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Racing Notebook – Saturday, February 15

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Saturday’s Pittsburgh Racing Now Notebook recaps the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway, plus the Cup Series cars held their final practice prior to Sunday’s Daytona 500 and the DIRTcar Nationals finale at Volusia Speedway Park.

Noah Gragson Wins NASCAR Xfinity Opener At Daytona:

  • Noah Gragson took home the checkered flag in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway.  Gragson had a two-car length lead over Harrison Burton and Timmy Hill when Brandon Brown knocked Michael Annett’s Chevrolet sideways and started the wreck that ended the race under yellow freezing the running order.  The victory was Gragson’s first in the Xfinity Series and seventh, as well as third-in-a-row, for car owner Dale Earnhardt Jr’s. JR Motorsports. Daytona Xfinity Results

Joey Logano Fastest In Final NASCAR Cup Series Practice:

  • Team Penske’s Joey Logano turned the fastest lap in Saturday’s final NASCAR Cup Series practice before the Daytona 500.  Logano’s 44.884-seconds (200.517 mph) was 0.001-seconds quicker than Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick (200.512), who was 2nd fastest.  Not every car went out on the track for final practice as several teams, including pole-sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr., elected to skip practice entirely.  Several other teams only turned a handful of laps as the objective in practice varied from team-to-team.  Stewart Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer had the fastest 10-lap average (199.332). Daytona 500 Final Practice
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Jimmy Owens and Mat Williamson Close Out DIRTcar Nationals With Wins:

  • Jimmy Owens picked up his third-straight feature win at the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series race at the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.  Ricky Weiss finished second followed by Kyle Bronson.

  • Mat Williamson took the victory in Saturday night’s Big Block Modifieds feature at the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.  The win was Williamson’s second of the week.  Jimmy Phelps finished second followed by Matt Shepherd in third.  Defending Lernerville Speedway Modifieds Champ Brian Swartzlander finished 21st in the 50-laps feature.

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Dirt Racing

Rahmer Breaks Dietrich’s Stranglehold on Lincoln; Owings Back in Victory Lane Too

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Lincoln Speedway

ABBOTTSTOWN, PA (May 21, 2022): Freddie Rahmer, Jr. won the opener at Lincoln Speedway but then Danny Dietrich took over, reeling off four victories in the 410 Sprint Car ranks. Well, Rahmer came back in style, grabbing his second win of the season and twentieth in his career. Also gracing victory lane was Steve Owings who recovered from a vicious crash a couple of weeks ago to get the win in the 358 Sprint division.

“It’s been a little bit of a test lately,” Rahmer said. He added, “it’s been tough the last couple of weeks, this is a big relief more than anything.” Rahmer struggled after the Icebraker, not even making the race that would have allowed him to slice into Dietrich’s substantial points lead when Dietrich elected to attend a race elsewhere.

Rahmer explained that it was “tricky up on the top,” a sentiment that at least three other racers would echo. Two of them, Michael Millard and Trey Hivner, spun out while leading, and the third, Devon Borden, spun out just after surrendering the lead to Rahmer. Of the latter incident, Rahmer noted “I was lucky to get by him before he had his problem.”

Millard and Hivner had the front row based upon their points averages. Tim Wagaman and Jimmy Siegel were in the second row. Kyle Moody was inside of Borden in the third. Chase Dietz and Rahmer were in row four as the top point chaser to make the handicap. Tim Glatfelter and John Walp were next. Alan Krimes and Dylan Norris made up row six. Buried in twentieth was Danny Dietrich, who had a poor run in his heat race.

Millard took the lead at the drop of the green but his time out front was short lived. He spun in turn four with one lap complete, handing the lead over to Hivner, who did the same thing in the same place on the next circuit. That put Borden on the point for the restart and he would proceed to lead the next nineteen laps.
Borden was setting a rapid pace, but Rahmer was able to stay close. Wagaman settled into third, ahead of Dietz, Moody, and Glatfelter.

Things were unchanged up front for several laps, but Dietrich was making headway. He reached the top ten by lap ten, but further advancement was slower to come.

Rahmer slipped by Borden in traffic to take the lead on lap 22. Boren then spun in the high groove, backing his car into the turn one wall.

Rahmer held off Dietz on the ensuing restart. With the field bunched up, Dietrich was pressing to pass some more cars. An aggressive move by Dietrich in turn four caused some drivers to take evasive measures, and Norris got upside down.

