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Schneider Grabs Laboon Memorial Victory At PPMS; Lynch Wins At Sharon Speedway



Steve Skarupa Photography

There were some big winners in local racing action this weekend at both Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway and Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio.

Lower Burrell’s Chris Schneider (pictured above) made it two-in-a-row picking up the victory in the Ed Laboon Memorial. The race resumed with 27-laps remaining after rain stopped the event on June 1st.  Jackson Humanic finished second and Randy Wyant rounded out the podium.

Rusty Martz took home the win in the 4thAnnual “Wee” Willie White Memorial.  Martz held off Hunter Exley in a spirited two-lap battle in a race slowed by caution flags and a red flag.  Jason Fosnaught rounded out the podium.

Saxonburg’s Brent McDonald would capture the checkered flag in the Dobs Non-Qualifier feature, while Bryan Wagner and Gary Koteles would round out the podium.

Daryl Charlier, from Midway, would take the lead with two laps to go in the Diehl Automotive RUSH Late Model Dirt Series 20-lap feature to pick-up another PPMS Victory.  Christian Schneider of Warren Ohio finished second followed by Nico Dabecco, who finished third.

Jake Simmons grabbed the victory in the Keystone Coach Works Hobby Stock division.  He did it driving his son’s car.

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Andy Garlinger, from Hopedale, Ohio, and Susie Rudolph, from Steubenville, Ohio, continued to dominate in the Four Cylinders and the Young Guns divisions respectively as both scored victories.

Apollo’s Sye Lynch grabbed the victory in the FAST Series “410” Sprint Car feature at Sharon Speedway.  Lynch started third and grabbed the lead on lap one and cruised to a 4.506-second victory over Brandon Matus.  Cole Duncan finished third to round out the podium.

“This car felt so good,” said Lynch.  “We’ve been off a little bit a Sharon this year, but my guys never gave up.”

Dan Davies captured the checkered flag in the Outlaw E Mods “Bickerstaff Cup” Series Race #3.  Brian Ruhlman came in second followed by Randy Hall.

Garrett Krummert win the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds feature.  Kole Holden finished second and Rob Kristyak rounded out the podium.

Chad Ruhlman held off a hard-charging Zach Morrow to win the RUSH Sprint Cars feature.  Morrow was side-by-side with Ruhlman when the caution flag flew, or the results could have been different.  Brian Ruhlman finished third.

Andy Buckley took home the victory in the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods features.  Jeremy Double finished second and Ty Rhoades came home third.

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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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