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Big Pittsburgher 100 Weekend at PA Motor Speedway

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Steve Skarupa Photography

IMPERIAL, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A huge weekend of racing is on tap this at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway with the 31st Annual Pittsburgher 100, the Bill Hendren Memorial and Betsy Kriegisch Memorial.

The racing gets underway on Friday with six divisions of racing taking to “Dirt’s Monster Half-mile” including the Diehl Automotive RUSH Late Model Dirt Touring Series, the RUSH Sportsman Modified Dirt Series, the PPMS Pro Stocks, the Keystone Coach Works Hobby Stocks, the Four Cylinders, and the Young Guns.

In addition to those divisions Friday will also see the qualifying events (heats & dash) for the RUSH Late Model Dirt Series Bill Hendren Memorial and the RUSH Sportsman Modified Dirt Series Betsy Kriegisch Memorial.

Saturday, October 5, will feature the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series with a full program including the 100-lap 31st Annual Pittsburgher 100. The single-day event for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will include a complete program of Miller Welders Time Trials, Heat Races, and B-Mains – highlighted by a 100-lap, $20,000-to-win feature event.

Saturday will also feature the 40-lap Bill Hendren Memorial for the RUSH Late Model Dirt Series, and the 2nd Annual Betsy Kriegisch Memorial for the RUSH Sportsman Modified Dirt Series.

Bill Hendren, the patriarch of the Hendren family and founder of Hendren Racing Engines, had the foresight to begin building his affiliation with crate racing. As many of his open engine customers looked to crate racing as an opportunity to continue racing, Bill began offering free advice via the well known 4M.net message board. As the concept grew throughout the country, his generosity and expertise were rewarded as many of those who had utilized his knowledge, in the beginning, utilized him as their engine rebuilder as their needs arose. Bill passed away on March 19, 2011, but his legacy and dedication to crate racing lives on through his sons, Steve and Mike, as the Hendren’s are recognized throughout the entire country as a leader in this specialized form of racing as they continue to operate Hendren Racing Engines.

“I look back to several years ago to a surprise phone call I received from Steve Hendren expressing interest in having a memorial event for his late father Bill Hendren in conjunction with a RUSH Touring event,” explained RUSH Director Vicki Emig. “Although I never knew Bill Hendren personally, I certainly was well aware of his pioneering spirit and great success in the world of GM Performance crate engine racing. And now to have the Hendren Family allow us to hold their patriarch’s ‘only’ memorial event of the year under the RUSH banner is truly an honor!”

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“My family and I are looking forward to returning to Pittsburgh for the ninth annual ‘Bill Hendren Memorial’,” stated Steve Hendren. “This year will mark the first time that my mother Bettie will be able to attend this event in Pittsburgh, and it will be the first time she’s been able to attend a RUSH event as well. As a family, we decided to move all future memorial races to the RUSH Racing Series, and we hope to continue our bond with PPMS as well. The professionalism of RUSH, PPMS, and the racers in the RUSH series is second to none. We would like to thank all of our sponsors for this event.”

“The Miley Motor Sports family is honored to host the Bill Hendren Memorial during the Pittsburgher 100 weekend again,” expressed Matt Miley. “Bringing back the Pittsburgher was a dream of Red Miley’s when he founded Miley Motor Sports. He always strived to make the Pittsburgher bigger and better and we’re again taking the event to another level, honoring another man who made a difference in our sport, Bill Hendren. I’m sure both are smiling down upon us.”

Daryl Charlier has won the last two “Bill Hendren Memorial” races at PPMS, while John Mollick won the event in 2016. Charlier and Mollick will be two of the favorites trying to stop Kyle Lukon, who has won both of the PPMS Sweeney Tour races this year including “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance and the “Jook George Steel City Classic”. Lukon’s wins accounted for more than $13,600!

Betsy Kriegisch, the mother of RUSH Sportsman Modified racers Chelsie and Jessica Kriegisch, passed away after an extended illness on February 21, 2018, at the age of 57. She was a strong supporter of both her daughters’ efforts and by their side as they rose to prominence in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Both girls quickly became competitive and fan favorites. A memorial event as a Hovis Weekly Series show was put together and held last year at Pittsburgh that attracted an all-time Pittsburgh record count of 26, and was won by Rocky Kugel.

“This is going to be a tremendous weekend for RUSH,” said Emig. “To have both RUSH classes share the spotlight with the Lucas Oil Late Models is tremendous via the $5,000 to-win ‘Bill Hendren Memorial’ for the Late Models and the ‘Betsy Kriegisch Memorial’ for the Sportsman Modifieds. Through the gracious donations of so many people, we’ve been able to grow this event into the richest Sportsman Modified race in the history of the region. We have to thank Miley Motor Sports for allowing us to showcase our division at one of the region’s biggest events, and this will also be the RUSH Mods first-ever Tour race at the ‘Monster Half-Mile’.”

The pit gates at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway will be open from at Noon on Friday and all day on Saturday. The general admission gates are set to open at 5:00 p.m. on Friday and 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. A Dirt Racing Outreach service is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., followed by a driver’s autograph session at 4:30 p.m on Saturday. The on-track action will begin at 6:00 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.

Two-day tickets are available for both the grandstands and pits, as well as, a one day ticket for Friday or Saturday only. Visit PPMS.com for pricing and tickets.

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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.

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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.

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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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