Three Rivers Karting

Dietz thus got another shot at the leader, but he could not capitalize upon the opportunity handed to him with five laps remaining. He chased Rahmer home but he could not challenge for teh win. Krimes charged into third, followed by Wagaman, and Dietrich. The next five finishers were Tyler Ross, Glatfelter, Moody, Billy Dietrich, and Austin Bishop.

The 29 410s competed in four heats, with the won going to Siegel, Moody, Rahmer, and Millard. The consolation race went to Matt Campbell.

Steve Owings had the pole for the 358 Sprint race, which was the first round of the Summer Series. Travis Scott was his dancing partner. Owings led into tun one, but Scott spun whil running second. Because Scott did not come to a complete stop, he was returned to the outside front row starting spot for the second attempt to get the race going.

This was a fortunate break for him, as he kept his car straight in tun one on the restart.

Owings led Scott for the entire 25 laps. Their run to the checkers was slowed for two minor incidents.

Cody Fletcher improved from sixth to third. He was followed by David Holbrook, and Chris Frank. Kody Hartlaub, Matt Findley, Nash Ely, Jeff Rohrbaugh, and Wyatt Hinkle completed the top ten.

Four heats were held for teh 34 358s on hand. Takingthe checkers were Cody Phillips, Holbrook, Hinkle, and Findley. Cameron Smith won the consolation.

Lincoln Speedway will host the Bob Leiby Memorial over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The Central PA Legends will join the 410 and 358 Sprints. Then, on June 4, the much anticipated Steve Smith Tribute race will be held. $19,000 awaits the winner of that one. The USAC East Coast 360 Sprints and the ARDC Midgets will provide the support. June 11 will be the Fallen Firefighters Night in Memory of Brandon Little. That race will be for the 410 and 358 Sprints.

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Dirt Racing

Weather Claims Another Win at Tri-City Raceway Park; No Racing Memorial Day Weekend

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FRANKLIN, PA (May 22, 2022): Confronted with saturated grounds and a swampy race track; and facing the prospect of additional rain, high winds, and colder temperatures; Tri-City Raceway Park canceled the Sunday Thunder program scheduled for May 22. Plus, track owner Merle Black has announced that there will be no racing at the Venango County oval over the Memorial Day weekend.

“We want our racers and staff to be able to spend the holiday with their families and friends. We are concentrating our energies to be ready for a big event, the finale of the Second Annual Western PA Speedweek.”

The June 4 special will pit the stars and cars of the Shawgo Real Estate 410 Sprints against all comers. Last season, Central PA racer and All Star competitor Bobby Howard took the checkers. Other Central PA racers and some travelers were on hand for the re-launch of the popular mini-series and even more are expected this time.

Three Rivers Karting

Joining the 410 Sprints will be the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group 358 Modifieds, the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks, and the RUSH Sprint Cars.

“This will be a great way to start our 2022 season,” Black said. “We hope that the weather will cooperate with us so that we will have a big crowd, a great field, and spectacular racing,” he added.

Watch the website and social media platforms for any changes.

Further information about Tri-City Raceway Park can be obtained by calling the track office at 724-967-4601, or by e-mailing the office at tricityracewaypark2020@gmail.com. Or, you can check the web at Tri-CityRacewayPark.com, or the Facebook page at Tri City Raceway Park. Tri-City Raceway Park is located just a few miles north of Franklin, PA, at 3430 State Route 417 in Oakland Township.

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Dirt Racing

Dewease and Locke Dominate at Williams Grove Speedway

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Williams Grove Speedway

WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (May 20, 2022): Lance Dewease scored his first feature win of the season and 104th of his career at Williams Grove Speedway. Dewease held off a number of younger challengers, each of whom had late race chances to overtake the Hall of Fame driver on restarts. Also getting into victory lane was Derek Locke in the 358 Sprint Car undercard.

Normally, the leader is not happy to see a rash of late-race cautions, but this time Dewease was relieved to get them. “I could run really hard on the bottom for about two laps before the (tire) pressures built up.” When asked if he was worried about having Anthony Macri on his tail for the last restart, with two to go, Dewease responded in the negative. “I got good runs in one and two and again in three and four, and I knew that I didn’t have to change my line.”

Dewease explained that he has been fighting a tight race car of late. “Davey (Brown) wasn’t happy with the car last week, so we came out to get some track time to get ready for next week.” Brown, his Hall of Fame chief wrench, wanted to get the car right for the invasion by the All Stars Circuit of Champions. The touring series will compete against the Possee in the Randy Wolfe Tribute race at the Grove, paying $10,000 to win, before heading north to Port Royal Speedway for the Bob Weikert Memorial weekend. Those races will pay $10,000 and $29,000 respectively.

