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Dirt Racing

Li’l Haud Happy at the Grove

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Photo: Paul Arch

WILLIAMS GROVE, PA (July 23, 2021): Sheldon Haudenschild took his career first checkered flag at Williams Grove Speedway on the opening night of the Summer Nationals. While the driver from Wooster, OH gladly took the $10,000 purse, current Williams Grove points leader, Lance Dewease, won the hearts of the Pennsylvania faithful with a remarkably strong run from seventeenth to second.

Haudenschild, who joined his father, Jac, as a World of Outlaws victor at the Grove, expressed relief that he was finally able to get a win at the speedway. “I feel like I have a lot of laps around this place, but I could never get that win. We’ve been close, but it feels great to finally pull one off. Makes it sweeter that the 69 (Dewease) was behind us.”

Haudenschild had the pole for the twenty-five lap preliminary feature. Anthony Macri had the local contingent stoked with his second place starting spot. James McFadden lined up third, with David Gravel in fourth. Chad Trout rolled off in fifth, with Donny Schatz next to him. Aaron Reutzel and T.J. Stutts made up row four, with Brent Marks and Kraig Kinser in row five. The sixth row belonged to Brad Sweet and Logan Schuchart.

Haudenschild blasted off turn four into the lead, while Macri had some difficulty getting up to speed. Gravel and McFadden got by him by the first corner and Schatz and Stutts were hounding him. A quick caution for Jeff Halligan facing the wrong way in turn two caused a realignment, but Haudenschild again got away cleanly.

Macri lost another position in the early going, this one to Schatz, but his misfortunes continued. By lap five, he dropped to seventh. But things would get worse for the driver seeking his first 410 win at the Grove. Aaron Reutzel got sideways coming through turn four and Macri clipped him as he went by. Macri spun to the inside and his car was struck by Stutts, who did a slow roll bringing out the red. None of the drivers were injured and both Reutzel and Macri were able to return after making some hasty repairs.

That stoppage proved to be the last of the contest. But it was significant for another reason. It moved Lance Dewease into the eighth position for the restart and it brought the rest of the field back to him.

Three Rivers Karting

When the green light came on again, Haudenschild resumed his lead and he continued to ride the cushion. McFadden stayed within striking distance, while Gravel was keeping Schatz at bay.

But all eyes were glued on the blue machine of Dewease. Using his customary low line, Dewease was making some progress until he reached the car of Carson Macedo. Macedo was using the low line as well and it took Dewease several laps to get by him. However, once he completed the pass, there was no stopping Dewease.

Dewease reached the top five on lap 18, and the best was yet to come. He caught and passed Schatz with two to go and he did the same to McFadden on the white flag lap. While Dewease was closing in on Hadenschild, the Posse fans were hoping for a caution that would set up a dash for the cash.

Their hopes were not fulfilled and Haudenschild streaked under the checkered flag for the win. Dewease crossed in second, making the fans wonder what might have been had he started closer to the front.

“The driver put us behind in qualifying,” Dewease confessed. “We were able to pass cars; we’ve been able to pass cars all year here. But, it was twenty-five laps, that’s all that matters, and Sheldon won it.” Dewease noted that he had some difficulty getting by Macedo and Schatz, both of whom were using his preferred line, but he was pleased to make his charge from the ninth row to second. He received a $250 bonus for beingthe hard charger. Dewease was grateful, but he proclaimed that he did not want that award again on Saturday night.

McFadden claimed the other podium spot, followed by Schatz and Marks. Positions six through ten went to Gravel, Macedo, Sweet, Schuchart, and Danny Dietrich.

The four heat wins went to Schatz, Trout, Stutts, and Macri. Haudenschild won the Dash and Wayne Johnson took the B Main. Haudenschild also set the fastest time of the night, 17.104 seconds. Trout was second, followed by Stutts and Macri.

Dirt Racing

Troutman and Moran Share Night Two Wins at Lernerville’s Firecracker

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Photo by Paul Arch

SARVER, PA (June 21, 2024): Drake Troutman rallied to win his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in the first preliminary feature on night two of the Firecracker weekend at Lernerville Speedway. Also gracing victory lane was Devin Moran for the eleventh time in his LOLMDS career.

Troutman, the nineteen year old racer from Hyndman, Bedford County, PA, was very emotional after getting the checkered flag. “I don’t know what to say, I didn’t think we’d be getting one of these in a while.” After composing himself, Troutman dedicated the win to his late father, D.J. Troutman, who perished in 2021 during the height of the Covid pandemic. Troutman was also appreciative of the crew of his family owned machine. “We just have a bunch of kids, they are with me at the shop all hours of the day and night and they are with me up and down the road.”

