FRANKLIN, PA (August 16, 2020): The Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Series made its first visit of the season to Tri-City Raceway Park for the third annual Ray’s Race held in memory of R.K. Virgile. Mr. Vigile was the founder of a successful scrap metal business in nearby Oil City, but race fans will remember him as a loyal supporter of the Pro Stock class, especially at Tri-City. His name was splashed across the body panels of countless cars over the years and quite a few of his former drivers were on hand to support the event. However, it was an invader of sorts, Greensburg area driver Noah Brunnell, who came away victorious in the special race.
Also getting wins on this night were Brandon Matus in the 410 Sprint Car division, Greg Martin in the 358 Modifieds, and Dillon Speer in the Mini Stocks.
Matus, a third generation driver from Wampum, PA, took advantage of his front row starting position, as he jumped out to the lead. Veteran Gary Kriess, Jr. had the pole, and he was mighty strong in his heat race, but something was amiss in his machine come feature time. Jack Sodeman, Jr. also moved ahead of Kriess on the opening lap and it was not long thereafter that Kriess retired from action.
While Matus motored along in the lead, Sodeman had to deal with a number of challenges for the second spot. First it was George Hobaugh, Jr. and later it was Brandon Spithaler who tried to take the spot away. Neither were successful.
Other positions in the top ten changed hands frequently over the course of the 25 lapper. Michael Bauer, Carl Bowser, and New York Modified driver Matt Farnham were among the most active. Each took turns racing into the top five at various stages of the race.
At the checkers, it was Brandon Matus ahead of Sodeman and Spithaler. Bowser made a late race charge to get fourth amd Hobaugh held on for fifth. Bauer, John Garvin, Farnham, Leyton Wagner, and Chase Matheny completed the top ten. It was quite an accomplishment for young Matheny, who started at the rear of the field after being unable to compete in his heat race due to an engine problem.
Three heat races were contested earlier in the night, with Kriess, Spithaler, and Brandon Matus getting the wins.
A major wreck early in the 358 Modified race completely changed the complexion of that event. Eric Beggs and Steve Barr were fighting for the lead, but they tangled in turn one with just a couple of laps in the books. A number of other top cars were collected, with several of them being eliminated for the rest of the night. This development moved Jeff Schaffer, Jr. to the front row, with last week’s winner, Greg Martin on his right.
When the green light flashed on again, Schaffer took the lead. But it was Kyle Fink who assume command just a lap or two later. Fink’s time out front did not last as long as he would have liked, as Martin found a comfortable groove and he raced into the lead. Fink remained close throughout the remainder of the race, but he was unable to regain is advantage.
Two racers put in impressive performances. One was Steve Barr, who came back through the field to get third in the closing laps. The other was Ryan Riffe, who ran in the top five for most of the race. Although he was edged out by Schaffer for the fourth spot, Riffe had to be happy with his fifth place finish, as it was his best run of the season. Riffe had a number of mechanical issues in earlier races at Tri-City.
Another hard luck driver, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., took sixth, followed by Andy Jankowiak, Beggs, Max Smoker, and D.J. Schrader.
The preliminaries went to Schaffer and Riffe.
In Ray’s Race, Noah Brunnell took the early lead, but the action was intense behind him. Rod Laskey made contact with series points leader Andrew Gordon while fighting for position, setting off a wild crash in turn four. Gordon’s car went over several times, and was heavily damaged, but he was not hurt.
Curtis J. Bish and Josh Seippel chased Brunnell, but neither could make a challenge for the lead. Tim Bish came home in fourth, followed by Jackson Humanic in fifth.
Heat wins went to Rusty Martz, Tim Bish, and Laskey. Seippel took the dash held for drivers who enjoyed Mr. Virgile’s backing during his long involvement in the Pro Stock class.
The nightcap once again was held for the Mini Stocks. While the winner was a familiar one, Dillon Speer, the twist was that he was driving his four cylinder car rather than the more potent six cylinder machine that graced victory lane several times already. Pat Hanlon was making his first start in the car normally driven by his father, Todd, who recently announced his retirement from the sport. Hanlon was excited about his second place finish. J.R. Shaner was third, followed by Rick Feeley and Bondy Stoyer. Speer and Stoyer took the checkers in their respective heat races.
