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Dirt Racing

Scelzi’s Late Race Drama Big Hit at Knoxville

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Ken's Racing Photos

KNOXVILLE, IA (August 7, 2021): Giovanni Scelzi saved his best for last in the finals of the 360 Nationals at Knoxville Raceway. After stalking Daryn Pittman for most of the race, Scelzi took the lead with two to go, lost it at the wite flag, and got it back again in turn two on the final lap. The crowd responded enthusiastically to the young driver’s heroics, and the pilot from Fresno, CA loved being in the spotlight.

“I was running as hard as I could,” Scelzi said. “The car was really good. God, I love Bernie (Steubgen, his crew chief). I can’t believe it. To win a crown jewel like this is unbelievable,” he added. Scelzi, who is affectionately known as “Hot Sauce,” gave props to his adversary, the crafty veteran Daryn Pittman. “Pittman was good on the bottom, but I just never gave up. He’s such a smart racer, he broke my momentum going into one, and luckily I could drive back underneath him.”

Pitman was dejected, but deferential. “I got beat. Those are hard to take as a driver. I thought that we were good, but he’s been good ever since he unloaded here last week. To get that close and let it go on the last lap is tough.” Pittman said that he was surprised that Scelzi did not take his line away when he got the lead with two to go. “I think the bottom was the preferred line and I was surprised that he didn’t come across my nose and take my line, but he kept his line and raced me clean.”

The third place finisher, Justin Henderson, was satisfied with his car and he was pleased with his run from eighth to third. Then, he mused, “if we had started a few rows farther up, we might have had something. Eighth to third is nothing to kick the dirt about and we’re really proud of this team.”

Points accumulated on the qualifying nights determined the starting lineup for the nation’s most illustrious 360 Sprint Car race. Shane Golobic, who changed a motor after hot laps, started on the pole, with Pittman by his side. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., the winner on opening night, was paired up with Scelzi, who triumphed on the second night. In row three, Terry McCarl, the winner of six prior intallments of this classic, was matched up with perennial Knoxville 360 champion, Clint Garner. Row four had the second member of the McCarl clan, Carson, alongside Henderson. Lynton Jeffrey and Skyler Prochaska were in row five. Row six had a pair of Aussies, Scott Bogucki and Brooke Tatnell.

Pittman powered off the fourth turn and swooped to the low line entering turn one ahead of the pack. Golobic, Scelzi, Garner, Hafertepe, Henderson, TMac, and Tatnell followed. Soon, Scelzi drove by Golobic and he began to close in on the leader.

Pittman was glued to the inside and Scelzi was flogging the cushion. They played a high speed game of cat and mouse for most of the race. Scelzi was building momentum as the field completed the tenth round. He came off turn two with the lead, but Pittman battled back and he drove by coming through turns three and four to regain the lead.

Soon thereafter, Brian Brown was caught up in a skirmish as he was fighting for a position toward the rear of the field. He turned the car over in turn two, The cafr was taken to the pits and inspected by his crew. It was pronounced raceworthy and he returned to the fray. However, he lasted only a few more laps before retiring. That would be the only stoppage of the race.

Pittman resumed the lead on the restart, but Scelzi stayed close. Coming to the two-lap signal, Scelzi had a run on Pittman. Pittman’s car wiggled a bit as he came off turn four and Scelzi scooted past. Pittman fought back and he regained the lead as they raced toward the white flag.

Three Rivers Karting

Pittman changed up his strategy and he drove across the middle of turn one and caught the cushion ahead of Scelzi. Scelzi stayed in the throttle though, and he was able to turn under Pittman as they went through the second corner. Scelzi led into three, but Pittman could not get close enough to make a move on him for the win.

Scelzi swept under the checkers 0.579 seconds ahead of Pittman to claim the $15,000 top prize. Henderson raced up to third in the closing laps. Golobic and Tatnell were fourth and fifth. Hafertepe, Garner, Bogucki, Terry McCarl, and Tyler Courtney completed the top ten.

In the B Main, Cory Eliason went wire to wire to earn a transfer to the A Main. Sammy Swindell overtook Ryan Giles late in the race to get second. Following Swindell to get the last transfers were Austin McCarl and Brian Brown. Giles faded to fifth, missing the cut. Derek Hagar and Josh Higday crashed simultaneously in turn one on the opening lap, but neither driver was hurt. They must have dropped some debris, though, as three racers got flat right rear tires with nine laps complete.

