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Sodeman Jr. Grabs Win And Points Lead Friday Night At Lernerville Speedway

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John Stivason/Stivason Photos

SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Jack Sodeman Jr. is sitting atop the Peoples Gas DIRTcar Sprints standings after grabbing the victory Friday night at Lernerville Speedway.

Sodeman led the 20-car field to the green flag and quickly grabbed the lead as the rest of the field battled behind him.  Sodeman was cruising and starting to lap the rear of the field when the caution flag came out on lap 4 for John Haligen, who got crossed up between turns 3 and 4.

The single-file restart found Sodeman leading Gary Kreiss Jr. and Danny Mumaw, who moved up to third after starting fifth.  Sodeman jumped back out front when the green flag waved with Kreiss diving low in turns 1 and 2.  Mumaw went to the high side and passed Kreiss down the back stretch to grab the second spot.  Carl Bowser, who started 10th, grabbed the eighth spot from Tim Wagaman when the caution flew for Mike Marano II.  Russ Sansosti also came to a stop during the caution period.

The race was barely back to green when Dan McCarron spun in turns 1 and 2, but not before Bowser moved into the sixth spot.  The ensuing restart found Dan Shetler and Dan Kuriger battling for fourth place when Bowser passed them both on them both on lap 10 to move into the fourth spot while Sodeman continued out front with Mumaw trailing him in second and Kreiss in third.

Sodeman continued to lead halfway through the 25-lap feature when Mumaw was able to close in to a couple of car lengths while Sodeman encountered lap traffic.  Sodeman took to the high side and Mumaw jumped to the bottom as both drivers were navigating around lap traffic, even splitting the traffic at one point.  Bowser passed Kreiss while the battle waged out front to move into third place when the caution flag came out for Leyton Wagner, who went off the top off the cushion in turn one with 9-laps to go.

Sodeman took off when the green flag waved ahead of Mumaw and Bowser with Shetler and Kreiss going at it for the fourth spot.  Kreiss held off Shetler for the fourth spot as Sodeman crossed the start/finish line with 5-laps to go.

Lap traffic continued to come into play as Bowser went to the bottom side of Mumaw heading into turn three on lap 23.  Bowser gave it another shot on the low side of turns 1 and 2 after taking the white flag waved but he couldn’t pull off the slide job.  While that battle continued Sodeman took advantage, taking his third win of the year at The Action Track.

“We got really tight there at the end,” said Sodeman.  “I think the air pressure went down during the yellows.  On the entry and about half-way through (the turns) we got really tight.”

Three Rivers Karting

Sodeman’s victory vaulted him to the top of the points standing after AJ Flick, who was leading the points coming into the race, failed to make the feature.

“You can’t really look at the points because anything can happen before the last night of a race season,” said Sodeman.  “I feel really bad for AJ.  Even in the pits I tried to help him as much as I could, but it would have been nice to race it out.”

In the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models Feature, Tyler Dietz jumped out front and into the lead when the caution flag flew on lap 5 that ended the night for points-leader Ken Schaltenbrand, Mike Miller and Tommy Beck.

Dietz jumped back out front on the restart and was hooked-up, lapping a good portion of the field before the caution came out on lap 19.  The restart found Dietz on the high side and Colton Flinner attempting an ambitious move on the low side, but his attempt pushed Dietz over the banking, much to the chagrin of the Lernerville crowd.  The restart with two laps to go saw Flinner lose the lead due to a flat tire and Brandon Wearing took the top spot and never looked back to grab his first career Lernerville victory.

In the Diehl Automotive DIRTcar Big Block Modified feature Garrett Krummert led the field to green and led the first five laps when he was passed by Dave Murdick.  Murdick held the lead for the next five laps before John Mollick, who started fourth, passed Murdick for the lead on lap 11.  Rex King Jr continued a steady charge to the front passing Murdick for second on the next lap.  King continued to chase down Mollick as the leader encountered considerable lap traffic. King caught Mollick and passed him with 2-laps to go but Mollick never gave up, giving it one final shot in the final turns with King prevailing for the victory.

The Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar/RUSH Pro Stock found Terry Young in Victory Lane for the first time since 2016.  Young took the lead on lap four after an early caution and never looked back as defending-champion Corey McPherson and Tyler Dietz battled for second spot with Dietz prevailing and McPherson coming home third.

Fab 4 racing continues next Friday with only two races left in the Championship.  Visit www.lernerville.comfor information and tickets.

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Local Racing

Motorsports Council Of Pennsylvania Aims To Help Grassroots Racing In PA

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BETHEL PARK, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The newly formed Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania is gearing up to help grow grass-roots racing in the Commonwealth.

The Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania (MCP) will support racing with advocacy, education and promotion.

“The mission of the Motorsports Council is to support grassroots racing of all forms across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania Executive Director Robert Johnson told The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast.

Those forms include drag racing, motorcycle racing, short track racing (both dirt and pavement) and road course racing.

“It’s time for motorsports to be heard,” said Johnson.  “There are other groups out there.  For example Aviation, they have their own council in Pennsylvania.  Horse racing, they have their own advocacy group.  The focus will be State and Local government affairs and local advocacy.”

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The MCP has several long-team goals including:

  • Promoting the many economic and community benefits of racing.
  • Establishing permanent relationships between Motorsports and Government Officials.
  • Enlisting more public support of grassroots motorsports.

“We want to work better with our County tourism offices across the State and our State tourism bureau,” said Johnson.  “We want to do more promotion of the tracks.  Many of our race tracks across the State are in rural areas, we want to show the benefits the race tracks are having in those rural areas.”

One of the biggest priorities for the MCP is to have an economic impact study done and available for the racing community to utilize prior to the start of the 2021 season

The MCP has already begun identifying funding and tax relief from COVID-19 to support Motorsports tracks, small businesses and other related organizations.

“As Chairman of the Pennsylvania Motorsports Caucus I welcome more input from the racing community”, stated Representative David Maloney (R-Berks). “The Motorsports Council is an excellent idea to support racing.  Pennsylvania has approximately one hundred motorsports facilities and many more businesses which rely on the racing Industry for revenue.”

MCP will be hosting an introductory information call for motorsports organizations Wednesday October 7th at 4:00pm EST. All tracks, businesses, and vendors are encouraged to participate in this call. Visit: RacingPA.com for call information.

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Rahmer Rapid at Williams Grove

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WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (September 25, 2020): Freddie Rahmer, Jr. won the final tune-up at Williams Grove Speedway before the World of Outlaws invasion for the National Open to be held on October 2-3. The win was Rahmer’s third of the season, and him gave him some much-needed breathing room in the points standings. Seeking to regain the track title, Rahmer saw his lead dwindle in recent weeks.

“We got it pretty good from where we were earlier in the summer,” Rahmer noted in Victory Lane. “We are getting close. I don’t know how good I was with the lapped cars. We had a few things go our way tonight.”

One thing that definitely went Rahmer’s way was the dash. His win over Robbie Kendall put him on the pole for the A Main, which Rahmer led from start to finish. T.J. Stutts lined up beside Anthony Macri, who is still searching for his first career win at the speedway. Brian Montieth and Lance Dewease were in row three. Dewease, who is seeking career win 100 at the track, was unable to finish the dash and his crew had to hustle to make repairs before the feature started. Brent Marks and Brian Brown occupied row four, with Chad Trout and Dylan Cisney in row five.

Rahmer jumped out front at the drop of the green for the 25 lap race. He never looked back and he never slowed down, as the race ran without interruption.

Three Rivers Karting

Stutts moved into second on the opening lap, but Kendal got his momentum going on the top, and he was able to take over second just a few laps into the contest. Macri rode along in third, with Brown, Montieth, and Dewease fighting for position. That race within the race would not last for long as Dewease pulled in soon after the halfway mark.

