SARVER, PA (September 26, 2020): David Gravel capitalized upon the misfortune of Sheldon Haudenschild to win the Commonwealth Clash at Lernerville Speedway. It was the Connecticut driver’s fourth World of Outlaws win at the Action Track.
“Sheldon was the class of the field, until he blew the tire we were going to run second,” Gravel observed. “I didn’t know where he was racing, he must have been setting a torrid pace around the top.” Indeed, Haudenschild was doing just that. He had amassed a lead in excess of seven seconds moments before the right rear tire let go with just over a lap and a half remaining in the contest.
“Ten years ago, I would have been running around the top until I went off the track,” Gravel noted. “But, after watching Donny (Schatz) and Brad (Sweet) win races here, I learned to race this track like they do.”
Gravel also noted that the car was not very good when they unloaded this night, but the crew kept adjusting and it was very comfortable for him come feature time.
Kerry Madsen and Sheldon Haudenschild were on the front row for the 35 lap A Main. Daryn Pittman and James McFadden held the second row, with Kraig Kinser and Gravel in row three. Carson Macedo and Brad Sweet were in row four, while row five belonged to Parker Price-Miller and Logan Schuchart. Shane Stewart and Jacob Allen had row six reserved.
Haudenschild wasted no time blasting into the lead. James McFadden followed him on the rim into the second spot, but he could not maintain the rapid pace set by the leader. Madsen settled into third, with Pittman, Kinser, Macedo and Schuchart in tow.
Haudenschild was quite comfortable riding the outside groove around the track. McFadden kept him in sight, but he was no factor to challenge for the lead.
With Haudenschild and McFadden racing all alone out front, the battle was for the third position between Madsen and Pittman. Pittman, recently reunited with his former car owner, Mike Heffner, claimed the third position by lap ten and he was hustling around the inside trying to make up ground on the leaders. Gravel was following him in the march toward the front.
While they succeeded in closing in on McFadden, Haudenschild’s car was getting smaller and smaller as the laps clicked off. “I lost my rhythm in the middle part of the race,” McFadden explained. He was being pressed by Pittman and later, Gravel, for the second position.
Gravel moved into the second spot on lap 33, moments before Haudenschild’s tire exploded. He got the point for the restart, but he still had to hold off McFadden and Pittman for the remaining two laps.
“I lost some air pressure in the (right rear) tire under he caution, and the car was better after that on the restart,” McFadden commented. While he was able to maintain pace with Gravel, he could not mount a challenge for the victory.
After Gravel and McFadden came Pittman. “We’re thrilled with that,” he said. “For us, it’s like a win.
There were a couple of mistakes that I’d like to clean up,” he added. But, he did not get the opportunity to do so in the pair of laps left in the dash to the checkers.
Logan Schuchart was fourth, with Madsen crossing in fifth. Sweet was sixth, followed by Kinser, Macedo, Allen, and Schatz.
The hard charger was Cap Henry, who was plus eight on the night.
Heat winners were Daryn Pittman, Carson Macedo, David Gravel, and Kerry Madsen. Madsen was the dash winner. Carl Bowser topped the C Main. The B Main went to Cale Thomas. The evening’s fastest qualifiers were Price-Miler, who topped Group A with a lap of 12.746, and Kinser, who was best in Group B with a round of 12.961.
Justin Clark won the 20 lap A Main for the Allegheny Sprint Tour 305 feature. The midwest invader prevailed over Ryan Lynn, Dylan Shatzer, Robbie Bartchy, and Jimmy Morris. Heat wins went to Bartchy, Clark, and Shatzer. There was no B Main.
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.
Racing Notebook: Kellett Returning to A.J. Foyt For ’21; U.S. Motorsports Association Forms Leadership Council Plus Extreme E
PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A.J. Foyt Racing brings back Dalton Kellett plus The U.S. Motorsports Association forms Leadership Council and Extreme E names Race Director and Sporting Director.
Dalton Kellett Returning To A.J. Foyt Racing:
- Canadian Dalton Kellett will drive A.J. Foyt’s No. 4 Chevrolet full-time in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series. K-Line Insulators USA returns as the primary sponsor, moving from the No. 14 to the No. 4 for the upcoming season. The 27-year-old rookie drove for Foyt in eight races this year, sharing the driving duties of the No. 14 Chevrolet with Tony Kanaan and Sebastien Bourdais. Bourdais returns to drive the No. 14 Chevrolet full-time as announced earlier this year.
U.S. Motorsports Association Forms Leadership Council:
- The U.S. Motorsports Association announced the official formation of the first-ever national Circle Track Leadership Council (CTLC), a group of circle track owners and industry leaders, who are committed to working on current and future issues related to the sport. Members of the council include Lucas Oil Speedway’s Dan Robinson, Anderson Speedway’s Rick Dawson, Five Flags Speedway’s Tim Bryant, Knoxville Raceway’s John McCoy, Jackson Motorplex & Huset’s Speedway’s Doug Johnson, Track Enterprises’ Bob Sargent, Madison International & Midwest Tour’s Gregg Mckarns and Wilmot Raceway/IRA Sprint Cars, Steve Sinclair.
Extreme E Names Race and Sporting Directors:
- Extreme E, the new electric off-road racing series, has strengthened its sporting team with the appointments of Scot Elkins as Race Director and Guy Nicholls as Sporting Manager for its inaugural 2021 season. Elkins has served as Race Director for the FIA Formula E Championship the past three years. Elkins started out as an engineer for Robert Yates Racing in NASCAR. Elkins has also held technical sporting roles with the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and Champ Car World Series and has served as Deputy Race Director for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, FIA Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3.