By Lou Long and D.J. Johnson
IMPERIAL, PA – Friday afternoon, a Pittsburgh area businessman, Blair Cress, Jr., closed on the deal to buy Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, ending the Miley family’s operation of the speedway for more than three decades. Terms were not disclosed.
Originally, six members of the Miley family banded together to form Miley Motorsports in order to lease, and later purchase, the track from Emma Garin, the widow of track founder Nick Garin. The Garin’s had brought the speedway to life in the 1970s, after the closure of the famed Heidelberg Speedway. In fact, many of the fixtures at PPMS were purchased by the Garins and moved to the new facility. Even the old asphalt racing surface was hauled to the new track and it was eventually ground up and spread like cinders in the pit area.
James “Red” Miley became the face of PPMS because brother Ben was still at the height of his racing career. After Red’s passing in 2007, another brother, Matt, assumed a greater role in the management of the speedway. After Ben’s retirement as a driver and as an insurance executive, he became more involved in the daily operation of the track. Unfortunately, Matt died in December of 2022, so even more responsibility was heaped upon Ben and his sister, Twyla, “Ty,” to continue the tradition.
Blair Cress, Jr. has no history in motorsports. He is a landscaper and arborist by education and trade. Sources reported that the graduate of Pennsylvania State University purchased the speedway property as an investment in order to relocate and grow his other business, particularly 20/20 Landscaping & Tree Service LLC, which is currently located in the Crafton section of Pittsburgh.
Sources indicated that Cress may harvest some of the timber from the extensive acreage on the PPMS property. Part of the area to be cleared may be used as a tree farm and some buildings may be erected to house the landscaping business.
Cress initially had no designs on operating the speedway. However, after attending some events during the 2022 season, his attitude changed. Reportedly, he was impressed by the multi-generations of competitors and fans alike, and he wants to grow and develop the family aspect. He also hopes that proceeds from the operation of the speedway can help to reduce the debt service on the property. For now, it seems, Cress intends to continue the operation of the speedway much in the same way as the Miley family was doing. Reportedly, no changes to the schedule are contemplated for the remainder of 2023. Ben and Ty Miley will remain as consultants for the rest of the season to assist Cress and his family in assuming full managerial responsibilities at the track.
Cress is reportedly exploring other possible uses of the speedway, including truck and tractor pulls, monster truck shows, and even a carnival. Such events are not likely to appear on the remaining 2023 schedule, but they could become added attractions in the years to come.
Cress was on hand to observe the racing program on Saturday night. He and some of his friends and employees already made some improvements to the grounds. He took the opportunity to meet the staff and several of the competitors. He was not introduced to the crowd as the new owner and there was no official announcement of the sale. Nonetheless, word of the transaction leaked out and some of the racers even made reference to the sale in their post-race interviews.
The racing program was an artistic success, especially the non-stop BOSS Sprint Car event won by Carmen Perigo, Jr. on the final lap. Unfortunately, threatening weather kept the attendance down, so the program was not a financial success. Hopefully, Cress will keep an open mind about the future of auto racing at Dirt’s Monster Half Mile and his energy and creativity will reinvigorate the famed venue.
Flick Dominates Sprint Finale at Tri-City and Clinches Championship; Reitz, Whitling, Potosky, and Urey also Score
FRANKLIN, PA (September 3, 2023): There was no doubt that A.J. Flick was on a mission at Tri-City Raceway Park. In the Diehl Chevrolet Sprint Car finale, he took the lead coming through turn two on the opening lap and he never looked back. In fact, his eyes were fixed forward, as he lapped all but two competitors in the non-stop affair.
Also scoring wins were Chad Reitz in the Pitt Stop Pub 358 Modifieds, Bobby Whitling for the second night in a row in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, Mike Potosky in the A & MP electric, Inc. UMP Modifieds, and Matt Urey in the 4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks.
The Old Skool Kool Vintage Tour also presented a pair of races. The Stock Car win went to Larry Walters. The Modified win belonged to Paul Bacchus.
