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Rainout Spoils Dave Blaney’s Chance For 2-In-A-Row At Sharon Speedway




HARTFORD, OHIO (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Hometown favorite Dave Blaney will not get a chance to make it 2-in-a-row tonight at Sharon Speedway.

Blaney was set to jump in the #10 HBR Big Block Modified sponsored by Mohawk Northeast and the Ryan Blaney Foundation for tonight’s Super DIRTcar Series Modified 100-lap race this evening at the track co-owned by his family.

Mother Nature had a different plan however as rain showers hit Sharon Speedway around 2 p.m., cancelling the series only appearance at the track.  The RUSH Sprint Cars were also part of tonight’s events.  This is the eighth rain-out of the season, including five of the six special events.  Tickets purchased in advance will be refunded to the credit card that was used to purchase them.

Blaney was going for 2-in-a-row after winning the 410 Sprint Car Menards Series race Saturday night.

Blaney started the $3,000-to-win race in eighth place and didn’t waste any time moving into the top five.

Blaney batted with Dan Shetler and Chad Kemenah for the lead in an epic 15-lap battle between the trio before Blaney pulled away for the win, much to the delight of the crowd in the grandstands.

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“I hope all you fans enjoyed that,” Blaney said after the race in Victory Lane.  “That was awesome!  What a fun, fun race track.  I love it.  The track was slow, but it’s so racey.”

The victory was not easy as Blaney battled heavy lap traffic after clearing Shetler and Kemenah.

“When you get in lapped traffic that just throws everyone’s rhythm off and you have to do something different,” said Blaney.

The victory was a little bit of vindication for the “Buckeye Bullet” after a disappointing run in the “Lou Blaney Memorial”, which was won by his brother Dale.

“We came here a week before the Lou Blaney race and ran well and then had a totally horrible night,” said Blaney.  “I felt bad to have a bad night on Dad’s night, but it’s always fun to come back and win.”

Blaney will try to jump into the #10 HBR Big Block Modified Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway.

Sharon Speedway will be back in action Saturday night for another Menards “Super Series” show on Thompson Fab Night.  The 410 Sprints, RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, The Stock Cars and Econo Mods will also be in action plus the rescheduled Stock Car mechanics race.  Race time is 7 p.m.

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Local Racing

Pennsylvania Racing Economic Impact Surveys Released



PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania (MCP) is sending out economic impact surveys to Pennsylvania race tracks, teams and racing related entities.

The data collected from the surveys will be compiled by Washington & Jefferson College professors Rob & Leslie Dunn, who along with the MCP, will produce a study on the range and economic impact of the racing industry in the Keystone State.

The economic impact study will be a valuable tool for race tracks, teams and marketing professionals in their efforts to attract partners, sponsors and other assets that may be available throughout the State.

Race teams are needed to take part in the survey!  Here is link to the team survey:

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Fans are also asked to help the MCP in the efforts.  Here is a link to the fan survey so take a few minutes of your time to support race tracks and teams in this endeavor:

Marketing and media professionals have a survey that the MCP is asking them to complete.  Here is a link to that survey:

Race tracks are also participating in the survey, if a track has not received a survey directly from the MCP, here is a link to that survey:

The Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania hopes to have the Economic Impact Study completed by the start of the 2021 racing season.

Editors Note: Robert Johnson of the Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania will be one of the guests on the next episode of The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast.

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Local Racing

Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek Is Coming Back



SHIPPENVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Five local dirt tracks are teaming up to bring back Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek for the 2021 season.

Michael’s Mercer Raceway (Mercer, PA), Thunder Mountain Speedway (Brookville, PA), Lernerville Speedway (Sarver, PA), Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) and Tri City Raceway Park (Franklin, PA) are the five tracks where the owners and promoters have aligned to bring back the event for the 410 Sprint Cars.

“The ‘410 Sprint Car’ division in the local area has been through many ups-and-downs over the last two decades, but there’s no doubt it’s as strong now as it ever was”, said Dave Willoughby, Sharon Speedway’s General Manager. “You see our guys competing for spots up front everywhere they go, and that even includes out at some of the tougher Central PA tracks.”

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Additional details will be released in the near future regarding the established point fund and other race night details.

Here’s the full schedule:

  • Wednesday, June 2nd – Michael’s Mercer Raceway
  • Thursday, June 3rd – Thunder Mountain Speedway
  • Friday, June 4th – Lernerville Speedway
  • Saturday, June 5th – Sharon Speedway
  • Sunday, June 6th – Tri City Raceway Park

Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek was previously run from 1993-2000 by the All-Star Circuit of Champions.

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Indy Autonomous Challenge Race Car Unveiled



Indy Autonomous Challenge/Indianapolis Motor Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The world’s first high-speed, head-to-head autonomous race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will feature Dallaras as the race cars.

Energy Systems Network (ESN) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) this week unveiled the official race car that will be autonomously driven by scores of university teams in the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) at the Racing Capital of the World on Oct. 23, 2021.

Dallara has been the sole racecar supplier of the Indy Lights series since 2002, and now the modified Dallara IL-15 is the official IAC racecar.

“Dallara is the best racecar engineering company in the world, yet designing the chassis for autonomous racing was really challenging,” explained Stefano dePonti, CEO and general manager of Dallara USA. “Dallara loves innovation and technological challenges, and we share the IAC’s passion for education and motorsports.”

“The Dallara-built IAC racecar is the most advanced, fastest autonomous vehicle ever developed,” stated Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of ESN, and co-organizer of the IAC. “Our IAC sponsors are providing radar, lidar, optical cameras and advanced computers, bringing the value of each vehicle to $1 million.”

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One of the teams competing in the challenge is the Panther AV RAS-ing team from the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.

Panther AV RAS-ing is part of more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students, PhDs and mentors who excel in artificial intelligence software that have responded to the challenge.  The challengers represent 39 universities in 11 countries on four continents and 14 U.S. states.

The IAC is scheduled for October 23, 2021, at the IMS, with a qualifying simulation race during the Indy 500 week in May. The total IAC prize purse is $1.5 million: $1 million awarded to the winning team of the October IAC race, and an additional $500,000 for winners of the hackathons and simulation races.

“The IAC is going to bring the best minds from around the world to solve a very complex problem, right here at the Racing Capital of the World,” said IMS President J. Douglas Boles. “As the birthplace of motorsports’ innovation, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a fitting setting for this event, and we can’t wait to see the winning entry cross the Yard of Bricks into history.”

Two companies headquartered in Western Pennsylvania are sponsors of the event.  Ansys, a global leader in engineering simulation that is headquartered in Canonsburg, and Aptiv, an autonomous vehicle company who is relocating from O’Hara Township to Hazelwood Green.

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