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Matus and Morrow Grab Wins At Lernerville Speedway’s Sprint Car Spectacular

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SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Lernerville Speedway’s Sprint Car Spectacular saw five divisions taking to The Action Track on a gorgeous Saturday night for dirt racing.

Brandon Matus took home the checkered flag and the $2,500 pay day in the Peoples Natural Gas Sprints division.  Matus started on the pole and held off Michael Bauer and a hard-charging Carl Bowser to get the win.  Two-time track Champion Jack Sodeman Jr and Gary Kreiss rounded out the top 5.

Peoples Natural Gas DIRTcar 410 Sprint Feature: (25 Laps)

  1. (13) Brandon Matus
  2. (46) Michael Bauer
  3. (11) Carl Bowser
  4. (91) Jack Sodeman Jr.
  5. (55) Gary Kriess Jr.
  6. (42) Sye Lynch
  7. (20B) Cody Bova
  8. (4N) Jimmy Morris
  9. (33) Brent Matus
  10. (21N) Frankie Nervo
  11. (27K) Jeremy Kornbau
  12. (14) Jeremy Hill
  13. (1R) Gale Ruth Sr.
  14. (23) Darren Pifer
  15. (23c) Gerald Hairhoger
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Zach Morrow was victorious in the RUSH Sprint Car feature.  Jeremy Weaver started on the pole and Morrow started on the outside of the front row.  Morrow grabbed the lead from Weaver on lap two but Weaver stayed right behind him and took the lead back just after halfway.  A caution-flag just past halfway had Weaver, Morrow and RUSH points-leader Brian Woodhall all battling for the lead.  Morrow was able to get back out front with 2-laps to go but it wasn’t over as Weaver and Woodhall took different lines through the turns on the last lap but Morrow was able to hold them off for the victory.

Zach Morrow in victory lane after winning the RUSH Sprints feature at Lernerville Speedway

RUSH Sprint Cars Feature (20 Laps)
  1. (27M) Zach Morrow
  2. (41) Jeremy Weaver
  3. (8B) Brian Woodhall
  4. (27H) Brandon Hawkins
  5. (18) Arnie Kent
  6. (87R) Chad Ruhlman
  7. (9J) Andy Feil
  8. (36) Shawn Smith
  9. (27) Dave Hawkins
  10. (19) Brad Blackshear
  11. (37) Scott Hawkins
  12. (25) Nolan Groves
  13. (23) Kevin Ruhlman
  14. (21) Steve Pedley
  15. (69) Brian Hartzell
  16. (40) Brad Church
  17. (35) Bruce Powell
  18. (33x) Greg Beach
  19. (21) Ryan Fraley
  20. (55) Matt Sherlock-Did Not Start
  21. (10) Brandon Blackshear- Did Not Start

The Allegheny Sprint Tour 305 RaceSaver feature was equally exciting as Ryan Lynn jumped out front early with Kyle Colwell right behind.  The pair made contact on lap 2 and Colwell was able make it past Lynn down the backstretch on lap three.  Will Fleming moved into third place just before halfway, right behind Colwell and Lynn.  Colwell was out front when the caution flag flew on lap 14 when Brian Wright and Chase Metheny made contact.  The restart had Colwell out front followed by Lynn and Fleming.  Jonathan Jones was able to get pas Fleming on lap 15.  Disaster stuck for Lynn on lap 16 when he crashed into the wall coming out of turn 4 and onto the front stretch.  The restart saw Jones take the lead but Colwell took it right back on lap 17.  Jones had to deal with a hard charging Garrett Bard at that point and Colwell was able to get a little distance as he drove to victory.

Allegheny Sprint Tour 305 RaceSaver Feature: (25 Laps)
  1. (80jr) Kyle Colwell
  2. (12J) Jonathan Jones
  3. (95) Garrett Bard
  4. (12) Roger Irvine
  5. (79W) Will Fleming
  6. (88) Greg Dobrosky
  7. (17K) Steve Kenawell Jr.
  8. (21) Rob Felix
  9. (29B) Robbie Bartchy
  10. (28) Brian Wright
  11. (22) George Frederick
  12. (56) Steve Cousins
  13. (31C) Chase Metheny
  14. (4W) Johnny Walker
  15. (34) Adam Noland
  16. (26) Ryan Lynn
  17. (41) Matt Gardina
  18. (347) Nevan O’Donnell- Did Not Start
  19. (154) Shamus O’Donnell- Did Not Start

Bard did taste victory in the 600cc Micro-Sprint feature and Sean McAndrew took home the checkered flag in the 270cc Micro-Sprint feature.

600cc Micro Sprint Feature (15 Laps)
  1. (95) Garrett Bard
  2. (11) Mike Thompson
  3. (22R) Ryan Fredericks
  4. (39) Jon Adams
  5. (98) Jomarie Gagne
  6. (33T) Tom Morell
  7. (45) Morgan Reusser
  8. (4) Jacob Estman
270cc Micro Sprint Feature (15 Laps
  1. (15) Sean McAndrew
  2. (12) Todd Reusser
  3. (25) Ryan McAndrew
  4. (11) Brandon Fredericks
  5. (25D) CJ Davis
  6. (15H) Luke Hails
  7. (3H) TJ Horwat
  8. (1JR) Ricky Tucker Jr.
  9. (10L) Wesley Libert
  10. (1L) Ivan Johnson
  11. (0) Mike Mecklem
  12. (22R) Ryan Fredericks
  13. (27C) Lonnie McConahy
  14. (7) Nick Wirginis- Did Not Start
  15. (33) Tanner Price- Did Not Start
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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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IndyCar

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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