitted free.
The SNS has grown in popularity and has featured some great racing in all three regular divisions and 2013 should be no different.
Frankie Herr returns as Super Sportsman champion, Gene Knaub is the defending 358 late model champion and Craig Morgan is back to defend the street stock title.
Carmen Perigo, Jr. leads the early season Sportsman point chase after an early season win. Other winners this year have been Herr and David Socks.
Over 50 drivers are on the 2013 Sportsman entry list and the division has easily boasted the highest car counts in any division at any track so far this season.
The largest paying 410 sprint car race of the year is on tap Friday night at Williams Grove.
The 30-lap Tommy Hinnershitz Spring Classic will pay $6,000 to the feature winner out of a total purse of nearly $30,000.
Chad Layton won the event in 2010 and 2012. The 2011 race was rained out. There is a good possibility that Layton will not be in the field on Friday night to defend the title.
Port Royal Speedway features Free Student/Camera and Autograph Night Saturday for its 410 Sprint, late model and 305 Sprint car program. All students ages 12-18 will be have free general admission and free admission to the pit area from 4-5pm for the camera and autograph session.
Hagerstown Speedway will feature the Lucas Oil Late Model series Saturday night in the 50-lap $10,000 to win Stanley Schetrompf Memorial.
Lincoln, Selinsgrove, Susquehanna, Bedford and Trail-Way all present regular shows this weekend.
Super Sportsman racer Cody Fairchok was seriously injured last Saturday at Lincoln Speedway.
The young Dillsburg racer crashed hard during hot laps and spent the night in the hospital.
Fairchok suffered a fractured vertebrae, one compressed vertebrae in his neck and a chipped sternum. He will wear a neck brace for a few weeks and will be sidelined for a few months.
Fairchok is the third driver in three weeks to suffer an injury during the early racing season.
Fred Rahmer won his third 410 sprint car feature of the season Sunday night at Susquehanna Speedway Park over Don Kreitz, Jr. Brent Marks, Logan Schuchart ahd Mark Smith while Ryan Wilson scored the 358 sprint car win over Kevin Nouse, Cris Eash, Rodney Westhafer and Tyler Ross.
Matt Parks picked up the opening night win last Sunday at Bedford Speedway. Parks scored the late model win over JT Spence, Chuck Clise, Jeff Rine and DJ Troutman. Robby Black was the limited lat e model.
For the third time this season, Daryn Pittman scored a win with the World of Outlaws as he drove to the win at Perris Auto Speedway last Saturday With the win, Pittman opened his WoO points lead to 133 points over Joey Saldana. Donny Schatz won Friday’s WoO main at Kings Speedway over Chad Kemenah.
It was a tough
weekend for several local sprint car
Friday night’s Williams Grove Speedway opener will be a busy one for defending Super Sportsman champion Frankie Herr.
Not only will the Carlisle veteran be starting off the defense of his championship, Herr will also have to be turning the wrenches on Nicole Bower’s 410 Sprint car as the two divisions share the spotlight on the 74th season opener in the history of Williams Grove Speedway.
But it won’t happen this way every week as most of Herr’s super sportsman races fall on a Saturday night so he will be focusing on Bower’s sprint car operation every Friday at the Grove.
Herr is looking forward to another year of Super Sportsman competition and knows it will be just as tough as it was a year ago, when the battle for the championship literally came down to the final lap at the final race in September.
Herr hopes it won’t be quite as exciting in that aspect this year but realizes he has plenty of competition ready to pounce on that title, one that he has won for the past three years and 18 times overall in his racing career.
“We’ve got a lot of good competition, there’s no doubt about it,” Herr stated. “There are a number of racers capable of winning on any given night but we’re ready for the challenge. We did our homework over the winter and our Dave Shultz are up to par so I think we’re ready to have another good season.”
Newville’s Russ Mitten gave Herr all that he could handle in 2012 and plans to do the same once again this year as will the likes of Scott Geesey, Carmen Perigo, Jr., Rick Barr, Bobby Hockenberry, Mike Enders, Scott Dellinger, the Fannasy brothers-Steve and Jay among others.
