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Norm Benning Hopes To Make History Again In NASCAR Truck Race At Eldora Speedway

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Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

ROSSBURG, OHIO (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Level Green’s Norm Benning is hoping to make history again tonight as the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series makes its annual visit to Eldora Speedway for the Eldora Dirt Derby Thursday night.

Benning, an independent, old-school driver, made Truck Series and NASCAR history by his sheer determination to get into the main event during the finish of the inaugural last chance race in 2013.

While Benning was conducting his post-race television interview, crews from other teams rushed to Benning’s truck to begin making repairs to his damaged truck.

“Norm, you just made this show a success,” Eldora Speedway owner Tony Stewart said at the time.

Stewart purchased Benning’s truck from that race and put it on display at Eldora.

“It was important to me just because of the history of the event,” Stewart told The Sporting News.  “I don’t know that everybody remembers who won the race as much as everybody remember Norm Benning’s last couple laps just to get in the race in the last chance race.”

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Eldora is the only non-paved venue that one of the NASCAR national series visits.  The half-mile dirt track also is the only race that sets the field through five qualifying races and the last chance qualifying race that Benning helped make historic.

Benning is one of thirty-two drivers are entered into Thursday night’s race along with defending race-winner Chase Briscoe, who was only in the race as a one-off for his ThorSport Racing Team.  Briscoe edged out teammate Grant Enfinger in a door-to-door battle to the finish.

Enfinger is looking for a win in 2019 along with Truck Series regulars Matt Crafton and Stewart Friesen.  A win would lock one of those drivers into the NASCAR playoffs.

Friesen finished third last year and sat on the pole position at Eldora in 2017.  Friesen sits 13-points ahead of Harrison Burton, who sits in ninth place in the points standings, one spot outside the final qualifying spot for the playoffs.

Burton’s Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Todd Gilliland sits 85-points behind the final spot held by Friesen so his only hope to get in with two races left before the playoffs.

Spectator gates open at Noon with Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified practice at 6:30 followed at 7 p.m. by the NASCAR Heat races.  The Super DIRTcar Big Block feature starts at 7:55 p.m. with the NASCAR Last Chance Race beginning at 8:15 p.m. followed by driver introductions at 8:40 p.m. and race at 9:00 p.m.

The race will be televised by FS1 beginning at 8:30 p.m. and can be heard on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

IndyCar

Chip Ganassi Racing unveils Alex Palou’s No. 10 DHL Honda

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Photo: Chip Ganassi Racing

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing unveiled the livery for two-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Alex Palou’s DHL Honda on Tuesday.  DHL signed on as the primary sponsor this off-season in a multi-year partnership with the team.

The No. 10 car will carry the familiar yellow of DHL’s branding but adds a splash of red that has been synonymous with the Ganassi team for decades.

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“As everybody can see, this is quite the amazing livery,” said Palou. “The No. 10 DHL Honda looks very aggressive, and it will certainly stand out on the track, which is great. I can’t wait to start the season with a run in this livery at Sebring before we kick things off in St. Pete. It’s looking like the perfect livery to try to defend our title in 2024 and I cannot wait to deliver on-track here soon.”

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding takes place March 8-10 on the streets of St. Pete.

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Dirt Racing

Jean Lynch Classic Coming to Lernerville Speedway

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(February 6th, 2024) – Western PA Speedweek and Lernerville Speedway are introducing ‘The Jean Lynch Classic presented by Rustler Sales & Service’ as the cornerstone event of the 2024 Western PA Speedweek. The $4,000 to win, $350 to start event on Friday, May 31st will mark the highest paying Speedweek race since the 2021 reincarnation.

“My family and I can’t thank Tyler Beichner, Lernerville Speedway, and everyone involved with Western PA Speedweek enough for putting this together to honor my grandmother Jean Lynch,” said racer Sye Lynch, Jean’s grandson, in a Facebook post. “Her accomplishments and legacy in the racing world should never be forgotten.  My team and I are working to make this night even more special and memorable for everyone. That’s how “Mrs. Jean” as many called her, would want it.”

Jean Lynch was a pioneer for women in racing with ties to tracks and organizations such as NASCAR, CART, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500, the All Star Circuit of Champions and Ohio Sprint Speedweek, and much more. However, her love for racing never left the local racing scene as she could be found managing, promoting, and renting out tracks all across the northeast. The pinnacle of Jean’s lifelong love for racing came in 2013 when she was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. Lynch is also a member of the Lernerville Speedway Hall of Fame, Pittsburgh Circle Track Hall of Fame, Tri-City Speedway Hall of Fame and DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame.

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Lynch passed away last year on June 30, 2023.

Rustler Sales and Service is teaming up with Western PA Speedweek to be presenting sponsor of the Jean Lynch Classic. Owned and operated by former racer Brian Steinman, Rustler Sales and Service specializes in heavy truck sales, service and towing across northwestern Pennsylvania. Call (814) 214-7023 or visit rustlersalesandservice.net to find out how Rustler’s can best serve you.

JEAN LYNCH CLASSIC PAYOFF:

  1. $4,000;
  2. $2,000;
  3. $1,500;
  4. $1,000;
  5. $800;
  6. $700;
  7. $600;
  8. $550;
  9. $500;
  10. $450;
  11. $425;
  12. $400;
  13. $375;
  14. $375;
  15. $375;

16-24: $

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Local Racing

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Names MINI 2024 Marque Of The Year

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PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – MINI, the iconic British brand, is the 2024 ‘Marque Of The Year’ for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.  2024 marks the third time for the brand to receive the honor, which also occurred in 2004 and 2014.

“Excitement is in the air as MINI and MINI of Pittsburgh takes the spotlight as ‘Marque of the Year’, said Morgan McLane, Motoring Advisor at MINI of Pittsburgh.  “Join us as we revitalize the spirit of motoring, embrace the elegance of the past, and set the stage for a future filled with MINI adventures.”

MINIS will be everywhere this summer in Pittsburgh including on-track both weekends and at all of the PVGP car shows throughout race week, July 26 through August 4.

“This honor is a testament to our commitment to excellence and we can’t wait to share this thrilling ride with the entire Pittsburgh community,” said Jason Karpa, Motoring Manager at MINI of Pittsburgh.

The Classic MINI debuted in 1959 as an inexpensive, 4-person “saloon” that didn’t use a lot of gas or take up a lot of space.

MINIS are no stranger to the race track.  In 1961 British racing legend John Cooper added some horsepower, bigger brakes, tuned the suspension a tweak and the Classic MINI Cooper 997 was born.

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John Cooper’s Classic MINI Cooper and Cooper S went on to dominate the 1960’s race scene, winning almost every international competition imaginable, including historic wins at Monte Carlo in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967.

2024 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Marque Of The Year Poster by Todd Cook.

MINIS will be on the track in 2024 as Mini of Pittsburgh and Vince Longo Jr. team up for the MINI Track Rides program for the 11th year.  Three race-equipped MINI Coopers are custom-wrapped and showcased on the track and at Grand Prix Race Week events.  Longo and his certified racers take riders around the track for an experience and view you can only get from inside a car.

Todd Cook created the 2024 PVGP Poster, which features Bruce Whipple racing his 1962 Austin MINI Cooper S that competes at Schenley Park and Pitt Race. Whipple, from Newton, New Jersey plans to change his race number to 42 signifying the 42nd running of the PVGP to match the poster.

Cook also created a second poster featuring a GT40 in honor of the GT40 60th Reunion the PVGP is hosting July 26-28.

For a complete schedule of events, visit PVGP.org.

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