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World Of Outlaws Late Models Return To Sharon Speedway After 9-Year Absence

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HARTFORD, OH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series is returning to Sharon Speedway this weekend for the first time in 9-years.

The “Battle at the Border” will feature two-nights of racing and two-full races for the WoO Late Models.  The HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will be Friday night’s support division, while the Elite Econo Mod Series will be Saturday night’s support division. Warm-ups are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. each night followed by qualifying and racing.

This is the first time the World of Outlaws Late Models are at Sharon in nine years.  The series made seven prior appearances at Sharon from 2004 to 2010.

Davey Johnson, the 1987 Sharon track champion and a 27-time Super Late Model winner, won the inaugural event in 2004.  Tim McCreadie (2005), Rick Eckert (2006), Chub Frank (2007), Donnie Moran (2008), Tim Fuller (2009) and Darrell Lanigan (2010) took home checkered flags in subsequent years.

“We’re looking forward to this weekend and bringing back the World of Outlaws Late Models,” said Sharon Speedway General Manager Dave Willoughby. “Super Late Models have played an important part in the history of Sharon on both the asphalt and dirt. We hope the fans come out and support these shows so it can become a traditional Labor Day weekend event for years to come.”

Brandon Sheppard comes to Sharon as the points-leader.  The 2017 Champion has amassed 16 wins, 29 top 5’s, and 30 top 10’s in only 31 starts.

Ricky Weiss is second in points with a second best 10 podium finishes, but is still after that elusive first career WoO win.  Weiss also leads the rookie standings.

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Shane Clanton is third in points, just 28 behind Weiss, behind the strength of three wins.  Chase Junghans is fourth in points and Lanigan sits fifth in points.

The HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds points championship wrapped up last Saturday, RUSH Member drivers are still competing for Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Weekly Series points along with the “Wheelman” points on Friday night. Friday’s program will pay $600 to-win.

Chas Wolbert leads the way with four wins at Sharon followed by Garrett Krummert with three, Rob Kristyak two, and Holden one.

Kristyak has just a four-point lead on Wolbert in RUSH’s overall Weekly Series points, which pays $3,000 to the champion at the conclusion of the season. Holden, Tony Tatgenhorst, and Josh Deems complete the top five.

The Summit Racing Econo Mods Elite Series are on Saturday night’s schedule with $500 to-win, $100 to-start purse.  The Elite Series has had six different winners in seven races this season. Ty Rhoades and Dustin DeMattia are tied for the Elite Series points lead heading into Sharon with four events remaining. Alan Dellinger, Jeremy Double, and Butch Lambert are third through fifth in points.

Pits will be open throughout the day both days with pit passes going on sale at 3 p.m., while the main grandstands open at 4 p.m.  Warm-ups are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. followed by Late Model qualifying and heat race action. A live DJ and bonfire will take place after Friday’s racing program has concluded in the Fan Zone located behind the main grandstands.

Grandstand admission is $25 for those 14-and-over Friday night and $30 on Saturday night.  Kids 13 and under are free. Pit passes are $40 each night. Patio seating upgrades are just $5 and fan suite seating upgrades are just $20 over the cost of general admission.

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Local Racing

Pennsylvania Racing Economic Impact Surveys Released

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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: https://forms.gle/XWTehM4nsKGfzTC58

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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: https://forms.gle/vEcZR5XJbQHKPBLLA

Marketing and media professionals have a survey that the MCP is asking them to complete.  Here is a link to that survey: https://forms.gle/EX32bbXubANUaUGr7

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: https://forms.gle/fkhuwgg3EDvFTGuR7

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

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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

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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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