The C Main was marked with a spectacular crash on the opening lap. Christopher Thram got the worst of it, but Matt Covington was also involved. Neither driver was hurt in the spectacle. The lengthy clean-up included a repair to the catch fence. When the race got going, a pair of California drivers, Michael Faccinto and Colby Copeland, led the parade. Kyle Reinhardt and Calvin Landis also earned transfers. Harli White and Connor Leoffler crashed in separate incidents during the contest. Neither driver was injured.

The D Main opened the program. Covington and Thram ran one-two for the entire distance. Harli White, Casey Friedrichsen, Gunner Ramey, and Tanner Holmes made the transfers.

A Main: Giovanni Scelzi, Daryn Pittman, Justin Henderson, Shane Golobic, Brooke Tatnell, Sam Hafertepe, Jr., Clint Garner, Scott Bogucki, Terry McCarl, Tyler Courtney, Cory Eliason, Matt Juhl, Carson MCCarl, Brady Bacon, Sawyer Phillips, Terry McCarl, Jamie Ball, Sammy Swindell, Austin McCarl, Skyler Prochaska, Garrett Williamson, Blake Hahn, Ian Madsen, Brian Brown.

B Main: Cory Eliason, Sammy Swindell, Austin McCarl, Brian Brown, Ryan Giles, Kaleb Johnson, Dylan Westbrook, J.J. Hickle, Jeff Swindell, Davey Heskin, Calvin Landis, Greg Wilson, Michael Faccinto, Coleby Copeland, Kyle Reinhardt, Jake Martens, Matt Moro, Roger Crockett, John Carney, II, Jack Dover, Jake Bubak, Seth Brahmer, Josh Hogday, Derek Hagar.

C Main: Michael Faccinto, Colby Copeland, Kyle Reinhardt, Calvin Landis, Devin Kline, Joe Beaver, Chris Martin, Tanner Holmes, Cody Ledger, Ricky Montgimery, Riley Goodno, Chance Mortin, Gunner Ramey, Austin Miller, Casey Friedrichsen, Tanner Carrick, Connon Leoffler, Harli White, Josh Baughman, Ryan Roberts, Ryan Leavitt, Nathan Mills, Christopher Thram, Matt Covington.

D Main: Matt Covington, Christopher Thram ran, Harli White, Casey Friedrichsen, Gunner Ramey, Tanner Holmes, Rob Kubli, Chase Dunham, Kade Morton, Ryan Bickett, Wes Wofford, Slater Helt, Elliott Amdahl, Brandon Halverson, Travis reber, Brandon Anderson, Alan Zoutte, Vance Wofford, Mike Johnston, John Anderson, Boyd Peterson, Devon Dobie, Chase Porter, Jason Schultz.

Dirt Racing

Penn Ohio Pro Stocks Invade Tri City Raceway Park

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FRANKLIN, PA (July 10, 2024): This Sunday, July 14, the spotlight will shine on the Pro Stock division at the Tri City Raceway Park. The region’s top runners will be on hand, as the event will be part of the Penn Ohio Pro Stock Series. Of course, the track’s regulars will be there representing the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks.

“The Pro Stock class has long been part of the tradition at Tri City Raceway Park, and we are proud to have this battle among the best in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio at our track,” said the new owner Josh Shiffer.

“And, last week’s feature was a great example of the competitiveness that the Pro Stocks bring,” he added. Rod Laskey scored his first win of the season by holding off a strong challenge from Jackson Humanic, who was subbing for Josh Seippel. Seippel will be back from vacation in time for the invasion of the Penn Ohio series, in which he also competes. And, we know that Humanic will be hungry for a win after his strong finish last week.

Another track regular expected to be on hand will be Bobby Whitling. The “Seneca Slider” missed the last race due to a fuel pump failure detected at his garage. Tim Bish, a multi-time winner at Tri City this season, may return as well. He has been sidelined by an engine failure.

There will be plenty other talented drivers also carrying the Tri City flag, too. Pat Fielding, Doug Iorio, II, Russ Coyne, Jason Kimmy, Aaron Smith, Andrew Hammond, Jake Whitling, Charlie McMillen, Matt Bernard, and Hunter Exley are some whose names will be familiar to the Tri City fans.

The invaders will include Chris Schneider, who has already been a winner at Tri City this year. Tyler Dietz, Joey Zambotti, Chase Lambert, Brandon Connor, Jason Fosnaught, Brett Hutira, and Tommy Dembowski are among the Penn Ohio Series regulars who are expected as well.

