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Lernerville Speedway Opening Night Preview

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SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The green flag finally gets a chance to fly as Lernerville Speedway opens Friday night after being unable to open due to State restrictions related to COVID-19.

Friday night’s events will be the first Fab4 Revved up with Marburger Farm Dairy program of 2020, which features The Peoples Gas DIRTcar Sprints, Precise Racing DIRTcar Late Models, Diehl Automotive DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds and the Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar/RUSH Pro Stocks.

Jack Sodeman Jr., is the defending Champion in the Peoples Gas DIRTcar Sprint division.  Sodeman beat out Carl Bowser and A.J. Flick in 2019 to pick-up his second track Championship.  A couple of other drivers to watch in 2020 include 3rd generation racer Sye Lynch of Apollo; Jimmy Morris, who finished fourth in the standings in 2019 as well as Ralph Spithaler and Brandon Spithaler, who picked up the victory Sunday night at Tri-City.

Ken Schaltenbrand is the defending Champion in the Precise Racing DIRTcar Late Models.  Schaltenbrand was the runaway winner in 2019 leaving Tyler Dietz, Jared Miley, Colton Flinner and Mike Miller to battle it out for spots 2 thru 5 in the final standings.  Two-time Lernerville track Champion Michael Norris will certainly be a factor all season.  Norris ran a limited amount of races at Lernerville in 2019 because Clint Bowyer Racing tabbed Norris to fill-in for the injured Don O’Neal.

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Brain Swartzlander is the defending Champion in the Diehl Automotive DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds.  The Hall-of-Famer held off Rex King Jr to win his eighth track Championship in 2019.  Rex King was not far behind that duo with Dave Murdick and the elder King fighting it out for third and fourth place.  Keep an eye out for Garrett Krummert and Jeremiah Shingledecker who are also expected to be in the mix in 2020.

Tyler Dietz is the defending Champion in the Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar/RUSH Pro Stocks division.  Dietz and Corey McPherson staged an epic battle that went down to the wire in 2019.  Joey Zambotti finished third in the standing in 2019 and is hoping to improve by two spots in 2020.

Fans will be permitted into the Lernerville grandstands but the must fill-out and sign the COVID-19 waiver, which can be found on the tracks website, www.lernerville.com. The Speedway encourages all fans to print-out the waiver at home and bring it to the track to expedite the process of entering the facility.  All fans will be required to wear masks to enter the speedway and fans will need to maintain social distancing as part of the tracks COVID-19 safety plan.

Pit gates open at 4 p.m. with the grandstands opening at 5 p.m. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m.  Adult general admission is $15, $12 for seniors and $10 for students ages 11-17. Children 10-and-under are free.

Fans that can’t make it to the track can now take advantage and watch the action on Lernerville.TV.  The speedway has partnered with SPEED SPORT TV to bring Fab4 action into homes and onto mobile devices for 2020.

Dirt Racing

Opening Night At Lernerville Speedway Postponed

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SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Western Pennsylvania dirt track racers and fans were revving up their engines in preparation for Friday night’s opening night at Lernerville Speedway but Mother Nature had other plans.

Lernerville announced Friday morning that opening night has been postponed due to weather.

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Opening night will now be Friday April 23 with Fab4 racing revved up by Marburger Farm Dairy.

For tickets and more information visit www.lernerville.com.

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Dirt Racing

Shaffer Scores Again at Lincoln

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Lincoln Speedway

ABBOTTSTOWN, PA (April 10, 2021): Tm Shaffer became the first repeat winner of the season in the 410 Sprint division at Lincoln Speedway. Shaffer caught a break with eight laps remaining in the contest when Chase Dietz failed to clear the leader, Aaron Bollinger, in a daring two for one slide job attempt in turns three and four. Shaffer was able to turn under the wreck in progress and assumed the point for the restart. He was never headed.

Also grabbing checkers this night were Hayden Miller in the 358 Sprint Cars and Scott Shaffer in the Outlaw Vintage Racing Series Modifieds.

Shaffer proclaimed that his new pairing with Heffner Motorsports has the makings of a great team. And, he should know. The Hall of Fame driver has been part of several championship caliber combinations over the years.

“The 16 (Bollinger) was putting a good pace on and I was just waiting for lapped traffic but he was getting away,” Shaffer said. Shaffer called upon his vast experience to get the victory. “Sometimes you just have to wait for it to come to you and it did.” Dietz, however, was impatient, and it cost him dearly. “I hated to see that,” Shaffer said of the accident that handed him the win. “This can be a humbling sport.”

