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Steel City Stampede Weekend At Lernerville

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Stivason Photos/Lernerville Speedway

SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The 2019 racing season for the RUSH Dirt Late Model, Sportsman Modified Touring Series and RUSH Sprint Cars will come to a close this weekend at Lernerville Speedway for the 11th annual “Steel City Stampede”.  The “Steel City Stampede” includes most of the region’s racing divisions all showcased in one big event weekend.

This weekend the RUSH Late Models will compete in a Sweeney Marquee Tour event, while the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will battle in a Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Touring Series event and the RUSH Sprint Cars in a Bonnell’s Rod Shop Weekly Series special.

“This is always a great way to end our season,” said RUSH Director Vicki Emig. “Our Late Model racers are always excited to get the chance to compete at Lernerville. The car counts have always been strong and the racing at Lernerville is always some of the best of the season. Our championship annually comes down to this event.”

There has yet to be a repeat winner in the Crate Late Models; past winners include Colton Flinner (2018), John Waters (2017), John Mollick (2016), Jacob Hawkins (2015), Chad Ruhlman (2014), Dennis Lunger Jr (2013), Max Blair (2012), Butch Lambert (2011), Bryan Force (2010) and Josh Holtgraver (2009).

The RUSH Late Models are coming off a very successful record-setting “Bill Hendren Memorial” event as part of the “Pittsburgher 100” at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway two weeks ago where Kyle Lukon won $5,200. Saturday’s event will pay $2,000 to-win. There will also be a $200 to-win, $150 to-start non-qualifier.

Lukon sits atop the points standings for the first time in his career.  Lukon sits three-points ahead of defending champion Jeremy Wonderling.  Michael Duritsky Jr. is third in points and is followed by Braeden Dillinger, Ryan Frazee, and Logan Zarin, who fourth through sixth in points respectively in their first year on the Tour.

Three Rivers Karting

The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds are taking part in their 6th “Steel City Stampede”.  Blaze Myers is your defending race winner.  Steve Slater took home the checkered flag in 2017.  Rocky Kugel was victorious in 2016 and the year before Nick Ritchey took the win.  Greg Martin won the inaugural race in 2014.  The Sportsman Mods will complete their fifth season of Bicknell Touring Series competition and will be featured in an $800 to-win event.

“The Sportsman Modifieds have been given the opportunity to race numerous times over the past six seasons at Lernerville,” said Emig.  “It’s been a great way to continue to grow this division, and we expect a large turnout this weekend.”

Garrett Krummert sits atop the tour standings by 26 over Jim Rasey, who is in his first year of RUSH racing.  Krummert can clinch his second straight title by finishing 22nd or better on Saturday night.  The Hovis Weekly Series Championship is a different story as Krummert, Chas Wolbert, and Rob Kristyak are in a three-way tie for the lead. A win by any of the three drivers will earn them the $3,000 title. If none of the three wins and one finishes second, that driver will earn the title. If none of the three finish in the two top, then Krummert wins the tiebreaker.  The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds have only raced once thus far this season at Lernerville with Kristyak taking the victory back on July 26th.

The RUSH Sprints wrap up their second season by racing in an $800 to-win, $160 to-start feature.  Chad Ruhlman has already clinched up his second $5,000 Bonnell’s Rod Shop Championship.  Ruhlman has won 10 times in 2019, including one of the two Lernerville races.  Gibsonia’s Zach Morrow won the other on August 31 for the “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance, which had an all-time high 21 cars in action.  Morrow, who finished third in last year’s points, sits second over Brian Woodhall, who led the points for much of the season. Jeremy Weaver and Brandon Blackshear are fourth and fifth in points in their first season of Sprint Car racing.

“Lernerville was a very important part of getting our RUSH Sprint division off the ground in 2018, and their races this year at the track have been tremendous,” said Emig.  “We’ll also reward the Lernerville RUSH Pro Stock racers on Saturday with their Manufacturers Night.”

Test and Tun for all divisions took place on Thursday.  Heat Races for all divisions takes place Friday night.  Saturday night’s action features Last Chance Showdowns and Main events for all divisions.

Schedule and ticket information is available on Lernerville’s website, www.lernerville.com.

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Dirt Racing

Kyle Larson Wins at Williams Grove

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Photo: Paul Arch

WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (April 16, 2021): Kyle Larson made his first 410 Sprint Car race of the season a memorable one, capturing the Tommy Hinnershitz Classic at Williams Grove Speedway. Larson, who admitted to having some rustiness earlier in the night, got better as the night went on. He won his Dash, which put him on the front row beside his good friend, Lance Dewease, and then he chased down the veteran who was seeking his 100th career win at the track. Larsen went on to score a convincing win.

Also getting to victory lane was the defending 358 Sprint Car champion, Derek Locke.

“I used to hate this place,” Larson said. His early struggles at the track were well documented. “But, now that I have a fast car here, it’s really fun.” Larson went so far as to say that Williams Grove is now one of his favorite venues. And, why not? In the last twelve months, he tabbed three wins at the track. Larson clearly enjoys racing at Williams Grove and going head to head
with his pal.

