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Peck and Blair Dominate at Williams Grove

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WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (March 26, 2021): Justin Peck, of Monrovia, IN, and Max Blair, of Titusville, PA, scored their first career victories at the venerable William Grove Speedway. Peck’s 410 Sprint car win was his second of the season in the mid-state area, while Blair’s ULMS Late Model triumph was his 31st with the traveling band.

Peck was happy to throw a monkey off his back at Williams Grove. “It feels real good because I was here a few times last year and I really sucked.” At the time, Peck was driving for veteran car owner John Trone, and things just did not work out for the team. Now Peck is the hired gun for the Pennsylvnia-based All Star team fielded by Tom Buch, and he couldn’t be happier. “We’ve seemed to hit it pretty well, We’ve been fast every time we hit the track.” Peck’s other win came at Port Royal Speedway. He also has a second to his credit at Lincoln Speedway. His overall performances have put him atop the prestigious Central Pennsylvania overall standings, a spot that he will relinquish when the All Stars northern schedule kicks off in a few weeks time.

Peck was fortunate in drawing good starting positions this night. He started on the pole and dominated his heat race. He lined up second for the feature event. Veteran T.J. Stutts snookered him on the initial start, but Peck got a second chance when Hunter Mackison brought out the first caution of the event. Peck was better prepared on the second try and he powered off turn four with a scant lead that he stretched over the first half of the race.

Behind Stutts and Peck for the start of the race were Steve Buckwalter and Mackison. Kyle Reinhardt and Ryan Taylor were in row three. The luck of the draw assigned a pair of 39s to row four, with Tyler Dietz on the inside and Anthony Macri on the outside. Kerry Madsen and Freddie Rahmer, Jr. occupied row five, with Justin Henderson and Brandon Rahmer pulling the two worst pills available. Tim Shaffer took off from position 14, while Matt Campbell departed from position 17. In the very last starting position was Danny Dietrich, who made the race as an alternate when Brett Shearer scratched from the event.

Peck sailed into the first turn with a two car length advantage over Stutts when the race was officially underway. Buckwalter and Reinhardt led Dietz and Taylor in the early going. A bobble by Reinhardt allowed Dietz to move ahead with three laps in the books.

The top five ran in order, but the margins grew, especially for Peck and Stutts. However, racers were making moves to gain entry into the top ten. Rahmer Jr. and Shaffer were showing th emost progress, while Macri was able to crack into the top ten by the time the halfway sign was shown to the field.

Tyler Courtney was challenging Macri for the position when he looped it in turn four with fourteen laps completed. While there were no changes up front on the restart, Shaffer quickly picked off two cars in turn one to snag fifth spot. Shaffer passed Buckwalter for fourth just as the second caution flag waived on lap 15. This time, it was for Robbie Kendall stopping on the front stretch. So, Shaffer had to surrender the position for the restart.

It took Shaffer two more trips around the old half mile to regain the fourth position. While he drew close to Dietz over the remainder of the race, he could not pull off the pass. Meanwhile, Peck and Stutts were gone.

A final caution appeared on lap 24 when Macri stopped in turn four, which set up a one lap dash for the cash. Peck blasted away from Stutts and corssed under the checkers for a $5,500 pay day. Stutss was second, followed by Dietz and Shffer. Buckwalter held on for fifth. Then came Rahmer, Jr., Reinhardt, Taylor, Dietrich and Madsen.

Three Rivers Karting

Heat wins were chalked up by Peck, Stutts, and Macri. The B Main went to Lucas Wolfe. Fan favorite Lance Dewease scratched from the B Main.

In the ULMS Late Models, Blair earned the pole position by setting the fast time in the pole scamble. Next to him was Andy Haus. Coleby Frye and Mike Lupfer made up the second row. The other scramble participants, Dylan Yoder and Kyle Lee had the third row. Drake Troutman and Gene Knaub were in the fourth row, with Jason Covert and Shaun Jones in row five. Ryan Scott and Gary Stuhler rolled away from the sixth row.

Blair, pictured above after his Firecraker 100 win at Lernerville last year, took command from the start and Haus raced along in second. Frye was a close third, with Lee, Yoder, Covert, and Troutman following. The field got strung out, but Troutman was able to capitalize upon an error by Covert.

