The area's big fall races start this weekend with the Tuscarora 50 at Port Royal.
The Juniata County Fair is going strong at the Port Royal Fairgrounds and the All-Star Circuit of Champions sprint cars will invade for the 47th annual running of the Port's biggest race of the season.
The Tuscarora 50 was first held on Sept. 21, 1968, when legendary local driver Mitch Smith drove to the victory in Gary Wasson's famed No. 5 sprinter. Smith won the first three Tusky races, before Dover's Smokey Snellbaker put an end to his streak in 1971. Smoke would win again in 1979.
Doug Wolfgang was the first to win four Tuscarora 50s, with consecutive wins from 1984-1987. Fred Rahmer and Lance Dewease join Wolfgang as four-time winners of the event.
Thomasville's Greg Hodnett, Lynn Paxton, Todd Shafer and last year's winner, Donnie Kreitz Jr., join Smith as three-time winners.
Two-time Tuscarora winners are Keith Kauffman, Bobby Allen, Stevie Smith and Doug Esh. Single Tuscarora 50 wins have gone to Kenny Weld, Steve Smith, Jimmy Nace, Garry Howsare, George Ferguson Jr., Dave Blaney, Lenny Krautheim III, Mike Erdley and Brian Montieth.
The late models join the sprints for Friday's Night Before the Tuscarora 50, while the econo late models are part of Saturday's Tuscarora 50 program.
Williams Grove will race Friday evening, but the sprint cars will not be a part of the program. The 358 sprints and the limited-late models will be on the Grove's slate, with the limited-late models going "topless" in a 30-lap feature. The make-up feature for the super sportsmen has now also been added to this program.
Trailway and Lincoln will try again to present the Lincoln/Trailway Shootout for the 358 sprints this weekend. The event was rained out two weeks ago.
The Legends, 600cc micro sprints and limited stocks join the 358 sprints at Trailway Friday.
Saturday at Lincoln, the 358 sprints are joined by the super sportsmen in their final tune-up for the Sportsman 100. The 305 sprints are also on the card.
Selinsgrove is in action on Saturday evening with the 358/360 sprints, late models, pro stocks, and roadrunners.
At Susquehanna Speedway Park on Saturday it's Kids' Night, with the limited-late models, street stocks, Xtreme stocks, Legends, road warriors, minivans and figure-eight racing.
Hagerstown wraps up its point season Saturday with the late models, late-model sportsmen, pure stocks, hobby stocks and mini stocks.
Labor Day: The Labor Day Classic has been held at Port Royal each Labor Day afternoon since 1952.
Daytime racing at a dirt track, on a hot sunny day, is often not the best racing around. That's why I've often told friends that the Labor Day Classic is an "event" not a race. The atmosphere, with the Juniata County Fair in the background, and daytime racing are throwbacks to older times, and the whole thing is indeed an event to witness.
After the last couple of years, I might have to change my statement, however. There have been some pretty good races on Labor Day of late. This year's event was a true classic over the first two thirds of the race. Veteran local racing stars Greg Hodnett and Lance Dewease swapped the lead a couple of times in the early stages of the race, and then rising star Danny Dietrich used the extreme outside of the first and second turns to get by both of them.
By the way, the win was Dietrich's first full sprint win at the Port. In fact it marked the first time that any member of the Dietrich family had won in the 410 sprints at the track. Danny, along with older brother Billy and father Dan, have all won there in the 358 sprints.
Dietrich's car was sporting the Weikert Livestock colors and the No. 29 on Monday.
Rain: For those who attended Williams Grove on Sunday evening, I've got a question.
Has anyone ever seen a storm start so quickly and dump so much water in such a short time at a race track?
In fact, the sprint feature was on the track and the cars were headed toward a start when rain hit the speedway at 9:01 p.m. Sunday. Between the time the cars exited the second turn on the pace lap, and when they got to the bridge on the backstretch, a "wall of water" hit the speedway.
Tied with dad: When Lucas Wolfe won Friday's sprint-car feature at Williams Grove, it marked his 11th career sprint-car win at the historic track.
That moved him into a tie on the Grove's all-time win list. The driver he is tied with is his father, Randy Wolfe, who also has 11 career sprint-car wins at the Grove.
1980: This was Tuscarora 50 weekend in 1980, as well, but at that time the Tuscarora race was a Friday-only program. Lynn Paxton drove the Boop's Aluminum No. 1 to the victory in that race for his 18th overall win of the season.
Williams Grove took Friday off, but joined the Saturday slate that weekend, competing against Lincoln and Selinsgrove. At the Grove, Keith Kauffman parked Bob Weikert's No. 29 in victory lane for his 15th overall victory of the year. At Lincoln, it was Van May, who won for the 12th time that year in Weldon Sterner's No. 69. At Selinsgrove Barry Camp got his first win of the season in the Camel Express No. 26.
While the local tracks were busy that week, Hanover's Bobby Allen was winning twice on the road with his own No. 1a. Allen won Wednesday evening's World of Outlaws race at the I-30 Speedway and Saturday's All-Star race at Atomic, Ohio. Those wins pushed Allen to six victories on the season.
SPEEDWAY MOTORS/CHAMPION RACING OIL PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT CAR SERIES
Presented by Hoseheads.com
(Wins in parenthesis)
1. Greg Hodnett (8) 1,218
2. Danny Dietrich (6) 737
3. Brian Montieth (4) 721
4. Lance Dewease (4) 710
5. Alan Krimes (2) 657
6. Brent Marks (5) 615
7. Lucas Wolfe (2) 569
8. Donnie Kreitz Jr. (3) 540
9. Doug Esh (2) 488
10. Stevie Smith (4) 454
11. Blane Heimbach (2) 440
12. Rick Lafferty (1) 403
13. Gerard McIntyre Jr. (2) 392
14. Cory Haas 367
15. Chad Layton (1) 334
16. Jim Siegel (2) 322
17. Ryan Smith (1) 320
18. Mike Wagner (1) 296
19. Mike Erdley (1) 288
20. Robbie Kendall (1) 251
21. Daryn Pittman (3) 250
22. Justin Barger (2) 220
23. Austin Hogue (1) 209
24. Adam Wilt (1) 208
25. Kyle Moody (1) 187
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Product sponsors: VRP Shocks, Shaver Wesmar Gear Drives, RE Enterprise, Panchos Racing Products, KSE Racing Products, Kreitz Oval Parts, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Rod End Supply, Zemco Speed Equipment, Saldana Racing Products, Hinchman Racewear, Triple X Race Co., ATL Fuel Cells and DriverWebSites.com.