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Gravel Grabs Wednesday Qualifier

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KNOXVILLE, IA (August 10, 2021): David Gravel hopes that history will repeat itself. When the Knoxville Nationals were last contested, in 2019, he hit a hot streak at just the right time, winning the Capitani Classic on Sunday, his qualifier, and then the Saturday A Main. Well, so far, he’s completed the first two steps and he’s well positioned to master the third.

“That was a fast-paced race,” Gravel said. “I was abusing my right rear, so I adjusted the wing, and then the wing kept sliding back on its own and I got tight.” Gravel was chasing Justin Henderson as the laps wound down. “He slid a lapped car and that broke his momentum. I was slipping in four and I knew I had to pull the trigger in one and two. I hope I passed him clean.”

As good as Gravel was, Giovanni Scelzi was a little better overall. Scelzi finished in second place in the race, but he earned the most points on the night, as he had better finishes than Gravel in the time trials and in the heat races. Scelzi, who dominated the 360 Nationals just the week before, claimed that he did not have much to do this night, explaining “this car just about drives itself.” He proclaimed himself “three-quarters of the way there.”

Another driver who was satisfied with his run on qualifier night was Donny Schatz, the third place finisher. “We could have got there,” Schatz commented. “Twenty-five laps is a lot shorter than it’s going to be come Saturday (the A Main will be fifty laps). We got going at the end. Man, you change one thing and you end up changing ten. You try to make a step in a certain direction and you take a step back. We’ll have a couple of days to let the masterminds come up with a plan. We’ll be there.” If anybody knows how to win at Knoxville, it’s Schatz, who has ten Nationals wins in the last fourteen attempts.

Zeb Wise, subbing for the injured Buddy Kofoid aboard the second CJB Motorsports entry, had the pole for the A Main. Next to him was track regular Justin Henderson. Third belonged to Justin Peck in a tribute car honoring Kramer Williamson, the late father of his crew chief Kurt. Next to him was surprising Josh Baughman. The third row consisted of James McFadden and Gravel. Schatz and Scelzi were in row four. Spencer Bayston matched up with Cory Eliason in row five. The sixth row had perennial 360 king Clint Garner and Sheldon Haudenschild. Further back in the field were Jason Sides (eighteenth), Logan Schuchart (twenty-first) and Danny Dietrich (twenty-third).

Wise led the field through the first lap and a half, but then Henderson assumed control. The Knoxville faithful were pulling for him to keep the invaders at bay, and for a long time, it appeared that he just might pull off the win.

Henderson led through lap twenty-one, but Gravel was lurking in his shadow. Gravel took over third on lap two and second on the next round. Wise held third until lap nine when his car gave out, leading to the first caution of the race.

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Henderson maintained control over Gravel, but Scelzi moved up a notch when Wise dropped out. Scelzi closed in on Gravel, but could not get close enough to make a bid for the second spot. Schatz was riding along in fourth, with Peck holding down fifth.

Henderson was caught in heavy traffic as the race drew to a close. Gravel drew closer and he was able to execute a slide job in turn one to take the lead with twenty-one complete. Soon thereafter, Scelzi passed Henderson and Schatz was nipping at his heels.

At the finish, it was Gravel over Scelzi, Schatz, Henderson, and Peck. Haudenschild was sixth. Schuchart drove a strong race, coming from twenty-first to seventh with the aid of just one caution to gather up the field. Schuchart was the hard charger for the night. McFadden, Eliason, and Bayston completed the top ten.

Five heats were held, with the wins going to Josh Schneiderman, Kyle Reinhardt, Riley Goodno, Jake Bubak, and Ayrton Gennetten. Tanner Carrick won the C Main, and Schuchart took the B Main. Brooke Tatnell was the night’s fastest qualifier at 15.208 seconds.

The points for the night had Scelzi topping the list with 487, Schatz scoring 477, and Gravel 475. Schuchart came in with 472, followed by Tatnell at 460, McFadden at 459, Henderson and Peck tied at 458, Danny Dietrich at 449, and Baughman at 447.

A Main: David Gravel, Giovanni Scelzi, Donny Schatz, Justin Henderson, Justin Peck, Sheldon Haudenschild, Logan Schuchart, James McFadden, Cory Eliason, Spencer Bayston, Josh Baughman, Brooke Tatnell, Ayrton Gennetten, Davey Heskin, Clint Garner, Danny Dietrich, Josh Schneiderman, Jason Sides, Skylar Gee, Jake Bubak, Kyle Reinhardt, Don Droud, Jr., Riley Goodno, Zeb Wise.

DNQ: Roger Crockett, Anthony Macri, Wayne Johnson, Terry McCarl, Tim Shaffer, Lucas Wolfe, Carson McCarl, Mark Dobmeier, Chad Kemenah, Tasker Phillips, Robbie Kendall, McKenna Haase, Tanner Carrick, A.J. Moeller, Derek Hagar, Ryan Roberts, Austin Miller, John Carney, II, Jordan Goldesberry, Scott Bogucki, Matt Moro, Tori Knutson, Joe Simbro, Ryan Giles, Hunter Schuerenberg.

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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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