Connect with us
P&W BMW

Local Racing

Williamson Whips Port Royal Foes

Published

on

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.

Three Rivers Karting

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.

Dirt Racing

Ryan Smith Succeeds at Sharon; Cipriano and Konbau also Score

Published

on

Sharon Speedway

HARTFORD, OH (June 1, 2024): Ryan Smith romped to the win at Sharon Speedway on night three of Western Pennsylvania Speedweek despite Dave Blaney’s home field advantage. Smith, a former series champion, had the benefit of starting some five rows ahead of Blaney, but Blaney made an early charge to make things interesting. Meanwhile, Smith was stalking the early leader, Zane DeVault, and Smith sailed by him when DeVault brushed the outside wall coming off turn two. Unfortunately for the fans, a head to head battle between Smith and Blaney never materialized because the track took rubber, and Blaney’s top line which he used so effectively early was no longer there in the final stage of the race.

Ayden Cipriano (Big Block Modifieds) and Jeremy Kornbau (Allegheny Sprint Tour 305 Sprint Cars) also earned significant first wins.
“It’s pretty cool to beat Dave at his own place,” Smith quipped. He explained that he tried to make his car as wide as he could in the early going and, then, he mainly ran the low side when the rubber came in. While that strategy was successful for him, he did admit to having some trouble with lapped cars also using that line as the race progressed. Nonetheless, Smith put enough of them behind him to provide a safe margin of victory over Blaney.

Blaney, who thrilled the partisan crowd with his dash to the front in the early laps, characteristically downplayed his accomplishment. “I had a good start,” he said humbly. Then, he added with a chuckle, “I had a couple of closer calls than an old mane would like.” Blaney was referring to the time in the opening laps when he threaded the needle in turn three between two competitors who were fighting for position. “Then, the track got faster as the race went on,” he commented, making it difficult for him to chase down Smith.

DeVault, who soldiered on for third despite hurting his car, noted, “I tried to win it or wear it on top when I got into the wall, I was just hanging on after that. But, you know me, I’ll hang in there until the end.”

DeVault and Smith were the lucky ones who fished the front row starting spots in the top twelve re-draw promoted by a Lake Erie charter service. Smith had a helper, though, as he chose a child from the stands to be his designated fisherman. Mitch Harble and Logan McCandless drew into the second row, with Chase Metheney and Adam Kekich in the third. Then came Michael Bauer and Dale Blaney. Jordan Poirier and Dan Kuriger had row five, with Dave Kalb and Dave Blaney getting the two remaining fish available.

DeVault seized the early advantage, with Smith staying close. Harble, McCandless, Dale Blaney, and Poirier were next. However, the racer who drew the most attention in the early going was Dave Blaney. He shot from twelfth to seventh on the opening lap by using the high line that no one else dared to try.

Dave Blaney reached fourth by the time that DeVault had his shunt with the outside wall on lap six, and he was third when Matt Farnham stopped because his right rear tire was going flat.

On the ensuing restart, Blaney executed a perfect slider job in turn one to overtake DeVault. Smith, however, was in the lead, and he opened up several car lengths on Blaney.

Three Rivers Karting

Smith was into lapped traffic by the fourteenth round. He was able to pick off the back markers pretty easily. As he advanced through them, the going got tougher and Blaney was able to narrow the margin.

As the race moved into the final stages, Smith had several lapped cars separating himself from his pursuer. They were all running the bottom, and Blaney went back to the high side to try to get back into a position of contention. However, the top groove was no longer there for him, and he could not get past the lapped cars that were keeping pace with the leader. Blaney nestled in behind them and rode out the remaining laps for a second place finish that still satisfied the home town crowd.

DeVault was third, ahead of Dale Blaney and McCandless. Kekich, Poirier, Lee Jacobs, Kuriger, and Mark Smith rounded out the top ten. Jacobs was named the hard charger, at plus twelve.

Once again, five heats were required for the forty-six car field. Chalking up wins were Dave and Dale Blaney, Kekich, Ryan Smith, and Metheney. A.J. Flick and Lance Moss split the twin B Mains. Dave Blaney was the evening’s fastest qualifier with a lap of 15.835 seconds.

