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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.

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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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Motorsports Council Of Pennsylvania Aims To Help Grassroots Racing In PA

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BETHEL PARK, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The newly formed Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania is gearing up to help grow grass-roots racing in the Commonwealth.

The Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania (MCP) will support racing with advocacy, education and promotion.

“The mission of the Motorsports Council is to support grassroots racing of all forms across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania Executive Director Robert Johnson told The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast.

Those forms include drag racing, motorcycle racing, short track racing (both dirt and pavement) and road course racing.

“It’s time for motorsports to be heard,” said Johnson.  “There are other groups out there.  For example Aviation, they have their own council in Pennsylvania.  Horse racing, they have their own advocacy group.  The focus will be State and Local government affairs and local advocacy.”

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The MCP has several long-team goals including:

  • Promoting the many economic and community benefits of racing.
  • Establishing permanent relationships between Motorsports and Government Officials.
  • Enlisting more public support of grassroots motorsports.

“We want to work better with our County tourism offices across the State and our State tourism bureau,” said Johnson.  “We want to do more promotion of the tracks.  Many of our race tracks across the State are in rural areas, we want to show the benefits the race tracks are having in those rural areas.”

One of the biggest priorities for the MCP is to have an economic impact study done and available for the racing community to utilize prior to the start of the 2021 season

The MCP has already begun identifying funding and tax relief from COVID-19 to support Motorsports tracks, small businesses and other related organizations.

“As Chairman of the Pennsylvania Motorsports Caucus I welcome more input from the racing community”, stated Representative David Maloney (R-Berks). “The Motorsports Council is an excellent idea to support racing.  Pennsylvania has approximately one hundred motorsports facilities and many more businesses which rely on the racing Industry for revenue.”

MCP will be hosting an introductory information call for motorsports organizations Wednesday October 7th at 4:00pm EST. All tracks, businesses, and vendors are encouraged to participate in this call. Visit: RacingPA.com for call information.

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Rahmer Rapid at Williams Grove

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WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (September 25, 2020): Freddie Rahmer, Jr. won the final tune-up at Williams Grove Speedway before the World of Outlaws invasion for the National Open to be held on October 2-3. The win was Rahmer’s third of the season, and him gave him some much-needed breathing room in the points standings. Seeking to regain the track title, Rahmer saw his lead dwindle in recent weeks.

“We got it pretty good from where we were earlier in the summer,” Rahmer noted in Victory Lane. “We are getting close. I don’t know how good I was with the lapped cars. We had a few things go our way tonight.”

One thing that definitely went Rahmer’s way was the dash. His win over Robbie Kendall put him on the pole for the A Main, which Rahmer led from start to finish. T.J. Stutts lined up beside Anthony Macri, who is still searching for his first career win at the speedway. Brian Montieth and Lance Dewease were in row three. Dewease, who is seeking career win 100 at the track, was unable to finish the dash and his crew had to hustle to make repairs before the feature started. Brent Marks and Brian Brown occupied row four, with Chad Trout and Dylan Cisney in row five.

Rahmer jumped out front at the drop of the green for the 25 lap race. He never looked back and he never slowed down, as the race ran without interruption.

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Stutts moved into second on the opening lap, but Kendal got his momentum going on the top, and he was able to take over second just a few laps into the contest. Macri rode along in third, with Brown, Montieth, and Dewease fighting for position. That race within the race would not last for long as Dewease pulled in soon after the halfway mark.

Danny Dietrich, Rahmer’s biggest challenger for the track title, did a 360 in turn two with just a couple of laps remaining. That miscue was costly, as he lost several positions in the running order.

In the final rundown, it was Rahmer over Macri, Marks, Kendall, and Montieth. Stutts led the next quintet, which included Brown, Matt Campbell, Dietrich, and Kyle Reinhardt.

Heat wins went to Rahmer, Dewease, and Macri. The B Main winner was Jeff Halligan. The evening’s fastest qualifier was Stutts, with a lap of 16.629 seconds.

In the 358 Sprint undercard, Derek Locke won the battle and the war. His third season win clinched the track championship. His challenger, Kevin Nouse, led the early stages of the race and went on to second. The 2020 Sportsmanship Award winner, Brett Wanner, was third. Steve Owings and Alyson Dietz were fourth and fifth. Billy Heltzel had a vicious crash at the start of the B Main, and he was transported to a local hospital for observation.

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Lysakowski Named New Lernerville Speedway General Manager

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Stivason Photos/Lernerville Speedway

SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Lernerville Speedway officials announced the hiring of Mike Lysakowski as the new track manager in a podcast after the World of Outlaws Commonwealth Clash on Saturday night. Lysakowski, who takes over on October 1, follows Fr. Tim Tomson, who resigned midway through the Covid-adjusted season to devote more time to his ministry.

Lysakowski first met members of the Tomson family soon after they acquired Lernerville Speedway from the World Racing Group. “They attended the promoter’s workshop and I spent a lot of time with them that first year in between the seminars that I was teaching. I wanted to help introduce them to different people in the industry.”

But, as has been the case with other Tomson business ventures, members of the family took an active role in speedway operations. Hence, the appointment of “Padre,” as he is affectionately called, to be the general manager even though he was not familiar with the quirky world of racing.

“We started talking before Tim left,” Lysakowski said. At that time, he was not looking for a major career move, and the Tomson family was not planning any changes either. “I was talking to them about doing programs for the track.” One of Lysakowsi’s many accomplishments in racing is the production of programs for several Western Pennsylvania facilities under his Motorsport Aspects banner. But, the tenor of the discussions changed after Padre’s unexpected departure.

Other than some one-off appearances on the microphone at area tracks, Lysakowski noted that he has never had a racing job so close to his home in New Castle, PA. Most recently, he served as general manager at Jennerstown Speedway and as the announcer at Tri-City Raceway Park.

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Lysakowski was unsure how he would adjust his busy schedule. However, he was emphatic that Lernerville Speedway would be his “first priority,” and that he planned to devote his full-time attention to it. “I will be in the office five days a week, 52 weeks per year.”

Lysakowski did concede that he will cut down on his travel. For years, he traveled far and wide to broadcast races or to call the action. “I don’t want to be on the road traveling any more. It’s OK when you are young and looking for opportunities.”

Lysakowski was appreciative that there would be a few more weeks of racing at the Action Track so that he could familiarize himself with the ownership group, the staff, and the facility. “I have been coming to Lernerville since I was a child. I grew up in the grandstands here.” Lysakowski was proud that, on report card day, his good grades in school would give him more leverage with his parents to attend the weekly programs. His attendance at Lernerville declined as he began working in motorsports media and promotion. But, “I was still coming to Lernerville as a fan.” He knows that things will be different now.

“This is a place that doesn’t need change,” Lysakowski said. He has been in that situation before, when racing series or speedways would reach out to him to rehabilitate their images or improve their attendance or programs. “Everything is on the right course here. I’ve been brought into so many series or places that needed change. This bus doesn’t need a mechanic, it needs a driver,” he summed up.

Lysakowski added, “I don’t see challenges here, I see opportunities for growth.” He plans to use his contacts to the Butler area business community to help promote the speedway. He has established relationships with the Butler Chamber of Commerce and he was a founding member of the Butler Young Professionals, “back when I was young and professional,” he said with a laugh. He believes that his contacts and his enthusiasm can help bring new fans to the speedway.

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