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Dirt Racing

Brown Breaks Through

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Williams Grove, PA (September 24, 2021): After years of trying, “Blackjack” Brian Brown finally scored a win at Williams Grove Speedway. The driver from Grain Valley, MO has racked up quite a resume throughout the midwest, especially at Knoxville Raceway, where he is a multi-time champion in both the 360 and 410 Sprint Car divisions. With the backing of one of his sponsors, he has relocated to the mid-state area for the months of September and October each of the last few seasons in search of an elusive win at Williams Grove Speedway. Well, now he has added his name to one of the most prestigious winner’s lists in the world of Sprint Car racing.
“I’ll tell you what, when you start racing Sprint Cars, there are three tracks where you want to win. One is Knoxville, Iowa, and we’ve had a lot of success there; one is Eldora, and we’ve been close there; and the other is Williams Grove, and we got it tonight.” For Brown, it did not matter that this was a “just a weekly” show, “we can put this (the commemorative checkered flag) in our shop forever.” Actually, Brown understated his accomplishment, as the race was part of the track’s Diamond Series, which uses time trials to set the line-ups and pays an enhanced purse.
Brown admitted that his car was not best this night, but it certainly was good enough. “I think that I got a little bit lucky with Brent (Marks) falling out. I wasn’t that far behind him when we got to traffic. We took back off and it felt like my left rear tire was flat, so I took it easy.” But, then the “Daredevil,” Devon Borden, slid by an unsuspecting Brown in turn three inside five to go, and Brown said “I knew that I had to get going.”
The Outlaws style format put Dash winner Marks on the front row, with Borden on his flank. Brown and Lucas Wolfe were in the second row, with Giovanni Scelzi paired up with now seven-time track champion Lance Dewease in the third. Anthony Macri and Aaron Bollinger made up row four, followed by Robbie Kendall and Danny Dietrich. Row six had Chase Dietz and Landon Myers.
As anticipated, Marks bolted into the lead, followed by Borden, Brown and Scelzi. Wolfe kept Dewease at bay and Macri and Dietrich were close behind fighting for an advantage.
Marks was separating himself from the pack when Brown moved into second on lap two. Marks had a comfortable lead when he caught the slower cars, but Brown began to close in.
While Marks was working his way through the back markers, something broke and his car suddenly slowed. He coasted to a stop between turns one and two and that gave the lead to Brown for the restart.
Brown got away cleanly on the green, and Macri began to challenge Dewease for fourth. He made the slider work in turn three, one of Dewease’s favorite moves, and Macri took over the position. He then set his sights on Scelzi, who was chasing Borden at the time. The three young drivers did get nose to tail briefly in traffic, but when they got to a clear space, they began to separate from each other.
By lap twenty, Borden caught Brown. On the next round, Borden dove low into turn three and slid up in front of the leader. Borden came off turn four with a slight advantage and was scored as the new leader. His time out front was short, though. Brown charged back at him. With Borden on the cushion, Brown went low into turn one. He drew up beside Borden and they went through turn two dead even. Brown powered off the corner and had a car length on Borden as they entered turn three.
The brief attack by Borden seemed to light a fire under Brown. He began to pull away in the closing laps and had a margin of victory of 0.794 seconds.
Following Brown and Borden were Scelzi, Macri, and Dewease. Dietrich climbed up to sixth, followed by Freddie Rahmer, Jr., Wolfe, Matt Campbell, and Justin Whittal.
“This is a tough track,” Brown noted, “and we’re getting better.” He was worried that he might be wearing out his crew chief, his uncle, Danny Lasoski. He explained that he kept complaining about his car every time that he came off the track, but Lasoski “kept making it better.” Brown also gave props to his engine builder, Charlie Garrett. “This is Charlie Garrett country, and I am glad to get one here for him.”
The heat wins went to Brown, Dewease, and Wolfe, who were the top three qualifiers as well. Brown’s time was 16.417, earning him the bonus money for the second week in a row. There was no B Main.
Derek Locke made some history in the 358 Sprint Car feature. He took his eighth of the season. In fact, including the final 358 race of 2020, Lock has been undefeated in nine consecutive events.
Locke noted that his crew deserved all of the credit. “They worked hard all winter to get ready and they’ve worked hard all season long.” The work has not ended, however. Locke announced that he has already started to build a 410 Sprint Car for a partial season in 2022. Locke plans to defend his 358 title at Williams Grove, but the team will run some programs at the Grove with the 410 and at other area speedways when there will be no conflict.
Colby Womer and Steve Wilbur led the 358 Sprints to the green, with Tyler Brehm and John Stehman in row two. Locke and Rich Eichelberger made up row three.
Womer grabbed the lead but an incident in turn three led to a complete restart. Womer repeated his maneuver and Wilbur settled into second. Then Brehm moved by Wilbur and Locke also moved up to third. Locke took over the second spot on lap two and he chased Brehm for the next ten laps.
Locke moved to the inside in turns three and four and pinned Brehm behind a lapped car. Locke scooted by at the flagstand to take the lead.
Soon thereafter, Womer surrendered his spot in the top five when he limped off the track on just three wheels.
After the checkers flew for Locke, Brehm crossed in second, with Justin Foster, Stehman, and Brett Wanner earning top five finishes. Wilbur, Matt Findley, Cody Fletcher, Eichelberger, and Mark VanVorst completed the top ten.
Heat winners for the 358 Sprints were Womer and Wilbur. There was no B Main.
Williams Grove Speedway will return to action October 1 and 2 for the 59th running of the National Open. This World of Outlaws event will pay $75,000 to the winner, making it the fourth highest paying race of the 2021 season behind the two King’s Royal races and the Knoxville Nationals. The National Open will conclude the season at Williams Grove Speedway.

