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Spithaler Sprint Star at Tri-City Raceway Park

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Photo Courtesy: Mark Swanson

FRANKLIN, PA (June 14, 2020): Brandon Spithaler scored an impressive 410 Sprint Car victory in the second round of action at Tri-City Raceway Park on Sunday evening. Joining him in celebrating wins were Tom Holden in the 358 Modifieds, Rod Laskey in the Pro Stocks, and Dillon Speer in the Mini Stocks.

Under Tri-City rules, the first several rows of each feature event consist of the drivers who excel in their respective heat races. Brandon Spithaler wound up on the pole courtesy of Brandon Matus who was tasked with the responsibility to pull the pills that determined the starting order for the Sprint Cars. “I knew when I pulled the number one pill for him that he was going to be tough,” lamented Matus. His concerns were indeed valid, as Spithaler absolutely dominated the race from start to finish.

“This track was perfect tonight,” Spithaler said. “If Tri-City was like this every week, I would love it.” Conditions were much more to his liking compared to the previous week, when the track was smooth and slick, and he struggled to a sixth place finish. Sunday’s track was moist and a little choppy, giving Spithaler the opportunity to “cowboy up” as one of his competitors put it.

Spithaler jumped out front at the drop of the green. Tim Shaffer moved from fourth to second on the opening lap. However, Spithaler knew that the Steel City Outlaw was stalking him when he saw Shaffer’s number 28 on the scoreboard while the field was pacing under a caution. That did not rattle Spithaler, though. Instead, it incentivized him. He drove even harder to keep Shaffer at bay. Spithaler’s car worked to perfection regardless where he put it as he picked his way through lapped traffic during the second half of the race. His pace was so frenetic that he lapped all the way through the fifth position!

Following Spithaler and Shaffer were Jack Sodeman, Jr., Lee Jacobs, and Dan Kuriger. Once again, Kuriger passed plenty of cars. He started deep in the pack, eighteenth to be exact. Unfortunately for him, there was no hard charger award given this night.

Brandon Matus, Jared McFarland, Cody Bova, Gary Kriess, Jr., and Darren Pifer completed the top ten.

Heat wins for the 28 cars on hand were won by Brandon Matus, Jacobs, and Shaffer. There was no B Main as promoter Merle Black once again allowed all cars to start the feature event.

Tom Holden scored the emotional win in the 358 Modifieds. He dedicated the triumph to two family members who recently passed. One of them was his father, a former sprint car driver who never won a race at Tri-City despite years of trying. Holden’s car carries a picture of his late father on the right rear quarter panel, and Tom proudly said that his dad finally made it to victory lane at the track.

To earn the win, Holden had to pass Eric Beggs, who led from the start. Holden got his chance following a restart on lap twelve. Beggs entered turn one on the inside groove and Holden drove by him on the outside. That surprised Beggs, as Holden had been using the low line prior to the restart and Beggs changed up his own line in an effort to slow Holden’s advance.

Taking third was Travis Shingledecker, who was subbing for his brother, Jeremiah, who had other commitments for the evening. Kevin Green scored his second top five finish of the season, followed by Jeff Schaffer, Jr.

Three Rivers Karting

Positions six through ten went to Richard Whitney, Ryan Riffe, Shawn Fleeger, D.J. Schrader, and Brandon Ritchey.

Schaffer and Beggs were victorious in their heats. There was no B Main. Last week’s winner, Kyle Fink, was the first driver eliminated from the race when he struck the water barrels lining the outside wall between turns one and two.

In the Pro Stock contest, Curtis J. Bish took the early lead from last week’s winner, Josh Seippel, and then he had to hold off Rod Laskey. Although Laskey was scored as the leader on one lap in the middle of the race, it was Bish who seemed to have control. But, Laskey was determined and he came storming back on the final lap. He made a bold move coming through turn four on the final round to steal the win from Bish.

While Bish and Laskey were fighting for the lead and the win, Jackson Humanic was lurking in third. Neither of his rivals faltered, and Humanic was forced to settle for the podium finish. Curt Bish was fourth and Seippel crossed in fifth.

Tyler Wyant, Pat Fielding, Blaze Myers, Josh Blum, and Chase Lambert completed the top ten.

Heat wins went to Custis J. Bish and Bobby Whitling. There was no B Main.

The Mini Stocks got to open and close the racing action this night. First up was the remaining ten laps from last week’s feature for the class. That race had to be cut short due to a power failure that darkened the long back stretch. The winner of that event was Dillon Speer, and he would go on to claim the honors in the nightcap as well. Speer also won his heat race, making for a clean sweep of Mini Stock action.

In the opener, Kyle Janas was second, but he crashed in the final event of the night. Emily Stoyer was third, followed by Shane Shook and Jesse Armstrong.

In the finale, Dillon’s cousin, Dalton Speer, was the runner-up. Patrick Hanlon crossed in third, with Bondy Stoyer and Justin Bailey rounding out the top five.