As in the Sprint Car feature, the caution was displayed on lap 14 when Deshawn Gingerich spun in turn one. On the restart, Covert slipped by the teenager, Troutman, and he began to press Yoder for fifth. Covert gained the position and soon thereafter he began to work on Lee for fifth.

With 18 laps completed, that battle was getting hotter. There as slight contact between Lee and Covert in turn four, but they were able to keep moving. Troutman was not as fortunate, as he spun to avoid contact with Lee and Covert.

Blair went on to complete the remaining dozen laps without incident. Frye and Covert worked by Haus, who started to fade with just a few laps left in the race. Yoder crossed in fifth. Lee, Jones, Knaub, Justin Weaver, and Scott completed the top ten.

Heat wins went to Lupfer, Blair, and Yoder. There was no B Main. Brian Bernheisel sailed out of the park in his heat race and had to be extricated from his car. Bernheisel was taken to a local hospital complaining of back pain, but no word of his condition was released by the conclusion of the program.

Blair’s win was quite a relief. He spent most of the week with his son at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. The youngster returned home and remained with his mother to watch the race. They had to relocate to a friend’s home though because the high winds knocked out the power to the Blair homestead. It feels really cool to win a race here,” Blair noted. “We’ve been here a few times before and now I will look forward to coming back.”

The ULMS Late Models will be back on the card in two weeks, along with the 410 Sprints. On Good Friday, Williams Grove will host a Sprint Car triple header. Joining the 410 Sprints will be the USAC East Coast traditional (non-wing) Sprints and the PASS/IMCA 305 Sprints. Coming up on April 16 will be the first visit of the All Stars Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars for the annual Tommy Classic. That race honors the late Hall of Famer, Tommy Hinnershitz.

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Dirt Racing

Sodeman, Brachmann, and Seippel Win Before Rain Sets in at Tri-City Raceway Park

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Photo: Sodeman Racing

FRANKLIN, PA (April 18, 2021): Defending 410 Sprint track champion opened the defense of his Shawgo Real Estate title in fine form, leading all 25 laps. Joining him in victory lane were Chad Brachmann and Josh Seippel in the Krill Recycling 358 Modifieds and Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, respectively. The 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks completed only two laps before wet conditions forced a suspension of the race. It will be completed next week.

In the Shawgo Real Estate 410 Sprint Car division Jack Sodeman, Jr. held off pesky New York driver Matt Farnham to capture the first round of action. Sodeman had to to endure a green-white-checkered finish. Farnham made a run at the veteran from North Jackson, OH, but he could not draw up next to him.

“I’m out of shape for an old man on this kind of track,” Sodeman said with a smile. “I had to go into protection mode the last few laps.”

Sodeman and Farnham brought the Shawgo Real Estate 410 Sprint Cars to the first feature green flag of the season. Carl Bowser and George Hobaugh fired off from row two, and Darrin Gallagher and Brandon Matus from the third. Brandon Spithaler and Bob Felmlee were paired off in row four. Leyton Wagner and Mike Lutz, Jr. started in row five.

Sodeman fired first and he led the field into turn one. Farnham tucked into second, followed by Hobaugh, Bowser, and Brandon Matus. The action only lasted for three laps, when the wing collapsed on the machine of divisional rookie Jeremy Weaver.

Sodeman led the next 21 laps without interruption, but Farnham remained within striking distance throughout. Hobaugh raced along in third. The battle on the speedway was for the fourth position between Brandon Matus and Brandon Spithaler. Carl Bowser joined the fray as well.

At the checkers, it was Sodeman over Farnaham, Hobaugh, Brandon Matus, and Bowser. Spithaler fell back to sixth
in the final two-lap dash. Felmee and Gallagher were next. Brent Matus and Kyle Colwell completed the top ten. Colwell had a scare in the early going when he did a little off-roading between turns one and two. He was able to keep control and completed the entire distance.

Heat winners this night were Jack Sodeman, Jr. and Carl Bowser. There was no B Main.