Next week, Tri-City Raceway Park will have another round of Sunday Night Thunder.
Michael Norris wins night two of Bill Hendren Memorial at PPMS
IMPERIAL, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Michael Norris doesn’t race every week at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway but ‘The Crusher Kid’ may want to add a few more visits to dirt’s ‘Monster Half Mile’ in 2022 after winning the feature in night 2 of the ‘Bill Hendren Memorial’.
Norris’ victory was his 2nd straight RUSH Late Model Touring Series win at PPMS and third in four events. Norris also won the ‘Jook George Steel City Classic’ in August and in 2020.
“Kyle (Lukon) got out there and was setting a pretty good pace,” said Norris. “I kind of got in line behind him and didn’t know if I had anything for him in clean air, but I figured once we got to lapped traffic we’d see what we’re both made of.”
Norris made his move on lap 11 and passed Lukon for the lead. Norris masterfully worked lap traffic over the remaining laps to capture the checkered flag and another win in a signature local event.
“It means a lot to win these memorials,” said Norris. “Any memorial means the person was pretty significant and were pioneers in the sport. I appreciate you guys putting this on, and I just love coming here any chance I get- I’ll run lawnmowers around here I don’t care.”
Kyle Hardy, Friday night’s winner, tried chasing down Norris over the final 17-laps but settled for second place and the RUSH Late Model Touring points lead.
“I didn’t have anything for Michael,” said Hardy. “We would have liked to have won tonight, but always have the big picture in the back of our minds. Not a bad weekend at all.”
Joe Martin was third for the second straight night. It was Martin’s fifth straight Tour podium finish, 10th straight top six, and 13th top six in the last 14 events as he maintains runner-up in the standings.
“Bill Hendren Memorial” Night 2 (30 laps, $3200 to-win): 1. MICHAEL NORRIS (51) 2. Kyle Hardy (99) 3. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s) 4. Colton Flinner (Chernik 5x) 5. Daryl Charlier (Centerline 114) 6. Logan Zarin (1z) 7. Levi Crowl (5) 8. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 9. Jacob Gunn (14G) 10. Garret Paugh (03) 11. Tony Musolino (Dobnak 42) 12. Bud Watson (225) 13. Ray Love, Jr. (08) 14. Zach Gunn (17G) 15. Tom Klein (77) 16. Tom Duratz (55D) 17. Ryan Frazee (11F) 18. Bill Kessler (09) 19. Kassidy Kamicker (72B) 20. Zach Kane (10) 21. Dan Lepro (2L) 22. Kyle Lukon (184) 23. Cole Petrelle (84) 24. Eddie Carrier, Jr. (Lukon 184X).
Non-Qualifier (6 laps, $500 to-win): 1. Philip Bubeck (Tennant 2) 2. Dave Goble (20G). DNS: Nick Love (38), Jeremy Wonderling (3J), Grant Garrison (1), Zach Morrow (Bentz 60), Tim Shaffer (45), Andrew Squatriglia (115).
Macedo Makes History at the Grove
WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (October 2, 2021): Carson Macedo earned his biggest career win in the 59th National Open held at Williams Grove Sppedway. He picked up $75,000, the largest payday ever doled out at the historic venue.
“This is the biggest win of my career,” Macedo said. “This is really cool. When I started coming here, I couldn’t get ahold of this place.” Well, Macedo grabbed control of the race on lap 36 and he did not let go. That was when he made the winning move in turn one, sliding past leader Logan Schuchart. “The lapped cars were holding up Logan. I just drove really hard. I slid across and the wing held me.”
Schuchart, who suffered perhaps the biggest disappointment of his budding career, was philosophical about the outcome. “All in all, two, second place finishes this weekend are pretty good for me. I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me. Carson ran a great race. I thought I could maybe rip the top on him.” But Schuchart’s attempted counter attack never materialized.
Brent Marks had the pole for the 40 lap affair. Schuchart was on his right. Sheldon Haudenschild and David Gravel were in row two. Anthony Macri and Carson Macedo continued the youth movement by starting in row three. Six-time Open champion, Donny Schatz and Justin Peck were in row four. Kasey Kahne and Lance Dewease started in row five, with James McFadden and Brian Brown in the sixth row.
