Williamson Whips Port Royal Foes
PORT ROYAL, PA (October 17, 2020): Mat Williamson picked the perfect time to score his first win in the Short Track Super Series for Modifieds. The driver, who earned the nickname “Money” after scoring some big victories in the rival DIRTcar Super Series, carried $53,000 out of Port Royal Speedway. His share of the bounty would go back to St. Catharines, ONT, where he and his fiance are planning to build a home.
COVID travel restrictions kept Williamson on the northern side of the Canadian border for most of the 2020 racing season. While he did get to race several times (successfully), the purses were much smaller, and he never got into a rhythm like he could do when he was able to cross the border at will. Williamson, who said that he was “tired of eating Ramen noodles,” came into the United States for a few weeks, starting with OctoberFAST (the Super DIRTweek substitute) and concluding with the Eastern States 200. “It sucks that we cannot celebrate with family and friends after a win like this,” Williamson said. He and his two traveling companions planned to party hearty and then start to prepare the car for the upcoming Eastern States race. He plans to serve out his quarantine deer hunting upon his return to Canada.
Second place finisher, Stewart Friesen, who is also Canadian by birth, did not face such restrictions, as he is now a permanent resident of Sprakers, NY.
Both drivers overcame some mechanical difficulties to get to the front of the highest paying race of the 2020 Modified season. Friesen’s problems came during Friday night’s qualifications. He blew the engine in his primary car, which was powered by a 430 cubic inch open small block. He switched to a back-up car that was equipped with a 360 cubic inch small block, and used a provisional to start 39th in the talent-laden field. While the car was down on power, series rules allowed it to race at a light 2300 pounds, and Friesen was able to get the most out of the machine. Williamson’s difficulty came during the open red at the halfway mark of the big race. The team decided to change front shocks to improve forward bite. They broke a critical part in the process and they had to scramble to find a replacement in the infield hot pit area, as crossing the track to retrieve one from the hauler was not allowed. They found the piece in Anthony Perrego’s toolbox. Perrego was leading at the break and would go on to finish fourth in the final tally.
The first ten starters were lined up by the luck of the draw. Alex Yankowski started on the pole and Danny Bouc was next to the rapid teen. Aussie Peter Britten and Mike Gular were in row two. Erick Rudolph and Matt Sheppard, a pre-race favorite, were in row three. Max McLaughlin and Mike Maresca were in row four, with Maresca driving a borrowed car after suffering a terminal engine failure at the checkers in his Friday heat race. Williamson lined up next to Billy Pauch, Jr. in row five. Perrego and Mike Mahaney were in row six.
Yankowski blasted out to the lead over Bouc and Britten while Maresca and Rudolph were fighting for position. Just as the leaders crossed for lap one, veteran Billy Van Pelt brought out the first caution of the double century contest.
Yankowski held the advantage through lap 16, when Williamson surged to the front. Although Sheppard and Bouc would also pass Yankowski, the youthful driver held his own reamining in or just outside the top five for most of the first half of the race.
Meanwhile, Friesen was methodically passing cars using the highest groove possible. He was able to roll up beside cars and pass them off the corner before they even realized that he was out there. He reached 13th by lap 20 and was positioned to assault the top ten when drama unfolded.
Billy Pauch, Jr., who was biding his time riding just outside the top ten, had his throttle stick going down the long back chute. Although he tried desperately to shut the car down, he was unable to do so, and he collided massively with the turn three fence. He punched a hole in that as the car burst into flames and then tumbled to a stop yards away. The car lost its roof and the top of the cage was exposed to oncoming traffic, but all others were able to avoid contact with Pauch. Pauch climbed from the demolished car unscathed. It took track crews over an hour and fifteen minutes to make repairs to the fence.
After that break, Williamson continued to lead, but the car was not performing up to its full potential. Perrego, who would become Williamson’s savior a short time later, rode the rim to the front on lap 86. Soon thereafter, a caution came out, and Friesen surrendered P4 to pit for tires and fuel. This enabled him to play out a strategy that would give him track position over Perrego, Williamson, Sheppard, and others.
Perrego led to the halfway mark, with Williamson, Sheppard, McLaughlin, Britten, Ryan Godown, Yankowski, Alan Johnson, Ryan Susice, and Billy Dunn making up the top ten.