Troutman grabbed the lead three laps into the fray, but he surrendered the point again to Mason Zeigler, who went from third to first on a lap four restart. They battled side by side for several laps before Troutman was able to regain the lead on lap ten. “I figured he’d have me around the top,” Troutman said, “but we were able to get back around on the bottom.”

Troutman and Zeigler made an all-Pennsylvania front row. Ross Robinson and Tim McCreadie were in row two, The third row consisted of Daulton Wilson and Trevor Collins. Garrett Alberson and Jared Miley took off from row four. Dan Stone and Clay Harris departed from row five. The sixth row featured Gregg Satterlee and Tyler Wyant.

Zeigler grabbed the early lead, with Troutman, Robinson, McCreadie, Wilson, and Alberson in tow. Trountman dipped to the inside to get the lead on lap three, just before a caution was shown for the spin by Forrest Trent.

Zeigler ripped the lip in turns one and two to assume control when the race resumed. Troutman battled back, though, and the duo went back and forth for a handful of laps. Troutman got the advantage coming through turns three and four to lead lap ten. Two laps later, McCreadie got by Zeigler.

Troutman had a comfortable lead at the time that McCreadie moved into second. However, Troutman caught the back markers, and that enabled McCreadie to cut into the lead.

Fortunately for Troutman, a caution flashed on again on lap sixteen, when Wilson spun in turn one while fighting for track position with a lapped car. Wilson was running third at the time. Robinson and Zeigler took evasive action, driving off the track, but they were not scored as part of the caution, so they regained their top five starting positions.

The last nine laps went off without a hitch. During that run, Robinson began to apply pressure to McCreadie for the second spot. He was able to slip ahead of McCreadie in the closing laps.

Troutman had a bit of a scare heading for the checkered flag. The lapped car of Jamie Lathroum suddenly slowed coming through turn four and he drifted up to the top of the speedway. Troutman was coming, and he checked up to avoid contact. Robinson was far enough back that he was unable to sneak by the leader.

Following the pair of sevens was McCreadie. Fourth went to Alberson and fifth to charging Jared Miley, who picked up three spots in the stretch run. Satterlee, Tyler Wyant, Trevor Collins, and Jimmy Owens completed the top ten.

Three Rivers Karting

Both Robinson and McCreadie were happy for Troutman. Robinson commended the youthful team for their hard work and perseverance. McCreadie remarked that Troutman is a good, clean racer, who would battle hard, but not make contact. Both drivers commented about tire choices as well, Robinson and Troutman were both on hard rubber. McCreadie went with a different choice, and he said that he was unable to turn off the cushion because of it.

The officials must have been listening to the post-race interviews, as they called an audible before the start of the second twenty-five lapper. They applied water to the surface and spent a good twenty minutes working the track in again. Meanwhile, the racers were sent back to their pits to make any adjustments in light of the unanticipated track preparation.

Although “a lot of guys were freaking out,” as Devin Moran put it, he proclaimed that “we didn’t change a thing.” He figured that the track would stay hard and he felt no changes were needed for the second feature. Moran was right.

Michael Norris and Devin Moran paired up in row one, with Hudson O’Neal and Jonathan Davenport right behind them. Row three belonged to Ricky THornton, Jr. and Ken Schaltenbrand. In row four, it was Chub Frank and Mike Marlar. Paired up in the fifth row were Spencer Hughes and Levi Yetter. The sixth row had Colton Flinner and John Garvin.

Norris jumped out to the early lead, and the partisan faithful were hoping that he, too, could capture his first LOLMDS win. Norris drew away from Moran by several car lengths in the first five laps. Racing behind them were Davenport, O’Neal, Thornton, and Schaltenbrand.

Norris’ bid for another Firecracker preliminary win exploded on laps five and six. The others came under the World of Outlaws sanction. He got up on two wheels in turn one. The miscue enabled Moran to drive by him. Norris brought the car back down and he was able to complete lap six in second place. However, the car shot straight off turn one, and he backed it into the distant guard rail at the south end of the track. He was able to refire and, after a quick check in the hot pit area, he was able to resume the race.

Moran raced out front for the remainder of the contest. Davenport ran in second for a lap or two before Thornton got by. Thornton could not catch Moran, though.

