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Shaffer, Fink, and Seippel Score in Tri-City Opener

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FRANKLIN, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The Tri-City Raceway Park opened under the new ownership of Merle Black and a fabulous crowd came streaming in to watch four classes of racing. Taking the wins were Tim Shaffer in the 410 Sprints, Kyle Fink in the 358 Modifieds, and Josh Seippel in the Pro Stocks. The Mini Stocks were unable to complete their feature due to an electrical problem. They will race two next week.
Much to the delight of the fans, all 28 410 Sprints were given the green flag for the A Main on the big oval. A.J. Flick took command, and he led the way for the first segment of the race. Lee Jacobs passed Flick near the midpoint of the twenty-five lapper. Jacobs began to pull away from the pack.
Unfortunately, a number of cautions closed the ranks. Eventually,  Shaffer grabbed the lead following a restart. Shaffer drove through the middle of the track in turns one and two while Jacobs hugged the inside. Jacobs got a chance to return the favor, but his car would not stick in the middle, and Shaffer was able to resume control.
Shaffer scooped up the $2,000 purse in his first win after being reunited with a former car owner, Scott Grove. Jacobs was second, followed by Flick, Dan Shetler, and Jack Sodeman, Jr., who recovered from a spin. Gary Kreiss was sixth. Dan Kuriger was the hard charger, finishing eighth after starting 17th. He snagged an extra $200 for the effort.
In the 358 Modifieds, Kyle Fink battled with Jeff Schaffer, Jr. Schaffer had inheritted the lead when Phil Vineri, III, and Eric Beggs tangled. Vigneri and Beggs worked their way back to the top five while Fink ran out front. The empire state driver, Vigneri, came up short though, as Fink took the checkers first. Beggs, Brian Sadler and veteran Kevin Green completed the top five.
One of Franklin’s favorite sons, Josh Seippel, scored a win in the Pro Stocks. While Seipple has experience in other classes of reacers, he admitted to being a Stock Car guy at heart. His new car comes with quite a pedigree as it was purchased from Jackson Humanic over the off-season. Humanic is a former champion at the speedway. Curtis Bish and Todd Weldon placed second and third, after passing Rusty Martz, who earned the fourth spot. Wes McCray finished fifth.
Tri-City Raceway Park will race again this Sunday, June 14. The same classes will be in action, with a pair of Mini Stock features on tap.
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Local Racing

Pennsylvania Racing Economic Impact Surveys Released

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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

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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.

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Local Racing

Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek Is Coming Back

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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.”

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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.

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Indy Autonomous Challenge Race Car Unveiled

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Indy Autonomous Challenge/Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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.”

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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.

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