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Larson Succeeds at Grandview

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BECHTELSVILLE, PA (June 30, 2020 Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kyle Larson finally broke through the barriers that kept him from reaching victory lane so far in the 30th Annual Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek. He scored his third win in four years on the high banks of Grandview Speedway, earning $10,000 in the process. Larson also left the speedway with the points lead heading into round six at Port Royal Speedway. He took the lead with just two laps remaining in the contest foiling the bid by third generation driver Freddie Rahmer, Jr.

“Owen (Larson’s son) has been giving me a lot of crap the last few nights about finishing second and then sixth,” the happy victor said. “I guess he won’t have too much to say on the ride tonight,” he added with a laugh. When asked why he has had so much success at Grandview, Larson noted “well, it IS the shortest track in PA, and that helps coming from California.”

Larson was chasing Rahmer as the laps wound down. He tried two sliders entering turn one on successive restarts, but he was unable to make them stick. “I knew that I couldn’t pass him because he was setting such a good pace,” Larson said. “On the restarts, I didn’t want to follow him off the top and go over the shelf and I could come off two (on the bottom) and leave myself some room,” he explained. Larson then added that he was concerned that if he left the bottom line open, Sammy Swindell might have been able to pass him.

The front half of the field was laden with talent for the 35 lap race. Christopher Bell drew the pole and Rahmer was next to him. Larson lined up third with Swindell beside him. Then came Aaron Reutzel and Danny Dietrich. Brock Zearrfoss and Ryan Smith were in row four, followed by Logan Wagner and Anthony Macri. Lucas Wolfe and Lance Dewease, two pre-race favorites, were mired in rows six and seven, respectively.

As expected, Bell blasted into the lead when the green light flashed on. He immediately opened up a comfortable margin over Rahmer, Swindell, Larson, and Dietrich. Smith and Reutzel kept Zearfoss and Wagner at bay.

Bell had everything going his way for the first five laps. That is, until Kyle Reinhardt slowed in turn one immediately ahead of him. Bell had nowhere to go and clipped Reinhardt’s disabled racer as he went by. Bell sustained a flat right rear and pitted for a new tire. However, other damage was too severe to be fixed, so he was out for the rest of the race.

That handed the lead over to Rahmer for the restart. Swindell lined up behind him, followed by Larson, Dietrich, and Smith. When the green came out Swindell looked to the inside but he was unable to get by Rahmer. The wily veteran was looking for an opportunity to make the pass, but another caution slowed the pace. Reinhardt was involved in a turn three shunt with Rico Abreu and both were eliminated. Robert Ballou also spun but he was able to resume the race.

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The racers got six more laps recorded before the next stoppage for Brett Michalski slowing in turn four. Rahmer held sway throughout while Swindell and Larson were starting to mix things up. Dietrich and Smith likewise were racing side by side when the caution was displayed.

The top five stayed in that order for the next twelve circuits. However, at the end of that run, Larson zipped by Swindell for second and Smith worked his way past Dietrich for fourth. It was during this portion of the race that Dewease started his march forward. He reached seventh before the caution came out.

Larson’s dive bombing runs into turn one did not pay off on the restarts. He chased Rahmer until lap 33, when he was able to make the low side work to his advantage. He slid up ahead of Rahmer and it was all over but the victory celebration.

Rahmer followed Larson across the finish line. Swindell turned in his best run of the week so far, nabbing third. Smith held off Dietrich for fourth. Dewease made one more pass to earn the sixth spot in the pay-off line. Zearfoss, Reutzel, Macri, and Logan Wagner completed the top ten.

Smith, Swindell, Zearfoss, and Dietrich copped the preliminaries. Rico Abreu dominated the B Main. Bell was the night’s fastest qualifier turning in a lap of 11.552 seconds.

The track’s 358 Modifieds provided the support tonight, and it was outstanding. Ryan Watt battled the early leader, Kevin Hirthler, for nineteen laps. Lurking close behind were the likes of Craig von Dohren, Jeff Strunk, and Ryan Kressley. Unfortunately, Kressly got hooked up with a lapped car coming off turn four and they came to a stop entering turn one bringing out the first caution of the race. Another quick caution set up the stretch run for Watt with no traffic ahead of him. Strunk muscled by Hirthler, but he was no match for Watt. Von Dohren crossed in third, followed by Hirthler and Doug Manmiller.

Grandview Speedway will be in action Saturday night with the Freedom 40 for the Sportsmen Stock Cars. The 358 Modifieds will also be on the card. Speedweek will resume at Port Royal Speedway for round six on Wednesday. Joining the 410 Sprints will be the 360 Sprints of the United Racing Club.

