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Six Opens for Schatz

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Williams Grove Speedway Twitter

WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (October 3, 2020): Donny Schatz captured his sixth win in the National Open held at Williams Grove Speedway. The win, which was worth $75,000, was his fifth of the season on the World of Outlaws Sprint tour and his twenty-first career win at the venerable track.

Schatz drove the only Ford-powered car in the field. “When you’re building something from scratch, it takes some time,” he said. He gave props to his team. “People have been working hard,” he noted. The experimental engine seems to work quite well on big tracks, but he acknowledged that they still have some work to do to make it work as effectively on the smaller tracks which make up most of the series schedule.

Schatz had some good luck through the evening. After logging the ninth fastest time in his qualifying group, he was racing second in his heat when the leader, Shane Stewart, suffered a mechanical failure. That got him into the dash, where he finished third. A good pill draw ensured a font row starting spot in the dash and his third place finish in that event got him near the front of the A Main line-up. Thus, he could conserve his equipment through the first half of the feature while keeping the leaders in sight. When it was time to make his move to the front, his car was still fresh.

When his car reached Victory Lane, however, it was a bit worse for wear. On his cool down lap, Schatz was waiving to the fans in on Beer Hill when he clobbered the third turn fence. Despite the bent right front wheel and damaged steering arm, he was able to bring the car around to the front stretch for the customary photo op.

Schatz was not the only racer to overcome a poor qualification time. LoganSchuchart raced from seventh to second in his heat and he snagged a second spot in the dash. Anthony Macri and Brent Marks earned transfers from heat one despite starting eighth and ninth, respectively. Danny Dietrich raced into the A Main from a tenth place start in his heat. Lance Dewease passed seven cars in the B Main to get his spot on the grid and, he passed twelve cars en route to an eleventh place finish in the A Main.

David Gravel and Schuchart were on the front row for the A Main. Jacob Allen and Schatz were in row two. Kyle Larson and Sheldon Haudenschild were in row three. James McFadden and Daryn Pittman occupied row four. Brock Zearfoss and Cory Eliason were in row five, and row six consisted of Kyle Reinhart and Brad Sweet.

Three Rivers Karting

At the drop of the green , Schuchart assumed command. He was able to pinch Gravel down to gain the advantage coming off turn four. That strategy worked for him several more times in the early going, as cautions on laps four, eight, and twelve paired them up on the front row three more times. “I tried to hold David down in three and four, but he kept getting better and better,” Schuchart said. “He had too many shots at me and then he got a run on me into turn one.”

Indeed, after running second, Gravel was able to pull off a slider to take the lead with eleven laps in the books. He would lead ten laps before Schatz took control just a few laps before the mandatory fuel stop. Allen and Larson ran in the top five through the break, which came on lap 25.

After the break, Larson had one of the fastest cars on the track. He climbed into third on lap 26 and second one round later. He began to chop into Schatz’ advantage and, with five to go, the tension began to build. With two to go, Larson was within striking distance and Schatz was beginning to have some difficulty getting past the lapped cars. Larson explained, “I was just hoping to be close enough to him when he went to the top in one and two (to try to pass some lapped cars) but we weren’t close enough. Then, I had to go to the top in three and four and I needed a miracle.” Much to the dismay of the huge crowd, though, Larson slapped the wall coming through turn four on the final lap, ending his bid for the win. “I think we had a car capable of winning, but we fell a little short,” he added.

Schuchart followed Schatz and Larson across the line. Gravel held on for fourth. Haudenschild worked up to fifth after falling back in the early going. Pittman took sixth, with Allen, Macri, Marks, and Sweet completing the top ten.

Heat victories were scored by Larson, Allen, Schatz, and Gravel. The B Main winner was Stewart.  Tops in the C and D were Spencer Bayston and Troy Wagaman, respectively. The non-qualifiers race went to Chad Trout. Haudenschild was the evening’s fastest qualifier in Group A with a time of 16.685. Stewart was best in Group B with a mark of 17.103.

Williams Grove will be dark until the season opener in 2021. The World of Outlaws will be back in the area next week for the Nittany Showdown to be held at Port Royal Speedway on Friday and Saturday nights.

Dirt Racing

Rahmer and Emory Race to Williams Grove Victories

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Williams Grove Speedway

MECHANICSBURG, PA (March 22, 2024): Defending champions refined supreme at Williams Grove Speedway. Track champ in the 410 Sprint Car ranks, Freddie Rahmer, Jr., drove past Danny Dietrich early in the second half of the contest to earn his first win of the 2024 season. Tyler Emory, the defending champion in the ULMS Late Model Series redeemed himself after a spin in turn one on the original start. Restored to the pole for the restart, Emory took a more conservative approach to the first corner and then he romped to the win in the non-stop finale.

