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Michael Norris Wins “Jook George Steel City Classic”

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IMPERIAL, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Michael Norris passed Ben Policz on lap 25 and survived a late restart to win the RUSH Late Model Series “Jook George Steel City Classic” Presented by Zarin Truck & Auto Saturday night at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway.

“That was a lot of fun,” said Norris in Victory Lane.  “I was hoping the track would get like that all night.  (Kyle) Lukon and the 14 (Policz), we didn’t really touch at all.  I tip my hat to those guys, they are good in this deal.  I’m just happy to come out on top of them.”

Norris was talking about the battle between himself, pole-sitter and PPMS track champion Policz and last year’s Jook George winner Kyle Lukon.

Norris started fourth in the 26-car field and Lukon started second with Daryl Charlier starting third.  The intense battle took a few minutes to get going as there was a quick caution with 2-laps down for Josh Ferry.  Policz chose the outside for the restart and before the lap could be completed there was a huge, multi-car crash that involved nine cars including Robbie Scott, who was driving a second Zarin Motorsports entry and Cole Petrelle in the team car to Lukon.  Fortunately no injuries were reported.

Once the race restarted Policz took the lead with Lukon in second and Norris in third after getting around Charlier.

Lukon chased down Policz on lap 12 and used a slick move to the outside to grab the lead.  Norris got to second place with Policz falling to third.

Policz and Norris waged a battle for second but Lukon couldn’t get away as he was dealing with lap traffic.  Norris was third on lap 23, less than a second out of the lead and two laps later he passed both Policz and Lukon to take the top spot.

“The Crusher Kid” was able to navigate lap traffic masterfully from that point, building a 7.8-second lead and appeared to be cruising towards a victory when John Mollick, who passed Policz for third place on lap 30, slammed into the outside wall between turns 1 and 2 on lap 39.  Mollick walked away from his heavily damaged car.

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Norris got a great restart and quickly pulled out to a 1-second lead over Lukon, who cut to a half-second but couldn’t get back to Norris.

“I love coming here, especially when it (the groove) gets up by the wall like that,” said Norris. “I figured Lukon would be close because this is his cup of tea as well.  The temperature was getting pretty hot and I’m like ‘well, I’ll just keep going and hopefully if we win, I’ll buy him a new one’.”

The ‘him’ was Norris’ brother-in-law Nico Dabecco, who usually drives the #F1.

“I’ve got to thank my brother-in-law Nico Dabecco for letting me run his car,” said Norris. “It takes a big man to step out of your car and watch somebody else beat the crap out of it so I really appreciate it and I’m glad to get this win for him and my sister. This was kind of a whole family deal, so it’s really special.”

Norris won the $6,010 purse as well as the $1,000 bonus for contributing to the purse making the night’s haul a total, including contingencies, of $7,260 for the win.  Not bad for a driver’s first time ever in a crate late model.

“I know this is a big deal and I appreciate ‘Cleetus’ (event coordinator Branden Lockwich) for everything he did putting this on. To bring up this much money in this day and age with everything going on that shows you how hard he worked. It’s awesome to race for this an hour from the house.”

Finishing Position – Starting spot – Driver name (car number) – Hometown

1 – 4 – Michael Norris (F1) – Sarver, PA
2 – 2 – Kyle Lukon (184) – Burgettstown, PA
3 – 1 – Ben Policz (14B) – Rices Landing, PA
4 – 15 – Kyle Hardy (14C) – Linden, VA
5 – 7 – Michael Duritsky (90J) – Masontown, PA
6 – 8 – Jeremy Wonderling (3J) – Wellesville, NY
7 – 25 – Joe Martin (10S) – Punxsutawney, PA
8 – 3 – Daryl Charlier (12) – Midway, PA
9 – 6 – Logan Zarin (1Z) – Moon, PA
10 – 13 – Levi Crowl (5C) – Clear Springs, MD
11 – 10 – Jake Gunn (14G) – McDonald, PA
12 – 14 – Dusty Waters (14W) – Portville, NY
13 – 5 – John Mollick (60M) – Toronto, OH
14 – 16 – Tommy Schirnhofer (8S) – Dormont, PA
15 – 20 – Garrett Paugh (03) – Elkins, WV
16 – 24 – Justin Lamb (93X) – Findlay Township, PA
17 – 12 – Max Blair (111) – Centerville, PA
18 – 22 – Josh Ferry (33) – Cochranton, PA
19 – 18 – John Waters (18) – Whitesville, NY
20 – 26 – Bill Kessler (09) – Freedom, PA
21 – 9 – Zach Gunn (17G) – McDonald, PA
22 – 11 – Keith Barbara (64K) – South Park, PA
23 – 19 – Christian Schneider (1ST) – Warren, OH
24 – 17 – Steve Dixon (65D) – Smethport, PA
25 – 21 – Robbie Scott (18) – Shinnston, WV
26 – 23 – Cole Petrelle (184P) – Weirton, WV

 

IndyCar

Chip Ganassi Racing unveils Alex Palou’s No. 10 DHL Honda

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Photo: Chip Ganassi Racing

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing unveiled the livery for two-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Alex Palou’s DHL Honda on Tuesday.  DHL signed on as the primary sponsor this off-season in a multi-year partnership with the team.

