MARKLEYSBURG, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex held a Memorial Day doubleheader weekend. On Saturday evening, Flyin’ Ryan Montgomery had a perfect night in the Super Late Model division, setting the fastest time and sweeping his heat, the dash, and the feature event. On Sunday night, third generation driver Sye Lynch won the 410 Sprint Car race. Both drivers received $3,000 for their wins. However, after four successful programs over a three-week period, Roaring Knob will be dark this weekend, as Pennsylvania State Police asked the speedway to shut down. The track plans to resume racing on Saturday, June 5.
Other winners on Saturday included Braeden Dellinger in the Fastrak Crate Late Models and Drake Troutman in the E-mods. Joining Lynch in victory lane Sunday were Garrett Bard in the Allegheny Sprint Tour 305s and Corey Myers in the 270 Micros.
Ryan Montgomery and Tyler Carpenter were on the front row for the Late Model main, with Matt Sponnaugle and Michael Lake right behind them. Brian Bernheisel and Shawn Jones were in the third row, with Andy Anderson and Doug Eck in the fourth row. Ken Schaltenbrand and Travis Stickley made up row five.
It took two tries to get the race going, but when the laps started counting, it was clear that Montgomery was the man to beat this night. While he was able to lead the way, he could never break free form Carpenter, especially in the first half of the race. Numerous cautions for minor skirmishes kept giving Carpenter opportunities to challenge but he could not cash in on any of them.
Sponnaugle raced along in third the entire distance. But, behind him, things were pretty intense.
Lake and Bernheisel were mixing things up with Stickely, Jones, and Anderson. In the middle stage of the race, Bernheisel got to the fourth position. He started to close in on Sponnaugle in the second half of the contest, but he ran out of laps.
Drake Troutman came on strong in the second half as well. Starting in row seven, it did not take the young man very long to crack the top ten. He made it up to seventh or eighth and it looked as though that would be his place in the final running order. But then he found something extra and started his march toward the front, reaching fifth by the time the checkers waived.
At the finish, it was Montgomery by several car lengths over Carpenter. Sponnaugle, Bernheisel, and Troutman rounded out the top five. Lake faded to sixth. Dylan Lewis, Stickley, Kyle Knapp, and Clinton Herst were the rest of the top ten.
Heat winners were Montgomery, Anderson, Sponnaugle, and Carpenter. Montgomery won the dash. He also turned in a lap of 15.580 to get the bonus money put up for the fast time.
Trevor Collins jumped out to an early lead from his second starting spot in the Fastrak feature. However, Breaden Dellinger moved into second and he chased Collins for the first seven or eight laps. Just before the midpoint of the race, Dellinger made his move in turns three and four. He ducked under Collins to take the lead.
Dellinger then had to fend off the challenges of two-time winner Joe Martin over the second half of the race. Logan Zarin advanced from row six to the third position. Collins held off Michael Duritsky for fourth. Steve Lowery, John Over, Ryan Frazzee, Jennae Piper, and Andy Spooner were the next five finishers.
Collins, Over, and Martin prevailed in their preliminaries.
Drake Troutman went wire to wire in the E-mod fearure. Mitch Thomas rallied from an early spin to claim the second position. Darcy Rex fell back to third in the waning laps. Greg Hauger and Amber Mills completed the top five. Troutman was the heat winner as well.
A draw for the first two finishers from each of the four 410 Sprint Car heats put Landon Myers on the pole with Bradley Howard next to him. Sye Lynch lined up in third, flanked by Billy Dietrich. Then came Shelby Sheffer and A.J. Flick. Tim Shaffer shared row four with Chase Dietz, while Trey Jacobs was paired up with Danny Smith in row five.
Myers got out to an early lead, followed by Howard, Flick, Lynch, and Dietz. They maintained that running order through the first five laps. That was when Tyler Ross rolled to a stop on the backstretch. That stoppage enable Lynch to bolt into second on the restart. Shaffer followed into the fourth spot.
The field completed another five rounds before Danny Smith spun in turn two. The restart saw another move in the lead group, as Shaffer passed Howard for third in turn one after taking the green flag.
Myers continued to set a torrid pace, while Shaffer began to close in on Lynch. Another caution came out just after the halfway mark, as Flick slowed. He drove off the track in turn two, ending his bid for a top ten finish.
Myers completed three more laps as the leader when he, too, suddenly slowed. He came to a stop midway down the backstretch, handing the lead over to Lynch.
Lynch held control for the remaining ten laps of the contest. Although Lynch was able to gain some separation in the race’s longest green flag run, Shaffer came storming back in the last few laps. Lynch had caught some slower traffic and that enabled the veteran to close the margin substantially.
When the lead duo took the white flag, Lynch’s lead had shrunk to just a car length or two. Shaffer tucked in behind Lynch as they raced through turns one and two, and he moved around on the backstretch searching for a spot to make a pass for the win. Shaffer dipped to the inside coming off turn four, while Lynch stayed in the middle of the track. Shaffer got to Lynch’s left rear wheel just as the checkers waived.
Behind Lynch and Shaffer was Billy Dietrich. Dietz turned in a creditable run for fourth. Fifth was Cole Duncan, who passed twelve cars to gain the hard charger bonus for the race.
Jeff Halligan was sixth, followed by Howard, Tyler Walton, Jack Sodeman, Jr., and Ross.
The heat winners were Flick, Lynch, Dietrich, and Sheffer. T.J. Michael looked like he would join that group, but a hard crash in turn one on the final lap eliminated him from further competition. he was unhurt. The pair of B Mains went to R.J. Jacobs and Dylan Cisney.
Layton Wagner and Jason Dolick also flipped in turn four in separate incidents, but neither of them were injured. Wagner was able to make repairs and started his heat and the B Main. Dolick was done after his heat race miscue.
In the Allegheny Sprint Tour feature, Bard made his big move on the opening lap wrestling the lead away from Jake Frye as they raced through turns one and two. Kyle Keen and Brandon Hawkins had ringside seats for that display of power. Kyle Colwell and Justin Clark raced along from their third row starting positions.
Bard , Frye, and Keen had a fairly easy time at the front of the field. Clark, Colwell, Hawkins, and Dave Brown were mixing things up for the next several positions. Their battle came to a halt when Colwell slowed for the second caution of the race, with just five laps to go. While the field was circulating under the yellow, Clark came to a stop as well, so two top contenders were eliminated.
Bard completed the final five rounds without incident, as did Frye and Keen. Hawkins crossed in fourth, followed by John Walp. The next five to the finish line were Brown, Larry McVey, Jacob Gomola, Tyler Cochran, and Don Melair.
The three heat winners were Frye, Hawkins, and Clark. Saban Bibent took his car back to Cincinnati with heavy damage as he crashed from the lead of the third heat. He, too, was unhurt. There was no B Main.
In the 270 Micros, Corey Myers easily outdistanced the other racers. But Brian Borawiec and Todd Ruesser put on quite a show fighting for the second spot, which ultimately went to Borawiec. Steve Dunmire was fourth and Ryan Fredericks was fifth. Federicks and Myers split the heats. There was no B Main.
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.