Williams Grove Speedway experimented with a new race format for this round of the Diamond Series. Time turned in hot laps were used to set the starting lineups for the heats. A pill draw determined the number of cars to be inverted, but Dewease pulled a 0, so the heats had the fastest car on the pole. The first two finishers from each heat were handicapped to the front of the feature field, with the racers being inverted based upon their average earnings per race entered.

So, after winning the opening heat, Dewease was scheduled to start in fourth. He got moved to the inside of row two when his dancing partner, T.J. Stutts, was unable to make the call to stage for the feature event because his crew was feverishly making repairs after his heat race win. Stutts was able to make the race, but he was relegated to the tail of the field.

The pole belonged to the winner of the second heat, Robbie Kendall. On his flank was Brett Shearer. Then came Dewease and his new mate, Devon Borden. Row three had Dylan Norris matched with Chase Dietz. Behind them were Danny Dietrich and Matt Campbell. Freddie Rahmer, Jr. and Steve Buckwalter were in row five, and Dylan Cisney and Justin Whittal were in row six. After a poor heat race finish, Anthony Macri rolled away in position seventeen.

Kendall took the early lead with a hole shot on Shearer. Dewease followed Kendall into second. Norris, Borden, and Dietz all charged past Shearer, who became the first racer to cause the caution to be displayed. Before that happened, though, Dewease surged ahead of Kendall for the lead.

When the race resumed, Kendall was under attack from Norris and Borden. Borden rolled the cushion to take over the second spot, and Kendall got cross-wise between turns one and two, collecting Norris in the process. Rahmer and Whittal were also involved in the skirmish.

Dewease held off Borden on the restart and he was able to open a significant lead on the youngster. Dietz was on the charge after that restart, and he worked his way past Borden for second on lap twelve.

Dietz got his shot at Dewease on a restart held six laps later. With Dewease leading Dietz, Dietrich went to work on Borden, but he could not take the position from him. Meanwhile, Macri was into the top five.

Dietz got another chance to overtake Dewease on lap twenty-one, after Borden stopped his car halfway down the backstretch. Dietz could not make a move on the wily veteran, and he was struggling to keep Macri at bay.

Three Rivers Karting

The night ended for Dietz on lap 23, when he checked up in turn four. Macri reacted quickly and did not run over Dietz as he slowed to a halt. While he was being removed from the speedway, the officials called for a fuel stop.

Now it was Macri’s turn to come after Dewease. But the nation’s leading race winner was no match for Dewease. Dewease got the strong run on lap 24 to give himself some breathing room for the final trip around the venerable half mile.

At the checkers, it was Dewease ahead of Macri by just over two-tenths of a second. Taking third was Dietrich. Cisney made the most out of the final restarts, picking off Lucas Wolfe on lap 21 and getting a good run on Dietrich on lap 23. Although Cisney pulled ahead slightly entering turn three, Dietrich stormed bay on the inside of turn four to hold onto the final podium spot. Wolfe trailed Cisney across teh finish line.

Rahmer Jr., came back through the field to get sixth. Campbell, Mark Smith, Norris, and Kyle Moody rounded out the top ten.

There was no B Main.

The 358 Sprint Cars provided the support this night. Getting the win was Derek Locke for the tenth time in a row! Locke’s remarkable winning streak dates back to September of 2020.

Locke started in the fifth spot and he wasted no time getting to the front. Using the middle groove, Locke passed veteran Frankie Herr for the lead just five laps into the contest.

Young Jayden Wolf charged into second, but he was no match for the speedy Locke. Tyler Brehm and Steve Owing also got by Herr in the final stage of the race.

Doug Hammaker, Zach Newlin, Nash Ely, Justin Foster, and Kody Hartlaub were the next five finishers.

The heat victories belonged to Ely, Herr, and Foster. There was no B Main.

After the Wolfe Tribute All Stars event next week, Williams Grove will open the month of June with the 410 Sprints joined by the USAC East Coast Wingless Sprints. Fan appreciation night will be held June 10, with all fans allowed to visit the pit area before the 410 and 358 Sprints fire off. The USAC National Sprint Tour will join the 410s on June 17. Then Williams Grove will host the first night of Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speed Week on June 24.

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