MOORESVILLE, NC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Dale Earnhardt Jr and Dirty Mo Media’s new show “Lost Speedways” is taking a trip down memory lane and visiting some of the race tracks that formed the foundation for what we see at our local tracks and on television every weekend.
“The whole point of this show is to document history before it’s gone,” Dillner told The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast. “To tell the stories about these racetracks that are shuddered and covered in weeds and being recaptured by nature.”
How the show came to fruition is a story in itself. Earnhardt Jr and Dillner discovered they had something in common beside the sport of auto racing.
“We both realized we had the same hobby,” said Dillner, who is an executive producer of ‘Lost Speedways’ along with Earnhardt Jr and Mike Davis. “We had the same passion and nerdy obsession with mapping lost speedways. With him it was mapping lost speedways and with me it was mapping and exploring these lost speedways.”
Exploring these lost speedways is exactly what Earnhardt, Dillner and the Dirty Mo Media crew do. Literally climbing through weeds and brush to uncover the stories of days gone by.
“They’re covered in weeds, but they have these mysterious stories and you’re bringing people back to that location and the people that were there and talking to them and it’s very romantic in a weird kind of a tribute,” said Dillner.
The allure of the show is that it appeals to not only race fans but fans of history and Americana.
“It’s a lot about American culture and places that meant something to you, whether it’s a ballpark you grew up at or some memory from your childhood, all of that comes racing back when you’re exploring these places,” said Dillner. “For any history buff part of our show is about uncovering that history, the other part is kind of like ‘American Pickers’. We’re literally exploring, with boots on the ground, these locations and unearthing history. It’s definitely a magical combination.”
The magical combination responsible for ‘Lost Speedways’ put together the eight episodes with a small crew who had to overcome a huge obstacle.
“We’ve got a group of six or seven super-talented guys that fought through a Pandemic to meet our deadline for this show,” said Dillner. “A deadline that some studio shows didn’t make and we did it from our houses on laptops, overnights, working. Just really talented people with a passion to tell these stories and it’s something that I’m super, super proud of.”
Each episode takes the viewer to a different track and back in time with those who helped create the story being immortalized forever.
“They’ve got these great memories and incredible stories that haven’t been told and some of them think they’ve been forgotten, these places have been forgotten, these people have been forgotten,” said Dillner. “We’re bringing that to life in a really colorful way.”
All eight episodes of ‘Lost Speedways’ are available on Peacock TV, NBC’s new streaming service.
“I’m so, so happy that Dale convinced NBC to do this show on the Peacock and the fact that they said, ‘yes’ is incredible and we worked our butts off to make it happen and now we’re sitting back and enjoying the reaction,” said Dillner. “History matters to everybody, whether it’s your family history or something you grew up with, like you’re a big Pittsburgh Pirates fan, things matter from the past.”
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.
Gravel Seizes Opportunity to Win Commonwealth Clash at Lernerville Speedway
SARVER, PA (September 26, 2020): David Gravel capitalized upon the misfortune of Sheldon Haudenschild to win the Commonwealth Clash at Lernerville Speedway. It was the Connecticut driver’s fourth World of Outlaws win at the Action Track.
“Sheldon was the class of the field, until he blew the tire we were going to run second,” Gravel observed. “I didn’t know where he was racing, he must have been setting a torrid pace around the top.” Indeed, Haudenschild was doing just that. He had amassed a lead in excess of seven seconds moments before the right rear tire let go with just over a lap and a half remaining in the contest.
“Ten years ago, I would have been running around the top until I went off the track,” Gravel noted. “But, after watching Donny (Schatz) and Brad (Sweet) win races here, I learned to race this track like they do.”
Gravel also noted that the car was not very good when they unloaded this night, but the crew kept adjusting and it was very comfortable for him come feature time.
Kerry Madsen and Sheldon Haudenschild were on the front row for the 35 lap A Main. Daryn Pittman and James McFadden held the second row, with Kraig Kinser and Gravel in row three. Carson Macedo and Brad Sweet were in row four, while row five belonged to Parker Price-Miller and Logan Schuchart. Shane Stewart and Jacob Allen had row six reserved.
Haudenschild wasted no time blasting into the lead. James McFadden followed him on the rim into the second spot, but he could not maintain the rapid pace set by the leader. Madsen settled into third, with Pittman, Kinser, Macedo and Schuchart in tow.
Haudenschild was quite comfortable riding the outside groove around the track. McFadden kept him in sight, but he was no factor to challenge for the lead.
With Haudenschild and McFadden racing all alone out front, the battle was for the third position between Madsen and Pittman. Pittman, recently reunited with his former car owner, Mike Heffner, claimed the third position by lap ten and he was hustling around the inside trying to make up ground on the leaders. Gravel was following him in the march toward the front.
While they succeeded in closing in on McFadden, Haudenschild’s car was getting smaller and smaller as the laps clicked off. “I lost my rhythm in the middle part of the race,” McFadden explained. He was being pressed by Pittman and later, Gravel, for the second position.
Gravel moved into the second spot on lap 33, moments before Haudenschild’s tire exploded. He got the point for the restart, but he still had to hold off McFadden and Pittman for the remaining two laps.
“I lost some air pressure in the (right rear) tire under he caution, and the car was better after that on the restart,” McFadden commented. While he was able to maintain pace with Gravel, he could not mount a challenge for the victory.
After Gravel and McFadden came Pittman. “We’re thrilled with that,” he said. “For us, it’s like a win.
There were a couple of mistakes that I’d like to clean up,” he added. But, he did not get the opportunity to do so in the pair of laps left in the dash to the checkers.
Logan Schuchart was fourth, with Madsen crossing in fifth. Sweet was sixth, followed by Kinser, Macedo, Allen, and Schatz.
The hard charger was Cap Henry, who was plus eight on the night.
Heat winners were Daryn Pittman, Carson Macedo, David Gravel, and Kerry Madsen. Madsen was the dash winner. Carl Bowser topped the C Main. The B Main went to Cale Thomas. The evening’s fastest qualifiers were Price-Miler, who topped Group A with a lap of 12.746, and Kinser, who was best in Group B with a round of 12.961.
Justin Clark won the 20 lap A Main for the Allegheny Sprint Tour 305 feature. The midwest invader prevailed over Ryan Lynn, Dylan Shatzer, Robbie Bartchy, and Jimmy Morris. Heat wins went to Bartchy, Clark, and Shatzer. There was no B Main.