Dirt Racing

Timms Takes Ten Grand 360 Sprint Finale

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Ryan Timms Racing

GIBSONTON, FL (February 16, 2024): Ryan Timms, the teen from Oklahoma City, earned the biggest victory of his young career by taking the Ronald Laney Memorial that wrapped up the King of the 360 Nationals at East Bay Raceway Park. The race concluded the 48th Annual Winternationals a day early due to the heavy rains forecasted for the weekend. The staff at the speedway will get a well-deserved break before rolling into the final regular season at the Clay by the Bay.

Timms was excited about his win. “It feels awesome. It’s even better being able to come from fourteenth to win it. God. I had such a fast race car. It was kind of a perfect race for us. The last couple of nights, we kind of struggled. We had a fast car all weekend, we just didn’t have much luck. I’m glad that we could put a whole race together and get up through there and get a win here.” He summed, “it’s definitely extra special being the last 360 race at East Bay.”

It did not take long for Timms to realize that he had a chance to win the finale. “I think it was lap ten, we were up to fourth. I knew that I had the car under me to do it. I just had to be patient enough and I had to wait for the guys ahead of me to kind of mess up. I was waiting to get to lapped traffic and I was able to capitalize on their mistakes.”

Timms added, “this place is cowboy up. It’s just a slide job fest really. You’re cutting it close to everybody.”

Sprint car racing in Florida in February has always been like a gathering of the clans, bringing together racers from all over the country to do battle for the glory and the gold. For the returning veterans, and for the fans, it is like an annual reunion. That theme meant even more for the second place runner, Tim Shaffer, who was reunited with the Demyan-Rudzik race team and with his former crew chief, Brian Kemanah. “We put this thing back together. It’s like the band is back together again, For us, the third night out and it really started clicking,” he said.

“We’re happy with second. We really would have loved to win it, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” he added.

Shaffer was disappointed that the race was the end of an era, saying that “it kills me” that the track will be closing. “I really like this place. I’ve been coming down here for a long time. It’s fun. It’s the right time of year. There are really good people here. I’m going to miss it.”

Austin McCarl, who entered the race as a sentimental favorite of many of the fans, was frustrated with the lapped cars that he encountered in his journey to third. “The traffic was really crazy.” He explained that, as the leader, he was not shown proper respect when he came up to lap a former winner of the race. But, he was ready to move on. “We’re excited for the rest of the year. I’ve never started this early and to have two big checks in the lounge is really great.”

Austin McCarl drew the pole for the top six point men based on the two preliminary nights. Next to him was Shaffer, who coincidentally placed second to McCarl in the combined prelim results. A.J. Maddox and Davey Franek started in row two, with Danny Martin and Justin Peck taking the third row. Next came the heat winners, Terry McCarl, Eric Riggins, Tyler Clem, Danny Sams, and Sam Hafertepe, Jr., in that order. P12 belonged to Max Stambaugh, who was second in his heat.

Three Rivers Karting

Austin McCarl led Shafffer into turn one, but Franek used the inside line to take over second on the first lap. Peck, Maddox, Danny Martin, Sams, Riggins, Timms (who was already up from fourteenth), and Cole Macedo made for a potent top ten.

Franek handed second over to Shaffer on lap ten, and Timms was up to fifth by the time a red came out for the three-car tangle in turn three. Peck, Riley Goodno, and Wayne Johnson were involved, with Goodno taking the brunt of the impact. All three cars were eliminated, but none of the drivers were injured.

