Lernerville Speedway Crowns Four Track Champions
SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – History was made Friday night at Lernerville Speedway with Brian Swartzlander picking up his eighth track Championship and two drivers picking up their first.
Swartzlander entered the night tied with Rex King Jr in the Diehl Automotive Big Block Modified standings so every position had an impact on the title fight. Jeremiah Shingledecker set the early pace with Swartzlander behind him in second place. Swartzlander took a couple of looks underneath Shingledecker but couldn’t make the pass allowing Shingledecker to remain out front to grab his fourth win of the season. Swartzlander’s second place finish locked up the big championship prize, the eighth of his Hall of Fame career, the most of any driver in the 50-years of racing at Lernerville Speedway. King Jr couldn’t match the pace of Shingledecker or Swartzlander and came home with a sixth-place finish.
“It was nerve-wracking tonight,” said Swartzlander. “You’d think after winning some championships, I think we’ve won 15 or 16 (total), it wouldn’t be nerve-wracking. I was nervous all night tonight. One little thing can cost you. I had to be a little careful, but Jeremiah was pretty good. The Championship was first. This is pretty exciting. It doesn’t get old that’s for sure.”
In the Peoples Gas DIRTcar Sprint feature, it didn’t take Sye Lynch long to get his Mosites Motorsports machine out front, grabbing the lead and setting the early pace. Championship contender Carl Bowser was flexing his muscle as well, quickly moving up to second place with his sights set on Lynch. Points-leader Jack Sodeman Jr and AJ Flick, who was third in points coming into the evening, made steady progress up through the field into the top 5. Midway through the feature Bowser caught Lynch and the pair traded slide jobs, even making slight contact at one point. Lynch managed to hold off Bowser, who at that point had to contend with Flick. Flick got around Bowser for second as Lynch took home the checkered flag. Sodeman Jr came home with a solid fourth place finish to pick up his second championship, his first coming in 2016.
“We did what we needed to do there in the feature,” said Sodeman, a second-generation racer whose father Jack was a wheelman in his day. “We weren’t the fastest car. We didn’t win the battle, but I guess we won the war. We had a little bit better luck than some of the other guys. It always feels good when you end (the season) on good terms.”
In the Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar/RUSH Pro Stocks main event, Tyler Dietz held a four-point lead over defending champion Corey McPherson, who started on the pole position. McPherson bolted out to the early lead as Dietz methodically worked his way through traffic. Dietz caught McPherson and passed him for the lead on lap 9. McPherson was able to get close a couple of times but never mounted a serious challenge as Dietz took home the victory and his first track championship.
“It means a lot to me,” said Dietz from Terry Bowser Excavating Victory Lane. “I grew up down the road and now I’m a Champion.”
Ken Schaltenbrand also picked up his first track championship, locking up the title last weekend, so Friday night was all about the race win. Colton Flinner must have got the message as he led all 25-laps to pick up his second victory of the season.
“I’m just happy and so glad it’s all over and the pressure is off me now,” said Schaltenbrand. “Early in the year we broke a driveshaft and I thought we were done right there as far as points and it started turning around and we came and back here we are. It feels awesome.”
Macri Wins Weikert Memorial Preliminary
PORT ROYAL, PA (May 27, 2023): Anthony Macri scorched the field in round one of the Bob Weikert Memorial at the Port Royal Speedway. His seventh All Stars victory at the track and twenty-second of his career was worth a hefty $10,000 and it made him the odds-on favorite to take home $29,000 more when the weekend celebration of speed concludes on Sunday evening. But finishing behind the Dillsburg pilot were four other members of the PA Posse.
Macri dominated the top like no other racer in the twenty-nine lap affair that went non-stop. His margin of victory was 9.667 seconds. Macri was unsure of his race strategy. He did not know if he should get to the front early or whether he should hold back and let his competitors “burn up their stuff.” Ultimately, he let his car make the decision for him. “I was making decent speed, so I decided to go up top. I figured that I couldn’t pass anybody running the same line as they were.” He summed, that “it was a pleasure” to drive he car this night.
