By Brian Liskai
CAMARGO, IL. (4-24-11) – The new regionalization of the
O’Reilly Auto Parts All Star Circuit of Champions is already creating quite
the buzz in the sprint car world. And, with the All Stars set to invade
Pennsylvania Posse territory, it could get even more interesting.
The All Stars will travel to the famed Williams Grove Speedway in
Mechanicsburg, Pa. on Friday, April 29 and the tough Port Royal Speedway on
Saturday, April 30.
Currently, hall-of-fame driver Sammy Swindell leads the All Star’s Eastern
Region points following the February events in Florida where he picked up a
pair of wins. PA Posse member Daryn Pittman sits second in the points with
three-time All Star champion Dale Blaney in third, Pennsylvania native
Stevie Smith fourth and Connecticut hot shoe David Gravel in fifth. The
region points champion will earn $20,000 at the end of the season. Blaney
leads the series’ national point standings over two-time and defending All
Star champion Tim Shaffer from Aliquippa, Pa., with Gravel, two-time
series’ champ Greg Wilson and Swindell rounding out the top five. Following
his win in the Ohio region opener at Attica Raceway Park, Blaney leads
those points over Shaffer, Pittsburg, Pa. native Danny Holtgraver, and
Ohio’s Kyle Sauder and Kevin Lee.
So far in 2011 at “The Grove, Brian Leppo scored a victory on April 15 over
Steve Buckwalter, Danny Dietrich, Lance Dewease and Chad Layton. Stevie
Smith opened the season with a win on March 18 over Tyler Walker, Doug Esh,
Dewease and Cory Haas.
Last June’s All Star event at Williams Grove saw one of the closest
finishes in the storied history of the track as Stevie Smith edged his
brother-in-law Brian Leppo by .002 seconds for his 16th career victory with
the series. In April of 2010, Dewease would take the All Star win at “The
Then throw in the likes of Todd Shaffer, Brian Montieth and Fred Rahmer and
you have a recipe for exciting racing.
Fans will see a “blast from the past” when they venture to Port Royal
Speedway for the Bob Weikert Memorial on April 30.
As part of a conjoined effort between Weikert’s Livestock, the Weikert
family and current car owner Jesse Keen, fans will get to see the legendary
Weikert’s Livestock #29 circle the track just one more time.
“When Todd Weikert called and asked me to prepare and race a sprint car to
look just like the Weikert’s Livestock No. 29, I said ‘yes’ without any
hesitation,” said Keen. “I hope we can be as fast as Bob Weikert’s cars.”
Keen’s customary #17 driven by Tyler Walker will carry the Weikert colors
and number for the event as a way of paying homage to the always powerful
and proud car owner Bob Weikert and his iconic #29 red, white and blue
“Bob Weikert loved racing and fielded the most competitive sprint cars and
drivers in the United States for over 40 years and I was very fortunate to
race against Bob’s cars in the 1970s and ‘80s,” Keen recalls. “Bob Weikert
was ‘Mr. Beef’ and ‘Mr. Sprint Car’ and in the winner’s circle he let us
all know it! He was great for the sport.”
Keen’s Weikert car will be schemed after perhaps one of the most
identifiable versions of the machine through the years – that of the
historic seasons when hall-of-fame driver Doug Wolfgang dominated sprint
car racing across the nation in the mid-1980s aboard the terrorizing
And, the Bob Weikert Memorial carries some pretty good cash as well as it
could turn into an $8,500 payday for one lucky driver.
The 30-lap race will not only pay $5,000 to win, but thanks to Weikert’s
Livestock and a conglomeration of nationwide sponsors, each of the first 29
circuits will be worth $100 to whoever leads them. And, on top of that,
Weikert’s and their family of supporters has posted another $500 for the
leader of the most important and final lap. That means at the very least,
the winner is guaranteed $5,500 for 30-laps of work. But, if he or she can
manage to lead more than the final lap, there’s up to an additional $2,900
up for grabs.
So far at Port Royal, there have been three races and three different
winners. Blane Heimbach won his first career victory at the track to open
the 2011 season on March 19 over Stevie Smith, Mark Smith, Walker and
Dewease. Ryan Taylor picked up his second career victory at the track on
April 2 over Mark Smith, Dewease, Rick Lafferty and Buckwalter. On April 9,
Buckwalter scored his first career Port Royal win over Taylor, Mike Erdley,
Lafferty and Lynton Jeffrey.
The 2010 Weikert Memorial was lost to weather. In 2009, Stevie Smith
captured the All Star win.
Gates for the Weikert Memorial will open at 5 p.m. with Kistler Engines
Qualifying at 7 p.m. Adult general admission will be $20 with students ages
12-17 admitted for just $10 and kids under 12 are free.
For more information visit www.allstarsprint.com; www.portroyalspeedway.com