Dillon Speer and Patrick Hanlon captured the preliminaries. There was no B Main.

Tri-City Raceway Park will be in action again on June 21, with 410 Sprints, 358 Modifieds, and Mini Stocks topping the card. Joining the fun will be the Vintage Modifieds. In celebration of Father’s Day, all men will get a free popcorn.

Dirt Racing

Marks Makes Posse Proud

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WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (July 24, 2021): Brent Marks declared his allegiance to the Pennsylvania Posse in victory lane at Williams Grove, much to the delight of the substantial crowd on hand for the finale of the 20th Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway, The fans were in a forgiving mood because, regardless of affiliation, he was the first Pennsylvania driver to defeat the World of Outlaws at the Grove in over two years.

Marks was a bona fide member of the Posse before leaving to spend a couple of seasons with the Outlaws. For 2021, his plan was to follow the All Stars Circuit of Champions aboard the CJB Motorsports entry. However, the driver from Myersdale, PA is back in his family-owned Sprint after parting company with the CJB team earlier this season. While Marks spends most of his time racing locally, he does wander off on occasion, such as his recent journey to Eldora Speedway for the King’s Royal events last week.

“The track was very tricky tonight,” Marks said. “We had a lot of trouble with lapped cars,” he added. He also acknowledged his good luck, as he twice lost the lead to last night’s winner, Sheldon Haudenschild. The two lead changes occurred well before the scoring loop and neither was counted as official. On one occasion, Marks was bailed out by a caution for one of those troublesome lapped cars and, on the other, Haudenschild popped a wheelie going down the back stretch after taking the green and Marks gathered himself back up to drive past while Haudenschild fought to regain control.

Haudenschild positioned himself for a repeat performance, starting the thirty lapper on the pole. Donny Schatz was on his flank. Lance Dewease got to start seven rows closer to the front this night, and Marks was lined up next to him. David Gravel was in the third row, along with Carson Macedo. Anthony Macri and Lucas Wolfe had row four, and Aaron Reutzel was matched with Troy Wagaman, Jr. Devon Borden and James McFadden were in row six.

Schatz got the early advantage over Haudenschild, Marks, Dewease, and Macedo. By the time the field got to the scoring loop, though, Marks was into second, and Macedo moved ahead of Dewease.

Schatz reached lapped traffic quickly, catching the backmarkers on lap six. Soon thereafter, Marks was on his tail. Marks took a run at the leader, but could not make the pass. He came back in turn one on lap eight, but he got up over the cushion, and he lost second to Haudenschild briefly. Marks rallied back in turn two and regained second heading down the back stretch.

A couple of laps later, Macedo took a look to the inside of Haudenschild for third. Macedo could not make the pass in turn four and Haudenschild scooted away.

Three Rivers Karting

The top six got into single file formation as they worked through traffic. Schatz was the leader, followed by Marks, Haudenschild, Macedo, and Dewease. Gravel and Mcfadden were battling for sixth, with Macri lurking close behind them.

Marks made a bid for the lead in turn one with twenty laps completed. He slid up ahead of Schatz to a thunderous ovation. Haudenschild repeated the maneuver two laps later to take second.

Haudenschild began to catch Marks, who was having his share of troubles with the slower cars he encountered. Haudenschild dove low into turn one and made a slide job to get past Marks. Unfortunately, Freddie Rahmer, Jr. was up on the cushion, and Haudenschild could not clear him. There was contact and Rahmer got into the heavy dirt above the groove. As he came to a stop on the outside of turn two, Haudenschild darted toward turn three.

The resulting caution put Marks back on the point for the restart, but Haudenschild was not quite done yet. When racing resumed, he tried another slider on Marks, but he could not complete the pass. He got a good run off the inside of turn two and surged ahead. As he was doing so, the front wheels raised up and Haudenschild had to struggle to maintain control. He did, but Marks was able to motor by him heading toward turn three.

While that action was going on up front, Dewease dropped to the inside and he tried to pick off Macedo in turn one. He got alongside, but lost his momentum. Macedo pulled away, and now Dewease was under attack from McFadden and Gravel. The cluster of three came off turn four and Dewease was stuck in the middle, fighting to save his position in the top five. He was successful, but he could not catch Macedo in the remaining laps to attempt another pass.

Marks made the appointed rounds without further challenge from Haudenschild. Third went to Schatz, followed by Macedo and Dewease. Macri grabbed sixth in the final laps. McFadden was seventh, then came Gravel, Reutzel, and Wolfe.

The four heat winners were Haudenschild, Marks, Macri, and Macedo. The dash victor was Haudenschild who also set the fastest time in qualifying, at 17.262 seconds. The B Main winner was Logan Schchart, who also garnered the hard charger award. He advanced nine positions in the A Main.