Austin McCarl maintained control after the restart, but Shaffer was stalking him. Unable to find a place to make a pass, Shaffer remained close in second until lap twenty-eight, when Timms went by in traffic. Timms then took up the chase of Austin McCarl.

It only took Timms three more rounds to catch and pass Austin McCarl coming down the front stretch. McCarl remained close enough to try a slider going through turn three, but Timms had better momentum and he retained the lead.

Now Shaffer resumed his challenge to Austin McCarl, but, this time it was for second, as Timms began to stretch his advantage. Shaffer made the pass on Austin McCarl on lap thirty-seven. But Timms was on cruise control by that time.

Shaffer began to close as Timms encountered more lapped traffic. Still, Timms had a comfortable margin over Shaffer.

After the white flag was displayed to Timms and several others, Parker Price-Miller came to a stop in turn two. That set up a one-lap dash for all the marbles.

Timms got the jump on Shaffer and he completed the final lap of the last edition of the Winternationals without incident. Shaffer was second, followed by Austin McCarl, Sams, and Aaron Reutzel, who came from twentieth on the grid. Franek was sixth, ahead of Hafertepe, Macedo, Devon Borden, and Terry McCarl.

There were three B Mains held. The victories went to Macedo, Dale Howard, and Liam Martin. Provisionals were awarded to Mark Smith and Price-Miller.

The DIRTcar United CCC Modified Lites provided support once again. Jimmy Wills, of Dover, DE, returned to the winners’ circle at the end of the twenty-five laps. He was the first racer to pass Tim White under the green flag in the three days of action. Taking second was fellow Delawarean Ryan McKinney. Third went to Justin Williams. White was fourth, followed by Charles Permann. Heat winners were White and Wills. The fastest qualifier was White, with a time of 17.420 seconds.

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Dirt Racing

Courtney and Larson Take High Limit Events at East Bay Raceway Park

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Photo: Paul Arch

GIBSONTON, FL (February 13, 2024): Charles Dickens was not talking about the 48th (and last) Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park when he wrote, in A Tale of Two Cities, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” But his famous opening line would have been an accurate assessment of Tuesday’s 410 Sprint Car event presented by the High Limit Racing Series. The races were the first two events of the newly formed national tour (best of times), and Clay by the Bay said farewell to the division that helped to make the Winternationals a major event (worst of times).

Tyler Courtney and Kyle Larson were the last two 410 racers to etch their names into the record books. Courtney took the thirty lapper that ended the twi-night doubleheader, and Larson scored in the twenty-five lap feature that was carried over from Monday’s rain-shortened program.

Courtney Wins
Courtney was unable to say why he has been so consistently fast at East Bay Raceway Park. “We’ve been fast ever since the first time we came here. We have a pretty good package for here.” He added, “it sucks that this is the last 410 race here. I know that they have 360s here at the end of the week or next week. Sad to see it go.”

Courtney summed up his performance as “a 50/50 day.” He explained, “earlier wasn’t the best feature but to come back for the win shows the grit these guys have.”

Corey Day, the latest California phenom to go onto a national Sprint Car stage, remarked “the track was badass. I wish that the top was there in one and two, I could have made some more speed.”  Despite that, he was able to mix things up with two accomplished veterans, Courtney and Brad Sweet.

Sweet thought that he missed the set-up just a bit. “It was tough. I got the lead early and was running the bottom, then I got to lapped traffic and tried to move to the top, and that wasn’t the right place to be. It felt like we didn’t have the car quite right there to maneuver through lapped traffic or to make enough speed.”

Sweet had the pole for the nightcap, with Courtney to his right. Dominic Scelzi and Spencer Bayston were in row two, with Larson and Corey Day in the third row. The final Dash cars were Brent Marks and Cole Macedo. Then came Zeb Wise and Jacob Allen. Row six paired Kasey Kahne and Austin McCarl.

The initial start was waived off due to a multi-car incident that happened in turn four. Courtney got sideways, but kept going, and chaos ensued in his wake. Larson and Connor Morrell got the worst of it with flat left rear tires requiring trips to the pits for replacements, and they were able to restart at the rear of the field. No other racers required any remedial measures.

The second try was successful, putting Sweet in control. Courtney settled into second in the early going, with Bayston, Day, Marks, Wise, Macedo, Rico Abreu, McCarl, and Chris Windom fighting for positions behind them.

Sweet stayed out front for approximately a third of the contest. By then, he was into lapped traffic, and he was having difficulty maintaining his pace. Courtney, Wise, and Day were challenging Sweet, and Courtney emerged with the lead by lap twelve. Before the next round was completed, however, the action was interrupted by a caution for Larson.

