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Mark Smith Breaks Through at Bridgeport

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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.

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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.

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Local Racing

Sye Lynch Partnering With Baughman Motorsports

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APOLLO, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Sprint Car driver Sye Lynch is partnering with Baughman Motorsports for the 2021 racing season.

Lynch, the third generation 410 Sprint Car driver, and his team plan to enter around 80-events as part of this partnership with Josh Baughman and Baughman Motorsports.  Longtime Lynch partner Mosites Motorsports joins new marketing partners Fischer Body Shop of Missouri and Hollywood Blasting and Coating of Odessa, Texas as part of the arrangement.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” said Lynch. “To have Fischer Body Shop and Baughman Motorsports join our efforts at Sye Lynch Racing is pretty special. We’ve been working on these plans for over four months. I’m not sure how we were able to keep it a secret this long, but it’s out there now. I’m ready to get started.”

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Lynch’s schedule is still being finalized but highlights include some of sprint car racing’s premier showcases like the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway (July 15 & July 17) and the Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway (August 11-14).

“We are still working out the logistics side of things,” said Lynch. “I hope to have a complete plan of attack released in the coming weeks. I just want to thank all of my partners for their dedication and support. Our goal is to go out every night and put on a show. I’m confident we have what it takes to do that.”

Baughman is stepping back from full-time competition in 2021 but plans to run 10-15 events in 2021.

“We are excited about this new venture with Sye Lynch,” said Baughman. “He’s a talented kid with the hunger to win and we’re proud to be affiliated. I think it’s safe to say that we are all anxious to get the year underway.”

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Dirt Racing

Schatz Scores Jean Lynch Classic Win at East Bay

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Photo: Chad Warner

GIBSONTON, FL (February 2, 2021): Donny Schatz scored an impressive win over the Madsen brothers, Ian and Kerry, in the second running of the Jean Lynch Classic for the All Star Circuit of Champions at East Bay Raceway Park. The All Stars’ visit to the ‘Clay by the Bay’ was cut to one night due to heavy rain that hit the track Sunday and continued into Monday. The speedway looked more like the fish farm that Jimmy Mingo and others converted into a racy oval over four decades ago. A substantial pond remained inside turn one on Tuesday but, fortunately, no Sprint Cars made a detour into that area.

“It’s been a long time since I was at East Bay,” Schatz said. He estimated that his last appearance at the track was in the early ’90s. “It’s really neat, tricky; it has some slick spots, some shiny spots.” Nonetheless, Schatz had no difficulty mastering the unfamiliar surface.

Ian Madsen and Cory Eliason paced the field for the 30 lap feature event named for the lady who was a former co-owner of the series and track manager at East Bay. Schatz lined up third, with Justin Peck beside him. Tony Stewart and Anthony Macri were in the third row, and Steve Buckwalter and Tyler Courtney in the fourth. The final dash participants, Kyle Reinhardt and Tim Shaffer, made up row five. Then came Jamie Myers and Gio Scelzi.

Eliason assumed command on the opening lap and he began to distance himself from Schatz, Ian Madsen, Peck, and Macri. However, just five laps into the race, Eliason collided with a slower car driven by Chris Windom. Eliason got a flat right front tire, but there was no other apparent damage to his car, so he was able to resume the race at the rear of the field.

Peck, who had slipped by Schatz on the last completed lap, took off at the drop of the green. Schatz raced along in second, followed by Ian Madsen, Courtney, Shaffer, and Macri. The man on the move, though, was Kerry Madsen, who was up to seventh from 17th on the starting grid.

A caution bunched things up at lap eleven. While the front runners did not change, Kerry Madsen made some aggressive moves to enter the top five.

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With fourteen laps in the books, Schatz was hounding Peck for the lead. He got a strong run off of turn two, but Peck moved up a lane to block his advance. Schatz deftly turned under Peck halfway down the back stretch and he was the new leader entering turn three. Peck no longer had the steam to race with the leaders and he slowly started to drift back in the running order after that.

The final caution was displayed on lap 17. Schatz continued to lead over Ian Madsen when racing resumed, but now the battle was for third. Courtney and Kerry Madsen were the contestants, with Shaffer looking for an opening. Madsen wrestled the spot away from Cortney in a few laps, and he set out after his brother.

The sibling rivalry intensified as the pair of Aussies picked their way through lapped traffic. “I didn’t know it was him,” Ian said of the driver pressing him for second. “I knew that he started pretty far back.” For his part, Kerry Madsen had to wonder how things would have played out differently if he had started closer to the front. “It was a great run, I had a great car and could go anywhere I wanted.”

Schatz maintained his lead to the finish. Ian held off his older brother for second. Courtney was fourth and Scelzi benefitted from a miscue by Shaffer on the final lap to gain the fifth spot. Shaffer, Peck, Stewart, Brent Marks, and Hunter Schuerenberg completed the top ten.

Kerry Madsen was the hard charger, advancing 14 positions.

Ian Madsen was the fastest qualifier of the night, turning in a lap of 12.680 seconds. Buckwalter, Courtney, Shaffer, and Schatz scored heat wins. The dashes belonged to Ian Madsen and Eliason. Terry McCarl captured the B Main.

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Local Racing

Western PA Sprint Speedweek Adds Another Sponsor

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SHIPPENVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Western PA Sprint Speedweek is adding another partner to the growing list of companies stepping up to support the five-race series this June.

J.S. Bova Excavating LLC has signed on to be a presenting sponsor of this summer’s upcoming five-race speedweek, scheduled to run from Wednesday, June 2nd through Sunday, June 6th.

J.S. Bova is a family-owned excavating company and general contractor known for its outstanding service, extensive expertise, steadfast reliability, and commitment to safety. J.S. Bova proudly serves the Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania area out of their central Struthers, Ohio location.

“We’re excited to get behind the revival of Western PA Speedweek” said owner Joe Bova. “We believe the area sprint car competition and racetracks are underrated and on the upswing, and we want to be associated with the excitement that this event brings.”

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Joe and Sherri Bova founded their business in 2013 and worked together to build their organization from the ground up. In less than a decade they have expanded their portfolio to offer a wide range of services and have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants signed on to be the title sponsor of Western PA Sprint Speedweek last week.

Western PA Sprint Speedweek returns from a 20-year hiatus June 2nd-6th. Western Pennsylvania’s ‘410 Sprint Cars’ will compete for five straight nights with each show featuring a strong $3,000-to-win, $250-to-start purse.

Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants Western PA Sprint Speedweek presented by J.S. Bova Excavating Schedule:

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