“Last year we had some tough breaks that you can’t control and it’s part of the game and that certainly helped keep things closer than I’d liked,” added Herr. “Russell had a great season and was right there every week. I think the turning point of the points came on the double points race when Russell won and we ended up breaking, but put an axle underneath just to stay on track and that made the difference in the final outcome of the year. You have to be around at the finish.”
Herr is also looking forward to the new lineup system being used this year for the Sportsman division.
Officials have scrapped the “four week average” lineups as used in the past, and instead drivers will draw for heat races at every event but the top heat finishes will then be handicapped according to average points for the feature. This is the same system used for the Grove’s Friday night divisions.
“I think it’s a good deal because it seems we got penalized for doing well and now we won’t have that,” he said. “Now you can go and draw a bad pill every week and you’ll have to start in the back but you also stand a chance at drawing well. It will still be tough because you are going to have good cars in your heat race either way but the bottom line is, you have to make it into the handicap to stand a chance in the feature.”
LATE MODELS GET EQUAL BILLING
Selinsgrove Speedway track promoter Charlie Paige announced last week that he will be making the track’s super late model division an equal to the track’s 358 sprint division this year.
The 358 sprint cars have held the spotlight at the track over recent years but Paige has added a total of $1,465 to the purse for his late model division, bringing it on par with the sprint car class.
The feature winner in each division will receive $1,500 to win a regular show.
Paige also announced that the season ending point fund will be distributed to the top 10 drivers in points, rather than the top 15. The sprint and late model track champion will earn a $3,000 paycheck for a 2013 track title.
CJB STAYING ON THE ROAD
The Carlisle-based CJB Motorsports, owned by Chad and Jenn Clemens and maintained by Barry Jackson announced last weekend at the team will remain on the World of Outlaw tour for the balance of the 2013 season.
Driver Paul McMahan got his first WoO win with the team last Saturday night at Silver Dollar Speedway in California and currently ranks runner-up in points, 78 points out of the lead. McMahan is the only driver within 100 points of current WoO point leader Daryn Pittman.
The team, Central Pennsylvania’s most professional appearing team over the past few seasons, had a driver change last year as McMahan replaced Fred Rahmer, who had driven the car for the previous five seasons.
The team had tentatively planned on running all of the time trial shows in Central PA this season but with this announcement, that leaves a big loss for another quality car at some of the upcoming shows in the area.
Joining McMahan as a winner last weekend with the Outlaws was Kyle Larson, who recently made headlines after his spectacular crash during the Nationwide race at Daytona International Speedway a few weeks ago. Larson won Friday night at the first ever WoO event at Stockton 99 Dirt Track in California…
Shawn Seifert topped Mike Rutherford, Brian Carber, Tyler Esh and Heath Hehnly at last Saturday’s season opening 600 Micro Sprint event at Trail-Way Speedway. Nik Gower was the 270 Micro winner over Rutherford, Jim Still, Steven Cox and Cory Myers while Scott Gobrecht won the Central PA Legends main over Robert Stough, Lucas Montgomery, Harlon Leppo and Chris Spidle.
Port Royal Speedway hopes the third time is the charm Saturday night after two straight cancellations. A 5pm start time features sprints, late models and pro stocks along a visit by the Easter bunny and free chocolate bunnies to the first 200 kids handed out by Lance Dewease, Greg Hodnett and Tim Wilson.
Lincoln Speedway will have a $4,000 to win 410 Sprint Championship Saturday night. Brent Marks is the current points leader in the Pigeon Hills.
Hagerstown Speedway opens its late model season Saturday with a big Three State Flyers series event.
For the 74th time in track history, Williams Grove Speedway is set to open Friday night.
Track owner Kathy Hughes and track manager Justin Loh are all set for another great season of racing at the Monroe Township facility as the track once again will feature Friday and Saturday night action throughout much of the season.
