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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.

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Dirt Racing

Kyle Larson Wins at Williams Grove

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Photo: Paul Arch

WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (April 16, 2021): Kyle Larson made his first 410 Sprint Car race of the season a memorable one, capturing the Tommy Hinnershitz Classic at Williams Grove Speedway. Larson, who admitted to having some rustiness earlier in the night, got better as the night went on. He won his Dash, which put him on the front row beside his good friend, Lance Dewease, and then he chased down the veteran who was seeking his 100th career win at the track. Larsen went on to score a convincing win.

Also getting to victory lane was the defending 358 Sprint Car champion, Derek Locke.

“I used to hate this place,” Larson said. His early struggles at the track were well documented. “But, now that I have a fast car here, it’s really fun.” Larson went so far as to say that Williams Grove is now one of his favorite venues. And, why not? In the last twelve months, he tabbed three wins at the track. Larson clearly enjoys racing at Williams Grove and going head to head
with his pal.

“I knew that I had a really good car,” Larson noted. “I was catching (Dewease) at both ends. I showed him the nose in three and he was getting tight.” Larson sailed by Dewease on the outside of turns one and two and never looked back. Still, Larson was concerned that the wily veteran might chase him down in traffic. “He has a lot of laps here,” he explained.

Indeed, Dewease was closing in on Larson until he encountered the lapped car of T.J. Stutts. It took Dewease several laps to get past Stutts and, by then, Larson’s lead was insurmountable.  Dewease noted that his car got really tight as the race went on. “We weren’t very good after that red flag with three laps in. He (Larson) got by me and he checked out.” So Dewease must wait a little while longer to claim the big win.

Dewease and Larson had the front row by virtue of their respective Dash wins. Freddie Rahmer, Jr. and Ian Madsen were in the second row, with Anthony Macri and Tim Shaffer right behind. Kerry Madsen rolled off from row four, along with Tony Stewart, the surprise winner the night before at Virginia Motor Speedway. Tyler Courtney and Zeb Wise were in row five and Paul McMahan and Zach Hampton started from the sixth verse.

Dewease fired first and opened a three car length advantage over the NASCAR star. Ian Madsen held down third, ahead of Rahmer, Shaffer, Macri, and Wise. Dewease maintained his advantage through the first three laps before the red was displayed for Stutts, who turned his car over midway down the backstretch. The damage was minimal, and Stutts was able to pit for some repairs to enable him to continue.

After that stoppage, Dewease resumed command. However, Larson was stalking him and he made several aggressive runs to the inside of turn three. With each successive lap, Larson drew closer. He did pull alongside Dewease in three with nine laps completed and he made the winning move at the opposite end of the track on the tenth circuit.

Three Rivers Karting

Soon thereafter, the only caution was displayed for Cap Henry’s spin between turns three and four. Dewease got to start on Larson’s tail, but he could not capitalize on that opportunity. Larson rolled into turn one without any threat from Dewease and he completed the remaining 20 laps without seeing any light blue flashing next to him.

After the caution, the driver making progress was Rahmer. After falling back a few spots in the first third of the race, Rahmer found some speed in the middle stage of the contest. He regained the third position on lap 12 and he began to close in on Dewease. “The middle part of the race we were really good,” Rahmer commented. “We left a little on the table though.” While Rahmer made things interesting, he could not get close enough to Dewease to challenge for second.

While Rahmer was coming forward, Shaffer started to fall back. Shafer raced in fourth in the early going but gave up several positions over the second half of the race.

At the checkers, it was Larson, Dewease, Rahmer, Ian Madsen, and Macri. Tony Steward was sixth, followed by Shaffer, Kerry Madsen, Courtney, and McMahan.

The heat winners were Ian Madsen, Stewart, Kerry Madsen, and Shaffer. Brett Shearer took the B Main over Danny Dietrich, who made his second engine change of the night in time to start the A Main. Dewease was the night’s fastest qualifier with a lap of 16.316

“It was good to get the year started right,” Derek Locke said about his victory. After starting in the eighth spot, he steadily advanced to the second spot in the early going. He chased Tyler Brehm for five or six laps. The leaders were dicing in traffic and narrowly avoided a spinning car in turn three near the halfway mark. For the restart, Locke slid the wing back a bit and he was able to drive past Brehm easily in turns one and two.

Brehm followed Locke the rest of the way. Chris Frank, Cody Fletcher, and Kyle Denmyer completed the top five. Chad Criswell, Brett Wanner, Matt Findley, Scott Fisher, and Zach Newlin were the next five across the finish line.

Wanner, Brehm, and Denmeyer won their heat races. There was no B Main.

Williams Grove will return to action next week with a Yellow Breeches 500 race night featuring the 410 and 358 Sprint cars. Then, on April 30, the ASCS National Tour will invade the speedway, along with the United Racing Club. These organizations will bring some of the best 360 Sprint racers in the country. The 410 Sprints will also be on the card.

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Dirt Racing

Opening Night At Lernerville Speedway Postponed

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SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Western Pennsylvania dirt track racers and fans were revving up their engines in preparation for Friday night’s opening night at Lernerville Speedway but Mother Nature had other plans.

Lernerville announced Friday morning that opening night has been postponed due to weather.

Three Rivers Karting

Opening night will now be Friday April 23 with Fab4 racing revved up by Marburger Farm Dairy.

For tickets and more information visit www.lernerville.com.

