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Dirt Racing

Larson Achieves Lifetime Goal

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Photo: Paul Arch

KNOXVILLE, IA (August 14, 2021): Kyle Larsen always dreamed of winning the Knoxville Nationals. Now, that dream has become reality.

“The atmosphere this week was unbelievable,” Larson said. He speculated that the year off added to the buzz that surrounded the activities at the Knoxville Raceway. “I felt the energy all week and that kept me pumped up.” He also admitted to being quite nervous before the big race. “Honestly, this is as nervous as I’ve been leading up to a race in a couple of years. I had butterflies all day today.” He also admitted to being distracted during practice for his NASCAR Cup race, saying that he kept playing different scenarios through his head. He also gave thanks to Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon for their belief in him and for allowing him to come and race at Knoxville before racing a Cup car.

Larson revealed a bit of his race strategy. “I wanted to get the lead before the break. I looked at the board and I knew that we were coming down to the end of it. I just blitzed it for a lap and I pulled it off.” He lost the lead briefly on lap 26, but he managed to get back in front of his adversary, Donny Schatz, to be the leader heading into the pit stop.

He would see Schatz again, late in the second half of the race, but he picked up his pace and scooted away from the ten-time winner of the race. “I could see that Donny was taking huge chunks out of my lead lap after lap. He was on my rear bumper and I just told myself ‘I know he’s here, just don’t miss it.’ It was great to beat Donny here for the Nationals. He beat me a few years ago, and he’s the best there is.”

Giovanni Scelzi was the youngest driver ever to sit on the pole for the Knoxville Nationals finale. He had Brad Sweet by his side, and Larson and Brent Marks in the row behind. Schatz was inside row three, with David Gravel next to him. Kasey Kahne was in the fourth row, paired with Logan Schuchart. Brian Brown, a crowd favorite, had row five along with Ian Madsen aboard the Rudzik Excavating car formerly driven by Tim Shaffer. Row six belonged to Brooke Tatnell and Tyler Courtney.

Scelzi broke out to the early lead followed by Schatz, Larson, Gravel, Sweet, McFadden, Marks, and Kahne. By the time that the fans settled into their seats, the top five had formed a single file formation. That lasted for about five laps before racers began to make some moves to improve their track positions.

Schatz and Larson moved in on Scelzi and there was a brief three-car battle for the lead. Scelzi scooted away and Sweet moved in to make it a three-car battle for second.

This time, it was Schatz who drove away from his competition. He began to reel in the leader. He did get his nose out in front of Scelzi on lap nine, but the teen came right back to regain the lead before they got to the scoring loop. Schatz stayed close and he worked on Scelzi again. He succeeded in making the pass count on lap eleven.

Now, it was Larson giving chase to Scelzi, but it was for the second position. Larson made the pass stick on lap 14.

As the racers closed in on the halfway mark, Larson was catching the leader. He rolled the top of turns one and two to take the lead with 24 laps completed. Schatz fought back after the leaders took the halfway sign, but Larson rallied at the west end of the track to be scored as the leader on lap 26 when the yellow flag was displayed.

The racers all ventured pitside for final adjustments on their cars. Almost all of them changed both rear tires, but McFadden also replaced a heavily worn left front tire. The pit stop was uneventful for most teams, but Marks and Tatnell were penalized two positions each for working past the final horn.

When the race resumed, Larson darted out to the lead. Before the racers could settle in for the second half, Rico Abreu brought out the caution. Two laps later, the race was halted again for a flip by Brown in turn one. That incident collected several other cars, including Brock Zearfoss and Sheldon Hadenschild. During the clean-up, Zearfoss replace dthe entire front end of his car and Haudenschild replaced a right rear tire. Cory Eliason’s crew also made a wing change and other repairs. Although he came back out with the others, he did not take the green as there was some additional damage that the crew did not correct when making their hasty repairs.

Three Rivers Karting

With those interruptions behind them Larson began to stretch his lead over Schatz. which he would never surrender. Larson settled in behind a lapped car and was riding along in the rubber. Schatz, meanwhile, was pouring on the coals. Behind him there was an intense three-car battle for third between Scelzi, Sweet, and Gravel. Soon after Sweet and Gravel overtook Scelzi, Gravel blew his engine.

With twenty laps remaining, Schatz was closing in on the leader, and he was bringing Sweet along for good measure. Scelzi was under attack from Schuchart, who was one of the few drivers to make headway in the second half of the contest.

