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Lernerville Speedway Crowns Four Track Champions

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Scott Stiller/Pittsburgh Racing Now

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.

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“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.”

Dirt Racing

Chappel, Duritsky, Ruhlman and Wolbert winners on Friday at Lernerville

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SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Issac Chappel passed Carmen Perigo on Lap 6 and never looked back to take the win in the BOSS Wingless Sprint Car Series 25-lap main event.  The win was the fifth in-a-row for Chappel in the BOSS Series.

Mike Duritsky picked up his first career win at ‘The Action Track’ by holding off Will Thomas and Logan Zarin to capture the RUSH Late Model Series feature.  Daryl Charlier and Joe Martin rounded out the Top 5.

Three Rivers Karting

Chad Ruhlman fought off Blaze Myers to pick up the win in the RUSH Sprint Car Series feature.  John Mollick was third followed by Gale Ruth and one of several drivers pulling double-duty, Zach Morrow.

Chas Wolbert collected his 40th career feature victory going wire-to-wire in the RUSH Sportsman Modified feature.  Ben Easler was second.  Justin Shea rounded out the podium.

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Dirt Racing

Li’l Haud Happy at the Grove

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Photo: Paul Arch

WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (July 23, 2021): Sheldon Haudenschild took his career first checkered flag at Williams Grove Speedway on the opening night of the Summer Nationals. While the driver from Wooster, OH gladly took the $10,000 purse, current Williams Grove points leader, Lance Dewease, won the hearts of the Pennsylvania faithful with a remarkably strong run from seventeenth to second.

Haudenschild, who joined his father, Jac, as a World of Outlaws victor at the Grove, expressed relief that he was finally able to get a win at the speedway. “I feel like I have a lot of laps around this place, but I could never get that win. We’ve been close, but it feels great to finally pull one off. Makes it sweeter that the 69 (Dewease) was behind us.”

Haudenschild had the pole for the twenty-five lap preliminary feature. Anthony Macri had the local contingent stoked with his second place starting spot. James McFadden lined up third, with David Gravel in fourth. Chad Trout rolled off in fifth, with Donny Schatz next to him. Aaron Reutzel and T.J. Stutts made up row four, with Brent Marks and Kraig Kinser in row five. The sixth row belonged to Brad Sweet and Logan Schuchart.

Haudenschild blasted off turn four into the lead, while Macri had some difficulty getting up to speed. Gravel and McFadden got by him by the first corner and Schatz and Stutts were hounding him. A quick caution for Jeff Halligan facing the wrong way in turn two caused a realignment, but Haudenschild again got away cleanly.

Macri lost another position in the early going, this one to Schatz, but his misfortunes continued. By lap five, he dropped to seventh. But things would get worse for the driver seeking his first 410 win at the Grove. Aaron Reutzel got sideways coming through turn four and Macri clipped him as he went by. Macri spun to the inside and his car was struck by Stutts, who did a slow roll bringing out the red. None of the drivers were injured and both Reutzel and Macri were able to return after making some hasty repairs.

That stoppage proved to be the last of the contest. But it was significant for another reason. It moved Lance Dewease into the eighth position for the restart and it brought the rest of the field back to him.

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When the green light came on again, Haudenschild resumed his lead and he continued to ride the cushion. McFadden stayed within striking distance, while Gravel was keeping Schatz at bay.

But all eyes were glued on the blue machine of Dewease. Using his customary low line, Dewease was making some progress until he reached the car of Carson Macedo. Macedo was using the low line as well and it took Dewease several laps to get by him. However, once he completed the pass, there was no stopping Dewease.

Dewease reached the top five on lap 18, and the best was yet to come. He caught and passed Schatz with two to go and he did the same to McFadden on the white flag lap. While Dewease was closing in on Hadenschild, the Posse fans were hoping for a caution that would set up a dash for the cash.

