We have made it through the holiday season and that only means one thing – the countdown is on until the 2012 racing season here in the Northeast.
Opening day at Lincoln Speedway is just six weeks away and scheduled for Saturday, February 25, weather permitting, of course. If Lincoln can get a day like this past Saturday, it will hit a home run for sure but we all know Mother Nature is just playing with us right now, and we will pay for this next month and probably in March as well.
Several area speedways have released their 2012 schedules, including Hagerstown Speedway, which boasts a 26 race date schedule, with the opener on Saturday, March 24.
The Lucas Oil Late Model series has two shows booked at the track in 2012, while the World of Outlaws Late Models make their return along with the Steel Block Bandits and the Three State Flyers. Also returning to Hagerstown’s schedule are the World of Outlaws Sprint series for the first time in several years. A big change on the schedule is the Octoberfest 350 is gone from the schedule and replaced with the Brawl in the Fall, which only features three divisions in scaledback feature events.
Port Royal Speedway will open on Saturday, March 17, with 410 and 358 Sprints and then the following Friday, March 23, Williams Grove Speedway will open with the same racing card for its opener.
Rick Eckert, 2011 WoO Late Model champion, has been named the 2011 Eastern Motorsports Press Association Richie Evans Memorial Northeast Driver of the Year and was honored this past weekend.
Port Royal and Selinsgrove Speedways have combined together for 2012 and will have a minimum weight rule for the Late Models at both tracks this season. The new weight rule states the car and driver must meet a minimum of 2,250 pounds and not exceed 2,800. Port Royal will also require all cars competing at the track this season to run mufflers in an effort to make good with surrounding neighbors.
Don Kreitz Jr. will be scaling back his 410 Sprint car racing this season and will have young Ryan Smith piloting the No. 69 Sprint car on Friday nights at Williams Grove in 2012. Smith is a big winner in the midgets and other classes and is excited for the opportunity. Kreitz will compete in around 10 shows in the area this season.
That’s a wrap for the first column of 2012, and we’d like to welcome Bill O’Brien as the next coach of Penn State football. I still don’t agree with how things were handled but that’s no fault of the new coach, and PSU fans need to embrace him as he begins his new job. I’m looking forward to the board of trustees being ousted by the alumni as the next step in the big mess. Until next time, e-mail reaches me at Bvores@comcast.net.