WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (July 3, 2020 – Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kyle Larson put a stranglehold on the points championship in the 30th Annual Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek. After scoring his first career victory at the venerable speedway, Williams Grove, and third win of the week, Larson will be the odds-on favorite to tote home the largest share of the points fund for the nine-race series. If that comes to fruition, it will be the first time ever that an invader took the title against the best of the eastern Sprint Car scene.
“This is an historic race track,” Larson noted. “It was great to get my first win here and the first one for Paul (Silva, his car owner and crew chief) here. To get my first win here and have the 69K (Lance Dewease) behind me . . .” Larson’s voice trailed off and he appeared to be in deep thought.
Larson’s win may have come with some controversy attached to it. When he made the winning pass on Brent Marks, there was some contact. “There was definitely some contact on my part,” Larson admitted. “I wasn’t expecting him to go to the bottom.” Larson explained that Marks had been running the outside line pretty consistently and that he had just put a lap on another car. “I was committed to sliding him and he came down. I just misjudged it. I hated that we had some contact.” Fortunately, both drivers were able to keep control of their cars and neither one appeared to sustain any significant damage. Marks held second until he made a mistake of his own, going above the cushion in turn one with two to go, and opening the door for Dewease to drive by on the low side.
Dewease and Marks paired off in the front row for the prestigious Mitch Smith Memorial. Dewease was gunning for his 100th career win at the speedway and 30th career Speedweek victory, which would have tied him with Fred Rahmer for top honors in that category. Larson, who quipped the week before that he hoped that he would not be at the track to see Dewease reach the century mark, lined up third. On his flank was T.J. Stutts. Rico Abreu and Brian Montieth were in the third row. Then came Anthony Macri and Chad Trout. Kyle Reinhardt and Freddie Rahmer, Jr. claimed row five. Way back in 18th position was Danny Dietrich, Larson’s main rival for Speedweek supremacy.
Dewease bolted out to a two car length advantage over Marks. But, just as the racers were settling in for the 30 lap affair, disaster struck in turn four. A five-car jingle took place, with two cars turning upside down. Brock Zearfoss was able to make repairs and rejoin the field for the restart. None of the others–Jeff Halligan, Matt Campbell, Chase Dietz, and Mike Wagner–were able to continue. The good news was than none of the drivers were hurt.
On the second attempt, Dewease repeated his opening move. Marks remained close, with Stutts getting the edge over Larson and Montieth. Marks followed Dewease for the first few laps. With two in the books, he dropped to the inside of Dewease and surged ahead coming off the second corner. He would maintain the advantage until lap 23, when Larson muscled past him in the first turn.
Dewease held second until lap 18. That was when Larson also came off the bottom of turn two to take over the position. Dewease fell back several car lengths but did not lose any other positions. Montieth was close in fourth but he could not quite get close enough to challenge for third. Abreu and Rahmer moved up a few positions in the middle stage of the race. But the man on the move was Dietrich. He made steady progress and reached the top ten with ten laps remaining.
Macri surrendered his top ten spot and Montieth forfeited his top five position when they encountered mechanical problems in the final five laps.
Dewease took advantage of Marks’ mistake and that pretty much closed out the action.
Larson completed the 30 laps in nine minutes and 28.754 seconds. Dewease checked in over two seconds later. Then came Marks, Abreu and Rahmer. Dietrich was sixth but lost valuable points to larson for the championship. Ryan Smith, Stutts, Trout and Lucas Wolfe completed the top ten.
Dewease, Montieth, Marks, and Stutts won the heat races. The B Main belonged to Campbell. Dewease was the fastest qualifier at 17.330 seconds.
Williams Grove will be racing next Friday, July 10, with 410 Sprints and the URC 360 Sprints. July 17, the track will have the All Stars Circuit of Champions on hand for the Tommy Classic honoring legendary driver Tommy Hinnershitz, the first winner in the history of the speedway. Speedweek will conclude Saturday night at the Port Royal Speedway. The Second Annual Greg Hodnett Classic will pay $10,000.
Weekend Racing Preview: Fab 4 at Lernerville; RUSH Late Models at PPMS and more
PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A full weekend of racing both locally and nationally and Pittsburgh Racing Now has a sneak peek of the action on the track.
