The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 22, 2011

Folk bowls a strike with All Star race

By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item

— PAXTONVILLE — There are few things in life you can count on.

One is that your mom will always be there for you and the other is dad has the final say.

It was the final word from Clifford Folk which opened the door for three-time Selinsgrove Raceway Park extra heavy go-kart champion Cameron Englehart of Mifflinburg to race as a rookie in the 270 micro sprint division this year.

Englehart, who is majoring in environmental resource management and carrying a double minor at the main campus at Penn State University, is seventh in the points standings. He'll be among the many drivers invading the fifth-mile dirt track on Sunday for the fifth annual Blaise Alexander Ford 270 Micro All Star Championship.

The 35-lap feature pays $1,500 to win, along with a top wing. The event is non-sanctioned and has an open tire rule.

With a purse of nearly $12,000, it's one of the highest-paying 270 micro sprint car events in the state. Time trials, heat races, a B-main and a dash will be the format to set the 24-car field. The rain date is Sunday, Oct. 9.

"It's a big-time payday," promoter Roger Folk said. "Over at Trail-Way, they are having their championship (Saturday) and that pays $1,000. Last Sunday at Penn Can Speedway in Susquehanna, they paid $700 to win."

And the event keeps growing.

"We have people that keep coming to us and wanting to get involved as sponsors, it's just amazing," he added. "Our goal last year was to reach 60 cars, we had 61," Folk said.

The first several years of the event, the car counts have been in the high 50s.

Folk has been assisted since day one by Angie Holberg, who has worked for a NASCAR tour company and continues to work with dirt track racers today.

"To have 60 drivers and to be able to bump up the back of the purse a little bit, it tells us were doing something right," Holberg said.

Mike Rutherford, Newmanstown, won last year's event and set a track record in qualifying with a lap of 11.165 seconds. Two SRP regulars have won the event, David Utt, Bloomsburg, the inaugural race winner in 2007, and current SRP micro points leader and three-time champion Todd Hoover of Mount Pleasant Mills in 2009. Richie Hartman of Shoemakersville won the race in 2009.

Folk is the pace truck driver on Saturday nights at Selinsgrove Speedway along with being the owner of A1 Advertising in Middleburg and the Midd-West High School bowling coach.

He started the event because he wanted to see what it was like to be a promoter. Now that he has a taste of it, he has a plan for the future.

"With the right people involved and the right kind of help, my plan is to turn this into a mini speedweek for 270s," he said.

Roger was a long-time crew member on Phil Walter's sprint car and he sponsors Hoover's micro sprint. His brother, Tim, was a crew member for Randy Plummer, the first-ever driver for the Middleswarth Potato Chips-sponsored sprint car.

"Dad (Clifford) at age 74 decided he wanted to own a micro," R. Folk said. "Last June we bought a car and when we got home, with my dad, my brother, Tim, and Cameron, I told them if we don't have money, we don't race. We went inside the house and dad said, 'We will race this year.'

The car is also owned by Clifford's wife, Marian.

Englehart competed against R. Folk as a member of the Mifflinburg High School bowling team.

"The year has gone pretty well," Englehart said. "We've had a lot of bad luck, but hopefully we'll finish out the year strong and look forward to next year. We have a lot of good chemistry and it's a good family atmosphere."

Englehart would like to forget last year's All Star event.

"At the start of the first heat race, someone get into another driver behind me and I had nowhere to go. I started flipping (and went) end-over-end five times," he said. "I ended up with a minor concussion, a torn meniscus, bumps, bruises and fluid on the knee. I was back racing two weeks later."

Tonight is the final points event of the 2011 season for the 270 micro sprints at SRP. The go-kart speed weekend takes place Oct. 2 and the final points race for the go-karts is Oct. 7.