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“Steel City Stampede” This Weekend At Lernerville Speedway

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Stivason Photos/Lernerville Speedway

SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The 2020 local racing season is coming to a close this weekend with the 12th Annual DIRTcar Roundup Steel City Stampede at Lernerville Speedway.

The schedule is packed full of divisions including DIRTcar Sprints, DIRTcar Super Late Models, DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, Pro Stocks, UMP E-Mods, Elite Modifieds, 305 Sprints, Super6 Late Models, 4-Cylinders, 270cc Micro Sprints, Enduro 100’s and three RUSH Racing Series divisions.

Matt Lux is the all-time wins leader in the Late Model division, grabbing checkered flags in 2009, 2015 & 2017.  Russ King will be looking to tie Lux.  King is the defending winner and also grabbed a victory in 2014.

Carl Bowser will be looking to tie Dale Blaney for the most 410 Sprint Car victories at the “Stampede”.  Blaney won three-in-a-row from 2010-2012.  Bowser took home back-to-back victories in 2018 & 2019.

Chris Schneider is the heavy favorite in the Pro Stocks division.  Schneider is the defending winner and has 5-victories in the “Stampede” including going back-to-back twice (2013 & 2014; 2018 & 2019).  Corey McPherson is the only other driver to go back-to-back in the division (2015 & 2016).

Three RUSH Racing Series divisions are also on the schedule including the RUSH Late Models, RUSH Sportsman Modifieds and the RUSH Sprint Cars.

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“This is always a great way to end our season,” says Vicki Emig, RUSH Racing Series Director. “Our Late Model racers are always excited to get the chance to compete at Lernerville. The car counts have always been strong and the racing at Lernerville is always some of the best of the season.”

Jeremy Wonderling leads the RUSH Late Model Touring Series Championship standings by 33-points over Joe Martin and 42-points over Josh Ferry with Michael Duritsky Jr. only 2-points behind Ferry.  Wonderling is looking for his first tour win in 2020 but hasn’t finished worse than sixth in any Tour race this year.  Max Blair is the only 2-time RUSH Late Model “Stampede” winner at Lernerville (2012 & 2019).

The RUSH Sportsman Mods have made one visit to “The Action Track” this year.  Chas Wolbert took home the victory in the “RUSH Summer Showcase” on July 24. Wolbert has already clinched his first Hovis Weekly Series title. Rob Kristyak, who won the Wedge Motorsports “Route 7 Rumble” Series title, has locked up second in points.  There have been six different winners in the six years the RUSH Mods have been part of the event.  Will 2020 make it 7-different winners in 7-years?

The RUSH Sprints will wrap up their third season this weekend. In their two prior Lernerville appearances this year, Jeremy Weaver won on July 24 and Jack Sodeman, Jr. won on October 2 in his RUSH Sprint Car debut. Weaver has already clinched the Equipment Rental Options Weekly Series point championship in the Hull Racing #41.  Zach Morrow sits second in points after his win last weekend at PPMS. Morrow has won twice at Lernerville each of the past two seasons and would love to end 2020 victorious to clinch the runner-up spot in points for the second straight year.

“Lernerville was a very important part of getting our RUSH Sprint division off the ground in 2018, and their races this year at the track have been tremendous,” said Emig.

Test and tune for all divisions begins Thursday night with heat races for all divisions on Friday night.  Saturday’s program will consist of Last Chance Showdowns and Features for all divisions.  Grandstands on Saturday open at 3 p.m. with Showdowns starting at 4 p.m.

Thursday’s admission is free.  2-day adult tickets are $40, $30 for students.  Single day tickets on Friday are $20 for adults, $15 for students.  Saturday single day tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students.  Children 10 & under are always free and there is free parking.  For more information visit www.lernerville.com.

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Local Racing

Pennsylvania Racing Economic Impact Surveys Released

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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

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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.

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Local Racing

Western Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek Is Coming Back

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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.”

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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.

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IndyCar

Indy Autonomous Challenge Race Car Unveiled

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Indy Autonomous Challenge/Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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.”

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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.

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