Full racing slate set for long weekend
Two local tracks have huge special events slated for the Labor Day weekend.
After losing last August's first-ever visit by the touring World of Outlaw Late Model Series to rain, Selinsgrove Speedway promoter, Charlie Paige, looked to add a huge event to the 2013 calendar, earmarking the Labor Day weekend for a two-day late model extravaganza.
The special event kicks off Saturday night with the "Showdown on Sand Hill" (the name of the area of the track's location), a 40-lap feature event paying $8,000 to the winner. The weekly pro stock class will also be on the Saturday night racing program.
The gates will then swing open on Sunday night for the Late Model National Open presented by Jeff's Auto Body and Recycling Center. It's a 50-lap feature event paying $10,000 to the victor. The limited late models of other area tracks will also be on Sunday's schedule.
Many of the top stock car stars from across the nation will be in competition over the two-day special including the top-10 points men in the WoO Series. Point leader Josh Richards, of West Virginia, Georgia's Shane Clanton and Clint Smith, Darrell Lanigan and rookie Eric Wells, both of Kentucky, modified stars Timmy McCreadie and Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., Bub McCool, of Mississippi, rookie Morgan Bailey, of Texas, and Keystone State stars Rick Eckert and Chub Frank will all take the wheel this weekend.
Jeff Rine, Selinsgrove Speedway's all-time feature wins leader and eight-time late model champion and this season's current points leader, will lead the locals against the touring pros. Teams of Jim and Dylan Yoder, along with Jim and Bryan Bernheisel, Donnie Schick, Dave Zona, Tony Adams, Matt Cochran and others will look to defend the home turf.
Other outsiders expected include the spring championship winner in April, Dan Stone, as well as Scott and Andy Haus, Al Shawver, Colby Frye, Tim Wilson and many others.
Both nights will include time trials, qualifying heats, consolation events and feature programs for the late models. Gates will open each day at 4 p.m. with the racing action slated to start at 7.
Tonight begins the Coalcracker Weekend at Big Diamond Speedway, with programs tonight and Sunday evening. The show slated for tonight includes a special 20-lap "non-winners" race for the 358 modifieds, sportsman and roadrunners. The roadrunners will also be competing in their popular one-on--one match races, among the top 11 in points.
Sunday night, the Schuylkill County dirt track presents the Jack Rick Coalcracker 72 for the 358 modifieds, along with the roadrunners. The modified event will pay the winner a hefty $10,000 paycheck for winning the 72-lap event, while the roadrunners will be competing in a 25-lap feature program.
The inaugural Coalcracker was competed in the 1979 season with Bob Emerich scoring the win on the 50-lap event. As the years have passed, only 17 different winners have graced the Coalcracker victory lane.
The winningest driver in Coalcracker competitions is Duane Howard with six wins, while Jeff Strunk, Doug Hoffman and Charlie Eckert have scored three wins each. Current points leader, Craig Von Dohren has two wins in the Coalcracker, along with Kenny Brightbill, Billy Pauch Sr. and Ryan Godown.
Plenty of other stars of the modified wars are expected to be in action including one-time winner Doug Manmiller, Meme DeSantis, Rick Laubach, Ricky Yetter, Ray Swinehart and last week's winner, Tim Buckwalter. Gates open at 5 p.m. each night and racing begins at 8:15.
Arguably, one of the most prestigious events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, commonly referred to as "the Big Go", the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals find the top stars of the sport in action at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.
The race is the 18th event of the 24-race schedule and the final race in the regular season, heading into the six-race "Countdown to the Championship." ESPN2 will provide over 10 hours of coverage for this weekend's four day event, with five hours of qualifying coverage on Sunday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. and six hours of continuous coverage on Monday at noon.
In other area dirt track action, Port Royal Speedway will be in action twicce over the Labor Day weekend, as it kicks off the 159th annual Juniata County Fair with the Butch Reninnger Memorial for the late models along with the 410 sprint cars, pro stocks and enduro dash cars Saturday, before swinging back into action Monday with the 410 sprint cars and ARDC Midgets, carrying a 2 p.m. start. ...Lincoln Speedway hosts the 410 sprint cars, 358 sprint cars and winged super sportsman Saturday night. ...Grandview Speedway presents its three-division show of 358 modifieds, sportsman and limited late models Saturday.