Scott Fisher and Bolliger were paired up on the front row for the start of the 30 lap event run under the track handicapping system. Glendon Forsythe and Dylan Norris were in the second row. Tim Glatfelter and Shaffer occupied row three. Opening day victor, Tim Wagaman, lined up beside Dietz, while Austin Bishop and Tyler Ross started in row six. Poor heat race performances relegated Kyle Moody, Brandon Rahmer, Jimmy Siegel, Freddie Rahmer, Jr., Matt Campbell, and points leader Alan Krimes to the second half of the starting order. Also mired in the back of the field was Danny Dietrich who arrived late after racing at Port Royal Speedway earlier in the night. Dietrich was able to tag the tail of the third heat and wound up seventh in his qualifier.

Bollinger seized the early lead and it looked as though he was going to give himself a belated birthday present. He raced out front up until the mishap with Dietz on lap 22. Shafer bolted into second on the opening lap and he chased the younger driver throughout. Fisher, Norris, Glatfelter, and Forsythe followed.

As Fisher was falling back, Dietz was coming forward. He reached the top five with just five laps down. In five more rounds, he was fourth. At the halfway mark, he was third and gaining on the leaders.

Dietz was certainly on the charge as the race entered the stretch run. He got a tremendous run down the backstretch and swooped under Shaffer in turn three. Dietz was carrying plenty of momentum and, when Bollinger bobbled just a bit, Dietz saw an opportunity. Instead of sliding up behind the leader, Dietz continued on the low line and tried to slide him as well. He drifted up as Bollinger was regaining control coming off the cushion. There was impact. Hard impact. It carried both cars up to the wall in turn four. Shaffer was able to check up to avoid the accident.

Shaffer led Glatfelter the rest of the way to get his second victory of 2021 at Lincoln. Norris held off Freddie Rahmer, Jr., who climbed up from fifteenth on the grid. Ross turned in a creditable job to nail down fifth.

Tim Wagaman, Kyle Moody, Landon Myers, Billy Dietrich, and Bishop completed the top ten. It was Myers’ first start of the season and he came from the tail after pitting for an engine problem as the field was pushing off. Also making his first start of the season was Cory Haas in his new ride, the Buzz Wilson 38. Haas also endured a sour motor, but his problem was not corrected and he placed last in the race.

Heat wins belonged to Forsythe, Norris, and Bollinger. There was no B Main.

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In the 358 Sprints, fans expected to see a repeat win by Jeff Rohrbaugh, who started on the outside of row one. But it was the youngster, Miller, who won the race into turn one.

Miller was anxious before the race began. “Before I went out there, I was shaking so bad. I was pacing in the trailer,” he explained. But the nerves never got to him once he was inside the car.

Rohrbaugh fell back to fourth on the opening lap, and would never contend for the victory.

Steve Owings slid into the second spot and he challenged Miller occasionally during the 20 lap affair. However, Zane Rudisill was the one who had the fans excited in the final laps.

Rudisill picked off two racers to get into third on a restart with just a handful of laps remaining. Then he took second and began to close in on Miller. A final caution with three to go gave him a shot at the leader, but Miller was up to the challenge.

“I raced with Zane in the 600s at Path Valley and I know how tough he could be,” Miller said. “The last three or four laps I made the car as wide as possible.”

After Miller and Rudisill came Owings, Kody Hartlaub, and Cody Fletcher, the points leader. Another Cody, Phillips, led the next group of five to the finish line. Jordan Strickler, Matt Findley, Justin Foster, and Riley Emig were next across.

The race was stopped twice for violent flips by Jon Stewart and Brett Strickler, both between turns three and four. Neither driver was hurt.

The three heat winners were Rohrbaugh, Hartlaub, and Jordan Strickler. Jacob Balliet scored in the B Main.

Scott Shaffer charged from eighth to get the Vintage Modified main win over Wes Cassel and Mark Hahn.

Next week, Lincoln Speedway will present the 18th Annual Weldon Sterner Memorial. The race will pay $6,900 to the winner. Sterner is remembered as the owner of the potent 69 cars driven by Van May. He was also a promoter of Lincoln Speedway for a number of years. Joining the 410 Sprints will be the 358 Sprints. On April 24 there will be a triple header for the 410 Sprints, Central PA Legends Cars, and Mid Atlantic Modifieds.

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Dirt Racing

Billy Dietrich holds off Brother Danny at Lincoln

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Photo: Lincoln Speedway

ABBOTTSTOWN, PA (April 3, 2021): For the second week in a row, a veteran driver got a long-overdue win at the Fabulous Lincoln Speedway. This time, it was Billy Dietrich who last went to Victory Lane five years and three weeks ago. The Biglersville driver scored his third career 410 Sprint Car win to go along with nine in the 358 Sprint division.

Another veteran also scored at Lincoln Speedway this week. Jeff Rohrbaugh earned his seventeenth career victory in the 358 ranks. He has the most wins in that class since its inception.