“I knew that I had a really good car,” Larson noted. “I was catching (Dewease) at both ends. I showed him the nose in three and he was getting tight.” Larson sailed by Dewease on the outside of turns one and two and never looked back. Still, Larson was concerned that the wily veteran might chase him down in traffic. “He has a lot of laps here,” he explained.

Indeed, Dewease was closing in on Larson until he encountered the lapped car of T.J. Stutts. It took Dewease several laps to get past Stutts and, by then, Larson’s lead was insurmountable.  Dewease noted that his car got really tight as the race went on. “We weren’t very good after that red flag with three laps in. He (Larson) got by me and he checked out.” So Dewease must wait a little while longer to claim the big win.

Dewease and Larson had the front row by virtue of their respective Dash wins. Freddie Rahmer, Jr. and Ian Madsen were in the second row, with Anthony Macri and Tim Shaffer right behind. Kerry Madsen rolled off from row four, along with Tony Stewart, the surprise winner the night before at Virginia Motor Speedway. Tyler Courtney and Zeb Wise were in row five and Paul McMahan and Zach Hampton started from the sixth verse.

Dewease fired first and opened a three car length advantage over the NASCAR star. Ian Madsen held down third, ahead of Rahmer, Shaffer, Macri, and Wise. Dewease maintained his advantage through the first three laps before the red was displayed for Stutts, who turned his car over midway down the backstretch. The damage was minimal, and Stutts was able to pit for some repairs to enable him to continue.

After that stoppage, Dewease resumed command. However, Larson was stalking him and he made several aggressive runs to the inside of turn three. With each successive lap, Larson drew closer. He did pull alongside Dewease in three with nine laps completed and he made the winning move at the opposite end of the track on the tenth circuit.

Three Rivers Karting

Soon thereafter, the only caution was displayed for Cap Henry’s spin between turns three and four. Dewease got to start on Larson’s tail, but he could not capitalize on that opportunity. Larson rolled into turn one without any threat from Dewease and he completed the remaining 20 laps without seeing any light blue flashing next to him.

After the caution, the driver making progress was Rahmer. After falling back a few spots in the first third of the race, Rahmer found some speed in the middle stage of the contest. He regained the third position on lap 12 and he began to close in on Dewease. “The middle part of the race we were really good,” Rahmer commented. “We left a little on the table though.” While Rahmer made things interesting, he could not get close enough to Dewease to challenge for second.

While Rahmer was coming forward, Shaffer started to fall back. Shafer raced in fourth in the early going but gave up several positions over the second half of the race.

At the checkers, it was Larson, Dewease, Rahmer, Ian Madsen, and Macri. Tony Steward was sixth, followed by Shaffer, Kerry Madsen, Courtney, and McMahan.

The heat winners were Ian Madsen, Stewart, Kerry Madsen, and Shaffer. Brett Shearer took the B Main over Danny Dietrich, who made his second engine change of the night in time to start the A Main. Dewease was the night’s fastest qualifier with a lap of 16.316

“It was good to get the year started right,” Derek Locke said about his victory. After starting in the eighth spot, he steadily advanced to the second spot in the early going. He chased Tyler Brehm for five or six laps. The leaders were dicing in traffic and narrowly avoided a spinning car in turn three near the halfway mark. For the restart, Locke slid the wing back a bit and he was able to drive past Brehm easily in turns one and two.

Brehm followed Locke the rest of the way. Chris Frank, Cody Fletcher, and Kyle Denmyer completed the top five. Chad Criswell, Brett Wanner, Matt Findley, Scott Fisher, and Zach Newlin were the next five across the finish line.

Wanner, Brehm, and Denmeyer won their heat races. There was no B Main.

Williams Grove will return to action next week with a Yellow Breeches 500 race night featuring the 410 and 358 Sprint cars. Then, on April 30, the ASCS National Tour will invade the speedway, along with the United Racing Club. These organizations will bring some of the best 360 Sprint racers in the country. The 410 Sprints will also be on the card.

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Dirt Racing

Opening Night At Lernerville Speedway Postponed

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SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Western Pennsylvania dirt track racers and fans were revving up their engines in preparation for Friday night’s opening night at Lernerville Speedway but Mother Nature had other plans.

Lernerville announced Friday morning that opening night has been postponed due to weather.

Three Rivers Karting

Opening night will now be Friday April 23 with Fab4 racing revved up by Marburger Farm Dairy.

For tickets and more information visit www.lernerville.com.

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Dirt Racing

Shaffer Scores Again at Lincoln

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Lincoln Speedway

ABBOTTSTOWN, PA (April 10, 2021): Tm Shaffer became the first repeat winner of the season in the 410 Sprint division at Lincoln Speedway. Shaffer caught a break with eight laps remaining in the contest when Chase Dietz failed to clear the leader, Aaron Bollinger, in a daring two for one slide job attempt in turns three and four. Shaffer was able to turn under the wreck in progress and assumed the point for the restart. He was never headed.

