PORT ROYAL, PA (September 12, 2020): Seven was the lucky number for Lance Dewease, as he scored yet another victory in the Tuscarora 50 at Port Royal Speedway. The breaks went his way on this momentous night and he cashed in to the tune of $53,000. He inherited the lead in his heat race when Cale Thomas retired early and that put Dewease into the redraw for the feature event. He drew the pole position. And then, while chasing the leader with thirteen laps remaining, Rico Abreu’s car broke, putting Dewease on the point for the restart.
“Sometimes you have the fastest car but you still don’t win if the breaks don’t go your way. Tonight, the breaks went in our favor,” Dewease said. Dewease quickly added, though, that his team gave him a good car again this night. “I could drive it,” he said confidently.
Dewease was a little disappointed with his performance during the first half of the race. Although he led the first 17 laps, “I got a little too conservative with the lapped cars and I let Rico get by me,” said Dewease. “I thought that I’d be OK when we got back to traffic again.” Dewease was right. He was closing in on Abreu, but the clash of fan favorites never materialized because Abreu’s car broke before Dewease got back to within a car length or two.
Dewease’s seven wins in the Tuscarora 50 took place in four different decades. “To do it in four decades (actually, only 26 years) means two things,” he said. “I’m old. and I’ve been pretty good at his for a pretty long time.” Dewease added that he has been fortunate to drive for some very good people over that span. “I was here when they almost closed this place down,” Dewease recalled. “Steve O’Neil came in as promoter and he started to turn things around, and then they ran him off. They brought him back a few years later and he’s really improved this place.” Dewease was quick to acknowledge the contributions of the hard-working track crew, the dedicated Fair Board, and the loyal fans for making it all possible.
Dewease and Abreu were on the front row for the fifty lapper. T.J. Stutts made repairs to his motor after the heat race and lined up third, with Tyler Courtney next to him. The home town hero, Dylan Cisney started fifth, with the remaining re-draw position going to Anthony Macri. Tony Stewart and Kerry Madsen were in row four, with Danny Dietrich and night one winner, Cory Eliason, in row five. Then came Freddie Rahmer, Jr., and defending race champion, Aaron Reutzel. Buried deep in the pack were track points champion, Logan Wagner, and Kyle Larson. They rolled off in nineteenth and twenty-second respectively.
As anticipated, Dewease surged ahead of Abreu at the drop of the green. Stutts settled into third, but his night ended early. Just four laps into the race, his engine failed him again, and he was through for the night. On the ensuing restart, Dewease again cruised ahead of Abreu, with Macri now holding down the third position. Courtney and Kerry Madsen held down fourth and fifth. Then came Cisney, Tony Stewart, Eliason, Rahmer, and Reutzel.
Larson was climbing through the pack with relative ease. He reached twelfth by the lap four restart and within a couple of laps, he cracked the top ten. His forward progress slowed a bit, as he may have shifted into a conservation mode to save his equipment for the second half of the race.
With ten laps complete, Dewease was into traffic and Abreu started to challenge him for the lead. Soon thereafter, Abreu made his first bid for the lead in turn one, but Dewease calmly turned back under him in turn two to regain the lead as they raced off the corner. Abreu continued to apply the pressure and he succeeded in sliding ahead of Dewease while the two were picking their way through the slower cars.
Abreu led Dewease to the halfway mark, when the race was stopped for fuel. Dewease sat calmly in his car under the red while his veteran crew made some minor adjustments to the car. They also ground the tires to prevent them from sealing up during the stoppage, which was a trick employed by several of the racers, including Abreu, Macri, and Cisney. Meanwhile, Reutzel’s team was making a wing change and some major adjustments in an effort to find more speed for the All Stars points leader.
When racing resumed, Abreu had the point followed by Dewease, Macri, Courtney, Cisney, Madsen, Eliason, Larson, Reutzel, and Rahmer.
Abreu took off, but Dewease was close enough to try a slider for the lead. It did not work, as Abreu kept his momentum up by racing hard on the cushion. Abreu opened a few car lengths advantage over Dewease, but as he started to close in on the slower cars, Abreu’s car began to get loose in the corners. Dewease began to close in as Abreu bounced his car off the outer walls a couple of time.