The No. 10 car will carry the familiar yellow of DHL’s branding but adds a splash of red that has been synonymous with the Ganassi team for decades.

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“As everybody can see, this is quite the amazing livery,” said Palou. “The No. 10 DHL Honda looks very aggressive, and it will certainly stand out on the track, which is great. I can’t wait to start the season with a run in this livery at Sebring before we kick things off in St. Pete. It’s looking like the perfect livery to try to defend our title in 2024 and I cannot wait to deliver on-track here soon.”

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding takes place March 8-10 on the streets of St. Pete.

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Dirt Racing

Jean Lynch Classic Coming to Lernerville Speedway

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(February 6th, 2024) – Western PA Speedweek and Lernerville Speedway are introducing ‘The Jean Lynch Classic presented by Rustler Sales & Service’ as the cornerstone event of the 2024 Western PA Speedweek. The $4,000 to win, $350 to start event on Friday, May 31st will mark the highest paying Speedweek race since the 2021 reincarnation.

“My family and I can’t thank Tyler Beichner, Lernerville Speedway, and everyone involved with Western PA Speedweek enough for putting this together to honor my grandmother Jean Lynch,” said racer Sye Lynch, Jean’s grandson, in a Facebook post. “Her accomplishments and legacy in the racing world should never be forgotten.  My team and I are working to make this night even more special and memorable for everyone. That’s how “Mrs. Jean” as many called her, would want it.”

Jean Lynch was a pioneer for women in racing with ties to tracks and organizations such as NASCAR, CART, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500, the All Star Circuit of Champions and Ohio Sprint Speedweek, and much more. However, her love for racing never left the local racing scene as she could be found managing, promoting, and renting out tracks all across the northeast. The pinnacle of Jean’s lifelong love for racing came in 2013 when she was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. Lynch is also a member of the Lernerville Speedway Hall of Fame, Pittsburgh Circle Track Hall of Fame, Tri-City Speedway Hall of Fame and DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame.

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Lynch passed away last year on June 30, 2023.

Rustler Sales and Service is teaming up with Western PA Speedweek to be presenting sponsor of the Jean Lynch Classic. Owned and operated by former racer Brian Steinman, Rustler Sales and Service specializes in heavy truck sales, service and towing across northwestern Pennsylvania. Call (814) 214-7023 or visit rustlersalesandservice.net to find out how Rustler’s can best serve you.

JEAN LYNCH CLASSIC PAYOFF:

  1. $4,000;
  2. $2,000;
  3. $1,500;
  4. $1,000;
  5. $800;
  6. $700;
  7. $600;
  8. $550;
  9. $500;
  10. $450;
  11. $425;
  12. $400;
  13. $375;
  14. $375;
  15. $375;

16-24: $

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Local Racing

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Names MINI 2024 Marque Of The Year

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PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – MINI, the iconic British brand, is the 2024 ‘Marque Of The Year’ for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.  2024 marks the third time for the brand to receive the honor, which also occurred in 2004 and 2014.

“Excitement is in the air as MINI and MINI of Pittsburgh takes the spotlight as ‘Marque of the Year’, said Morgan McLane, Motoring Advisor at MINI of Pittsburgh.  “Join us as we revitalize the spirit of motoring, embrace the elegance of the past, and set the stage for a future filled with MINI adventures.”

MINIS will be everywhere this summer in Pittsburgh including on-track both weekends and at all of the PVGP car shows throughout race week, July 26 through August 4.

“This honor is a testament to our commitment to excellence and we can’t wait to share this thrilling ride with the entire Pittsburgh community,” said Jason Karpa, Motoring Manager at MINI of Pittsburgh.

The Classic MINI debuted in 1959 as an inexpensive, 4-person “saloon” that didn’t use a lot of gas or take up a lot of space.

MINIS are no stranger to the race track.  In 1961 British racing legend John Cooper added some horsepower, bigger brakes, tuned the suspension a tweak and the Classic MINI Cooper 997 was born.

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John Cooper’s Classic MINI Cooper and Cooper S went on to dominate the 1960’s race scene, winning almost every international competition imaginable, including historic wins at Monte Carlo in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967.

2024 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Marque Of The Year Poster by Todd Cook.

MINIS will be on the track in 2024 as Mini of Pittsburgh and Vince Longo Jr. team up for the MINI Track Rides program for the 11th year.  Three race-equipped MINI Coopers are custom-wrapped and showcased on the track and at Grand Prix Race Week events.  Longo and his certified racers take riders around the track for an experience and view you can only get from inside a car.

Todd Cook created the 2024 PVGP Poster, which features Bruce Whipple racing his 1962 Austin MINI Cooper S that competes at Schenley Park and Pitt Race. Whipple, from Newton, New Jersey plans to change his race number to 42 signifying the 42nd running of the PVGP to match the poster.

Cook also created a second poster featuring a GT40 in honor of the GT40 60th Reunion the PVGP is hosting July 26-28.

For a complete schedule of events, visit PVGP.org.

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