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Dirt Racing

Macri Masters Port Royal; Danner Does it Too

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Photo: Paul Arch

PORT ROYAL, PA (April 23, 2022): Anthony Macri fought off his rival, Logan Wagner, for the victory in the Keith Kauffman Classic for the All Stars Circuit of Champions at the Port Royal Speedway. Macri is now five for six, with three wins for the season at the Speed Palace alone. With Lance Dewease following Macri and Wagner to the checkers, it was the second night in a row that the PA Posse swept the podium against the traveling band.

Macri and Wagner put on a spectacular driving display over the last dozen or so laps, switching lines, trading slide jobs, and crowding each other, but keeping it clean despite their intense rivalry. “We had our incident and we talked on the phone, and we agreed we weren’t going to give each other an inch,” Macri said. “I have to give him credit,” Macri added. “He could have drove right through me,” but Wagner left Macri just enough room coming through turn two that Macri could squeeze between Wagner’s car and the wall to maintain his advantage in the closing laps. Wagner shared a similar story, “we drew a line in the sand, I told him I’m coming up on him and he said he would come up on me.” Wagner acknowledged that “Anthony is stout, and he shut the door on me (on the last lap), I shut the door on him in the last Keith Kauffman Classic, so I guess we’re even.”

Macri, who started sixth, was a little concerned about his tires as the race drew to a close. “I started to drive aggressively, maybe too aggressively, and my tires weren’t there.” Macri also knew that Wagner was good on the bottom, especially in turns one and two, and he came down off the rim to block a couple of slide jobs in the waning moments of the race.

Logan Wagner had the pole for the thirty lapper, with Parker Price-Miller on the outside. Mike Wagner lined up third, with Cap Henry beside him. Justin Whittal and Macri had dibs on row three, with Jeff Halligan and Lucas Wolfe right behind. Ryan Smith and Lance Dewease started in row five, with Tyler Courtney and Hunter Schuerenberg in row six.

Price-Miller held a slight advantage over the pair of Wagners entering turn one, but Logan maintained his momentum in the low groove to take the lead coming off turn two. Price-Miller stayed in second, but Henry rolled past Mike Wagner to claim third. Whittal, Macri, Smith, and Gerard McIntyre followed.

Logan Wagner was stretching his lead over Price-Miller and Mike Wagner as the laps clicked off. Macri moved into fourth, followed by Henry, Whittal, Smith, Wolfe, and Dewease.

By lap ten, Macri was into the third position, but he was almost a full straight behind Price-Miller, who was more than two seconds off Logan Wagner’s rapid pace. Macri closed quickly on Price-Miller and he had the second position by the halfway mark.

Macri continued his charge and soon he was on the leader’s tail. With seventeen laps completed, Macri dove low into turn one and slid up between a lapped car and Logan Wagner to assume the lead.

Wagner did not give up and he came storming back. He pulled a slider of his own in turn four and nipped Macri at the line. Macri returned teh favor at the opposite end of the speedway to regain the lead.

Back and forth they went, much to the delight of the large crowd. Wagner liked the low line through turns one and two and Macri preferred the far outside. Wagner could carry a lot of speed into turn one and he regained the lead. But Macri turned under him coming off turn two and he led the charge into turn three just as the caution came out.

Macri was put on the point for the restart, with only five laps remaining, as he had a nose ahead at the scoring loop on the last completed lap. He got away first, of course, but Wagner had another good run on him into one to force another lead change. But as Wagner slid up the track, he left just a bit too much room for Macri and, somehow, Macri was able to squeeze through to regain the lead off turn two.

Three Rivers Karting

By now, Macri know Wagner’s playbook. So, he drove through the middle of turn one to block the slider. Macri was a little better on the bottom than Wagner was on the top, so Macri retained the lead.

As they approached turn one for the final time. Macri went even lower. Wagner tried to get under him, but the move broke his momentum and Macri powered through the corners to take a ten car length lead off turn two. Macri stayed low in turns three and four for the final lap. Wagner tried to roll the outside, but he was too far behind the leader at that point.

While most eyes were glued on the fantastic duel for the win, there was excitement for position three as well. Smith and Dewease came up through the pack and they were in positions three and four for the only restart of the race. Smith had the advantage, but Dewease found the inside to his liking, He was able to slide by Smith with just a couple of laps remaining, but he could not get close enough to Macri and Wagner to make it a three car battle for the win.

“I wasn’t very good in the dash,” Dewease commented. So, he started tenth on the grid. The bottom line, which is his preferred groove at Port Royal, wasn’t good at the start of the race and he lost a few positions. But, on the long green run, he picked up speed. “Smith and I passed a bunch of cars, I just wish I was where he was for that restart, I might have had something for those guys. But there was nothing I could do when they were in the clean air.”

Mike Wagner came home in fifth. Wolfe was sixth. Dietrich was seventh, earning the hard charger award by passing fourteen cars. Price-Miller, Halligan, and Blaine Heimbach completed the top ten.

Five heats were run, with Smith, Henry, Price-Miller, Logan Wagner, and Whittal claiming the wins. Dietrich captured the B Main. Mike Wagner was the evening’s fastest qualifier, turning a lap of 15.416 seconds. Forty-two racers were on hand.

The USAC East Coast 360 non-wing Sprints provided the support. Briggs Danner had a good vantage point for the three-car battle for the lead in the early going. Ed Aiken, Mark Smith, and Alex Bright were putting on quite a show. But Danner soon realized that enough was enough, and he began to pick them off. Once out front, Danner built a substantial lead over Bright.

Bright ran second for more than half the race, but Steve Dravicki came on in the final five laps to chase him down for the second position. Bright held off Carmen Perigo and Smith.

Positions six through ten went to Colin White, Kenny Miller III, Aiken, Christian Bruno, and Jason Cherry.

The heats went to Danner and Bright. There was no B Main. Nineteen cars registered for the event.

Port Royal will present 410 Sprints, Super Late Models, and PASS/IMCA 305 Sprints on April 30. May 7 will feature the 410 Sprints, the ULMS Late Models, and Limited Late Models. General Admission will be $10 for all mothers. There will be no racing at Port Royal on May 14 because the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series will be performing at Williams Grove Speedway. The World of Outlaws Late Model Series will pick up on May 21, along with the 410 Sprint Cars.

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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