“That was a hell of a race,” Billy Dietrcih exclaimed after climbing from his car. “We’ve been creepin’ up on it,” he added, noting his consistent finishes so far this season. He attributed his success to improvements in the engine department over the off-season. “We also had a good time trial lap.”

The race was run under the PA Speedweek rules. Under that regime, the fastest qualifier in each heat race are slotted into fourth starting position and the remainder of the cars start heads up. The heat race winners and the fastest qualifiers from each heat get to re-draw for starting spots at the front of the field. The lone exception is if the heat winner happens to be the fastest car to advance. In that case, only one car would make the re-draw.

Dietrich, the third-fastest qualifier on the night, easily made the transfer to the A Main. He then had the good fortune to pull pill number two. Joining him on the front row was Chad Trout, who set the second fastest time of the night. In row two were Danny Dietrich and Troy Wagaman, both of whom won their respective heat races. Row three had the other heat winner, Tim Shaffer, flanked by the night’s quick timer, Robbie Kendall. The current point leader, Alan Krimes, was paired up with Matt Campbell in row four. Last week’s winner, Jimmy Siegel and Chase Dietz started in row five. the Sixth stanza had Freddie Rahmer, Jr. and Tim Wagaman, Jr., the Icebreaker 30 winner.

While Trout led the parade to the first turn, Billy Dietrich rode the rim in turns one and two to grab the lead. Troy Wagaman and Danny Dietrich fell in line, followed by Shaffer, Dietz, Krimes, Campbell, and Siegel.

Wild Bill sailed along out front and began lapping cars early in the contest. Despite encountering the slower traffic so soon, Dietrich was able to stretch his advantage while picking his way through the back markers.

Meanwhile, Trout was holding off the leader’s brother. Dietz was making headway, and reached the fourth spot by the time that the crossed flags were shown to Billy Dietrich. Troy Wagaman and Shaffer were fighting for fifth, with Krimes lurking in their shadows.

The only caution of the race came with 22 of the 30 laps complete. There was debris in turn two.

On the restart, Danny Dietrich blasted into turn one on the outside, while Trout hugged the inside rail. The powerful move put the brothers first and second. Danny closed in on his sibling and he tried both high and low lines to try to overtake Billy.

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“I figured that he was coming,” Billy said about his brother’s challenge. “I was staying on the bottom no matter who was there.” Danny did roll up beside Billy in turns one and two several times in the waning laps, but the better grip was low in those corners. Ironically, the outside line was faster for Billy in turns three and four, and Danny could not get hooked up on the inside at that end of the speedway.

Billy took the checkers as the sixth winner in six races at Lincoln. Danny was second, followed by Trout, Dietz, and Troy Wagaman. Shaffer was sixth, ahead of Krimes, Freddie Rahmer, Jr., Campbell and Siegel.

Glendon Forsythe was the B Main victor. Kendall’s quick time was 13.409 seconds.

Rohrbaugh decided to go racing on Friday. “We pulled the car down from the shelf and put the motor in yesterday,” he explained. “It’s great to be back. A lot of guys said ‘it’s good to see you,’ I said, ‘it’s good to be seen,'” he added with a laugh. Of his seventeen triumphs, Rohrbaugh noted “I’ve been doing it longer than the rest of them, I get one a year or so.” His goal, he added, was to reach twenty, which may be good enough to call it a career.

Riley Emig, a 358 Sprint rookie, had the pole and he jumped out to the early lead. Rohrbaugh quickly moved into second from his fourth place starting spot and he was in position to grab the lead when Emig drifted a bit too high in turns three and four with four laps down.

Rohrbaugh led Emig, Cody Fletcher, Brett Strickler, and Jon Stewart. Fletcher had a scare when his car had an oil leak develop into a flash fire which quickly subsided. Track officials threw a yellow flag, though, because Fletcher dropped enough fluid onto the speedway. Fletcher was able to retain his starting position, though, and he would go on to complete the contest.

Emig’s impressive run came to an end just before the halfway mark. He spun in turn one for the only other interruption in the race.

Rohrbaugh cruised to the win, followed by Brett Strickler, Fletcher, Stewart, and Jordan Strickler. Brett Wanner, Tyler Esh, Kody Hartlaub, Kyle Denmyer, and Wyatt Hinkle completed the top ten.

Heats for the 358 Sprinters went to Stewart, Jordan Strickler, and Rohrbaugh. Mike Bittinger won the B Main.

Next week, the same two divisions will be in action, along with the Outlaw Vintage racers. The scheduled starting time will be 7 p.m., but be sure to check the track’s social media to determine if the start time will be moved up due to adverse weather. The following week, the track will host the annual Weldon Sterner Memorial for the 410 Sprints. Sterner was a long-time car owner and a former promoter at the Pigeon Hills oval.

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