Monday, October 12, 2015

My Thoughts on the Racing Weekend Gone By

Hello and welcome back to another edition of a racing weekend gone by. This past weekend Mother Nature screwed us out of the last race of the season at Williams Grove Speedway, but blessed us with beautiful but chilly weather on Saturday for the last race of the season at Lincoln Speedway and the big 305 Blue Collar Classic Race at Port Royal Speedway.

Saturday night was the Hank Gentzler Memorial at Lincoln Speedway. Hank was instrumental in making Manufacturers Appreciation Night at Lincoln Speedway such a great night for the 410 teams who race here in Central PA. His wife Dennise has kept the race alive in his honor with the help of Lincoln Speedway. It's always a good thing to see race teams get free stuff and the race teams show their support by packing the pits 35 strong.

Saturday night we saw Gerard McIntyre Jr. finally found victory lane in 2015. It was G-Mac's 1st feature win since April of 2014 which came at Lincoln Speedway as well. McIntyre has struggled this season big time, but finally started to show some promise towards the last part of 2015 starting the weekend of Knoxville. He was slated to start on the front row at Lincoln that night but experienced engine trouble and had to scratch from the feature. He made the feature for the National Open last Sunday at Williams Grove Speedway and would finish a respectable 13th beating some of the very best sprint car drivers in the country in the process. Seeing a small budget one car operation get a win is a great thing to watch and to see it happen to family makes it even better. Congrats G-Mac from all of us at Central Pa Racing Scene.

Saturday also saw a few surprises in the feature event at Lincoln Speedway.

One time feature winner in 2015 at Lincoln Speedway, JJ Grasso would finish 3rd for his 4th top 5 finish of the season.
Adam Wilt who has struggled all season long finished 4th giving him his 4th top 5 finish in 2015.
Tyler Ross who is in his 2nd season in the 410 division would come home 5th giving him his 5th top 5 of the year.

All three drivers race a family owned and on a small budget so it's especially great to see them get good finishes at the end of the season. Looking at the top 10 from Saturday night saw a good mix of racing budgets in the mix. Greg Hodnett would finish 2nd, Arron Ott would finish 6th, Alan Krimes 7th, Mike Bittinger , Steve Owings and Jim Seigel would round out the top 10. Owings and Bittinger especially nice to see get some good finishes to end the season.

In the 358 division Saturday night Lincoln Speedway and Central PA 358 Point Series presented by Capitol Renegade champion Doug Hammaker would put a stamp on his 2015 racing season by winning his 6th feature event of the season. Hammaker who won everything but the Williams Grove track championship in 2015 (Hey his momma taught him how to share with people) had a breakout season in 2015. To think the son of "The GodFather" and brother to Nate didn't win his first career feature event until July of last season. So in the span of a season and a half Doug has not only won 8 career feature wins (tying him with Matt Campbell,Rick Hench,Danny Jones, Frankie Herr and Glenndon Forsythe) on the all time win list, but also won a track championship and the 358 series championship. What have I been saying for a while now? The future of our sport is where folks?

Great run for Adrian Shaffer who came home 2nd Saturday night. Really would have liked to see what Adrian could have done if he would not have had so much bad luck the mid part of the season. He started out very hot with 2 wins, then just ran into every bad thing you could think of, only to bounce back with another win and a string of top 5's late in the season. Just for future reference....a youngster made his 1st ever start Saturday night at Lincoln Speedway in the 358 division. Trey Hivner, just keep that in the back of your head......just saying.....

Now, let's head over to Port Royal Speedway where we saw... 49 yes that would be right 49 305 sprint cars load up and fill the pits for their biggest race of the year, the Blue Collar Classic and mind you the track saw a total of 120 race cars line the pits and part of the infield on the chilly night of racing. Jeff Miller Jr, whom has dominated Port Royal Speedway won the track title that night and made a bit of history in the process. The 2013 event champion, Jake Waters led the first four laps of the Blue Collar Classic before Tyler Reeser took over in an effort to record his second win of the season at the track. But....Tyler Reeser found some tough competition when Jeff Miller Jr, a two time Port Royal Track Champion, found the preferred line and passed Reeser for the lead. 

Now...back to that making history thing with Jeff Miller Jr. The 305s have made a home at Port Royal Speedway for some time now and a long time veteran Tyler Bear had housed the most wins seen at the speedway until Saturday night. Jeff Miller Jr tied Tyler's wins and took back to back championships in the series at the Speed Palace as well...looks like the kid has the Speed Palace figured out.

Need to go back to last weekend and give a huge shout out to Stevie Smith for picking up his 3rd career Williams Grove National Open Sunday night at Williams Grove Speedway. Rain forced me to miss my 4th consecutive Natty Open (after seeing 18 straight) but it's always great to wake up for work and see your favorite driver won the biggest paying race of the season in Central PA. I might be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure Stevie was the last driver to win a 75 lap Natty Open, and won his 2nd race the year before I started my 18 yrs of going. I have seen him look good some years, and struggle others, but as a huge fan of Stevie as I am, I don't hide the fact that I scream like a woman who sees a mouse in the kitchen whenever he wins a feature event, let alone the National Open. I would still love to see just how dominant Steve and the whole 51s team could be if they actually ran for points in Central PA, but we all know that would never happen.

Well folks our season is almost over. But next weekend we do have our last 2 night race week. Saturday night the 410's are joined by the United Racing Club for a special winged double header. I plan on making the trip up north to catch it, as I do most of you. You will find no better a ride then heading up north to Port Royal Speedway in mid October. It will be beautiful with fall starting to take hold.

Sunday we will see the Scott Gobrecht era officially begin at Susquehanna Speedway when the 410's get their last chance to tune up for their big $10,000 to win feature in November. The IMCA Sprint Series (yeah I have no clue either) will be on hand as well, while Fred Rahmer productions will host their final race of 2015 at Path Valley Speedway. It is Armed Forces Appreciation Night – offering half-priced general admission tickets to U.S. Military personnel in uniform. The race will pay $6,600 to the winner.

Think its bad for Central PA to see them reschedule the race against Susquehanna Speedway next Sunday. I happen to agree with Todd Heitzelman in AARN when he said they should have found a different date for this race. It does absolutely no good to split up fans and race teams this late in the season. Funny thing is if this was any other promoter pulling this, the fans would be up in arms about it. Hell fans go ape shit when Lincoln doesn't give the 410's a night off so all the teams can go to Port Royal  that night yet not much outrage over this. I wonder how how many teams will skip out on Susquehanna and go to Path as well. Everyone wanted changes at Susky, and I bet most won't show up to show their support Sunday, and that's a shame if you ask me.

Well that's it for this week. Look for me trying to stay warm on Saturday night at Port Royal. Until then I hope everyone's work week goes extra fast, your weather stays warm, and if your beverage of choice stays ice cold, or warm in my case lol. See everyone Saturday night.

©William McIntyre & Central PA Racing Scene 2015

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