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Shaffer Scores at Lincoln

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ABBOTTSTOWN, PA (March 6, 2021): Tim Shaffer, the ‘Steel City Outlaw’, celebrated his first win as the newest member of the Pennsylvania Posse, an endearing term reserved for those regularly racing in cozy Central Pennsylvania. Although Shaffer has not relocated to the midstate, the Aliquippa native plans to spend many race nights competing at Lincoln Speedway and other famous eastern venues. On this occasion, he triumphed over midwestern invader Hunter Schuerenberg, who seemed to have the race well in hand until his driving error led to a wounded racecar.

This is not the first time in his Hall of Fame career that Shaffer was regarded as a member of the Posse. As he was climbing the ladder in Sprint Car racing, Shaffer spent a year and a half racing in Central PA, including an extended stay in the Apple Chevrolet car owned by Bob Stewart and wrenched by Shaffer’s pal, Lee Stauffer. Remarkably, that team never graced victory lane at Lincoln together. “I have a lot of friends back here,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer left Stewart and Stauffer to take the ride in the Selma Shell car from California, and he became a traveler after that. Shaffer spent years as a member of the Outlaw fraternity, hence his nickname, as well as racing with the All Stars and other sanctions along the way. Ironically, Shaffer’s move to the Selma Shell car brought Memphis driver Greg Hodnett to the Keystone State, as they essentially swapped rides. Hodnett went on to great success as a Posse member himself before tragically losing his life in a racing accident while driving for Mike Heffner. Hodnett was posthumously elected to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

“Mike Heffner, thank you very much for giving me a great opportunity,” Shaffer noted. His options for 2021 were not looking very promising before hooking up with the venerable car owner about two months ago. Now, they find themselves atop the national leader board in feature wins in the early part of the season. His other two victories came against 360 Sprint competition in the Sunshine State.

“It is all about communication,” Shaffer explained. In just this short time, Shaffer has bonded with crew chief Heath Moyle, and it will be interesting to see how the season unfolds.

Shaffer has showed an uncanny knack for negotiating Lincoln Speedway. On opening day, he marched from twenty-second on the grid to twelfth in the payoff line. This week, he did not have so much ground to cover, as he pulled the number three pill for the main event. “The track was kinda narrow,” Shaffer observed, “but it had two grooves and I could move around some.” He was able to “bend” the car around corners, as he put it, and he could get under other drivers coming off the turns. Indeed, that was how he assumed the lead with just a couple of laps remaining.

The second place finisher, Schuerenberg, had a fast car all day, but he was unable to make the inside moves like Shaffer. Schuerenberg had a problem holding the inside line off turn four on the start of his heat race, bouncing into his partner and leaving the bottom line open for a holeshot from the third place starter to take the lead. In the feature, Schuerenberg was leading when he tried to put a lap on Chad Trout. Schuerenberg’s left front wheel struck Trout’s right rear tire, flattening it, and Glendon Forsythe scooted by for the lead. Because Trout was unable to limp off the track, the caution was displayed, and Schuerenber was put back on the point for the restart. However, the damage was done. Schuerenberg had a broken and loosened nose wing, a bent torsion tube, and a broken shock.

“I really wish we didn’t have that incident with that lapped car that bent a torsion tube and broke a shock,” Schurenberg explained. Schuerenberg was able to maintain his speed when racing in clean air, but when he caught slower cars, he had to be more cautious. And, to make matters worse, his car developed a fuel leak and his legs were soaked with fuel. “I didn’t want to jam on the brakes and throw a spark into the cockpit.” He concluded, “I think we had the car to beat,” and remarked that he was looking forward to coming back into the area for some extra laps before the start of the All Stars season.