Their hopes were not fulfilled and Haudenschild streaked under the checkered flag for the win. Dewease crossed in second, making the fans wonder what might have been had he started closer to the front.

“The driver put us behind in qualifying,” Dewease confessed. “We were able to pass cars; we’ve been able to pass cars all year here. But, it was twenty-five laps, that’s all that matters, and Sheldon won it.” Dewease noted that he had some difficulty getting by Macedo and Schatz, both of whom were using his preferred line, but he was pleased to make his charge from the ninth row to second. He received a $250 bonus for beingthe hard charger. Dewease was grateful, but he proclaimed that he did not want that award again on Saturday night.

McFadden claimed the other podium spot, followed by Schatz and Marks. Positions six through ten went to Gravel, Macedo, Sweet, Schuchart, and Danny Dietrich.

The four heat wins went to Schatz, Trout, Stutts, and Macri. Haudenschild won the Dash and Wayne Johnson took the B Main. Haudenschild also set the fastest time of the night, 17.104 seconds. Trout was second, followed by Stutts and Macri.

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Dirt Racing

Sweet Scores Before Rain Hits Lernerville

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Photo: Paul Arch

SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Grass Valley, CA driver Brad Sweet checked one off of his bucket list. He took the crown jewel event at Lernerville Speedway, the Don Martin Memorial, for the first time in his career. It was his third triumph at the track, the other two coming in the Fall’s Commonwealth Clash.

Sye Lynch was on the pole, with David Gravel next to him for the start of the 40 lap affair. Sweet lined up next to Aaron Reutzel in the second row. Carson Macedo and Donny Schatz were in row three with Christopher Bell and Sheldon Haudenschild in row four. The fifth row belonged to Brock Zearfoss and Logan Schuchart. James McFadden and Jacob Allen were in row six.

Lynch got the jump on Gravel and reached the top of turn one first. That gave him an advantage in the opening laps. Sweet settled into third and he seemed most comfortable running the low line around the speedway. Reutzel, Macedo, Schuchart and Bell followed.

Michael Bauer flipped between turns one and two with five complete. He was unhurt, but his car was pushed back to the pit area and he was finished for the night.

Lynch took off on the restart, but this time Sweet made a bold move on the inside of turn one. Sweet nosed ahead, but Lynch turned back under him to regain the lead. The two racers ran side by side for several laps before Lynch slid out over the cushion in turn two with twelve complete. Sweet was hard on the inside and powered to the front.

Sweet continued to lead, but he moved to the top side as he approached the lapped traffic. Sweet was just as quick on the high side and he built up his advantage to more than seven and a half seconds over Reutzel, who moved ahead of Lynch on lap fourteen.

Three Rivers Karting

The action was halted again on lap sixteen when Haudenschild flipped in turn three. Remarkably, his car landed on its wheels and sustained minimal damage. Haudenschild was pushed to the work area and he returned to the race. Despite his misfortune, he rallied in the last third of the race to get a top ten for his efforts.

While Sweet was completing the final rounds, the battle was for the second spot between Reutzel and Schatz. The seven-time Silver Cup winner made the pass with two to go.

Sweet was the winner, taking the checkers just moments before the rain inundated the speedway. Schatz, Reutzel, Gravel, and James McFadden were the top five. Shuchart, Macedo, Tim Shaffer, Bell, and Haudenschild rounded out the top ten.

Carl Bowser was the hard charger, passing thirteen cars on his way to an eleventh place finish.

After his Cinderella story came to an end, Lynch raced in the top ten until the stretch run. However, he faded to fifteenth at the finish. Lynch was attempting to join his father, Ed Sr., as a winner of the Don Martin Memorial.

Three of the four heat races were each won from the pole position. Victories went to Lynch, Gravel, Sweet, and Reutzel. The only pole sitter to miss grabbing the brass ring was Schatz. Lynch was the evening’s fastest qualifier, turning the track at 12.543 seconds and he also won the Dash. The B Main winner was Jason Sides.

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