Dramatic interlude number two began with drivers declaring their intentions with regard to the mandatory pit stop. Drivers that elected to stay on the track could get fuel only. Drivers entering the hot pits could make any adjustments they wanted, including changing tires. Perrego stayed on the track, while almost all others came into the pits. After his crew looked over the tires, Perrego chose to enter the pits, losing only a minute or two of worktime. The racers who stayed out got the preferred starting positions, while those that went into the hot pits lined up behind them according to running order. So, Fiesen and his cohorts got track position with tires only 14 laps old, while Perrego, Williamson, et al. were ninth on back, albeit with fresh tires.
“We had a plan going into the race, but we threw it out the window,” Williamson said. Because the car was hot handling properly, his team switched the front shocks and almost took the car out of the race. Perrego’s team came through for them in the pinch, though, and Williamson was able to rejoin the field for the second half. “We made the right calls,” Williamson said with a sigh of relief.
It only took Friesen six laps to take the lead. He began to stretch his advantage while Perrego, McLaughlin, Sheppard, and Williamson began their march to the front. Perrego reached second on lap 128, with Andy Bachetti sitting in third. He, like Friesen, opted for the earlier pit stop to gain track position. Then came McLaughlin, Sheppard, and WiIlliamson.
With Friesen and Perrego racing the high groove, Williamson moved forward by running about a car width off the inside fence. He reached third by lap 150. Sheppard was also moving forward, but he suddenly stopped on the track with 168 completed. He pitted for a pair of fresh rear tires. “I’m sure that the fresh tires helped,” he noted. “We had a tire going down so I pitted and put two new ones on.” Indeed, in the remaining laps, Sheppard had one of the fastest cars on the track, but he did not have enough time to catch Williamson and Friesen.
Friesen continued to lead Perrego, but they had another racer to contend with as the laps wound down. Williamson took second on lap 175 and the issues became whether and when he would make a move on Friesen.
It only took eleven more circuits for the fans to know. Williamson drove by the leader on lap 186. While Williamson did open up a several car length advantage, Friesen continued to flog the cushion in an effort to chase him down. Aided by a yellow on lap 194, Friesen did get his shot at the leader. However, Williamson held his line and rode home with the lucrative win.
“I tried to beat the heck out of it,” Friesen explained. “I was starting to come back before the last yellow. I may have been able to come back if we had some traffic. I think my tore cooled off and it didn’t come back after that last caution.”
At the finish, it was Willaimson over Friesen, Sheppard, Perrego, and Larry Wight. McLaughlin, Godown, Bachetti, Yankowski, and Billy Decker rounded out the top ten. Decker’s machine bore the battle scars of an early race skirmish, but it continued to function satisfactorily.
Just over half of the field completed all 200 laps.
Port Royal and STSS officials announced that the Modifieds would return in 2021, with a Spring race contemplated. No announcement was made whether the big Fall classic would be on the docket. That decision may await further developments as STSS boss Brett Deyo also promoted Fonda Speedway where the 2019 edition of the 200 was held. COVID limitations in the Empire State forced him to move the race to Port Royal.
Port Royal Speedway will hold its final race of the season on October 24. It will be the Ninth Annual Keystone RaceSaver Challenge for 305 Sprints. Limited Late Models and Mini Stocks will also be on the card. General admission will be a mere $5, as the speedway celebrates a fan appreciation day. Racing will start at 3 p.m.
Macri Wins Weikert Memorial Preliminary
PORT ROYAL, PA (May 27, 2023): Anthony Macri scorched the field in round one of the Bob Weikert Memorial at the Port Royal Speedway. His seventh All Stars victory at the track and twenty-second of his career was worth a hefty $10,000 and it made him the odds-on favorite to take home $29,000 more when the weekend celebration of speed concludes on Sunday evening. But finishing behind the Dillsburg pilot were four other members of the PA Posse.
Macri dominated the top like no other racer in the twenty-nine lap affair that went non-stop. His margin of victory was 9.667 seconds. Macri was unsure of his race strategy. He did not know if he should get to the front early or whether he should hold back and let his competitors “burn up their stuff.” Ultimately, he let his car make the decision for him. “I was making decent speed, so I decided to go up top. I figured that I couldn’t pass anybody running the same line as they were.” He summed, that “it was a pleasure” to drive he car this night.