Rahmer commended his crew for building a new car during the short week after Sunday’s opener in addition to performing the usual maintenance. He destroyed the car designated for Lincoln Speedway last Saturday. “Last week we wrecked a car and the guys did a good job to get one done.” Car owner Rich Eichelberger quipped that “we’re down one car, but we still have plenty left in the shop.”

Rahmer acknowledged that “we didn’t have a good start,” but he noted that the car got better as the race progressed. “I could maintain pace in clean air, and I knew we had a chance to run him (Danny Dietrich) down.”

Rahmer also poked the bear when he chided Dietrich for prompting a rule change–at Lincoln Speedway–after a controversial call at Williams Grove last week may have determined the outcome of the opener, which was won by Anthony Macri.

Rahmer and Dietrich paced the field for the start of the twenty-five lapper. Kyle Moody and Cory Eliason were in row two. Justin Peck and Dylan Cisney started in the third row. Macri and Austin Bishop had row four, with Brandon Spithaler and Ryan Wilson were scheduled for row five, but Wilson opted to tag the tail for the start. That moved Lynton Jeffrey into the tenth spot. Chase Dietz and Devon Borden moved into row six, as Ryan Taylor was penalized to the rear of the field for staging too late for the A Main.

Dietrich got the advantage over Rahmer entering turn one and he used the cushion to move ahead on the opening lap. Rahmer rode along in second, followed by Eliason, Moody, Peck, Cisney, Spithaler. Macri, Jeffrey, and Bishop. The top five remained unchanged as the field began to string out. But Spithaler moved into sixth, bringing Macri to seventh.

Borden stopped along the backstretch on lap seven. On the ensuing restart, Cisney got a good jump and he climbed from eighth to sixth. In his wake, several racers were fighting for positions. Jeffrey tried to slip to the inside of Spithaler as they thundered down the front stretch to complete lap eight. But there was contact, possibly with Macri, and Jeffrey spun wildly into the inside guardrail. Fortunately, no other racers struck Jeffrey’s mount as it caromed off the fence. Spithaler pitted under the red, and did not return to action.

Dietrich resumed control on the restart, but Rahmer stayed close, particularly coming off turn two. Eliason, Moody, and Peck continued in the top five. Cisney got shuffled back several spots, as Macri, Dylan Norris, and Dietz moved ahead.

Things did not change for several laps. Inside ten to go, Rahmer charged into the lead. Dietrich stayed in second, but Eliason closed in to make a contest as the laps clicked away. The High Roller could not pull off the pass, though.

Three Rivers Karting

At the finish, it was Rahmer over Dietrich, Eliason, Moody, and Peck, Macri, Norris, Dietz, Cisney, and T.J. Stutts completed the top ten.

There were three heats for the twenty-one car field. The wins went to Cisney, DIetrich, and Spithaler. There was no B Main.

The Late Model feature was shortened to twenty laps due to the low car count. Emery and Drake Troutman occupied the front row, with Matt Sponaugle and Justin Weaver in row two. Bryan Bernheisel and Ryan Montgomery made up row three. The fourth belonged to Rick Eckert and Dylan Lewis. Chris Casner and Dave Stamm were in row five. Dylan Fenton and Michael Lake completed the field. Logan Zarin broke in hot laps and scratched for the night.
Troutman grabbed the lead and Emory spun in turn one, collecting Montgomery and Lewis. Under ULMS rules, all three were returned to their starting positions.

On the second attempt, Emory kept his car tight on the inside and he emerged from the first turn with a slight lead over Weaver. Sponaugle was third and Troutman fell to fourth. Montgomery and Eckert followed.

Emory stretched his lead over Weaver. However, soon after the midpoint of the race, Troutman moved ahead of Sponaugle for third. Sponaugle lost another position in the waning laps.

At the checkers, it was Emory, Weaver, Troutman, Montgomery, and Sponaugle. Bernheisel worked past Eckert for sixth in the final laps. Lake, Casner and Lewis completed the top ten.

“That was a disaster,” Emory said of the original start. “Drake (Troutman) came down and took the air off the car and I went around. I was lucky and got my spot back and I kept the car down on the restart.”