Flick, who also won his heat race, noted that the track was in excellent shape for the feature event. “The track was a little narrow the last two weeks, but it was great tonight. It did not take any rubber. I have a tendency to over think things sometimes, but I listened to my dad, and he said to let things go for the feature.” That obviously was a good call. The car was flawless.
Flick apologized to the fans for the low car count. “I feel that we have to do something. Merle Black supports us, he has not cut the purses. The fans have been great and we hope that we can get more cars and more fans to help him keep this track going. It is one of the best in Western PA.”
In the final race of the season for the Diehl Chevrolet 410 Sprint Cars, Jack Sodeman, Jr. started on the pole with A.J. Flick next to him. Flick was seeking his second track championship. Andy Cavanaugh and Bob Felmlee were in row two. Felmlee entered the race second in points, 25 behind Flick. Andy Priest and Steven Bright were in the third row. The fourth row belonged to Bodey McClintock and Cameron Nastasi.
Flick rode the outside line to take the lead from Sodeman going through turns one and two on the opening lap. Felmlee raced along in third, ahead of Priest, Cavanaugh, McClintock, Nastasi, and Bright.
As the laps clicked away, Flick’s lead got bigger and bigger. He had more than two-thirds of a lap on Sodeman and he was within striking distance of putting Felmlee one lap in arrears by the time that the checkers fell.
At the finish, it was Flick, Sodeman, Felmlee, Priest, Cavanaugh, McClintock, Bright, and Nastasi.
Flick took the preliminary. There was no B Main.
In the Pitt Stop Pub closer, Tom Holden started on the inside of row one. Chad Reitz was his wingman. Colton Walters and Ayden Cipriano were in row two, The third row belonged to Anthony Antus and Macey Adamic. The final row had Lenny Liebold, III and Steve Slater.
Reitz took the early lead, with Cipriano in second, followed by Holden, Walters, and Liebold. Cipriano raced in the outside groove to take over the point on lap two. He held command through most of the race.
Consecutive restarts on laps fifteen and sixteen made the difference, however. On the first one, Cipriano used the outside line to hold Reitz off. But on the second try, Reitz went into turn one a little bit harder. The car freed up and he crowded Cipriano. There was no contact, but the veteran’s aggressive move made the pass work.
Reitz led the rest of the way, with Cipriano taking second to lock up his first track championship. Walters and Holden fought for third on those restarts, and Walters came out on top. Fifth went to the only distaff driver, Adamcik. Liebold, Antus, and Slater completed the field.
The heat race win went to Reitz. There was no B Main.
For Reitz, the win came in his return to racing after a nineteen-year absence. “It feels good to get the win here at Tri-City. It is my home track. I only live a few minutes from here. My goal was to win one for the season and we accomplished that on the last night.
In the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stock twenty-five lapper, Jackson Humanic drew the pole. Moving up to the front row was Nathan Yeaney. Rod Laskey, and Gary Miller, Jr. were in row two. Matt Bernard and Bobby Whitling were in row three. Josh Seippel and Chris Withers made up row four. The fifth row paired Russ Coyne and Pat Fielding. The sixth was Tim Bish and Mike Miller. Buried in the last row was defending champion Tyler Wyant, who was looking to claim his second title.
Yeaney grabbed the lead, with Humanic, Whitling, Gary Miller, Laskey, Bernard, Josh Seippel, Withers, Mike Miller, and Coyne following. A caution for a three-car tangle that eliminated Charlie McMillen and substantially damaged Brayden Seippel necessitated a restart with one lap complete.
Humanic assumed command on lap two and Whitling took over third one lap later. Whittling chased down Humanic to take the lead on lap five.
Whitling maintained control through a couple of restarts, with Humanic staying close. Josh Seippel raced along in third. The next several positions were changing hands with some frequency involving Wyant, Mike Miller, Bish, Fielding, and Schneider.
A number of late race cautions provided extra drama. Humanic tried to roll the outside to take the lead away from Whitling, but he was not successful. However, on the next try, the maneuver worked to perfection. Unfortunately, a caution bunched the field up again, and Whitling was able to return the favor.
For the final restart, with three to go, Whitling changed the script. He took the inside line. He got the advantage over Humanic coming off turn four and he led the rest of the way without any challenges.