Three Rivers Karting

The front row for the start belonged to Forsythe and Schuernberg. Shaffer and Billy Dietrich were in the second row. Kyle Moody and Rick Lafferty were in the third. Steve Buckwalter and Tim Glatfelter came next, with Chase Dietz and Freddie Rahmer, Jr. behind them. The sixth pair were Dylan Norris and Tyler Ross. Once again, some heavy hitters were sprinkled through the second half of the starting field. Kerry Madsen made his first start for Michael Barshinger from row seven, as did Matt Campbell. Danny Dietrich was inside row eight, Alan Krimes outside row nine, and last week’s winner, Tim Wagaman, was in row eleven.

Schuerenberg took the early lead, followed by Forsythe, Billy Dietrich, Shaffer, and Moody. Trout slowed to a stop on the frontstretch to inform track officials of a safety issue on Brandon Rahmer’s car. Rahmer pitted because the fuel tank was loose and he was unable to continue. Trout was put back into the proper running order.

The leaders ran single file until Schuerenberg’s incident with Trout on lap seven. On the restart, Billy Dietrich made a bold inside move to take second from Forsythe, but a flip by Buckwalter in turn one brought out the red and negated the pass. On the second try, Forsythe looked to the inside of Schurenberg in turn one and Shaffer peeked to the outside of Dietrich. No passes were completed, however.

Shaffer moved by Billy Dietrich nine laps into the race with an inside move off turn two. He began to close in on Forsythe and took over second soon after the crossed flags were shown to the field.

With Schuerenberg encountering lapped cars with increasing frequency, Shaffer started to close in. The question was whether there would be enough time for him to work past the leader. The question was answered on lap 26. Shaffer pinched the car to the inside coming off turn four and he powered by for the lead. Then Billy Dietrich took up the chase of Schuerenberg in the final laps, but he was unable to make a move for second.

Shaffer grabbed the win, much to the delight of the small but hardy crowd. Schuerenberg was impressive in taking second with the dmaged machine. Billy Dietrich, Forsythe, and Moody rounded out the top five. Danny Dietrich was sixth, followed by Dietz, Freddie Rahmer, Jr., Glatfelter, and Lafferty.

Shaffer, Glatfelter, and Forsythe were the heat winners. Trout copped the B Main. There were 27 cars signed in for the event.

Next week will be the last afternoon race for Lincoln Speedway, but it will be the first doubleheader. The Central PA Legends cars will join the fun. Racing will commence at 2 p.m. March 20 will be the first Sprint Car doubleheader, as the 358 Sprints make their season debut. March 27 will see the PASS/IMCA 305 Sprints in their stead. March 20 and 27 will be 6 p.m. starts.

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Dirt Racing

Reutzel Richer at Knoxville

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Photo by Paul Arch

KNOXVILLE, IA (August 6, 2022): Aaron Reutzel raced to victory in the finale of the 32nd Annual Knoxville 360 Nationals. By leading all thirty laps, his winnings were $30,000, split evenly between the purse and lap money.

“We had a very good car at the start, but not so good at the end,” Reutzel said. “We were struggling at the end. I knew probably someone was coming, but that’s how I wanted the race to play out. I wanted to go green to checker, so I could run in lapped traffic and try to hide a little bit. We were able to get up front and make the best of it. It all worked out good.”

Regulars from the Knoxville Raceway dominated the front rows of the A Main starting lineup, which was based on the unique Nationals point system. Points are awarded for each competitive event–time trials, heat races, and qualifying night feature events–and the driver with the highest total starts on the pole. That honor belonged to Lynton Jeffrey. To his right was Reutzel. In row two were Clint Garner and Terry McCarl. Brain Brown and Ayrton Gennetten were in row three. Sam Hafertepe was the first outsider, and he started in seventeen next to the defending race champion, Giovanni Scelzi. Christopher Thram and Wayne Johnson made up row five, followed by Thomas Kennedy and Cory Eliason.

Reutzel carried a lot of speed into turn one and he rode the rim to take a modest lead over Jeffrey. Garner, Brown, and McCarl battled for the third position. Gennetten and Hafertepe watched the action unfold.

Reutzel began to pull away from Jeffrey while the battle amongst Brown, Garner, and McCarl became more intense when Hafertepe entered the fray. Hafertepe had the dominant car through the middle stage of the race, and he began to move forward.

