The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

March 29, 2014

Motorsports: Challenging season ahead for Selinsgrove Speedway

SELINSGROVE — Not since Charlie Paige and Earl Zechman took over in 2001 as promoters of Selinsgrove Speedway has there been this much uncertainty entering a racing season.

It was 13 years ago when the track switched from the 410 sprint cars to the 358s.

With car counts on the decline recently, the decision was made to bring in the 360 cubic-inch sprint cars this year to race with the 358s.

Paige noted that it was the drivers who were asking to bring in the 360s as the cost of the 358 engines was getting out of control.

Car counts are just one of the story lines this year as a number of drivers in all four divisions are seeking new homes on Saturday nights.

Among them are long-time sprint car driver Phil Walter, of McClure, who is one of the most popular drivers at the track.

He’ll be racing at Lincoln Speedway in the 410 division on Saturdays and Fridays at Williams Grove when they run the 358s.

“We are planning on racing the 410 shows at Selinsgrove in the middle of the summer,” he said. “I do hope everything works out for them. It just didn’t work out for us, but, you do know where my heart is.”

Donnie Schick, of Middleburg, a two-time late model track champion, is unsure of his plans for Saturday nights.

He is racing for car owner Ed Powell on Fridays at Racing for Heroes Raceway, formerly known as Clinton County Raceway.

Jeff Rine confirmed that he will not be running for his eighth straight late model title this year. He told The Daily Item that he posted his 2014 schedule on his web site last week, which includes races on Saturday nights at Port Royal and Hagerstown (Md.) Speedways.

The 2014 season runs from April 5 to Sept. 27 with the summer break on July 12.

The speedway celebrated its 52nd consecutive opening day on March 23 with the first of four 410 sprint car races. Blane Heimbach, of Selinsgrove, won the 25-lap feature.

The remaining 410 shows are May 25 (Ray Tilley Classic), July 6 (Speed Week Finale) and the 32nd annual Jim Nace Memorial National Open, which pays $12,000 to win on Sept. 13.

The track lost its opener on March 16 for the big block modifieds to weather and the event will not be made up.

Three 360 sprint car touring series will race at the speedway this year, including the United Racing Club, the Empire Super Sprints and the Patriot Sprints. The latter two are based in Central New York.

URC will not have a standalone race this year, rather, they will have six challenge races beginning April 19.

ESS is in for the first of its two dates on April 12 and the Patriot Sprints invade the track on June 14.

The 14th annual National Open for 360-358 sprint cars on Sept. 27 is paying $10,000 to win this year.

The late Kramer Williamson, who won the 1978 410 track title, will be honored on Aug. 9.

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series returns over Labor Day Weekend with a two-day show culminating in the $10,000 to win Late Model National Open on Aug. 31.

The Three State Flyers Late Model Series visit the speedway for the first time on May 3.

The pro stocks 20 is May 31 while Fan Appreciation Night is set for July 19.

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