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.
Rahmer Breaks Dietrich’s Stranglehold on Lincoln; Owings Back in Victory Lane Too
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA (May 21, 2022): Freddie Rahmer, Jr. won the opener at Lincoln Speedway but then Danny Dietrich took over, reeling off four victories in the 410 Sprint Car ranks. Well, Rahmer came back in style, grabbing his second win of the season and twentieth in his career. Also gracing victory lane was Steve Owings who recovered from a vicious crash a couple of weeks ago to get the win in the 358 Sprint division.
“It’s been a little bit of a test lately,” Rahmer said. He added, “it’s been tough the last couple of weeks, this is a big relief more than anything.” Rahmer struggled after the Icebraker, not even making the race that would have allowed him to slice into Dietrich’s substantial points lead when Dietrich elected to attend a race elsewhere.
Rahmer explained that it was “tricky up on the top,” a sentiment that at least three other racers would echo. Two of them, Michael Millard and Trey Hivner, spun out while leading, and the third, Devon Borden, spun out just after surrendering the lead to Rahmer. Of the latter incident, Rahmer noted “I was lucky to get by him before he had his problem.”
Millard and Hivner had the front row based upon their points averages. Tim Wagaman and Jimmy Siegel were in the second row. Kyle Moody was inside of Borden in the third. Chase Dietz and Rahmer were in row four as the top point chaser to make the handicap. Tim Glatfelter and John Walp were next. Alan Krimes and Dylan Norris made up row six. Buried in twentieth was Danny Dietrich, who had a poor run in his heat race.
Millard took the lead at the drop of the green but his time out front was short lived. He spun in turn four with one lap complete, handing the lead over to Hivner, who did the same thing in the same place on the next circuit. That put Borden on the point for the restart and he would proceed to lead the next nineteen laps.
Borden was setting a rapid pace, but Rahmer was able to stay close. Wagaman settled into third, ahead of Dietz, Moody, and Glatfelter.
Things were unchanged up front for several laps, but Dietrich was making headway. He reached the top ten by lap ten, but further advancement was slower to come.
Rahmer slipped by Borden in traffic to take the lead on lap 22. Boren then spun in the high groove, backing his car into the turn one wall.
Rahmer held off Dietz on the ensuing restart. With the field bunched up, Dietrich was pressing to pass some more cars. An aggressive move by Dietrich in turn four caused some drivers to take evasive measures, and Norris got upside down.
Dietz thus got another shot at the leader, but he could not capitalize upon the opportunity handed to him with five laps remaining. He chased Rahmer home but he could not challenge for teh win. Krimes charged into third, followed by Wagaman, and Dietrich. The next five finishers were Tyler Ross, Glatfelter, Moody, Billy Dietrich, and Austin Bishop.
The 29 410s competed in four heats, with the won going to Siegel, Moody, Rahmer, and Millard. The consolation race went to Matt Campbell.
Steve Owings had the pole for the 358 Sprint race, which was the first round of the Summer Series. Travis Scott was his dancing partner. Owings led into tun one, but Scott spun whil running second. Because Scott did not come to a complete stop, he was returned to the outside front row starting spot for the second attempt to get the race going.
This was a fortunate break for him, as he kept his car straight in tun one on the restart.
Owings led Scott for the entire 25 laps. Their run to the checkers was slowed for two minor incidents.
Cody Fletcher improved from sixth to third. He was followed by David Holbrook, and Chris Frank. Kody Hartlaub, Matt Findley, Nash Ely, Jeff Rohrbaugh, and Wyatt Hinkle completed the top ten.
Four heats were held for teh 34 358s on hand. Takingthe checkers were Cody Phillips, Holbrook, Hinkle, and Findley. Cameron Smith won the consolation.
Lincoln Speedway will host the Bob Leiby Memorial over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The Central PA Legends will join the 410 and 358 Sprints. Then, on June 4, the much anticipated Steve Smith Tribute race will be held. $19,000 awaits the winner of that one. The USAC East Coast 360 Sprints and the ARDC Midgets will provide the support. June 11 will be the Fallen Firefighters Night in Memory of Brandon Little. That race will be for the 410 and 358 Sprints.
Weather Claims Another Win at Tri-City Raceway Park; No Racing Memorial Day Weekend
FRANKLIN, PA (May 22, 2022): Confronted with saturated grounds and a swampy race track; and facing the prospect of additional rain, high winds, and colder temperatures; Tri-City Raceway Park canceled the Sunday Thunder program scheduled for May 22. Plus, track owner Merle Black has announced that there will be no racing at the Venango County oval over the Memorial Day weekend.
“We want our racers and staff to be able to spend the holiday with their families and friends. We are concentrating our energies to be ready for a big event, the finale of the Second Annual Western PA Speedweek.”
The June 4 special will pit the stars and cars of the Shawgo Real Estate 410 Sprints against all comers. Last season, Central PA racer and All Star competitor Bobby Howard took the checkers. Other Central PA racers and some travelers were on hand for the re-launch of the popular mini-series and even more are expected this time.
Joining the 410 Sprints will be the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group 358 Modifieds, the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks, and the RUSH Sprint Cars.
“This will be a great way to start our 2022 season,” Black said. “We hope that the weather will cooperate with us so that we will have a big crowd, a great field, and spectacular racing,” he added.
Watch the website and social media platforms for any changes.
Further information about Tri-City Raceway Park can be obtained by calling the track office at 724-967-4601, or by e-mailing the office at email@example.com. Or, you can check the web at Tri-CityRacewayPark.com, or the Facebook page at Tri City Raceway Park. Tri-City Raceway Park is located just a few miles north of Franklin, PA, at 3430 State Route 417 in Oakland Township.