This will be a unique opportunity for the Pro Stock fans to see many of the top stars on the track together, as the Sunday race date eliminates schedule conflicts for so many of the competitors.

But, there will be three other classes in action also. The Krill Recycling 410 Sprint Cars will be on the card, along with the 4 Your Car Connection RUSH Sprints. And, the 21st Century Energy Group 358 Modifieds will be back after their brief hiatus.

On Sunday evening, Matt Farnham and Michael Bauer provided a last lap thrill in the 410 Sprint Car ranks, while A.J. Flick was closing in on them both! John Mollick picked up his second win of the season with young Blaze Myers right behind him in the Rush Sprinters.

Three Rivers Karting

While many of his competitors were enjoying the week off from racing, 358 Modified point leader Chad Reitz was at Tri City helping his friend, Bob Felmlee. Felmlee is the points leader in the Krill Recycling 410 Sprints. Reitz will be ready with his Ford powered Modified, the only Blue Oval among the Bowtie Brigade. Eric Gabany will probably be at the controls of Steve Slater’s car once again, as medical issues have kept Slater out of the seat for the last couple of weeks. Hayden and Jimmy Holden, Kyle Fink, Lenny Liebold, III, Makayla Shannon, Frank Guidace, Eric Beggs, Troy McGregor, and many others will be looking for their first wins this season.

Regular event ticket pricing will apply for this exciting event. That means adult admission will be $15. Seniors (ages 62 and up), students (ages 11 through 16), and military will be $13, all with proper identification. The children (ages 10 and under) will be admitted for free, as usual at Tri City. The Pit Passes will be $35, with the exception of those required for the infants (ages 2 and under). The youngsters will be pitside for just $15.

The pit gates will be open at 2 p.m. and the spectator gates will open at 4 p.m. Racing will begin at 6 p.m. There will be practice for the Pro Stocks before the racing begins in earnest.

If you cannot make it to Tri City Raceway Park this week, consider the weekend doubleheader coming up on July 20 and 21. Saturday will feature a Demolition Derby and an Enduro. Next will be a Sunday Thunder program, along with Bike races for the children. Helmets will be required for all riders.

Also, mark your racing calendars for the return of the FAST on Dirt Sprint Car Series on July 28.

The divisional sponsors of Tri City Raceway Park for 2024 are: Krill Recycling, LLC (410 Sprint Cars), 21st Century Energy Group (358 Modifieds), Hovis Auto & Truck Supply (Pro Stocks), and 4 Your Car Connection (RUSH Sprint Cars).

All competitors at Tri City Raceway Park will be eligible for the Marsh Heating & Cooling Heat Race Challenge. The driver that wins the most heat races over the courseof the season, regardless of the class, will receive a special award. Currently leading in that category is Tim Bish.

Other marketing partners of Tri City Raceway Park for 2024 include: Erie Beer, Wab-Tec (manufacturer of locomotive engines), Schaeffer Lubricants, Keystone Transit (school buses), Blue Ox Timbers (buyers of timberland timber land management), Constable Refuse (residential and commercial garbage collectors), First Rate Realty (real estate sales), Landscape Connection (portable toilets and landscape supplies), KEI-Klapec Express Inc. (trucking company), BKI-Bert Klapec Inc. (excavation and demolition), Shambaugh Towing, Gibson Hill Automotive (auto repair), McCandless Ford Sales (located in Mercer and Meadville), McCandless Trailer Sales (located in Mercer and Meadville), Big Dog RC (remote controlled cars and race track), McGregor Excavating, Les Frickshun (lubricants and undercoating), Bish Heating & Cooling, Wet Hose LLC (pressure washing), Heffern Septic Service, Tionesta Builders Supply (located in Tionesta and Shippenville), UCIP-United Community Independence Program (housing and services for the handicapped), Close Racing Supply, Billy’s Garage & Towing, Oakland-Rampart Equipment (makers of centrifugal dryers, wash systems, and separators), Shaw Industries (machine shop), Welding Technologies, Froggie Radio, and Hards Welding.

Remember that you will need to check the Facebook page, Tri City Raceway Park, for current information. The former website is not updated and will soon be replaced.

Tri-City Raceway Park is located just a few miles north of Franklin, PA, at 3430 State Route 417 in Oakland Township. Professional auto racing will be presented in a family friendly atmosphere most Sunday evenings from May through Labor Day weekend.

