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Dirt Racing

Williamson and Satterlee Score at Port Royal

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PORT ROYAL, PA (March 21, 2021): Matt Williamson has found a new favorite track. The driver from St. Catharines, ONT carried home another big check from the Speed Palace. This time it was $5,000 for winning the Short Track Super Series Modified feature. Last Fall, in his first appearance at Port Royal Speedway, Williamson won the 200 lapper for $53,000.

Also gracing victory lane was Gregg Satterlee who took his second consecutive win with the United Late Model Series. The native of Indiana, PA garnered $4,000 for his efforts.

Williamson almost did not make the trip to race in Pennsylvania this weekend. He had to beg his car owner, Jeff Behrent, to let them take the car and, then, Williamson had to piece together a crew for the weekend.

The turning point for Williamson came with ten laps to go. Stewart Friesen, who led from the start, was caught behind slower cars. Williamson went to the middle line and tried to drive by Friesen. He could not hold his line and drifted up the track, closing off the charge being made by the thrid place runner, Mike Matheny. On the next lap, Friesen entered turn one in the middle to try to lap the car that was slowing his pace. That opened up the bottom lane for Williamson and he quickly filled the hole. Now, Friesen was caught in no man’s land. Williamson held the preferred line and Friesen had no alternative but to fall in behind the new leader.

“I think he had the better car,” Williamson confided. “I got him in traffic. I had the preferred lane. It felt like ice out there and I knew that I had to stay on the bottom. I may have screwed it up for Mike the lap before.” Friesen noted that he was a sitting duck. “I got impatient and lost my head,” he said dejectedly. “I saw Matty try the outside and I thought that I could get by that slower car.”

It was an all-Friesen front row for the start of the feature event. Jessica was on the inside and her hubby, Stewart, was on the outside. Alex Yankowski was matched up with Max McLaughlin in the second row. Matt Stangle and Mahaney came next. Dwight Howard and Williamson occupied the fourth row. Larry Wight and Tyler Dippel were in the fifth row, with Ryan Godown and Billy Decker filling row six.

While Jessica Friesen led the field into the first corner, Stewart had the faster, outside line. He rode the rim to take the lead coming through the second turn. McLaughlin and Yankowski fought for third while Stangle and Williamson diced for fifth.

Williamson was quick to advance, however. By lap three he was up to third and within two laps he was second. Stewart Friesen, though, had opened up a commanding lead in the clean air and now it was up to Williamson to chase him down.

When Friesen reached the back of the field, that enabled Williamson to close in on him. They began to play a game of high speed hide and seek as they tried to pick their way through the slower cars. A caution for the blown engine of Anthony Perrego gave the leaders a clean track.

As expected, Friesen jetted out to the lead with no traffic to slow his pace. Within five or six laps, though, he was catching the back markers again and Williamson started his march forward. by lap twenty-five, they were trying to slice and dice through the traffic again.

That set up Williamson’s first, unsuccessful bid for the lead. As noted, he tried to pin Friesen behind the lapped car, but he could not maintain his momentum. Friesen nosed ahead. But the cloud had a silver lining for Williamson. When he slid high, Mahaney had to check up, aborting his own bid for the lead. On the next round, Friesen tried the middle line and he, too, slid up the track, leaving the door open for Williamson to scoot by.

Williamson did take the lead, but now Mahaney was trying the high side once again. With Williamson hugging the rail, Mahaney had a full head of steam as he entered the first turn. He pulled up beside the leader. Mahaney noted that “the lapped traffic was playing in my favor. I had a good run on the top and then the yellow came out.”

Three Rivers Karting

That put Williamson on the point for the last double file restart of the race. He got the jump on Mahaney coming off turn four and he completed the final eight laps without incident.

Willaimson sailed under the checkers for his second win at Port Royal. Mahaney was second, with Stewart Friesen third. Jessica Friesen turned in a creditable run for fourth. Larry Wight was fifth. Dippel, Stangle, McLaughlin, Godown, and Decker completed the top ten.