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Dirt Racing

Shaffer Scores Again at Lincoln

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Lincoln Speedway

ABBOTTSTOWN, PA (April 10, 2021): Tm Shaffer became the first repeat winner of the season in the 410 Sprint division at Lincoln Speedway. Shaffer caught a break with eight laps remaining in the contest when Chase Dietz failed to clear the leader, Aaron Bollinger, in a daring two for one slide job attempt in turns three and four. Shaffer was able to turn under the wreck in progress and assumed the point for the restart. He was never headed.

Also grabbing checkers this night were Hayden Miller in the 358 Sprint Cars and Scott Shaffer in the Outlaw Vintage Racing Series Modifieds.

Shaffer proclaimed that his new pairing with Heffner Motorsports has the makings of a great team. And, he should know. The Hall of Fame driver has been part of several championship caliber combinations over the years.

“The 16 (Bollinger) was putting a good pace on and I was just waiting for lapped traffic but he was getting away,” Shaffer said. Shaffer called upon his vast experience to get the victory. “Sometimes you just have to wait for it to come to you and it did.” Dietz, however, was impatient, and it cost him dearly. “I hated to see that,” Shaffer said of the accident that handed him the win. “This can be a humbling sport.”

Scott Fisher and Bolliger were paired up on the front row for the start of the 30 lap event run under the track handicapping system. Glendon Forsythe and Dylan Norris were in the second row. Tim Glatfelter and Shaffer occupied row three. Opening day victor, Tim Wagaman, lined up beside Dietz, while Austin Bishop and Tyler Ross started in row six. Poor heat race performances relegated Kyle Moody, Brandon Rahmer, Jimmy Siegel, Freddie Rahmer, Jr., Matt Campbell, and points leader Alan Krimes to the second half of the starting order. Also mired in the back of the field was Danny Dietrich who arrived late after racing at Port Royal Speedway earlier in the night. Dietrich was able to tag the tail of the third heat and wound up seventh in his qualifier.

Bollinger seized the early lead and it looked as though he was going to give himself a belated birthday present. He raced out front up until the mishap with Dietz on lap 22. Shafer bolted into second on the opening lap and he chased the younger driver throughout. Fisher, Norris, Glatfelter, and Forsythe followed.

As Fisher was falling back, Dietz was coming forward. He reached the top five with just five laps down. In five more rounds, he was fourth. At the halfway mark, he was third and gaining on the leaders.

Dietz was certainly on the charge as the race entered the stretch run. He got a tremendous run down the backstretch and swooped under Shaffer in turn three. Dietz was carrying plenty of momentum and, when Bollinger bobbled just a bit, Dietz saw an opportunity. Instead of sliding up behind the leader, Dietz continued on the low line and tried to slide him as well. He drifted up as Bollinger was regaining control coming off the cushion. There was impact. Hard impact. It carried both cars up to the wall in turn four. Shaffer was able to check up to avoid the accident.

Shaffer led Glatfelter the rest of the way to get his second victory of 2021 at Lincoln. Norris held off Freddie Rahmer, Jr., who climbed up from fifteenth on the grid. Ross turned in a creditable job to nail down fifth.

Tim Wagaman, Kyle Moody, Landon Myers, Billy Dietrich, and Bishop completed the top ten. It was Myers’ first start of the season and he came from the tail after pitting for an engine problem as the field was pushing off. Also making his first start of the season was Cory Haas in his new ride, the Buzz Wilson 38. Haas also endured a sour motor, but his problem was not corrected and he placed last in the race.

Heat wins belonged to Forsythe, Norris, and Bollinger. There was no B Main.

Three Rivers Karting

In the 358 Sprints, fans expected to see a repeat win by Jeff Rohrbaugh, who started on the outside of row one. But it was the youngster, Miller, who won the race into turn one.

Miller was anxious before the race began. “Before I went out there, I was shaking so bad. I was pacing in the trailer,” he explained. But the nerves never got to him once he was inside the car.

Rohrbaugh fell back to fourth on the opening lap, and would never contend for the victory.

Steve Owings slid into the second spot and he challenged Miller occasionally during the 20 lap affair. However, Zane Rudisill was the one who had the fans excited in the final laps.

Rudisill picked off two racers to get into third on a restart with just a handful of laps remaining. Then he took second and began to close in on Miller. A final caution with three to go gave him a shot at the leader, but Miller was up to the challenge.

“I raced with Zane in the 600s at Path Valley and I know how tough he could be,” Miller said. “The last three or four laps I made the car as wide as possible.”

After Miller and Rudisill came Owings, Kody Hartlaub, and Cody Fletcher, the points leader. Another Cody, Phillips, led the next group of five to the finish line. Jordan Strickler, Matt Findley, Justin Foster, and Riley Emig were next across.

The race was stopped twice for violent flips by Jon Stewart and Brett Strickler, both between turns three and four. Neither driver was hurt.

The three heat winners were Rohrbaugh, Hartlaub, and Jordan Strickler. Jacob Balliet scored in the B Main.

Scott Shaffer charged from eighth to get the Vintage Modified main win over Wes Cassel and Mark Hahn.

Next week, Lincoln Speedway will present the 18th Annual Weldon Sterner Memorial. The race will pay $6,900 to the winner. Sterner is remembered as the owner of the potent 69 cars driven by Van May. He was also a promoter of Lincoln Speedway for a number of years. Joining the 410 Sprints will be the 358 Sprints. On April 24 there will be a triple header for the 410 Sprints, Central PA Legends Cars, and Mid Atlantic Modifieds.

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