Latrobe Speedway Opening Night-Take ThreeeDJ Johnson
By DJ JOHNSON For The Bulletin
If the third time is a charm, then Latrobe Speedway should benefit from a favorable weather forecast on Saturday for Opening Night-Take Three.
Mother Nature wasn’t quite ready for stock car racing to begin at the Unity Township half-mile dirt track.
After two Saturdays of rain and cold temperatures, Fast Five Racing featuring the Crate Late Models, is headlining the card on opening night.
Also, on opening night will be the Joe’s Body Shop Pure Stocks, the Specialty Metals Modified 4 Cylinders, the Marilungo Disposal LLC Strictly Stock 4 Cylinders, and the IMCA RaceSaver 305 Sprint Cars of the Allegheny Sprint Tour and the Laurel Highlands Sprint Cars.
Opening night is critical for many drivers as it starts a new season. As the headlining division, the Crate Late Models are preparing for one of the biggest feature races for the division ever on June 3.
The Jesse Sterbutzel Memorial, a $10,000 to-win feature for the Crate Late Models, will surely attract drivers from several states.
“I am sure a $10,000-to-win race will attract some bigger teams. They’ll travel for that kind of money,” said former Crate Late Model Champion Troy Shields.
Shields believes for him, the 2023 season won’t be much different.
“It’s pretty much business as usual for us. A lot of those guys have raced five or six times this year at different tracks. We’ve been out one plus the practice.” Shields said.
“I would like to think that the ‘home field’ advantage would help, but in reality, good racers are good racers; they adapt very quickly,” Shields explained. “At the end of the day, the engines in the crate cars are pretty equal; some people just have better cars than others. All that matters is if you hit the right setup that night.
“My hat is off to the track for having a $10,000 to-win feature; it’s awesome to have a chance to win it,” Shields said. “Those opportunities don’t come along that often.”
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