Five heats were held. McLaughln, Williamson, Yankowski, Dippel, and Stewart Friesen got the wins. Peter Britten and Erick Rudolph won the pair of B Mains.

In the ULMS Late Model feature, Michael Norris set the fast time in the pole scramble. Max Blair checked in for second. Jeff Rine and Rick Eckert were in the second stanza. Kyle Lee and Gregg Satterlee lined up in the third row. Donnie Lingo and Brian Bernheisel fired off from row four. Trever Feathers and Colton Flinner were in row five, with Gary Stuhler and Mason Zeigler departing from row six.

Norris powered off turn four to get the early advantage over Rine, Blair, Satterlee, Eckert, and Lee. Eckert looked to the inside of Satterlee as they came off the second corner. As Satterlee tried to move up to the rubber, Eckert cut inside, and there was slight contact midway down the back stretch. Eckert spun but there was no further contact. However, his day was ruined just four laps into the contest.

Dylan Yoder was impressive in the opening laps of the race. He came from eighteenth to seventh in just four circuits. While he would continue to battle for positions in the top five, though, he was not able to make a meaningful challenge to the top three.

On the restart, Satterlee rode the rim to go from third to the front. Norris fought back, but he could not regain the top spot. Once Satterlee was in command, it was just a matter of keeping his nose clean.

Satterlee did have a close call just a few laps later. A lapped car spun in between turns one and two. Fortunately, Satterlee saw the incident unfold and he was able to avoid contact. “I saw him losing it and I just eased off and made sure that I wasn’t collected.”

On the ensuing restart, Rine made strong inside move, pulling up next to Satterlee. Rine knew that there was rubber on the inside and he hit it perfectly on the restart. However, Satterlee was also running in the rubber on the top line and he was able to scoot away. He then dropped down to the inside and drove away form Rine.

Satterlee was better prepared for the final restart, with twelve laps remaining. Now the inside line was his preferred groove and Rine was never able to get close enough to make a move on him.

Satterlee finished the race without further ado. Rine was second, followed by Norris. Yoder checked in for fourth and
Lingo advanced to fifth. Gary Stuhler crossed in sixth, followed by Blair, Ross Robinson, Andy Haus, and Nick Dickson.

Bernheisel, Lingo, Blair, and Norris won their respective heat races. Amanda Whaley and Yoder shared the B Mains. Bernheisel was the fastest qualifier in Group A with a lap of 18.599. Blair was best in Group B with a time of 18.715.

Port Royal Speedway will have a triple header next week, featuring the 410 Sprints, Super Late Models, and Limited Late Models. Starting time will be 4 p.m. On april 3, the PASS/IMCA 305 Sprints will take the place of the Limited Late Models with a 6 p.m. start. Coming soon, on April 17-18, there will be a blockbuster weekend. The All Stars Circuit of Champions will take center stage on Saturday and the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will headline on Sunday.

Dirt Racing

Timms Takes Ten Grand 360 Sprint Finale

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Ryan Timms Racing

GIBSONTON, FL (February 16, 2024): Ryan Timms, the teen from Oklahoma City, earned the biggest victory of his young career by taking the Ronald Laney Memorial that wrapped up the King of the 360 Nationals at East Bay Raceway Park. The race concluded the 48th Annual Winternationals a day early due to the heavy rains forecasted for the weekend. The staff at the speedway will get a well-deserved break before rolling into the final regular season at the Clay by the Bay.

Timms was excited about his win. “It feels awesome. It’s even better being able to come from fourteenth to win it. God. I had such a fast race car. It was kind of a perfect race for us. The last couple of nights, we kind of struggled. We had a fast car all weekend, we just didn’t have much luck. I’m glad that we could put a whole race together and get up through there and get a win here.” He summed, “it’s definitely extra special being the last 360 race at East Bay.”

It did not take long for Timms to realize that he had a chance to win the finale. “I think it was lap ten, we were up to fourth. I knew that I had the car under me to do it. I just had to be patient enough and I had to wait for the guys ahead of me to kind of mess up. I was waiting to get to lapped traffic and I was able to capitalize on their mistakes.”

