PORT ROYAL, PA (July 20, 2022) – Kyle Larson, the reigning NASCAR champion, dropped into Port Royal Speedway for the Mid-Summer Classic presented by the World of Outlaws and he carried out $20,000 for his efforts. Larson led the entire distance, but Pennsylvania Posse favorites Danny Dietrich and Anthony Macri made things interesting, especially in the final five laps.
Also celebrating a win this night was Tony Jackson who battled throughout the non-wing Sportsmen feature with Steve Wilbur and Sam Leonard.
Larson noted that the banking in turns one and two was a bit different than it was in his last appearance at the Speed Palace. Nonetheless, he adapted quickly enough to score a heat win, cop the Dash, and dominate the feature.
“I felt like I did a decent job in traffic, then I got stuck and I got worried because Danny (Dietrich) was pretty good down low and I knew where (Anthony) Macri would be. I was watching the board to see if he got to second.” Macri never made it that far, so Larson figured that he had a comfortable margin over Dietrich.
After suffering through a miserable week at Eldora Speedway, Dietrich debated about passing up this race. However, once he heard about the pay-off, he decided to take a spare car down from the trailer and get it ready to race. That was not the least of his problems, though. “Our truck is in the shop right now,” he explained. One of his prime sponsors, Todd Weikert, came through with a truck to get the team to Port Royal, and Dietrich was very appreciative.
Macri, who appeared to be turning the fastest laps in the last third of the race, was pleased with his podium finish. “Maybe this team is just as good without the old crew chief,” he remarked. With the recent departure Jim Shuttlesworth, Macri was calling his own shots, and he said that he tightened up the car for the feature. “It took a while to get into some clean air, but then I found a line that the car liked.” When he did, he came to the front, challenging Dietrich for second in the final five laps.
Larson and Donny Schatz had the front row as a result of the Dash finish. Sheldon Haudenschild and Dietrich were paired in row two. Davis gravel and Jeff Halligan were in the third. Carson Macedo and Brad Sweet were the last of the Dash participants. Then came Macri and Brent Marks. Port Royal champion and current points leader, Logan Wagner, and Spencer Bayston made up row six. Lance Dewease and Devon Borden rolled off from row seven.
Schatz had a slight advantage over Larson on the initial start, but Logan Schuchart’s tip-over at the exit of turn four nullified that. Larson was better prepared for the second attempt, and he led Schatz into turn one before sliding up the track to break his momentum.
Dietrich nestled into third, with Haudenschild, Gravel, and Halligan following.
By lap five, Dietrich was second, but Larson was already starting to stretch his advantage. Schats continued in third, but Haudenschild was grappling with Macedo. Halligan was sixth, and Macri was seventh.
Macri worked his way into sixth soon thereafter, and he was challenging Halligan for the top five. By this point, Dewease had climber into the top ten, but, without the aid of a caution, he was far behind the leaders.
In the second half of the race, Macri began his march to the front. As he was coming forward, Schatz was beginning to fade.
With Larson cruising out front, Macri climbed into third and he began to close in on Dietrich. They had a good battle for the second spot over the final five laps. While Macri drew up alongside Dietrich several times, he could not get in front of him. Marks came forward as well, but he never became a factor in this race. Another racer making progress in the final five laps was Dewease, who reached seventh by the time the checkers waived.
Larson claimed the top spot, of course, followed by Dietrich, Macri, Marks, and Haudenschild. Halligan, Dewease, Macedo, Borden, and Brock Zearfoss completed the top ten. Zearfoss was the hard charger, coming from seventeenth to tenth without a caution to help his cause.
There were four heats for the thirty-three car field. Wins were chalked up by Schatz, Haudenschild, Larson, and Dietrich. Dietrich’s win was a close one over Sweet and it came on the last lap. Justin Whittal used a mid-race caution to come from fifth to win the B Main. Schatz was the fastest qualifier, turning the big half mile in 16.717 seconds.