Schatz caught up to Larsen with five to go. Larson was still riding behind the lapped car and Schatz moved up a groove in turns three and four with three laps remaining. Schatz came off turn four next to Larson, who realized that Schatz was within striking distance. He picked up his pace and gained a few car lengths on his challenger. Schatz tried again on the final lap, but he could not get a run on the leader.

Larson took the checkers to a thunderous ovation. Schatz was second, followed by Sweet, Scelzi, and Schuchart. Marks crossed in sixth. McFadden paid for the new rubber with a seventh place finish. His car owner, Kahne, was next, with Carson Macedo and Sheldon Haudenschild rounding out the top ten.

The B Main transfer cars were Macedo, Kerry Madsen, Eliason, and Haudenschild. The B Main finish was quite thrilling, as Madsen, Eliason, Haudenschild, and Spencer Bayston were closing rapidly on a lapped car. All five came to the finish line in a wild scramble, with Haudenschild driving down to the berm to keep up his speed and grab the final transfer by just .008 seconds.

The C Main transfers were Hunter Schuereberg, Ayrton Gennetten, Harli White, and Sawyer Phillips. Wayne Johnson suffered a flat while leading on the last lap, forcing a green-white-checkered finish to the event.

The D Main was dominated by Jack Dover. Scotty Thiel, Dustin Selvage, Mark Dobmeier, Chad Kemenah, and Jesse Attard also advanced.
The E Main winner was Jason Sides, followed by Dylan Cisney, Jacob Allen, John Carney, II, and Tyler Esh. Bobby Mincer was added to the D Main as an alternate when Skylar Gee scratched from the event.

A Main: Kyle Larson, Donny Schatz, Brad Sweet, Giovanni Scelzi, Logan Schuchart, Brent Marks, James McFadden, Kasey Kahne, Carson Macedo, Sheldon Haudenschild, Kerry Madsen, Brooke Tatnell, Justin Peck, Shane Stewart, Brock Zearfoss, Ian Madsen, Anthony Macri, David Gravel, Justin Henderson, Brian Brown, Tyler Courtney, Cory Eliason, Rico Abreu, Danny Dietrich.

B Main: Carson Macedo, Kerry Madsen, Cory Eliason, Sheldon Haudenschild, Spencer Bayston, Shane Golobic, Kraig Kinser, Scott Bogucki, Davey Heskin, Sam Hafertepe, Jr., Bill Balog, Lynton Jeffrey, Sawyer Phillips, Ayrton Gennetten, Sye Lynch, Daryn Pittman, Hunter Schuerenberg, Josh Schneiderman, Josh Baughman, Sammy Swindell, Zeb Wise, Kyle Reinhardt, Harli White, Jac Haudenschild, Paul McMahan (DNS).

C Main: Hunter Schuerenberg, Ayrton Gennetten, Harli White, Sawyer Phillips, Carson McCarl, Tim Shaffer, Tim Kaeding, Marcus Dumesny, Roger Crockett, Clint Garner, Tasker Phillips, Mark Dobmeier, A.J. Moeller, Tanner Carrick, Colby Copeland, Jesse Attard, Dustin Selvage, Mike Wagner, Jack Dover, McKenna Haase, Chad Kemenah, Wayne Johnson, Terry McCarl, Scotty Thiel (DNS).

D Main: Jack Dover, Scotty Thiel, Dustin Selvage, Mark Dobmeier, Chad Kemenah, Jesse Attard, Jake Bubak, Don Droud, Jr., Derek Hagar, Greg Wilson, Robbie Kendall, Ryan Roberts, Jordan Goldesberry, Jacob Allen, Jeff Swindell, Riley Goodno, T.J. Stutts, Jason Sides, Dylan Cisney, John Carney, II, Chris Martin, Tyler Esh, Bobby Mincer, Noah Gass, Skylar Gee (DNS), Lucas Wolfe (DNS).

E Main: Jason Sides, Dylan Cisney, Jacob Allen, John Carney, II, Tyler Esh, Bobby Mincer, Kevin Ingle, Tori Knutson, Austin Miller, Joe Simbro, Logan Wagner (DNS), Ryan Giles (DNS), Austin MCCarl (DNS), Skylar prochaska (DNS), Matt Moro (DNS), Cale Thomas (DNS), Parker Price-Miller (DNS).

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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