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Dirt Racing

Pierce Prevails at Sharon on Night One

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Sharon Speedway

HARTFORD, OH (July 12, 2024): Bobby Pierce chipped away again at Brandon Sheppard’s point lead on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series tour. His win on night one of the Sharon Showdown was worth $10,000. It was his third consecutive win.

Pierce mounted hard tires for the forty lapper, while many of his adversaries went with softer rubber, The decision seemed to be foolish at the start of the race, as Ryan Gustin got a hole shot on him. “It was slimy when we took the green and the hard tire did not like that. I lost four spots on the start,” Pierce noted. It took a while for the tires to come in, but, when they did, he took off. Pierce steadily moved forward, picking up most of the positions that he gave away at the start. Then, he chased down Gustin for the lead on lap twenty-one. In the second half of the race, it was a matter of keeping the tires warm, especially under the yellow. But, he added, “the last ten laps, I was hanging on. The track was tricky.”

Cade Dillard, who finished second, was one of the racers on softer tires. “We had a good car, but he (Pierce) just kept getting better and better.” Nonetheless, Dillard was pleased with the podium finish. “We needed a good run with all the bad luck lately. Hopefully, we can do better tomorrow night, but I’ll take a podium finish all night long.”

Gustin was in control for the first half of the race, but he struggled after losing the lead to Pierce. “We missed it a little bit on the set-up. It is what it is. It’s what these two-day shows are like. If you don’t win on the first night, you learn from it and go on to the next one.”

Pierce drew the pole, with Nick Hoffman on his flank. Gustin lined up in third, with Brian Shirley as his dance partner. Dillard and Michael Norris were in row three. Dennis Erb, Jr. and Brandon Sheppard made up row four. The fifth belonged to Kyle Bronson and Cody Overton. Row six paired Dustin Sorenson and Tyler Breuning.

Pierce had no grip at the start of the race, and he slid up the track coming off turn four. That left the bottom open for Gustin and he quickly filled the void. Gustin blasted by Pierce and Hoffman, who settled into second. Dillard took third on the opening lap. Then came Pierce, Shirley, Erb, Bronson, Sorenson, Max McLaughlin, and Norris.

Dillard moved into second before the first caution, which came on lap two. By lap five, Hoffman regained second, and Pierce followed him into third.

Gustin built up a commanding lead, and he was already into lapped traffic on lap nine. This allowed Hoffman and Pierce to start to narrow the margin.

On lap eighteen, Pierce worked by Hoffman in traffic. Meanwhile, Gustin cleared several lapped cars and he had a bit of a clear track ahead of him. But Pierce’s tires were coming in, and he chipped away at the lead. It only took him three laps to catch and pass Gustin.

Three Rivers Karting

Pierce opened a slight advantage, but a caution on lap twenty-five eliminated that. On the ensuing restart, Dillard rolled off the top of turn two to take second away from Gustin and Bronson charged past Gustin coming off turn four. Bronson could not keep the position, as Gustin rallied to take it back on lap twenty-nine.

Pierce built up a comfortable lead in the final stage of the race. However, he caught a trio of lapped cars that were fighting for position. Pierce opted to follow them the last couple of laps instead of trying to poke his nose into the middle of their contest. This enabled Dillard to close, but he ran out of laps and he could not mount a challenge for the lead.

Pierce, Dillard, and Gustin grabbed the first three positions. Bronson was fourth, with Hoffman picking up the fifth spot. Sixth through tenth went to Sheppard, Norris, Sorenson, Shirley, and Erb.

Gregg Satterlee was the hard charger, advancing seven positions to take thirteenth in the pay line.

There were four heats, with Gustin, Pierce, Shirley, and Hoffman taking the laurels.Dave Hess, Jr. and Alex Ferree captured the B Mains. Gustin set the best time overall, topping Group A with a lap of 15.238 seconds. Shirley topped Group B with a lap fo 15.442 seconds.

In the RUSH Sprint Car feature, John Mollick charged from his outside front row starting spot to lead the opening lap, ahead of Gale Ruth, Jr., Brent Rhebergen, Blaze Myers, Trent Marshall, and Arnie Kent. While Mollick continued to lead, Rhebergen and Myers battled for the second spot. However, that came to an end when Myers got up over the berm in turn four, losing several positions before slowing to bring out the caution with six laps remaining.

