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Racing Notebook: Monday, June 15: Racing Opens This Weekend At 2-Local Tracks And More!



Mike Norris

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Monday’s Racing Notebook rejoices in the return of racing in front of fans this weekend at Lernerville & PPMS plus we take a look at a new date for the All Star Circuit of Champions visit to Port Royal Speedway; Six tracks sign on for the inaugural RUSH Karting Series and we look back at this weekend’s NASCAR action at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Lernerville And PPMS Opening Night’s This Weekend:

  • Two of Western Pennsylvania’s favorite tracks, Lernerville Speedway & Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, are starting their 2020 seasons this coming weekend after being forced to postpone several weekly and special events due to COVID-19.  Check out our story here and keep checking back this week as we follow up with both tracks in regard to fan guidelines.

New Date For Keith Kaufman Classic At Port Royal Speedway:

  • The Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 and Port Royal Speedway have set a date for the rescheduled Keith Kaufman Classic.  The All Stars will visit the will visit the ‘Speed Palace’ on Wednesday, June 24. Originally slated for April, the one-day barn burner between the All Stars and the infamous Pennsylvania Posse will award a $6,000 top prize.  Thursday, June 25, will be the rain date if needed.  For more information visit

Six Tracks To Debut RUSH Karting Series In 2020: 

  • Six race tracks have signed-on to participate in the inaugural RUSH Karting Series in 2020.  The six tracks are Blanket Hill Speedway in Kittanning, Lockhart Motorsports Park in Seneca, PA., Naugle Speedway in Coraopolis, PA, Pittsfield Championship Karting Association in Pittsfield, PA, Shaffer Speedway in Aliquippa, PA and Stateline Speedway Karts in Busti, NY.  The RUSH Karting Series will feature four different classes: Amateur/Rookie for 5-7 year olds or 8-year-olds with no experience; Jr-1 for kids 8-11; Jr-2 for kids 12-15; and Adult Flat class for those 16 and older.  All of the classes will compete for separate Weekly Series Championships that all total more than $8,500.
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Hamlin Takes NASCAR Cup Win At Homestead-Miami Speedway:

Briscoe & Burton Score NASCAR Xfinity Wins at Homestead-Miami:

  • Chase Briscoe and Harrison Burton were victorious in the NASCAR Xfinity Series races this past weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Briscoe took the victory on Sunday holding off Brandon Jones in double overtime.  Burton captured the checkered flag on Saturday crossing the start/finish line first in a three-wide battle with Austin Cindric and Noah Gragson.

HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA – JUNE 13: Harrison Burton, driver of the #20 DEX Imaging Toyota, races Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 PPG Ford, and Noah Gragson, driver of the #9 PUBG MOBILE Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Hooters 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on June 13, 2020 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Kyle Busch Wins NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series Race:

  • Kyle Busch won his 58th career NASCAR Truck Series race Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Busch crossed the start/finish line 2.847-seconds ahead of Tyler Ankrum, Ross Chastain, Chase Elliott and Johnny Sauter in a dramatic final restart with six laps remaining.
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Local Racing

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:

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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:

Marketing and media professionals have a survey that the MCP is asking them to complete.  Here is a link to that survey:

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:

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



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



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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