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Marks Makes Most at the Grove; Locke and Drevicki also Score

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WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (August 14, 2020): It was a good night to be leading points at Williams Grove Speedway. Each of the three feature winners sat atop the standings in their respective classes. Winning the Billy Kimmel Memorial for the 410 Sprints was Brent Marks. Taking the 358 Sprints was Derek Locke. And, taking the first ever USAC East Coast 360 Sprints was Steve Drevicki.

“It feels good to be at home racing,” said Marks, also known as the Myerstown Missile. “We were going to do a lot more traveling,” he said, “but the virus situation changed that.” Marks had spent the last several seasons touring with the World of Outlaws, and he planned to run a true outlaw schedule, mixing in better paying local events with All Stars and World of Outlaws treks. But Marks has remained close to home while series and track schedules went through radical adjustments. Now, he finds himself leading the points battles at the Grove and at Port Royal Speedway, an unexpected benefit for sure.

The win for Marks was his first of the season at the Grove, and his tenth career win. It was his first since knocking off the National Open last fall. Unfortunately for Marks, though, the track was only giving show-up points this night because the date was penned in after the cancellation of the 2020 Knoxville Nationals. Originally, the Grove was to be dark to allow competitors to journey west. Several drivers did opt to attend the One and Only, the substitute for the 60th running of the Nationals, but the majority of them stayed home to race at the Grove.

The win did not come easy for Marks. “That was a really hard race, it was the hardest that I’ve raced in a while,” he said as he struggled to catch his breath. Marks had to chase down pole sitter Brian Montieth, who led from the outset. “I made a lot of mistakes, Brian made a lot of mistakes.” Marks continued, “I thought that I lost the race, I got bottled up down there (pointing toward turn four) and, then, he did the same thing two laps later.” That enabled Marks to get a good run at Montieth and he nipped him at the flag stand as they registered lap 21. Montieth fought back to regain the lead in turn one, but Marks had the better line and he was able to power off turn two with the lead once and for all.

Montieth was paired up with another hungry veteran, Lucas Wolfe, on the front row for the 25 lapper. Jeff Halligan and Marks were in the second row. Freddie Rahmer, Jr. and Matt Campbell were in the third, and Chad Trout and Tyler Ross were in the fourth. The fifth row was made up of Rick Lafferty and Kyle Reinhardt.

Montieth wasted no time building up a lead over Wolfe. Wolfe could not hold onto second for very long, as he was displaced by Marks and Halligan with a couple of laps in the books. Rahmer nestled into fifth, followed by Campbell, Ross, and Trout.

Montieth survived a pair of restarts, on laps six and seven, brought about by minor incidents.

Three Rivers Karting

The final 18 laps were run under the green. Marks closed in on Montieth around the halfway mark. Montieth led by a nose on lap 15, but he was able to open up a few car lengths on his challenger when Marks got hung up behind some lapped cars. But Marks rallied and drew close to Montieh as the laps clicked away.

Things got very exciting over the last five laps. When Montieth got caught behind some slower cars, Marks made his move. He grabbed the lead at the line, but then he had to fight back Montieth’s counterattack in turn one. Marks was able to do so successfully and he held the lead to the end.

Following Marks and Montieth were Campbell, Rahmer, and Trout. Halligan, Zeb Wise, Wolfe, Kyle Moody, and Reinhardt completed the top ten. It was Moody’s first race in several weeks, as he was sidelined with a concussion.

Heat wins were scored by Campbell, Lafferty, and Rahmer. There was no B Main.

In the 358 Sprints, Derek Locke scored his second career win at the Grove in remarkable style. Locke took command just two laps into the race and he cruised to the easy win. Doug Hammaker raced up to second, and he was followed by two-time winner Kevin Nouse. Cody Fletcher was fourth after leading the first two circuits. Zach Newlin was fifth. Dylan Norris, Matt Findley, Chris Frank, Scott Fisher, and Chad Criswell rounded out the top ten.

In the USAC 360 debut, Steve Drevicki scored his first career win at the Grove. He had finished second several times before in different classes of cars, but this was his first feature triumph of any kind at the historic venue. He had to fend off the charge of Alex Bright over the last ten laps. Taking third was a former New York Modified ace, Billy Vaninwegen. Joey Biasi out dueled Carmen Perigo, Jr. for fourth. Early leader Bill Unglert crossed in sixth, followed by Kyle Spence, Bruce Buckwalter, Chris Allen, Jr. and John Stehman.

Next week, Williams Grove will host the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. Also on the card will be the 410 Sprint Cars. Coming up soon will be the Jack Gunn Memorial Twin 20s for the All Stars Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars.

