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Mark Smith Breaks Through at Bridgeport

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Mark Smith Racing Twitter

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.

Three Rivers Karting

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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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.

Three Rivers Karting

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.

Three Rivers Karting

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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