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.”
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.
Miley, Shingledecker, Lynch, and Clark Dominate at Lernerville
(Sarver, PA June 11, 2021): Four drivers turned in dominant performances at Lernerville Speedway. Three of the winners were familiar names–Jared Miley (Late Models), Jeremiah Shingledecker (Pictured above – Big Block Modifieds), and Sye Lynch (410 Sprints). The fourth to reach victory lane was Justin Clark in the Allegheny Sprint Tour for 305 Sprint Cars.
“I found a nice lane on the restart and I thought I could get him,” Miley said of his mid-race move that relegated early leader Colton Flinner to the role of the first chaser. Once out front, Miley set sail. “When the track is wet, we’re really good. We’ve got to do some work on the slick,” he added when asked about what he needs to do to get ready for the Firecracker 100 coming soon to the Action Track.
Flinner lined up next to Tommy Beck for the first twenty-five leap feature of the night. Kelvin Kohan and Will Thomas were in the second row, with Levi Yetter and Ken Schaltenbrand in the third. Clay Ruffo and Tyler Gietz were in row four, with former champions Alex Ferree and Maily in the fifth row.
Flinner bolted out to an early lead, with Beck, Thomas, Kohan, and Schaltenbrand following. A couple of cautions slowed the pace in the early laps of the event. On the second restart, with seven laps complete, there was contact between Beck and Gary Lyle, who had worked his way to the front. Lyle got up into the fluff and lost several positions. Miley snuck past Beck during the incident, and he pursued Flinner.
Flinner continued to lead Miley through lap fifteen. Miley had several shots to overtake Flinner on restarst in this segment of the race, but he was unable to overtake the leader. The lap fifteen restart proved to be the turning point in the contest.
Miley led the rest of the way. Flinner raced along in second. Beck tussled with Schaltenbrand before losing the third position in the final laps of the race. Dietz crossed in fifth. Lyle rebounded to get the sixth spot. He was trailed by Yetter, Clayton Kennedy, Collin Burke, and Logan Zarin.
A pair of heats were held, with Flinner and Beck taking the checkers. There was no B Main.
Jeremiah Shingledecker used his second starting spot to launch into the lead at the drop of the green for the Big Block Modifieds. He had a huge advantage wiped out by a red flag on lap twenty when fourth place runner John Mollick tumbled in turn four.
That incident put Garrett Krummert on the outside for the restart, but he had nothing for Shingledecker on the restart. “It was a lot better before the caution came out,” Shingledecker noted. “Garrett’s been good all season,’ he added, “but the bite was really good in the middle and it was a little rough on the outside, so I thought that I would be OK.”
In the final five laps, the battle was for the third position. Brain Swartzlander held it until two laps remained. Rex King, Jr. grabbed the position with a strong move off turn two. Swartzlander held off Rex King, Sr. at the finish.
Rick Regalski, Steve Feder, Dave Murdick, Chas Wolbert and Colton Walters completed the top ten. Wolbert was making his fist start in a Big Block Modified this night.
King Jr. and Mollick prevailed in the preliminaries. There was no B Main.
Sye Lynch had the pole position for the 410 Sprint A Main. Next to him was A.J. Flick. The two drivers from Apollo, PA ran ahead of the other drivers, with Lynch building upon his lead. Flick seemed to have second sewn up, but he spun unexpectedly in turn four with twenty-one laps in the books.
Brandon Matus fired off second on the restart, but Lynch had no difficulty holding the point. George Hobaugh was third. David Kalb turned in an impressive run to get the fourth spot. Dan Kuriger was fifth. Flick charged back through the field to claim sixth. Ralph Spithaler, Bryan Salisbury, and Matt Sherlock completed the top ten.
“The track was really tricky,” Lynch observed. “When you start on the pole, you don’t know what the other guys are doing. It was a real shame what happened to A.J., he’s really tough here,” Lynch commented.
Darin Gallagher and Brandon Matus won their respective heats. Gallagher’s win was costly, as he lost his motor after taking the checkers. Gallagher was unable to start the A Main. Also unable to start the feature were Jack Sodeman, Jr., and Michael Bauer, both of whom tangled coming off turn four in the first heat race.
In teh nightcap of the 305 Sprint Cars of the Allegheny Sprint Tour, it was Justin Clark driving past Robbie Bartchy six laps into the race. Clark led the remaining fourteen laps without incident to earn the win.
Bartchy was second. Garrett Bard came on in the second half of the race to get third. Fourth went to Derek Hauck. Jacob Gomola was fifth. Rob Felix, Andy Cavanaugh, Jarrett Rosencrance, Logan McCandless, and Jeff Bacha rounded out the top ten.
McCandless and Felix were tops in the heats. There was no B Main.