Danny Dietrich, Rahmer’s biggest challenger for the track title, did a 360 in turn two with just a couple of laps remaining. That miscue was costly, as he lost several positions in the running order.

In the final rundown, it was Rahmer over Macri, Marks, Kendall, and Montieth. Stutts led the next quintet, which included Brown, Matt Campbell, Dietrich, and Kyle Reinhardt.

Heat wins went to Rahmer, Dewease, and Macri. The B Main winner was Jeff Halligan. The evening’s fastest qualifier was Stutts, with a lap of 16.629 seconds.

In the 358 Sprint undercard, Derek Locke won the battle and the war. His third season win clinched the track championship. His challenger, Kevin Nouse, led the early stages of the race and went on to second. The 2020 Sportsmanship Award winner, Brett Wanner, was third. Steve Owings and Alyson Dietz were fourth and fifth. Billy Heltzel had a vicious crash at the start of the B Main, and he was transported to a local hospital for observation.

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Lysakowski Named New Lernerville Speedway General Manager

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Stivason Photos/Lernerville Speedway

SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Lernerville Speedway officials announced the hiring of Mike Lysakowski as the new track manager in a podcast after the World of Outlaws Commonwealth Clash on Saturday night. Lysakowski, who takes over on October 1, follows Fr. Tim Tomson, who resigned midway through the Covid-adjusted season to devote more time to his ministry.

Lysakowski first met members of the Tomson family soon after they acquired Lernerville Speedway from the World Racing Group. “They attended the promoter’s workshop and I spent a lot of time with them that first year in between the seminars that I was teaching. I wanted to help introduce them to different people in the industry.”

But, as has been the case with other Tomson business ventures, members of the family took an active role in speedway operations. Hence, the appointment of “Padre,” as he is affectionately called, to be the general manager even though he was not familiar with the quirky world of racing.

“We started talking before Tim left,” Lysakowski said. At that time, he was not looking for a major career move, and the Tomson family was not planning any changes either. “I was talking to them about doing programs for the track.” One of Lysakowsi’s many accomplishments in racing is the production of programs for several Western Pennsylvania facilities under his Motorsport Aspects banner. But, the tenor of the discussions changed after Padre’s unexpected departure.

Other than some one-off appearances on the microphone at area tracks, Lysakowski noted that he has never had a racing job so close to his home in New Castle, PA. Most recently, he served as general manager at Jennerstown Speedway and as the announcer at Tri-City Raceway Park.

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Lysakowski was unsure how he would adjust his busy schedule. However, he was emphatic that Lernerville Speedway would be his “first priority,” and that he planned to devote his full-time attention to it. “I will be in the office five days a week, 52 weeks per year.”

Lysakowski did concede that he will cut down on his travel. For years, he traveled far and wide to broadcast races or to call the action. “I don’t want to be on the road traveling any more. It’s OK when you are young and looking for opportunities.”

Lysakowski was appreciative that there would be a few more weeks of racing at the Action Track so that he could familiarize himself with the ownership group, the staff, and the facility. “I have been coming to Lernerville since I was a child. I grew up in the grandstands here.” Lysakowski was proud that, on report card day, his good grades in school would give him more leverage with his parents to attend the weekly programs. His attendance at Lernerville declined as he began working in motorsports media and promotion. But, “I was still coming to Lernerville as a fan.” He knows that things will be different now.

“This is a place that doesn’t need change,” Lysakowski said. He has been in that situation before, when racing series or speedways would reach out to him to rehabilitate their images or improve their attendance or programs. “Everything is on the right course here. I’ve been brought into so many series or places that needed change. This bus doesn’t need a mechanic, it needs a driver,” he summed up.

Lysakowski added, “I don’t see challenges here, I see opportunities for growth.” He plans to use his contacts to the Butler area business community to help promote the speedway. He has established relationships with the Butler Chamber of Commerce and he was a founding member of the Butler Young Professionals, “back when I was young and professional,” he said with a laugh. He believes that his contacts and his enthusiasm can help bring new fans to the speedway.

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