In the Krill Recycling 358 Modifieds, Jeremiah Shingledecker and Eric Beggs had the front row covered. Jimmy Holden and and Kyle Fink started in the second row. Nick Joy and Kevin Hoffman lined up in row three. Curt Bish and Chad Brachmann came from row four and Max Smoker and Nathan McDowell pulled away from row five.

Chad Brachmann carried the winner’s share north across the border to the Empire State. He methodically worked his way to the front. Then, he used a powerful outside move in a late race restart to pass Shingledecker, who led from the start.

Three Rivers Karting

Jimmy Holden chased Shingledecker most of the way. He also made a feint on Shingledecker when the race had its final restart with just three laps remaining. He drew up inside of Shingledecker, but he could not pull off the pass.

At the finish, it was Brachmann over Shingledecker, Holden, Hoffman, and Nathan McDowell. D.J. Schrader, Max Smoker, Curtis Bish, Jr., and Eric Beggs rounded out the top ten.

Jeremiah Shingledecker and Chad Brachmann prevailed in the preliminaries. There was no B Main.

In the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, Doug Iorio, II and William Hurrelbrink paced the field for the start of the A Main. Michael Miller and Josh Seippel lined up behind them, followed by Tyler Wyant and Pat Fielding. Josh Blum and Darr Diegelman started in row four Curtis J. Bish and Mike Bordt had row five.

It was the hometown hero, Josh Seippel, who took the win by a narrow margin over Tyler Wyant. Early leader, William Hurrelbrink, held on for third. Michael Miller and Doug Iorio, II completed the top five. Pat Fielding, Darr Diegelman, Mike Bordt, Josh Blum, and Curt Bish, Jr. completed the top ten.

Michael Miller and William Hurrelbrink led their heat races to the finish line. There was no B Main.

The 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks completed just two laps before te track became too wet to continue. D.J. Macrae had the lead when the race was called. He will start on the pole when the race resumes. Pat Hanlon, II and Dalton Speer were the heat winners.

Next week, Tri-City Raceway Park will present another Sunday Thunder program, along with the balance of the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stock feature.

Shawgo Real Estate 410 Sprint Cars: Jack Sodeman, Jr., Matt Farnham, George Hobaugh, Brandon Matus, Carl Bowser, Brandon Spithaler, Bob Felmlee, Darrin Gallagher, Brent Matus, Kyle Colwell, Steve Bright, Chase Matheny, Leyton Wagner, Jeremy Weaver, Mike Lutz, Jr. (DNS).

Krill Recycling 358 Modifieds: Chad Brachmann, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Jimmy Holden, Kevin Hoffman, Nathan McDowell, D.J. Schrader, Max Smoker, Nick Joy, Curtis Bish, Jr., Eric Beggs, Kyle Fink, Tyler Clark, Ryan Riffe, Greg Martin (DNS), Sid Unverzagt, Jr. (DNS), Lonnie Riggs (DNS).

Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks: Josh Seippel, Tyler Wyant, William Hurrelbrink, Michael Miller, Doug Iorio, II, Pat Fielding, Darr Diegelman, Mike Bordt, Josh Blum, Curt Bish, Jr., Douglas Eck (DNS), Curtis J. Bish (DNS).

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Dirt Racing

Logan Wagner Scores One for the Home Team at Port Royal

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Photo: Paul Arch

PORT ROYAL, PA (April 17, 2021): Logan Wagner defended the home turf against the invasion of the All Star Circuit of Champions. The Keith Kauffman Classic was his first win of the season at Port Royal Speedway where he is the two-time and defending track champion. To get the win, though, Wagner had to fight off Anthony Macri in a pair of green-white-checkered finishes.

“It is a weight lifted off my shoulders, we won against the All Stars,” Wagner exclaimed. Wagner seemingly had the race in hand until that caution, which came on lap 29 of 30. Under series rules, the race had to have two consecutive green flag laps. Hence, the extra circuit and the enhanced drama.

Wagner got the jump on Macri, but a spin by Blaine Heimbach gave Macri another shot at the leader. This time, Macri had the better run into one, and he pulled alongside Wagner. They raced side by side through turns one and two and down the backstretch as well. “I rolled the wing forward, I was pushing tight, and I had to chop him,” Wagner explained of his decisive move in three to seal the deal.