The impacts, while seemingly minor, took their toll on Abreu’s car. With Dewease closing in, the leader slowed drastically and the caution was displayed for him on lap 37.
Dewease took the point, with Macri second, Courtney third, Cisney fourth, and Madsen fifth. Larson was up to sixth and Logan Wagner was next in line. Eliason, Reutzel, and Spencer Bayston were racing in the top ten at that point.
When the green light flashed on again, Macri spun his tires, and Dewease was able to open up a comfortable advantage. Cisney bolted into third and he started to press Macri for second Courtney was fending off the advances of Larson, while Reutzel was struggling with Madsen and Eliason. Reutzel’s attempt for the repeat ended a few laps later when he slowed after striking the wall one too many times.
This set up a ten lap run to the checkers, which Dewease was able to complete without difficulty. Macri and Cisney had the fans excited as the two young lions traded slide jobs several times per lap. Their contest, while entertaining, kept them both from chasing down the leader.
Macri finally broke free of Cisney with three or four laps left in the race. By then, Dewease had an insurmountable lead. Cisney had his hands full with Larson in the final few rounds of the speedway, but he was able to maintain third for an all-Posse podium. Larson claimed fourth and he also earned the hard charger bonus, with Eliason getting fifth. Logan Wagner was sixth, followed by Courtney, Bayston, Kerry Madsen, and Rahmer.
The heat winners were Macri, Dewease, Stutts, Abreu, Courtney, and Cisney. Remarkably, both Macri and Stutts nursed damaged engines to the finish line in their respective heats. Macri’s crew made an engine change and Stutts’ team made repairs to make the A Main grid.
The B Main win went to Logan Wagner. The race was marred by two major crashes. Instead of throwing the checkered flag with two cars spun to the inside of turn two on the last lap, All Stars officials called for a yellow, requiring the field to complete two more laps before the finish would be official. While several racers were fighting for the final transfer spots on what would have been the last lap, three cars entered turn three side by side. Unfortunately, several cars flipped, one leaving the track. At least three cars were destroyed and several others were heavily damaged. So, the field again tried a green-white-checker finish. This time, as the cars were headed to the checkered flag, there was contact between the ones fighting for the last transfer position. Both cars tumbled wildly into the first turn, collecting yet another car. Both the sixth and seventh place cars were destroyed. Fortunately, no drivers were hurt in either wreck.
The C Main winner was Shane Stewart.
Macri was the night’s fastest qualfier, turning a lap of 15.271 in Group A. Group B’s fastest racer was Kerry Madsen, at 15.478.
A non-qualifiers race was held before the A Main in an effort to widen the track and to slick it off for the feature. Lucas Wolfe picked up the win, which was worth $2,000 and a guaranteed starting spot in the 2021 Tuscarora 50. Brett Michalsk, Tyler Walton, Curt Stroup, and Tyler Bear completed the top five.
Port Royal will be idle until October 9-10, when the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series comes to town. The following week will be the first Speed Showcase 200 for the Modifieds of the Short Track Super Series. The fun will start Thursday, October 15 with a 40 lap feature. Friday will be qualifications and the 200 lapper will be held Saturday. Sportsmen will be the support division each night. The Blue Collar Nationals for the 305 Sprints and Limited Late Models will be pushed back a week to October 24 to accommodate the STSS Modifieds.
RUSH Late Model Series Enhancing ‘Track Pack’ Program For 2021
PULSAKI, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The RUSH Late Model Series is bringing back and enhancing their ‘Track Pack’ program for 2021.
The ‘Track Pack’ program debuted in 2016 and continued through the 2019 season before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended the program in 2020. Each of those four years, $800 was split amongst the top five RUSH members with $300 to the champion at each RUSH weekly-sanctioned track.