Williams Grove Speedway will return to action on July 30, with a Sprint Car Doubleheader. The 410s will be joined by the 358s on York Racing Club night. The Billy Kimmel Memorial will be held on August 6, featuring the 410 Sprints and the Super Late Models.

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Dirt Racing

Chappel, Duritsky, Ruhlman and Wolbert winners on Friday at Lernerville

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SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Issac Chappel passed Carmen Perigo on Lap 6 and never looked back to take the win in the BOSS Wingless Sprint Car Series 25-lap main event.  The win was the fifth in-a-row for Chappel in the BOSS Series.

Mike Duritsky picked up his first career win at ‘The Action Track’ by holding off Will Thomas and Logan Zarin to capture the RUSH Late Model Series feature.  Daryl Charlier and Joe Martin rounded out the Top 5.

Three Rivers Karting

Chad Ruhlman fought off Blaze Myers to pick up the win in the RUSH Sprint Car Series feature.  John Mollick was third followed by Gale Ruth and one of several drivers pulling double-duty, Zach Morrow.

Chas Wolbert collected his 40th career feature victory going wire-to-wire in the RUSH Sportsman Modified feature.  Ben Easler was second.  Justin Shea rounded out the podium.

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Dirt Racing

Li’l Haud Happy at the Grove

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Photo: Paul Arch

WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (July 23, 2021): Sheldon Haudenschild took his career first checkered flag at Williams Grove Speedway on the opening night of the Summer Nationals. While the driver from Wooster, OH gladly took the $10,000 purse, current Williams Grove points leader, Lance Dewease, won the hearts of the Pennsylvania faithful with a remarkably strong run from seventeenth to second.

Haudenschild, who joined his father, Jac, as a World of Outlaws victor at the Grove, expressed relief that he was finally able to get a win at the speedway. “I feel like I have a lot of laps around this place, but I could never get that win. We’ve been close, but it feels great to finally pull one off. Makes it sweeter that the 69 (Dewease) was behind us.”

Haudenschild had the pole for the twenty-five lap preliminary feature. Anthony Macri had the local contingent stoked with his second place starting spot. James McFadden lined up third, with David Gravel in fourth. Chad Trout rolled off in fifth, with Donny Schatz next to him. Aaron Reutzel and T.J. Stutts made up row four, with Brent Marks and Kraig Kinser in row five. The sixth row belonged to Brad Sweet and Logan Schuchart.

Haudenschild blasted off turn four into the lead, while Macri had some difficulty getting up to speed. Gravel and McFadden got by him by the first corner and Schatz and Stutts were hounding him. A quick caution for Jeff Halligan facing the wrong way in turn two caused a realignment, but Haudenschild again got away cleanly.

Macri lost another position in the early going, this one to Schatz, but his misfortunes continued. By lap five, he dropped to seventh. But things would get worse for the driver seeking his first 410 win at the Grove. Aaron Reutzel got sideways coming through turn four and Macri clipped him as he went by. Macri spun to the inside and his car was struck by Stutts, who did a slow roll bringing out the red. None of the drivers were injured and both Reutzel and Macri were able to return after making some hasty repairs.

That stoppage proved to be the last of the contest. But it was significant for another reason. It moved Lance Dewease into the eighth position for the restart and it brought the rest of the field back to him.

Three Rivers Karting

When the green light came on again, Haudenschild resumed his lead and he continued to ride the cushion. McFadden stayed within striking distance, while Gravel was keeping Schatz at bay.

But all eyes were glued on the blue machine of Dewease. Using his customary low line, Dewease was making some progress until he reached the car of Carson Macedo. Macedo was using the low line as well and it took Dewease several laps to get by him. However, once he completed the pass, there was no stopping Dewease.

Dewease reached the top five on lap 18, and the best was yet to come. He caught and passed Schatz with two to go and he did the same to McFadden on the white flag lap. While Dewease was closing in on Hadenschild, the Posse fans were hoping for a caution that would set up a dash for the cash.

Their hopes were not fulfilled and Haudenschild streaked under the checkered flag for the win. Dewease crossed in second, making the fans wonder what might have been had he started closer to the front.

“The driver put us behind in qualifying,” Dewease confessed. “We were able to pass cars; we’ve been able to pass cars all year here. But, it was twenty-five laps, that’s all that matters, and Sheldon won it.” Dewease noted that he had some difficulty getting by Macedo and Schatz, both of whom were using his preferred line, but he was pleased to make his charge from the ninth row to second. He received a $250 bonus for beingthe hard charger. Dewease was grateful, but he proclaimed that he did not want that award again on Saturday night.

McFadden claimed the other podium spot, followed by Schatz and Marks. Positions six through ten went to Gravel, Macedo, Sweet, Schuchart, and Danny Dietrich.

The four heat wins went to Schatz, Trout, Stutts, and Macri. Haudenschild won the Dash and Wayne Johnson took the B Main. Haudenschild also set the fastest time of the night, 17.104 seconds. Trout was second, followed by Stutts and Macri.

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