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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

 

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Local Racing

Sye Lynch Partnering With Baughman Motorsports

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APOLLO, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Sprint Car driver Sye Lynch is partnering with Baughman Motorsports for the 2021 racing season.

Lynch, the third generation 410 Sprint Car driver, and his team plan to enter around 80-events as part of this partnership with Josh Baughman and Baughman Motorsports.  Longtime Lynch partner Mosites Motorsports joins new marketing partners Fischer Body Shop of Missouri and Hollywood Blasting and Coating of Odessa, Texas as part of the arrangement.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” said Lynch. “To have Fischer Body Shop and Baughman Motorsports join our efforts at Sye Lynch Racing is pretty special. We’ve been working on these plans for over four months. I’m not sure how we were able to keep it a secret this long, but it’s out there now. I’m ready to get started.”

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Lynch’s schedule is still being finalized but highlights include some of sprint car racing’s premier showcases like the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway (July 15 & July 17) and the Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway (August 11-14).

“We are still working out the logistics side of things,” said Lynch. “I hope to have a complete plan of attack released in the coming weeks. I just want to thank all of my partners for their dedication and support. Our goal is to go out every night and put on a show. I’m confident we have what it takes to do that.”

Baughman is stepping back from full-time competition in 2021 but plans to run 10-15 events in 2021.

“We are excited about this new venture with Sye Lynch,” said Baughman. “He’s a talented kid with the hunger to win and we’re proud to be affiliated. I think it’s safe to say that we are all anxious to get the year underway.”

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Dirt Racing

Schatz Scores Jean Lynch Classic Win at East Bay

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Photo: Chad Warner

GIBSONTON, FL (February 2, 2021): Donny Schatz scored an impressive win over the Madsen brothers, Ian and Kerry, in the second running of the Jean Lynch Classic for the All Star Circuit of Champions at East Bay Raceway Park. The All Stars’ visit to the ‘Clay by the Bay’ was cut to one night due to heavy rain that hit the track Sunday and continued into Monday. The speedway looked more like the fish farm that Jimmy Mingo and others converted into a racy oval over four decades ago. A substantial pond remained inside turn one on Tuesday but, fortunately, no Sprint Cars made a detour into that area.

“It’s been a long time since I was at East Bay,” Schatz said. He estimated that his last appearance at the track was in the early ’90s. “It’s really neat, tricky; it has some slick spots, some shiny spots.” Nonetheless, Schatz had no difficulty mastering the unfamiliar surface.

Ian Madsen and Cory Eliason paced the field for the 30 lap feature event named for the lady who was a former co-owner of the series and track manager at East Bay. Schatz lined up third, with Justin Peck beside him. Tony Stewart and Anthony Macri were in the third row, and Steve Buckwalter and Tyler Courtney in the fourth. The final dash participants, Kyle Reinhardt and Tim Shaffer, made up row five. Then came Jamie Myers and Gio Scelzi.

Eliason assumed command on the opening lap and he began to distance himself from Schatz, Ian Madsen, Peck, and Macri. However, just five laps into the race, Eliason collided with a slower car driven by Chris Windom. Eliason got a flat right front tire, but there was no other apparent damage to his car, so he was able to resume the race at the rear of the field.

Peck, who had slipped by Schatz on the last completed lap, took off at the drop of the green. Schatz raced along in second, followed by Ian Madsen, Courtney, Shaffer, and Macri. The man on the move, though, was Kerry Madsen, who was up to seventh from 17th on the starting grid.

A caution bunched things up at lap eleven. While the front runners did not change, Kerry Madsen made some aggressive moves to enter the top five.

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With fourteen laps in the books, Schatz was hounding Peck for the lead. He got a strong run off of turn two, but Peck moved up a lane to block his advance. Schatz deftly turned under Peck halfway down the back stretch and he was the new leader entering turn three. Peck no longer had the steam to race with the leaders and he slowly started to drift back in the running order after that.

The final caution was displayed on lap 17. Schatz continued to lead over Ian Madsen when racing resumed, but now the battle was for third. Courtney and Kerry Madsen were the contestants, with Shaffer looking for an opening. Madsen wrestled the spot away from Cortney in a few laps, and he set out after his brother.

The sibling rivalry intensified as the pair of Aussies picked their way through lapped traffic. “I didn’t know it was him,” Ian said of the driver pressing him for second. “I knew that he started pretty far back.” For his part, Kerry Madsen had to wonder how things would have played out differently if he had started closer to the front. “It was a great run, I had a great car and could go anywhere I wanted.”

Schatz maintained his lead to the finish. Ian held off his older brother for second. Courtney was fourth and Scelzi benefitted from a miscue by Shaffer on the final lap to gain the fifth spot. Shaffer, Peck, Stewart, Brent Marks, and Hunter Schuerenberg completed the top ten.

Kerry Madsen was the hard charger, advancing 14 positions.

Ian Madsen was the fastest qualifier of the night, turning in a lap of 12.680 seconds. Buckwalter, Courtney, Shaffer, and Schatz scored heat wins. The dashes belonged to Ian Madsen and Eliason. Terry McCarl captured the B Main.

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Local Racing

Western PA Sprint Speedweek Adds Another Sponsor

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SHIPPENVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Western PA Sprint Speedweek is adding another partner to the growing list of companies stepping up to support the five-race series this June.

J.S. Bova Excavating LLC has signed on to be a presenting sponsor of this summer’s upcoming five-race speedweek, scheduled to run from Wednesday, June 2nd through Sunday, June 6th.

J.S. Bova is a family-owned excavating company and general contractor known for its outstanding service, extensive expertise, steadfast reliability, and commitment to safety. J.S. Bova proudly serves the Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania area out of their central Struthers, Ohio location.

“We’re excited to get behind the revival of Western PA Speedweek” said owner Joe Bova. “We believe the area sprint car competition and racetracks are underrated and on the upswing, and we want to be associated with the excitement that this event brings.”

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Joe and Sherri Bova founded their business in 2013 and worked together to build their organization from the ground up. In less than a decade they have expanded their portfolio to offer a wide range of services and have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants signed on to be the title sponsor of Western PA Sprint Speedweek last week.

Western PA Sprint Speedweek returns from a 20-year hiatus June 2nd-6th. Western Pennsylvania’s ‘410 Sprint Cars’ will compete for five straight nights with each show featuring a strong $3,000-to-win, $250-to-start purse.

Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants Western PA Sprint Speedweek presented by J.S. Bova Excavating Schedule:

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