The final caution came on lap fifteen when Kyle Lukon clobbered the wall and some water barrels at the exit to turn four. On the ensuing restart, Marlar shot into second. O’Neal also moved ahead a notch in the running order.

At the finish, it was Moran, Marlar, Thornton, O’Neal, and Davenport. Max Blair advanced to sixth, ahead of Schaltenbrand, Frank, Carson Ferguson, and Hughes.

The evening’s fastest qualifiers were Drake Troutman, whose lap of 15.589 was best in Group A. Michael Norris was best overall when he topped Group B with a time of 15.524 seconds.

The six heat races went to Drake Troutman, Mason Ziegler, Ross Robinson, Michael Norris, Devin Moran, and Hudson O’Neal.

There were no B Mains.

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Dirt Racing

Thornton and Davenport Score Preliminary Wins on Night One of the Firecracker Weekend at Lernerville

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Photo: Paul Arch

SARVER, PA (June 20, 2024): Ricky Thornton, Jr. and Jonathan Davenport captured the twenty-five lap preliminary features on night one of the Firecracker weekend at Lernerville Speedway. The successful racers earned valuable points that will be used to set the starting lineups for the heat races on the final night of the event. Barring some misfortunes on night two, these stalwarts are likely to earn choice starting spots in Saturday’s heat races.

Thornton noted that the track was “super technical,” but he was “pretty efficient” at both ends of the speedway. He explained that he was able to get into the corners and to turn the car. He was a bit concerned by Devin Moran on a couple of the restarts, though. Thornton worried about his placement on the track. He decided to slide himself to try to take away any momentum that Moran could generate coming off turn four.

Thornton had the pole with Garrett Alberson on his right. Hudson O’Neal and Moran lined up behind them. Mike Marlar and Tim MCreadie occupied row three. Then came track favorite Michael Norris and Jimmy Owens. Max Blair and Spencer Hughes paired up in row five. John Garvin, Jr. and Alex Ferree claimed row six for the local contingent.

Thornton got a second chance at the start of the first preliminary feature. Moran charged from fourth to first on what would have been the opening lap. However, a four car tangle in turn four wiped that out. A complete restart was ordered.

On the second try, Thornton was better prepared. He grabbed the lead ahead of Alberson, Moran, O’Neal, Norris, Marlar, McCreadie, Owens, Blair, and Michael Duritsky. Before the racers could get into a steady rhythm, a caution for Ferree slowed the pace.

Three Rivers Karting

Thornton held the advantage on the restart, O’Neal and Moran worked by Alberson. Marlar displaced Norris, and Owens was hot on his heels.

The field got nineteen laps in before the next caution was displayed. Moran was the unfortunate fellow who got up over the berm between turns one and two. It was unclear whether he flattened a right rear tire or whether he merely packed the wheel with mud. In any event, he limped to the pits, ending his night a bit early.

Thornton completed the remaining three laps without incident to earn $5,000. Marlar crossed in second, followed by Alberson. Norris rallied to take fourth, a spot ahead of Owens. O’Neal slipped to sixth. McCreadie, Hughes, Blair, and Zeigler rounded out the top ten.

Marlar knew that he could not contend with Thornton in the three lap dash that ended the race. “I definitely thought that when he had the clean air for the last three laps, I know that I wasn’t going to get him.” He added that the cushion was “treacherous,” and he cited the problem encountered by Moran as an example. “I decided to just bring it home in second and put it in the trailer.”

Alberson was appreciative of the late race caution. He was on a soft right rear tire, and he was able to get to the bottom and to pass O’Neal. “If I want to race with these guys for the lead, we have some more work to do,” he added. Well, Alberson, and all other racers, will get a second opportunity to gather points in the double feature format to be used on night two.

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Dirt Racing

Ryan Smith Succeeds at Sharon; Cipriano and Konbau also Score

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Sharon Speedway

HARTFORD, OH (June 1, 2024): Ryan Smith romped to the win at Sharon Speedway on night three of Western Pennsylvania Speedweek despite Dave Blaney’s home field advantage. Smith, a former series champion, had the benefit of starting some five rows ahead of Blaney, but Blaney made an early charge to make things interesting. Meanwhile, Smith was stalking the early leader, Zane DeVault, and Smith sailed by him when DeVault brushed the outside wall coming off turn two. Unfortunately for the fans, a head to head battle between Smith and Blaney never materialized because the track took rubber, and Blaney’s top line which he used so effectively early was no longer there in the final stage of the race.