A re-draw of the top ten drivers in passing points determined teh starting line-up. Mike Wagner was the lucky fellow to grab the pole. Next to him was Justin Whittal. Tyler Courtney and Macri populated row two. Zeb Wise and Devon Borden ahd the third row. Tim Shaffer and Brent Marks mad up the fourth row. Behind them were Tyler Bear and Logan Wagner. Cory Eliason and Jeff Halligan were in row six.
Lance Dewease rolled away from the outside of row eight, and Dylan Cisney from the inside of row ten. After experiencing engine problems in his heat and failing to transfer from the B, Danny Dietrich used a track provisional to start dead last.
Mike Wagner fought off Whittal and Courtney in turn one to take the lead. Macri, Wise, Logan Wagner, who is back in black, Marks, Borden, Halligan, and Bear followed.
Mike Wagner led the first ten laps. However, toward the end of that run, he encountered lapped traffic, and many of those drivers were using the inside line, which he preferred. That enabled Macri to close in. With Mike Wagner stick behind some slower cars, Macri blasted around the top of turns one and two to take the lead with eleven laps completed.
“He (Macri) was really good. I was good the first ten laps but then the car loosened up,” the Legend noted. Mike Wagner added that he had pulled his wing all the way back, but he was still spinning his tires, and Macri just drove away from him.
While the first two positions were well settled, the rest of the top ten was in doubt. Courtney held third until the second half of the race. Logan Wagner took third with about ten laps to go. But both Logan Wagner and Courtney faded in the final few laps. Marks and Dewease chased them down to get third and fourth, respectively. Logan Wagner held on for fifth.
Wise, Halligan, and Whittal also passed Courtney in the stretch run. Courtney was ninth and Blane Heimbach was tenth.
Although Heimbach passed eleven cars in the race, he lost the hard charger honors to Dewease, who was plus twelve.
There were four heats. The winners were Gerrard McIntyre, Jr., Logan Wagner, Macri, and Heimbach. Heimbach also won the B Main. He was
required to run the B becasue his heat win came from the pole position, and he did not earn enough passing points to make the A Main.
The evening’s fastest qualifier was Borden, with a remarkable lap of 16.940 seconds.
In the twenty lapper for the PASS IMCA 305 Sprint Cars, Logan Spahr chased drown early leader Jared Zionkowski just past halfway. Spahr led the rest of the way to earn his sixth series win in a row!
Zionkowski, who started on the pole, held on for second. Seth Schnoke ran third the full twenty laps. Jeff Weaver, Jr. and Ken Duke completed the top five.
Kenny Heffner, Doug Dodson, Mike Melair, Austin Reed, and Zach Rhoades were sixth through tenth.
The quartet of heat winners consisted of Dodson, Jason Roush, Dustin Young, and Heffner. Mike Alleman took the B Main. Heffner was also the evening’s fastest qualifier in the timed hot lap sessions. He toured the big half mile in 18.557 seconds.
A Feature (29 Laps): 1. 39M-Anthony Macri; 2. 55W-Mike Wagner; 3. 19-Brent Marks; 4. 69K-Lance Dewease; 5. 1-Logan Wagner; 6. 26-Zeb Wise; 7. 45H-Jeff Halligan; 8. 67-Justin Whittall; 9. 7BC-Tyler Courtney; 10. 12-Blane Heimbach; 11. 23-Devon Borden; 12. 45-Tim Shaffer; 13. 77K-Tyler Bear; 14. 11-Cory Eliason; 15. 29W-Danny Dietrich; 16. 5-Dylan Cisney; 17. 5W-Lucas Wolfe; 18. 33M-Gerard McIntyre Jr; 19. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr; 20. 4-Chris Windom; 21. 35-Austin Bishop; 22. 47K-Kody Lehman; 23. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg; 24. 29-Sye Lynch; 25. 33W-Michael Walter; 26. 35S-Jason Shultz LAP LEADERS: Mike Wagner (1-10), Anthony Macri (11-29)
2023 All Star Circuit of Champions DRIVER Standings (As of 5/27):
Tyler Courtney – 1348
Chris Windom – 1256
Hunter Schuerenberg – 1246
Tim Shaffer – 1240
J.J. Hickle – 1180
Scotty Thiel – 1178
Conner Morrell – 1114
Zeb Wise – 1066
Parker Price-Miller – 956
Sye Lynch – 898
Dewease Dials in Win
MECHANICSBURG, PA (May 26, 2023): For Lance Dewease, his second win of the season and 113th of his career at Williams Grove Speedway was very significant. It achieved a goal that he and his car owner, Don Kreitz, Jr., set during the off-season. That was for Kreitz to overtake the late Al Hamilton as the winner of the most features as a car owner at the venerable track. Kreitz now has 93 checkers to his credit, 61 as an owner-driver and the rest as the owner for Dewease.
