I had hoped to attend two races last weekend, but the Saturday race at Shippensburg Speedway was postponed until Sunday, when another race was already planned. So on Saturday we stayed indoors for some high school basketball, as the school where I teach made the state playoffs for the first time in 20 years. They lost on a last-second tip in. My mom's 86th birthday is coming up this week, and Pam and I took her to the game and then out for burritos. It's cool that at that age, I still have a mom that wants to go see basketball and eat burritos. Hopefully I have a lot of her genes in me so that I can go see basketball and eat burritos when I'm 86.
On Sunday Pam and I headed west. Our first stop was at Bloomsburg University so I could see her newly refurbished office. Second stop was at Skeeter's BBQ in Shamokin Dam for some beef brisket. Our third stop was Selinsgrove Speedway. I've been coming to Selinsgrove annually for almost 35 years.
Today's show was a single division show of 410 Winged Sprint Cars. I'm a big fan of the early season single division shows. Admission was $15 and a very big crowd was on hand. A lot of others seem to be fans of the single division shows as well. Despite the fact that the race paid $4,000.00 to win and had a $16,000.00 purse, they still did not draw a full field. There were 22 cars on hand, with 19 starting the feature.
Five from our TrackChaser group were known to be on hand, all attending as race fans, having been to the track many times before. They were: Dwight Bucks, Gordy Killian, Mike Knappenberger, Guy Smith, and Pam Smith. The Eckels were out in Arizona attending Cactus League exhibition baseball and making me green.
One of the reasons I picked this show to attend was the fact that it was only the one class of cars. Selinsgrove tends to get very dusty, and I thought one class with not a lot of cars would be the best time to see a show there. I passed on the Modifieds this coming week because I was at the last Modified race at the track last year and they only drew 15 cars in the headline class and even fewer in the support class. The fact that this was a day show was a plus, getting us home early with a new work week looming. The track seems to me to be just as dusty for the night shows, so that wasn't really any better or worse.
Despite the fact that they had only one class and only 22 cars, they still were not even close to being ready to start on time. They certainly can't justify it by using the old standby "opening day" excuse, as all the cars but one were in the pits before I even got there, and I was there well before starting time. The first heat rolled out 45 minutes late.
The most interesting driver in the pits was Jason Leffler, a multi-time USAC wingless champion, three times in the Midgets and also once in the Silver Crown Championship Cars. Leffler has competed in both the Indy and Daytona 500's and has plenty of starts in all three of the top NASCAR divisions. This year he is planning on running a lot of Winged Sprint Car races.
The three heats went off very quickly, as everyone made the main. I think there was only one yellow in qualifying, for a Michael Ruttkamp spin on the backstretch. The heats were only eight laps, and because of the short field (only five started heat three), there was no consie. All qualifying took only around 20 minutes.
Another 45 minute break ensued before the feature. Up until that point, the show consisted of 20 minutes of qualifying races where everyone qualified, and an hour and a half of down time. The 25 lap feature was pretty good. There were only three yellows, and the race was interesting although it was hard to pass on the daytime track. Plus the top nine cars started in the top nine spots, so that would eliminate a lot of potential passing as well.
We sat in the fourth turn end of the covered grandstand, a spot I discovered about five years ago and have now adopted as my favorite spot at Selinsgrove. It's a good view and comfortable, although due to the big haulers in the pits and all the crew that stands on the tops of them, you can't see much of turn three. It was a bit cool and this might have been a good time to sit out in the sun rather than under the roof.
I always liked the food at Selinsgrove, but since we had eaten at Skeeter's I didn't have too much, just popcorn and a slice of pizza, both of which were excellent. I would suggest that they update the food price list on the track website. It says it is accurate as of March, 2011. It is not accurate as of March, 2013. Having skipped a 2012 update, I'd say one is overdue.
Mark Smith, who had raced wingless with USAC down at Ocala, took the early lead and looked like he might be able to win the race. But Greg Hodnett started fourth and was the fastest car, no doubt. Hodnett moved into second, and started to close on Smith. But Smith was collected by a spinning Michael Ruttkamp and taken out of the race. Once in front, Hodnett won easily over Fred Rahmer.
Rahmer is off to a good start though. In the first four races in Central Pennsy this year, Fast Freddy has four top ten's, three top five's, and two top three's.
Third went to Pat Cannon, the 358 Limited Sprint track champion at Selinsgrove. Home field advantage appears to be a reality.
Leffler was schooled on winged racing by the Posse, some of the best in the country. He was fast enough to keep up, but couldn't pass anyone and missed out on the top ten even though only 13 cars finished.
The day's controversy, other than the leader getting taken out, involved Brent Marks, the previous days Lincoln winner. Marks pulled into the pits on the pace lap, and failed to return to the track by the time they were ready to start the race. The grandstand was clearly and heavily on Brent's side, thinking the track should have given him more work time before throwing the green. I was in the other camp, feeling that if you are not ready to go, for whatever reason, when the race is ready to begin, that's on you and everyone else should not be held up because of it That's racing. As I said though, I was clearly in the minority on that one.
Even with the 45 minute late start and 45 minute intermission, the show was over in less than 2.5 hours. And well it should have been, as it only consisted of 49 laps of racing. As I'm a supporter of the early season day shows, and also the early season single division shows, I was satisfied with the days program.
No new tracks planned for me again this week. However, I do have a double in the plans. I hope to try again at Shippensburg on Saturday afternoon, then join Jason Leffler at the Port Royal opener Saturday evening. I'm skipping Hagerstown on Sunday afternoon, as Pam and I want to get one more hockey game in the books before the season ends, so we are planning on adding the Trenton Titans to our rink list Sunday.
Hope to see a couple of friends at The Port on Saturday evening.
Guy & Pam Smith 2013 Summary
2013 New Tracks--Guy 6 / Pam 4
2013 Events-- Guy 10 / Pam 5
2013 Total Tracks-- Guy 10 / Pam 5
2013 Additional Non TC Tracks--Guy 1 / Pam NA
Lifetime Total Tracks--Guy 1,483 / Pam 841
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