Ayden Cipriano (Big Block Modifieds) and Jeremy Kornbau (Allegheny Sprint Tour 305 Sprint Cars) also earned significant first wins.
“It’s pretty cool to beat Dave at his own place,” Smith quipped. He explained that he tried to make his car as wide as he could in the early going and, then, he mainly ran the low side when the rubber came in. While that strategy was successful for him, he did admit to having some trouble with lapped cars also using that line as the race progressed. Nonetheless, Smith put enough of them behind him to provide a safe margin of victory over Blaney.

Blaney, who thrilled the partisan crowd with his dash to the front in the early laps, characteristically downplayed his accomplishment. “I had a good start,” he said humbly. Then, he added with a chuckle, “I had a couple of closer calls than an old mane would like.” Blaney was referring to the time in the opening laps when he threaded the needle in turn three between two competitors who were fighting for position. “Then, the track got faster as the race went on,” he commented, making it difficult for him to chase down Smith.

DeVault, who soldiered on for third despite hurting his car, noted, “I tried to win it or wear it on top when I got into the wall, I was just hanging on after that. But, you know me, I’ll hang in there until the end.”

DeVault and Smith were the lucky ones who fished the front row starting spots in the top twelve re-draw promoted by a Lake Erie charter service. Smith had a helper, though, as he chose a child from the stands to be his designated fisherman. Mitch Harble and Logan McCandless drew into the second row, with Chase Metheney and Adam Kekich in the third. Then came Michael Bauer and Dale Blaney. Jordan Poirier and Dan Kuriger had row five, with Dave Kalb and Dave Blaney getting the two remaining fish available.

DeVault seized the early advantage, with Smith staying close. Harble, McCandless, Dale Blaney, and Poirier were next. However, the racer who drew the most attention in the early going was Dave Blaney. He shot from twelfth to seventh on the opening lap by using the high line that no one else dared to try.

Dave Blaney reached fourth by the time that DeVault had his shunt with the outside wall on lap six, and he was third when Matt Farnham stopped because his right rear tire was going flat.

On the ensuing restart, Blaney executed a perfect slider job in turn one to overtake DeVault. Smith, however, was in the lead, and he opened up several car lengths on Blaney.

Three Rivers Karting

Smith was into lapped traffic by the fourteenth round. He was able to pick off the back markers pretty easily. As he advanced through them, the going got tougher and Blaney was able to narrow the margin.

As the race moved into the final stages, Smith had several lapped cars separating himself from his pursuer. They were all running the bottom, and Blaney went back to the high side to try to get back into a position of contention. However, the top groove was no longer there for him, and he could not get past the lapped cars that were keeping pace with the leader. Blaney nestled in behind them and rode out the remaining laps for a second place finish that still satisfied the home town crowd.

DeVault was third, ahead of Dale Blaney and McCandless. Kekich, Poirier, Lee Jacobs, Kuriger, and Mark Smith rounded out the top ten. Jacobs was named the hard charger, at plus twelve.

Once again, five heats were required for the forty-six car field. Chalking up wins were Dave and Dale Blaney, Kekich, Ryan Smith, and Metheney. A.J. Flick and Lance Moss split the twin B Mains. Dave Blaney was the evening’s fastest qualifier with a lap of 15.835 seconds.

With three races complete, Dave Blaney has a 20 point lead over his brother, Dale. A.J. Flick holds down third one point back from Dale. Tim Shaffer and Mark Smith make up the top five.

Ayden Cipriano earned his first career Big Block Modified win, holding off Rex King, Jr. Cipriano benefited from a penalty imposed on leader Rick Regalski for jumping the lap seven restart. That infraction moved Cipriano to the pole and Regalski to third. King raced in the middle groove to move from sixth to second after the green light came on again.

Chas Wolbert was third, Will Thomas fourth, and Brad Rapp fifth. Positions six through ten went to Garrett Krummert, Regalski, Chad Reitz, Mike Kinney, and Steve Barr.

King and Thomas captured heat wins. There was no B Main.

Another first-time winner was Jeremy Kornbau in the Allegheny Sprint Tour A Main. It was the first time the 305 Sprint Cars appeared at the famous oval. Nolan Groves, Brett Brunkenhoefer, Roman Jones, and Jim Pattock were in the top five. Jarrett Rosencrance, Dale Schweikart, Andy Priest, Arnie Kent, and John Scarborough rounded out the top ten. Dale Schweikart, Pattock, and Priest won the preliminaries. There was no B Main.

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