Emory added that he was glad that the race was cut short by ten laps because his injured back was bothering him as the race went on.

Weaver and Sponaugle split the heat race wins. There was no B Main.

Williams Grove Speedway will close out the month of March with an Easter special for the children. The 410 and 358 Sprints will provide the on track action. Then, on April 5, the 410s will headline the show, with a challenge race between the URC 360s and the track 358 Sprints. April 12 will be a big triple header, with the USAC East Coast 360 Sprints and the PASS 305 Sprints backing up the 410s.

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Dirt Racing

Macri and Wilbur Prevail in Difficult Conditions at Williams Grove

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Williams Grove Speedway

MECHANICSBURG, PA (March 17, 2024): The racers were faced with a dry, slick, and dusty surface at Williams Grove Speedway as sunny skies and high winds sucked out every drop of moisture that the dedicated track crew applied to the venerable speed path. Despite the challenges, Anthony Macri scored his first 410 Sprint Car win at Williams Grove since July of 2022, and veteran Steve Wilbur took home the top honors in the wingless Sportsmen.

Macri now has two victories in 2024, the first coming a few weeks ago at Lincoln Speedway. “It feels good, we had a fast car last night, but we cut a tire,” he said. Macri had good luck on his side in this one. The initial start was waived off and track officials swapped the first two rows. That moved Macri to the pole, and he took advantage of the opportunity that presented. He explained that he needed to keep his car straight and avoid being startled by anybody who may challenge him. Also, not spinning his tires on the restarts was another key to his success. Macri collected $5,500 for his effort.

Cameron Smith and Danny Dietrich were the front row penciled in on the line-up sheet. They were replaced by Macri and Ryan Taylor after the failed first attempt to start the race. Chad Trout and Danny Sams were in row three and Freddie Rahmer, Jr. and Troy Wagaman, Jr. were in row four. Chris Frank and Lance Dewease lined up in row five. Austin Bishop and Dylan Cisney had row six.

In all, it took four tries to get the first lap in the books due to minor incidents that happened on the second and third attempts. Surprisingly, Taylor had the edge on Macri entering turn one on the opening lap. Dietrich was third, with Smith, Rahmer, Sams, Frank, Wagaman, Trout, and Dewease in tow. Taylor left a little too much room on the bottom entering turn one at the start of the second lap, and Macri was able to get his nose under him. Macri held the bottom line and powered off turn two with the lead. Dietrich used the same maneuver on the next trip around the track to take away the second position form Taylor.

The first five positions were established by lap five, with Smith and Rahmer holding down fourth and fifth. Frank and Wagaman were working hard to keep Dewease in line. Bishop and Sams were ninth and tenth. By the halfway mark, Dewease picked up a spot. Smith then encountered some problems and Rahmer, Frank, and Dewease all scooted past him.

Taylor’s strong run came to an end on lap fifteen when he sustained a flat tire. When he pitted for fresh rubber, the crew found other damage and he was unable to return. On the ensuing restart, Dewease got inside Frank in turn one for the fourth position.

Three Rivers Karting

The final ten laps were clicked off without any changes in the top five. Smith and Bishop continued in sixth and seventh, respectively. The three remaining positions in the top ten were hotly contested. Chase Dietz, Justin Peck, and Wagaman held them when the checkers waived.

There were three heat races for the twenty-nine cars that checked in. Getting the wins were Dewease, Taylor, and Smith. T.J. Stutts claimed the B Main.

In the wingless Sportsmen twenty lapper, Brett Perigo held the point in the opening laps, with Wilbur, Brian Nace, Andy Burkhart, and Troy Fraker giving chase. On lap eight, though, Perigo got into a lapped car and his car got cross-wise in turn three. Wilbur drove by while Perigo regained control. Perigo maintained second position despite another scar on lap thirteen. On a restart, he slid up the track in turns one and two, losing a position in the process. However, a caution nullified the pass, and Perigo got his spot back. Alas, he could not keep it to the finish.

At the checkers, it was Wilbur with a commanding lead over Trent Yoder, Perigo, Tony Jackson, Dexter Ehrenzeller, Burkhart, Jay Fannasy, Curt Stroup, Brandon Shearer, and Fraker.

The heat wins went to Burkhart and Matt Ondek. There was no B Main.

Williams Grove will switch to its normal Friday night schedule this week. On the card will be 410 Sprints and ULMS Late Models. On March 29, the children will celebrate Easter at the track, and that will also be the first Sprint Car doubleheader of the season. The 358 Sprints will join their more powerful brethren.