For his part, Macri was pleased that he salvaged a second place. “I had some fire on my ass,” he said. After setting the fast time of the night at 15.606 seconds, Macri got impatient in his heat and he slammed the wall between turns one and two. He was towed from the track, forfeiting a position in the Dash and relegating him to the pole of the B Main, which he easily won. Macri had to wonder what might have been had he not run low on fuel in the final laps. “We got next to him and ran out of fuel.”

Tyler Courtney and Jeff Halligan locked up the front row with their Dash victories. Jacob Allen, who made the long tow back from Texas after consecutive rain-outs with the World of Outlaws, lined up to Wagner’s inside in row two. Ian Madsen and Cory Eliason were next in line. Tony Stewart and Kerry Madsen were paired up in row four. Rico Abreu and Danny Dietrich started in the fifth row, with Paul McMahan and Zeb Wise behind them.

Courtney pulled ahead of Halligan at the drop of the green flag. Allen and Wagner followed, then Ian Madsen and Eliason. Courtney began to stretch his advantage and it looked as though the former USAC champion may score his first win with the All Stars.

However, Wagner was on the charge, and he moved into second by lap ten. He began to cut into Sunshine’s lead as the laps clicked off. The fans began to buzz as Wagner drew in on the leader. He was making ground with sweeping runs on the inside of turns one and three.

Three Rivers Karting

With 21 laps completed, Wagner dove into the first turn and got alongside Courtney. He powered off the second turn with the lead and he started to pull away, much to the delight of the partisan crowd.

A caution on lap 24 for Kerry Madsen’s flat tire bunched the field up for the first time since the initial start. Wagner had the point, with Courtney keeping Allen at bay. Fourth was Macri, who passed seventeen cars without the benefit of any cautions. The younger Madsen restarted in fifth, followed by Stewart, Lance Dewease, Dietrich, Abreu, and Eliason.

It took a couple of laps for Macri to get some heat back in that big right rear tire. He surged into second with 28 laps complete, but Wagner had several car lengths on him. However, Dylan Cisney set the stage for the final act when his flat brought out the second caution of the race. While the field was circulating under the yellow, Courtney’s right rear tire went down as well, ending his superb performance.

As noted, Macri had two chances to overhaul Wagner, but he could not pull it off.

Wagner scored the popular win, with Macri taking second for the home team. Ian Madsen was the first traveler to cross the finish line. Allen was fourth, with Dewease in fifth. Dietrich, Stewart, Mike Wagner, Abreu, and Eliason rounded out the top ten.

Heat winners were Eliason, Abreu, Halligan, Allen, and Kerry Madsen.

In the Limited Late Model feature, Trent Brenneman led wire to wire in the non-stop finale. Andrew Yoder rallied for second after giving up a few positions in the early going. Devin Hart, Shawn Shoemaker, and Barry Miller completed the top five.

Port Royal will wrap up the weekend with a visit from the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. The Limited Lates will be the support division on Sunday evening. A sprint Car triple header will take place on April 24. Joining the 410 Sprints will be the 360 Sprints of the United Racing Club and the PASS 305 Sprints. On May 1, the speedway will host the 410 Sprints, the Super Late Models, and the PASS 305s.

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Dirt Racing

Kyle Larson Wins at Williams Grove

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Photo: Paul Arch

WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (April 16, 2021): Kyle Larson made his first 410 Sprint Car race of the season a memorable one, capturing the Tommy Hinnershitz Classic at Williams Grove Speedway. Larson, who admitted to having some rustiness earlier in the night, got better as the night went on. He won his Dash, which put him on the front row beside his good friend, Lance Dewease, and then he chased down the veteran who was seeking his 100th career win at the track. Larsen went on to score a convincing win.

Also getting to victory lane was the defending 358 Sprint Car champion, Derek Locke.

“I used to hate this place,” Larson said. His early struggles at the track were well documented. “But, now that I have a fast car here, it’s really fun.” Larson went so far as to say that Williams Grove is now one of his favorite venues. And, why not? In the last twelve months, he tabbed three wins at the track. Larson clearly enjoys racing at Williams Grove and going head to head
with his pal.

