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Dewease and Macri Win Semis at Port Royal’s Living Legends Dream Race



Port Royal Speedway

PORT ROYAL, PA (August 1, 2020): Port Royal Speedway paid tribute to a fallen leader Saturday night. The 14th Annual Living Legends Dream Race, one of the highest-paying events on the track schedule, recognized the visions and accomplishments of Don Clark, the former president of the Juniata County Fair Board. During his tenure, Clark fought a courageous battle against cancer, but he never allowed the dreaded disease to interfere with his work on behalf of the facility and its programs. Sadly, Don Clark died before the 2020 season commenced.

The Living Legends Dream Race presented the 410 Sprint Cars in an unusual format. All of the cars participated in time trials which were used to set up a pair of twin semi-features using an odds/evens system. Each 16 lap race paid a purse, with the winner getting $2,000. The top ten finishers transferred to the A Main, which would have paid another $10,000 to the winner. The remaining cars went into a B Main, with the top four finishers advancing to the finale. The Super Late Models ran a more traditional program of time trials, heats, B Main, and an A Main to cap off the festivities. Unfortunately, rains hit the speedway before feature time. In fact, the final Late Model heat race and the pair of B Mains were delayed briefly by a shower, but they were completed. So, the fields are set for the make-up dates.

There were 31 Sprint Cars registered for the contest. Brock Zearfoss was the fastest qualifier, at 16.110 seconds. Logan Wagner was second fastest, at 16.157 seconds.

In the first Semi, Brent Marks jumped out to the early lead, followed by Lance Dewease, Ryan Smith, Brock Zearfoss and Steve Buckwalter. Marks seemed to have things well in hand until he got into lapped traffic. Dewease ran the inside line and began chipping away at the lead. Marks’ pace was slowed on the oputside by a lapped car and that gave Dewease the opportunity to cruise past in turns one and two. Marks was second. Zearfoss ans Buckwalter go by a struggling Smith in the final laps. Ryan Taylor, defending Dream Race winner A.J. Flick, Jeff Miller, Kyle Reinhardt, and Justin Whittal were the other transfers.

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The second Semi was a much more lively affair. Tyler Bear took the lead, but Anthony Macri and Logan Wagner chased him down. The three traded sliders on several laps. Macri made the winning move on Wagner with the laps counting down. then came Wagner, Bear, T.J. Stutts, and Dave Blaney in the Lou Blaney tribute car. Jared Esh made his first start for Tom and Fran Chiappelli pay off with a creditable sixth place finish. Mike Wagner charged ahead to seventh, followed by Blaine Heimbach, Jeff Halligan, and Kody Lehman.

The B Main winner was Dylan Cisney, trailed by Jason Solwold, Kyle Smith, and Paulie Colagiovanni.

Hayes Mattern was the quickest of the full-fendered set. He turned a time of 18.614 seconds. His speed did not carry over to his heat, however. That was won by Mason Zeigler. Max Blair, Michael Norris, and Gregg Satterlee also prevailed in their respective heats. Gene Knaub copped the B Main, which was the last race of the night before the heavier rains. There were 33 Super Lates on hand.

The Sprint Car portion of the Living Legends Dream Race will be made up on August 22, as part of the Open Wheel Madness IV show. That program will now have twin features for the 410 Sprints, plus complete events for the 305 Sprints and the USAC East Coast 360 Sprints (no wings). The Late Model portion will be made up during the 166th Annual Juniata County Fair. It will be paired up with the 17th Annual Butch Renninger Memorial. The 410 Sprints and Limited Late Models will also compete that night.

Next week, August 8, Port Royal Speedway will present the Tribute to Curt Hershey along with the Salute to the Military Night. Hershey was an engine builder of some renown in the area before passing recently. In addition to the racing for the 410 and 305 Sprints and the Super Late Models, there will be a pre-race concert to entertain the fans.

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Local Racing

Pennsylvania Racing Economic Impact Surveys Released



PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania (MCP) is sending out economic impact surveys to Pennsylvania race tracks, teams and racing related entities.

The data collected from the surveys will be compiled by Washington & Jefferson College professors Rob & Leslie Dunn, who along with the MCP, will produce a study on the range and economic impact of the racing industry in the Keystone State.