A re-draw of the top ten drivers in passing points determined teh starting line-up. Mike Wagner was the lucky fellow to grab the pole. Next to him was Justin Whittal. Tyler Courtney and Macri populated row two. Zeb Wise and Devon Borden ahd the third row. Tim Shaffer and Brent Marks mad up the fourth row. Behind them were Tyler Bear and Logan Wagner. Cory Eliason and Jeff Halligan were in row six.
Lance Dewease rolled away from the outside of row eight, and Dylan Cisney from the inside of row ten. After experiencing engine problems in his heat and failing to transfer from the B, Danny Dietrich used a track provisional to start dead last.
Mike Wagner fought off Whittal and Courtney in turn one to take the lead. Macri, Wise, Logan Wagner, who is back in black, Marks, Borden, Halligan, and Bear followed.
Mike Wagner led the first ten laps. However, toward the end of that run, he encountered lapped traffic, and many of those drivers were using the inside line, which he preferred. That enabled Macri to close in. With Mike Wagner stick behind some slower cars, Macri blasted around the top of turns one and two to take the lead with eleven laps completed.
“He (Macri) was really good. I was good the first ten laps but then the car loosened up,” the Legend noted. Mike Wagner added that he had pulled his wing all the way back, but he was still spinning his tires, and Macri just drove away from him.
While the first two positions were well settled, the rest of the top ten was in doubt. Courtney held third until the second half of the race. Logan Wagner took third with about ten laps to go. But both Logan Wagner and Courtney faded in the final few laps. Marks and Dewease chased them down to get third and fourth, respectively. Logan Wagner held on for fifth.
Wise, Halligan, and Whittal also passed Courtney in the stretch run. Courtney was ninth and Blane Heimbach was tenth.
Although Heimbach passed eleven cars in the race, he lost the hard charger honors to Dewease, who was plus twelve.
There were four heats. The winners were Gerrard McIntyre, Jr., Logan Wagner, Macri, and Heimbach. Heimbach also won the B Main. He was
required to run the B becasue his heat win came from the pole position, and he did not earn enough passing points to make the A Main.
The evening’s fastest qualifier was Borden, with a remarkable lap of 16.940 seconds.
In the twenty lapper for the PASS IMCA 305 Sprint Cars, Logan Spahr chased drown early leader Jared Zionkowski just past halfway. Spahr led the rest of the way to earn his sixth series win in a row!
Zionkowski, who started on the pole, held on for second. Seth Schnoke ran third the full twenty laps. Jeff Weaver, Jr. and Ken Duke completed the top five.
Kenny Heffner, Doug Dodson, Mike Melair, Austin Reed, and Zach Rhoades were sixth through tenth.
The quartet of heat winners consisted of Dodson, Jason Roush, Dustin Young, and Heffner. Mike Alleman took the B Main. Heffner was also the evening’s fastest qualifier in the timed hot lap sessions. He toured the big half mile in 18.557 seconds.
A Feature (29 Laps): 1. 39M-Anthony Macri; 2. 55W-Mike Wagner; 3. 19-Brent Marks; 4. 69K-Lance Dewease; 5. 1-Logan Wagner; 6. 26-Zeb Wise; 7. 45H-Jeff Halligan; 8. 67-Justin Whittall; 9. 7BC-Tyler Courtney; 10. 12-Blane Heimbach; 11. 23-Devon Borden; 12. 45-Tim Shaffer; 13. 77K-Tyler Bear; 14. 11-Cory Eliason; 15. 29W-Danny Dietrich; 16. 5-Dylan Cisney; 17. 5W-Lucas Wolfe; 18. 33M-Gerard McIntyre Jr; 19. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr; 20. 4-Chris Windom; 21. 35-Austin Bishop; 22. 47K-Kody Lehman; 23. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg; 24. 29-Sye Lynch; 25. 33W-Michael Walter; 26. 35S-Jason Shultz LAP LEADERS: Mike Wagner (1-10), Anthony Macri (11-29)
2023 All Star Circuit of Champions DRIVER Standings (As of 5/27):
Tyler Courtney – 1348
Chris Windom – 1256
Hunter Schuerenberg – 1246
Tim Shaffer – 1240
J.J. Hickle – 1180
Scotty Thiel – 1178
Conner Morrell – 1114
Zeb Wise – 1066
Parker Price-Miller – 956
Sye Lynch – 898
Dewease Dials in Win
MECHANICSBURG, PA (May 26, 2023): For Lance Dewease, his second win of the season and 113th of his career at Williams Grove Speedway was very significant. It achieved a goal that he and his car owner, Don Kreitz, Jr., set during the off-season. That was for Kreitz to overtake the late Al Hamilton as the winner of the most features as a car owner at the venerable track. Kreitz now has 93 checkers to his credit, 61 as an owner-driver and the rest as the owner for Dewease.