While Dewease thanked Kreitz for the opportunity, he dedicated the win to the third member of the Hall of Fame Dream Team. Davey Brown, his octogenarian crew chief, was absent due to an illness for the second week in a row. “Davey’s not feeling well, he’s at home watching,” Dewease explained. Then, he added with a laugh, “his daughter kept texting us all night.” Dewease added that he anticipates having Brown back for the two-day All-Stars event upcoming at Port Royal Speedway.
Dewease conceded that he may not have had the fastest car. “I think Freddie (Rahmer, Jr.) was the fastest car here, but we got some breaks.” One was for a lap ten miscue by the race leader, Chase Dietz, who did a 360 between turns three and four that collected Rahmer, who was racing in fifth at the time. The incident not only eliminated two strong contenders who had track position on Dewease, it also brought the new leader, Anthony Macri, back to him.
Dewease restarted in fifth, behind Macri, Devon Borden, Tyler Courtney, and Dylan Norris. He wasted no time moving up one position in turn one, and then he picked off another in turn three. On the next lap, Dewease was second, but he was already a good distance behind Macri.
The other break for Dewease came when Macri spun his tires and jumped the cushion in turn two with six laps remaining. At that moment, Macri was still in range to overtake Dewease as the leader, but he lost his momentum and, importantly, the runner-up position. For just two laps later, Courtney got a flat but Macri was stuck in third behind Dewease and Danny Dietrich for the final restart. Needless to say, Macri was not a factor in the last four laps.
Dietz had the pole for the start of the thirty lapper as a result of his victory in the dash. Next to him was Borden. Tim Shaffer and Macri were in row two, with Norris and Courtney in row three. Dewease and Kyle Moody were the final dash eligible drivers in the line-up. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. and Freddie Rahmer, Jr. occupied row five, with Danny Dietrich and Jimmy Siegel in row six.
Dietz seized control in turns one and two on the opening lap, but Macri was pressing him for the lead as they headed toward turn three. Borden stayed close in third, with Shaffer, Courtney, Norris, Rahmer Jr., Dewease, Moody, and Hafertepe following.
Dietz began to compile an advantage in the early laps while Macri and Borden battled for second. Macri was holding the spot when Dietz spun on his own with ten complete.
While Macri paced the field after the green flag dropped, it was Dewease who was making the most progress. In just two laps, he was into second and he began to whittle away at Macri’s lead.
Dewease made a couple of attempts to pass Macri, but exercising the discretion and patience of a veteran, Dewease did not force the issue. The opportunity presented itself as the duo raced off turn four to complete lap nineteen. Dewease, who was forced to search around for several laps because Macri took away his preferred low line, was able to get inside of Macri this particular time.
Dewease maintained control despite having some troubles with slower cars as the race entered its final stages. Macri’s misfortune gave Dewease some breathing room and it also provided a buffer in the form of Danny Dietrich. Then, Courtney’s flat tire reset the running order and it eliminated the lapped cars.
Dewease was not challenged in the last four rounds of the speedway. He crossed the line more than three seconds ahead of Dietrich to get win number 45 with the All Stars and $10,000. Macri was third, followed by Borden and Moody. Norris, Siegel, Cory Eliason, Zeb Wise, and Brent Marks completed the top ten.
Four heats were presented on Doug Esh Tribute night. The winners were Borden, Moody, Shaffer, and Dewease. The B Main victory went to Kyle Reinhardt. The fastest qualifier overall was Norris, with a lap of 16.999 seconds.