Marks blasted into the lead, followed by Schuchart, Gravel, Macedo, Haudenschild, Macri, and Schatz. Before Marks could build upon his early advantage, a red flag stopped the race after just two laps. Brian Brown spun and collected Daryn Pittman, who turned over from the contact. Freddy Rahmer, Jr. was also involved in the melee. No drivers were injured, but all three were eliminated from the contest.
Marks assumed control again when the race resumed. He began to pull away from Schuchart as the laps clicked off. Marks’ bid for a second win in the Open ended when he got into a lapped car and spun in turn two. He was able to restart the race, but his quest for the victory was over.
That handed the lead to Schuchart. He was able to maintain control for the next twenty-three laps despite a second red flag on lap 12. Robbie Kendall flipped after he tangled with T.J. Stutts between turns one and two. Again, neither driver was hurt, but Kendall was done for the night.
While Schuchart led Macedo, Haudenschild, Macri, and Gravel, the battle was for the sixth spot. Schatz and Dewease were mixing things up until lap 27, when Schatz took the position once and for all.
Schuchart got into traffic and kept his advantage over Macedo. However, in the final ten laps, Macedo began to close on the leader. He made his winning move on lap 35, and led the final four laps. Schuchart made a desperate bid in the final corners, but came up a tad short.
Following Macedo and Schuchart were Haudenschild, Macri, and Gravel. Schatz was sixth. Then came Dewease, Kyle Larson, McFadden, and Brad Sweet.
Macri received a $1,000 bonus for the highest finishing PA Posse driver. Sweet grabbed $559 as the hard charger. He advanced nine positions during the race.
The heat wins were chalked up by Schatz, Macedo, Gravel, and Haudenschild. Dewease set the fast time again, this time topping Group B with a lap of 16.774 seconds. He failed to lock into the dash when Macri swept by him in turn one following a restart with two laps to go in the third heat. The B Main winner was Jacob Allen, and Devon Borden took the checkers in the C Main.
Kyle Hardy wins night one of the ‘Bill Hendren Memorial’ at PPMS
IMPERIAL, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kyle Hardy picked up his first win at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway by grabbing the feature victory in night one of the ‘Bill Hendren Memorial’.
“What a race- it was super fun out there,” said Hardy. “I can’t thank my crew to get this car so good to where I could steer across the middle of the race track. What a car we’ve had all year.”
Hardy held off PPMS track Champion Daryl Charlier in a thrilling side-by-side battle for several laps around dirt’s ‘Monster Half Mile’.
“If you had a camera or mirror on me you’d have seen how freaked out I was just trying to get where I needed to be to win this thing,” said Hardy.
The victory was not a surprise as Hardy was the runner up when the RUSH Late Model Touring Series visited PPMS twice earlier this season for the ‘Herb Scott Memorial’ and ‘Jook George Steel City Classic’.
Charlier brought it home in second place and earned $1,500 for his efforts.
“If I’m going to finish second I guess I’ll finish second to Kyle Hardy- he’s the top dog in the crates and especially the RUSH Series,” said Charlier.
RUSH Late Model Touring Series “Bill Hendren Memorial” (30 laps, $3000 to-win): 1. KYLE HARDY (99) 2. Daryl Charlier (Centerline 114) 3. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s) 4. Eddie Carrier, Jr. (Lukon 184X) 5. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 6. Jacob Gunn (14G) 7. Bud Watson (225) 8. Garret Paugh (03) 9. Logan Zarin (1z) 10. Levi Crowl (5) 11. Ray Love, Jr. (08) 12. Zach Kane (10) 13. Michael Reft (9R) 14. Colton Flinner (Chernik 5x) 15. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 16. Tony Musolino (Dobnak 42) 17. Zach Gunn (17G) 18. Kyle Lukon (184) 19. Ryan Frazee (11F) 20. Zach Morrow (Bentz 60) 21. Bill Kessler (09) 22. Justin Kann (66) 23. Philip Bubeck (Tennant 2) 24. Tim Shaffer (45).
DNQ: Dan Lepro (2L), Tom Duratz (55D), Grant Garrison (1), Kassidy Kamicker (72B), Tom Klein (77), Rob Coffaro (24), Dave Goble (20G), Nick Love (38), Noah Brunell (31), Zach Crawford (c4), Ben Policz (14B).