Howard Hammers Tri-City Foes; Smith Clinches Speedweek Crown; Shingledecker, Ruth, Speer also Win
FRANKLIN, PA (June 6, 2021): Bradley Howard completed the Central PA domination of Western PA Sprint Speedweek. He logged a top ten and a top five in the two races won by Ryan Smith and then he closed out the rain-shortened mini series with a win of his own at Tri-City Raceway Park. Howard inherited the lead when track champion and current points leader Jack Sodeman, Jr. crashed in turn three while holding a commanding lead in the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprint feature.
Also taking checkered flags this night were Jeremiah Shingledecker in the Krill Recycling LLC 358 Modifieds, Gale Ruth, Jr. in the Gary Glass Automotive and Washington House RUSH Sprints, and Dalton Speer in the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks.
“This was bad ass, I wasn’t expecting the track to get that big of a lip,” Howard said. He credited the win to recent improvements in his engine program.
Sodeman had the pole position for the thirty lap Speedweek finale presented by Real Estate LLC 410 Sprint feature. Sye Lynch was on his flank. Matt Farnham and Howard had command of the second row, with Landon Myers and Brandon Spithaler in the third row. Lee Jacobs, the lone Ohio invader, was in the fourth row, with Darin Gallagher beside him. Cody Bova and Michael Bauer were in row five, and Ryan Smith and Carl Bowser, who finished one-two the night before, were in row six.
Lynch took the lead on the initial green, but a caution for Bova on the back chute called that back. This time, Sodeman was better prepared, and he took the lead heading into turn one. Lynch was second, followed by Howard, Spithaler, Farnham and Myers.
A caution five laps into the contest brought Sodeman and Lynch back to the other drivers. They had gotten away and they were waging a private battle for the lead.
On the restart, Spithaler sailed into third and he began to reel in Lynch. Sodeman was alone out front. He was almost collected in an incident in turn four. He managed to avoid major contact, but Lynch and Spithaler were not so fortunate. They tangled and then a slower car could not avoid them. Jeremy Hill went over in the melee but he was not hurt.
Without Lynch or Spithaler to contend with, Sodeman had the car on cruise control. However, on lap eighteen, he flipped hard in turn three. Sodeman reported afterwards that something broke and he could not steer his machine. Perhaps it was damage from the earlier skirmish that eliminated Lynch and Spithaler from contention. Matt Farnham was also eliminated in that wreck. Neither driver sustained injury.
That put Howard in command for the restart. He had Darin Gallagher breathing down his neck, with Jacobs, Bowser, and Smith lurking.
Howard withstood restarts following yet another red (for separate crashes by Chase Metheny and Kyle Colwell) and a caution.
Jacobs and Smith advanced in the interlude and they had an intense battle going for the second position.
At the finish, it was Howard, over Jacobs, Smith, Gallagher, and Myers. Bowser, Brandon Matus, Bob Felmlee, Lynch, and Spithaler rounded out the top ten.
Smith’s third was more than enough to clinch the series point championship.
The Donovan & Bauer Auto Group heat races for the 410 Sprint Speedweek were captured by Bradley Howard, Landon Myers, and Jack Sodeman, Jr. There was no B Main for the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprint Cars.
The evening’s fastest qualifier was A.J. Flick. He outpaced Group 2 with a lap of 15.764 seconds. His good fortune did not carry over to his heat race, however. Flick crashed hard in turn two of the opening lap and scratched for the night. He was not hurt in the ordeal. Quickest in Group 1 was Matt Farnham, at 15.778, and in Group 3, it was Lee Jacobs, who turned in a lap of 16.069.
In the Krill Recycling LLC 358 Modifieds, Lonnie Riggs moved up to the front row when Travis Shingledecker was a late scratch. Riggs was paired up with Sid Unverzagt, Jr. Behind them were Tom Holden and Kyle Fink. Jeremiah Shingledecker was matched with Eric Beggs.
Riggs bolted out to the lead, with Unverzagt, Shingledecker and Beggs in tow. Riggs held command until Shingledecker got under him entering turn one with eight complete.
From there, it was smooth sailing for Shingledecker, who picked up his second victory of the season. Riggs and Fink waged an intense battle for second, with Fink coming out on top. After Riggs came Jimmy Holden and Kevin Hoffman. Positions six through ten went to D.J. Schrader, Unverzagt, Curt Bish, Max Smoker, and Nathan McDowell.
The Donovan & Bauer Auto Group heat winners in the Krill Recycling LLC 358 Modifieds were Kyle Fink and Jeremiah Shingledecker.
There was B Main.
In the RUSH Sprint feature, presented by Gary Glass Automotive and Washington House, it was Gale Ruth, Jr. overcoming the disappointment of dropping out from the Shawgo real Estate LLC 410 Sprint Car Main.
Ruth dominated the non-wing RUSH Sprints to become the third generation of his family to stand in victory lane at Tri-City Raceway Park. Arnie Kent and Rod George put on an entertaining race for the second position, with Kent topping the four-time 410 Track Champion for second. Fourth and fifth went to John Mollick and Nolan Groves, respectively. A.J. McQuarrie, Blaze Myers, Brian Hartzell, Chad Ruhlman, and Steve Pedley completed the top ten.