Hafertepe made contact with Garner in turn two while moving into the third position with fourteen laps complete. Both drivers kept their cars under control, and they separated quickly and without any further incident. Garner fell back a bit, but, as the race wore on, he picked up speed again.

Meanwhile, Hafertepe pulled away unscathed and soon he was challenging Jeffrey for the second position. Hafertepe did take over second at the midpoint in the race, but he was more than two and a half seconds behind the leader.

Three Rivers Karting

As Hafertepe began to whittle away at the lead, the tension was beginning to build. It was obvious that Reutzel was fighting a loose car the last ten laps and Hafetepe was coming. The question was whether he would have enough time to catch and pass the leader.

Hafertepe cut the margin to under a second. With two laps remaining, he got the car up onto the inside berm between turns three and four. He scrubbed off some speed when the car got a little sideways. Although that miscue gave Reutzel some needed breathing space, Hafertepe came back on the final lap. He drew near to Reutzel entering turn one. But Reutzel had the better line and he was able to keep his momentum up as he rolled through the first and second turns.

Reutzel had a couple of car lengths on Hafertepe as they raced toward turn three. He took the checkers 0.725 seconds ahead of his fellow Texan.
Garner rebounded for third, followed by Jeffrey and McCarl. Brown slipped back to sixth. Eliason, Gennetten, Chase Randall, and Scelzi completed the top ten.

“We could have used a caution or anything,” Hafertepe observed. “He (Reutzel) drove a pretty good race and got through lapped traffic pretty well.” Hafertepe added that Reutzel got to spend a lot of time in clean air. He was apologetic about his scuffle with Garner in the second corner. “I got into Clint, which I didn’t mean to do. I was running in the middle and hitting a little patch of moisture and I missed it and got up into him. I didn’t want to race him like that.”

Garner downplayed his achievement. “The car was fast, you know. I did my best to do what I could there. I definitely felt like the ultimate underdog again here. When I stood in the lineup to do the introductions, there were a lot of great racecar drivers. Most of them could be the best or one of the best in the country. I’m privileged to be here . . . and I’m glad to be up here talking with you guys.” He assigned no blame at all to Hafertepe for the incident in turn two. “Good drivers know what they are doing and I knew what I was doing. We both kept them under control.” In fact, Garner took some of the responsibility himself, noting that he should have backed out but he did not want to give up another position.

Randall was named the Rookie of the Race and the Hard Charger. He passed nine cars in the contest. He netted an extra $1,000 for those awards.

The all-features format got off to a rocky start. A couple of cautions punctuated the E Main, which was won by Jett Carney. The D Main had two vicious accidents on the initial attempts to start that race. Seth Brehmer and Ryan Bowers collided head-on at full speed in the middle of the frontstretch. After a delay for fence repairs, a six-car pile-up occurred in turn one, with several cars flipping and one landing on top of another car. Fortunately no drivers were injured in either incident, but nine cars were eliminated in the process. Justin Sanders grabbed the win. The C Main win went to Kaleb Johnson, and Tyler Courtney scored the B Main victory. Sye Lynch was the only driver to race in three of the feature events, ending his night in the C Main.

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Dirt Racing

Brown Bags Second Prelim at Knoxville

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Photo by Paul Arch

KNOXVILLE, IA (August 5, 2022): Brian Brown sailed to victory on the second night of the 32nd Annual Knoxville 360 Nationals. Brown is the only driver to rank in the top five in career wins in both the 410 and 360 Sprint Car divisions at the famed raceway.

“It’s good to be up here,” Brown noted. “The final night of the 360s has been good to us, but not the qualifying night.” Brown, who is very good at maintaining relationships with his sponsors, added, “all of my sponsors are here and it’s really cool to be able to win in front of them.”

The twenty lap finale had Christopher Thram and Blake Hahn paired on the front row. Brown and Terry McCarl made for a powerful second row, with Wayne Johnson and Lynton Jeffrey in the third. Clint Garner and Kelby Watt were in row four. Tasker Phillips and Carson McCarl had row five, with Justin Sanders and Tyler Courtney in the sixth.