Dirt Racing

PPMS, Latrobe and Lervnerville Cancel Saturday Events

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PITTSBURGH, PA (May 25, 2024) A forecast calling for thunderstorms after 3 p.m. with gusty winds and possible hail throughout areas of Western Pennsylvania on Saturday is forcing local tracks to cancel their Saturday nights events.

Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway made the decision early to cancel their Choice for Change Action Event with the RUSH Sprint Cars.  All tickets purchased for the event are eligible for a full refund.  Next up at PPMS is the Western PA Speedweek event on Thursday with UEMS Racing Series.

Penn Ohio Pro Stock Touring Series and Latrobe Speedway officials are also postponing the tour’s season-opener because of Mother Nature.  The good news is the delay is only one week.

Three Rivers Karting

“Despite the unfortunate weather forecast that canceled our fourth race in a row, we have a silver lining,” said SNB Promotions Dennis Bates. “Thankfully, we were able to reschedule the Homak Penn Ohio Pro Stock Tour for the following Saturday, June 1. Providing a new opportunity for our stakeholders to enjoy a modified six-division event. Most Homak Penn Ohio Pro Stock touring teams have more than a two-hour drive to the speedway, so it made sense to postpone the race.”

The modified six-division show will also include the K2 Engineering FASTrak Pro Late Models, Joe’s Body Shop & Towing Pure Stocks, Special T Metals LLC Modified 4 Cylinders, the Marilungo Disposal LLC Strictly Stock 4 Cylinders, and the Dean Pollock Hobby Stocks.

The grim forecast is also causing Overdrive Monster Truck and Lernerville Speedway officials to postpone tonight’s event. The show will now take place on Sunday, May 26 with VIP gates opening at 2 p.m.  The grandstands will open at 2:30 p.m. with a scheduled start of 6 p.m.  All tickets purchased in advance will be honored for May 26.

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Dirt Racing

Red-Hot Spithaler Continues His Winning Ways At Lernerville

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SARVER, PA (May 24, 2024) There its not a hotter driver in the local 410 Sprint Car ranks than Brandon Spithaler.  One week after finishing fourth in the World of Outlaws A Main at Attica Raceway Park, Spithaler picked up the checkered flag in the People’s Natural Gas feature Friday night at Lernerville Speedway.

Spithaler started eighth in the 19-car field and held off Bradon Matus and Michael Bauer to pick up the win.  AJ Flick finished fourth and hard-charger Dan Kuriger rounded out the Top 5 after starting 18th.

Flick remains atop the Championship standing followed by Carl Bowser, who trails flick by 16-points.  Bauer and Matus each sit 19-points back of Flick with Baurer holding down third in the standings by virtue of his 2-Top 5 finished.  The victory moves Spithaler to sixth, 29-points back despite participating in only 2-events.

Tyler Dietz started on the front row and took home the victory in the Precise Racing Products Late Model feature.  Colton Flinner finished second followed by Michael Norris and John Garvin Jr.

Norris remains atop the Championship standings with Flinner in second, 1-point behind.  Garvin is 7-points behind in third and Dietz’ victory leaves him sitting in fourth, 13-points behind.

Three Rivers Karting

Garrett Krummert is your winner in the Diehl Automotive Big Block Modifieds.  Krummert started seventh and expertly worked traffic to get past second-place starter and finisher Rex King Jr.  Jeremiah Shingledecker finished third followed by Will Thomas in fourth.  Ayden Cipriano rounded out the Top 5.

The Top 4 finishers are your Top 4 in the Championship standings with King Jr 5-points behind Krummert.  Shingledecker sits third, 16-points back and Thomas is only one point back of third, 17-points behind Krummert.

Pole sitter Chris Schneider held off a hard-charging Dietz to win the Millerstown Pic-A-Part Pro Stocks feature.  Christian Schneider came home third after starting sixth followed by Corey McPherson in fourth and Jason Fosnaught in fifth.

Dietz and Christian Schneider are tied atop the Championship standings with 113 points each.  Chris Schneider is third 9-points back in a battle that is bound to go down to the final weekend.

Saturday night’s Overdrive Monster Trucks event has been postponed to Sunday due to the forecast.  VIP Gates will open at 2 p.m. with grandstands opening at 2:30 p.m.  The event will start at 6 p.m.  All tickets purchased in advance will be honored for May 26.

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Dirt Racing

Dietrich Does It At The Grove

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Williams Grove Speedway

MECHANICSBURG, PA (May 24, 2024): Danny Dietrich got a break at the start of the John Trone Tribute A Main at Williams Grove Speedway, and he made the most of it. Dietrich fell in behind Lucas Wolfe on the initial green, but a multi-car crash before the entire field crossed for lap one necessitated a complete restart. Dietrich was better prepared for the second try, and he was able to keep Wolfe behind him motoring down the long straightaway. Still, Dietrich had to fend Wolfe off once or twice during the contest to ensure the $10,039 win. Wolfe slid out of the rubber once in the late going, and Spencer Bayston scooted by for second.

