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Sheppard and Eckert Share Victory Lane at Georgetown

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Georgetown Speedway

GEORGETOWN, DE(October 31, 2020): A pair of veterans earned their first career victories at Georgetown Speedway during the Mid-Atlantic Championship weekend. Matt Sheppard scored in the Short Track Super Series Modifieds and Rick Eckert prevailed in the United Late Model Series.

“It’s fitting that I got the win coming from the back,” Sheppard said. He had pitted just six laps into the fray to replace a flat right front tire and then he chased down the Northeast’s winningest Modified pilot, Stewart Friesen. “It’s been a tough year, so to get win number twenty is really good,” Sheppard added.

Friesen and the Quaker Shaker, Rick Laubach, were on the front row for the 44 lap contest. Brandon Grosso and Anthony Perrego were in the second row. Billy Pauch, Jr. lined up next to Mike Maresca in the third, with J.R. McGinley and Andy Bachetti behind them. Richie Pratt, Jr. and Sheppard were in row five. Matt Peck and Mike Gular were in the sixth row. These starting positions were based on the luck of the draw.

While everybody expected Friesen to grab the early lead, Laubach had other ideas. Scooby surged ahead coming off the fourth turn and Friesen fell in behind when the duo reached turn one. Perrego and Maresca came next, with Pauch, Bachetti, and Pratt following.

The first ten laps were puntuated with four cautions. Through it all, Laubach maintained control, although Friesen did make several strong challenges for the lead. Perrego and Pauch were also fixtures in the top five. P5 changed hands several times, though.

Near the end of the longest green flag run, eleven laps in distance, Friese powered past Laubach for the lead. Perrego and Pauch were figthing for third during this interval. Ryan Krachun nailed down fifth. However, Tyler Dipple was advancing quickly. After taking a provisional to start in the twenty-seventh position, he clawed his way to sixth.

Yellow fever set in again, as seven cautions were displayed over the second half of the race. Friesen continued to lead, but he had a new pursuer. Sheppard passed Laubach for second on lap 24. Laubach would go pitside for a flat three laps later, and Pratt was next to pit a few laps later.

Sheppard reeled in Friesen and the two talents put on an exciting show for the fans. Sheppard had a run on the outside of turn two, but Friesen drifted a bit high and there was minor contact. Both drivers were able to maintain control. On lap 31, Sheppard tried the outside line coming off turn two again, and this time he was able to make it past Friesen without incident.

On a lap 36 restart, Friesen got out into the loose stuff in turn one and le lost four or five positions. Among the drivers to benefit from this rare mistake was Pauch, who needed to gain positions if he had any hope of overtaking Friesen in the quest for the Series Southern Division point title. While Pauch was able to climb into second, Friesen got back on track. He rallied for fourth, which was enough to preserve his points lead over Pauch.

At the finish, it was Sheppard, Pauch, Perrego, Friesen, and Dippel. Although Pauch lost out in the series points chase, he was able to claim the track championship. he took a jab at his famous father in the post-race interview, noting that he was the first member of the family to win a title on Delaware soil. Pauch also remarked that he was “the only guy in the top five with a real job.”

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Danny Creeden, Laubach, Gular, Ryan Watt, and Matt Stangle completed the top ten.

Heat wins were scored by Perrego, Bachetti, Friesen, and Sheppard. The B Mains went to Watt and Tyler Siri.

In the 40 lap Late Model event, Mike Maresca led the field to the start, but Rick Eckert took control of the race as they thundered off turn two. Mark Pettyjohn, Max Blair, Donnie Lingo, and Kyle Hardy trailed. A quick yellow brought a moan from the crowd, as they feared another caution plagued race.

However, the racers redeemed themselves, completing fifteen more circuits before the next caution was displayed. While Eckert led the way, Max Blair was giving chase. He took the lead briefly coming off the second turn, but Eckert came charging back atthe opposite end of teh track.