While Dewease thanked Kreitz for the opportunity, he dedicated the win to the third member of the Hall of Fame Dream Team. Davey Brown, his octogenarian crew chief, was absent due to an illness for the second week in a row. “Davey’s not feeling well, he’s at home watching,” Dewease explained. Then, he added with a laugh, “his daughter kept texting us all night.” Dewease added that he anticipates having Brown back for the two-day All-Stars event upcoming at Port Royal Speedway.
Dewease conceded that he may not have had the fastest car. “I think Freddie (Rahmer, Jr.) was the fastest car here, but we got some breaks.” One was for a lap ten miscue by the race leader, Chase Dietz, who did a 360 between turns three and four that collected Rahmer, who was racing in fifth at the time. The incident not only eliminated two strong contenders who had track position on Dewease, it also brought the new leader, Anthony Macri, back to him.
Dewease restarted in fifth, behind Macri, Devon Borden, Tyler Courtney, and Dylan Norris. He wasted no time moving up one position in turn one, and then he picked off another in turn three. On the next lap, Dewease was second, but he was already a good distance behind Macri.
The other break for Dewease came when Macri spun his tires and jumped the cushion in turn two with six laps remaining. At that moment, Macri was still in range to overtake Dewease as the leader, but he lost his momentum and, importantly, the runner-up position. For just two laps later, Courtney got a flat but Macri was stuck in third behind Dewease and Danny Dietrich for the final restart. Needless to say, Macri was not a factor in the last four laps.
Dietz had the pole for the start of the thirty lapper as a result of his victory in the dash. Next to him was Borden. Tim Shaffer and Macri were in row two, with Norris and Courtney in row three. Dewease and Kyle Moody were the final dash eligible drivers in the line-up. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. and Freddie Rahmer, Jr. occupied row five, with Danny Dietrich and Jimmy Siegel in row six.
Dietz seized control in turns one and two on the opening lap, but Macri was pressing him for the lead as they headed toward turn three. Borden stayed close in third, with Shaffer, Courtney, Norris, Rahmer Jr., Dewease, Moody, and Hafertepe following.
Dietz began to compile an advantage in the early laps while Macri and Borden battled for second. Macri was holding the spot when Dietz spun on his own with ten complete.
While Macri paced the field after the green flag dropped, it was Dewease who was making the most progress. In just two laps, he was into second and he began to whittle away at Macri’s lead.
Dewease made a couple of attempts to pass Macri, but exercising the discretion and patience of a veteran, Dewease did not force the issue. The opportunity presented itself as the duo raced off turn four to complete lap nineteen. Dewease, who was forced to search around for several laps because Macri took away his preferred low line, was able to get inside of Macri this particular time.
Dewease maintained control despite having some troubles with slower cars as the race entered its final stages. Macri’s misfortune gave Dewease some breathing room and it also provided a buffer in the form of Danny Dietrich. Then, Courtney’s flat tire reset the running order and it eliminated the lapped cars.
Dewease was not challenged in the last four rounds of the speedway. He crossed the line more than three seconds ahead of Dietrich to get win number 45 with the All Stars and $10,000. Macri was third, followed by Borden and Moody. Norris, Siegel, Cory Eliason, Zeb Wise, and Brent Marks completed the top ten.
Four heats were presented on Doug Esh Tribute night. The winners were Borden, Moody, Shaffer, and Dewease. The B Main victory went to Kyle Reinhardt. The fastest qualifier overall was Norris, with a lap of 16.999 seconds.