“I knew that I had a really good car,” Larson noted. “I was catching (Dewease) at both ends. I showed him the nose in three and he was getting tight.” Larson sailed by Dewease on the outside of turns one and two and never looked back. Still, Larson was concerned that the wily veteran might chase him down in traffic. “He has a lot of laps here,” he explained.

Indeed, Dewease was closing in on Larson until he encountered the lapped car of T.J. Stutts. It took Dewease several laps to get past Stutts and, by then, Larson’s lead was insurmountable.  Dewease noted that his car got really tight as the race went on. “We weren’t very good after that red flag with three laps in. He (Larson) got by me and he checked out.” So Dewease must wait a little while longer to claim the big win.

Dewease and Larson had the front row by virtue of their respective Dash wins. Freddie Rahmer, Jr. and Ian Madsen were in the second row, with Anthony Macri and Tim Shaffer right behind. Kerry Madsen rolled off from row four, along with Tony Stewart, the surprise winner the night before at Virginia Motor Speedway. Tyler Courtney and Zeb Wise were in row five and Paul McMahan and Zach Hampton started from the sixth verse.

Dewease fired first and opened a three car length advantage over the NASCAR star. Ian Madsen held down third, ahead of Rahmer, Shaffer, Macri, and Wise. Dewease maintained his advantage through the first three laps before the red was displayed for Stutts, who turned his car over midway down the backstretch. The damage was minimal, and Stutts was able to pit for some repairs to enable him to continue.

After that stoppage, Dewease resumed command. However, Larson was stalking him and he made several aggressive runs to the inside of turn three. With each successive lap, Larson drew closer. He did pull alongside Dewease in three with nine laps completed and he made the winning move at the opposite end of the track on the tenth circuit.

Three Rivers Karting

Soon thereafter, the only caution was displayed for Cap Henry’s spin between turns three and four. Dewease got to start on Larson’s tail, but he could not capitalize on that opportunity. Larson rolled into turn one without any threat from Dewease and he completed the remaining 20 laps without seeing any light blue flashing next to him.

After the caution, the driver making progress was Rahmer. After falling back a few spots in the first third of the race, Rahmer found some speed in the middle stage of the contest. He regained the third position on lap 12 and he began to close in on Dewease. “The middle part of the race we were really good,” Rahmer commented. “We left a little on the table though.” While Rahmer made things interesting, he could not get close enough to Dewease to challenge for second.

While Rahmer was coming forward, Shaffer started to fall back. Shafer raced in fourth in the early going but gave up several positions over the second half of the race.

At the checkers, it was Larson, Dewease, Rahmer, Ian Madsen, and Macri. Tony Steward was sixth, followed by Shaffer, Kerry Madsen, Courtney, and McMahan.

The heat winners were Ian Madsen, Stewart, Kerry Madsen, and Shaffer. Brett Shearer took the B Main over Danny Dietrich, who made his second engine change of the night in time to start the A Main. Dewease was the night’s fastest qualifier with a lap of 16.316

“It was good to get the year started right,” Derek Locke said about his victory. After starting in the eighth spot, he steadily advanced to the second spot in the early going. He chased Tyler Brehm for five or six laps. The leaders were dicing in traffic and narrowly avoided a spinning car in turn three near the halfway mark. For the restart, Locke slid the wing back a bit and he was able to drive past Brehm easily in turns one and two.

Brehm followed Locke the rest of the way. Chris Frank, Cody Fletcher, and Kyle Denmyer completed the top five. Chad Criswell, Brett Wanner, Matt Findley, Scott Fisher, and Zach Newlin were the next five across the finish line.

Wanner, Brehm, and Denmeyer won their heat races. There was no B Main.

Williams Grove will return to action next week with a Yellow Breeches 500 race night featuring the 410 and 358 Sprint cars. Then, on April 30, the ASCS National Tour will invade the speedway, along with the United Racing Club. These organizations will bring some of the best 360 Sprint racers in the country. The 410 Sprints will also be on the card.

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