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Redemption For Sheppard On Night Two of Lernerville Firecracker Weekend

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Jason Shank

SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – One night after contact ended his attempt at victory, Brandon Sheppard captured the checkered flag in the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model feature at Lernerville Speedway on night two of Firecracker weekend.

Sheppard survived a late race charge by Sarver’s on Mike Norris to claim his 60th career World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models Series feature win.

“This track was definitely a lot different then what I’m used to, but we were still really good,” said Sheppard.  “I could run the middle-to-high real well, didn’t try the bottom too much, but I felt comfortable down there when I did.”

Sheppard started on the pole position and led all 25-laps en route to the victory.  The battle for the rest of the podium came down to a national legend and a two-time Lernerville track Champion.

Boom Briggs started in the second spot with Scott Bloomquist and Norris making up the second row.  Bloomquist quickly got around Briggs to move into second place.  Norris got around Briggs and set his sights on Bloomquist.

Norris passed Bloomquist on lap 15, much to the delight of the hometown crowd, and set his sights on the leader.  Meanwhile up front Sheppard was navigating lap traffic and “The Crusher Kid” kept hitting his marks, cutting Sheppard’s lead from 2.9-seconds to 1.2-seconds as the laps were winding down.

Sheppard managed to get through the lap traffic just quick enough to hold off the charge from Norris, who finished 10th on Thursday night after starting second.

“This is definitely a little redemption for us,” Norris. “It’s crazy to think that when we started we just wanted to make these features and now we’re disappointed with tenth-place finishes. Tonight felt really great though. We’re in pretty good company up here on this podium.”

Bloomquist brought it home in third position at a place where he’s the only 3-time winner of the Firecracker 100.

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“I love it,” Bloomquist said on Lernerville. “We’ve been coming here for a long time, we’ve had some good runs and won some races. We’ve been making some mistakes with tires that we need to fix tomorrow. Last night we put a hard tire on and that was wrong, tonight we put a soft tire and needed a hard one. At least we know what we’re getting into tomorrow. Hopefully the weather holds off and we can get up front.”

Norris also thinks he’ll have something for Saturday night’s $30,000-to-win feature.

“I think we’ll have something for them tomorrow,” said Norris.  “We’ll see what the weather brings and go from there.”

Sheppard will also be in contention as his car has been strong with a win and a near-win that some would argue was taken away Thursday night.

“I think tonight says a lot for tomorrow, because the big race will probably be a little bit more slicker and I don’t know if it will be this slick or not,” said Sheppard.  “I have a feeling we’ll be between last night and tomorrow on the track. Either way, it’s gonna be a great race.”

The 14th rendition of the Firecracker will conclude Saturday night at Lernerville. Tickets are still available for purchase at the gate.  If you can’t make it, the 50-lap main event will air LIVE on CBS Sports Network at 9:00pm ET.  If you can’t watch it live, set your DVR as Thursday and Friday night’s action was intense.

Morton Buildings Feature:

  1. 1-Brandon Sheppard [1] $6,000
  2. 72n-Mike Norris [4] $3,000
  3. 0-Scott Bloomquist [3] $2,000
  4. 97-Cade Dillard [5] $1,750
  5. 99b-Boom Briggs [2] $1,500
  6. 25z-Mason Zeigler [6] $1,400
  7. 22-Gregg Satterlee [13] $1,300
  8. 29v-Darrell Lanigan [15] $1,200
  9. 18-Chase Junghans [7] $1,100
  10. 0m-Chris Madden [9] $1,000
  11. 18b-Shannon Babb [8] $900
  12. 56-Russ King [10] $850
  13. 72-Jason Covert [11] $800
  14. 28-Dennis Erb [12] $775
  15. 10-Jared Miley [17] $750
  16. 12-Ashton Winger [23] $700
  17. 1x-Chub Frank [16] $660
  18. 20rt-Ricky Thornton [18] $640
  19. 111-Max Blair [20] $620
  20. 7-Ricky Weiss [22] $600
  21. 12d-Doug Drown [14] $600
  22. 2s-Dan Stone [21] $600
  23. B1-Brent Larson [24] $600
  24. 0s-Ryan Scott [19] $600

Lap Leader(s): Sheppard 1-25.

Hard Charger Award: 29v-Darrell Lanigan[+7]

IndyCar

Chip Ganassi Racing unveils Alex Palou’s No. 10 DHL Honda

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Photo: Chip Ganassi Racing

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing unveiled the livery for two-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Alex Palou’s DHL Honda on Tuesday.  DHL signed on as the primary sponsor this off-season in a multi-year partnership with the team.

The No. 10 car will carry the familiar yellow of DHL’s branding but adds a splash of red that has been synonymous with the Ganassi team for decades.

