Hello and welcome back to another edition of My Thoughts on a racing Season Gone By. I am your host as always Bill McIntyre.
With 2017 coming to an end in 1 week I thought it would be a great time to look back and see how the season looked through my favorite thing in the world...STATS. As always I have kept track of all 5 divisions that Central PA Racing Scene covers, the 410 sprints, 358 sprints, 360 sprints, 305 sprints, and the Super Sportsman division. I kept up with every race and how many cars showed up at every track each week as well as where the starting spot for each winner started....FOR EVERY RACE...
Yeah I know, I need a life right? But I do all of this for you, the fans. I love to be able to look at this every season and see how good the racing truly is (or in this case WAS), and then have us race fans debate it to death about how great our sport truly is.
I kept track of this the past few years, but like every good homework assignment,my dog ate most of it. I did manage to keep the car count stats from 2016 so we will be able to compare car counts from the past 2 years. So without further adieu let's start looking at the 2017 racing season stats.
Lincoln Speedway in 2017 saw their car count stay the same as 2016. The track in Abbottstown Pa saw an average of 30 410 sprint cars weekly. The highest car count was the Outlaws when they visited in May. The lowest was 18. The 410s had less than full fields 5 times in 2017. Compared to 2016 when they averaged 30.1 cars with the largest car count coming at the Dirt Classic with 48 cars. In 2016 they had less than full fields only twice.
The 358 division had an average of 29.8 cars pitside in 2017. The topped out at 41 cars for 1 race and never had less then a full field all season. In 2016 the division saw 31 cars on average every week so they lost 2 cars in 2017 but all the other stats stayed the same.
Williams Grove Speedway - In 2017 the Most Historic Track in Central PA saw an average of 32 sprint cars pitside . This is up by 3.5 cars from 2016 which is a great sign for the track after a few years of not so good car counts. They hit the magical 40+ number 6 times with a high of 48. They had less than full fields on 4 races this year but never under 21.
The 358 division saw 25 cars pitside for their races, but was down by almost 2 cars from 2016. The division topped out at 35 with a low of 19.
Port Royal Speedway - Central PA's best track as voted by the fans saw car counts go up on average in 2017. They averaged 29.4 cars this season while having 28.7 in 2016. They had help with the largest car count of any track in 2017 during the Tuscarora 50 weekend when 65 cars packed the pits both nights. The track also had the lowest car count for any 410 race in 2017 when they had only 16 twice and 18 & 19 cars respectively. They only dipped into the teens 3 times in 2016.
Selinsgrove Speedway - Car counts for the fastest half mile on the east cost jumped 1.5 cars in 2017 but that was a big deal because that gave them a full field on average for the 1st time in many years. The only track that runs 360's as a headliner weekly struggled some weeks with a low of 16 cars opening week and had counts in the teens on only 2 other occasions. They hit 30+ 5 times which is 4 more than they did in 2016 so things might be looking up finally for the half mile.
Trail Way Speedway - Once again the bullring on the farm struggled to attract cars. They had on average 14 cars pitside down almost 4 from 2016. They hit a Central PA Racing low of 9 this season and only hit the 20's twice and that being the last 2 races of the season.
Susquehanna Speedway - The newly named Bapps Motor Speedway saw car counts for their 410 races stay the same in 2017. They averaged 25.7 cars in 2017 after 26 in 2016. They had 2 races with 30+ cars in 2017 after seeing 6 in 2016. They had 3 races that did not have full fields this season with the lowest car count coming in at 18.
Beer Hill Gang 305's - This year I started covering the 305 division and let me tell you, its not an easy thing to cover. With races all over Central PA and no press releases I had to work extra hard for you the fans to make sure we had them covered. But all the hard work was worth it as we are the only website in Central PA that covers the division and the teams deserve it. The 305 division averaged 23.8 cars at all their races in 2017. They topped out at 44 twice in 2017 with their lowest car count being 13. They had car counts in the teens on 6 times and brought 30+ cars on 6 times as well.
United Racing Club - This season we also covered the URC for the 1st time and they averaged a car count of 29. Their season high was 42 and their season low was 12 which happened twice in 2017.
Super Sportsman - And last but certainly not least the Super Sportsman division. We here at the site started covering this exciting division for the 1st time in 2017 (Once again we are the only website in Central PA to do so) and was pleasantly surprised to see how exciting this division truly is. The Sportsman averaged 26.45 cars per race in 2017 with most of their races held at Bapps Motor Speedway. They hit a season high of 33 going over the 30+ number 4 times and a season low of 18 once.
Average Starting Spot for the winners....
Lincoln Speedway - The 410 division saw the average starting spot for their feature winner come from 4.9. The best was 12th. They had 3 races were the winner came from farther back then the 3rd row 5 times. They saw the dreaded front row winner 7 times. the winner came from the 2nd row 4 times and the 3rd row 5 times. The 4th row hosted the winner 2 times.
The 358 division saw their average winner come from 5th starting spot. They only had 1 winner come from deep in the field this year that being 12th. They saw the front row win on 5 occasions the 2nd row twice, the 3rd row twice, and the most frequent starting row being the 4th row 5 times.
Williams Grove Speedway - The average starting spot for the winner of a 410 feature at the track in 2017 was 3.4. 10th was the farthest any driver came to win a feature and that was done by Freddie Rahmer once. They hit the front row jack pot 12 times in 2017.
The 358 division was no better as they had an average winner starting in the 3rd spot. No winner came farther back than the 3rd row in 2017.
Port Royal Speedway - The average starting spot for a winner at the track in 2017 was 4.75. They had 1 winner come from the 6th row (11th) the farthest of the season. The front row won 10 times. The 2nd row won 4 times. They did see a few winners during come from the 8th starting spot which happened 4 times and 9th spot twice.
Selinsgrove Speedway - The average winner at Selinsgrove Speedway for 2017 came from the 3.5 spot. They had 2 races won from deeper than 10th and the dreaded front row 8 times.
Trail Way Speedway - The average starting spot for the winner at Trail Way in 2017 was 3.3. Only once did the winner come from farther back then the 3rd row and the track saw its winner come off the front row 5 times all from the pole.
Bapps Motor Speedway - The 410 division saw their winner come from an average starting spot of 3.5 with nobody coming from farther back than the 3rd row. They had 2 races won off the front row as well.
The 358 division saw their average winner come from 3.75.
United Racing Club - The average starting spot for the winner of a 360 race in 2017 was 4.23. Only once in 2017 did a winner come from deeper than the 4th row (12th) and they had 5 winners of the front row. Only 4 races were won off the front row in 2017.
Beer Hill Gang 305's - The 305 division saw their average winner come from the 3rd starting spot. Only once did a winner come from the 4th row and non past that all season. They did have 9 winners off the front row and 12 winners from the 2nd row.
Super Sportsman - They say to save the best for last... well I did. The Super Sportsman had the areas best average when it came to feature winners in 2017. They saw their winner come from 7.55 for 2017. They had a winner come from 18th and had a series best 7 drivers win from 10th or farther.
So there you have it folks. All the stats you need to know to have an informed opinion on racing here in Central PA. So the next time someone tries to tell you how great the racing was in 2017, you can point them to this article and let them see for themselves.
My take on all of it? Lincoln and Port are about the same so the old short tracks produce better racing is just a wives tale in 2017. Car counts across the board are the same no matter what division you like, and only 1 division can lay claim to the most exciting racing in Central PA, and that's the Super Sportsman division at Bapps Motor Speedway.