GIBSONTON, FL (February 4, 2021): A pair of local favorites, Mark Whitener, of Middleburg, and Justin Webster, of Sarasota, were victorious in the 45th running of the Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park. Whitener captured the win in the Crate Racing USA Late Models, while Webster scored with the Top Gun Sprints.
When threatening weather forced another series to cancel their Super Late Model races at a different Florida track, Whitener went to Plan B, to run his Crate Late at East Bay. The decision was almost his undoing. While loading that car into the hauler to make the trip to East Bay Whitener fell and sustained a leg injury. He even fell several times at the track, but the injury did not slow his pace in the race car one bit. “I’m gimped up pretty bad right now, but it didn’t really affect me in the race car.”
Whitener made it a clean sweep, setting the fastest time over the 78 car field, winning his heat race, and getting the feature win.
Although Whitener started on the pole for the thirty lapper, he lost the initial lead to Joseph Joiner. Joiner led the first thirteen laps over Whitener, Kyle Lukon, Phillip Cobb, and Dylan Knowles. Kyle Hardy soon cracked the top five, and reached the third position by lap ten. Hoiwever, he was unable to reel in the leaders.
Whitener made a two-for-one move in the first corner with thirteen laps complete. He got by both the leader Joiner and a lapped car to assume command. The leaders went on to complete the lap before another caution was displayed, so Whitener was on the point for the Delaware double file restart.
The restart was costly to Hardy, who got out into the loose dirt at the top of the speedway. He lost four positions, allowing Lukon, Knowles, and Cory Hedgecock to scoot by.
Whitener maintained his advantage but Joiner stayed close until misfortune struck. He clipped the outside wall in turn three and brought his car to a stop. Another quick caution gave Lukon a second shot at the leader, but he was not up to the task.
Whitener completed the remaining six laps without difficulty. Lukon was second in his debut at East Bay. Hedgecock was third despite using a provisional to start dead last in the race. Ashton Winger and Hardy completed the top five.
Frankie Lloyd, Jake Rainey, Dylan Knowles, Jake Knowles, and Jeremy Shaw finished sixth through tenth.
Whitener’s quick time was 15.995 seconds. Joining him as heat winners were Richie Stephens, Shaw, Winger, Joiner, Dylan Knowles, Lukon, and Nick Gainey. Four B Mains were held, with victories going to Logan Roberson, Colton Leyendecker, Jason Welshan, and Garrett Mosley.
In the Top Gun Sprints, passing points set the starting line up. Dylan Colding and Garrett Green were in the front for 25 trips around the Clay by the Bay. Justin Webster and Shane Butler were in the second row, with Danny Martin, Jr. and A.J. Maddox in row three. Robbie Hoffmann and Ethan Barrow were paired in row four, with Will Hull and Billy Bridges in row five.
Green rolled out to the early lead over Butler and Colding. Martin spun on lap two, with Tyler Orzichowski bringing out the caution soon thereafter.
Green stayed out front until his car suddenly slowed between turns three and four with seven laps in the books. That handed the lead to Webster, who would never be headed.
Webster deftly maneuvered his way through the heavy traffic for fourteen laps until the race was halted due to the flip by John Kall. Kall was unhurt in the wreck. Through that long run, Butler and Hoffman were battling for second. However, all eyes were on Martin, who was picking his way through the field. He lined up fourth for the penultimate restart, with Maddox in fifth.
When racing resumed, Martin swept past Hoffman and now he was all over Butler for the second position. Contact ensued, and Butler’s car turned over in turn four with just four laps remaining in the contest. Hoffmann skipped by the crash scene and was lined up in second for the final restart. He could not hold off the fleet Martin however.
Webster, Martin, and Hoffmann earned the podium positions. Maddox was fourth, with Tyler Clem in fifth. Larry McVay, Barrow, Brandon Grubaugh, Hull, and Luke Hill rounded out the top ten.
Four heats were held for the 28 cars on hand. Victories belonged to Webster, Hoffmann, Barrow, and Green. Andy Cobb prevailed in the B Main. Webster’s heat and feature wins added the Lee and Jeff Barfield Memorial Clean Sweep award to his bounty.
All Star Circuit of Champions returning to Lernerville Speedway for 2-events including Don Martin Memorial
SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The All Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) is returning to Lernerville Speedway in 2022 for two nights of action including the Don Martin Memorial XXXI.
The All-Stars will make their first appearance at ‘The Action Track’ on Friday, April 29. The appearance will mark the series return to Lernerville for the first time since 2019 as COVID-19 cancelled their 2020 appearance and rain washed out this year’s visit.
On July 6th the All-Stars will return for the $25,000-to-win ‘Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup XXXI’, one of the most prestigious Sprint Car events in the history of the sport.
“We’re very excited to bring in the All-Stars and their thrilling brand of high-level Sprint Car racing” said Lernerville Speedway General Manager Mike Lysakowski said in a statement. “I have always been a fan of the All-Stars and for 2022, we had more freedom in choosing a date for this year’s Silver Cup. We believe we have chosen a date that is very conducive to bringing both national and regional Sprint Car aces to Lernerville.”
Western PA Speedweek to return in 2022
SHIPPENVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Western PA Speedweek is returning for 2022 following a successful reboot earlier this year.
The five consecutive nights of winged 410 Sprint Car action will see the best regional drivers vying for an A-Main feature purse that is increasing to $14,000 with $3,000 going to the winner each night and a $300 minimum to start!
The action takes place Wednesday, June 1st through Sunday, June 5th at Michael’s Mercer Raceway (Mercer, PA), Thunder Mountain Speedway (Brookville, PA), Lernerville Speedway (Sarver, PA), Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) and Tri-City Raceway Park (Franklin, PA), with the round-trip total clocking in at exactly 259 miles from beginning to end.
The group time trial format used last season was extremely popular with both drivers and fans alike, and will also be utilized again in 2022.
Ryan Smith of Fleetwood, PA is the defending Speedweek Champion after winning two features and a podium in three events in 2021.
Lernerville Speedway not on World of Outlaws schedule in 2022
SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Lernerville Speedway, a fixture on the World of Outlaws tour since their inception in 1978, is not on the Outlaws schedule for 2022. The fate of the Don Martin Silver Cup is unknown at this time.
Lernerville officials were planning for two NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car events as well as a World of Outlaws Late Model event for 2022 and were shocked and surprised when the schedule was released on Monday.
Pittsburgh Racing Now has reached out to World Racing Group, the parent company of the World of Outlaws, for comment but have not received a response as of publication.