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Dirt Racing

Kyle Larson Wins at Williams Grove

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Photo: Paul Arch

WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (April 16, 2021): Kyle Larson made his first 410 Sprint Car race of the season a memorable one, capturing the Tommy Hinnershitz Classic at Williams Grove Speedway. Larson, who admitted to having some rustiness earlier in the night, got better as the night went on. He won his Dash, which put him on the front row beside his good friend, Lance Dewease, and then he chased down the veteran who was seeking his 100th career win at the track. Larsen went on to score a convincing win.

Also getting to victory lane was the defending 358 Sprint Car champion, Derek Locke.

“I used to hate this place,” Larson said. His early struggles at the track were well documented. “But, now that I have a fast car here, it’s really fun.” Larson went so far as to say that Williams Grove is now one of his favorite venues. And, why not? In the last twelve months, he tabbed three wins at the track. Larson clearly enjoys racing at Williams Grove and going head to head
with his pal.

“I knew that I had a really good car,” Larson noted. “I was catching (Dewease) at both ends. I showed him the nose in three and he was getting tight.” Larson sailed by Dewease on the outside of turns one and two and never looked back. Still, Larson was concerned that the wily veteran might chase him down in traffic. “He has a lot of laps here,” he explained.

Indeed, Dewease was closing in on Larson until he encountered the lapped car of T.J. Stutts. It took Dewease several laps to get past Stutts and, by then, Larson’s lead was insurmountable.  Dewease noted that his car got really tight as the race went on. “We weren’t very good after that red flag with three laps in. He (Larson) got by me and he checked out.” So Dewease must wait a little while longer to claim the big win.

Dewease and Larson had the front row by virtue of their respective Dash wins. Freddie Rahmer, Jr. and Ian Madsen were in the second row, with Anthony Macri and Tim Shaffer right behind. Kerry Madsen rolled off from row four, along with Tony Stewart, the surprise winner the night before at Virginia Motor Speedway. Tyler Courtney and Zeb Wise were in row five and Paul McMahan and Zach Hampton started from the sixth verse.

Dewease fired first and opened a three car length advantage over the NASCAR star. Ian Madsen held down third, ahead of Rahmer, Shaffer, Macri, and Wise. Dewease maintained his advantage through the first three laps before the red was displayed for Stutts, who turned his car over midway down the backstretch. The damage was minimal, and Stutts was able to pit for some repairs to enable him to continue.

After that stoppage, Dewease resumed command. However, Larson was stalking him and he made several aggressive runs to the inside of turn three. With each successive lap, Larson drew closer. He did pull alongside Dewease in three with nine laps completed and he made the winning move at the opposite end of the track on the tenth circuit.

Three Rivers Karting

Soon thereafter, the only caution was displayed for Cap Henry’s spin between turns three and four. Dewease got to start on Larson’s tail, but he could not capitalize on that opportunity. Larson rolled into turn one without any threat from Dewease and he completed the remaining 20 laps without seeing any light blue flashing next to him.

After the caution, the driver making progress was Rahmer. After falling back a few spots in the first third of the race, Rahmer found some speed in the middle stage of the contest. He regained the third position on lap 12 and he began to close in on Dewease. “The middle part of the race we were really good,” Rahmer commented. “We left a little on the table though.” While Rahmer made things interesting, he could not get close enough to Dewease to challenge for second.

While Rahmer was coming forward, Shaffer started to fall back. Shafer raced in fourth in the early going but gave up several positions over the second half of the race.

At the checkers, it was Larson, Dewease, Rahmer, Ian Madsen, and Macri. Tony Steward was sixth, followed by Shaffer, Kerry Madsen, Courtney, and McMahan.

The heat winners were Ian Madsen, Stewart, Kerry Madsen, and Shaffer. Brett Shearer took the B Main over Danny Dietrich, who made his second engine change of the night in time to start the A Main. Dewease was the night’s fastest qualifier with a lap of 16.316

“It was good to get the year started right,” Derek Locke said about his victory. After starting in the eighth spot, he steadily advanced to the second spot in the early going. He chased Tyler Brehm for five or six laps. The leaders were dicing in traffic and narrowly avoided a spinning car in turn three near the halfway mark. For the restart, Locke slid the wing back a bit and he was able to drive past Brehm easily in turns one and two.

Brehm followed Locke the rest of the way. Chris Frank, Cody Fletcher, and Kyle Denmyer completed the top five. Chad Criswell, Brett Wanner, Matt Findley, Scott Fisher, and Zach Newlin were the next five across the finish line.

Wanner, Brehm, and Denmeyer won their heat races. There was no B Main.

Williams Grove will return to action next week with a Yellow Breeches 500 race night featuring the 410 and 358 Sprint cars. Then, on April 30, the ASCS National Tour will invade the speedway, along with the United Racing Club. These organizations will bring some of the best 360 Sprint racers in the country. The 410 Sprints will also be on the card.

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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.

Three Rivers Karting

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.

Three Rivers Karting

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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