SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series makes their final appearance of the 2019 season tonight at Lernerville Speedway for the Commonwealth Clash.
The season-long points battle is ultra-tight as Brad Sweet holds a slim 4-point lead over Donny Schatz. Sweet has visited victory lane 15-times this season, has 41 Top-5’s and 57 Top-10’s in 63-races. Sweet is the defending WoO fall winner at Lernerville. Schatz has 9-wins, 42 Top-5’s and 58 Top-10’s in 63-races in 2019 and has visited Terry Bowser victory lane 7-times:
Sweet took the points lead after finishing sixth last night at Eldora, earning the KSE Hard Charger award after starting 17th. Schatz had a disappointing night, starting 24th and finishing 17th.
Logan Schuchart (pictured above) comes into Lernerville with momentum after a dominating performance last night at Eldora. Everything went right for Schuchart as he set Quick Time, won his Drydene Heat race, drew the pole position for the DIRTvision Fast Pass Dash and then went out and won it. Schuchart didn’t stop there, he led all 30-laps in the feature to grab his eighth win of the season. The victory left Schuchart fifth in points, eight points behind 4th place Daryn Pittman.
“This is definitely one, coming to Eldora, is one I always look forward to,” Schuchart said. “It’s been really good to us. We just haven’t been able to win one. So, to end our season at Eldora and win one is cool. Especially since I’ve had so many good runs and haven’t won one since 2017. It’s cool to win at this place any chance you get.”
Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup winner David Gravel sits in third place in the points standings, 110-points behind Sweet. Gravel held off Kyle Larson to take home the $25,000 Grand Prize this past July. Sweet finished fourth with Schatz finishing fifth, which should make for an intense battle tonight at The Action Track.
One driver looking to get his first win at Lernerville is Myerstown, PA native Brent Marks. Marks made the Dash in July but settled for a 14th place finish in the feature.
“I think I raced there about 15 times and I finished probably five races,” Marks said. “It’s just one of those places, it bites me every time. I’ve got to conquer that place one day and I will. Hopefully it’s [this] week.”
There have been six races on a 4/10-mille track, so far, this season: Gravel’s win in the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup. Giovanni Scelzi took home the checkered flag on May 24th at The Dirt Track at Charlotte with Schuchart picking up the victory the following night May 25th. Two of Sweet’s wins came at the Jackson Motorplex on June 27th and June 29th. Carson Macedo prevented a Sweet sweep by winning on June 28th.
The Allegheny Sprint Tour RaceSaver 305 Sprint Cars are also on tonight’s schedule.
Grandstands open at 5 p.m. with hot laps starting at 6 p.m. Time trials start at 7:15 p.m. Opening ceremonies and heat races begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for students ages 11-17, Children 10 and under are free. Tickets and information are available at www.lernerville.com.
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: https://forms.gle/XWTehM4nsKGfzTC58
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.
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.”
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.
Indy Autonomous Challenge Race Car Unveiled
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.”
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.