Eckert and Blair began to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.Soon they were trading the top spot. Blair took charge just before the halfway mark, but Eckert stayed within shooting distance. Aided by a caution on lap 26, Eckert found a good line in turns one and two and he used it to regain the lead on teh restart.

“I was getting lazy, and then I picked the wrong lane for a restart and (Blair) got by me,” Eckert noted. “Then, he switched lanes, and I got back by him.”

Eckert added that he was “able to find a line that I could use to make up time in one and two.” Though he claimed to struggle in turns three and four, Eckert explained that Blair was having trouble down there also.

Eckert led the remainder of the race without challenge from Blair, who did finish second. Third went to Hardy. Maresca was fourth, followed by Ross Robinson. Jason Covert was sixth after running as high as second briefly. Amanda Robinson was next. Gary Stuhler, Danny Snyder, and Trevor Collins completed the top ten.

Heat winners were Eckert, Blair, and Pettyjohn. Eckert turned in the fastest lap in qualification runs at 18.050 seconds. There was no B Main.

Justin Grosso topped Joe Toth, Tim Hartman, Jr., Anthony Tramontana, and Tanner Van Doren in the 602 Crate Sportsmen. Steve Kemery, Robert Dutton, Tramontana, and Grosso were victorious in their heats. Greg Humlhanz and Greg Reed won the B Mains.

Georgetown Speedway officials announced that there will be one more race at the half mile in 2020. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 28, the Gobbler will be held, with Big Block Modifieds topping the card. Support divisions have yet to be determined.

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Dirt Racing

Mother Nature Wins The Weekend In Western PA

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PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Mother Nature is putting a damper on the early portion of the Western Pennsylvania dirt track racing season as both Lernerville Speedway and Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway were forced to cancel their racing programs on Friday and Saturday night.

The inclement weather has forced Lernerville to postpone the Lernerville Grand, the 1,000th Sprint Car race in The Action Track’s storied history, two weeks in a row.  Lernerville will host Military Appreciation Night on Friday, May 15, 2021 where Fab4 Racing will be on track.

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PPMS was able to get in a full slate last weekend but has already made the decision to cancel Saturday night’s action. Racing will resume on Saturday, May 15, 2021, for an Action Event featuring the Rohrich Automotive RUSH Late Model Dirt Series, the Hobby Stocks, the Penn Ohio Pro Stocks, the Crawford Auto Repair Four Cylinders, and the All Ways Safe Young Guns.

UPDATE: Add Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio to the cancellation list thanks to the weather. An identical “Super Series” show will be coming up next Saturday night (May 15) as the “410” Sprint Cars return for $3,000 to-win along with the Gibson Insurance Agency Pro Stocks, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and the Whelen Econo Mods. Pits open at 4 p.m. and grandstands at 5. Sprint Car group qualifying will take place at 6:30 p.m. with heat races at 7.

 

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Dirt Racing

Hafertepe Hammers All Stars At Tri-City Raceway Park; Ruhlman Rush Sprint Star

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Photo: Rick Rarer

FRANKLIN, PA (May 2, 2021): Sam Hafertepe, Jr. scored his first win with the FloRacing All Stars Circuit of Champions in thirteen years of competition with the series. The All Stars program was presented courtesy of Krill Recycling LLC of Fennelton, PA.

Taking the Gary Glass Automotive/Washington House RUSH Sprint Car feature was Chad Ruhlman aboard the Tim Engels machine from Franklin, PA.

“Running out front was the place to be,” Hafertepe said. He explained that track position gave him better opportunities to navigate around some difficult track conditions.

Sam Hafertepe, Jr. and Ian Madsen led the All Star field to the green flag. Row two belonged to Tyler Courtney and Matt Farnham. Starting in the third row were Cap Henry and Bill Balog and they were followed by Hunter Schuerenberg and Justin Peck. Cale Conley and Sye Lynch started in row five with Carl Bowser and Kyle Reinhardt in row six.

