FRANKLIN, PA (September 20, 2020): Darin Gallagher picked a perfect time to score his first career 410 Sprint Car victory. After sliding his mentor, Jack Sodeman, Jr., for the lead, Gallagher had to fend off a strong challenge from Dan Shetler to earn the $5,000 Applefest payday At Tri-City Raceway Park. But, Erick Rudolph had the most profitable weekend, scoring $4,000 wins in both the Big Block Modifieds and the 358 Modifieds.
Other victories were scored by Jeff Schaffer (Crate Modifieds), Zack Morrow (RUSH Sprint Cars), Chris Schneider (Pro Stocks), and Pat Hanlon (Mini Stocks).
“This feels great, I’m ecstatic,” Gallagher gushed after his impressive victory. “I had to slide Jack to get the lead, and I’ve never done that before.” Gallagher then commented, “I was running so hard. Dan (Shetler) and I have a lot of respect for each other and I knew that we could run close like that.”
Indeed, Shetler chased Gallagher down and he did take the lead away, but Gallagher rallied and ran the outside line to regain the lead after a few laps racing side by side. “That’s an old Dash 12 that I bought last year and I think that I lost a cylinder,” Gallagher said. “I dont know if it was a bad spark plug or something internal,” but on the slick surface the lack of horsepower could have been his ace in the hole. “I wasn’t spinning my wheels, I was able to use everything it had.”
Sodeman, who was gunning for a track championship, started on the pole for the 30 lapper. Next to him was A.J. Flick. Gallagher and Shetler were in row two, with Dan Kuriger and Carl Bowser in row three. Brandon Spithaler, who entered the final points race trailing Sodeman by just six markers, was in row four, along with George Hobaugh, Jr. Sye Lynch and Brandon Matus made up row five.
At the drop of the green, Sodeman took the lead, with Flick, Gallagher, Shetler, and Kuriger in tow.
While Sodeman led, Spithaler began to work his way to the front. He reached second by lap nine, when the race was slowed for debris in turn one. Spithaler was pressing Sodeman for the lead after the restart, but on lap ten, his title hopes took a major blow. Spithaler spun in turn two and had to start at the rear of the field.
The drama began to build soon thereafter. Sodeman was being challenged by his protege. Just after Gallagher slid Sodeman in turn two to grab the lead, Kuriger powered into second. Sodeman started falling back through the field, while Spithaler was marching forward.
Gallagher began to put some distance on Kuriger in the middle stage of the race. Kuriger’s run came to an end on lap 22, when he spun in turn four. By that time, Spithaler had passed Sodeman, but he needed some help. He was only two positions ahead when the race resumed.
In the final nine laps, Gallagher and Shetler battled for the lead. Shetler started cutting into
Gallagher’s advantage and the engine in Gallagher’s machine started to sputter. Shetler took the lead, but Gallagher stayed close. They ran side by side for a few laps, while Flick started to close in as well.
Gallagher would not give up, though, and he drove by Shetler in turns one and two with just a couple of laps remaining. Shetler continued to give chase, but Gallagher was flawless.
At the finish, it was the young Butler pilot raising his hand in victory. Shetler was second, followed by Flick, Bowser, and Spithaler. Brandon Matus was sixth and Sodeman seventh, good enough to clinch the championship by a slim margin of two points unofficially. Jeremy Kornbau, Hobaugh, and Brent Matus completed the top ten.
Gallagher, Flick, and Sodeman won heats held on Saturday. There was no B Main.
In the Big Block Modified feature, Empire State drivers Chad Brachmann and Erick Rudolph had the front row. Shawn Kozar and Rex King, Sr. were in row two, with Garrett Krummert and Jeremiah Shingledecker in row three. Jim Rasey and Rick Regalski were in row four. Steve Barr and J.R. McGinley were in row five.
Rudolph slid under Brachmann entering turn one on the opening lap. Brachmann skid across the slick surface and lost six positions as Rudolph pulled away. King Sr. move into second, followed by Shingledecker and Kozar.
Rudolph was cruising out front,. but there was a spirited battle for second between King Sr. and Shingledecker. They banged wheels going through turns three and four and then they got together coming down the front stretch. Shingledecker got out of shape and his car began to tumble toward the first turn. King Sr. was penalized for his role in the incident, moving Brachmann into second for the restart.
The two New Yorkers continued racing out front, while Rasey, Brad Rapp, and others fought for spots in the top five. Kozar rolled in turn two with 18 laps complete to bunch things up again. Nonetheless, Kozar was able to restart the race as his car was battered but not broken.
In the final laps of the race, Rudolph and Brachmann pulled away from the rest of the pack. Rasey and Rapp continued their struggle, but Garrett Krummert entered the picture. along with King Sr. and Rex King Jr. who pitted for two new tires while Kozar was being turned back onto his wheels.