Kent stepped up to challenge Rhebergen for second and he secured the position with two to go. Kent chased Mollick to the finish. Rhebergen was third, followed by Charlie Utsinger and Bill Cunningham. Ruth, Marshall, Amelia Clay, Billy Myers, and Curt Emings completed the top ten.
Ruth and Mollick split the heat wins. There was no B Main.

The Econo Modified feature closed out the night. The twenty lapper was shortened to fourteen laps because the twenty-minute time limit expired. Dennis Lunger passed Jeremy Double on the final restart to get the win.

Jacob Eucker, Jarrett Young, and Andy Buckley completed the top five. Buzz Seitz, Arianna Samuelson, Zack Eller, Carter Bidwell, and Troy Pinch were the next five finishers.

Double, Seitz, and Eucker won the preliminaries. There was no B Main.

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Dirt Racing

Schuchart Makes it Two

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File Photo

HAGERSTOWN, MD (July 4, 2024): Logan Schuchart again enjoyed his time off from the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in victory lane during Pennsylvania Speedweek. He joined Danny Dietrich and Anthony Macri as two-time winners on the circuit. It was Schuchart’s third win overall in his last four starts.

Schuchart benefited from the draw for top starting spots. He drew the number one, again, and that certainly facilitated his drive to victory. Schuchart noted that, on the big half mile, the field got separated, so the air got better as the race went on. He amassed a huge lead before the only caution, on lap twenty-four, and he did not know how hard he had to push. He also observed that “when (he) came up on lapped cars, (he) could go wherever (he) wanted.”

The win “means a lot to me. It’s been ten years since I’ve been here.” Once again, he watched a lot of videos to prepare for the race. This time, they were vintage films of his grandfather, Bobby Allen, racing against the likes of Doug Wolfgang.

Troy Wagaman, Jr., who was making his first ever start at the Capitol of Dirt Track Racing, started second and ran second the entire thirty lap distance. “It sucks being in dirty air. I tried to keep pace, but he (Schuchart) got away.”

Anthony Macri did not time well and he did not win his heat race, so he and Speedweek rival Danny Dietrich started outside the coveted re-draw positions.

Nonetheless, Macri was strong in the second half of the race and reached third, one spot ahead of Dietrich. “It took a little bit for the car to come in, and for me to find a good line.” He certainly was comfortable in the stretch run. “Hopefully, we chipped away at the points.”

Schuchart and Wagaman drew into the front row for the feature event. Chad Trout and Justin Whittal were in row two. The third consisted of Kody Hartlaub and Lance Dewease. Then came Macri and Danny Dietrich. T.J. Stutts and Freddie Rahmer, Jr. were paired up in row five. Next in line were Jacob Allen and Cameron Smith.

Three Rivers Karting

Schuchart jumped out to the lead at the drop of the green and he quickly distanced himself from his old karting foe, Wagaman. Whittal, Hartlaub, Trout, Danny Dietrich, Dewease, Macri, Rahmer, and Devon Borden followed.

As Schuchart and Wagaman drove away, Danny Dietrich began his march to the front. He was up to fourth by lap six. It took him seven more trips around the fast half mile to reach third. By lap twenty, he was still in third, but he was starting to test Wagaman for the role as the first chaser.

A caution on lap twenty-four for the disabled car of Mike Waltyer, Jr. bunched the pack up again. Dietrich readied himself to make a charge on Wagaman, but he did not get away cleanly. Instead, it was Macri, who lined up fourth for the restart, that got a good jump. After a short but spirited battle, Macri sailed by Dietrich heading down the backstretch on lap twenty-six.

Macri closed in on Wagaman, but the laps ran out before he could make a move for the second position.

At the checkers, it was Schuchart, Wagaman, Macri, Dietrich, and Whittal. Trout, Dewease, Hartlaub, Stutts, and Borden took positions six through ten.

The three heats went to Hartlaub, Wagaman, and Schuchart. Lucas Wolfe won the B Main. There were thirty-one sprints signed in for the event.

Hunter Mackison, who was making his first Speedweek start of 2024, flipped at the start of the B Main. He was not hurt in the incident.

Speedweek moves back to Williams Grove Speedway for the Mitch Smith Memorial, paying $20,000 to the winner. Danny Dietrich leads Anthony Macri by thirty points headed into that contest. Troy Wagaman, Jr., Devon Borden, and Kody Hartlaub round out the top five in Speedweek rankings. Schuchart has remarkably climbed into seventh in Speedweek standings.

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