Timms added, “this place is cowboy up. It’s just a slide job fest really. You’re cutting it close to everybody.”

Sprint car racing in Florida in February has always been like a gathering of the clans, bringing together racers from all over the country to do battle for the glory and the gold. For the returning veterans, and for the fans, it is like an annual reunion. That theme meant even more for the second place runner, Tim Shaffer, who was reunited with the Demyan-Rudzik race team and with his former crew chief, Brian Kemanah. “We put this thing back together. It’s like the band is back together again, For us, the third night out and it really started clicking,” he said.

“We’re happy with second. We really would have loved to win it, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” he added.

Shaffer was disappointed that the race was the end of an era, saying that “it kills me” that the track will be closing. “I really like this place. I’ve been coming down here for a long time. It’s fun. It’s the right time of year. There are really good people here. I’m going to miss it.”

Austin McCarl, who entered the race as a sentimental favorite of many of the fans, was frustrated with the lapped cars that he encountered in his journey to third. “The traffic was really crazy.” He explained that, as the leader, he was not shown proper respect when he came up to lap a former winner of the race. But, he was ready to move on. “We’re excited for the rest of the year. I’ve never started this early and to have two big checks in the lounge is really great.”

Austin McCarl drew the pole for the top six point men based on the two preliminary nights. Next to him was Shaffer, who coincidentally placed second to McCarl in the combined prelim results. A.J. Maddox and Davey Franek started in row two, with Danny Martin and Justin Peck taking the third row. Next came the heat winners, Terry McCarl, Eric Riggins, Tyler Clem, Danny Sams, and Sam Hafertepe, Jr., in that order. P12 belonged to Max Stambaugh, who was second in his heat.

Three Rivers Karting

Austin McCarl led Shafffer into turn one, but Franek used the inside line to take over second on the first lap. Peck, Maddox, Danny Martin, Sams, Riggins, Timms (who was already up from fourteenth), and Cole Macedo made for a potent top ten.

Franek handed second over to Shaffer on lap ten, and Timms was up to fifth by the time a red came out for the three-car tangle in turn three. Peck, Riley Goodno, and Wayne Johnson were involved, with Goodno taking the brunt of the impact. All three cars were eliminated, but none of the drivers were injured.

Austin McCarl maintained control after the restart, but Shaffer was stalking him. Unable to find a place to make a pass, Shaffer remained close in second until lap twenty-eight, when Timms went by in traffic. Timms then took up the chase of Austin McCarl.

It only took Timms three more rounds to catch and pass Austin McCarl coming down the front stretch. McCarl remained close enough to try a slider going through turn three, but Timms had better momentum and he retained the lead.

Now Shaffer resumed his challenge to Austin McCarl, but, this time it was for second, as Timms began to stretch his advantage. Shaffer made the pass on Austin McCarl on lap thirty-seven. But Timms was on cruise control by that time.

Shaffer began to close as Timms encountered more lapped traffic. Still, Timms had a comfortable margin over Shaffer.

After the white flag was displayed to Timms and several others, Parker Price-Miller came to a stop in turn two. That set up a one-lap dash for all the marbles.

Timms got the jump on Shaffer and he completed the final lap of the last edition of the Winternationals without incident. Shaffer was second, followed by Austin McCarl, Sams, and Aaron Reutzel, who came from twentieth on the grid. Franek was sixth, ahead of Hafertepe, Macedo, Devon Borden, and Terry McCarl.

There were three B Mains held. The victories went to Macedo, Dale Howard, and Liam Martin. Provisionals were awarded to Mark Smith and Price-Miller.

The DIRTcar United CCC Modified Lites provided support once again. Jimmy Wills, of Dover, DE, returned to the winners’ circle at the end of the twenty-five laps. He was the first racer to pass Tim White under the green flag in the three days of action. Taking second was fellow Delawarean Ryan McKinney. Third went to Justin Williams. White was fourth, followed by Charles Permann. Heat winners were White and Wills. The fastest qualifier was White, with a time of 17.420 seconds.

