2024 04 27 Port Royal Anthony Macri Aaron Bollinger Paul Arch Photo Dsc 9665 (482)a
Anthony Macri (39) tangles with Aaron Bollinger during winged sprint car competition at Pennsylvania’s Port Royal Speedway. (Paul Arch photo)

HOLLAND: Sprint Car Racing Is Plentiful In Central PA

DRUMS, Pa. – I continue to be amazed that winged 410 sprint car racing in central Pennsylvania starts earlier and ends later than anywhere else in the country.

By the end of April, area tracks had already hosted 17 shows with nine different feature winners. There were 29 shows scheduled, but 12 of those fell to bad weather. Many tracks around the country hadn’t run a single show yet and there were drivers in the Keystone State with multiple victories.

Some of the Pennsylvania drivers had started more features than the traveling teams, who are on the road spending money. Anthony Macri led the list with 23 shows before the end of April, racing with the World of Outlaws, High Limit Racing and at home in Pennsylvania.

Jacob Allen also had 23 shows in the books, including a weekend in Central PA. Danny Dietrich had participated in 22 shows, running in Florida and Pennsylvania.

Macri was the leading feature winner in the country as of the end of April, with one High Limit victory and six Central PA triumphs. He six wins in Pennsylvania came at four different tracks.

Macri was also the leading money winner with $102,000 banked by the end of April, including two weekends at home in which he collected more than $20,000 each.

Dietrich had won three features, all in Central PA, and had already earned more than $39,00. He was also the J&S Classics Central PA points leader with Macri in second.

Central PA had Friday through Sunday shows scheduled during each of the four April weekends. After one weekend without a Sunday race, the entire month of May into June has four more busy three-race weekends. Selinsgrove Speedway and BAPS Motor Speedway have filled a lot of Sunday dates this season.

With 114 races on the central Pennsylvania schedule this season, a team could possibly run around 80 or more considering weather and tracks competing on the same night. The question is whether that might be too many and whether the fans and teams can support that many. A few teams try to run every race and I’ve even see some fans at every race.

The fan turnout for these early spring shows hasn’t been spectacular, but the weather has also been cold and damp. Opening day at Lincoln Speedway saw an excellent crowd but many nights have been down.

The Central PA promoters take that risk, though, and put up the money for the drivers three nights a week. With shows paying $5,000, $6,000, $15,000 and $20,000 to win so far, and without a sanctioning body drawing outside cars, it creates good payouts for the local teams.

I know some people believe there should be fewer races and we should start later in the year, but that isn’t the tradition here. I do like that the tracks are canceling shows earlier when bad weather is forecast instead of taking the risk.

If the regular tracks start leaving a Friday or Saturday open in this region, it’s a good bet another local dirt track will be scheduling sprint cars on that night.

When Lincoln Speedway paid $20,000 to win a few weeks ago, the event attracted 32 entries. Port Royal Speedway had 27 cars for a regular show on the same night. If Port Royal would not have run 410 sprints that night, only one or two more cars would have gone to Lincoln. The same happens in reverse when Port Royal runs a higher paying show. There are a few teams, though, that go back and forth to the Saturday night track paying the most.

After two months and 17 features, there were only another 85 events scheduled through November for the winged 410 sprint cars in the Keystone State.


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