The economic impact study will be a valuable tool for race tracks, teams and marketing professionals in their efforts to attract partners, sponsors and other assets that may be available throughout the State.

Race teams are needed to take part in the survey!  Here is link to the team survey:

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Fans are also asked to help the MCP in the efforts.  Here is a link to the fan survey so take a few minutes of your time to support race tracks and teams in this endeavor:

Marketing and media professionals have a survey that the MCP is asking them to complete.  Here is a link to that survey:

Race tracks are also participating in the survey, if a track has not received a survey directly from the MCP, here is a link to that survey:

The Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania hopes to have the Economic Impact Study completed by the start of the 2021 racing season.

Editors Note: Robert Johnson of the Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania will be one of the guests on the next episode of The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast.

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Local Racing

Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek Is Coming Back



SHIPPENVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Five local dirt tracks are teaming up to bring back Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek for the 2021 season.

Michael’s Mercer Raceway (Mercer, PA), Thunder Mountain Speedway (Brookville, PA), Lernerville Speedway (Sarver, PA), Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) and Tri City Raceway Park (Franklin, PA) are the five tracks where the owners and promoters have aligned to bring back the event for the 410 Sprint Cars.

“The ‘410 Sprint Car’ division in the local area has been through many ups-and-downs over the last two decades, but there’s no doubt it’s as strong now as it ever was”, said Dave Willoughby, Sharon Speedway’s General Manager. “You see our guys competing for spots up front everywhere they go, and that even includes out at some of the tougher Central PA tracks.”

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Additional details will be released in the near future regarding the established point fund and other race night details.

Here’s the full schedule:

  • Wednesday, June 2nd – Michael’s Mercer Raceway
  • Thursday, June 3rd – Thunder Mountain Speedway
  • Friday, June 4th – Lernerville Speedway
  • Saturday, June 5th – Sharon Speedway
  • Sunday, June 6th – Tri City Raceway Park

Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek was previously run from 1993-2000 by the All-Star Circuit of Champions.

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Indy Autonomous Challenge Race Car Unveiled



Indy Autonomous Challenge/Indianapolis Motor Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The world’s first high-speed, head-to-head autonomous race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will feature Dallaras as the race cars.

Energy Systems Network (ESN) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) this week unveiled the official race car that will be autonomously driven by scores of university teams in the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) at the Racing Capital of the World on Oct. 23, 2021.

Dallara has been the sole racecar supplier of the Indy Lights series since 2002, and now the modified Dallara IL-15 is the official IAC racecar.

“Dallara is the best racecar engineering company in the world, yet designing the chassis for autonomous racing was really challenging,” explained Stefano dePonti, CEO and general manager of Dallara USA. “Dallara loves innovation and technological challenges, and we share the IAC’s passion for education and motorsports.”

“The Dallara-built IAC racecar is the most advanced, fastest autonomous vehicle ever developed,” stated Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of ESN, and co-organizer of the IAC. “Our IAC sponsors are providing radar, lidar, optical cameras and advanced computers, bringing the value of each vehicle to $1 million.”

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One of the teams competing in the challenge is the Panther AV RAS-ing team from the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.

Panther AV RAS-ing is part of more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students, PhDs and mentors who excel in artificial intelligence software that have responded to the challenge.  The challengers represent 39 universities in 11 countries on four continents and 14 U.S. states.

The IAC is scheduled for October 23, 2021, at the IMS, with a qualifying simulation race during the Indy 500 week in May. The total IAC prize purse is $1.5 million: $1 million awarded to the winning team of the October IAC race, and an additional $500,000 for winners of the hackathons and simulation races.

“The IAC is going to bring the best minds from around the world to solve a very complex problem, right here at the Racing Capital of the World,” said IMS President J. Douglas Boles. “As the birthplace of motorsports’ innovation, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a fitting setting for this event, and we can’t wait to see the winning entry cross the Yard of Bricks into history.”

Two companies headquartered in Western Pennsylvania are sponsors of the event.  Ansys, a global leader in engineering simulation that is headquartered in Canonsburg, and Aptiv, an autonomous vehicle company who is relocating from O’Hara Township to Hazelwood Green.

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