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Local Sports Scene

Stracka Back On Sideline As Dream Game Assistant
By Tom Robinson

Retired Susquehanna Community School District superintendent Bill Stracka resumed his football coaching career after a 34-year break last week when he began work as an assistant for the City Dream Game team that is being coached by the Sabers’ Dick Bagnall.

The City will play the County July 29 at Scranton Memorial Stadium in the 75th annual all-star game for graduating high school players.

Stracka was an assistant under Jack Henzes at Dunmore before moving to Susquehanna to take a job as principal of the district’s new elementary school. He is coaching in the Dream Game as a one-time assignment. The team is going through two weeks of preparation in Scranton.

“Throughout the entire time, Fridays and Saturdays in the fall have been football time - Fridays in Dunmore and Saturdays here in Susquehanna,” said Stracka, whose sons Steven and Michael were two-way linemen for the Sabers during their time at the school. “Once football is in your blood, it doesn’t go out. It stays.

“It’s there now.”

Stracka, a former end, played two years at Temple University, but he said the high school level is where he has always enjoyed football most.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Stracka said. “I think there’s a lot to learn for kids who are all accomplished players.

“It is going to be fun for kids who are used to power football to be introduced to Dick’s style of football.”

Stracka will coach the ends in preparation for the Dream Game.


Austin Jackson tripled and scored a run and Zachary Kroenke pitched a scoreless seventh inning to hold the lead as the two Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees helped the International League defeat the Pacific Coast League, 6-5, in the Triple-A All-Star Game before a crowd of 16,637 in Portland, Ore. Wednesday night.

Jackson, a center fielder, finished 1-for-3.

Kroenke allowed a hit and struck out two.

Shelley Duncan, the third Yankee in the game, played left field and went 0-for-3.

In the Eastern League All-Star Game, D.J. Wabick of the Binghamton Mets was one of the top Northern Division hitters during a 5-3 loss to the Southern Division.

Wabick went 2-for-4 with a double and a run batted in.

Mets pitcher Roy Merritt took the loss after allowing a run on two hits while striking out two in his only inning of work.


The Keystone State Games have been trimmed down, but they will go.

The games were scheduled to start Tuesday in York County and continue through Sunday.

Facing economic conditions which have halted the Empire State Games in New York and moving forward while no longer receiving a commitment of funds from the state government, the Keystone Games have used cutbacks to stay alive.

“We were not in the governor’s budget last year, then we got back in,” Keystone Games CEO Owen Costello said. “We don’t have a commitment for next year.

“In line with that, we’ve made a lot of cuts.”

Low-participation sports have been eliminated and some of the extras are gone.

“We don’t have the opening ceremonies or the athletes’ picnic,” Costello said. “We’ve found the last few years that kids are not that interested. The younger ones, yes, but with the scholastic-age athletes, once they are done competing, they have other things they want to do.”

Beach volleyball, disc golf, golf, sled hockey and lacrosse for females only are no longer being offered.

Other than that, Costello said the games will generally look the same on the field and be even stronger in the pool.

“Last year, we tweaked our swimming schedule and we got 191 entries, our best in nine years,” Costello said Thursday. “Right now, we are at 230 and growing.”

Costello said numbers will be down in some other sports.

“We’ll have to wait and see how we do with walk-ons,” he said.

The games are advertising that walk-on entries will be accepted at eight sports.

Bowlers entered in doubles can walk-on as doubles entries.

Weightlifting and powerlifting will take walk-ons Friday and Saturday.

Karate and wrestling will accept walk-ons for their competition Saturday. Fencing and volksmarch are the same for Saturday and Sunday. Judo and TaeKwonDo will include walk-ons Sunday.

TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at

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By Gerald Hodges

Kyle Busch Domination Continues

MADISON, Ill. - Capitalizing on Kevin Harvick’s attempt to stretch his gas mileage beyond the capacity of his fuel cell, Kyle Busch won his sixth Nationwide Series race of the season Saturday night and his first at Gateway International Raceway.

Kyle Busch, winner of Gateway Nationwide race

“It was a good, hard-fought race,” said Busch who has three wins and four runner-up finishes in his last seven Nationwide starts. “It was a real battle there with Kevin Harvick. He had a real good car tonight. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to race him there at the end. He ran out and had to come to pit road.”

In a 19-lap green-flag run to the finish, Busch held off Reed Sorenson to win the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at the 1.25-mile racetrack. The victory was Busch’s 27th in the series, tying him with Jeff Burton for fourth place on the career win list.