With three races complete, Dave Blaney has a 20 point lead over his brother, Dale. A.J. Flick holds down third one point back from Dale. Tim Shaffer and Mark Smith make up the top five.

Ayden Cipriano earned his first career Big Block Modified win, holding off Rex King, Jr. Cipriano benefited from a penalty imposed on leader Rick Regalski for jumping the lap seven restart. That infraction moved Cipriano to the pole and Regalski to third. King raced in the middle groove to move from sixth to second after the green light came on again.

Chas Wolbert was third, Will Thomas fourth, and Brad Rapp fifth. Positions six through ten went to Garrett Krummert, Regalski, Chad Reitz, Mike Kinney, and Steve Barr.

King and Thomas captured heat wins. There was no B Main.

Another first-time winner was Jeremy Kornbau in the Allegheny Sprint Tour A Main. It was the first time the 305 Sprint Cars appeared at the famous oval. Nolan Groves, Brett Brunkenhoefer, Roman Jones, and Jim Pattock were in the top five. Jarrett Rosencrance, Dale Schweikart, Andy Priest, Arnie Kent, and John Scarborough rounded out the top ten. Dale Schweikart, Pattock, and Priest won the preliminaries. There was no B Main.

Continue Reading

Dirt Racing

Flick Wins W PA Speedweek Jean Lynch Classic at Lernerville; Norris, King, and Schneider Also Score

Published

on

SARVER, PA (May 31, 2024): A.J. Flick knows how to win at Lernerville Speedway and on the Western Pennsylvania Speedweek tour. He is a seven-time speedway 410 Sprint Car champion and a two-time Speedweek king. He has won both titles for the last two years. He took a big step forward in both title chases by snagging the $4,000 check that went to the winner of the first jean Lynch Classic hosted at Lernerville Speedway.

Also scoring wins on this momentous night were Michael Norris in the Super Late Models, Rex King, Jr. in the Big Block Modifieds, and Christian Schneider in the Pro Stocks.

“The lynch name is synonymous with this place,” Flick said. “Everybody knows how hard Sye (Lynch) would run at this race, but you could see him fading,” Flick explained. He added, “that 28 car (Jordan Poirier) was fast in clean air, but I wanted to keep the win in Apollo,” which is home to both the Lynch and Flick families.

Flick chased down Poirier, who took the lead away from Lynch following the only restart of the race, on lap fourteen. Flick lined up third for that pivotal restart. Although he, too, quickly dispatched Lynch, it took him over ten laps to catch and pass Poirier, who was making his first start at the Action Track.

Poirier was pleased with his maiden voyage, explaining that he had some trouble working his way past unfamiliar lapped cars. He added, “once I saw his (Flick’s) nose, I knew that he was going to get by me.”

Lynch and Poirier were on the front row as a result of the re-draw for the top two from each heat race and the two fastest qualifiers who transferred from their respective heat races. Jeremy Weaver was flanked by Hall of Famer Tim Shaffer, a former Lernerville champion. Carl Bowser and Zane DeVault occupied row three. Behind them were Ricky Peterson and Dave Blaney, another Hall of Famer. Mark Smith and Flick paired off in row five, followed by Lance Moss and Brandon Spithaler.

As the partisan crowd hoped, Lynch raced into turn one ahead of Poirier, Weaver, Shaffer, DeVault, Bowser, Peterson, Mark Smith, and Flick. Lynch was running hard, and he caught the rear of the field in just seven laps. Nonetheless, Poirier stayed close. Shaffer moved into third in the early going, followed by DeVault and Flick. Flick continued his advance, taking third on lap thirteen. He was still a good distance behind the leaders, but a caution on lap fourteen brought them back to him in a hurry.

On the ensuing restart, Poirier executed a slider on Lynch in turn one to take the lead. Lynch fought back coming off turn two, but Poirier made a good run through turns three and four to preserve his lead.