“We’re ready to go and obviously the biggest change will be the Hoosier tires in the 410 division and we’re hoping the racing stays as good as it’s been with this change,” said Loh, who along with Hughes were named 2012 Promoters of the Year by the voting panel of the National Sprint Car Poll. “Another change this year will be the 358 sprints drawing for starting spots for heat races just like the 410’s. We’re hoping we can attract some new cars during the season that can come and race and not get penalized if they miss a week. Features will continue to be handicapped for both divisions.”
While the Friday night sprint car program draws headlines each week, the Grove’s Saturday Night Series is perhaps the strongest program going in the Central Pennsylvania area and 2013 looks like it’s shaping up to be another good year for the SNS.
“For the first time in many years, we’ll have the Sportsman join the 410’s on a Friday (March 29) and we’re excited that over 50 cars have registered for the Super Sportsman this year,” Loh added. “We’ll still have the $5 grandstand admission every Saturday and we’re looking to make the Meet and Greet’s better this year by adding some workshops for fans to become more familiar with the racing” Meet and Greet’s feature several drivers meeting fans before the races each week.
Loh also said the track will bring back the racing program book for its Saturday Night series.
Greg Hodnett (410 Sprints), Pat Cannon (358 Sprints), Frankie Herr (Super Sportsman), Gene Knaub (358 late models) and Craig Morgan (street stocks) are defending track champions.
The 410 and 358 Sprints are on Friday night’s season opening program.
The Saturday Night Series begins on April 20.
Twenty different drivers visited victory lane in the 410 Sprint car division last year with champion Hodnett leading the way with five feature wins. Brian Montieth (4), Rick Lafferty (3) and Brent Marks, Fred Rahmer and Logan Schuchart were two-time winners.
In the 358 sprint ranks, Cannon led 11 different winners with three followed by two time winners Nate Hammaker and Mark Smith.
Herr and Russ Mitten each had three Sportsman wins last year as nine different drivers scored a Williams Grove Super Sportsman win. Scott Geesey was also a repeat winner.
Knaub led the way with five late model wins. Randy Stoudt was the only other repeat winner out of the seven drivers that scored a win while seven drivers took street stock wins with Morgan’s four topping the division followed by Sam Rial’s three.
CHANGES AT THE PORT
Port Royal Speedway will attempt to open its season Saturday night.
The track season opener was rained out last week.
Saturday night starting time for this week along with next week has been moved up to 5pm.
Fans will be treated to double file restarts during late model feature events this season at the Port. The decision to change the restarts was made after conferring with several race teams. These starts will take place on all restarts until there are four or less laps to go, in which starts will be the normal single file.
Should weather be fine this weekend, it’s a three race weekend as Hagerstown Speedway will try again to complete the Brawl in the Fall that was originally canceled last fall and then again fell victim to the weather last week. Features for the 410 Sprints, late models, big block modifieds and 358 sprints are on tap Sunday afternoon at the Maryland oval.
Lincoln Speedway and Selinsgrove Speedway will also see action Saturday night. Lincoln’s show is a 410 sprint headliner while Selinsgrove will present its first 358 sprint car program of the season.
Applications are now being accepted for the 13th annual Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Scholarship, honoring the memory of the late New Oxford sprint car driver that lost his life while racing with the World of Outlaws in 1999. The scholarship continues to be $2,000 and is awarded annually to a student enrolled at an accredited college, technical or business school. Applications are available at
Tim Kaeding and Craig Dollansky were feature winners last weekend on the World of Outlaws tour at California’s Thunderbowl Raceway. Daryn Pittman has opened up an 83-point lead already as Joey Saldana and Paul McMahan are the only two drivers within 100 points of the leader.
It’s the words all Central
Pennsylvania sprint car fans want to hear in
There are times during a
persons life that they cross paths with
someone that is just a genuinely good
The drivers- Eric Tomecek and Pat Cannon.
The owners- John Westbrook and Zane Highlands.
These drivers and respective car owners will battle for the 2012 Williams Grove Speedway Tool Sheds of America 358 Sprint car point title in the final regular season race of the season at the track.
