By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
For the second year in a row, one of the marquee races in the Northeast won’t happen.
The Icebreaker 40, the season-opening event for the Race of Champions dirt modified series at the Selinsgrove Speedway, was called off last weekend due to unsafe track conditions.
The race won’t be rescheduled.
Selinsgrove Speedway promoter Charlie Paige told The Daily Item that he received a phone call from RoC director Andrew Harpell during the week informing him that a suitable date to reschedule the event was not possible.
“Safety is our No. 1 concern at Selinsgrove Speedway and Turn 2 and the backstretch were just not coming around to the point where it would be safe to race on,” Paige said. “I had hoped that we would have been able to reschedule the race, but according to Andy, it’s hard to find a date once the tracks in New York open.”
Harpell noted they had a contingency plan in place for this weekend to try to get the race in.
“We had a back-up plan in place that if New Egypt Speedway (N.J.) could not run this weekend — due to the mid-week snow they received last week — then we would have potentially used this weekend to race at Selinsgrove,” he said. “As of Sunday, New Egypt was confident that they were going to get the race in on Saturday.”
The race at New Egypt has been the second race of the RoC season for the past several years and that race is followed by the RoC event at the Bridgeport Speedway (N.J.) the following Saturday.
“Once we get past New Egypt and Bridgeport, then you are looking at tracks getting into weekly racing and mid-week shows,” Harpell added.
This is the second straight year the race has been lost due to weather-related issues.
Last year’s race was snowed out, marking the first time since its inception in 2008 that the Saturday race was not held.
“I can’t thank Charlie and his crew enough for the effort they made in trying to get the race in,” Harpell said. “They gave it one heck of a college try to get the track ready in time. We’ve been fortunate with the weather over the past six years of the event. We’ll have to start a new streak next year.”
The last time the big blocks ran at Selinsgrove was 2012 with Billy Pauch Sr., of Frenchtown, N.J., getting the win. Pauch Sr. is a seven-time 410 sprint car winner at the track.
This year’s race was to have marked the debut of the RoC sportsman modified series at the speedway.
Selinsgrove Speedway opens its racing season today at 2 p.m. with the first of four appearances by the 410 sprint cars.