Brown wasted no time in getting to the front. He executed a textbook slider in turn three to take the lead away from Thram. Johnson was racing ahead of McCarl. Hahn fell to fifth on the opening lap, followed by Garner, Jeffrey, and Cale Thomas.

With Brown leading the way, McCarl moved into third and was pressing Thram for the second spot. Meanwhile, Johnson and Jeffrey were holding down the fourth and fifth positions.

On lap six, bad luck befell the night’s fastest qualifier. Watt was involved in a three-car tangle in turn one and he crashed while racing for a position in the top ten.

Three Rivers Karting

On the restart, Thram tried to dive bomb Brown in turn one. However, Brown had the momentum and the cushion going for him and he swept around the challenger as they raced through the first two corners. From there to the finish, Brown was untouchable.

There was a spirited battle for second between Thram and McCarl for the next ten laps. With six to go, McCarl powered by Thram in turn one. It looked as though Thram would pull off a bit of an upset by getting a podium finish, but Jeffrey came on in the final few laps to take the position away.

At the checkers, it was Brown by slightly more than four seconds over McCarl. Jeffrey, Thram, and Garner completed the top five. Johnson was sixth despite a very severe back condition. Thomas edged Kyle Larson for seventh. Phillips and Hahn completed the top ten.

“Those 24 cars are always tough,” McCarl said with a laugh. He was ready to make a move on Thram before the red flag on lap six, and he noted that Thram “took my line away from me. That’s exactly what I would have done with him. Then, McCarl commented that, after the restart, “it took me a while to get going again.” He speculated that his tire cooled down too much under the red.

Jeffrey was ecstatic with his third-place run, which earned him the pole for the big race Saturday night. He explained that, as of Friday morning, he was not sure if he was going to race. But, Jody Hegwood loaned Jeffrey the motor. It was removed from the car driven Thursday night by Devin Kline and it was installed in Jeffrey’s car in the morning. “It is a really good motor. I’m pretty excited. Sitting on the pole for the 360 Nationals is definitely a feather in the cap. We’ll just try and get it finished off.”

The five heat winners were Davey Heskin, Phillips, Austin Miller, Jeffrey, and Ian Madsen. The C Main victory went to Jett Carney, with Larson taking the B. Watt’s quick time was 16.422 seconds.

With all of the preliminaries completed, Lynton Jeffrey was the top point getter, edging Aaron Reutzel by three for the pole position. Clint Garner, Terry McCarl, Brian Brown, and Ayrton Gennetten will make up rows two and three for the A Main. Sam Hafertepe and Giovanni Scelzi will be in row four. Other drivers making the cut to the A Main were Christopher Thram, Wayne Johnson, Thomas Kennedy, Cory Eliason, Garrett Williamson, Justin Henderson, Tasker Phillips, Kyle Larson, Blake Hahn, Chase Randall, Matt Juhl, and Kelby Watt.

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Dirt Racing

Hoffman and Fielding Reach the Top in Modified and Pro Stock Points, Respectively; Flick Closing In 410 Sprints; Maskal Still Ahead in Minis

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FRANKLIN, PA (August 2, 2022): The big news coming out of Sunday’s event at Tri-City Raceway Park were the changes in the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group 358 Modified ranks. But the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks also have a new name on the top of the standings. What is more, a battle is brewing for the title in the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprint Cars!

Jeremiah Shingledecker, the most successful driver in the 358 Modified division, is at the center of the story. He sold the car that carried him to the 2021 title and that was best in class in the first half of the 2022 season. The 37MD now belongs to rookie Austin Eyler. And, if that name sounds familiar, it is because he is kin to former 410 Sprint Car racer Rob Eyler. Well, Eyler stripped off the “MD” and he now campaigns the car as the 37. So, that left Shingledecker without a ride for the balance of the 2022 season at the track.

