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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

Troutman and Moran Share Night Two Wins at Lernerville’s Firecracker

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Photo by Paul Arch

SARVER, PA (June 21, 2024): Drake Troutman rallied to win his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in the first preliminary feature on night two of the Firecracker weekend at Lernerville Speedway. Also gracing victory lane was Devin Moran for the eleventh time in his LOLMDS career.

Troutman, the nineteen year old racer from Hyndman, Bedford County, PA, was very emotional after getting the checkered flag. “I don’t know what to say, I didn’t think we’d be getting one of these in a while.” After composing himself, Troutman dedicated the win to his late father, D.J. Troutman, who perished in 2021 during the height of the Covid pandemic. Troutman was also appreciative of the crew of his family owned machine. “We just have a bunch of kids, they are with me at the shop all hours of the day and night and they are with me up and down the road.”

Troutman grabbed the lead three laps into the fray, but he surrendered the point again to Mason Zeigler, who went from third to first on a lap four restart. They battled side by side for several laps before Troutman was able to regain the lead on lap ten. “I figured he’d have me around the top,” Troutman said, “but we were able to get back around on the bottom.”

Troutman and Zeigler made an all-Pennsylvania front row. Ross Robinson and Tim McCreadie were in row two, The third row consisted of Daulton Wilson and Trevor Collins. Garrett Alberson and Jared Miley took off from row four. Dan Stone and Clay Harris departed from row five. The sixth row featured Gregg Satterlee and Tyler Wyant.

Zeigler grabbed the early lead, with Troutman, Robinson, McCreadie, Wilson, and Alberson in tow. Trountman dipped to the inside to get the lead on lap three, just before a caution was shown for the spin by Forrest Trent.

Zeigler ripped the lip in turns one and two to assume control when the race resumed. Troutman battled back, though, and the duo went back and forth for a handful of laps. Troutman got the advantage coming through turns three and four to lead lap ten. Two laps later, McCreadie got by Zeigler.

Troutman had a comfortable lead at the time that McCreadie moved into second. However, Troutman caught the back markers, and that enabled McCreadie to cut into the lead.

Fortunately for Troutman, a caution flashed on again on lap sixteen, when Wilson spun in turn one while fighting for track position with a lapped car. Wilson was running third at the time. Robinson and Zeigler took evasive action, driving off the track, but they were not scored as part of the caution, so they regained their top five starting positions.

The last nine laps went off without a hitch. During that run, Robinson began to apply pressure to McCreadie for the second spot. He was able to slip ahead of McCreadie in the closing laps.

Troutman had a bit of a scare heading for the checkered flag. The lapped car of Jamie Lathroum suddenly slowed coming through turn four and he drifted up to the top of the speedway. Troutman was coming, and he checked up to avoid contact. Robinson was far enough back that he was unable to sneak by the leader.

Following the pair of sevens was McCreadie. Fourth went to Alberson and fifth to charging Jared Miley, who picked up three spots in the stretch run. Satterlee, Tyler Wyant, Trevor Collins, and Jimmy Owens completed the top ten.

Three Rivers Karting

Both Robinson and McCreadie were happy for Troutman. Robinson commended the youthful team for their hard work and perseverance. McCreadie remarked that Troutman is a good, clean racer, who would battle hard, but not make contact. Both drivers commented about tire choices as well, Robinson and Troutman were both on hard rubber. McCreadie went with a different choice, and he said that he was unable to turn off the cushion because of it.

The officials must have been listening to the post-race interviews, as they called an audible before the start of the second twenty-five lapper. They applied water to the surface and spent a good twenty minutes working the track in again. Meanwhile, the racers were sent back to their pits to make any adjustments in light of the unanticipated track preparation.

Although “a lot of guys were freaking out,” as Devin Moran put it, he proclaimed that “we didn’t change a thing.” He figured that the track would stay hard and he felt no changes were needed for the second feature. Moran was right.

Michael Norris and Devin Moran paired up in row one, with Hudson O’Neal and Jonathan Davenport right behind them. Row three belonged to Ricky THornton, Jr. and Ken Schaltenbrand. In row four, it was Chub Frank and Mike Marlar. Paired up in the fifth row were Spencer Hughes and Levi Yetter. The sixth row had Colton Flinner and John Garvin.

Norris jumped out to the early lead, and the partisan faithful were hoping that he, too, could capture his first LOLMDS win. Norris drew away from Moran by several car lengths in the first five laps. Racing behind them were Davenport, O’Neal, Thornton, and Schaltenbrand.

