By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE -- Let's try this again.
A year after a thunderstorm hit Selinsgrove Speedway -- wiping out what was to be the first-ever World of Outlaws Late Model Series visit to the track-- the series returns this weekend to sanction the 15th annual Late Model National Open with a two-day show.
The weekend kicks off with a 40-lap feature for the touring series on Saturday night paying $8,000 to win. The pro stocks will be on the racing card on Saturday.
On Sunday, the 50-lap Late Model National Open pays $10,000 to win. The limited late models (steel blocks) will join the card on Sunday.
Time trials, heats and a B-Main will set the field for both nights for the Outlaws.
The speedway switches to a 7 p.m. start time this weekend as the gates open both days at 4.
Rick Eckert of York, who began his late model racing career at the speedway in 1985, won the National Open in 2011 and the Fall Classic last year to raise his career late model win total at the track to six.
Eckert finished sixth in the points in 1985 and was third in the points in 1988.
Heading into Labor Day Weekend -- which begins for the Outlaws tonight in West Virginia -- Eckert is fourth in the WoO LMS points, 174 behind points leader and two-time series champion Josh Richards.
"Its been and up-and-down season and there's not been to many ups lately, we're struggling," Eckert said. "We been to some tracks that have been rough on our race car. We've struggled on short tracks, but we are better on big tracks."
The one constant that Eckert noted about Selinsgrove is how fast the track is.
"It doesn't slow down any," he said. "It's a high speed track which makes it interesting. I tend to do decent on bigger tracks as I've raced a lot around here. We're really looking forward to the weekend."