As Poirier began to distance himself from Lynch, Flick worked by Lynch for the second position. It took Flick several laps to catch Poirier. Flick got a good run off turn four and he rode the rim in turns one and two to take the lead away from the rapid Canadian on lap twenty-six.

Flick pulled away in the final four laps to secure the win. Poirier was strong in second, followed by Shaffer, Dave Blaney, and Lynch. Brandon Spithaler raced his way up to sixth. Mark Smith, Dale Blaney, the third Hall of Fame driver in the field, DeVault, and Weaver completed the top ten.

Five heats were required for the forty-six cars that signed in. Bowser, Flick, Dave Blaney, Spithaler, and Poirier captured the checkers. Matt Farnham and Dave Kalb won their respective B Mains. Lynch set the mark in qualifications with a lap of 13.172 seconds.

Heading into the next round, at his own Sharon Speedway, Dave Blaney has a two point margin over Shaffer and Flick in the series points. Dale Blaney and Mark Smith sit fourth and fifth. Norris, Spithaler, Bowser, Weaver, and DeVault make up the top ten.

Three Rivers Karting

In the Super Late Models, a test session proved to be highly successful for Michael Norris. “We tried a lot of different stuff,” he said. “We put our heads together with Mark Richards and Brian Daugherty trying to find something that would work in the slick. If this race is indicative of their combined efforts, it seems as though Norris may be ready for the upcoming Firecracker 100 for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.

Veteran Chub Frank was on hand to get some needed track time before the Firecracker, and he started from the pole position for the twenty-six lapper. Next to him was Ken Schaltenbrand. Norris lined up third, with Jon Lee as his dance partner. Danny Angelicchio and Michael Duritsky were in the third row. Colton Flinner and Alex Ferree were in row four. Then came Tyler Dietz and Ryan Christoff. The fifth row matched Tyler Wyant with Andy Boozel. Gary Lyle and recent high school graduate Levi Yetter held down row six.

Frank led the parade to turn one, but Schaltenbrand had the momentum on the newly-banked turns one and two. He shot out to the lead coming off turn two. Schaltenbrand led the first eight laps. Frank gave way to Norris for second on lap eight. On the next circuit, Norris used the inside line to overtake Schaltenbrand.

The race remained under the green flag until lap twenty-four, when Wyant surrendered his spot in the top ten by stopping on the back stretch. During that long run, Norris stretched his lead over Frank, Schaltenbrand, Angelicchio, and Flinner. The minor incident set up a green-white-checker finish.

Norris got away cleanly. Frank and Schaltenbrand were not so fortunate, as they lost positions to Flinner. Dietz was another driver who benefited from the late race restart, as he picked up two spots.

At the checkers, it was Norris over Flinner, Frank, Dietz, and Schaltenbrand. Jared Miley, Angelicchio, Lee, Ferree, and Duritsky rounded out the top ten.

Heat winners were Norris, Frank, and Dietz. Miley took the B Main.

Rex King, Jr. and Will Thomas paced the field for the Big Block Modifieds. They ran first and second over the entire twenty-five lap distance. The second row starters, Dave Murdick and Steve Feder, also ran in the top five the entire way.

A caution on lap twenty-one bunched up the field. King and Thomas remained the lead duo, but behind them several positions changed ands in the final four laps.

Behind King and Thomas were Murdick, Garrett Krummert, and Feder. Brad Rapp, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Rick Regalski, Jordan Ehrenberg, and Ayden Cipriano were the next five finishers.

Feder and Krummert took the preliminaries. There was no B Main.

As usual, the Pro Stocks wore the nightcap. Christian Schneider bolted from the pole to take the early lead and he would complete the twenty-lap journey first. Tyler Dietz ran second, with Chris Schneider, Brett Hutira, and Cody Koteles next in line. Jacob Dietz, Tyler Schneider, Mike Bordt, Chase Lambert, and heath Close claimed sixth through tenth positions.

Chris Schneider and Hutira prevailed in their respective heats. There was no B Main.