In 2021 RUSH Late Model weekly-sanctioned tracks top-six will share in $2,500! RUSH weekly member racers will accumulate points at each event and at the end of the year the top six in member points will split $2,500 with $1000 going to the champion followed by $500, $400, $300, $200, $100 for positions 2-through-6. These monies will be awarded over and above any other championship monies drivers will receive.
“We’ve always known the strength of RUSH lays within our weekly tracks and the racers who support them,” said RUSH Director Vicki Emig. “During the pandemic, the average car counts at our weekly tracks were very impressive as most all tracks increased. In the past the ‘Summer Chase’ gave just 10 racers additional monies, but we feel by taking that money and adding another approximate $14,000 to the ‘Track Pack’ we can allow substantially more racers the ability to take home additional weekly monies at the end of the year.”
Prior to COVID-19 RUSH had announced the Touring Series Championship point fund would double to $35,500 with a record $12,000 going to the champion! This will now take place in 2021. The Touring Series schedule continues to come together and is expected to be similar to 2020’s before the pandemic.
The 2021 season is expected to be the richest in RUSH Racing Series history, which includes the RUSH Late Models, Sprint Cars, Sportsman Modifieds and Pro Mods, with additional programs and events planned throughout.
Motivated Maresca Masters Bridgeport
BRIDGEPORT, NJ (November 8, 2020): Mike Maresca, the 2020 Fonda Speedway champion from Pottsdam, NY, scored his first career Big Block Modified victory in the final race of the season at Bridgeport Motorsports Park. The win was only worth $5,000 to him becasue he neglected to pay the Gambler’s Fee when registering for the race.
“I’ve always enjoyed coming to Bridgeport, even when it was 5/8ths,” Maresca said. He dedicated the win to the late track manager, Danny Serrano, noting “he was an awesome fan and a good friend.” Maresca went on to say that he received a text from Serrano the day before he died, and that he drew inspiration from it.
Jack Lehnar and Rich Rutski were paired on the front row for the start of the fifty lapper. Behind them, in the second row, were Ryan Watt and Ryan Krachun. Jimmy Blewitt and Jared Umbenhauer were in the third. Richie Pratt, Jr. and Mike Mahaney were in row four, followed by Maresca and Jeff Strunk. Then came Eric Kormann and Davey Sammons. Dillon Steuer and Matt Stangle were in row seven.
Lehnar led Watt into the first corner and they were followed by Umbenhauer, Rutski, Pratt, and Maresca on the opening lap. A two-car tangle at the back of the pack slowed the action.
When racing resumed Lehnar led the next eleven laps, but Watt was pressing him every inch of the way. Watt ‘s familiarity with the new configuration led him to the high side and he rode the rim in turns one and two to gain the lead while Lehnar hugged the inside. Soon after Watt assumed control, a caution slowed the pace again.
Watt pulled away on the ensuing restart, with Lehnar and Maresca fighting for second. Blewitt, Pratt, Umbenhauer, Krachun, and Mahaney trailed. Maresca moved into second just before another caution slowed the pace.
Surprisingly, Watt took the inside line for the lap 18 restart, and that proved to be his undoing. Maresca blasted into the lead at the drop of the green and he held control all the way to the finish. While he was on cruise control, Watt stayed close. Behind them, Blewitt, Pratt and Krachun were locked in a battle for third.
The final two cautions came out with 27 laps in the books. When the racing got going again, Maresca stretched his lead, and Watt also separated himself from the rest of the field. Pratt slipped ahead of Blewitt. Krachun continued along in fifth.
The final 23 laps were run without any caution. While the top five remained static, positions six through ten were changing hands. Track champion, Billy Pauch, came on to grab sixth, bringing Dominic Buffalino with him. Billy Pauch, Jr., Strunk, and Ryan Godown completed the top ten.
There were five heats, and the wins went to Lehnar, Umbenhauer, Krachun, maresca, and Sammons. The pair of B Mains were split by Tyler Dippel and Danny Bouc.
