The frigid temperatures have graced the Commonwealth, including a fresh coat of snow in certain parts. Nevertheless, numerous plans are in the works for the upcoming months and into 2017 at Pennsylvania short track facilities.
TQ’s Head to PA for New Year’s Eve Bash
There is still one more event remaining in the Northeast before the 2016 racing season comes to a close. The Indoor Auto Racing Championship’s next stop will be at the PPL Center for the second of three gatherings in their 2016-2017 campaign. This will mark the second year the TQ Midgets, Slingshots, and Champ Karts come to Allentown, Pennsylvania, this season with festivities being held Friday, December 30 and Saturday December 31.
Erick Rudolph hopes to ring in the New Year with a successful defense of his victory from last season. The 2016 Indoor Series champion also took home the checkers in this season’s initial indoor event in Trenton, New Jersey a few weeks back. The Ransomville, New York driver will have to contend with frequent contenders Jimmy Blewett, Ryan Flores, Andy Jankowiak, and Anthony Sesely, as well as local favorites Zane Zeiner and Earl Paules.
The format will include time trials, heat races, and a 40-lap A-Main on each night of competition.
Touring Series Events and More Planned at Jennerstown for 2017
Jennerstown Speedway will be entering its fourth season back open for business and third under the current management group. The Laurel Highlands area paved half-mile in the western part of the state continues to step up their schedule each year, with a couple signature events planned for 2017.
The schedule, recently released on their web site, features the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series on Saturday, June 17. This will mark the first time the Tour-Type Modifieds have raced on this track since 2006 when the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour visited. Ted Christopher won on that day.
For the second straight season, the International Supermodified Association will compete in a mid-summer show on Saturday, July 15. Mike Lichty won the 2016 running in the lightning fast machines.
The Super Cup Stock Car Series returns for two dates on Saturday, July 8 and Saturday, August 26. The touring series which utilizes former Pro Cup and ARCA steel-bodied stock cars will feature a Twin 50-lap race format on each night that has become popular among fans.
Throughout the regular season the track showcases its five weekly divisions, which has seen some enhancements over recent months. In October, it was released that Jennerstown will be the flagship speedway for the RUSH Asphalt Racing Series sanctioning body. This is a new venture for RUSH, which has unified and invigorated Crate Late Models, Sportsman Modifieds, and Pro Stocks divisions across the dirt racing spectrum throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Canada.
Local Late Model, Modified, and Street Stock teams have been involved in meetings over the off-season to learn about the engine verification process that will bring further integrity and long-term affordability to the weekly racing realm. RUSH officials will be responsible for supporting and assisting track technical personnel in enforcing and upholding the rules and motor rebuilding process.
Evergreen Triple Crown Series to Get Area Racers Through Winter Months
Evergreen Raceway has announced a three-race points series for their Enduro divisions. The events will be held January 7, February 11 and March 18 regardless of rain, snow, sleet, or shine, and will provide racers and fans alike something to hold them over before the regular season begins in the spring.
Numerous supporters are driving up the purse for the 4-cylinder and 6/8-cylinder divisions, including a payout for top-five points finishers at the conclusion of the third Enduro.
The 1/3-mile reopened at the beginning of 2016 with massive turnouts in their initial Enduro events, and participation is expected to be abundant once more for 2017.
Motorsports 2017 Show to Feature a Little Bit of Everything
The 32nd Annual Motorsports Racecar and Trade Show returns to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania Friday, January 20 through Sunday, January 22. Every year the long-running show promoted by Len Sammons Productions and Area Auto Racing News features something for every motorsports enthusiast as well as an opportunity for racers in the region to network and purchase equipment for the new racing season.
Numerous cars will be on display at booths from all aspects of the industry, from Dirt and Asphalt Modifieds to NASCAR stock cars. The headliner for this year’s event will be the return of “The King” Richard Petty for the first time at the show in 30 years. The legendary NASCAR competitor will be interviewed in front of fans and participate in an autograph session.
Calendars Throughout the Keystone State Begin to Fill Up
The racing season up this way may not be in full swing for a few more months, but fans and competitors are already making plans to where they would like to be when the temperatures begin to warm up.
Several dirt touring series have already announced their 2017 schedules, and a number of Pennsylvania tracks are on the slate.
The Lucas Oil Dirt Late Models are first with a show on April 23 at Port Royal Speedway in the central part of the state. The All Star Sprints will have a prevalent role in late April and early May with events at Williams Grove Speedway, Port Royal, Bedford Speedway, Lernerville Speedway, and Mercer Speedway.
The World of Outlaws Sprint regulars will have to face the “Pennsylvania Posse” on a number of occasions again in 2017, beginning with races at Lincoln Speedway and William Grove in May. Williams Grove will also be the site of USAC National Sprints and USAC Silver Crown cars on Thursday, June 15 and Friday, June 16. The USAC National Sprints will also make visits to Port Royal and Susquehanna Speedway.
The World of Outlaws Late Models come to the west side of the state in late June with events at McKean County Raceway and Lernerville’s multi-day Firecracker 100 annual event.
Last but not least, the Short Track Super Series released their 2017 schedule, which includes appearances at Big Diamond Speedway for the Anthracite Assault and York County Nationals at Susquehanna Speedway for the Big-Block Dirt Modifieds.
EMPA Convention to Honor 2016’s Best and More
The Eastern Motorsports Press Association (EMPA) will hold its annual convention January 6-8 at Crowne Plaza in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Highlighting the weekend will be the induction of six individuals into the EMPA Hall of Fame. The group will include dirt track legend Kenny Brightbill, racer, crew chief, team owner and broadcaster Ray Evernham, longtime NASCAR photographers Howie and Mary Hodge, five-time NASCAR Modified champion Tony Hirschman and the late Sprint Car start Kramer Williamson. Dirt Modified ace Matt Sheppard will also be honored as the 2016 Richie Evans Memorial Northeast Driver of the Year. Many other awards will be handed out to racers, broadcasters and journalists for their efforts in 2016.
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Central NY & PA Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed
-Photo credit: Jim Feeney/ISMA