WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (September 4, 2020): It seemed only fitting that a Rahmer would reach victory lane on Bob Stewart Tribute Night at Williams Grove Speedway. Fred Rahmer celebrated many victories while driving Stewart’s Sprint Cars early in his career, and Freddie Rahmer, Jr. got to pose with Stewart at the conclusion of the 25 lapper. But perhaps the happiest member of the Rahmer family was the matriarch, Debbie, who greeted Stewart with a big hug before doing the same with her son.
“This was a pretty cool race for Bob, and to recognize all of the guys who drove for him,” Rahmer Jr. said. “I didn’t think that I was going to get it (the win), I wasn’t very good on the restarts.” Rahmer also confessed to having problems with the lapped cars, explaining “I wasn’t very good getting off the corners.” Despite his complaints, it was a successful night for him in another important respect. Rahmer entered the night tied with his nemesis, Danny Dietrich, for the points lead. Dietrich pitted to change the right exhaust header seven laps into the race, surrendering fourth position. Dietrich rallied to salvage eighth, but lost valuable ground in the title chase.
Anthony Macri started on the pole, with Lucas Wolfe beside him. Rahmer was paired up with Brian Montieth, who sailed out of the ballpark in turn one on the opening lap of the race. Then came Dietrich and T.J. Stutts in row three. Matt Campbell and Brent marks had row four covered. Kyle Moody and Jeff Halliagn were in row five. Kyle Reinhardt and invader Brian Brown were in row six. Brown had a little extra incentive, as the Apple Dealerships (owned by Stewart) put up a $5,000 bonus if the driver starting twelfth (in honor of Stewart’s number 12 machines) could pull off the win. Alas, the bonus went unclaimed.
Macri jumped out to the lead and Wolfe followed him for a couple of laps. Rahmer moved into second on lap three, with Dietrich riding fourth and Marks in fifth. Things remained in that order until Dietrich slowed and brought out the yellow flag.
On the restart, Macri had no difficulty in opening up a sizable advantage over Rahmer. Wolfe and
Marks followed, with Stutts moving into the top five. On the following two restarts, Macri was again superior to Rahmer. While there was not much happening at the front of the field, there was plenty of action in the back of the pack as Dietrich worked his way towards the front again. He reached the top ten by the halfway mark, but it became harder for him to advance after that.
In the final few laps of the contest, Rahmer was able to close in on Macri, who was in search of his first 410 Sprint victory at the venerable speedway. Macri got hung up behind some slower cars and Rahmer chopped into the lead.
Rahmer made a bold inside move as the leaders were coming through turn four to get the two lap sign. He barely cleared Macri. Marks repeated the maneuver one lap later to take second away from the young driver. Macri tried to swing ahead of Marks as they raced down the front stretch, but Marks deftly blocked his attempt to regain second.
At the checkers, it was Rahmer over a fast-closing Marks. Macri held on for third. Wolfe and Stutts crossed the finish line next. Campbell, Brown, Dietrich, Brock Zearfoss, and Halligan completed the top ten.
Heat races belonged to Macri, Stutts, and Wolfe. There was no B Main. Rahmer was the night’s fastest qualifier, tuning a lap of 16.569-seconds.
In the 358 Sprint feature, Zach Newlin claimed the win. The race was stopped three times for two major wrecks and a medical consultation. There were also several cautions during the event. Fortunately no drivers were injured in any of the incidents.
Williams Grove will not be racing Sprint Cars next week in support of the Tuscarora 50 at Port Royal Speedway. Instead, fans can see two-wheeled excitement as the American Motorcycle Association will tackle the fast half mile. Sprint Cars will return on September 18 with the All Stars Circuit of Champions racing for the Dirt Classic Qualifier.
410 sprints, 25 laps:
- Freddie Rahmer, 2. Brent Marks, 3. Anthony Macri, 4. Lucas Wolfe, 5. TJ Stutts, 6. Matt Campbell, 7. Brian Brown, 8. Danny Dietrich, 9. Brock Zearfoss, 10. Jeff Halligan, 11. Kyle Moody, 12. Kyle Reinhardt, 13. Justin Peck, 14. Brett Michalski, 15. Chase Dietz, 16. Robert Ballou, 17. Steve Surniak, 18. Dwight Leppo, 19. Troy Fraker, 20. Adrian Shaffer, 21. Trenton Sheaffer, 22. Brian Montieth, 23. Chad Trout. DNS: Tyler Ross
358 sprints, 20 laps:
- Zach Newlin, 2. Derek Locke, 3. Matt Findley, 4. Chris Arnold, 5. Dylan Norris, 6. Steve Owings, 7. Chris Frank, 8. Justin Foster, 9. Ashley Capetta, 10. Kevin Nouse, 11. Jordan Givler,12. Scott Fisher, 13. Brett Strickler, 14. Cody Fletcher, 15. Jordan Strickler, 16. Zachary Cool, 17. Wyatt Hinkle, 18. Russell Hammaker, 19. Jacob Galloway, 20. Nat Tuckey, 21. Doug Hammaker, 22. Kyle Denmyer, 23. Brett Wanner, 24. Tyler Brehm. DNQ: Tyler Templin, Hannah Riser, Shane Yost, Brett Rose, Billy Heltzel, Chad Criswell, Kyle Rohrbaugh, Mark Van Vorst, Dylan Orwig
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.