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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.

Three Rivers Karting

“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]

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Spithaler, Tom Holden, Seippel, and Dillon Speer Prevail at Tri-City

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FRANKLIN, PA (July 5, 2020 – Pittsburgh Racing Now): Brandon Spithaler cruised to his second 410 Sprint Car win of the season at Tri-City Raceway Park. Spithaler benefited form a front-row starting spot, but he had to chase down Darin Gallagher and wrestle the lead away from him in traffic. Once that was accomplished, Spithaler ran away from the field to earn $2,000.

Joining him in victory celebrations were Tom Holden in the 358 Modifieds, Josh Seipple in the Pro Stocks, and Dillon Speer in the Mini Stocks.

Gallagher and Spithaler had the prime starting positions in the 25 lap 410 Sprint Car feature. Jeremy Kornbaugh and Brandon Matus were in the second row, with Jack Sodeman, Jr. flanked by last week’s winner, Carl Bowser. Dan Kuriger started in row four, his best starting spot of the season so far. He was joined by Michael Bauer. Then came Gary Kriess, Jr. and Cody Bova.

Gallagher jumped out to an early lead and, for a while, it appeared as though the Butler driver would snare his first career 410 victory. But Spithaler stayed close while Sodeman, Brandon Matus, and Bowser fought for position.

Gallagher and Spithaler distanced themselves from the rest of the field. When the leaders reached lapped traffic, Spithaler found another groove and picked up speed. He passed Gallagher and opened up a considerable margin while continuing to put slower cars behind him. Spithaler was consistently a half a second faster than his rivals, despite the fact that he was experiencing brake failure.

As the race progressed, Kuriger began to move ahead and soon he was challenging Sodeman for second. Bauer also moved forward while Gallagher began to fade.

Sodeman had several shots at Spithaler in the closing laps due to late race cautions. But Spithaler was up to the task each time.

Three Rivers Karting

At the finish, it was Spithaler, Sodeman, Kuriger, Bowser, and Bauer. Gallagher held on for sixth. He was followed by Brandon Matus, Bova, Brent Matus, and Davey Jones. Jones passed nine cars to reach the top ten.

Tom Holden had the pole position for the 358 Modified feature event, but he had to battle with Lonnie Riggs and Kyle Fink to earn the win, his second of the season. Riggs and Fink each had multiple shots at the leader, but neither of them could deliver a knock-out blow. Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Jimmy Holden, and Kevin Hoffman were also in the mix, but Jimmy Holden and Hoffman got tangled up and had to go to the rear and, then, Holden had another single-car mishap that sent him to the rear. Holden and Hoffman both overcame their difficulties and managed to salvage decent results.

Tom Holden was followed by Riggs, Fink, and Jimmy Holden, last week’s winner. Schaffer was fifth. Then came Hoffman, consistent Kevin Green, Dave Schrader, Jr., Don Cornelius, and Todd Gabriel.

Two was the hot number this night, as Josh Seippel also scored his second win of the season in the Pro Stock division. He had to fend off Curtis J. Bish, Rod Laskey, Leigh Wheeler, and Blaze Myers.

Dillon Speer was also a repeat winner, but this time it was his fourth triumph. Pat Hanlon, Dave Greeley, Terry Feeley, and David Lowe completed the top five.

Garrett Davenport, age nine, drove his Jerry Schaffer Racing entry to victory ahead of Grady Reinhart, Randy White-Majors, Bella Begenwald, and Jacob Begenwald to score his first win in the Junior Sprints.

Tri-City Raceway Park will be back in action this Sunday with a four division show. The 410 Sprints will have the night off in defernce to Sharon Speedway, which will close out Ohio Sprint Speedweek. Taking the place of the winged warriors will be the Super Late Models. The 358 Modifieds, Pro Stocks, and Mini Stocks will also be competing.

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Racing Notebook – Monday, July 5: Weekend Racing Recap and more

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Monday’s Racing Notebook takes a look back at a historic weekend of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as well as this weekend’s local action from Lernerville, Jennerstown, PA and OH Sprint Car Speedweek  plus President Trump wants an apology from Bubba Wallace:

Harvick Wins 3rd Brickyard 400:

  • Kevin Harvick picked up his third Brickyard 400 victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday holding off Chip Ganassi Racing’s Matt Kenseth in overtime.  Denny Hamlin was also one of the strongest cars at IMS on Sunday until he blew a tire late in the race.  Check out our recap here.

Reutzel Wins At Fremont Speedway:

  • Aaron Reutzel was victorious on Sunday at Fremont Speedway in the Ollies Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions feature. Paul McMahan finished second and Lee Jacobs finished third.  It was the third straight podium finish for Reutzel in Ohio Sprint Speedweek competition.

Scott Dixon Wins GMR Grand Prix at IMS:

  • PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon started off the historic INDYCAR/NASCAR tripleheader at IMS on Saturday by capturing the checkered flag in the GMR Grand Prix.  Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal was second followed by Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud.  Check out our recap here.

Chase Briscoe Wins Xfinity Series Race at IMS:

  • Indiana native Chase Briscoe was the winner of the inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Justin Haley finished second followed by Noah Gragson.  The next race for the Xfinity Series is July 9, 2020 at Kansas Speedway

Kyle Larson Wins at Port Royal to capture PA Speedweek Title:

  • Kyle Larson captured the Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek Championship and did it in style by winning the 410 feature at Port Royal Speedway Saturday night.  Larson held off Brent Marks and Rico Abreu to capture his first win at “The Speed Palace” and his first PA Sprint Car Speedweek title.  Check out our recap here.
Three Rivers Karting

Bubba Pollard Gets CARS win at Jennerstown; Heim 6th:

  • Bubba Pollard won the Inaugural Thomas Automotive American Freedom 300 at the Jennerstown Speedway Complex. It was Pollard’s second win in as many CARS Tour races after claiming the checkered flag at Hickory Motor Speedway in June.  Sammy Smith finished second followed by Jake Garcia.  Corey Heim, who has relatives in the area and was a guest on The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast finished 6th.

Buddy Kofoid Takes Night 2 Of Ohio Sprint Speedweek:

  • Buddy Kofoid started on the pole position and led wire-to-wire to capture the checkered flag in the second night Ohio Sprint Car Speedweek.  Kofoid was barely challenged except on three restart where he prevailed.  Aaron Reutzel finished second followed by Cole Duncan.

Friday Winners From Lernerville:

  • Erick Rudolph took home the checkered flag in the BRP Modified Tour main event at Lernerville Speedway coming from the rear of the field to hold off Rex King Sr. and Garrett Krummert.  Michael Bauer picked up his first career victory in the Peoples Natural Gas DIRTcar 410 Sprint feature.  Tyler Dietz beat Daryl Charlier and Corey McPherson to win the Millerstown Pic-A-Part RUSH/DIRTcar Pro Stocks main event and Greg Dobrosky won the Allegheny Sprint Tour 305 feature.

Cap Henry Wins Ohio Speedweek Opener:

  • Cap Henry opened up Ohio Sprint Speedweek by picking up his second career All Star Circuit of Champions feature win Friday night at Attica Raceway Park.  Buddy Kofoid finished second followed by Aaron Reutzel.

Trump Says Wallace Should Apologize:

  • President Donald Trump thinks NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace should apologize for the noose incident last month at Talladega, calling it a “hoax” in a tweet.  See both Trump’s and Wallace’s response below:

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Local Racing

Larson Wins Hodnett Classic and Speedweek Title at Port Royal

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Port Royal Speedway

PORT ROYAL, PA (July 4, 2020 – Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kyle Larson put an exclamation point on the 30th Annual Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek. Although he clinched the Speedweek title simply by timing in for the night, Larson did not rest on his laurels. He went out and won his heat race and then he captured the Greg Hodnett Classic. It was Larson’s first career victory at the ‘Speed Palace’, Port Royal Speedway. Larson earned in excess of $11,000 for the effort, including a bounty of more than a thousand dollars for halting Anthony Macri’s winning streak. Larson also picked up the $5,000 point title for his eight days of racing in the area.

Larson was excited to get his fourth win of Speedweek and he was pleased that it came at another track that he had yet to conquer. “This place has probably turned into my favorite track,” Larson said enthusiastically. He gave props to Steve O’Neil, the promoter, and the entire Juniata County Fair Board for the amazing improvements that have taken place over the years. “They put every dollar that they earn back into the facility and it shows.” Larson was also complimentary of the track conditions, noting that the track retained some moisture, which helped the performance of his car. “What an amazing race car Paul Silva gave me. I had a lot of grip.”

While Larson said that he was looking forward to taking on the All Stars for several rounds of the Ohio Sprint Car Speedweek, he coyly admitted that he may be returning to Port Royal for some more action. Coming up soon will be the Bob Weikert Memorial with each race paying $10,000 to the winner. The big payday of course will be the Tuscarora 50 in September.

Two-time and defending track champion Logan Wagner obtained the pole position in the re-draw for starting positions. Brent Marks was beside him. Rico Abreu and Larson were in the second row, with Macri and Mike Wagner in the third row. Ryan Smith, sporting a Hodnett tribute wing, was in row four along with Kyle Reinhardt. Freddie Rahmer, Jr. and Lance Dewease were next on the grid.

At the drop of the green, Wagner and Marks charged into the first turn, with Larson, Abreu and Smith in tow. With one lap in the books, Kyle Moody flipped his racer in turn one, collecting Justin Schultz. Neither driver was injured, but they were both out for the rest of the race.

Wagner and Marks repeated their performance on the restart. However, once things got rolling, Marks and Wagner began exchanging slide jobs for the lead. Soon Larson was part of the battle for the lead. He grabbed second when Marks missed a slider on Wagner and scrubbed off some speed.

Three Rivers Karting

Larson stalked Wagner through lap nine. He pulled off a slider of his own to assume the lead in turn one. Marks soon followed suit to regain the second position. Now, he was chasing Larson, one of the hottest Sprint Car drivers in the country.

On lap 12, Marks caught Larson and pulled the trigger on a slider in turn three to take the lead away. Larson rallied though and returned the favor at the other end of the speedway. This time, Larson began to pull away from Marks.

Larson’s advantage was wiped out by a caution on lap 25 when Danny Dietrich was unable to get his faltering machine into the infield completely. Marks would get another shot at Larson three laps later when Macri was also unable to exit the speedway when his racer broke down. On neither occasion could Marks pull off a pass for the win.

Larson got away cleanly both times and led the remaining laps without any interference. Marks held on for second, followed by Abreu. Brock Zearfoss was fourth. Lance Dewease made up considerable ground in the last third of the race, coming home in fifth. Logan Wagner, Mike Wagner, Smith, Reinhardt, and A.J. Flick completed the top ten. Dylan Cisney picked up the hard charger award by climbing from the last row to eleventh at the finish.

Heat victories went to Larson, Abreu, Reinhardt, and Marks. The B Main went to Danny Dietrich, who entered the night with a theoretical chance to tie Larson for the Speedweek title. However, Dietrich had multiple problems over the course of the night ending his bid for a fifth Speedweek championship. The fastest qualifier on the night was Macri, who led Group A with a lap of 15.826. Logan Wagner topped the second flight with a time of 16.118.

Port Royal will return to action next Saturday, July 11, with 410 Sprints, Super Late Models, and Limited Late Models. The Super Late Models will context their Summer Championship, paying $3,000 to the winner. Then, on July 18 and 19, the All Stars will invade the speedway for the Bob Weikert Memorial. Support classes have yet to be determined for those races.

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