Fab 4 Racing Friday Night At Lernerville:
- All Fab 4 Racing Divisions are racing tonight at Lernerville. Carl Bowser leads the Peoples Natural Gas DIRTcar Sprints standings with an 18-point over AJ Flick. Colton Flinner leads the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Model standings by 11-points over Tyler Dietz. In the Diehl Automotive DIRTcar Big Block Modified division Garrett Krummert leads John Mollick and Brian Swartzlander by 12-points. Tyler Dietz holds a 9-point lead over Corey McPherson in the Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar/RUSH Pro Stocks division. Gates open at 5 p.m. and tonight is “Big Rig Night” sponsored by Trans Edge Trucking.
Williams Grove Postpones Billy Kimmel Memorial:
- Williams Grove Speedway has cancelled tonight’s racing program due to rain and the forecast for more rain throughout the evening. Williams Grove will be back in action next week with the Lawrence Chevrolet 410 Sprint Cars, USAC East Coast, 358 Sprints. The Billy Kimmel Memorial has been added to next week’s program.
— Williams Grove (@WilliamsGrove) August 7, 2020
Jook George Steel City Classic Saturday At PPMS:
- The annual “Jook George Steel City Classic” for the RUSH Late Model Touring Division takes place on Saturday at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway (PPMS). The track and sanctioning body are expecting between 40-and-50-entries for the event, which will pay a minimum of $6,010 to the winner with an additional $1,000-bonus to a driver/team who contributes to the purse. Check out our preview here.
Motor Mountain Masters Saturday at Jennerstown:
- The biggest event of the year for Jennerstown Raceway’s Martella’s Pharmacies Late Model division takes place with the third annual Motor Mountain Masters Saturday. The crown jewel event will bring drivers from the New England states, the South and from the Midwest to battle the area’s regional stars in a 150-lap race. The Stoystown Auto Wreckers Modified division will also compete. “The Masters” has quickly become one of the most talked about races in the United States. Last year, Todd Stone of Middlebury, Vermont, wore the red sport coat in Stoney’s Beer Victory Lane.
Hank Gentzler Memorial Saturday At Lincoln Speedway:
- Lincoln Speedway hosts the Hank Gentzler Memorial Manufacturer’s Appreciation Night. Gentzler was a speed shop owner who started the Manufacturers’ Night and always got parts and gift certificates to pass out to the racers. Gentzler’s widow continued things until she sold the business to Pancho Lawlor, who puts the show on in Gentzler’s memory. Saturday night’s program will include the 410 and 358-Sprints and the Vintage Outlaw Series. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m.
“Tribute to Curt Hershey” Along With Salute to the Military Night At Port Royal:
- Port Royal Speedway on Saturday will host a Salute to the Military Night along with a “Tribute to Curt Hershey”. Hershey was an engine builder in Central PA that passed away in June. Saturday night’s schedule includes a Pre-race concert along with 410 Sprints, Late Models and the PASS/IMCA 305 Sprints. Admission is $20, $10 for students, pits $30 and the racing starts at 7:00 p.m.
Michaels Memorial Saturday At Mercer:
- Saturday at Mercer it’s the Michaels Memorial Show featuring the BRP Big Block Modifieds $ 5,000-to-win; 410-Sprint Cars $2,000-to-win, the 305 sprints, FASTRAK modified and the mighty Mercer mini stocks.
Grandstand Admission is $20 for adults and $17 for seniors. Pit Passes are $35 for adults, $30 for seniors.
Pit gates open at 4 p.m., Grandstands at 5 p.m. with the racing starting at 7 p.m.
Sunday Thunder At Tri-City Raceway Park:
- Sunday at Tri-City Raceway Park it’s the Shawgo Real Estate Sprint Cars, Modifieds (358 cubic inch engines), 4-Your-Car-Connection Mini Stocks, Modified Lites, and Non-Wing Crate-Engine Sprint Cars. Adult General Admission is $15. The gates open at 4pm with racing at 6pm
USAC Sprints At Selinsgrove Speedway:
- Selinsgrove Speedway on Sunday plays host to the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series in the Bill Holland Classic. Holland was a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1949 and finished second in 1947, 1948 and 1950. He also won the first-ever event at Selinsgrove. Racing starts at 7:00 p.m.
The “Jook George Steel City Classic” Roaring Into Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway
IMPERIAL, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The “Jook George Steel City Classic” presented by Zarin Truck and Auto for the RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series roars into Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway this Saturday night.