Busch extended his lead in the series standings to 212 points over third-place finisher Carl Edwards. Mike Bliss finished fourth, followed by Brad Coleman. Stephen Leicht, rookie Michael Annett, polesitter Brad Keselowski, Jason Keller and rookie Erik Darnell completed the top 10.

Harvick led the field to a restart on Lap 130 after the sixth caution of the race and maintained a six-to-eight car length lead over Busch until Harvick ran out of fuel on Lap 171, coasted into the pits and lost three laps as his crew struggled to restart the engine of the No. 33 Chevrolet.

Jason Leffler, running second at the time, pitted on Lap 175, moments before Kenny Wallace’s No. 28 Chevrolet started billowing smoke and dropped oil on the track, necessitating the seventh caution. The front-runners took the opportunity to stop for fuel and tires, with Busch winning the race off pit road.

Edwards lined up fifth after a four-tire stop but couldn’t make enough headway toward the front before the laps ran out.

Top-10 leaders after 19 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-3121, 2. Edwards-2909, 3. Keselowski-2744, 4. Leffler-2648, 5. Logano-2395, 6. Bliss-2289, 7. Allgaier-2270, 8. S. Wallace-2156, 9. Keller-2151, 10. Gaughan-2150.


SPARTA, Ky. - Ron Hornaday Jr. rallied in the final 24 laps Saturday for his third straight victory in the Camping World Truck Series, beating Mike Skinner by a truck length in the Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway.

“On Lap 45, if you had told me we’d win this race, I’d have told you, you were lying,” Hornaday said. “We brought the truck back to where we could run (Turns) 3 and 4 wide open. We definitely had to pass some trucks.”

Hornaday was sixth for the Lap 127 restart in the 150-lap race on the 1.5-mile track. Crew chief Rick Ren made chassis and air pressure adjustments to the tires on the final two stops to give Hornaday a faster truck.

Hornaday used his tremendous ability on restarts to jump up to third before another caution came out four laps later. On the ensuing restart, he passed rookie Tayler Malsam on the inside of Turn 2 and Aric Almirola on the inside in Turn 4 to take the lead with 18 laps remaining.

Skinner passed Randy Moss Motorsports teammate Malsam for third with nine laps left and inherited second when Todd Bodine had a mechanical problem under the last caution. Skinner closed on Hornaday going into the final two turns but wasn’t able to pass him on the outside.

“I kept my head on the restarts, and we took about a fifth-place truck and finished second,” Skinner said. “I really thought I could pass (Hornaday) on the outside on the final lap.”

Top-10 leaders after 12 of 25: 1. Hornaday-1903, 2. Crafton-1807, 3. Skinner-1749, 4. Bodine-1689, 5. Scott-1623, 6. Starr-1620, 7. Malsam-1547, 8. Cook-1533, 9. Setzer-1513, 10. Crawford-1509.


It appears Jerry Mayfield’s NASCAR racing career is over.

According to Associated Press reports, Mayfield has again tested positive for methamphetamine. The positive result from a July 6 random test was included in a U.S. District Court filing last week by NASCAR.

The filing includes an affidavit from Mayfield's stepmother, who claims she personally witnessed the driver using methamphetamine at least 30 times over seven years. NASCAR says in its filings that one of the samples had levels of methamphetamine consistent with habitual users who consume high doses.

Bobby Wooten,the general manager of Mayfield's race team says he has left the organization because he doesn't believe Mayfield Motorsports will return to the race track. Wooten says he was the last remaining employee.

The team was started this season, and Mayfield said in court documents he had to lay off 10 employees since NASCAR suspended him in May for failing a random drug test. A federal judge has lifted that suspension, but Mayfield did not bring his car or team to the track in the two races since he was reinstated. Wooten says he does not believe Mayfield has any interest in resurrecting the team.

Weekend Racing: Indianapolis will be the center of racing this weekend. The Nationwide cars and Camping World trucks will be at the .686-mile Indianapolis Raceway Park, while the Cup teams are at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Fri., July 24, Camping World Trucks ORP 200, race 13 of 25; Starting time: 7:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: Speed Channel.

Sat., July 25, Nationwide Kroger 200, race 20 of 35; Starting time: 7:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.

Sun., July 26, Sprint Cup Allstate 400, race 20 of 36; Starting time: 1 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN.

Racing Trivia Question: Who was the first woman driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500?

Last Week’s Question: Why is Indianapolis Motor Speedway often referred to as “The Brickyard?” Answer. In a span of 63 days, in late 1909, 3.2 million paving bricks, each weighing 9.5 pounds, were laid on top of crushed rock and tar to form the racing surface.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at:

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