BRIDGEPORT, NJ (November 6, 2020): Mark Smith, the veteran racer from Sunbury, PA, raced to victory on the opening night of the High Banks Classic for the 360 Sprints Cars of the United Racing Club. Smith’s win, his first ever at the fast New Jersey oval, was his 29th with the club, which is one of the nation’s oldest sanctioning bodies.
“I said that I wouldn’t come back until they shortened it up (because) it was too hard on the wallet to race here,” Smith said. Over the off-season, new track management tore apart the old five-eighths mile oval and built a brand-spanking new, four-tenths high-banked track. Speaking of the new configuration at Bridgeport Motorsports Park, Smith observed, “the track is really wide and we could race on it.” And, while the new surface has a reputation for being hard on tires, Smith commented, “heck, as good as the track was I can maybe get another night out of them.”
Smith did most of his racing in the heat. The random pill-draw used to set the line-ups had him starting ninth, with only four to qualify and two to go into the re-draw for the first ten starting spots. Smith ran hard to get into a transfer spot, but it looked as though he would miss out on the re-draw. However, he caught a break on the final lap when the second-place car did a wheelie coming off the second corner. That miscue was all that he needed to dart by on the inside. “That’s all part of it, I don’t get excited any more, it’s just what you draw,” he noted.
Ryan Taylor and Troy Betts paced the field for the start of the twenty-five lapper. Davey Franek and Smith were in row two, with Robbie Stillwaggon and Denny Peebles in the third. Austin Bishop and Adam Carberry were in the fourth row, followed by Briggs Danner and Lucas Wolfe. Josh Weller and Dallas Schott were in row six.
Smith got a tremendous start and led the field into turn one at the drop of the green. However, Taylor had more momentum in the first corner and he pulled ahead coming off the second turn. Before Smith could mount a counterattack, the caution flag came out.
On the restart, Taylor led the way, with Smith charging hard on the inside. Betts, Carberry and Franek were scrambling to keep up with the leaders, while Stillwaggon, Bishop, Weller, and Wolfe fought for positions.
Taylor opened a small lead over Smith while Betts and Carberry were trading the third position at will. Franek started drifting back in the running order while Weller was moving ahead. Also making advances was Ryan Smith, up from sixteenth on the starting grid.
Just as Taylor was approaching the backmarkers, the red flag came out. Bishop got up over the cushion and his car bounced a couple of times before it hit the wall in turn one and went upside down. He was unhurt in the tumble, but his night was over.
It took two tries to get the race going again. On the second, Smith made another bold move entering turn one. He took the lead coming off the second corner and never looked back. Taylor held the second spot until lap 22. He got a bit too wide coming off turn two and bounced the right rear tire off the concrete wall. That got the car cross-wise. While he saved it from spinning out, the damage was done and he soon came to a halt in turn four. That turned second place over to Betts.
Betts was unable to capitalize on his good fortune. Carberry came on in the final few laps to take second. “That was definitely important for us,” he said. Carberry entered the race in a tight battle with Weller for the series championship. “We were pretty good, but not good enough for Mark,” he added Betts held on for third at the finish.
Weller crossed in fourth minimizing the point loss to Carberry. Fifth was a fast-closing Ryan Smith. Sixth went to Wolfe, followed by J.J. Grasso, Tyler Ross, Alex Bright, and Robbie Stillwaggon.
The five heat winners were Wolfe, Peebles, Troy betts, Bishop, and Carberry. Andy Betts and Grasso took the checkers in the twon B Mains.
A twenty lap race was held for 602 Crate Sportsmen drivers who went winless in 2020. Tom Sherby got the nod over Joe Brown and Anthony Tramontana. John Micek was fourth in his first outing of the year. Payton Talbot was fifth. Travis Hill, Wayne Weaver, John Meyer, Ryan Grim, and Doug Snyder followed.
Consistent Lee Allen won a thriller in the Street Stock class. He finished every race but one in the top five at Bridgeport this season and, in that one, he placed sixth. Despite those outstanding performances, he lost the track title to the second place finisher this night, Rich Stinson, Jr. Mike Hughes, Shannon Mongeau, and T.J. Henry completed the top five.
Bridgeport Motorsports Park will host the URC Sprints, 602 Sportsmen, Big Block Modifieds, and more on Saturday night. Topping the card will be the 100 lap Danny Serrano Memorial race for the Modifieds. Action will conclude Sunday with a 50 lap race for the Modifieds, another Sportsmen go, Speedsters, and more.
Chip Ganassi Racing unveils Alex Palou’s No. 10 DHL Honda
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing unveiled the livery for two-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Alex Palou’s DHL Honda on Tuesday. DHL signed on as the primary sponsor this off-season in a multi-year partnership with the team.
The No. 10 car will carry the familiar yellow of DHL’s branding but adds a splash of red that has been synonymous with the Ganassi team for decades.
“As everybody can see, this is quite the amazing livery,” said Palou. “The No. 10 DHL Honda looks very aggressive, and it will certainly stand out on the track, which is great. I can’t wait to start the season with a run in this livery at Sebring before we kick things off in St. Pete. It’s looking like the perfect livery to try to defend our title in 2024 and I cannot wait to deliver on-track here soon.”
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding takes place March 8-10 on the streets of St. Pete.
Jean Lynch Classic Coming to Lernerville Speedway
(February 6th, 2024) – Western PA Speedweek and Lernerville Speedway are introducing ‘The Jean Lynch Classic presented by Rustler Sales & Service’ as the cornerstone event of the 2024 Western PA Speedweek. The $4,000 to win, $350 to start event on Friday, May 31st will mark the highest paying Speedweek race since the 2021 reincarnation.
“My family and I can’t thank Tyler Beichner, Lernerville Speedway, and everyone involved with Western PA Speedweek enough for putting this together to honor my grandmother Jean Lynch,” said racer Sye Lynch, Jean’s grandson, in a Facebook post. “Her accomplishments and legacy in the racing world should never be forgotten. My team and I are working to make this night even more special and memorable for everyone. That’s how “Mrs. Jean” as many called her, would want it.”
Jean Lynch was a pioneer for women in racing with ties to tracks and organizations such as NASCAR, CART, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500, the All Star Circuit of Champions and Ohio Sprint Speedweek, and much more. However, her love for racing never left the local racing scene as she could be found managing, promoting, and renting out tracks all across the northeast. The pinnacle of Jean’s lifelong love for racing came in 2013 when she was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. Lynch is also a member of the Lernerville Speedway Hall of Fame, Pittsburgh Circle Track Hall of Fame, Tri-City Speedway Hall of Fame and DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Lynch passed away last year on June 30, 2023.
Rustler Sales and Service is teaming up with Western PA Speedweek to be presenting sponsor of the Jean Lynch Classic. Owned and operated by former racer Brian Steinman, Rustler Sales and Service specializes in heavy truck sales, service and towing across northwestern Pennsylvania. Call (814) 214-7023 or visit rustlersalesandservice.net to find out how Rustler’s can best serve you.
JEAN LYNCH CLASSIC PAYOFF:
Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Names MINI 2024 Marque Of The Year
PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – MINI, the iconic British brand, is the 2024 ‘Marque Of The Year’ for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. 2024 marks the third time for the brand to receive the honor, which also occurred in 2004 and 2014.
“Excitement is in the air as MINI and MINI of Pittsburgh takes the spotlight as ‘Marque of the Year’, said Morgan McLane, Motoring Advisor at MINI of Pittsburgh. “Join us as we revitalize the spirit of motoring, embrace the elegance of the past, and set the stage for a future filled with MINI adventures.”
MINIS will be everywhere this summer in Pittsburgh including on-track both weekends and at all of the PVGP car shows throughout race week, July 26 through August 4.
“This honor is a testament to our commitment to excellence and we can’t wait to share this thrilling ride with the entire Pittsburgh community,” said Jason Karpa, Motoring Manager at MINI of Pittsburgh.
The Classic MINI debuted in 1959 as an inexpensive, 4-person “saloon” that didn’t use a lot of gas or take up a lot of space.
MINIS are no stranger to the race track. In 1961 British racing legend John Cooper added some horsepower, bigger brakes, tuned the suspension a tweak and the Classic MINI Cooper 997 was born.
John Cooper’s Classic MINI Cooper and Cooper S went on to dominate the 1960’s race scene, winning almost every international competition imaginable, including historic wins at Monte Carlo in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967.
MINIS will be on the track in 2024 as Mini of Pittsburgh and Vince Longo Jr. team up for the MINI Track Rides program for the 11th year. Three race-equipped MINI Coopers are custom-wrapped and showcased on the track and at Grand Prix Race Week events. Longo and his certified racers take riders around the track for an experience and view you can only get from inside a car.
Todd Cook created the 2024 PVGP Poster, which features Bruce Whipple racing his 1962 Austin MINI Cooper S that competes at Schenley Park and Pitt Race. Whipple, from Newton, New Jersey plans to change his race number to 42 signifying the 42nd running of the PVGP to match the poster.
Cook also created a second poster featuring a GT40 in honor of the GT40 60th Reunion the PVGP is hosting July 26-28.
For a complete schedule of events, visit PVGP.org.