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Danny Dietrich Does It Again at Lincoln Speedway

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ABBOTTSTOWN, PA (August 8, 2020): Danny Dietrich’s 50th career victory at Lincoln Speedway will go down in the books as a controversial one. He passed Freddie Rahmer, Jr. at the exit of turn two with five to go, and there was hard contact between them. Rahmer was running the high side and Dietrich crowded him coming off the corner. Both cars bobbled and swayed, but they managed to keep going. The incident was just the latest in a series of recent events involving the two protagonists.

Dietrich acknowledged the rivalry building between the two. “Love me or hate me, I just hope the fans keep coming back. They should with action like that at this track.” He admitted to the contact, but he was unapologetic. Instead, he seemed to blame Rahmer. “We got together down there, he (referring to Rahmer) could have backed off.”

The line-up was determined using the Pennsylvania Speedweek format. That meant that the three heat winners and the fastest qualifier from each heat re-drew for the top six starting positions. Dietrich, who had to charge to get second in his heat, rolled off from the seventh position. “I knew that we would be OK starting seventh, I sure didn’t want to finish third in that heat, it would have put me in tenth.”

The top six positions belonged to Gerard McIntyre, Jr., Billy Dietrich, Rahmer, Lucas Wolfe, Tim Wagaman, and the fastest qualifier, Chad Trout. Next to Dietrich in row four was Brandon Rahmer. Then came Matt Campbell, who was subbing for vactioning Brian Montieth this night, and Jeff Halligan. Row six belonged to Adam Wilt and Jimmy Siegel.

McIntyre bolted out to the early lead, followed by Billy Dietrich, Rahmer, and Campbell. before the racers could settle in, there was a caution for Tyler Esh, who stopped in turn one with one lap complete.

On the restart, McIntyre resumed the lead, but now Rahmer was in hot pursuit. Billy Dietrich raced in third, with Wagaman and Campbell trailing him. Things remained steady until lap five, when Rahmer slid under McInityre to take the lead in turn one.

Rahmer would lead the next five laps until Jay Galloway brought out the caution. The scorers went back to the last completed lap for the restart.

Rahmer built up a considerable lead over the next eight rounds. McIntyre continued in second, but that would not last much longer. Danny Dietrich was coming. He cracked the top five on lap fifteen. Two laps later he was third and in two more circuits, he passed McIntyre for second.

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While Dietrich started to close in on Rahmer, it looked like the Gettysburg driver might run out of time. He caught a break, however, when the final caution was displayed on lap 21 due to the slowing car of Tyler Ross in turn four.

Rahmer got away cleanly on the restart, but it was apparent that this had become a two-horse race. Dietrich remained close over the next couple of laps. He was moving around on the track searching for a quicker line. He found something down low, especially in turns one and two, where Rahmer was riding the rim.

Dietrich rolled in hard on the bottom and started to drift across the track. Rahmer maintained his line and did not burp the throttle. As the duo came off turn two, they touched and there was an audible gasp from the crowd. Both cars got sideways, but the skilled drivers saved them. Dietrich got going first, and he entered turn three with a lead that he would never surrender.

Rahmer followed him into the corner but he was too far back to retaliate. Dietrich completed the final five rounds without incident to get his second consecutive victory at the Pigeon Hills oval. In addition, it was his fourth in-a- row overall, as Dietrch went three-for-three the previous weekend.

“It is great to get rolling like this, we are leaving Wednesday for Knoxville,” he explained.

Following Dietrich and Rahmer across the finish line was Wagaman, who wrestled third away from McIntyre. Chase Dietz crossed in fifth. Campbell was sixth. Wilt, Billy Dietrich, Trout, and Brandon Rahmer completed the top ten.

Heat winners on Hank Gentzler memorial Manufacturers Appreciation Night were Freddie Rahmer, Jr., Wolfe, and Billy Dietrich. Brie Hershey won the B Main. Trout’s fast time was 13.271 seconds.

In the 358 Sprints, Brett Strickler survived two reds and a flock of cautions to pick up his first career Sprint Car win at Lincoln Speedway. He held off veteran Doug Hammaker, who rapped the turn one wall early in the race but was able to keep the car moving. Kody Hartlaub, Jeff Rohrbaugh, and Chris Arnold rounded out the top five. Zachary Allman, Cody Fletcher, Chris Frank, Brett Wanner, and Travis Scott were the next five finishers. Scott, Rohrbaugh, Chad Criswell, and Frank were the heat winners. Zane Rudisill won the B Main.

Lincoln Speedway will be back in action Saturday with 410 and 358 Sprints, joined by the Mid Atlantic Modifieds.
On August 22, there will be twin features for the 358 Sprints and 410 Sprints. Sandwiched in between will be a special for the World of Outlaws and ULMS Late Models, the Billy Vacek and Huey Wilcoxon Memorial. The winner on August 20 will earn $12,000.

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Local Racing

Pennsylvania Racing Economic Impact Surveys Released

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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: https://forms.gle/XWTehM4nsKGfzTC58

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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: https://forms.gle/vEcZR5XJbQHKPBLLA

Marketing and media professionals have a survey that the MCP is asking them to complete.  Here is a link to that survey: https://forms.gle/EX32bbXubANUaUGr7

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: https://forms.gle/fkhuwgg3EDvFTGuR7

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

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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

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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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