Norris’ bid for another Firecracker preliminary win exploded on laps five and six. The others came under the World of Outlaws sanction. He got up on two wheels in turn one. The miscue enabled Moran to drive by him. Norris brought the car back down and he was able to complete lap six in second place. However, the car shot straight off turn one, and he backed it into the distant guard rail at the south end of the track. He was able to refire and, after a quick check in the hot pit area, he was able to resume the race.

Moran raced out front for the remainder of the contest. Davenport ran in second for a lap or two before Thornton got by. Thornton could not catch Moran, though.

The final caution came on lap fifteen when Kyle Lukon clobbered the wall and some water barrels at the exit to turn four. On the ensuing restart, Marlar shot into second. O’Neal also moved ahead a notch in the running order.

At the finish, it was Moran, Marlar, Thornton, O’Neal, and Davenport. Max Blair advanced to sixth, ahead of Schaltenbrand, Frank, Carson Ferguson, and Hughes.

The evening’s fastest qualifiers were Drake Troutman, whose lap of 15.589 was best in Group A. Michael Norris was best overall when he topped Group B with a time of 15.524 seconds.

The six heat races went to Drake Troutman, Mason Ziegler, Ross Robinson, Michael Norris, Devin Moran, and Hudson O’Neal.

There were no B Mains.

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Dirt Racing

Thornton and Davenport Score Preliminary Wins on Night One of the Firecracker Weekend at Lernerville

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Photo: Paul Arch

SARVER, PA (June 20, 2024): Ricky Thornton, Jr. and Jonathan Davenport captured the twenty-five lap preliminary features on night one of the Firecracker weekend at Lernerville Speedway. The successful racers earned valuable points that will be used to set the starting lineups for the heat races on the final night of the event. Barring some misfortunes on night two, these stalwarts are likely to earn choice starting spots in Saturday’s heat races.

Thornton noted that the track was “super technical,” but he was “pretty efficient” at both ends of the speedway. He explained that he was able to get into the corners and to turn the car. He was a bit concerned by Devin Moran on a couple of the restarts, though. Thornton worried about his placement on the track. He decided to slide himself to try to take away any momentum that Moran could generate coming off turn four.

Thornton had the pole with Garrett Alberson on his right. Hudson O’Neal and Moran lined up behind them. Mike Marlar and Tim MCreadie occupied row three. Then came track favorite Michael Norris and Jimmy Owens. Max Blair and Spencer Hughes paired up in row five. John Garvin, Jr. and Alex Ferree claimed row six for the local contingent.

Thornton got a second chance at the start of the first preliminary feature. Moran charged from fourth to first on what would have been the opening lap. However, a four car tangle in turn four wiped that out. A complete restart was ordered.

On the second try, Thornton was better prepared. He grabbed the lead ahead of Alberson, Moran, O’Neal, Norris, Marlar, McCreadie, Owens, Blair, and Michael Duritsky. Before the racers could get into a steady rhythm, a caution for Ferree slowed the pace.

Three Rivers Karting

Thornton held the advantage on the restart, O’Neal and Moran worked by Alberson. Marlar displaced Norris, and Owens was hot on his heels.

The field got nineteen laps in before the next caution was displayed. Moran was the unfortunate fellow who got up over the berm between turns one and two. It was unclear whether he flattened a right rear tire or whether he merely packed the wheel with mud. In any event, he limped to the pits, ending his night a bit early.

Thornton completed the remaining three laps without incident to earn $5,000. Marlar crossed in second, followed by Alberson. Norris rallied to take fourth, a spot ahead of Owens. O’Neal slipped to sixth. McCreadie, Hughes, Blair, and Zeigler rounded out the top ten.

Marlar knew that he could not contend with Thornton in the three lap dash that ended the race. “I definitely thought that when he had the clean air for the last three laps, I know that I wasn’t going to get him.” He added that the cushion was “treacherous,” and he cited the problem encountered by Moran as an example. “I decided to just bring it home in second and put it in the trailer.”

Alberson was appreciative of the late race caution. He was on a soft right rear tire, and he was able to get to the bottom and to pass O’Neal. “If I want to race with these guys for the lead, we have some more work to do,” he added. Well, Alberson, and all other racers, will get a second opportunity to gather points in the double feature format to be used on night two.

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Dirt Racing

Ryan Smith Succeeds at Sharon; Cipriano and Konbau also Score

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Sharon Speedway

HARTFORD, OH (June 1, 2024): Ryan Smith romped to the win at Sharon Speedway on night three of Western Pennsylvania Speedweek despite Dave Blaney’s home field advantage. Smith, a former series champion, had the benefit of starting some five rows ahead of Blaney, but Blaney made an early charge to make things interesting. Meanwhile, Smith was stalking the early leader, Zane DeVault, and Smith sailed by him when DeVault brushed the outside wall coming off turn two. Unfortunately for the fans, a head to head battle between Smith and Blaney never materialized because the track took rubber, and Blaney’s top line which he used so effectively early was no longer there in the final stage of the race.

