DRUMS, Pa. – The weeklong Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals is over – congrats to winner Logan Seavey – and racing is well underway in Florida, highlighted by the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
That means the start of the new racing season in this part of the country is just around the corner.
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series and J&S Classics Central PA Sprint Car Series schedules will both see vastly different beginnings than in previous years, and they should prove to be quite busy.
The World of Outlaws has dropped its early season visit to the West Coast. The weather in California during March always messes with the schedule and typically results in multiple cancellations This year, after the World of Outlaws competitors left Volusia on Feb. 11, they have two weekends off before returning to Volusia’s half-mile track for a rare Sunday-Monday doubleheader during Bike Week on March 5-6.
The central Pennsylvania season starts for the first time with a two-day show at Lincoln Speedway on Feb. 25-26. Lincoln is back at it again on March 4, with Port Royal Speedway opening its schedule on Sunday afternoon, March 5.
Local teams could leave Volusia, run three shows at Lincoln Speedway and then head back down to Volusia for two more nights of World of Outlaws competition. Or they could stay home and run the Port Royal lid-lifter. A few teams may take the extra trip down to Volusia for the Bike Week double-dip.
Here’s where it gets more interesting. Three days after the second Volusia visit, the World of Outlaws sprint cars are at Port Royal Speedway for races on March 10-11. It will be a three-race weekend for many with Williams Grove Speedway holding its opening-day event on Sunday afternoon, March 12.
Five days later (March 17), the World of Outlaws visits Williams Grove Speedway, with a race the following night (March 18) at Lincoln Speedway. That makes for a very busy couple of weeks of racing early in the year. Some folks will be spending a lot of time traveling up and down I-95.
The World of Outlaws and Low-E Insulation are putting up a bonus to the top-three points earners during the three-weekend stretch from March 5-6 through March 18. They are offering $10,000 for first, $6,000 for second and $4,000 for third in points during that stretch. That could incentivize a few northern-based teams to make the extra journey to the Sunshine State.
One big question in all of this is the weather. March can still have winter hanging around in central Pennsylvania. We looked back the past few years and on most of the March weekends the shows were run. There is usually at least one weekend washed out but, hopefully, it won’t be the World of Outlaws weekends.
We guess getting rained out in central Pennsylvania is better than getting rained out in California with most of the teams’ shops closer to the East Coast. After two Pennsylvania weekends, the WoO teams head south to Alabama and Mississippi.
Central Pennsylvania goes back to business as usual with a four-race weekend on March 24-26 – Williams Grove Speedway on Friday, Lincoln Speedway and Port Royal Speedway on Saturday and BAPS Motor Speedway on Sunday.
That is a busy month of March to open the sprint car season in central Pennsylvania.
This story appeared in the Feb. 15, 2023 edition of the SPEED SPORT Insider.