Hafertepe bolted into the lead followed by Courtney, Madsen, Farnham and Peck. Before the racers could settle in, however, Reinhardt flipped his machine in between turns one and two. He was not hurt, but neither he nor track favorite Jack Sodeman, Jr. were able to continue.

Hafertepe assumed the lead again with Madsen, Farnham, and Henry in tow. Peck was applying the pressure and he began his move to the front. He reached fourth by lap four and third by lap five.

A caution for the lazy spin by Lynch in turn four bunched the field up and gave Peck an opportunity to challenge the leaders. He was hounding Courtney while Hafertepe ran out front by himself. Peck moved into second on lap seventeen before the pace was slowed due to Cory Eliason stopping in turn two.

On the ensuing restart, Peck made a bold move in turn one, but he snagged a rut and flipped his machine ending an impressive run up from the eighth starting spot.

Hafertepe completed the remaining eight laps without further ado. Courtney posted his best All Stars finish to date, second. Madsen crossed in third and gained enough points to take command of the All Stars series championship. Balog and Henry were fourth and fifth. Schuerenberg was sixth followed by Conley, Paul McMahan, Paige Polyak and Wise.

McMahan was the All Stars Hard Charger with thirteen positions advanced. Brandon Matus took the Fisher and Father NAPA Auto Parts Pro Performer Hard Charger award at plus five.

Balog, Farnham, Schuerenberg, and Henry were victorious in the heat races for the All Stars. Bob Felmlee nailed the second turn wall in his heat race, inflicting major damage on the car. Felmlee was unhurt. Lynch spun while racing second in his heat, but he was able to restart and made the transfer to the A Main.

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Hafertepe, Jr. and Madsen captured the twin Dashes for the All Stars.

The B Main winner was McMahan. Dan Shetler was unhurt in his crash in turn one during the B Main.

The evening’s fastest qualifier overall was Justin Peck, with a lap of 14.998 in Group C. It was a new track record. He was the only driver to crack the 15 second mark. Courtney was the fastest in Group A, Madsen in Group B, and Lynch in Group D.

Teenager Nolan Groves and Brian Hartzell paced the Gary Glass Automotive and Washington House RUSH Sprint Car feature. Gale Ruth, Jr. and Chad Ruhlman were in the second row with Tyler Newhart and Rod George in the third row.

Ruhlman and Hartzell battled for the early lead with Ruth and George in hot pursuit. Ruth was the man to watch, going from third to first on lap four. However, Ruth was crowded and got into the outside wall, bending two wheels. He limped off the track after leading just one lap.

Ruhlman and Hartzell resumed the battle for the lead, but soon a new challenger appeared. Rod George showed everyone that he still remembered the fastest way around the big half mile. He took second on lap nine and chased down Ruhlman.

Ruhlman and George went back and fourth for several laps before Ruhlman seized control again. Soon thereafter, George’s car began to sputter and he had to retire from the race with nineteen laps down. However, while he and Ruhlman were entertaining the fans, Brad Church, Arnie Kent, and Newhart were fighting for third.

George’s misfortune set up a green checkered finish. Ruhlman completed the final lap, with Hartzell in second. Church, Kent, and Blaze Myers completed the top five. Newhart, Ricky Tucker, A.J. MacQuarrie, George, and Steve Pedley rounded out the top ten.

In the Rush Sprint Car heat races, Nolan Groves and Rod George captured the wins. Donovan and Bauer Auto Group of Titusville presented the heat races. There was no B Main.

Remember that there will be no racing at Tri-City Raceway Park on May 9 in observance of Mother’s Day. Action will resume on May 16, with a Sunday Thunder program featuring the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprint Cars, the Krill Recycling LLC 358 Modifieds, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, and the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks. May 16 will also be Military Night with all veterans and current members of the armed forces admitted free of charge with proper identification. May 23 will be a special program for the ULMS Late Model Series and the 305 Sprint Cars. The 305 Sprints will have double features. The month of May will conclude on May 30 with another Sunday Thunder racing event.