Steve Davis romped to the win in the 602 Crate Sportsmen. This time,he had to battle with teenager Anthony Tramontana. They locked wheels going through turn one midway through the race, and Davis was able to break free. However, Tramontana spun out. Davis continued on for the victory, his second of the weekend. Paul Mancini was second, with Stacy Jackson, Steve Kemery, and Travis Hill completing the top five. Dan Fleming, Adam White, Sammy Martz, Jr., Howie Finch, and Wayne Weaver were the next five to cross the finish line.
T.J. Henry copped the Outlaw Stock feature. Lee Allen was second, closing out the season with just one finish outside teh top five. Mike Hughes got his second third place finish of the weekend. Jimmy Doer and John Parker were fourth and fifth.
The USAC Speedsters competed in a pair of feature events. The make-up race went to Kenny Miller, III, with Louden Reimert, Jared Silfee, Briggs Danner, and Ryan Godown chasing him home. Miller was set to start on the pole for the nightcap, but he pitted and had to go to the trail for the satrt. That moved Steve Buckwalter to the front row, and he was unbeatable from there. Godown was second this time, followed by Jeff Hartman, Reimert, and Tim Iulg.
Yankowski Wins, then Crashes at Bridgeport in Mod 100; Cologiovanni Holds Off Smith in Sprints
BRIDGEPORT, NJ (November 7, 2020): Alex Yankowski experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in the final moments of the Danny Serrano Memorial 100 at Bridgeport Motorsports Park. Moments after the sixteen-year-old pilot from Covington Township, PA took the checkered flag for the biggest win of his young career, he was involved in a spectacular crash that heavily damaged his potent Big Block Modified.
Also picking up wins were Paulie Cologiovanni in the United Racing Club 360 Sprint Cars and Steve Davis in the 602 Crate Sportsmen Invitational.
Yankowski started the century grind deep in the pack, twenty-third to be exact. Through the first half of the race, he drove very conservatively. “I tried to ride around and save the car,” he explained. Even after the midpoint, Yankowski did not appear amongst the leaders. It was not until about 57 that he cracked into the top ten. The car really came to life in the final thirty laps. By that time, he reached fifth, and he had probably the fastest car on the track.
A restart on lap 73 had him in fourth spot, but not for long. When the green light flashed on, he darted into second and was pressing veteran Ryan Godown for the lead. Yankowski dove low in turn three four laps later and slid up ahead of Godown. The rest was history.
Yankowski had to fend off a challenge from Ryan Watt in the final laps. Watt drew up beside him in traffic once, but the youngster rolled the top in turn one and opened up a three car length advantage coming off the second corner. Watt never got close again.
On the cool down lap, Yankowski was following some lappers that were fighting for position on their final circuit. Peter Britten spun in turn four and Yankowski went high to avoid him. Yankowski got into some lose dirt out by the wall and he got sucked in. He climbed the wall and the nose of his car got above the concrete and into the catch fence. The fence did its job of keeping the car on the track, but Yankowski mowed down a couple of posts that held the chain link fence and cables. The right front wheel was torn off and the car tumbled to a halt by the flagstand. Fortunately, no other cars struck Yankowski’s mangled machine. He climbed out unscathed and walked over to the ambulance. After spending some time getting checked out, he waived out the ambulance door to the adoring crowd before emerging for his post-race interview.
“We had a good car, obviously not so good now,” he said with a smile. Yankowski promised to get it patched up for Sunday’s fifty lap finale.
Ryan Krachun and Jimmy Horton led the field to the green flag, followed by Mike Mahaney and Danny Bouc. Jeff Strunk and Jojo Watson were in the third row, with Watt and Dwayne Howard in row four. Jared Umbenhauer and Danny Sammons were next, followed by Dom Buffalino and Dillon Steuer.
Krachun led the way until turn three on the opening lap. He rapped the outside wall and turned the lead over to Horton. Soon thereafter, Krachun stopped his car due to the damage it sustained.
On the ensuing restart, Watson used the outside line to pass Horton. Watson held sway until lap 41, when Bouc assumed command. Bouc continued out front until lap 59, when Godown blasted by. Godown had started in twenty-fifth position and he steadily moved forward through the first half of the race, Some of his moves in traffic were simply amazing.