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Dirt Racing

Courtney and Larson Take High Limit Events at East Bay Raceway Park

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Photo: Paul Arch

GIBSONTON, FL (February 13, 2024): Charles Dickens was not talking about the 48th (and last) Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park when he wrote, in A Tale of Two Cities, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” But his famous opening line would have been an accurate assessment of Tuesday’s 410 Sprint Car event presented by the High Limit Racing Series. The races were the first two events of the newly formed national tour (best of times), and Clay by the Bay said farewell to the division that helped to make the Winternationals a major event (worst of times).

Tyler Courtney and Kyle Larson were the last two 410 racers to etch their names into the record books. Courtney took the thirty lapper that ended the twi-night doubleheader, and Larson scored in the twenty-five lap feature that was carried over from Monday’s rain-shortened program.

Courtney Wins
Courtney was unable to say why he has been so consistently fast at East Bay Raceway Park. “We’ve been fast ever since the first time we came here. We have a pretty good package for here.” He added, “it sucks that this is the last 410 race here. I know that they have 360s here at the end of the week or next week. Sad to see it go.”

Courtney summed up his performance as “a 50/50 day.” He explained, “earlier wasn’t the best feature but to come back for the win shows the grit these guys have.”

Corey Day, the latest California phenom to go onto a national Sprint Car stage, remarked “the track was badass. I wish that the top was there in one and two, I could have made some more speed.”  Despite that, he was able to mix things up with two accomplished veterans, Courtney and Brad Sweet.

Sweet thought that he missed the set-up just a bit. “It was tough. I got the lead early and was running the bottom, then I got to lapped traffic and tried to move to the top, and that wasn’t the right place to be. It felt like we didn’t have the car quite right there to maneuver through lapped traffic or to make enough speed.”

Sweet had the pole for the nightcap, with Courtney to his right. Dominic Scelzi and Spencer Bayston were in row two, with Larson and Corey Day in the third row. The final Dash cars were Brent Marks and Cole Macedo. Then came Zeb Wise and Jacob Allen. Row six paired Kasey Kahne and Austin McCarl.

The initial start was waived off due to a multi-car incident that happened in turn four. Courtney got sideways, but kept going, and chaos ensued in his wake. Larson and Connor Morrell got the worst of it with flat left rear tires requiring trips to the pits for replacements, and they were able to restart at the rear of the field. No other racers required any remedial measures.

The second try was successful, putting Sweet in control. Courtney settled into second in the early going, with Bayston, Day, Marks, Wise, Macedo, Rico Abreu, McCarl, and Chris Windom fighting for positions behind them.

Sweet stayed out front for approximately a third of the contest. By then, he was into lapped traffic, and he was having difficulty maintaining his pace. Courtney, Wise, and Day were challenging Sweet, and Courtney emerged with the lead by lap twelve. Before the next round was completed, however, the action was interrupted by a caution for Larson.

Courtney, Day, Wise, Sweet, Bayston, Marks, Abureu, Macedo, Windom, and Anthony Macri made up the top ten for the restart. Abreu used the high side to gain several positions when the green light came on again.

After just three more laps, a three-car tangle off turn two involving Morrell, Kahne, and Larson led to another caution. Damage to Larson’s machine eliminated any hope of a second victory for him.

While Courtney continued to lead the way after that stoppage, Day and Wise were locked in a battle for the second spot. Abreu was up to fourth, with Sweet and Marks following.

Another shunt, involving Danny Sams and Kahne, set up a restart with ten to go. Abreu went to the high side again to try to pick off Wise and Day. He climbed Wise’s wheel approaching turn three but somehow he managed to keep the car under control. He did lose one position to Sweet however.

Courtney continued to lead Day, Wise, and Sweet as the laps counted down. Meanwhile, Macri was challenging Marks for fifth. Macri spun in turn three with two laps remaining, ending his inspired drive from twentieth on the grid.