Flo Racing All Stars (25 laps): Sam Hafertepe, Jr., Tyler Courtney, Ian Madsen, Bill Balog, Cap Henry, Hunter Schuerenberg, Cale Conley, Paul McMahan, Paige Polyak, Zeb Wise, Sye Lynch, Brandon Spithaler, Carl Bowser, T.J. Michael, Brandon Matus, Frankie Nervo, Justin Peck, Matt Farnham, Lee Jacobs, Lucas Wolfe, Kyle Reinhardt, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Gary Taylor. DNQ: Skyler Gee, George Hobaugh, Greg Wilson, Brent Matus, Brett Brunkenhofer, Ken Rossey, Darin Gallagher, Dan Shetler, Michael Bauer, Bob Felmlee.

Gary Glass Automotive/Washington House RUSH Sprints: Chad Ruhlman, Brian Hartzell, Brad Church, Arnie Kent, Blaze Myers, Tyler Newhart, Ricky Turner, A.J. MacQuarrie, Rod George, Steve Pedley, Gale Ruth, Sr., Gale Ruth, Jr., Nlan Graves, John Mollick (DNS).

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Dirt Racing

Justin Peck Wins Buckeye Cup At Sharon Speedway

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Photo: Chad Warner

HARTFORD, OH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Justin Peck led wire-to-wire to win the FloRacing All Star Circuit of Champions ‘Buckeye Cup’ Saturday at Sharon Speedway.

Peck withstood a challenge from second place finisher Cole Duncan before pulling away to claim the victory, his second in the ‘Buckeye State’ after winning at Attica Raceway Park in April.

“We were able to put a whole night together,” said Peck. “We qualified good enough tonight where we just had to transfer through our heat race to make the dash, and that’s the name of the game. You need to put yourself in a position early and start up front in these things. We fine tune things as the night goes on. I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Peck jumped out to the early lead with Hunter Schuerenberg, Cole Duncan, Dave Blaney, and Ian Madsen giving chase before encountering lap traffic on lap 11.

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The lap traffic was just enough to impede Peck as Duncan and Blaney started closing in, eventually catching him on lap 16.

“I tried to lose that race there pretty early on by running the top and smacking the wall,” said Peck. “I actually knocked the ladder out of the car before we even got ten laps in. I just had to smarten up a little bit after that. I knew we had a fast race car. I just needed to finish the race.”

Peck started pulling away by lap 22 as Duncan, Blaney, Madsen and Zeb Wise fought it out for the remaining podium spots.  Duncan crossed the start/finish line in second place followed by Blaney in third, however Blaney was eventually disqualified for missing the scales after the race. Blaney was credited with a 25th place finish.

The All Stars continue their Pennsylvania – Ohio weekend with at stop at Merle Black’s Tri-City Raceway Park in Franklin, PA.

A-Main (30 Laps):
1. 13-Justin Peck [1]; 2. 22C-Cole Duncan [2]; 3. 11-Ian Madsen [4]; 4. 10-Zeb Wise [7]; 5. 17B-Bill Balog [6]; 6. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg [3]; 7. 81-Lee Jacobs [10]; 8. 4-Cap Henry [14]; 9. 5-Paul McMahan [24]; 10. 26-Cory Eliason [13]; 11. 97-Gary Taylor [12]; 12. 3C-Cale Conley [8]; 13. 42-Sye Lynch [17]; 14. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [5]; 15. O8-Dan Kuriger [23]; 16. 11B-Carl Bowser [21]; 17. 29-Michael Bauer [16]; 18. 28-Skylar Gee [11]; 19. 6-Bob Felmlee [20]; 20. 5K-Adam Kekich [22]; 21. 8M-TJ Michael [25]; 22. 22-Brandon Spithaler [15]; 23. 12-Darin Gallagher [18]; 24. 23JR-Jack Sodeman Jr. [19]; 25. 10B-Dave Blaney [9] Lap Leaders: Justin Peck (1-30)

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