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2-Time Lernerville Champ Michael Norris Living The Dream Driving For Clint Bowyer

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Heath Lawson / heathlawsonphotos.com

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Two-time Lernerville Speedway track Champion Michael Norris is cherishing the opportunity to run for NASCAR star Clint Bowyer’s Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series team.

Norris started the 2019 season running his family owned Dirt Late Model and was off to a pretty good start.

“We had more races on our schedule than we’ve ever had, and we were having a lot of decent runs,” Norris told Pittsburgh Racing Now in a recent phone interview.  “We got a couple of wins early.”

The early season success prompted Norris and his team to travel to Ohio for one of the biggest Dirt Late Model races in the Country.  That’s when Norris’ season took a turn for the worst.

“We went to ‘The Dream’ out at Eldora and ended up hurting the motor there, so we hurried back and figured we would go to Lernerville if there was still enough time,” said Norris. “We went there and tore our other car up.”

Norris’ outlook for the season changed that weekend and it looked pretty bleak because of the expense associated with getting the cars back on the track.

“A lot of our funding for our race team comes from our family owned business,” said Norris.  “The scrap market went down low and everything’s been kind of slow at our business so we kind of had to pull the reigns back a little bit.”

Norris pulled out his phone and sent out a text message and put in motion a series of events that began to brighten his outlook.

“I actually texted Brian Daugherty of Integra Racing Shocks after Eldora, after I hurt the motor, ‘you know anybody looking for a driver because we’re done’,” explained Norris. “Totally just an off-the-wall text, and he was like ‘you can drive Todd’s car at the Firecracker’.”

Daugherty was referring to car owner Todd Cerenzia of Canonsburg.  Norris jumped in his car and started delivering immediate results.

“I actually used to race against that car at Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, when we started racing,” said Norris.  “We took it out the weekend before the Firecracker to shake it down because the car hasn’t been ran (in an event), I think it was 2-years, and we won that night and the car was really, really good.  It’s really good equipment.”

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A week later Norris parked Cerenzia’s car in Victory Lane at Lernerville again, this time in the preliminary to the Firecracker 100.

The victory caught the attention of Bowyer and his Dirt Late Model Team. Bowyer’s driver Josh Richards was in the event.

“Mark and Josh Richards put in a good word for me, they’ve always been great to me and Brian Daugherty from Integra Shocks, but I think the Firecracker 100 helped, we ran really well.  We won the preliminary night and I know Josh was racing that night, so I know the Bowyer’s were watching and I think that definitely helped me.”

Norris’ season took another turn shortly thereafter.

“The Bowyer’s called me and asked if I could fill-in for the injured Don O’Neal,” said Norris.  “My dad, my wife and everybody, I talked to all of them about it, and even if it was just for that first weekend it was such a cool experience and really a dream come true.  As long as it lasts it’s alright in my book.”

It looks like the opportunity could last into September.

“It all depends on how he (O’Neal) is making out recovery-wise on his knee,” said Norris.  “I think right at the beginning of September is when he’s planning on coming back but it all depends.  I’m just going to ride the roller coaster as long as I can.”

The Lucas Oil Late Models race Thursday and Friday nights at Florence Speedway in Kentucky for the 37th Annual Sunoco North/South Shootout and North/South 100.

“If I never do it again one of my lifelong goals was to be able to travel with this guys, at least do it once, so however long it lasts I’m cool with it and grateful for the opportunity,” said Norris.

Western Pennsylvania race fans can check out Norris, Richards and the Bowyer team later this month when the series travels to Mansfield Motor Speedway in Ohio for the Dirt Million.

“I’m kind of hoping maybe this will open doors,” said Norris.  “I love this, this has always been a dream of mine.”

Local Racing

FastTrack Pittsburgh’s 2024 Event Breaks Previous Record

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FastTrack Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 20, 2024) FastTrack Pittsburgh is setting a new record in the fight to end Huntington’s Disease, raising $32,000 on Sunday at their 17th annual event in North Park.

“We are overwhelmed by the support we received this year,” said Morgan McLane, Founder of FastTrack Pittsburgh.  “Our community haas once again shown its incredible generosity and commitment to helping those affected by Huntington’s Disease.  We couldn’t have achieved this without our dedicated volunteers, drivers & supporters.”

The funds raised will go towards various initiatives aimed at improving the lives of individuals and families affected by Huntington’s Disease, including providing essential supplies, educational resources and youth support services.

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Huntington’s Disease (HD) is an inherited, degenerative brain disorder that leads to progressive loss of control over both mind and body.

McLane founded FastTrack Pittsburgh, known formally as ‘Barbara Lee’s Fast Track to a Cure for Huntington’s Disease’ in honor of his Aunt Barbara, who was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease in December 1999 and lost her battle in April 2010.

“FastTrack Pittsburgh extends its heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s event and looks forward to continuing its mission of raising funds and awareness for Huntington’s Disease,” added McLane, who has raised over $255,000 since its inception.

To help FastTrack Pittsburgh put Huntington’s Disease on a ‘Fast Track’ to the finish line of finding a cure, visit www.fasttrackpgh.com.

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Dirt Racing

Reitz Doubles Up in 358 Modifieds, and Felmlee Flies in 410 Sprints at Tri City Raceway Park; Tim Bish and Morrison Score in Pro Stocks and Mini Stocks

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FRANKLIN, PA (May 19, 2024): Chad Reitz, who lives just two miles from Tri City Raceway Park, became the first driver to tally two wins in the 2024 season. On lap fifteen of twenty, he swooped ahead of Rick Regalski, who led from the drop of the green in the 21st Century Energy Group 358 Modifieds. Bob Felmlee was untouchable in the Krill Recycling LLC 410 Sprint Cars. Also getting their first triumphs of the season were Tim Bish in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks and Dillon Morrison in the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks.

The first feature to hit the track was the twenty lapper for the 21st Century Energy Group 358 Modifieds.

Rick Regalski and Nick Joy were making their first starts of the 2024 season from the front row. Mark Sevin and Logan Lockhart were next in line. Jessica Kriegisch and Ron Cartwright were matched in row three. The fourth belonged to Jimmy Holden and Steve Slater. Last week’s winner, Chad Reitz, and Kole Holden made up row five. The sixth consisted of Don Cornelius and Hayden Holden.

Regalski opened up a modest lead over Joy, Kriegisch, Cartwright, and Lockhart on the opening lap. Regalski started to separate himself over the course of the first five or six laps. However, a caution on the sixth round of the big half mile eliminated Green and Sevin.

Regalski held control after the pair of restarts that were required to get the next round into the books. Joy continued in second, followed by Cartwright, Reitz and Kole Holden. Reitz was on the move when the race

Joy bought out cautions on laps fourteen and sixteen. Between those interludes, Reitz moved into the lead. He dipped to the inside to pass Regalski entering turn three.

Reitz complete the final four laps without incident. Regalski remained strong in second, ahead of Slater, Jimmy Holden, and Cartwright. The next five to cross the line were Kole Holden, Hayden Holden, Ryan Guthrie, Lockhart, and Jeremy Beichener.

Regalski’s car failed post-race tech, resulting in his disqualification. Brayden Beatty was moved up into the top ten.

Heat wins were scored by Slater, Kriegisch, and Reitz. There was no B Main.

In the Krill Recycling LLC 410 Sprint Cars, Logan McCandless and Bob Felmlee brought the field to the green for the start of the twenty-five lapper. Gale Ruth, Jr., and Brandon Matus were right behind. Matt Farnham and Jack Sodeman, Jr. presented in row three. The fourth consisted of last week’s winner, A.J. Flick, and Jeremy “Hollywood” Weaver. In row five, Zane DeVault and Michael “The Professor” Bauer. John Jerich and Andy Cavanaugh paired up in row six.

Felmlee won the race to turn pone and he dropped to the inside to secure the lead. McCandless settled into second, ahead of Ruth, Brandon Matus, and Flick. Felmlee set a brisk pace, and there were no significant changes in the running order through the first ten laps.

On lap eleven, Tommy Jasen brought out a caution that brought Felmlee and McCandless back to the rest of the field. Felmlee held control once again.

On lap seventeen, Farnham stopped in turn four to drop from the top ten.

Six more rounds were completed before the final stoppage, on lap twenty-three.

Felmlee kept his car straight and completed the final two laps ahead of McCandless, Brandin Matus, DeVault, and Ruth. Sodeman, Flick, Weaver, Bayer, and Brent Matus completed the top ten.

The trio of heat winners were Ruth, DeVault, and Weaver. There was no B Main.

In the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, Tommy Dembowski and Matt Bernard led the way to the green. Doug Iorio, II, and Mike Miller had row two covered, while Tim Bish and Rod Laskey made up row three. The fourth duo was Pat Fielding and Josh Seippel. Following them were Aaron Smith and Jason Kimmy.

The early portion of the Pro Stock main was a three-car breakaway consisting of Dembowski, Iorio, and Bish. With Dembowski out front, Iorio and Bish were fighting intensely for the second position. Bish eventually took control of it before a caution realigned the field.

In the second half of the contest, Bish moved to the front of the line. Iorio faded and Dembowski dropped out.

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Laskey came on for second, ahead of Fielding, last week’s winner, Chris Schneider, and Mike Miller. Seippel, Iorio, Bernard, Coyne, and Charlie McMillen rounded out the top ten.

Bish and Fielding shared the glory for the heat race wins. There was no B Main.

Dillon Morrison and Mike Kelley headed the field for the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks. Justin Forsythe and Tim Callahan were in the second row, ahead of Bill Fuchs and last week’s winner, Matt Urey. Ben Aley and Dillon Thorne held the fourth row.

Morrison bolted out to the lead in the twelve lapper, just as he did on opening night. Urey worked into second once again, but, this time, he was unable to chase down Morrison.

Joe Campbell came home in third, ahead of Forsythe and Aley. Chad Greeley, Matt Daugherty, Bill McCollums, Thorne, and Callahan completed the top ten.

The pair of heats went to Urey and Callahan. There was no B Main.

The Old Skool Kool Tour brought over a dozen assorted vintage race cars to Tri City Raceway Park. A pair of twelve lap features were contested. Wally Stock scored the win for the Modifieds, and Bob Alcorn captured the Modified Sportsmen. In the Late Model division, the winner was Bill Coada. Brian Lederhouse took the Stock Car go.

Tri City Raceway Park announced the Marsh Heating and Cooling Heat Race Challenge. All racers are eligible for a special award at the end of the season based upon the number of heat races won, regardless of the class. Leading the way with two wins each are Steve Slater, Tim Bish, Tim Callahan, and Matt Urey. Winners of a single heat race so far are Matt Farnham, A.J. Flick, Logan McCandless, Gale Ruth, Jr., Zane DeVault, and Jeremy Weaver, Jessica Kriegisch, Chad Reitz, Josh Seippel, Chris Schneider, and Pat Fielding.

Next weekend, Tri City Raceway Park will host the first visit of the BRP Modified Tour. Also on the card will be the 305 Sprint Cars, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks, and the Vintage Modifieds.

21st Centyry Energy Group 358 Modifieds: Chad Reitz, Steve Slater, Jimmy Holden, Ron Cartwright, Kole Holden, Hayden Holden, Ryan Guthrie, Logen Lockhart, Jeremy Beichner, Brayden Beatty, Kyle Fink, Troy McGregor, Nick Joy, Don Cornelius, Jessica Kriegisch, Brandon Ritchey, Patrick Lane, Mark Sevin, Kenin Green, Thomas Rodgers, Tom Holden, Rick Regalski (DQ). DNS: Lenny Liebold, III, Ryan Kemery.

Krill Recycling LLC 410 Sprint Cars: Bob Felmlee, Logan McCandless, Brandon Matus, Zane DeVault, Gale Ruth, Jr., Jack Sodeman, jr., A.J. Flick, Jeremy Weaver, Michael Bauer, Brent Matus, Ricky Peterson, Andy Cavanaugh, Vivian Jones, John Jerich, Cameron Nastasi, Bodey mcClintock, Chase Metheney, Matt Farnham,Jacob Gomola, Timmy Jasen, Carl Bowser. DNS: Nathen McDowell.