Three Rivers Karting

Courtney had the point for the final restart, with Day, Wise, Sweet, Abreu, Marks, Parker Price-Miller, Windom, Bayston, and Allen lined up behind him.

The remaining two laps were hair-raising, as drivers throughout the field looked for any opening to move ahead.

After Courtney and Day took the checkers, Abreu flipped wildly in turn four. Most of the pack made it by his wreckage, but Cory Eliason clipped Abreu’s machine as he rounded the last turn.

Sweet checked in as the third place finisher, with Wise and Marks rounding out the top five. Price-Miller, Windom, Bayston, Allen, and Ryan Timms were sixth through tenth.

Wise blasted around the track in 12.229 seconds to set the mark in Group A, and Bayston turned in a lap of 12.544 seconds to top Group B. Davey Franek led the way in the non-qualifiers race. Courtney, Marks, Bayston, and Sweet prevailed in their respective heats. Brandan Mullen won the C Main, and Tanner Thorson captured the B Main. Sweet won the dash from the pole. Brenham Crouch and Cory Eliason were afforded series provisionals.

Larson Leads Off
The champion of the abbreviated 2023 High Limit schedule, Kyle Larson, was the matinee idol. He started on the pole and led wire to wire to get the first checkered flag of 2024 for the new national series. Along the way, Larson had to fend off challenges from Justin Peck, Tanner Thorson, and Cole Macedo.

A mid-race challenge from Tanner Thorson spurred Larson to victory. “I got kind of blocked, well, not blocked, but just my momentum kind of stalled out there in traffic. I saw Tanner’s nose in one and two. I was getting nervous because Jacob (Allen) was down there and he was inching away from us.

Then I saw Tanner and at that point I had to get up on the wheel and get past (Austin) McCarl pretty quickly. Once I did that, I was able to get going again.”

Series founders Larson and Sweet were on the front row, with Thorson and Macedo in row two. Abreu and Peck were matched in row three, with Sam Hafertepe, Jr. and Macri in the fourth. Price-Miller and Timms covered row five. Then came Day and Wise.

On the opening lap, Wise looped it at the entry to turn one. Remarkably, the fourteen racers behind him avoided contact. Larson led lap one, followed by Peck, Macedo, Thorson, Sweet, and Macri. Brenham Crouch brought out a yellow with one complete.

When the race resumed, Peck was shadowing Larson. When the leaders got to lapped traffic, Larson was picking his way through, while Peck was riding the rim to stay close. On lap eight, Larson split two lappers between turns three and four. Peck could not follow him through the hole. As he ran through turn two, Peck saw an opening between the lapped car of Chris Windom and the outside wall. Peck tried to sneak by, but Windom drifted up the track, pinching Peck against the wall and collapsing his front end in the process.

Larson completed the remaining sixteen laps without incident. Thorson gave chase most of the way, but Macedo made a slick move in traffic to take that spot away in the waning laps. Thorson held on for third. Sweet and Macri completed the top five. Day, Abreu, Marks, Hafertepe, and Baystonwere the next five across the scoring loop.

Sweet stopped the clock at 12.550 seconds to top Group A. Macri was the best of Group B with a time of 12.612 seconds. Chris Martin prevailed in the non-qualifiers race. Larson, Thorson, Macedo, and Abreu captured heat wins. Martin also won the C Main, and Tim Shaffer scored in the B Main.

Larson was the Dash winner. Series provisionals were awarded to Crouch and Morrell.

Mod Lites Do Double Duty
Support was provided by the DIRTcar United CCC Mod Lites. The wins went to Jimmy Wills in the afternoon race, and to Jimmy Smith in the final event of the night for the class. Following Wills across the line were Smith, Tim White, Logan Lewis, and Ryan Dodd. Wills chased Smith home in the finale. Then came Zach Sobotka, Ryan McKinney, and Teddy Williams, II. Smith and Todd Brennan took the honors in heats held on Monday before the rains came. White and Wills won the heats for the Tuesday contest.