Also grabbing checkers this night were Hayden Miller in the 358 Sprint Cars and Scott Shaffer in the Outlaw Vintage Racing Series Modifieds.

Shaffer proclaimed that his new pairing with Heffner Motorsports has the makings of a great team. And, he should know. The Hall of Fame driver has been part of several championship caliber combinations over the years.

“The 16 (Bollinger) was putting a good pace on and I was just waiting for lapped traffic but he was getting away,” Shaffer said. Shaffer called upon his vast experience to get the victory. “Sometimes you just have to wait for it to come to you and it did.” Dietz, however, was impatient, and it cost him dearly. “I hated to see that,” Shaffer said of the accident that handed him the win. “This can be a humbling sport.”

Scott Fisher and Bolliger were paired up on the front row for the start of the 30 lap event run under the track handicapping system. Glendon Forsythe and Dylan Norris were in the second row. Tim Glatfelter and Shaffer occupied row three. Opening day victor, Tim Wagaman, lined up beside Dietz, while Austin Bishop and Tyler Ross started in row six. Poor heat race performances relegated Kyle Moody, Brandon Rahmer, Jimmy Siegel, Freddie Rahmer, Jr., Matt Campbell, and points leader Alan Krimes to the second half of the starting order. Also mired in the back of the field was Danny Dietrich who arrived late after racing at Port Royal Speedway earlier in the night. Dietrich was able to tag the tail of the third heat and wound up seventh in his qualifier.

Bollinger seized the early lead and it looked as though he was going to give himself a belated birthday present. He raced out front up until the mishap with Dietz on lap 22. Shafer bolted into second on the opening lap and he chased the younger driver throughout. Fisher, Norris, Glatfelter, and Forsythe followed.

As Fisher was falling back, Dietz was coming forward. He reached the top five with just five laps down. In five more rounds, he was fourth. At the halfway mark, he was third and gaining on the leaders.

Dietz was certainly on the charge as the race entered the stretch run. He got a tremendous run down the backstretch and swooped under Shaffer in turn three. Dietz was carrying plenty of momentum and, when Bollinger bobbled just a bit, Dietz saw an opportunity. Instead of sliding up behind the leader, Dietz continued on the low line and tried to slide him as well. He drifted up as Bollinger was regaining control coming off the cushion. There was impact. Hard impact. It carried both cars up to the wall in turn four. Shaffer was able to check up to avoid the accident.

Shaffer led Glatfelter the rest of the way to get his second victory of 2021 at Lincoln. Norris held off Freddie Rahmer, Jr., who climbed up from fifteenth on the grid. Ross turned in a creditable job to nail down fifth.

Tim Wagaman, Kyle Moody, Landon Myers, Billy Dietrich, and Bishop completed the top ten. It was Myers’ first start of the season and he came from the tail after pitting for an engine problem as the field was pushing off. Also making his first start of the season was Cory Haas in his new ride, the Buzz Wilson 38. Haas also endured a sour motor, but his problem was not corrected and he placed last in the race.

Heat wins belonged to Forsythe, Norris, and Bollinger. There was no B Main.

Three Rivers Karting

In the 358 Sprints, fans expected to see a repeat win by Jeff Rohrbaugh, who started on the outside of row one. But it was the youngster, Miller, who won the race into turn one.

Miller was anxious before the race began. “Before I went out there, I was shaking so bad. I was pacing in the trailer,” he explained. But the nerves never got to him once he was inside the car.

Rohrbaugh fell back to fourth on the opening lap, and would never contend for the victory.

Steve Owings slid into the second spot and he challenged Miller occasionally during the 20 lap affair. However, Zane Rudisill was the one who had the fans excited in the final laps.

Rudisill picked off two racers to get into third on a restart with just a handful of laps remaining. Then he took second and began to close in on Miller. A final caution with three to go gave him a shot at the leader, but Miller was up to the challenge.

“I raced with Zane in the 600s at Path Valley and I know how tough he could be,” Miller said. “The last three or four laps I made the car as wide as possible.”

After Miller and Rudisill came Owings, Kody Hartlaub, and Cody Fletcher, the points leader. Another Cody, Phillips, led the next group of five to the finish line. Jordan Strickler, Matt Findley, Justin Foster, and Riley Emig were next across.

The race was stopped twice for violent flips by Jon Stewart and Brett Strickler, both between turns three and four. Neither driver was hurt.

The three heat winners were Rohrbaugh, Hartlaub, and Jordan Strickler. Jacob Balliet scored in the B Main.

Scott Shaffer charged from eighth to get the Vintage Modified main win over Wes Cassel and Mark Hahn.

Next week, Lincoln Speedway will present the 18th Annual Weldon Sterner Memorial. The race will pay $6,900 to the winner. Sterner is remembered as the owner of the potent 69 cars driven by Van May. He was also a promoter of Lincoln Speedway for a number of years. Joining the 410 Sprints will be the 358 Sprints. On April 24 there will be a triple header for the 410 Sprints, Central PA Legends Cars, and Mid Atlantic Modifieds.

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