Courtney, Day, Wise, Sweet, Bayston, Marks, Abureu, Macedo, Windom, and Anthony Macri made up the top ten for the restart. Abreu used the high side to gain several positions when the green light came on again.

After just three more laps, a three-car tangle off turn two involving Morrell, Kahne, and Larson led to another caution. Damage to Larson’s machine eliminated any hope of a second victory for him.

While Courtney continued to lead the way after that stoppage, Day and Wise were locked in a battle for the second spot. Abreu was up to fourth, with Sweet and Marks following.

Another shunt, involving Danny Sams and Kahne, set up a restart with ten to go. Abreu went to the high side again to try to pick off Wise and Day. He climbed Wise’s wheel approaching turn three but somehow he managed to keep the car under control. He did lose one position to Sweet however.

Courtney continued to lead Day, Wise, and Sweet as the laps counted down. Meanwhile, Macri was challenging Marks for fifth. Macri spun in turn three with two laps remaining, ending his inspired drive from twentieth on the grid.

Three Rivers Karting

Courtney had the point for the final restart, with Day, Wise, Sweet, Abreu, Marks, Parker Price-Miller, Windom, Bayston, and Allen lined up behind him.

The remaining two laps were hair-raising, as drivers throughout the field looked for any opening to move ahead.

After Courtney and Day took the checkers, Abreu flipped wildly in turn four. Most of the pack made it by his wreckage, but Cory Eliason clipped Abreu’s machine as he rounded the last turn.

Sweet checked in as the third place finisher, with Wise and Marks rounding out the top five. Price-Miller, Windom, Bayston, Allen, and Ryan Timms were sixth through tenth.

Wise blasted around the track in 12.229 seconds to set the mark in Group A, and Bayston turned in a lap of 12.544 seconds to top Group B. Davey Franek led the way in the non-qualifiers race. Courtney, Marks, Bayston, and Sweet prevailed in their respective heats. Brandan Mullen won the C Main, and Tanner Thorson captured the B Main. Sweet won the dash from the pole. Brenham Crouch and Cory Eliason were afforded series provisionals.

Larson Leads Off
The champion of the abbreviated 2023 High Limit schedule, Kyle Larson, was the matinee idol. He started on the pole and led wire to wire to get the first checkered flag of 2024 for the new national series. Along the way, Larson had to fend off challenges from Justin Peck, Tanner Thorson, and Cole Macedo.

A mid-race challenge from Tanner Thorson spurred Larson to victory. “I got kind of blocked, well, not blocked, but just my momentum kind of stalled out there in traffic. I saw Tanner’s nose in one and two. I was getting nervous because Jacob (Allen) was down there and he was inching away from us.

Then I saw Tanner and at that point I had to get up on the wheel and get past (Austin) McCarl pretty quickly. Once I did that, I was able to get going again.”

Series founders Larson and Sweet were on the front row, with Thorson and Macedo in row two. Abreu and Peck were matched in row three, with Sam Hafertepe, Jr. and Macri in the fourth. Price-Miller and Timms covered row five. Then came Day and Wise.

On the opening lap, Wise looped it at the entry to turn one. Remarkably, the fourteen racers behind him avoided contact. Larson led lap one, followed by Peck, Macedo, Thorson, Sweet, and Macri. Brenham Crouch brought out a yellow with one complete.

When the race resumed, Peck was shadowing Larson. When the leaders got to lapped traffic, Larson was picking his way through, while Peck was riding the rim to stay close. On lap eight, Larson split two lappers between turns three and four. Peck could not follow him through the hole. As he ran through turn two, Peck saw an opening between the lapped car of Chris Windom and the outside wall. Peck tried to sneak by, but Windom drifted up the track, pinching Peck against the wall and collapsing his front end in the process.

Larson completed the remaining sixteen laps without incident. Thorson gave chase most of the way, but Macedo made a slick move in traffic to take that spot away in the waning laps. Thorson held on for third. Sweet and Macri completed the top five. Day, Abreu, Marks, Hafertepe, and Baystonwere the next five across the scoring loop.

Sweet stopped the clock at 12.550 seconds to top Group A. Macri was the best of Group B with a time of 12.612 seconds. Chris Martin prevailed in the non-qualifiers race. Larson, Thorson, Macedo, and Abreu captured heat wins. Martin also won the C Main, and Tim Shaffer scored in the B Main.

Larson was the Dash winner. Series provisionals were awarded to Crouch and Morrell.

