PORT ROYAL, PA (August 27, 2020): Tim McCreadie dominated the opening night of the ‘Rumble by the River’ at Port Royal Speedway besting Kyle Strickler by over seven seconds. It was McCreadie’s third win in the last five races on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. In the other two races with this new car, McCreadie scored second place finishes. Despite these recent successes, McCreadie still trails points leader Jimmy Owens by more than 600 counters.
“This is as close to home as I can get,” said the driver from Watertown, NY. He explained that there were plenty of friends and family in for the race, but they were leaving Friday to race a Modified in New York. While he was disappointed that he could not travel with them, he said, “I hope they can make it back for Saturday.”
McCreadie had a perfect night, setting the fastest time in Group A and overall, and winning the first heat by a healthy margin. That put him on the pole for the main event. Next to him was his nemesis, Jimmy Owens, who topped Group B in qualifications and who prevailed in heat race number four. Kyle Strickler and Devin Moran were in row two by virtue of their heat wins, and Shane Clanton lined up next to Kyle Larson as a result of their heat victories. Then came Hudson O’Neal and Tyler Breuning. Mason Zeigler and Chris Ferguson were in row five and the sixth row was comprised of Earl Pearson, Jr. and Jonathan Davenport.
When the green flag flew, so did McCreadie. Owens fell into second, followed by Strickler, Moran, Clanton, Larson, and O’Neal. Larson picked off Clanton a couple of laps into the race. The leaders maintained their positions through the first caution, which came ten laps into the contest when Rick Eckert slowed.
On the restart, Owens took a dive into the first turn but he did not have enough momentum to slide up ahead of McCreadie. Indeed, Owens put himself into jeopardy, as Strickler rode the cushion around turns one and two and nearly took over the second spot. But, by the end of the eleventh lap, the leaders had sorted themselves back out again and it was McCreadie leading Owens, Strickler, Moran, and Larson.
Debris caused the second and final stoppage of the race with 18 laps in the books. Once again, Owens looked inside of McCreadie, to no avail. Strickler again rode the rim and this time he was able to pass Owens. Also gaining a position was Larson, who raced by Moran in turns one and two. With Owens stuck on the inside, Larson was able to take the long way around to pick up another position.
As the laps clicked off, McCreadie set sail. Strickler raced along in second. Larson was in a dogfight with Owens for third. Ferguson was on the move and he reached the top five with ten to go.
All eyes were glued on the battle for third. Could Larson score a podium finish in his first Dirt Late Model feature? While Larson was able to hold the position, he was struggling. he was banging the walls at both ends of the track, somewhat reminiscent of his first NASCAR truck ride at Eldora Speedway. On the final lap, Larson hit the wall several times coming through turns three and four. He lost quite a bit of momentum and limped toward teh finish line.
Getting the checkers was McCreadie, followed by Strickler. Owens and Ferguson both got by Larson, who completed the top five. O’Neal came back for sixth with his new team. Ziegler, Brandon Sheppard, Clanton, and Josh Richards rounded out the top ten. Next came the hard charger for the night, Michael Norris, who advanced ten positions in the 30 lapper.
Stickler was happy with his second place finish, noting that he was on a different tire than most of his competitors. “We were struggling,” he said, “but I think we got it figured out.” Strickler explained that his team started the week with a bare chassis and put the car together for this weekend’s racing.
Owens remarked “we had a good second place car.” He tried a couple of sliders, “but I fell behind on the straight” and gave up second place.
Larson was disappointed that he gave up two spots on the last lap and that he tore up the right rear corner in the process. “The last few laps I was running as hard as I could. But I got too free into three and I clobbered the wall down there and I gave up a few spots.” Larson said that he learned quite a bit over the course of teh race. “The dirty air wasn’t as bad as people told me it would be. I had to cheat my entry to keep air on the car.” He was proud to get to drive for the Rumleys. “It was cool for me to race for those guys and to add my name to the list of guys that ran this car. They don’t get to race too often, so I hope that I can come back and pick up a few positions in the next one.”
The Limited Late Models ran a pair of 20 lap feature events. Taking the opening win was Andrew Yoder, his third of the season at Port Royal and ninth overall. Considering that he only raced eleven times up that point, his winning percentage was quite impressive. Taking second was Trent Brenneman, who led much of the affair. Dillan Stake and Matt Cochran completed the top five. In the nightcap, Stake led the entire distance. Brenneman came on for second, followed by Yoder. Shawn Shoemaker and Devin Hart were fourth and fifth.
Pennsylvania Racing Economic Impact Surveys Released
PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania (MCP) is sending out economic impact surveys to Pennsylvania race tracks, teams and racing related entities.
The data collected from the surveys will be compiled by Washington & Jefferson College professors Rob & Leslie Dunn, who along with the MCP, will produce a study on the range and economic impact of the racing industry in the Keystone State.
The economic impact study will be a valuable tool for race tracks, teams and marketing professionals in their efforts to attract partners, sponsors and other assets that may be available throughout the State.
Race teams are needed to take part in the survey! Here is link to the team survey: https://forms.gle/XWTehM4nsKGfzTC58
Fans are also asked to help the MCP in the efforts. Here is a link to the fan survey so take a few minutes of your time to support race tracks and teams in this endeavor: https://forms.gle/vEcZR5XJbQHKPBLLA
Marketing and media professionals have a survey that the MCP is asking them to complete. Here is a link to that survey: https://forms.gle/EX32bbXubANUaUGr7
Race tracks are also participating in the survey, if a track has not received a survey directly from the MCP, here is a link to that survey: https://forms.gle/fkhuwgg3EDvFTGuR7
The Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania hopes to have the Economic Impact Study completed by the start of the 2021 racing season.
Editors Note: Robert Johnson of the Motorsports Council of Pennsylvania will be one of the guests on the next episode of The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast.
Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek Is Coming Back
SHIPPENVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Five local dirt tracks are teaming up to bring back Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek for the 2021 season.
Michael’s Mercer Raceway (Mercer, PA), Thunder Mountain Speedway (Brookville, PA), Lernerville Speedway (Sarver, PA), Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) and Tri City Raceway Park (Franklin, PA) are the five tracks where the owners and promoters have aligned to bring back the event for the 410 Sprint Cars.
“The ‘410 Sprint Car’ division in the local area has been through many ups-and-downs over the last two decades, but there’s no doubt it’s as strong now as it ever was”, said Dave Willoughby, Sharon Speedway’s General Manager. “You see our guys competing for spots up front everywhere they go, and that even includes out at some of the tougher Central PA tracks.”
Additional details will be released in the near future regarding the established point fund and other race night details.
Here’s the full schedule:
- Wednesday, June 2nd – Michael’s Mercer Raceway
- Thursday, June 3rd – Thunder Mountain Speedway
- Friday, June 4th – Lernerville Speedway
- Saturday, June 5th – Sharon Speedway
- Sunday, June 6th – Tri City Raceway Park
Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek was previously run from 1993-2000 by the All-Star Circuit of Champions.
Indy Autonomous Challenge Race Car Unveiled
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The world’s first high-speed, head-to-head autonomous race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will feature Dallaras as the race cars.
Energy Systems Network (ESN) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) this week unveiled the official race car that will be autonomously driven by scores of university teams in the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) at the Racing Capital of the World on Oct. 23, 2021.
Dallara has been the sole racecar supplier of the Indy Lights series since 2002, and now the modified Dallara IL-15 is the official IAC racecar.
“Dallara is the best racecar engineering company in the world, yet designing the chassis for autonomous racing was really challenging,” explained Stefano dePonti, CEO and general manager of Dallara USA. “Dallara loves innovation and technological challenges, and we share the IAC’s passion for education and motorsports.”
“The Dallara-built IAC racecar is the most advanced, fastest autonomous vehicle ever developed,” stated Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of ESN, and co-organizer of the IAC. “Our IAC sponsors are providing radar, lidar, optical cameras and advanced computers, bringing the value of each vehicle to $1 million.”
One of the teams competing in the challenge is the Panther AV RAS-ing team from the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.
Panther AV RAS-ing is part of more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students, PhDs and mentors who excel in artificial intelligence software that have responded to the challenge. The challengers represent 39 universities in 11 countries on four continents and 14 U.S. states.
The IAC is scheduled for October 23, 2021, at the IMS, with a qualifying simulation race during the Indy 500 week in May. The total IAC prize purse is $1.5 million: $1 million awarded to the winning team of the October IAC race, and an additional $500,000 for winners of the hackathons and simulation races.
“The IAC is going to bring the best minds from around the world to solve a very complex problem, right here at the Racing Capital of the World,” said IMS President J. Douglas Boles. “As the birthplace of motorsports’ innovation, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a fitting setting for this event, and we can’t wait to see the winning entry cross the Yard of Bricks into history.”
Two companies headquartered in Western Pennsylvania are sponsors of the event. Ansys, a global leader in engineering simulation that is headquartered in Canonsburg, and Aptiv, an autonomous vehicle company who is relocating from O’Hara Township to Hazelwood Green.