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“As everybody can see, this is quite the amazing livery,” said Palou. “The No. 10 DHL Honda looks very aggressive, and it will certainly stand out on the track, which is great. I can’t wait to start the season with a run in this livery at Sebring before we kick things off in St. Pete. It’s looking like the perfect livery to try to defend our title in 2024 and I cannot wait to deliver on-track here soon.”

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding takes place March 8-10 on the streets of St. Pete.

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Dirt Racing

Jean Lynch Classic Coming to Lernerville Speedway

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(February 6th, 2024) – Western PA Speedweek and Lernerville Speedway are introducing ‘The Jean Lynch Classic presented by Rustler Sales & Service’ as the cornerstone event of the 2024 Western PA Speedweek. The $4,000 to win, $350 to start event on Friday, May 31st will mark the highest paying Speedweek race since the 2021 reincarnation.

“My family and I can’t thank Tyler Beichner, Lernerville Speedway, and everyone involved with Western PA Speedweek enough for putting this together to honor my grandmother Jean Lynch,” said racer Sye Lynch, Jean’s grandson, in a Facebook post. “Her accomplishments and legacy in the racing world should never be forgotten.  My team and I are working to make this night even more special and memorable for everyone. That’s how “Mrs. Jean” as many called her, would want it.”

Jean Lynch was a pioneer for women in racing with ties to tracks and organizations such as NASCAR, CART, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500, the All Star Circuit of Champions and Ohio Sprint Speedweek, and much more. However, her love for racing never left the local racing scene as she could be found managing, promoting, and renting out tracks all across the northeast. The pinnacle of Jean’s lifelong love for racing came in 2013 when she was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. Lynch is also a member of the Lernerville Speedway Hall of Fame, Pittsburgh Circle Track Hall of Fame, Tri-City Speedway Hall of Fame and DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame.

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Lynch passed away last year on June 30, 2023.

Rustler Sales and Service is teaming up with Western PA Speedweek to be presenting sponsor of the Jean Lynch Classic. Owned and operated by former racer Brian Steinman, Rustler Sales and Service specializes in heavy truck sales, service and towing across northwestern Pennsylvania. Call (814) 214-7023 or visit rustlersalesandservice.net to find out how Rustler’s can best serve you.

JEAN LYNCH CLASSIC PAYOFF:

  1. $4,000;
  2. $2,000;
  3. $1,500;
  4. $1,000;
  5. $800;
  6. $700;
  7. $600;
  8. $550;
  9. $500;
  10. $450;
  11. $425;
  12. $400;
  13. $375;
  14. $375;
  15. $375;

16-24: $

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Local Racing

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Names MINI 2024 Marque Of The Year

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PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – MINI, the iconic British brand, is the 2024 ‘Marque Of The Year’ for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.  2024 marks the third time for the brand to receive the honor, which also occurred in 2004 and 2014.

“Excitement is in the air as MINI and MINI of Pittsburgh takes the spotlight as ‘Marque of the Year’, said Morgan McLane, Motoring Advisor at MINI of Pittsburgh.  “Join us as we revitalize the spirit of motoring, embrace the elegance of the past, and set the stage for a future filled with MINI adventures.”

MINIS will be everywhere this summer in Pittsburgh including on-track both weekends and at all of the PVGP car shows throughout race week, July 26 through August 4.

“This honor is a testament to our commitment to excellence and we can’t wait to share this thrilling ride with the entire Pittsburgh community,” said Jason Karpa, Motoring Manager at MINI of Pittsburgh.

The Classic MINI debuted in 1959 as an inexpensive, 4-person “saloon” that didn’t use a lot of gas or take up a lot of space.

MINIS are no stranger to the race track.  In 1961 British racing legend John Cooper added some horsepower, bigger brakes, tuned the suspension a tweak and the Classic MINI Cooper 997 was born.

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John Cooper’s Classic MINI Cooper and Cooper S went on to dominate the 1960’s race scene, winning almost every international competition imaginable, including historic wins at Monte Carlo in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967.

2024 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Marque Of The Year Poster by Todd Cook.

MINIS will be on the track in 2024 as Mini of Pittsburgh and Vince Longo Jr. team up for the MINI Track Rides program for the 11th year.  Three race-equipped MINI Coopers are custom-wrapped and showcased on the track and at Grand Prix Race Week events.  Longo and his certified racers take riders around the track for an experience and view you can only get from inside a car.

Todd Cook created the 2024 PVGP Poster, which features Bruce Whipple racing his 1962 Austin MINI Cooper S that competes at Schenley Park and Pitt Race. Whipple, from Newton, New Jersey plans to change his race number to 42 signifying the 42nd running of the PVGP to match the poster.

Cook also created a second poster featuring a GT40 in honor of the GT40 60th Reunion the PVGP is hosting July 26-28.

For a complete schedule of events, visit PVGP.org.

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