Ayden Cipriano (Big Block Modifieds) and Jeremy Kornbau (Allegheny Sprint Tour 305 Sprint Cars) also earned significant first wins.
“It’s pretty cool to beat Dave at his own place,” Smith quipped. He explained that he tried to make his car as wide as he could in the early going and, then, he mainly ran the low side when the rubber came in. While that strategy was successful for him, he did admit to having some trouble with lapped cars also using that line as the race progressed. Nonetheless, Smith put enough of them behind him to provide a safe margin of victory over Blaney.

Blaney, who thrilled the partisan crowd with his dash to the front in the early laps, characteristically downplayed his accomplishment. “I had a good start,” he said humbly. Then, he added with a chuckle, “I had a couple of closer calls than an old mane would like.” Blaney was referring to the time in the opening laps when he threaded the needle in turn three between two competitors who were fighting for position. “Then, the track got faster as the race went on,” he commented, making it difficult for him to chase down Smith.

DeVault, who soldiered on for third despite hurting his car, noted, “I tried to win it or wear it on top when I got into the wall, I was just hanging on after that. But, you know me, I’ll hang in there until the end.”

DeVault and Smith were the lucky ones who fished the front row starting spots in the top twelve re-draw promoted by a Lake Erie charter service. Smith had a helper, though, as he chose a child from the stands to be his designated fisherman. Mitch Harble and Logan McCandless drew into the second row, with Chase Metheney and Adam Kekich in the third. Then came Michael Bauer and Dale Blaney. Jordan Poirier and Dan Kuriger had row five, with Dave Kalb and Dave Blaney getting the two remaining fish available.

DeVault seized the early advantage, with Smith staying close. Harble, McCandless, Dale Blaney, and Poirier were next. However, the racer who drew the most attention in the early going was Dave Blaney. He shot from twelfth to seventh on the opening lap by using the high line that no one else dared to try.

Dave Blaney reached fourth by the time that DeVault had his shunt with the outside wall on lap six, and he was third when Matt Farnham stopped because his right rear tire was going flat.

On the ensuing restart, Blaney executed a perfect slider job in turn one to overtake DeVault. Smith, however, was in the lead, and he opened up several car lengths on Blaney.

Three Rivers Karting

Smith was into lapped traffic by the fourteenth round. He was able to pick off the back markers pretty easily. As he advanced through them, the going got tougher and Blaney was able to narrow the margin.

As the race moved into the final stages, Smith had several lapped cars separating himself from his pursuer. They were all running the bottom, and Blaney went back to the high side to try to get back into a position of contention. However, the top groove was no longer there for him, and he could not get past the lapped cars that were keeping pace with the leader. Blaney nestled in behind them and rode out the remaining laps for a second place finish that still satisfied the home town crowd.

DeVault was third, ahead of Dale Blaney and McCandless. Kekich, Poirier, Lee Jacobs, Kuriger, and Mark Smith rounded out the top ten. Jacobs was named the hard charger, at plus twelve.

Once again, five heats were required for the forty-six car field. Chalking up wins were Dave and Dale Blaney, Kekich, Ryan Smith, and Metheney. A.J. Flick and Lance Moss split the twin B Mains. Dave Blaney was the evening’s fastest qualifier with a lap of 15.835 seconds.

With three races complete, Dave Blaney has a 20 point lead over his brother, Dale. A.J. Flick holds down third one point back from Dale. Tim Shaffer and Mark Smith make up the top five.

Ayden Cipriano earned his first career Big Block Modified win, holding off Rex King, Jr. Cipriano benefited from a penalty imposed on leader Rick Regalski for jumping the lap seven restart. That infraction moved Cipriano to the pole and Regalski to third. King raced in the middle groove to move from sixth to second after the green light came on again.

Chas Wolbert was third, Will Thomas fourth, and Brad Rapp fifth. Positions six through ten went to Garrett Krummert, Regalski, Chad Reitz, Mike Kinney, and Steve Barr.

King and Thomas captured heat wins. There was no B Main.

Another first-time winner was Jeremy Kornbau in the Allegheny Sprint Tour A Main. It was the first time the 305 Sprint Cars appeared at the famous oval. Nolan Groves, Brett Brunkenhoefer, Roman Jones, and Jim Pattock were in the top five. Jarrett Rosencrance, Dale Schweikart, Andy Priest, Arnie Kent, and John Scarborough rounded out the top ten. Dale Schweikart, Pattock, and Priest won the preliminaries. There was no B Main.

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