Sam Leonard grabbed the lead at the start of the non-wing Sportsmen race. That was fine with Tony Jackson, who was actually disappointed that his son picked the pole. “I wasn’t happy with the pole,” Jackson said. “I like to follow. Leonard got the lead and I followed him.” After a brief contest with Wilbur for second, Jackson set his sights on the leader. He executed a slider in turn one to take the lead. But Leonard came back a couple of laps later to regain the lead.
Jackson regained the lead early in the second half of the race. That left Wilbur to fight with Leonard for the second spot. Wilbur accomplished that by lap fifteen. A caution on that round put Wilbur right behind Jackson for the final restart.
Jackson led the remainder of the race, but Wilbur gave it the old college try. He pulled alongside Jackson entering turn one with two to go, and he nosed ahead approaching turn two. Jackson powered off that corner to take the lead back. The two veterans repeated the performance on the final lap, much to the delight of those remaining in the stands.
“That was a wild one, three of us going at it,” said a tired but enthusiastic Wilbur.
At the finish, it was Jackson over Wilbur and Leonard. Trent Yoder was fourth, with Craig Perigo fifth. Kevin Gutshall, Brett Perigo, Matt Ondek, Gene Eppley, and Jason Failor rounded out the top ten.
Craig Perigo, Jackson, and Epply won their heat races. There was no B Main, as all twenty-seven racers started the feature.
Port Royal Speedway will be dark on Saturday, July 23 in connection with the Williams Grove Summer Nationals. Action will resume on July 30 with the 16th Annual Living Legends Dream Race. The 410 Sprints will race for a $60,000 purse, along with the Super Late Models. On August 6, the 410 Sprints will be at the top of the card, with support from the Super Late Models and the PASS 305 Sprint Cars.The Kids Money Scramble will also take place at intermission. There will be no racing on August 13 in deference to the Knoxville Nationals.
Reutzel Richer at Knoxville
KNOXVILLE, IA (August 6, 2022): Aaron Reutzel raced to victory in the finale of the 32nd Annual Knoxville 360 Nationals. By leading all thirty laps, his winnings were $30,000, split evenly between the purse and lap money.
“We had a very good car at the start, but not so good at the end,” Reutzel said. “We were struggling at the end. I knew probably someone was coming, but that’s how I wanted the race to play out. I wanted to go green to checker, so I could run in lapped traffic and try to hide a little bit. We were able to get up front and make the best of it. It all worked out good.”
Regulars from the Knoxville Raceway dominated the front rows of the A Main starting lineup, which was based on the unique Nationals point system. Points are awarded for each competitive event–time trials, heat races, and qualifying night feature events–and the driver with the highest total starts on the pole. That honor belonged to Lynton Jeffrey. To his right was Reutzel. In row two were Clint Garner and Terry McCarl. Brain Brown and Ayrton Gennetten were in row three. Sam Hafertepe was the first outsider, and he started in seventeen next to the defending race champion, Giovanni Scelzi. Christopher Thram and Wayne Johnson made up row five, followed by Thomas Kennedy and Cory Eliason.
Reutzel carried a lot of speed into turn one and he rode the rim to take a modest lead over Jeffrey. Garner, Brown, and McCarl battled for the third position. Gennetten and Hafertepe watched the action unfold.
Reutzel began to pull away from Jeffrey while the battle amongst Brown, Garner, and McCarl became more intense when Hafertepe entered the fray. Hafertepe had the dominant car through the middle stage of the race, and he began to move forward.
Hafertepe made contact with Garner in turn two while moving into the third position with fourteen laps complete. Both drivers kept their cars under control, and they separated quickly and without any further incident. Garner fell back a bit, but, as the race wore on, he picked up speed again.
Meanwhile, Hafertepe pulled away unscathed and soon he was challenging Jeffrey for the second position. Hafertepe did take over second at the midpoint in the race, but he was more than two and a half seconds behind the leader.