The $6,010-to-win and $400-to-start event also features a $1,000-bonus to the winning driver and team who has contributed to the event. Miley Motor Sports and race coordinator Branden Lockwich came up with the idea for the bonus last year, which has helped the event continue to grow.
The “Jook George Steel City Classic” became a RUSH Tour race for the first time in 2017 and drew 43 cars with Mike Pegher Jr capturing the $4,010 win. In 2018, a record 51 cars were on hand with Jacob Hawkins scoring the $5,010 win. Last year’s event was the richest in RUSH history as Kyle Lukon (pictured above) scored the $10,010 win and the extra $1,000 contributor bonus!
“Miley Motor Sports is ecstatic about the 31st edition of the RUSH Dirt Late Model Series ‘Jook George Classic’ to honor our great friend of racing, Jook George,” expressed PPMS promoter Matt Miley. “We can’t thank Brandon, the RUSH Team, and all who have contributed enough. It’s a win, win, win, win for racers, fans, sponsors, and the Speedway.”
“It’s really amazing how this event has grown and how so many people have gotten behind it to make this all possible,” expressed RUSH Director Vicki Emig. “Branden has led the efforts of transforming this from a special weekly event to what was a record breaking major Touring Series show last year. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic that set back Branden’s efforts, it’s unbelievable how this event is still going to turn out. We can’t thank the George Family, Miley Motor Sports, Branden and so many others for their amazing contributions, while allowing us to present this as RUSH Late Model Touring Series event.”
Lockwich is still soliciting contributions from any driver that still would like to expand the purse and be eligible for the bonus as well as contributions from individuals or business. You can contact Branden at 412-639-3723 or see him at the track on Saturday.
William Thomas “Jook” George had a brief driving career himself, but as he turned to car owner he chose, and had for most of his racing career, the #10 and that was in honor of his racing hero Lou Blaney. Blaney drove his car on a couple occasions. George’s most dominant stretch as a car owner came in the late ’70s when Earl Teeters was his driver. In 1990 George captured the track championship at PPMS in with John Beatty behind the wheel. In 1993 George won the Fall Classic in with Bill Yakin. George was also nominated as the Sportsman of the Year at PPMS and nominated into the Pittsburgh Circle Track Hall of Fame.
PPMS will also be featuring the Keystone Coach Works Hobby Stocks, the PPMS Pro Stocks, the Four Cylinders, and the Young Guns. Gates Open at 5 p.m., hot laps begin at 6 p.m., immediately followed by the RUSH Late Model Dirt Series qualifying. For more information visit ppms.com.
Weekend Racing Notebook
PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The weekend winners from around the world of motorsports including Local tracks plus the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions, and IMSA.
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All-Star Circuit of Champions Weekend:
- Cory Eliason picked up his first Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions victory Sunday night at the reopening of Huset Speedway. Dominic Scelzi finished second and Kerry Madsen rounded out the podium.
- Kyle Larson won his seventh straight Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 feature on Saturday night at Knoxville Raceway, setting a record with the series. Rico Abreu finished second and Gio Scelzi rounded out the podium.
- Larson also picked up the win in Friday night’s feature at 34 Raceway. Eliason finished second and Tucker Klaasmeyer finished third.
Acura, Corvette, Lexus Claim IMSA Wins At Road America:
- Helio Castroneves found traction with his Acura ARX-05 where others could not, as he and his Acura Team Penske co-driver Ricky Taylor prevailed in monsoon-like conditions in the final hour to win in the Daytona Prototype International Class in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Road America.
- DragonSpeed USA’s Ben Hanley and Henrik Heeman took home the victory in LMP2. Hanley switched from slick tires to rain tires as the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA, which was leading went off course due to the wet conditions. They rallied to finish fourth behind the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA and the No. 18 Era Motorsports ORECA.
- Corvette Racing scored a 1-2 finish at Road America in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. The No. 3 Vette with Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia finished first with the No. 4 of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner coming home in second place.
- Frankie Montecalvo and Townsend Bell parked the AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus in victory lane in the GT Daytona (GTD) class. The victory was the third straight for the team. Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry finished second in their Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo.
Mother Nature Wins At Tri-City, PPMS, Jennerstown and Port Royal:
- Rains throughout Western Pennsylvania forced several area race tracks to cancel their programs. Tri-City cancelled their Sunday program while Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway (PPMS) and Port Royal had to throw the red flag on their programs Saturday night.
Norris, Flick, King Jr & Schneider Win At Lernerville: