SELINSGROVE, PA (June 28, 2020 – Pittsburgh Racing Now): Danny Dietrich was the first driver to double-up during the 30th Annual Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek, grabbing the checkers at Selinsgrove Speedway in the 17th running of the Jan Opperman and Dick Bogar Memorial. The victory was worth $5,099 for the driver from Gettysburg and it boosted him to the unofficial lead in Speedweek points. The race was also notable in that Kyle Larson’s streak of seventeen consecutive races finishing first or second came to a halt. He was third on this night.
Dietrich credited his crew for making a last minute change to the car before rolling it onto the track for the A Main. “We changed the right rear, we put a harder tire on. Man, I could rip the top or go to the bottom. In the clean air I was sliding the track to get some heat in the tire.” Not only was the tire a harder compound, but it was a left-over from Dietrich’s trip to Florida in February. The tire choice proved to be correct, as the race went non-stop, and his car really came alive over the last ten to fifteen laps.
Dietrich was paired with Rico Abreu on the front row for the 30 lap affair. Brock Zearfoss, the night’s fastest qualifier, lined up third, while Freddie Rahmer, Jr. was on his flank. Anthony Macri and Ryan Smith occupied row three, Larson and Sammy Swindell row four, and Logan Wagner and Brent Marks row five.
Dietrich got the jump at the green flag, with Abreu close behind him. Zearfoss and Rahmer raced ahead of Macri and Larson. Abreu remained within striking distance over the first half of the contest. Indeed, he executed a bold slider in turn three to take the lead with twelve laps in the books. However, Dietrich rallied four laps later to regain the lead and he was never headed.
Meanwhile, Rahmer and Zearfoss were trading third place back and forth. Soon, Macri and Larson joined the mix. This group of cars caught up with Abreu and now the battle was for the second spot.
Larson worked his way into third and started to close in on his diminutive friend. The pair put on quite a battle over the last ten laps, with Macri joining for the final few rounds. Macri’s bid for a podium finish ended though when he jumped the cushion in turn two and brushed the outside wall. He kept the car going and did not lose any positions..
Dietrich took the checkers over five seconds ahead of Abreu. Then came Larson and Macri. Zearfoss rounded out the top five. Rahmer, Marks, Smith, Blaine Heimbach, and Logan Wagner completed the top ten.
Heat victories were scored by Smith, Larson, Dietrich, and Rahmer. The B Main went to Justiin Whittal. Zearfoss’s time was 17.179 for the big half mile. Chad Layton flipped out of the park between turns three and four in his heat race. He was not hurt, but he was done for the night.
Nitro Nick Swigart won the non-stop 305 Sprint nightcap. Kassidy Kreitz was second, followed by Ken Duke, Landon Price, and Ron Aurand. Derek Hauck, Erin Statler, and Duke took their preliminaries. Kyle Keen won the B Main.
Selinsgrove Speedway will be dark this Saturday in support of the Speedweek finale to be held at Port Royal Speedway. The next event at Selinsgrove will be July 11 when the track hosts the 20th Annual 360 National Open. Also on the card will be the 305 Sprints and Limited Late Models. Rain checks from the Speedweek program will be good for a $5 discount at the gate for the 360 National Open. Speedweek will return to Lincoln Speedway for round four on Monday night in a Sprints only program.
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.