A little more than a week ago, NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Dave Blaney visited the area and won a sprint-car feature at Port Royal.

This past weekend, three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart made a visit to the area and won a 360 sprint-car feature at Selinsgrove Speedway.

Add in a visit by noted journalist and retired television pit reporter Dick Berggren, and the local season has had a distinctly NASCAR flavor thus far.

Stewart ventured north from NASCAR's stop at Martinsville, Va., to race with the sprint cars Friday at Williams Grove, and then with the ESS/Mach 1 Chassis 360/358 Sprint Challenge at Selinsgrove Saturday.


Stewart left no doubt that he was in town to race. In his heat race at the Grove, Stewart charged from the back of the pack to finish second to Brent Marks. In the feature, he finished fourth.

At Selinsgrove, Stewart set a new one-lap track record for the 360 sprints in time trials, and came from the eighth starting spot to pass track kingpin Pat Cannon for the win.

Berggren was in town for the open house at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing, and took in Saturday's races at Lincoln Speedway. Winner Fred Rahmer joked that Berggren told him before the races that he'd be all right after he got a little more experience.

Berggren joined in the Victory Lane ceremonies with Rahmer. Always the journalist, at first Berggren couldn't be found in Victory Lane. That's because he joined the host of photographers and was taking photos.

Berggren's visit to the EMMR on Sunday was to help dedicate the new Chris Economaki Library at the museum. Berggren gave an uplifting and heartfelt speech about Economaki and his influence on the sport. Corrine Economaki, daughter of the late "Dean of Motorsports Journalism" was also on hand for the ceremony.

Before launching his storied career in print and television, Berggren raced stock cars and sprint cars for a few years.

While all these visits have been taking place, there is yet another NASCAR veteran who has been making the local circuit his home this season. Californian Jason Leffler has experience in all three of NASCAR's top divisions, and has also raced in the Indy 500. Before moving to the national spotlight, Leffler carved out an outstanding career in USAC sprint, midget and dirt-champ cars.

One thing Leffler never did during his career was race winged sprint cars. That is his plan this season. Wheeling the No. 13 car of Tom Buch, Leffler has been competing at most of the local sprint-car races this season.

Last weekend the results began to get better, with a pair of top-10 finishes, his first in winged sprint-car competition.

Leffler has competed in both the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500 during his career. That means that at last Friday's Williams Grove show, there were two drivers in competition who had raced in both of those world-famous events. How many local tracks in the country can say that they had two Daytona and Indy veterans in the lineup for a weekly unsanctioned racing program?


COVERT: Newberrytown's Jason Covert won the late-model feature at Williams Grove last Friday.

That win was the second of the season for Covert, who won at Hagerstown a week earlier. If I'm correct, the only other event Covert had raced at this year was at Winchester, Va., and he finished third in that one.

Covert drives for Manchester's Barry Klinedinst in the famed No. 43a machine. Klinedinst has been around for many years, having started fielding cars in the 1960s.

While the win for Covert was his fifth at the Grove, I wonder just how many Klinedinst has there. Between Gary Snelbaker, Bobby Goodling, Jeff Leiphart and now Covert, I'd say that number should be more than 50.

KNAUB: Dover's Gene Knaub made one of his infrequent starts with the super-late models on Friday evening, and was quite impressive.

Knaub charged from the 10th starting spot to finish second in the feature. Returning to the limited-late models on Saturday, Knaub won at Susquehanna for his second overall win of the season.

RAHMER: Fred Rahmer still hasn't finished outside the top nine this season.

His win Saturday at Lincoln was his 167th career win there, and his 415th career sprint-car win. The win was Rahmer's first at Lincoln since 2010.

1968: Just Susquehanna and Hagerstown were in action on the local circuit on this weekend in 1968.

At Susky on Friday, Ray Tilley scored his second Susky win of the season. Tilley drove Bud Grimm's potent No. 88 Ford to the win over Leroy Felty, Kenny Slaybaugh, Lynn Paxton and Eddie Zirkle.

At Hagerstown, Ray Dovel made it two in a row in Lee Stultz's No. S-3 machine. Dovel's win came over Don Davis, Rich Schmelyun, Bobby Allen and Jack Denniston.

THIS WEEKEND: Williams Grove is back in action Friday with the sprints and 358 sprints on the agenda, while Trailway plays host to the 358 sprints, street stocks, limited stocks and thundercars.

Saturday's slate finds the sprints, super sportsmen and limited-late models at Lincoln, while Port Royal plays host to the sprints, late models and pro stocks.

Saturday's Selinsgrove program includes the 358 sprints, late models, pro stocks and roadrunners, while Hagerstown welcomes the late-model sportsmen, pure stocks, hobby stocks and mini stocks.

Susquehanna Speedway Park has a two-race weekend. Saturday, it's York County Racing Club Night, with the limited-late models, 305 sprints, street stocks, Xtreme stocks, Road Warriors and minivans. On Sunday, it's the Sprint Car Spring Classic, with the sprints and 358 sprints on the slate.

-- Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

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