As Hafertepe began to whittle away at the lead, the tension was beginning to build. It was obvious that Reutzel was fighting a loose car the last ten laps and Hafetepe was coming. The question was whether he would have enough time to catch and pass the leader.
Hafertepe cut the margin to under a second. With two laps remaining, he got the car up onto the inside berm between turns three and four. He scrubbed off some speed when the car got a little sideways. Although that miscue gave Reutzel some needed breathing space, Hafertepe came back on the final lap. He drew near to Reutzel entering turn one. But Reutzel had the better line and he was able to keep his momentum up as he rolled through the first and second turns.
Reutzel had a couple of car lengths on Hafertepe as they raced toward turn three. He took the checkers 0.725 seconds ahead of his fellow Texan.
Garner rebounded for third, followed by Jeffrey and McCarl. Brown slipped back to sixth. Eliason, Gennetten, Chase Randall, and Scelzi completed the top ten.
“We could have used a caution or anything,” Hafertepe observed. “He (Reutzel) drove a pretty good race and got through lapped traffic pretty well.” Hafertepe added that Reutzel got to spend a lot of time in clean air. He was apologetic about his scuffle with Garner in the second corner. “I got into Clint, which I didn’t mean to do. I was running in the middle and hitting a little patch of moisture and I missed it and got up into him. I didn’t want to race him like that.”
Garner downplayed his achievement. “The car was fast, you know. I did my best to do what I could there. I definitely felt like the ultimate underdog again here. When I stood in the lineup to do the introductions, there were a lot of great racecar drivers. Most of them could be the best or one of the best in the country. I’m privileged to be here . . . and I’m glad to be up here talking with you guys.” He assigned no blame at all to Hafertepe for the incident in turn two. “Good drivers know what they are doing and I knew what I was doing. We both kept them under control.” In fact, Garner took some of the responsibility himself, noting that he should have backed out but he did not want to give up another position.
Randall was named the Rookie of the Race and the Hard Charger. He passed nine cars in the contest. He netted an extra $1,000 for those awards.
The all-features format got off to a rocky start. A couple of cautions punctuated the E Main, which was won by Jett Carney. The D Main had two vicious accidents on the initial attempts to start that race. Seth Brehmer and Ryan Bowers collided head-on at full speed in the middle of the frontstretch. After a delay for fence repairs, a six-car pile-up occurred in turn one, with several cars flipping and one landing on top of another car. Fortunately no drivers were injured in either incident, but nine cars were eliminated in the process. Justin Sanders grabbed the win. The C Main win went to Kaleb Johnson, and Tyler Courtney scored the B Main victory. Sye Lynch was the only driver to race in three of the feature events, ending his night in the C Main.
Brown Bags Second Prelim at Knoxville
KNOXVILLE, IA (August 5, 2022): Brian Brown sailed to victory on the second night of the 32nd Annual Knoxville 360 Nationals. Brown is the only driver to rank in the top five in career wins in both the 410 and 360 Sprint Car divisions at the famed raceway.
“It’s good to be up here,” Brown noted. “The final night of the 360s has been good to us, but not the qualifying night.” Brown, who is very good at maintaining relationships with his sponsors, added, “all of my sponsors are here and it’s really cool to be able to win in front of them.”
The twenty lap finale had Christopher Thram and Blake Hahn paired on the front row. Brown and Terry McCarl made for a powerful second row, with Wayne Johnson and Lynton Jeffrey in the third. Clint Garner and Kelby Watt were in row four. Tasker Phillips and Carson McCarl had row five, with Justin Sanders and Tyler Courtney in the sixth.
Brown wasted no time in getting to the front. He executed a textbook slider in turn three to take the lead away from Thram. Johnson was racing ahead of McCarl. Hahn fell to fifth on the opening lap, followed by Garner, Jeffrey, and Cale Thomas.