Continue Reading

Dirt Racing

Norris Nails It at Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Motor Speedway

Published

on

IMPERIAL, PA (May 30, 2024): Dylan Norris made his first visit to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Motor Speedway a memorable one. The budding talent from Hanover, PA Picked up the win on the opening night of Western Pennsylvania Speedweek, earning $3,500 in the process. To do it, he held off a fast closing Hall of Fame driver, Dave Blaney, and two other decorated veterans, Tim Shaffer and Dale Blaney, were close behind.

“This was our first time here,” Norris said, “and it is definitely different than what we have at home.” Despite having no notes to work from, Norris observed that “we were good right out of the box, we were good on the bottom.”

It did not take Norris very long to figure out that the bottom was where he needed to be. But, it almost cost him the race. “We had some trouble with lapped cars.” Norris said that he tried to make some passes in the middle groove, but “I knew I had to get back down in the rubber.”

Norris made the move back to the inside line soon enough to keep Dave Blaney behind him. “You couldn’t do much except wait for mistakes, and he didn’t make any,” Blaney observed.

John Jerich, a relative newcomer to the sport of 410 Sprint Car racing, had the pole for the twenty lapper. The race was shortened to that distance because teams were experiencing excessive tire wear. Shaffer and Dale Blaney were paired in row two, with Dave Blaney and Ryan Smith, a former Speedweek champion, in row three. The fourth row consisted of Mark Smith and former FAST on Dirt Series champion Brandon Spithaler. Two-time and defending Speedweek king, A.J. Flick lined up inside of Jack Sodeman, Jr., in row five. Taking positions in row six were Carl Bowser, a frequent winner at PPMS, and Aussie Jordyn Charge.

Norris seized control immediately, but the initial start was set aside for a multi-car tangle coming off turn four. Billy Dietrich went over, and he was one of three cars that were unable to resume racing. Michael Bauer and Logan McCandless suffered less damage, but they were also out of the event.

On the second try, Norris rocketed into turn one, and he began to draw away from Jerich, Dale Blaney, Shaffer, and Dave Blaney. Norris began to stretch his advantage until he began to lap slower cars. Meanwhile, Dave Blaney was steadily moving forward, reaching fourth by lap five, third by lap ten, and second by lap fifteen. Blaney then began to whittle away at the lead. He did close to within a couple of car lengths late in the contest, but Norris was flawless.

Three Rivers Karting

Shaffer, Dale Blaney, and Jerich swapped positions in the top five, with Shaffer ultimately coming out on top of his two rivals.

Mark Smith drove a consistent race to claim sixth, ahead of Flick, Spithaler, Ryan Smith, and Bowser.

There were four heats for the Sprinters, with wins going to Spithaler, Mark Smith, Dave Blaney, and Flick. The pair of B Mains belonged to Ricky Peterson and Brandon Matus. The fastest qualifier on the night was Spithaler, with a lap of 16.644 around Dirt’s Monster Half Mile.

The UEMS e-Mods were the primary support division. They went twenty-five laps for $3,000. Jonathan Taylor picked up the win after a spirited battle with K.C. Burdette. “It’s good to be back here, we got to run here when we were younger,” Taylor said.

Burdette and Jonathan Taylor started on the front row, and they set sail at the start of the race. Burdette led the first four laps, but Taylor drove by him on lap four. Burdette held second about the next fifteen laps. On lap twenty, Burdette came off the bottom of turn four to take the lead at the scoring loop, but Jonathan Taylor rallied in turn one to regain the lead.

Gregory Moore charged into second in the closing laps and he got within striking distance of Jonathan Taylor. Burdette nabbed third, ahead of Brian Ruhlman, and Dustin Demattia, Joel Watson, Mitch Thomas, Evan Taylor, Nate Young, and Bud Watson were sixth through tenth.

Heat wins went to Jonathan Taylor and Burdette. There was no B Main. The evening’s fast time was turned in by Thomas, with a lap of 21.120.

The Hobby Stocks closed out the night. Logan Koteles went wire-to-wire for the win. Marc Corio followed him to the checkers. Garrett O’Patchen, Leroy Brown, and Jonathan Koteles completed the top five.

Continue Reading

Discover more from Pittsburgh Racing Now

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading