BRIDGEPORT, NJ (November 7, 2020): Alex Yankowski experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in the final moments of the Danny Serrano Memorial 100 at Bridgeport Motorsports Park. Moments after the sixteen-year-old pilot from Covington Township, PA took the checkered flag for the biggest win of his young career, he was involved in a spectacular crash that heavily damaged his potent Big Block Modified.
Also picking up wins were Paulie Cologiovanni in the United Racing Club 360 Sprint Cars and Steve Davis in the 602 Crate Sportsmen Invitational.
Yankowski started the century grind deep in the pack, twenty-third to be exact. Through the first half of the race, he drove very conservatively. “I tried to ride around and save the car,” he explained. Even after the midpoint, Yankowski did not appear amongst the leaders. It was not until about 57 that he cracked into the top ten. The car really came to life in the final thirty laps. By that time, he reached fifth, and he had probably the fastest car on the track.
A restart on lap 73 had him in fourth spot, but not for long. When the green light flashed on, he darted into second and was pressing veteran Ryan Godown for the lead. Yankowski dove low in turn three four laps later and slid up ahead of Godown. The rest was history.
Yankowski had to fend off a challenge from Ryan Watt in the final laps. Watt drew up beside him in traffic once, but the youngster rolled the top in turn one and opened up a three car length advantage coming off the second corner. Watt never got close again.
On the cool down lap, Yankowski was following some lappers that were fighting for position on their final circuit. Peter Britten spun in turn four and Yankowski went high to avoid him. Yankowski got into some lose dirt out by the wall and he got sucked in. He climbed the wall and the nose of his car got above the concrete and into the catch fence. The fence did its job of keeping the car on the track, but Yankowski mowed down a couple of posts that held the chain link fence and cables. The right front wheel was torn off and the car tumbled to a halt by the flagstand. Fortunately, no other cars struck Yankowski’s mangled machine. He climbed out unscathed and walked over to the ambulance. After spending some time getting checked out, he waived out the ambulance door to the adoring crowd before emerging for his post-race interview.
“We had a good car, obviously not so good now,” he said with a smile. Yankowski promised to get it patched up for Sunday’s fifty lap finale.
Ryan Krachun and Jimmy Horton led the field to the green flag, followed by Mike Mahaney and Danny Bouc. Jeff Strunk and Jojo Watson were in the third row, with Watt and Dwayne Howard in row four. Jared Umbenhauer and Danny Sammons were next, followed by Dom Buffalino and Dillon Steuer.
Krachun led the way until turn three on the opening lap. He rapped the outside wall and turned the lead over to Horton. Soon thereafter, Krachun stopped his car due to the damage it sustained.
On the ensuing restart, Watson used the outside line to pass Horton. Watson held sway until lap 41, when Bouc assumed command. Bouc continued out front until lap 59, when Godown blasted by. Godown had started in twenty-fifth position and he steadily moved forward through the first half of the race, Some of his moves in traffic were simply amazing.
Godown got a scare on lap 68 when he brushed the wall between turns three and four. He kept the car moving and did not lose his lead. Bouc did cut into the margin, but he was not close enough to seize the opportunity to pass the leader.
The turning point of the race came between laps 70 and 77. Two quick cautions bunched the field up on laps 70 and 73, giving Yankowski the chance to pick off some competitors in bunches. As noted, he moved into second on a restart and took the lead with 23 laps remaining.
Watt was also coming forward in the stretch run. He was second by lap 85 and he did close in on the leader once. But, after Watt showed his nose beneath a lapped car, Yankowski fought back and he completed the rest of the laps with a comfortable margin.
Following Yankowski and Watt were Godown, Bouc, and Strunk. Frank Cozze, Mahaney, Matt Stangle, Rick Laubach, and Billy Pauch completed the top ten.
In the final race of the year for the URC Sprints, Alex Bright started on the pole, with Austin Bishop by his side. Cologiovanni was lined up third, with J.J. Grasson next to him. Chuck Hebing and Tim Tanner were in the third row, with R.J. Jacobs and Briggs Danner in the row behind. Then came Tyler Ross and Troy Betts and Ryan Smith and Derek Locke.
Bright jumped out front, followed by Bishop, Cologiovanni, Grasso and Hebing. Bright blew his engine while leading and turned the lead over to Cologiovanni with ten laps complete. Hebing gave chase until the halfway mark. That was when Ryan Smith took over second.
Smith got a couple of shots at the leader and he was able to execute a slide job in turn one once to grab the lead. However, Cologiovanni turned back under Smith in turn two to regain the lead. From that point on, Cologiovanni drove defensively. “I couldn’t really tell where somebody was catching me,” he said. “So, I was driving a defensive line. A couple of times, I got up in the marbles and clipped the wall, but I cut off two and was pretty fast.”
Cologiovanni led Smith to the checkers. Danner came on for third, followed by Hebing and Locke. Sixth went to Jason Schultz. Then Tyler Ross and the two title contenders, Josh Weller and Adam Carberry. Troy Betts completed the top ten.
Smith’s combined finishes of fifth on Friday and second on Saturday earned him the Midge Miller Memorial trophy. Smith said that this weekend was the most fun that he had in a Sprint Car all season. Readers may remember that Smith lost the ride in the Mike Heffner number 72 410 Sprinter just before the month of money in Pennsylvania.
Carberry clinched the points championship despite struggling throughout the race. His cause was aided somewhat by attrition. Plus, his rival, Weller, was caught up in an incident with Grasso just before the halfway sign. Weller’s car sustained some damage to the right rear corner which affected its performance. He brought the wounded car home one spot ahead of Carberry, but that was not enough to overcome the thirteen point deficit.
Heat winners in the Sprint Car ranks were Bishop, Cologiovanni, Ross, and Bright. Schultz won the B Main. Two Central PA favorites were eliminated in heat race action. Lucas Wolfe had an oil leak which led to a fire. Mark Smith was involved in a minor skirmish that damaged the right rear suspension and flattened a tire. Neither Wolfe nor Smith answered the call for the B Main.
In the Sportsmen Invitational, the first 28 laps were run off without any interruptions. Steve Kemery led that entire distance. However, the fireworks came after that. Second place runner Steve Davis went on the offensive on the restart. There was plenty of contact between the two racers over the final two laps. While they roughed each other up, Peyton Talbot made a charge for the win. He came up just a couple of feet short at the checkers.
Davis got the win, much to the disappointment of the remaining fans. Kemery and Talbot followed. Dan Fleming, Ryan Simmons, Sammy Martz, Jr., Howie Finch, Danny Buccafusca, Matt Peck, and Jim Houseworth rounded out the top ten.
Buccafusca, Davis, and Kemery were the heat winners for the Sportsmen. Davis won the dash to earn the pole position for the feature.
Bridgeport Motorsports Park will close out its season on Sunday with a fifty lapper for the Modifieds. Sportsmen, Street Stocks, and Speedsters will also be on the card. Racing will begin at 3 p.m.
Michael Norris wins night two of Bill Hendren Memorial at PPMS
IMPERIAL, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Michael Norris doesn’t race every week at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway but ‘The Crusher Kid’ may want to add a few more visits to dirt’s ‘Monster Half Mile’ in 2022 after winning the feature in night 2 of the ‘Bill Hendren Memorial’.
Norris’ victory was his 2nd straight RUSH Late Model Touring Series win at PPMS and third in four events. Norris also won the ‘Jook George Steel City Classic’ in August and in 2020.
“Kyle (Lukon) got out there and was setting a pretty good pace,” said Norris. “I kind of got in line behind him and didn’t know if I had anything for him in clean air, but I figured once we got to lapped traffic we’d see what we’re both made of.”
Norris made his move on lap 11 and passed Lukon for the lead. Norris masterfully worked lap traffic over the remaining laps to capture the checkered flag and another win in a signature local event.
“It means a lot to win these memorials,” said Norris. “Any memorial means the person was pretty significant and were pioneers in the sport. I appreciate you guys putting this on, and I just love coming here any chance I get- I’ll run lawnmowers around here I don’t care.”
Kyle Hardy, Friday night’s winner, tried chasing down Norris over the final 17-laps but settled for second place and the RUSH Late Model Touring points lead.
“I didn’t have anything for Michael,” said Hardy. “We would have liked to have won tonight, but always have the big picture in the back of our minds. Not a bad weekend at all.”
Joe Martin was third for the second straight night. It was Martin’s fifth straight Tour podium finish, 10th straight top six, and 13th top six in the last 14 events as he maintains runner-up in the standings.
“Bill Hendren Memorial” Night 2 (30 laps, $3200 to-win): 1. MICHAEL NORRIS (51) 2. Kyle Hardy (99) 3. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s) 4. Colton Flinner (Chernik 5x) 5. Daryl Charlier (Centerline 114) 6. Logan Zarin (1z) 7. Levi Crowl (5) 8. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 9. Jacob Gunn (14G) 10. Garret Paugh (03) 11. Tony Musolino (Dobnak 42) 12. Bud Watson (225) 13. Ray Love, Jr. (08) 14. Zach Gunn (17G) 15. Tom Klein (77) 16. Tom Duratz (55D) 17. Ryan Frazee (11F) 18. Bill Kessler (09) 19. Kassidy Kamicker (72B) 20. Zach Kane (10) 21. Dan Lepro (2L) 22. Kyle Lukon (184) 23. Cole Petrelle (84) 24. Eddie Carrier, Jr. (Lukon 184X).
Non-Qualifier (6 laps, $500 to-win): 1. Philip Bubeck (Tennant 2) 2. Dave Goble (20G). DNS: Nick Love (38), Jeremy Wonderling (3J), Grant Garrison (1), Zach Morrow (Bentz 60), Tim Shaffer (45), Andrew Squatriglia (115).
Macedo Makes History at the Grove
WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (October 2, 2021): Carson Macedo earned his biggest career win in the 59th National Open held at Williams Grove Sppedway. He picked up $75,000, the largest payday ever doled out at the historic venue.
“This is the biggest win of my career,” Macedo said. “This is really cool. When I started coming here, I couldn’t get ahold of this place.” Well, Macedo grabbed control of the race on lap 36 and he did not let go. That was when he made the winning move in turn one, sliding past leader Logan Schuchart. “The lapped cars were holding up Logan. I just drove really hard. I slid across and the wing held me.”
Schuchart, who suffered perhaps the biggest disappointment of his budding career, was philosophical about the outcome. “All in all, two, second place finishes this weekend are pretty good for me. I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me. Carson ran a great race. I thought I could maybe rip the top on him.” But Schuchart’s attempted counter attack never materialized.
Brent Marks had the pole for the 40 lap affair. Schuchart was on his right. Sheldon Haudenschild and David Gravel were in row two. Anthony Macri and Carson Macedo continued the youth movement by starting in row three. Six-time Open champion, Donny Schatz and Justin Peck were in row four. Kasey Kahne and Lance Dewease started in row five, with James McFadden and Brian Brown in the sixth row.
Marks blasted into the lead, followed by Schuchart, Gravel, Macedo, Haudenschild, Macri, and Schatz. Before Marks could build upon his early advantage, a red flag stopped the race after just two laps. Brian Brown spun and collected Daryn Pittman, who turned over from the contact. Freddy Rahmer, Jr. was also involved in the melee. No drivers were injured, but all three were eliminated from the contest.
Marks assumed control again when the race resumed. He began to pull away from Schuchart as the laps clicked off. Marks’ bid for a second win in the Open ended when he got into a lapped car and spun in turn two. He was able to restart the race, but his quest for the victory was over.
That handed the lead to Schuchart. He was able to maintain control for the next twenty-three laps despite a second red flag on lap 12. Robbie Kendall flipped after he tangled with T.J. Stutts between turns one and two. Again, neither driver was hurt, but Kendall was done for the night.
While Schuchart led Macedo, Haudenschild, Macri, and Gravel, the battle was for the sixth spot. Schatz and Dewease were mixing things up until lap 27, when Schatz took the position once and for all.
Schuchart got into traffic and kept his advantage over Macedo. However, in the final ten laps, Macedo began to close on the leader. He made his winning move on lap 35, and led the final four laps. Schuchart made a desperate bid in the final corners, but came up a tad short.
Following Macedo and Schuchart were Haudenschild, Macri, and Gravel. Schatz was sixth. Then came Dewease, Kyle Larson, McFadden, and Brad Sweet.
Macri received a $1,000 bonus for the highest finishing PA Posse driver. Sweet grabbed $559 as the hard charger. He advanced nine positions during the race.
The heat wins were chalked up by Schatz, Macedo, Gravel, and Haudenschild. Dewease set the fast time again, this time topping Group B with a lap of 16.774 seconds. He failed to lock into the dash when Macri swept by him in turn one following a restart with two laps to go in the third heat. The B Main winner was Jacob Allen, and Devon Borden took the checkers in the C Main.
Kyle Hardy wins night one of the ‘Bill Hendren Memorial’ at PPMS
IMPERIAL, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kyle Hardy picked up his first win at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway by grabbing the feature victory in night one of the ‘Bill Hendren Memorial’.
“What a race- it was super fun out there,” said Hardy. “I can’t thank my crew to get this car so good to where I could steer across the middle of the race track. What a car we’ve had all year.”
Hardy held off PPMS track Champion Daryl Charlier in a thrilling side-by-side battle for several laps around dirt’s ‘Monster Half Mile’.
“If you had a camera or mirror on me you’d have seen how freaked out I was just trying to get where I needed to be to win this thing,” said Hardy.
The victory was not a surprise as Hardy was the runner up when the RUSH Late Model Touring Series visited PPMS twice earlier this season for the ‘Herb Scott Memorial’ and ‘Jook George Steel City Classic’.
Charlier brought it home in second place and earned $1,500 for his efforts.
“If I’m going to finish second I guess I’ll finish second to Kyle Hardy- he’s the top dog in the crates and especially the RUSH Series,” said Charlier.
RUSH Late Model Touring Series “Bill Hendren Memorial” (30 laps, $3000 to-win): 1. KYLE HARDY (99) 2. Daryl Charlier (Centerline 114) 3. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s) 4. Eddie Carrier, Jr. (Lukon 184X) 5. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 6. Jacob Gunn (14G) 7. Bud Watson (225) 8. Garret Paugh (03) 9. Logan Zarin (1z) 10. Levi Crowl (5) 11. Ray Love, Jr. (08) 12. Zach Kane (10) 13. Michael Reft (9R) 14. Colton Flinner (Chernik 5x) 15. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 16. Tony Musolino (Dobnak 42) 17. Zach Gunn (17G) 18. Kyle Lukon (184) 19. Ryan Frazee (11F) 20. Zach Morrow (Bentz 60) 21. Bill Kessler (09) 22. Justin Kann (66) 23. Philip Bubeck (Tennant 2) 24. Tim Shaffer (45).
DNQ: Dan Lepro (2L), Tom Duratz (55D), Grant Garrison (1), Kassidy Kamicker (72B), Tom Klein (77), Rob Coffaro (24), Dave Goble (20G), Nick Love (38), Noah Brunell (31), Zach Crawford (c4), Ben Policz (14B).