With Brown leading the way, McCarl moved into third and was pressing Thram for the second spot. Meanwhile, Johnson and Jeffrey were holding down the fourth and fifth positions.
On lap six, bad luck befell the night’s fastest qualifier. Watt was involved in a three-car tangle in turn one and he crashed while racing for a position in the top ten.
On the restart, Thram tried to dive bomb Brown in turn one. However, Brown had the momentum and the cushion going for him and he swept around the challenger as they raced through the first two corners. From there to the finish, Brown was untouchable.
There was a spirited battle for second between Thram and McCarl for the next ten laps. With six to go, McCarl powered by Thram in turn one. It looked as though Thram would pull off a bit of an upset by getting a podium finish, but Jeffrey came on in the final few laps to take the position away.
At the checkers, it was Brown by slightly more than four seconds over McCarl. Jeffrey, Thram, and Garner completed the top five. Johnson was sixth despite a very severe back condition. Thomas edged Kyle Larson for seventh. Phillips and Hahn completed the top ten.
“Those 24 cars are always tough,” McCarl said with a laugh. He was ready to make a move on Thram before the red flag on lap six, and he noted that Thram “took my line away from me. That’s exactly what I would have done with him. Then, McCarl commented that, after the restart, “it took me a while to get going again.” He speculated that his tire cooled down too much under the red.
Jeffrey was ecstatic with his third-place run, which earned him the pole for the big race Saturday night. He explained that, as of Friday morning, he was not sure if he was going to race. But, Jody Hegwood loaned Jeffrey the motor. It was removed from the car driven Thursday night by Devin Kline and it was installed in Jeffrey’s car in the morning. “It is a really good motor. I’m pretty excited. Sitting on the pole for the 360 Nationals is definitely a feather in the cap. We’ll just try and get it finished off.”
The five heat winners were Davey Heskin, Phillips, Austin Miller, Jeffrey, and Ian Madsen. The C Main victory went to Jett Carney, with Larson taking the B. Watt’s quick time was 16.422 seconds.
With all of the preliminaries completed, Lynton Jeffrey was the top point getter, edging Aaron Reutzel by three for the pole position. Clint Garner, Terry McCarl, Brian Brown, and Ayrton Gennetten will make up rows two and three for the A Main. Sam Hafertepe and Giovanni Scelzi will be in row four. Other drivers making the cut to the A Main were Christopher Thram, Wayne Johnson, Thomas Kennedy, Cory Eliason, Garrett Williamson, Justin Henderson, Tasker Phillips, Kyle Larson, Blake Hahn, Chase Randall, Matt Juhl, and Kelby Watt.
Hoffman and Fielding Reach the Top in Modified and Pro Stock Points, Respectively; Flick Closing In 410 Sprints; Maskal Still Ahead in Minis
FRANKLIN, PA (August 2, 2022): The big news coming out of Sunday’s event at Tri-City Raceway Park were the changes in the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group 358 Modified ranks. But the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks also have a new name on the top of the standings. What is more, a battle is brewing for the title in the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprint Cars!
Jeremiah Shingledecker, the most successful driver in the 358 Modified division, is at the center of the story. He sold the car that carried him to the 2021 title and that was best in class in the first half of the 2022 season. The 37MD now belongs to rookie Austin Eyler. And, if that name sounds familiar, it is because he is kin to former 410 Sprint Car racer Rob Eyler. Well, Eyler stripped off the “MD” and he now campaigns the car as the 37. So, that left Shingledecker without a ride for the balance of the 2022 season at the track.
But wait, there’s more.
Shingledecker signed in to drive the potent Hoffman Door 00 on Sunday. The owner and driver, Kevin Hoffman, was under the weather, so he asked Shingledecker to take the seat for the night. Shingledecker did the Hoffmans proud, taking the wins in his heat and in the feature event.
