Friday, July 4 - Well just as we feared Friday night’s racing at Williams Grove succumbed to the weather. A persistant light rain starting in the early afternoon forced the Grove management to throw in the towel as the weather forecast did not look any better for the rest of the day or night. So we enjoyed an evening meal at Jo Jo’s Pizza in Mechanicsburg and returned to our digs for the evening, the beautiful Victorian mansion named the Ashcombe mansion. We spent the evening watching the remainder of the Nationwide race from Daytona, reading and plotting where we were going to chase racing the next day. Today’s forecast had been a 50% chance of scattered thunderstorms and tomorrow the forecast was the same for Port Royal. I made the decision to head north into New York where the weather was clear. The choice was between Canandaigua and Woodhull. The deciding factor came when I couldn’t find a hotel in New York for cheaper than $108 plus tax so I booked one in Williamsport, PA, the home of the Little League World Series, at a 3 star Holiday Inn for $64 plus tax. So it was Woodhull, a track that neither of us had been to in quite a few years.
Saturday, July 5 - We arrived early at 5 PM for the 6:30 start at Woodhull and noticed some changes since the last time we had been there. The area between the grandstand and the front gate looked as if it had been spuced up and the addition of VIP boxes the entire length of the homestretch at the top of the grandstands was something different from our last visit here. For those of you who might not be familiar with Woodhull it is located along the southern border of New York and Pennsylvania along Route 417. It is in a rural area with some small towns along the way and as I once saw on a Woodhull t-shirt it is indeed “racing in the boonies". It’s a fun track and good entertainment for the people in the area and even thought the gasoline prices are around $4.17 in this area it did not deter the cars or fans from turning out. A total of 154 race cars in six divisions with the breakdown as follows: 28 358 modifieds, 29 crate sportsmen, 23 360 late models, 22 street stocks, 25 mini stocks and 27 front wheel drive cars. The track itself is a high banked 1/3 mile dirt oval with fencing on the homestretch and turns one and two only. The backstretch has a steep dropoff to the fields beyond. The pits are located outside of turns one and two so the infield is clear for viewing. They also have a lap counter in turn one. The food is good and inexpensive and lots of it was sold during the evening. As you enter you are at the top of the wooden grandstand with the track located below you.
Racing got underway at 6:40 with the first of two makeup features from the previous week’s rain shortened program. The mini stock ran 20 competitive laps with Ted Morseman Jr. winning his fourth of the year. They were followed by a 20 lap feature race for the front wheel drive cars and Ron Dailey Jr. won this entertaining race. To management’s credit with six divisions (which I feel is too many for a night of racing) they keep the show moving with the next division lined up and ready to go as the previous one exits the speedway. The regular program was ready to go and the 358 modifieds were first up with their three heats. The crate sportsman followed with three heats of their own and the 360 late models had the same number. Three heats for the street stocks were followed by the 358 modified consie before the mini stocks and front wheel drive cars ran their three heats with the crate sportsman consie in between. It was now 9:31 and a brief intermission was announced. Oh boy, I said I’ve heard that one before!! Well, guess what I was wrong as ten minutes later the 358 modifieds appeared the lineup for their 25 lap feature event.
The 358 modified feature was a good one with Curt VanPelt getting to the front first from his 11th starting position over his brother, Billy, who started way back in 17th. The only problem with the feature was the dust. Boy, was it bellowing and it was blowing straight toward us in the grandstand. Everyone was covered with the brown surface but for the most part it shook off. Anyhow Curt won over Billy with 12th place starter, Steve Hartman Jr., claiming third. Frank Dunning started and finished fourth with Greg Galligan rounding out the top five after dropping back from the third starting spot. This checker waved at 10:02. Next up were the crate sportsman for their 20 lap feature event with was a decent one also. Art Goodier steered his pretty yellow #1G to victory over Larry Keegan with Bill VanEtten third, Tony Hooker fourth and Casey Pavlick fifth with some good passing going on throughout the field. It was now 10:28 and with us having close to an hour and a half drive back to Williamsport we decided to call it an evening.
It was a good night of racing though quite dusty. By the way the PA sprint week race at Port Royal did get in the books with young Cody Darrah winning as the feature ended about the same time as the 358 modified feature as our friend, Beez, called on the cell phone. Hopefully the next blog will be from the Selinsgrove Speedway where the final night of PA sprint week will be contested with Fred Rahmer the point leader over Cody Darrah by a scant 38 points.