Mod Lites Do Double Duty
Support was provided by the DIRTcar United CCC Mod Lites. The wins went to Jimmy Wills in the afternoon race, and to Jimmy Smith in the final event of the night for the class. Following Wills across the line were Smith, Tim White, Logan Lewis, and Ryan Dodd. Wills chased Smith home in the finale. Then came Zach Sobotka, Ryan McKinney, and Teddy Williams, II. Smith and Todd Brennan took the honors in heats held on Monday before the rains came. White and Wills won the heats for the Tuesday contest.

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Dirt Racing

Austin McCarl Gets Emotional Win in Round Two

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Photo: McCarl Racing

GIBSONTON FL (February 15, 2024): “The Big Unit,” Austin McCarl, captured the second round of the King of the 360 Nationals at East Bay Raceway Park. He chased down and passed Danny Martin and Davey Franek in heavy traffic to become the third and final leader in the thirty lapper that went non-stop. The victory, coupled with misfortunes on the part of some of his prime competitors who did not qualify, should lock the third generation driver into the Ronald Laney Memorial that will close out the 48th, and final, Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park.

Austin McCarl was extremely emotional in victory lane. “Thank you so much,” he said acknowledging the fans who were celebrating his win. With his voice cracking, he added, “we were struggling so bad. This means so much to my family. I am so glad to be going home with a trophy from East Bay Raceway Park before it closes.” Austin joined his father, Hall of Famer Terry McCarl, on the list of racers who have won in the prestigious event.

Austin McCarl explained that a member of his team gave him a hand signal with five laps to go. “I said to myself, ‘Please, God, no yellows. And, then, I was looking for the nose of somebody trying to get under me.” He added that the significance of the win did not hit him until the cool down lap, and he almost lost control of the car due to his excitement.

Martin nipped Franek at the wire for second. The two had battled throughout the race, even after McCarl went by them in traffic. “We made some changes to the car, it was totally different,” Martin commented. He explained that traffic was really difficult. “When there are long greens like that, you get behind those lapped cars. They were three wide. It was like a wall.”

Franek was pleased with his performances in the preliminaries, saying “we were good tonight, we were OK last night.” He was hopeful his sixth place run, followed by a third, should lock him into the top six for the Saturday finale.

The starting lineup was determined by passing points earned from the heat races. Danny Martin had the pole, with Franek as his dance partner. Chris Martin and Brandon Grubaugh made up the second row. Adyn Schmidt and Austin McCarl were in row three. A.J. Maddox and Sam Hafertepe squared off in row four, followed by Tyler Clem and Dale Howard. Cole Macedo and Justin Peck were in row six.

Three former winners of the Laney Memorial were sprinkled in the second half of the starting grid. Tim Shaffer was thirteenth, Terry McCarl was twentieth, and Wayne Johnson was twenty-first.

Three Rivers Karting

Two former champions were absent. Mark Smith and Aaron Reutzel failed to transfer into the A Main.

Danny Martin led Franek on the opening lap. Grubaugh, Austin McCarl, Maddox, Hafertepe, Clem, Shaffer, and Macedo followed. Austin McCarl and Hafertepe cracked the top five in the early going.

Franek took control by lap ten, but Danny Martin came storming back to regain the lead on lap twelve. While working through traffic, Franek passed Martin once again. However, Austin McCarl was gaining on them both.

McCarl claimed the lead, for good, by lap twenty. Meanwhile, Franek and Martin continued their contest for second.

With five laps remaining, McCarl had several car lengths over Franek and Danny Martin. Hafertepe was fourth with Peck in fifth. Chris Martin was holding off Shaffer and Macedo. Ryan Timms and Parker Price-Miller made their appearances in the top ten.

The top three did not change until the final lap, when Danny Martin slipped inside of Franek coming to the checkered flag. Peck was fourth, ahead of a fast-closing Shaffer. Hafertepe, Timms, Price-Miller, Chris Martin, and Macedo completed the top ten.

Fifty-eight cars competed in six heats, which were won by Franek, Shaffer, Grubaugh, Schmidt, Austin McCarl, and Eric Riggins. The four B Mains winners were Danny Sams, Max Stambaugh, Timms, and Terry McCarl.

In the undercard for the DIRTcar United CCC Mod Lites, Tim White went wire to wire for the second night in a row. Dylan White and Jimmy Wills made it an all Delaware podium. Ryan McKinney, also from the First State, was fourth. Justin Williams was fifth. Jeff Teeters and White claimed the heat wins. Teeters was best in the timed hot laps. His lap of 17.806 seconds was .003 better than White qualified.

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