Busy, lucrative schedule on tap for 410s in region

Published: 4/21/2017 10:00 AM
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BY TODD HEINTZELMAN

FOR THE NEWS-ITEM

It will be another busy and lucrative season for the 410 sprint cars on the dirt tracks in central Pennsylvania.

Big bucks at Port

At Port Royal Speedway, the season will be highlighted by the highest paying sprint car race in the history of the speedway. The winner of the 50th Anniversary edition of the Tuscarora 50 on Saturday, Sept. 9, will receive $50,000. The total purse exceeds $100,000.

The Tuscarora 50 joins the King’s Royal at Eldora Speedway in Ohio and the Williams Grove National Open as the second highest paying sprint car races in the country. The only race that pays more to win is the Knoxville Nationals in Iowa at $150,000

Doug Esh of Lancaster won his first Port Royal sprint car championship last season and has two wins already this season.

Other than the Tuscarora 50, many other big events dot Port Royal’s schedule for sprint cars.

The Keith Kauffman Classic sanctioned by Tony Stewart’s All Star sprints will be held Saturday, April 29. The Bob Weikert Memorial for the sprint cars will be held over Memorial Day weekend with a total of $15,000 available to be won for the sprints and high paying races for the late models and 360 sprints as well.

Another major event is set for Saturday, June 17. It’s the annual Eastern Storm Race for the wingless USAC sprint cars. However, for the first time, Port’s regular 410 winged sprint cars will be on the program as well, making for a unique double-header.

The 11th Annual Living Legends Dream Race has been moved forward one week this season to July 29. The 66th Annual Labor Day Classic is set for Sept. 4 followed by the historic Tuscarora 50 weekend.

The season concludes with three big shows in October, including the Blue Collar Classic on Oct. 7, the World of Outlaws sprints on Oct. 14 and Open Wheel Madness on Oct. 21 featuring all three divisions of sprint cars.

Outlaws at Grove 7 times

At Williams Grove Speedway, Greg Hodnett won his third straight track championship and fifth overall last season. Hodnett now ranks third all-time on the Grove win list behind Fred Rahmer and Lance Dewease, and also ranks third in championships behind the same two. Hodnett and Dietrich are the favorites once again to win the track championship. Dietrich ended the season with a thrilling victory in the National Open.

The World of Outlaws visit the Grove seven times, including for the Morgan Cup in May, the Summer Nationals in May and then the third attempt at a three-day National Open in late September.

The Yellow Breeches 500 series returns this year, paying $500 to start a regular sprint car feature instead of the typical $310. The 358 sprints and 360 sprints will once again be a big part of the schedule.

A special two-day show in June features all three divisions of USAC, including the sprints and midgets on Thursday night, June, 15 and, for the second straight season, the USAC Silver Crown series in a 100-lap event on Friday night, June 16.

10 straight for Speedweek

Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek will be even more grueling than normal in 2017 as it will run 10 straight nights for the first time in its history.

It begins Friday night, June 30, at Williams Grove Speedway followed by Lincoln and Path Valley. Lincoln begins the Fourth of July week with a Monday night race on June 3. This was traditionally a night off. Grandview and Hagerstown (Md.) follow on Tuesday and Wednesday. Port Royal’s first race is Thursday, July 6. The Grove’s Mitch Smith Memorial paying $10,000 to win is July 7. Port Royal returns July 8 and the 10-race series concludes at Selinsgrove Speedway July 9. Dietrich is the defending Speedweek champion.

Susquehanna Speedway will host the 410 sprint cars several times this year. The next race will be the Kevin Gobrecht Classic on Sunday, May 7. Other 410 sprint dates include Thursday, June 8; Sunday, July 16; Sunday, Aug. 20 (All Star sanctioned); Thursday, Sept. 21 and finally Saturday, Oct. 28.

Month of Money

September will once again be Pennsylvania’s Month of Money with more than $130,000 in winnings alone on the line for sprint cars. Port Royal’s Tuscarora 50 and the Williams Grove National Open will each pay $50,000 to win. The Dirt Classic at Lincoln pays $20,000 and the Jim Nace Memorial at Selinsgrove Speedway will likely pay $10,000 to win.

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