John Mollick was named the hard charger for the race. Brad Church and Brian Cressley received bonus money for being the last two cars on the lead lap. These awards were presented by Tom Willis in honor of all cancer survivors. Mr. Willis’ generosity also resulted in an enhanced pay-out for the top five finishers in the feature.
The heat winners for the Gary Glass Automotive and Washington House RUSH Sprints were Gale Ruth, Jr. and Rod George. They took the honors for the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group heat races and they also received bonus money for their heat wins courtesy of Mr. Willis. There was no B Main.
In the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks, Dalton Speer rallied for his third feature win of the season. Chad Greeley, a consistent runner in his own right, was second. Andy Thompson was third. Brody McClintock, D.J.Macrae, Justin Bailey, Evan Sobieski, Patrick Lane, James Tasker, and Howard Garlick completed the top ten.
D.J. Macrae was the hard charger with eight passes in the feature event. He claimed a prize presented by Fisher and Father NAPA Auto Parts.
Justin Bailey and Dalton Speer won the pair of Donovan & Bauer Auto Group heat races in the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stock division. There was no B Main.
Next week, Tri-City Raceway Park will host a Sunday Thunder program, consisting of the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprints, Krill Recycling LLC 358 Modifieds, Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, and 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks. On Father’s Day, June 20, there will be another Sunday Thunder program. But there will be special gifts for all fathers in attendance.
Additional information about Tri-City Raceway Park can be obtained by calling the track office at 724-967-4601, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check the website at Tri-CityRacewayPark.com, or Facebook at Tri City Raceway Park. Tri-City Raceway Park is located on Oakland Township, which is just a short drive from Franklin. For the GPS, 3430 State Route 417, Franklin, PA 16323.
Western PA Speedweek (Shawgo Real Estate LLC Sprints): Bradley Howard, Lee Jacobs, Ryan Smith, Darin Gallagher, Landon Myers, Carl Bowser, Brandon Matus, Bob Felmlee, Sye Lynch, Brandon Spithaler, Michael Bauer, Logan McCandless, Leyton Wagner, Cody Bova, Brent Matus, Ken Rossey, Matt Sherlock, Steve Bright, Chase Metheny, Kyle Colwell, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Matt Farnham, Jeremy Hill, Gale Ruth, Jr., A.J. Flick (DNS), Josh Baughman (DNS).
Krill Recycling LLC 358 Modifieds: Jeremiah Shingledecker, Kyle Fink, Lonnie Riggs, Jimmy Holden, Kevin Hoffman, D.J. Schrader, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Curt Bish, Max Smoker, Nathan McDowell, Ryan Riffe, Kevin Green, Eric Beggs, Tom Holden, Travis Shingledecker (DNS), Tyler Clark (DNS).
Gary Glass Automotive/Washington House RUSH Sprints: Gale Ruth, Jr., Arnie Kent, Rod George, John Mollick, Nolan Groves. A.J. McQuarrie, Blaze Myers, Brian Hartzell, Chad Ruhlman, Steve Pedley, Brad Church, Brian Cressley, Ricky Tucker, Jr., Tyler Newhart.
4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks: Dalton Speer, Chad Greeley, Andy Thompson, Brody McClintock, D.J.Macrae, Justin Bailey, Evan Sobieski, Patrick Lane, James Tasker, Howard Garlick, Joanne Wilson, Kevin Wice, Brayden Seippel, Pat Hanlon, Hemi Kinneston, Jesse Armstrong, Shane Heath, Diezel Marvin, Nick Steiger, Raymond Bailey (DNS).
Ryan Smith, Michael Norris, Rex King Sr., and Corey McPherson victorious at Lernerville
SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Mother Nature finally cooperated and night one of Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek took the green flag Friday night at Lernerville Speedway with Ryan Smith of Kunkletown, PA taking the checkered flag in the feature.
Smith led wire-to-wire and held off a late charge from defending track Champion AJ Flick to pick up the victory, which was worth $3,000. Smith also leads the Speedweek standings with races remaining at Sharon Speedway Saturday night and Tri-City Raceway Park on Sunday.
A familiar name took home the late model victory as Michael Norris took the checkered flag ahead of Jared Miley and Alex Ferree. ‘The Crusher Kid’ pocketed an extra $1,000 bonus with the win.
Rex King Sr., took the lead midway through the Big Block Modified feature, passing Dave Murdick and Garrett Krummert on the same lap, to pick up his first win at ‘The Action Track’ in 2021.
In the Pro Stocks feature Corey McPherson led wire-to-wire to capture the checkered flag ahead of Joey Zambotti and Jake Dietz. The victory was McPherson’s 49th Lernerville win.
Next week at Lernerville it’s Fan Appreciation Night with Fab4 Racing on the schedule.