At the finish, it was Rudolph, Brachmann, Krummert, King Jr. and King Sr. Rapp faded to sixth.Regalski, Barr, Kyle Fink, amd Mike Turner rounded out the top ten. Rasey spun in between turns three and four on the final lap and he was scored eleventh based upon laps completed.
Regalski and Krummert won the qualifying rounds on Saturday. There was no B Main.
Rex King, Jr. had the pole for his first 358 Modified start. Two-time winner Greg Martin was on his flank. Rudolph and Tim Holden, another two-tine victor, were in row two. Brachmann and Brian Sadler were in row three, with Ryan Riffe and Shingledecker in row four. Ryan Susice and Brandon Michaud were in row five.
King Jr. led the opening lap, but Rudolph was stalking him. Martin hovered in third, with Brachmann, Holden, Riffe, and Susice following. Rudolph powered by King J. on lap two and was never headed.
King Jr. continued on in second through the halfway mark. However, Susice took the position away soon thereafter. Shingledecker and Kevin Hoffman cracked the top five as Martin began to slide back.
A pair of cautions on lap 17 set up an eight lap run to the checkers. Rudolph completed them without incident. Shingledecker came on strong to get the second spot. Suicice helpd on for third. King Jr. was fourth followed by Martin. J.R. McGinley, Jimmy Holden, Brian Sadler, Tom Holden, and Jeff Schaffer, Jr. were sixth through tenth.
Suicise, Riffe, and Rudolph scored the preliminaries on Saturday. There was no B Main.
Zack Morrow started on the pole for the RUSH non-wing Sprint Car feature and he would go wire to wire for the emotional victory. He dedicated the win to his father, who passed on about a week before the race. Shaun Smith moved from third into second early in the contest, but he was no match for the high-flying Morrow in this one. Jeremy Weaver chased him home. Steve Pedley and Gale Ruth, Jr. rounded out the top five.
Nolan Graves, Brian Hartzell, Rick Regalski, , Andy Feil, and Amelia Clay made up the second group of five finishers.
Morrow and Ruth were the heat winners in Saturday’s action. There was no B Main.
The Pro Stocks ran for 50 laps. Noah Brunell earned the pole Saturday based on his heat and dash wins. He led the first 19 laps, but he could not break free from Chris Schneider, who also was a heat winner. Schneider made the pass and went on to lead the remaining 31 laps.
Bobby Whitling gave chase for a significant portion of the second half of the race, but he surrendered the runner-up spot to Randy Wyant. Wyant closed in on Schneider, but never posed a threat for the win.
At the finish, it was Schneider, Wyant, Whitling, Jimmy Fosnaught, and Jackson Humanic who came from the last row on the starting grid. Joe Stajnrajh, Blaze Myers, Pat Fielding, Rod Laskey, and Josh Seippel completed the top ten.
Joining Brunell and Schneider in heat wins Saturday was Doug Iorio, II. There was no B Main.
Jeff Schaffer, Sr. was back behind the wheel of a Modified for the first time in a couple of years and he made the most of the opportunity leading the entire twenty laps for the Crate Modified win. His teammate, Garrett Krummert was second. Kyle Martell was third, followed by Kole Holden and D.J. Schrader. David Kalb, Jr., Todd Gabriel, Kevin Hoffman, Jessica Kriegisch, and Gage Priester completed the top ten.
Krummert won the only heat race held on Saturday. There was no B Main.
Pat Hanlon stormed from twenty-third to second in less than a handful of laps in the nightcap for the Mini Stocks. He inherited the lead when Dillon Speer could not get his mount to shift out of first gear after a critical restart. J.R. Shaner was second. Austin Fedder, Patrick Lane, and Justin Bailey were the next three finishers. Jesse Armstrong, Joseph DeWoody, Kelly Clark, Mike Barr, and Zack Swartz held down positions six through ten.
Dillon Speer and Bill Fuchs were heat winners Saturday. There was no B Main.
Based upon their performances all season long, Sodeman (410 Sprints), Fink (358 Modifieds) and Dillon Speer (Mini Stocks) were named as champions for the three core classes at Tri-City Raceway Park.
Kyle Larson Wins at Williams Grove
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.
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.
Opening Night At Lernerville Speedway Postponed
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.
With saturated grounds from late Thursday night and early Friday morning rains, and no sunshine or warm temperatures in tonight's forecast to assist with getting a safe and racy surface prepared, we have been forced to cancel tonight's racing program.
See you next Friday! pic.twitter.com/JYVk3txcxo
— Lernerville Speedway (@Lernerville) April 16, 2021
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.
Shaffer Scores Again at Lincoln
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.
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.