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.
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.
Motorsports Council Of Pennsylvania Aims To Help Grassroots Racing In PA
BETHEL PARK, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The newly formed Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania is gearing up to help grow grass-roots racing in the Commonwealth.
The Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania (MCP) will support racing with advocacy, education and promotion.
“The mission of the Motorsports Council is to support grassroots racing of all forms across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania Executive Director Robert Johnson told The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast.
Those forms include drag racing, motorcycle racing, short track racing (both dirt and pavement) and road course racing.
“It’s time for motorsports to be heard,” said Johnson. “There are other groups out there. For example Aviation, they have their own council in Pennsylvania. Horse racing, they have their own advocacy group. The focus will be State and Local government affairs and local advocacy.”
The MCP has several long-team goals including:
- Promoting the many economic and community benefits of racing.
- Establishing permanent relationships between Motorsports and Government Officials.
- Enlisting more public support of grassroots motorsports.
“We want to work better with our County tourism offices across the State and our State tourism bureau,” said Johnson. “We want to do more promotion of the tracks. Many of our race tracks across the State are in rural areas, we want to show the benefits the race tracks are having in those rural areas.”
One of the biggest priorities for the MCP is to have an economic impact study done and available for the racing community to utilize prior to the start of the 2021 season
The MCP has already begun identifying funding and tax relief from COVID-19 to support Motorsports tracks, small businesses and other related organizations.
“As Chairman of the Pennsylvania Motorsports Caucus I welcome more input from the racing community”, stated Representative David Maloney (R-Berks). “The Motorsports Council is an excellent idea to support racing. Pennsylvania has approximately one hundred motorsports facilities and many more businesses which rely on the racing Industry for revenue.”
MCP will be hosting an introductory information call for motorsports organizations Wednesday October 7th at 4:00pm EST. All tracks, businesses, and vendors are encouraged to participate in this call. Visit: RacingPA.com for call information.
Rahmer Rapid at Williams Grove
WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (September 25, 2020): Freddie Rahmer, Jr. won the final tune-up at Williams Grove Speedway before the World of Outlaws invasion for the National Open to be held on October 2-3. The win was Rahmer’s third of the season, and him gave him some much-needed breathing room in the points standings. Seeking to regain the track title, Rahmer saw his lead dwindle in recent weeks.
“We got it pretty good from where we were earlier in the summer,” Rahmer noted in Victory Lane. “We are getting close. I don’t know how good I was with the lapped cars. We had a few things go our way tonight.”
One thing that definitely went Rahmer’s way was the dash. His win over Robbie Kendall put him on the pole for the A Main, which Rahmer led from start to finish. T.J. Stutts lined up beside Anthony Macri, who is still searching for his first career win at the speedway. Brian Montieth and Lance Dewease were in row three. Dewease, who is seeking career win 100 at the track, was unable to finish the dash and his crew had to hustle to make repairs before the feature started. Brent Marks and Brian Brown occupied row four, with Chad Trout and Dylan Cisney in row five.
Rahmer jumped out front at the drop of the green for the 25 lap race. He never looked back and he never slowed down, as the race ran without interruption.
Stutts moved into second on the opening lap, but Kendal got his momentum going on the top, and he was able to take over second just a few laps into the contest. Macri rode along in third, with Brown, Montieth, and Dewease fighting for position. That race within the race would not last for long as Dewease pulled in soon after the halfway mark.
Danny Dietrich, Rahmer’s biggest challenger for the track title, did a 360 in turn two with just a couple of laps remaining. That miscue was costly, as he lost several positions in the running order.
In the final rundown, it was Rahmer over Macri, Marks, Kendall, and Montieth. Stutts led the next quintet, which included Brown, Matt Campbell, Dietrich, and Kyle Reinhardt.
Heat wins went to Rahmer, Dewease, and Macri. The B Main winner was Jeff Halligan. The evening’s fastest qualifier was Stutts, with a lap of 16.629 seconds.
In the 358 Sprint undercard, Derek Locke won the battle and the war. His third season win clinched the track championship. His challenger, Kevin Nouse, led the early stages of the race and went on to second. The 2020 Sportsmanship Award winner, Brett Wanner, was third. Steve Owings and Alyson Dietz were fourth and fifth. Billy Heltzel had a vicious crash at the start of the B Main, and he was transported to a local hospital for observation.
Lysakowski Named New Lernerville Speedway General Manager
SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Lernerville Speedway officials announced the hiring of Mike Lysakowski as the new track manager in a podcast after the World of Outlaws Commonwealth Clash on Saturday night. Lysakowski, who takes over on October 1, follows Fr. Tim Tomson, who resigned midway through the Covid-adjusted season to devote more time to his ministry.
Lysakowski first met members of the Tomson family soon after they acquired Lernerville Speedway from the World Racing Group. “They attended the promoter’s workshop and I spent a lot of time with them that first year in between the seminars that I was teaching. I wanted to help introduce them to different people in the industry.”
But, as has been the case with other Tomson business ventures, members of the family took an active role in speedway operations. Hence, the appointment of “Padre,” as he is affectionately called, to be the general manager even though he was not familiar with the quirky world of racing.
“We started talking before Tim left,” Lysakowski said. At that time, he was not looking for a major career move, and the Tomson family was not planning any changes either. “I was talking to them about doing programs for the track.” One of Lysakowsi’s many accomplishments in racing is the production of programs for several Western Pennsylvania facilities under his Motorsport Aspects banner. But, the tenor of the discussions changed after Padre’s unexpected departure.
Other than some one-off appearances on the microphone at area tracks, Lysakowski noted that he has never had a racing job so close to his home in New Castle, PA. Most recently, he served as general manager at Jennerstown Speedway and as the announcer at Tri-City Raceway Park.
Lysakowski was unsure how he would adjust his busy schedule. However, he was emphatic that Lernerville Speedway would be his “first priority,” and that he planned to devote his full-time attention to it. “I will be in the office five days a week, 52 weeks per year.”
Lysakowski did concede that he will cut down on his travel. For years, he traveled far and wide to broadcast races or to call the action. “I don’t want to be on the road traveling any more. It’s OK when you are young and looking for opportunities.”
Lysakowski was appreciative that there would be a few more weeks of racing at the Action Track so that he could familiarize himself with the ownership group, the staff, and the facility. “I have been coming to Lernerville since I was a child. I grew up in the grandstands here.” Lysakowski was proud that, on report card day, his good grades in school would give him more leverage with his parents to attend the weekly programs. His attendance at Lernerville declined as he began working in motorsports media and promotion. But, “I was still coming to Lernerville as a fan.” He knows that things will be different now.
“This is a place that doesn’t need change,” Lysakowski said. He has been in that situation before, when racing series or speedways would reach out to him to rehabilitate their images or improve their attendance or programs. “Everything is on the right course here. I’ve been brought into so many series or places that needed change. This bus doesn’t need a mechanic, it needs a driver,” he summed up.
Lysakowski added, “I don’t see challenges here, I see opportunities for growth.” He plans to use his contacts to the Butler area business community to help promote the speedway. He has established relationships with the Butler Chamber of Commerce and he was a founding member of the Butler Young Professionals, “back when I was young and professional,” he said with a laugh. He believes that his contacts and his enthusiasm can help bring new fans to the speedway.