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Dirt Racing

Austin McCarl Gets Emotional Win in Round Two

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Photo: McCarl Racing

GIBSONTON FL (February 15, 2024): “The Big Unit,” Austin McCarl, captured the second round of the King of the 360 Nationals at East Bay Raceway Park. He chased down and passed Danny Martin and Davey Franek in heavy traffic to become the third and final leader in the thirty lapper that went non-stop. The victory, coupled with misfortunes on the part of some of his prime competitors who did not qualify, should lock the third generation driver into the Ronald Laney Memorial that will close out the 48th, and final, Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park.

Austin McCarl was extremely emotional in victory lane. “Thank you so much,” he said acknowledging the fans who were celebrating his win. With his voice cracking, he added, “we were struggling so bad. This means so much to my family. I am so glad to be going home with a trophy from East Bay Raceway Park before it closes.” Austin joined his father, Hall of Famer Terry McCarl, on the list of racers who have won in the prestigious event.

Austin McCarl explained that a member of his team gave him a hand signal with five laps to go. “I said to myself, ‘Please, God, no yellows. And, then, I was looking for the nose of somebody trying to get under me.” He added that the significance of the win did not hit him until the cool down lap, and he almost lost control of the car due to his excitement.

Martin nipped Franek at the wire for second. The two had battled throughout the race, even after McCarl went by them in traffic. “We made some changes to the car, it was totally different,” Martin commented. He explained that traffic was really difficult. “When there are long greens like that, you get behind those lapped cars. They were three wide. It was like a wall.”

Franek was pleased with his performances in the preliminaries, saying “we were good tonight, we were OK last night.” He was hopeful his sixth place run, followed by a third, should lock him into the top six for the Saturday finale.

The starting lineup was determined by passing points earned from the heat races. Danny Martin had the pole, with Franek as his dance partner. Chris Martin and Brandon Grubaugh made up the second row. Adyn Schmidt and Austin McCarl were in row three. A.J. Maddox and Sam Hafertepe squared off in row four, followed by Tyler Clem and Dale Howard. Cole Macedo and Justin Peck were in row six.

Three former winners of the Laney Memorial were sprinkled in the second half of the starting grid. Tim Shaffer was thirteenth, Terry McCarl was twentieth, and Wayne Johnson was twenty-first.

Three Rivers Karting

Two former champions were absent. Mark Smith and Aaron Reutzel failed to transfer into the A Main.

Danny Martin led Franek on the opening lap. Grubaugh, Austin McCarl, Maddox, Hafertepe, Clem, Shaffer, and Macedo followed. Austin McCarl and Hafertepe cracked the top five in the early going.

Franek took control by lap ten, but Danny Martin came storming back to regain the lead on lap twelve. While working through traffic, Franek passed Martin once again. However, Austin McCarl was gaining on them both.

McCarl claimed the lead, for good, by lap twenty. Meanwhile, Franek and Martin continued their contest for second.

With five laps remaining, McCarl had several car lengths over Franek and Danny Martin. Hafertepe was fourth with Peck in fifth. Chris Martin was holding off Shaffer and Macedo. Ryan Timms and Parker Price-Miller made their appearances in the top ten.

The top three did not change until the final lap, when Danny Martin slipped inside of Franek coming to the checkered flag. Peck was fourth, ahead of a fast-closing Shaffer. Hafertepe, Timms, Price-Miller, Chris Martin, and Macedo completed the top ten.

Fifty-eight cars competed in six heats, which were won by Franek, Shaffer, Grubaugh, Schmidt, Austin McCarl, and Eric Riggins. The four B Mains winners were Danny Sams, Max Stambaugh, Timms, and Terry McCarl.

In the undercard for the DIRTcar United CCC Mod Lites, Tim White went wire to wire for the second night in a row. Dylan White and Jimmy Wills made it an all Delaware podium. Ryan McKinney, also from the First State, was fourth. Justin Williams was fifth. Jeff Teeters and White claimed the heat wins. Teeters was best in the timed hot laps. His lap of 17.806 seconds was .003 better than White qualified.

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