Dewease and Locke Dominate at Williams Grove Speedway
WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (May 20, 2022): Lance Dewease scored his first feature win of the season and 104th of his career at Williams Grove Speedway. Dewease held off a number of younger challengers, each of whom had late race chances to overtake the Hall of Fame driver on restarts. Also getting into victory lane was Derek Locke in the 358 Sprint Car undercard.
Normally, the leader is not happy to see a rash of late-race cautions, but this time Dewease was relieved to get them. “I could run really hard on the bottom for about two laps before the (tire) pressures built up.” When asked if he was worried about having Anthony Macri on his tail for the last restart, with two to go, Dewease responded in the negative. “I got good runs in one and two and again in three and four, and I knew that I didn’t have to change my line.”
Dewease explained that he has been fighting a tight race car of late. “Davey (Brown) wasn’t happy with the car last week, so we came out to get some track time to get ready for next week.” Brown, his Hall of Fame chief wrench, wanted to get the car right for the invasion by the All Stars Circuit of Champions. The touring series will compete against the Possee in the Randy Wolfe Tribute race at the Grove, paying $10,000 to win, before heading north to Port Royal Speedway for the Bob Weikert Memorial weekend. Those races will pay $10,000 and $29,000 respectively.
Williams Grove Speedway experimented with a new race format for this round of the Diamond Series. Time turned in hot laps were used to set the starting lineups for the heats. A pill draw determined the number of cars to be inverted, but Dewease pulled a 0, so the heats had the fastest car on the pole. The first two finishers from each heat were handicapped to the front of the feature field, with the racers being inverted based upon their average earnings per race entered.
So, after winning the opening heat, Dewease was scheduled to start in fourth. He got moved to the inside of row two when his dancing partner, T.J. Stutts, was unable to make the call to stage for the feature event because his crew was feverishly making repairs after his heat race win. Stutts was able to make the race, but he was relegated to the tail of the field.
The pole belonged to the winner of the second heat, Robbie Kendall. On his flank was Brett Shearer. Then came Dewease and his new mate, Devon Borden. Row three had Dylan Norris matched with Chase Dietz. Behind them were Danny Dietrich and Matt Campbell. Freddie Rahmer, Jr. and Steve Buckwalter were in row five, and Dylan Cisney and Justin Whittal were in row six. After a poor heat race finish, Anthony Macri rolled away in position seventeen.
Kendall took the early lead with a hole shot on Shearer. Dewease followed Kendall into second. Norris, Borden, and Dietz all charged past Shearer, who became the first racer to cause the caution to be displayed. Before that happened, though, Dewease surged ahead of Kendall for the lead.
When the race resumed, Kendall was under attack from Norris and Borden. Borden rolled the cushion to take over the second spot, and Kendall got cross-wise between turns one and two, collecting Norris in the process. Rahmer and Whittal were also involved in the skirmish.
Dewease held off Borden on the restart and he was able to open a significant lead on the youngster. Dietz was on the charge after that restart, and he worked his way past Borden for second on lap twelve.
Dietz got his shot at Dewease on a restart held six laps later. With Dewease leading Dietz, Dietrich went to work on Borden, but he could not take the position from him. Meanwhile, Macri was into the top five.
Dietz got another chance to overtake Dewease on lap twenty-one, after Borden stopped his car halfway down the backstretch. Dietz could not make a move on the wily veteran, and he was struggling to keep Macri at bay.
The night ended for Dietz on lap 23, when he checked up in turn four. Macri reacted quickly and did not run over Dietz as he slowed to a halt. While he was being removed from the speedway, the officials called for a fuel stop.
Now it was Macri’s turn to come after Dewease. But the nation’s leading race winner was no match for Dewease. Dewease got the strong run on lap 24 to give himself some breathing room for the final trip around the venerable half mile.
At the checkers, it was Dewease ahead of Macri by just over two-tenths of a second. Taking third was Dietrich. Cisney made the most out of the final restarts, picking off Lucas Wolfe on lap 21 and getting a good run on Dietrich on lap 23. Although Cisney pulled ahead slightly entering turn three, Dietrich stormed bay on the inside of turn four to hold onto the final podium spot. Wolfe trailed Cisney across teh finish line.
Rahmer Jr., came back through the field to get sixth. Campbell, Mark Smith, Norris, and Kyle Moody rounded out the top ten.
There was no B Main.
The 358 Sprint Cars provided the support this night. Getting the win was Derek Locke for the tenth time in a row! Locke’s remarkable winning streak dates back to September of 2020.
Locke started in the fifth spot and he wasted no time getting to the front. Using the middle groove, Locke passed veteran Frankie Herr for the lead just five laps into the contest.
Young Jayden Wolf charged into second, but he was no match for the speedy Locke. Tyler Brehm and Steve Owing also got by Herr in the final stage of the race.
Doug Hammaker, Zach Newlin, Nash Ely, Justin Foster, and Kody Hartlaub were the next five finishers.
The heat victories belonged to Ely, Herr, and Foster. There was no B Main.
After the Wolfe Tribute All Stars event next week, Williams Grove will open the month of June with the 410 Sprints joined by the USAC East Coast Wingless Sprints. Fan appreciation night will be held June 10, with all fans allowed to visit the pit area before the 410 and 358 Sprints fire off. The USAC National Sprint Tour will join the 410s on June 17. Then Williams Grove will host the first night of Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speed Week on June 24.