Godown got a scare on lap 68 when he brushed the wall between turns three and four. He kept the car moving and did not lose his lead. Bouc did cut into the margin, but he was not close enough to seize the opportunity to pass the leader.
The turning point of the race came between laps 70 and 77. Two quick cautions bunched the field up on laps 70 and 73, giving Yankowski the chance to pick off some competitors in bunches. As noted, he moved into second on a restart and took the lead with 23 laps remaining.
Watt was also coming forward in the stretch run. He was second by lap 85 and he did close in on the leader once. But, after Watt showed his nose beneath a lapped car, Yankowski fought back and he completed the rest of the laps with a comfortable margin.
Following Yankowski and Watt were Godown, Bouc, and Strunk. Frank Cozze, Mahaney, Matt Stangle, Rick Laubach, and Billy Pauch completed the top ten.
In the final race of the year for the URC Sprints, Alex Bright started on the pole, with Austin Bishop by his side. Cologiovanni was lined up third, with J.J. Grasson next to him. Chuck Hebing and Tim Tanner were in the third row, with R.J. Jacobs and Briggs Danner in the row behind. Then came Tyler Ross and Troy Betts and Ryan Smith and Derek Locke.
Bright jumped out front, followed by Bishop, Cologiovanni, Grasso and Hebing. Bright blew his engine while leading and turned the lead over to Cologiovanni with ten laps complete. Hebing gave chase until the halfway mark. That was when Ryan Smith took over second.
Smith got a couple of shots at the leader and he was able to execute a slide job in turn one once to grab the lead. However, Cologiovanni turned back under Smith in turn two to regain the lead. From that point on, Cologiovanni drove defensively. “I couldn’t really tell where somebody was catching me,” he said. “So, I was driving a defensive line. A couple of times, I got up in the marbles and clipped the wall, but I cut off two and was pretty fast.”
Cologiovanni led Smith to the checkers. Danner came on for third, followed by Hebing and Locke. Sixth went to Jason Schultz. Then Tyler Ross and the two title contenders, Josh Weller and Adam Carberry. Troy Betts completed the top ten.
Smith’s combined finishes of fifth on Friday and second on Saturday earned him the Midge Miller Memorial trophy. Smith said that this weekend was the most fun that he had in a Sprint Car all season. Readers may remember that Smith lost the ride in the Mike Heffner number 72 410 Sprinter just before the month of money in Pennsylvania.
Carberry clinched the points championship despite struggling throughout the race. His cause was aided somewhat by attrition. Plus, his rival, Weller, was caught up in an incident with Grasso just before the halfway sign. Weller’s car sustained some damage to the right rear corner which affected its performance. He brought the wounded car home one spot ahead of Carberry, but that was not enough to overcome the thirteen point deficit.
Heat winners in the Sprint Car ranks were Bishop, Cologiovanni, Ross, and Bright. Schultz won the B Main. Two Central PA favorites were eliminated in heat race action. Lucas Wolfe had an oil leak which led to a fire. Mark Smith was involved in a minor skirmish that damaged the right rear suspension and flattened a tire. Neither Wolfe nor Smith answered the call for the B Main.
In the Sportsmen Invitational, the first 28 laps were run off without any interruptions. Steve Kemery led that entire distance. However, the fireworks came after that. Second place runner Steve Davis went on the offensive on the restart. There was plenty of contact between the two racers over the final two laps. While they roughed each other up, Peyton Talbot made a charge for the win. He came up just a couple of feet short at the checkers.
Davis got the win, much to the disappointment of the remaining fans. Kemery and Talbot followed. Dan Fleming, Ryan Simmons, Sammy Martz, Jr., Howie Finch, Danny Buccafusca, Matt Peck, and Jim Houseworth rounded out the top ten.
Buccafusca, Davis, and Kemery were the heat winners for the Sportsmen. Davis won the dash to earn the pole position for the feature.
Bridgeport Motorsports Park will close out its season on Sunday with a fifty lapper for the Modifieds. Sportsmen, Street Stocks, and Speedsters will also be on the card. Racing will begin at 3 p.m.