Under track rules, the points for Shingledecker’s successes were awarded to the car, and not the driver. So, the Hoffman 00 vaulted into first place in the championship standings, as Kevin was the winner before the track had consecutive cancellations due to weather.
It is anticipated that Kevin Hoffman will return to the seat this weekend, so it will be up to him to keep the winning streak alive. But, if he is unable to race again due to his health, he knows that he will have a capable substitute to fill in for him again.
So, the Hoffman 00 sits at the top of the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group standings, thanks to the assist from Jeremiah Shingledecker. Jimmy Holden, who was second to Shingledecker Sunday evening, is second in the season’s standings by just 13 points, so things are not so settled any more. Shingledecker is still third based on his outstanding performances in his own car before it was sold. Nick Joy, who travels down from New York to race at Tri-City, is just eight points back, so he could easily surpass Shingledecker this week. Lonny Riggs, who had a strong top five last week, is now fifth in the standings and he could move up a notch with another good run.
In the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, Pat Fielding now tops the points after getting his first career win in this division. Fielding has been in the Pro Stock game for a decade, just a few years less than his closest rival has been alive. Teenager Tyler Wyant trails by only ten markers, but his DNF (“did not finish”) on Sunday hurt him in the championship tilt. Josh Seippel, Charlie McMillen, and the Boozel brothers complete the top five.
Older brother Ayden Boozel started the season in the family car, wrenched by their grandfather, Bob Sloss, who was a successful Pro Stock driver in his day. But the younger sibling, Quinten, took his turn behind the wheel of the 44B on Sunday and he brought it home in the top five. Not bad for the first-time racer!
In the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprint Cars, A.J. Flick moved into second behind former champion Jack Sodeman, Jr. More importantly, Flick shaved a couple of points off the lead. He now trails Sodeman by 23. Just one point further back is Jeremy Weaver, who now drives Bob McMillin’s car re-numbered as 35W. Bob Felmlee and Chase Metheney complete the top five in the winged warriors.
Levi Maskal still sits atop the rankings in the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks. Matt Urey, a recent feature winner, is second. Chad Greeley, D.J. Macrae, and recently engaged Bodey McClintock make up the rest of the top five. Dalton Speer, who regained the winning ways last week, is seventh, behind Dillon Thorne.
The action will start for these racers, and many more, at 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 8. Pit gates will open at 2 p.m., and spectators can enter the grandstands at 4 p.m.
Regular event ticket pricing will prevail on Sunday evening. Adult admission, for those aged 16 to 62, will be $15. Seniors (ages 62 and up) will be $13. Student tickets will be $10 for those ages 10 to 16. Children under the age of 10, will be free, as usual. The Family Pass (good for two adults of any age and two students) will be $45. Pit Passes will be $30.
If you cannot make it to the track on August 8, Tri-City Raceway Park will be back in action on August 15 with another Sunday Thunder event, which will include the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprints, the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group 358 Modifieds, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, and the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks.
Then, on August 21, the speedway will host the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. Joining the most powerful Late Models on the planet will be the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks. Please note this schedule change.
The track will close out the month of August with another Sunday Thunder program on August 28.
Get ready for the season-ending spectacular to be held over the Labor Day weekend. The activity will start with a practice session on Friday, September 2, with free grandstand admission. Racing will begin on Saturday, September 3, for the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprints, the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group 358 Modifieds, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks, and the Junior Sprints. All five classes will return for the finale on Sunday, September 4, along with the RUSH Sprint Cars. Camping will be free throughout the weekend, and there will be fireworks and a bonfire Sunday to celebrate the end of the summer.
Further information about Tri-City Raceway Park can be obtained by calling the track office at 724-967-4601, or by e-mailing the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can check the web at Tri-CityRacewayPark.com, or the Facebook page at Tri City Raceway Park. Tri-City Raceway Park is located just a few miles north of Franklin, PA, at 3430 State Route 417 in Oakland Township.