By Shawn Brouse
For The Daily Item
The season is almost over — time for a look back.
It was the season Goodyear tires became mandated for 410 sprints. In the end, many drivers faulted them, but some had praise and the outcome in general was better racing for the fans.
Greg Hodnett claimed the overall Central PA 410 sprint title while Pat Cannon clinched the title for 358s.
Chad Layton took the Port Royal title for 410s while Brian Montieth scored at Lincoln and Hodnett is headed for his first ever at Williams Grove. In 358s, Cannon copped Selinsgrove and Williams Grove. Teenager Logan Schuchart gave a glimpse of what’s to come and took Lincoln. Brad McClelland took Trail Way. Alan Cole is the champ at Clinton County.
The PA Posse continued its unprecedented win streak over the World of Outlaws at Williams Grove Speedway, running it to nine in a row until Sammy Swindell broke the nearly two-and-a-half-year run on Saturday by claiming the National Open.
Daryn Pittman and the Michael Heffner No. 27 team cemented themselves as one of the best in the 410 ranks, dominating many big races in the area and claiming more wins than any others. Lance Dewease, Greg Hodnett and Brian Montieth got to the top of the 2010 list too.
Rick Lafferty, Danny Dietrich, Chad Layton and Tyler Walker did well. Doug Esh got called up to be a winner with the World of Outlaws. Steve Buckwalter finally broke through. Fred Rahmer and Stevie Smith struggled. Mike Erdley proved racing less can make you better.
On the 358 side of things, Pat Cannon came out way on top, at 17 W’s and counting, showing it’s time to move up and proving it with impressive 410 runs at Selinsgrove. Colby Womer and Matt Heimbach finally broke through.
The sport lost 30-year car owners Gary and Patty Beam, who will be sorely missed. But they went out in style with the reincarnation of the Camel Express No. 26 for driver Todd Shaffer in the highly successful Jim Nace Memorial National Open at Selinsgrove.
Williams Grove, Lincoln and Selinsgrove turned in good seasons, while Port Royal saw what dawned as promising prospects end as more of the track’s unfortunate but usual struggles. Selinsgrove pulled off a promotional coup with the Nace Memorial Open format.
All the tracks had blockbuster weather for their marquee, season-ending events, which relayed into fan turnout.
And so, bring on 2011.
Will Shaffer keep racing? Will Cannon move up? Will the Posse stay as strong as it has been? Will ex-outlaw Pittman stick around? Where will Esh land? Can Layton and Walker get consistently fast?
How will Nicole Bower do in 410s at Port Royal? Is Brent Marks due for a breakout season? Can Cory Haas make it in full-time 410s? Does Keith Kauffman bring the Trone Special to Port every week? Will Justin Henderson stay in the area? Will TJ Stutts turn the Wise 358 into a weekly force?
— Shawn Brouse covers motorsports for The Daily Item. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.