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Dirt Racing

Sheppard Slays STSS Foes, Collects $65,000

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Port Royal Speedway

PORT ROYAL, PA (March 15-16, 2024): Matt Sheppard dominated the Speed Showcase 75 at Port Royal Speedway. He led the final 55 laps of the event, which was carried over from last October due to inclement weather. The $50,000 payday also rolled over. In addition, Sheppard’s win clinched the 2023 Elite Series point title which was worth an additional $15,000. That mini series was also set to conclude last Fall.

Sheppard shot from fourth to the front on a lap 20 restart. “I was excited to restart on the outside, I was hoping to get to second,” Sheppard noted. “But Ryan (Godown) had a problem, and I was leading,” Sheppard explained. “Then I was concerned about saving the tires.”

Sheppard was masterful at driving in conservation mode. “We went harder than a 48, I don’t know what Billy (Decker) had.” Decker, who climbed from twenty-fourth to second, was able to close in on Sheppard, but he could not get close enough to pull off a pass for the win despite several late-race cautions which set up double file restarts. Decker surmised that he may have needed a longer green flag run to get the job done, but a rash of flat tires and mechanical failures made the second half of the race to be contested in short spurts. “I didn’t like our chances when the track was supersonic, but when it slowed down, we were good,” he explained.

Third place finisher, Loudon Reimert, echoed Decker’s assessment. He observed that his car “wasn’t very good in the beginning, but when it started to slick off, we were good.” Reimert was satisfied to finish on the podium with two of the best in the sport.

Ronnie Johnson drew the pole for the seventy-five lapper which started thirty-seven machines. Next to him was Mike Mahaney. Ryan Godown and Ryan Watt made up row two. Jeff Strunk and Jessica Friesen were in the third row. Then came Mat Williamson and Danny Creeden. Matt Sheppard was inside row five, with Mike Gular beside him. Alex Payne and Billy Pauch, Jr. occupied row six.

RJ blasted out to the early lead over Mahaney, Godown, Watt, Strunk, Williamson, and Creeden. Sheppard, Payne, and Gular followed. Mahaney slipped high on lap nine allowing Godown to take second. A lap later, Godown made a slide job stick in turn three to assume the lead. Johnson continued in second, ahead of Mahaney and Watt. Strunk was battling Williamson for fifth. Their private contest continued through much of the race. Mahaney moved into second just before the first caution, for debris, on lap twelve.

On the restart, Williamson made some aggressive moves to grab third, behind Godown and Ronnie Johnson. Watt and Sheppard made up the balance of the top five. Within a couple of circuits, Sheppard displaced Watt, setting the stage for the pivotal restart.

Afterwards, Sheppard ran comfortably ahead of Godown, Strunk, Williamson, and Johnson for the next few laps. Godown got pinched off against the outside wall midway down the backstretch, and both Strunk and Williamson scooted by. He battled back, though, and regained second by lap thirty-five.

Sheppard led Godown, despite some cautions, through lap forty-nine. Godown brought out a caution on that lap, surrendering the second position. That moved Williamson into second, but he was unable to hold that for very long. Decker was on the march, reaching second by lap fifty.

While Sheppard led Decker the rest of the way, Strunk and Williamson resumed their rivalry, albeit for third. Following a lap fifty-nine restart, Williamson grabbed third and Strunk started to fade. He fell out of the top five, as Tim Fuller and Loudon Reimert began to move forward.

The final caution came out on lap sixty-nine. On the ensuing restart, Reimert charged into third. He held the position to the checkers. Meanwhile, Fuller was applying the pressure to Williamson, and he succeeded in displacing Money Mat in the final laps.

Sheppard took the win, followed by Decker, Reimert, Fuller, and Williamson. Jack Lehner, Marc Johnson, Alex Yankowski, Max McLaughlin, and Anthony Perego completed the top ten.

Three B Mains were spun off to complete the starting field. Taking the victories were Austin Hubbard, Lehner, and Yankowski.

The 602 Crate Sportsmen presented a fifty lap affair to conclude their portion of the program. Paulie Hartwig and Travis Hill shared the front row for the start of that contest. Brian Calabrese and Logan Watt were in the row behind. David Rogers and Jean-Francois Tessier were in the third row. Jax Yohn and Brian Krummel were in row four. David Miloszar and Howie Finch were paired up in row five, followed by Ethan Bille and Chris Jakubiak.