But wait, there’s more.

Shingledecker signed in to drive the potent Hoffman Door 00 on Sunday. The owner and driver, Kevin Hoffman, was under the weather, so he asked Shingledecker to take the seat for the night. Shingledecker did the Hoffmans proud, taking the wins in his heat and in the feature event.

Under track rules, the points for Shingledecker’s successes were awarded to the car, and not the driver. So, the Hoffman 00 vaulted into first place in the championship standings, as Kevin was the winner before the track had consecutive cancellations due to weather.

It is anticipated that Kevin Hoffman will return to the seat this weekend, so it will be up to him to keep the winning streak alive. But, if he is unable to race again due to his health, he knows that he will have a capable substitute to fill in for him again.

So, the Hoffman 00 sits at the top of the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group standings, thanks to the assist from Jeremiah Shingledecker. Jimmy Holden, who was second to Shingledecker Sunday evening, is second in the season’s standings by just 13 points, so things are not so settled any more. Shingledecker is still third based on his outstanding performances in his own car before it was sold. Nick Joy, who travels down from New York to race at Tri-City, is just eight points back, so he could easily surpass Shingledecker this week. Lonny Riggs, who had a strong top five last week, is now fifth in the standings and he could move up a notch with another good run.

In the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, Pat Fielding now tops the points after getting his first career win in this division. Fielding has been in the Pro Stock game for a decade, just a few years less than his closest rival has been alive. Teenager Tyler Wyant trails by only ten markers, but his DNF (“did not finish”) on Sunday hurt him in the championship tilt. Josh Seippel, Charlie McMillen, and the Boozel brothers complete the top five.

Older brother Ayden Boozel started the season in the family car, wrenched by their grandfather, Bob Sloss, who was a successful Pro Stock driver in his day. But the younger sibling, Quinten, took his turn behind the wheel of the 44B on Sunday and he brought it home in the top five. Not bad for the first-time racer!

Three Rivers Karting

In the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprint Cars, A.J. Flick moved into second behind former champion Jack Sodeman, Jr. More importantly, Flick shaved a couple of points off the lead. He now trails Sodeman by 23. Just one point further back is Jeremy Weaver, who now drives Bob McMillin’s car re-numbered as 35W. Bob Felmlee and Chase Metheney complete the top five in the winged warriors.

Levi Maskal still sits atop the rankings in the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks. Matt Urey, a recent feature winner, is second. Chad Greeley, D.J. Macrae, and recently engaged Bodey McClintock make up the rest of the top five. Dalton Speer, who regained the winning ways last week, is seventh, behind Dillon Thorne.

The action will start for these racers, and many more, at 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 8. Pit gates will open at 2 p.m., and spectators can enter the grandstands at 4 p.m.

Regular event ticket pricing will prevail on Sunday evening. Adult admission, for those aged 16 to 62, will be $15. Seniors (ages 62 and up) will be $13. Student tickets will be $10 for those ages 10 to 16. Children under the age of 10, will be free, as usual. The Family Pass (good for two adults of any age and two students) will be $45. Pit Passes will be $30.

If you cannot make it to the track on August 8, Tri-City Raceway Park will be back in action on August 15 with another Sunday Thunder event, which will include the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprints, the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group 358 Modifieds, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, and the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks.

Then, on August 21, the speedway will host the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. Joining the most powerful Late Models on the planet will be the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks. Please note this schedule change.

The track will close out the month of August with another Sunday Thunder program on August 28.

Get ready for the season-ending spectacular to be held over the Labor Day weekend. The activity will start with a practice session on Friday, September 2, with free grandstand admission. Racing will begin on Saturday, September 3, for the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprints, the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group 358 Modifieds, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks, and the Junior Sprints. All five classes will return for the finale on Sunday, September 4, along with the RUSH Sprint Cars. Camping will be free throughout the weekend, and there will be fireworks and a bonfire Sunday to celebrate the end of the summer.

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 tricityracewaypark2020@gmail.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.

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