Also grabbing a win was Logan Spahr in the PASS IMCA 305 Sprint undercard.

“We had a good draw, but we had a bad start,” the Gettsysburg pilot observed. “I like racing with Lucas (Wolfe) because he will always race you clean. Lucas got me, but we were better the next time.” Dietrich explained that there was some moisture in the middle of the track, and that was where Wolfe launched at the drop of the green. “I didn’t push him up enough, so the second time I moved up and I got a better run,” Dietrich added.

Dietrich started on the pole carrying the traditional red, white, and blue colors and the historic number 29 that always adorned the Bob Weikert-owned machines over the years. The next generation of Weikerts sponsor Dietrich’s car, owned by Gary Kauffman of Biglerville, and the Kauffman/Dietrich team pay homage to the iconic car and the famous owner over the Memorial Day Weekend. The same livery will be used in the two-day event at the Port Royal Speedway.

Wolfe was on Dietrich’s flank for the start of the twenty-five lapper. In the row behind were Devon Borden and Bayston. Row three paired up Chase Dietz and Cory Eliason. Anthony Macri and Rico Abreu made up row four. Next were T.J. Stutts and midwestern star Brian Brown. James McFadden and Kyle Reinhardt occupied row six.

The first lap melee eliminated several cars, including those of current points leader and defending champion Freddie Rahmer, Jr., and Lance Dewease.

After the failed attempt to start the race, Dietrich claimed the lead that he would never relinquish. Wolfe stayed close, particularly in the early going. He was followed by Bayston, Borden, Dietz, Eliason, Macri, Abreu, Brown, and Reinhardt. Dietrich had a comfortable margin eliminated on lap eleven when Austin Bishop stopped on the track for the first official caution.

On the restart, Wolfe drove in the middle grove entering turn one. He was able to get along side of Dietrich, but the bottom was the better line due to the accumulated rubber. So Dietrich was able to drive away from his challenger in turn two. Bayston remained in third, with Dietz and Eliason next.

Two laps later, Abreu spun himself out of the top ten. He managed to keep moving, so there was no caution but, now, Abreu was at the tail of the field. Bayston got a good run on Wolfe for second a lap later, but Bayston slid up the track and handed third over to Dietz. Bayston was able to regain the position by lap fifteen, when Abreu and Aaron Bollinger tangled in turn one.

Three Rivers Karting

On the restart, Dietrich continued to lead Wolfe and Bayston. Bayston was pressing Wolfe while Dietrich began to pull away. With just two laps remaining, Wolfe slid up off the rubber in turn one, losing second to Bayston in the process.

At the checkers, it was Dietrich by a wide margin over Bayston, Wolfe, Eliason, and Dietz. Macri, Borden, Reinhardt, Brown, and Stutts completed the top ten.

The four heat wins went to Abreu, Bayston, Wolfe, and Dietrich. Cameron Smith prevailed in the B Main. Eliason was the fastest qualifier this night, topping Group A with a lap of 17.898 seconds. Macri was best in Group B with a time of 18.278 seconds.

Josh Beamer had the pole for the twenty-lap nightcap for the PASS IMCA 305 Sprints. Beside him was Erin Statler. Row two consisted of Jason Roush and Spahr. The third row matched Andrew Boyer with Kenny Heffner. Drew Young shared row four with Mike Alleman. Owen Dimm and Danny Buccafusco raced from row five, and they were trailed by Landon Price and Mike Melair.

Beamer dashed out front, but Spahr was into second in no time at all. Roush, Heffner, Boyer, and Young followed closely. As the lap counter advanced, Beamer and Spahr separated themselves from Heffner, who raced alone in third. Positions four on back were hotly contested.

Spahr assumed the lead on lap eleven, just one round ahead of the lone caution of the race for Croix Beasom.

On the restart, Spahr got a tremendous jump on Beasom. Young lost several positions after the race resumed. Moving ahead of him were Christian Rumsey, Heffner, Melair, Statler, and Buccafusco.

Spahr showed no mercy to his competitors over the final eight laps. Beamer registered a second place finish, ahead of Rumsey, Melair, and Statler. Positions six through ten went to Heffner, Buccafusco, Young, Boyer, and Dimm.

Boyer and Heffner shared the heats. There was no B Main.

Next week, the 358 Sprints will return to support the 410 Sprints. The 358s will go for twenty-five laps with extra purse money on the line. The month of June will commence with the 410s and USAC East Coast Sprints in the Bill Gallagher Memorial. On June 14, the USAC National Sprints will be the added attraction, along with the 410 Sprints. June 21 will be the tune-up for Central PA Speedweek.

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