Williams Grove Speedway will present the 410 Sprints along with the Bill Gallagher Memorial 5G to win USAC East Coast 360 Sprint Cars on June 2. Plus there will be a phot shoot with the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing and fireworks that night. The following week will feature the 410 and 358 Sprints on Fan Appreciation Night. All general admission ticket holders will be allowed outside before the racing begins to meet their favorite stars.
June 16 will have the 410 Sprints racing along with the USAC National Sprints as part of the annual Eastern Storm tour. Then come the two PA Speedweek events on June 23 and 30.
Modifieds and More at Tri-City Raceway Park for Memorial Day Weekend
FRANKLIN, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Tri-City Raceway Park will present its first special of the season this Sunday, May 28. Three divisions of Modifieds will be in action on the big half mile oval. The ground pounding Big Blocks of the BRP Modified Tour will make their first appearance of the season. A return engagement is set for Labor Day Weekend. The UMP Modifieds will make their first appearance as well. And, the Vintage Modifieds will add a little nostalgia to the event when they race in the Lloyd Keith Memorial.
“We are really excited to have all of those Modifieds at the speedway,” said owner and promoter Merle Black. “The BIg Blocks and the UMP Modifieds were once part of the weekly shows at Tri City, so bringing them back for a special appearance over the Memorial Day holiday weekend is fantastic,” he added. “And, everybody likes to see the Vintage Cars because it brings back fond memories.”
The track’s 358 Modifieds are not on the card for this one, but all of those racers are invited to participate with the BRP Modified Tour. Many fans can remember when a 358 driven by Gary Smoker upset the Big Blocks at Tri-City and it could happen again. Those 358s that do take the challenge will not receive any track points for this contest, but there would be no limit to the bragging rights if Ayden Cipriano, for example, could back up his career first 358 Modified victory against the regional Big Block stars.
While those three Modified divisions alone would be enough to whet any race fan’s appetite, there is even more on-track action to enjoy. The 410 Sprint Cars and the 4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks are going to log their second races of the season. Ohio pilot Ricky Peterson defeated defending track champion A.J. Flick in round one for the winged warriors last Sunday. Matt Urey dominated the Four Cylinder Mini Stocks. Can they repeat?
Black went all in for this event. He added the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks. Tyler Wyant captured his first of the 2023 season in the opener, so he, too, will try to double up on May 28.
There will be added purse money on the line for the 410 Sprint Cars, Pro Stocks, and Four Cylinder Mini Stocks thanks to Virgile Iron & Steel, Travis Harry Racing Engines, Bish Heating & Cooling, Grandview Auto Body, Singleton Family Chiropractic, Siple Racing Edits, and Bernard’s Electrical Services and Troubleshooting. The 410 Sprints will now pay $2,200 to win, the Pro Stock winner will now take home $1,000.02, and the Mini Stocks will battle for $500!
And, there are extras for the fans, too. In addition to the added classes in competition, two lucky fans will be eligible for an upgrade to the VIP section courtesy of Bernard’s Electrical Services and Troubleshooting. Plus, there will be a big bonfire and a DJ on Saturday night, as well as free camping throughout the holiday weekend!
Fans can enjoy all of this racing and the pre-race activities for the low price of $20 for Adults. Seniors (ages 60 and up) and Students (ages 10 to 16) will be admitted for $15. Children (under the age of 10) will be free, as usual. Pit Passes will be $35.
Pit gates will open at 2 p.m., with spectator gates opening at 4 p.m. Practice sessions will start at 5:30. Heat races will commence at 6 p.m.
Remember that Tri-City Raceway Park will host the final round of the Western PA Sprint Car Speedweek on June 3. The other Sunday Thunder divisions will also be in action. So come out to watch the 358 Modifieds, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, and the 4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks.
Also, there will be no auto racing on June 11. Instead, the track will present the All American Rodeo Company on Saturday, June 10, under the auspices of the International Professional Rodeo Association.
Further information about Tri-City Raceway Park can be obtained by calling the track office at 724-967-4601, or by e-mailing the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can check the web at Tri-CityRacewayPark.com, or the Facebook page at Tri City Raceway Park. Tri-City Raceway Park is located just a few miles north of Franklin, PA, at 3430 State Route 417 in Oakland Township. Professional auto racing will be presented in a family friendly atmosphere most Sunday evenings from May through Labor Day weekend.