Williams Grove Speedway will present the 410 Sprints along with the Bill Gallagher Memorial 5G to win USAC East Coast 360 Sprint Cars on June 2. Plus there will be a phot shoot with the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing and fireworks that night. The following week will feature the 410 and 358 Sprints on Fan Appreciation Night. All general admission ticket holders will be allowed outside before the racing begins to meet their favorite stars.
June 16 will have the 410 Sprints racing along with the USAC National Sprints as part of the annual Eastern Storm tour. Then come the two PA Speedweek events on June 23 and 30.
Modifieds and More at Tri-City Raceway Park for Memorial Day Weekend
FRANKLIN, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Tri-City Raceway Park will present its first special of the season this Sunday, May 28. Three divisions of Modifieds will be in action on the big half mile oval. The ground pounding Big Blocks of the BRP Modified Tour will make their first appearance of the season. A return engagement is set for Labor Day Weekend. The UMP Modifieds will make their first appearance as well. And, the Vintage Modifieds will add a little nostalgia to the event when they race in the Lloyd Keith Memorial.
“We are really excited to have all of those Modifieds at the speedway,” said owner and promoter Merle Black. “The BIg Blocks and the UMP Modifieds were once part of the weekly shows at Tri City, so bringing them back for a special appearance over the Memorial Day holiday weekend is fantastic,” he added. “And, everybody likes to see the Vintage Cars because it brings back fond memories.”
The track’s 358 Modifieds are not on the card for this one, but all of those racers are invited to participate with the BRP Modified Tour. Many fans can remember when a 358 driven by Gary Smoker upset the Big Blocks at Tri-City and it could happen again. Those 358s that do take the challenge will not receive any track points for this contest, but there would be no limit to the bragging rights if Ayden Cipriano, for example, could back up his career first 358 Modified victory against the regional Big Block stars.
While those three Modified divisions alone would be enough to whet any race fan’s appetite, there is even more on-track action to enjoy. The 410 Sprint Cars and the 4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks are going to log their second races of the season. Ohio pilot Ricky Peterson defeated defending track champion A.J. Flick in round one for the winged warriors last Sunday. Matt Urey dominated the Four Cylinder Mini Stocks. Can they repeat?
Black went all in for this event. He added the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks. Tyler Wyant captured his first of the 2023 season in the opener, so he, too, will try to double up on May 28.
There will be added purse money on the line for the 410 Sprint Cars, Pro Stocks, and Four Cylinder Mini Stocks thanks to Virgile Iron & Steel, Travis Harry Racing Engines, Bish Heating & Cooling, Grandview Auto Body, Singleton Family Chiropractic, Siple Racing Edits, and Bernard’s Electrical Services and Troubleshooting. The 410 Sprints will now pay $2,200 to win, the Pro Stock winner will now take home $1,000.02, and the Mini Stocks will battle for $500!
And, there are extras for the fans, too. In addition to the added classes in competition, two lucky fans will be eligible for an upgrade to the VIP section courtesy of Bernard’s Electrical Services and Troubleshooting. Plus, there will be a big bonfire and a DJ on Saturday night, as well as free camping throughout the holiday weekend!
Fans can enjoy all of this racing and the pre-race activities for the low price of $20 for Adults. Seniors (ages 60 and up) and Students (ages 10 to 16) will be admitted for $15. Children (under the age of 10) will be free, as usual. Pit Passes will be $35.
Pit gates will open at 2 p.m., with spectator gates opening at 4 p.m. Practice sessions will start at 5:30. Heat races will commence at 6 p.m.
Remember that Tri-City Raceway Park will host the final round of the Western PA Sprint Car Speedweek on June 3. The other Sunday Thunder divisions will also be in action. So come out to watch the 358 Modifieds, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, and the 4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks.
Also, there will be no auto racing on June 11. Instead, the track will present the All American Rodeo Company on Saturday, June 10, under the auspices of the International Professional Rodeo Association.
Further information about Tri-City Raceway Park can be obtained by calling the track office at 724-967-4601, or by e-mailing the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can check the web at Tri-CityRacewayPark.com, or the Facebook page at Tri City Raceway Park. 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.