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Scelzi’s Late Race Drama Big Hit at Knoxville

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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.

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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.

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All Star Circuit of Champions returning to Lernerville Speedway for 2-events including Don Martin Memorial

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SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The All Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) is returning to Lernerville Speedway in 2022 for two nights of action including the Don Martin Memorial XXXI.

The All-Stars will make their first appearance at ‘The Action Track’ on Friday, April 29.  The appearance will mark the series return to Lernerville for the first time since 2019 as COVID-19 cancelled their 2020 appearance and rain washed out this year’s visit.

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On July 6th the All-Stars will return for the $25,000-to-win ‘Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup XXXI’, one of the most prestigious Sprint Car events in the history of the sport.

“We’re very excited to bring in the All-Stars and their thrilling brand of high-level Sprint Car racing” said Lernerville Speedway General Manager Mike Lysakowski said in a statement. “I have always been a fan of the All-Stars and for 2022, we had more freedom in choosing a date for this year’s Silver Cup. We believe we have chosen a date that is very conducive to bringing both national and regional Sprint Car aces to Lernerville.”

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Western PA Speedweek to return in 2022

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SHIPPENVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Western PA Speedweek is returning for 2022 following a successful reboot earlier this year.

The five consecutive nights of winged 410 Sprint Car action will see the best regional drivers vying for an A-Main feature purse that is increasing to $14,000 with $3,000 going to the winner each night and a $300 minimum to start!

The action takes place Wednesday, June 1st through Sunday, June 5th at Michael’s Mercer Raceway (Mercer, PA), Thunder Mountain Speedway (Brookville, PA), Lernerville Speedway (Sarver, PA), Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) and Tri-City Raceway Park (Franklin, PA), with the round-trip total clocking in at exactly 259 miles from beginning to end.

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The group time trial format used last season was extremely popular with both drivers and fans alike, and will also be utilized again in 2022.

Ryan Smith of Fleetwood, PA is the defending Speedweek Champion after winning two features and a podium in three events in 2021.

 

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Lernerville Speedway not on World of Outlaws schedule in 2022

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SARVER, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Lernerville Speedway, a fixture on the World of Outlaws tour since their inception in 1978, is not on the Outlaws schedule for 2022.  The fate of the Don Martin Silver Cup is unknown at this time.

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Lernerville officials were planning for two NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car events as well as a World of Outlaws Late Model event for 2022 and were shocked and surprised when the schedule was released on Monday.

Pittsburgh Racing Now has reached out to World Racing Group, the parent company of the World of Outlaws, for comment but have not received a response as of publication.

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