Heading into the finale, Tomecek leads Cannon by 50 points after a long season of events as Tomecek looks for his first track title and also the first for his car owner Westbrook.
Westbrook turned into sprint car owner several years ago after suffering a life changing injury at the Grove. Westbrook was paralyzed in a hard crash while racing his 358 sprint car.
After his injury and extensive rehabilitation, Westbrook is now fielding one of the top cars in the 358 sprints ranks and would like nothing more than to capture that first title.
On the other side, Cannon and Highlands are no strangers to wins and championships.
In fact, should Cannon win the title, it will be his record breaking fifth Williams Grove title. He won titles in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011 with the Highlands team. The team did miss one race this season at the Grove as they competed in a bigger paying 360 sprint car race at Selinsgrove Speedway.
Both drivers have won one feature this season at Williams Grove while 13 different drivers have captured a win in the division.
MORE RACING THIS WEEKEND
While the racing season gets shorter with each passing week, there are still some events on this weekend’s race schedule.
Of course, Friday night will be the season final point race for the 410 and 358 Sprints at Williams Grove. Greg Hodnett has already wrapped up the Lawrence Chevrolet 410 Sprint championship.
Both Lincoln and Port Royal Speedway’s will be in action Saturday night and both will feature the 410 Sprint cars in their season finales.
Lincoln’s show will be a 410 and 358 Sprint car program joined by the thundercars, going in their final points race of the season. Duane Watson is in the drivers seat for another thundercar title.
At the Port, it will be the rained out Labor Day Classic to bring the season to an end with $4,500 going to the winner of the 410 sprint car main. The Super Sportsman join the program.
The All Star Circuit of Champions will bring a close to its season Saturday at Eldora Speedway where Tim Shaffer will wrap up another season championship. He will become only the third driver in the history of the series to win four straight national titles, joining Kenny Jacobs and Chad Kemenah. Dale Blaney is the Ohio region points champion while Daryn Pittman won the East region points.
While the official press release hasn’t been released, it appears Daryn Pittman will join Kasey Kahne Racing on the World of Outlaws tour in 2013 replacing Joey Saldana. Pittman has spent the past few seasons driving for Mike Heffner in Central Pennsylvania.
As for Heffner, it will be interesting to see what direction he goes with his team. Does he stick with the “big name” driver or will a Central PA racer get a shot in the car. Expect Heffner to make an announcement soon.
Doug Esh posted on his Facebook page that his car owners Dick and Leslie Leach are retiring from sprint car ownership and he will be joining a new team in 2013. The Leach’s along with several of the Leach Motorsports sponsors will stick with Esh with his new team, which remains unnamed.
With six races remaining on the schedule this season, Greg Hodnett and Danny Dietrich are a in tight battle for the Speedway Motors Central PA 410 sprint series championship. Following last weekend’s events, Dietrich closed to within 61 points of Hodnett. The champ gets a $5,000 check and the runner-up gets $3.000.
Hagerstown Speedway is now taking pre-entries for the upcoming Brawl in Fall, October 27-28. The event, which replaces the Octoberfest 30 will still feature Big block Modifieds, late models and 410 Sprints but the 358 Sprints have been added to this year’s program. The modifieds and late models will go in 50 lap features while both sprint car classes compete in 30 lap features. If more than 35 cars are entered in the three premiere division, each race will pay $10,000 to win but with divisions with less then 36 cars, it will pay $7,500 to win. The 358 sprint winner will earn a $3,000 paycheck.
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This weekend’s 50th annual
World of Outlaws National Open at Williams
Grove Speedway could possibly be the last
time (at least for a while) we see the
“Posse versus the Outlaws” on the same
Check out www.IJustWannaRace.com for more Central PA news
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Copyright © 2013 by "Hosehead's Sprint Car Photos & News." Do not reproduce anything from these pages without the permission of the photographers, writers or webmaster.
Hosehead's Sprint Car Photos & News,PO Box 42, Drums PA 18222-0042