Hill led in the early going, with Calabrese, Hartwig, Rogers, and Watt following. Rogers replaced Hill out front before an eleven car pile-up entering turn three. In the melee, Adrianna Delliponti turned over, but she was unhurt in the process.

Rogers led through lap twenty-six, when Hill made a pass for the lead coming off turn two. The lap was not completed before the next caution, so the pass was nullified. Rogers was restored as the leader, and he was able to keep Hill and all others at bay despite two cautions that bunched up the field twice. In that run, Joe Toth climbed into second, but the racer to watch was Watt. The teen had worked his way back into the top five after a pit stop during the clean-up of the lap nine wreckage.

Three Rivers Karting

When Toth took the lead on lap forty-three, Watt followed him into second. A caution with six to go put Watt on Toth’s back bumper for the restart. Watt muscled to the bottom of turn one and took the lead from the more experienced Toth. Toth got a chance to redeem himself on lap forty-eight, but Watt was up to the challenge.

Watt took the win, much to the delight of the large crowd on hand. Toth was second, followed by Kyle Smith, Steve Davis, and Sean Imbeault. Brandon Edgar, Krummel, Zach Sobokta, Bill, and Michael White were the next five finishers.

“That was the only shot I had,” said the happy winner. “I followed him about the whole race. I had to go for it,” Watt explained.

Steve Davis, Michael White, and Adam White took the three B Mains that started the day.

The Pro Stocks were the opening feature of the day. “Cousin Luke” Horning and Shane Playford paced the field for the twenty-five lapper. Denis Gauvreau and Bret Belden were in the row behind. Steve Cosselman and Bruno Cyr had row three covered. Ken Gates and Rich Crane were in row four.

Playford took the early lead, but he was closely followed by Gauvreau. The action was quite intense through the first fifteen laps, which ran non-stop. Gauvreau ducked inside of the leader coming through turn three. They made contact, sending both cars spinning up toward the wall. Several others were collected. Somehow, Crane was able to avoid the incident and he inherited the lead for the restart.

Crane led the next ten laps, which were run without any interruptions. Cyr was a close second. He was followed by Jay Fitzgerald, Ken Gates, and Devon Camenga. Jason Casey, Jay Casey, Playford, Johnny Holmes, and Cosselman completed the top ten.

In Friday qualifying, 65 Modifieds, 83 602 Crate Sportsmen, and 16 Pro Stocks took to the track.

Ryan Watt, who was fastest in timed hot laps with a round of 18.836 seconds, cruised to a win in the first qualifier for the Modifieds. Jeff Strunk, Bob McGammon, and Dalton Slack also earned starting spots in the Speed Showcase 75. Brian Swartzlander was challenging for a transfer when he struck the wall at the exit of turn four. He retired due to significant front end damage.

Fonda Speedway regulars Ronnie Johnson and Jessica Friesen dominated the second qualifier. Billy Pauch, Jr. charged from row six to take third. The final transfer went to Danny Bouc.

Ryan Godown outlasted Mike Gular in the third qualifier. Jimmy Phelps and Louden Reimert also advanced. Reimert also came from row six. Mike Trautschold flipped his car in a turn four melee that also sidelined Danny Varin and Matt Caprara. He was not hurt.

Mike Mahaney beat the pole sitter, Matt Sheppard, into turn one and kept him at bay the rest of the way in the fourth qualifier. Max McLaughlin and Erick Rudolph were third and fourth. Western PA drivers Rex King, Jr. and Garrett Krummert did not qualify.

Mat Williamson dominated the fifth qualifier. Danny Creeden, Matt Stangle, and Michael Maresca also locked into the big dance. Maresca made a slick move to get the advantage over Jack Lehner and Billy Decker in the last 50 yards of the race.

Qualifiers in the Sportsmen ranks went to David Rogers, Jax Yohn, Howie Finch, Brian Krummel, Logan Watt, and Travis Hill. Cedric Gauvreau was not injured when his car burst into flames when he was attempting to exit the track after finishing third in his qualifier. Krummel was the best in time hot laps with a lap of 2-.832 seconds.

“Cousin Luke” Horning and Denis Gauvreau shared the honors in the Pro Stock qualifiers.

Port Royal Speedway will open its regular season next weekend with a three division program consisting of 410 Sprint Cars, Super Late Models, and Limited Late Models.

The next event for the Short Track Super Series contingent will be held on Tuesday, May 7, at the Delaware International Speedway. The Modifieds will do battle in the Diamond State 50. The Sportsmen will also compete that night.

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