The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

April 17, 2014

Shawn Wood's Inside Track: Where are all the fans?

Last Saturday night at Selinsgrove Speedway, track promoter Charlie Paige was back at his old job as head flagman of the track as he was filling in for regular starter Randy Kline.

I'm not sure what was going through Charlie's mind from his vantage point, but I think he had to be asking himself the same question I was: Where was everybody?

After a very harsh winter, temperatures in the 70s and sunny skies for the first regular show of the year should have yielded a packed house.

It didn't.

With weather so beautiful, why then did we see empty seats not only in the first-turn, but also in the main grandstand?

That's the first question that had long-time track observers scratching their heads.

Then there was the car count.

Charlie and I spoke at length about car counts during our annual meeting for his interview for the paper's motorsports publication.

He pointed out that in some parts of the country, 15 sprint cars is a full field. There are some places where that happens, but on the whole, over the past few years, car counts are slowly rising.

Last week's Empire Super Sprints challenge race, which helped usher in the new 360 sprint car era at the track, drew just 26 cars for a $3,000-to-in show.

There were seven cars from ESS (one less than last year), one from the Patriot Sprint Tour, some drivers who will follow the United Racing Company tour and others who will split time between the 360 and 410 scene.

Unofficially, that leaves the speedway with a starting base of 15 sprint cars for a weekly show.

Charlie went on to say that he thinks we here in Central Pennsylvania are spoiled with big car counts.

It was not all that long ago when Selinsgrove, Port Royal and Lincoln speedways all ran the 410s on Saturday nights.

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