Hovis Auto and Truck Supply Pro Stocks: Tim Bish, Rod Laskey, Pat Fielding, Chris Schneider, Mike Miller, Josh Seippel, Doug Iorio, Matt bernard, Russ Coyne, Charlie McMillen, Aaron Smith. Jason Kimmy, Tommy Dembowski. DNS: Jake Whitling, Gary Miller. Jr.

4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks: Dillon Morrison, Matt Urey, Joe Campbell, Justin Foirsyth, Ben Aley, Chad Greeley, Matt Daugherty, BillMcCollums, Dillon Thorne, Tim Callahan, Bill Fuchs, Mike Kelley.

Old Skool Kool Tour Vintage: Modifieds/Sportsmen: Wally Stock, Bob Alcorn (Sp.), Tom Warburton, Jim Kurpakus, Tim Beatty, Paul Bacchus, Nick Hessom (Sp.). Late Models/Stocks: Bill Coada, Larry Walters, Brian Lederhouse (St.), Gary Taylor (St.), Bill Stile.

The divisional sponsors of Tri City Raceway Park for 2024 are: Krill Recycling, LLC (410 Sprint Cars), 21st Century Energy Group (358 Modifieds), Hovis Auto and Truck Supply (Pro Stocks), and 4 Your Car Connection (Mini Stocks).

All competitors at Tri City Raceway Park will now be eligible for the Marsh Heating and Cooling Heat Race Challenge. The driver that wins the most heat races over the course of the season, regardless of the class, will receive a special award.

Other marketing partners of Tri City Raceway Park for 2024 include: Erie Beer, Wab-Tec (manufacturer of locomotive engines), Schaeffer Lubricants, Keystone Transit (school buses), Blue Ox Timbers (buyers of timber and timber land managment), Constable Refuse (residential and commercial garbage collectors), First Rate Realty (real estate sales), Landscape Connection (portable toilets and landscape supplies), KEI-Klapec Express Inc. (trucking company), BKI-Bert Klapec Inc. (excavation and demolition), Shambaugh Towing, Gibson Hill Automotive (auto repair), McCandless Ford Sales (located in Mercer and Meadville), McCandless Trailer Sales (located in Mercer and Meadville), Big Dog RC (remote controlled cars and race track), McGregor Excavating, Les Frickshun Lubricants (lubricants and undercoating), Bish Heating and Cooling, Wet Hose LLC (pressure washing), Heffern Septic Service, Tionesta Builders Supply (located in Tionesta and Shippenville), UCIP-United Community Independence Program (housing and services for the handicapped), Close Racing Supply, Billy’s Garage and Towing, Oakland-Rampart Equipment (makers of centrifugal dryers, wash systems, and separators).

Remember that you will need to check the Facebook page, Tri City Raceway Park, for current information. The former website is not updated and will soon be replaced.

Tri-City Raceway Park is located just a few miles north of Franklin, PA, at 3430 State Route 417 in Oakland Township. Professional auto racing will be presented in a family friendly atmosphere most Sunday evenings from May through Labor Day weekend.

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Dirt Racing

Pittsburgh PA Motor Speedway and Latrobe Speedway Cancel Saturday Programs

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PITTSBURGH, PA (May 18, 2024) – Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway and Latrobe Speedway are cancelling their Saturday programs because of rain.

“We can’t get a break,” said SNB Promotions Dennis Bates. “The speedway grounds are too wet after Friday’s storms. We are looking forward to the next Blue Collar Night at the Races on August 10.”

Next Saturday Latrobe Speedway plans the Memorial Day Clash as the Penn Ohio Pro Stocks Touring Series returns to Latrobe.  They will be joined by the FASTrak Pro Late Models, the Joe’s Body Shop & Towing Pure Stocks, the Special T Metals LLC Modified 4 Cylinders, and the Marilungo Disposal LLC Strictly Stock 4 Cylinders.

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“Heavy overnight rains and saturated grounds have forced us to cancel tonight’s Action Event + RUSH Sportsman Modifieds event,” PPMS said in a statement. “This marks our third consecutive cancelation.”

Next Saturday PPMS plans the Choice for Change Action Event + RUSH Sprint Cars.

They’re not the only ones.  Lernerville Speedway was forced to cancel Friday night, which was the third week in-a-row for ‘The Action Track’. The make up date for the BRP Modified Tour portion will be held on July, 26.

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