Whitling collected a cool thousand dollars for the win. Humanic was second. Bish, Schneider, Josh Seippel amde up the top five. Mike Miller, Coyne, Cole Miller, Gary Miller, Jr., and Jimmy Fosnaught were the next finishers.
The heat winners were Humanic and Whitling. There was no B Main.
Tyler Waynt’s finish of seventeenth, while below par, was good enough to bag his second championship in a row in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stock division.
Tri-City Raceway Park would like to thank a bevy of sponsors who raised extra money and special gifts for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks for both feature races held over the weekend. RK Virgile Scrap & Iron, through its owner Randy Wyant, put $1,000 on the top for the payout each night. Mark McIver of Shaffer’s oil sponsored all of the cautions for the weekend. Oil Valley Outdoor Services and Oil Creek Family Camp Grounds split the hard luck awards. Integra Shocks presented a free set of racing shocks to a lucky racer. Rod Laskey and Gibson Hill Automotive presented a lap leader bonus to the racer at the front of the pack on lap eighteen. Josh Seipple presented a case of Les Friction Racing Oil for a lucky driver. In addition, extra money was donated for the purses courtesy of White Star Racing and Driver Aaron Smith, Jones Notary, PJ Concrete and Excavation and driver Pat Fielding, Billy’s Garage, Langworthy Services. Ringgold Plumbing and Heating and driver Tim Bish, Slider Racing Chassis and driver Bobby Whitling, Kevin Irwin and Jaqulin Irwin Pro Stock Fans, Bernards Electrical Services and driver Matt Bernard, Pete Stearns and Venango Automotive, Grandview Autobody, Griffen Collision & Design, and ABL Creations and Ash Blossom. Without their generosity and support, these events would not have been possible.
The 4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks were the final race of the evening. Thomas Warren had the pole for that, with Tim Dragar next to him. Chad Greeley was in third, with Bill Fuchs in fourth. Row three paired Dillon Morrison and Joe Campbell. The fifth row consisted of Tim Callahan and Matt Urey. Row six had Zack Swartz and Adam Aley.
Urey raced to the front in his speedy Honda and led to the checkers. Campbell, Morrison, Callahan, and Warren completed the top five. Ben Aley, Greeley, Jared Hall, Tim Dragar, and Justin Dragar rounded out the top ten.
Campbell and Morrison split the heat wins. There was no B Main.
Urey clinched the championship by a substantial margin.
The Old Skool Kool Vintage Tour was back with a pair of feature events. Larry Walters repeated as the winner in the Stock Car class, followed by Foxie Sumner and Steve Tanner. In the Modified class, Paul Bacchus prevailed over Tim Beatty. Allen Guthrie and Allen Clarke were next. The heat winners were Sumner and Guthrie in the Stocks and Modifieds, respectively.
Information about the 2024 season at Tri-City Raceway Park can be obtained by calling the track office at 724-967-4601, or by e-mailing the office at email@example.com. 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. Professional auto racing was presented in a family friendly atmosphere most Sunday evenings from May through Labor Day weekend. The race night for 2024 has yet to be determined.
Diehl Chevrolet 410 Sprints: A.J. Flick, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Bob Felmlee, Andy Priest, Andy Cavanaugh, Bodey McClintock, Steve Bright, and Cameron Nastasi.
Pitt Stop Pub 358 Modifieds: Chad Reitz, Ayden Cipriano, Colton Walters, Tom Holden, Macey Adamic, Lenny Liebold, III, Anthony Antus, Steve Slater.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks: Bobby Whittling, Jackson Humanic, Tim Bish, Chris Schneider, Josh Seippel, Mike Miller, Russ Coyne, Cole Miller, Gary Miller, Jr., Jimmy Fosnaught, Brayden Seippel, Pat Fielding, Nathan Yeaney, Chris Withers, Ron Boardman, Matt Bernard, Tyler Wyant, Andrew Hammond, Rod Laskey, Aaron Smith, Charlie McMillen, Randy Wyant (DNS).
A & MP electric. Inc. UMP Modifieds: Mike Potosky, David Scott, Steve Rex, Garrett Clavert, Brandon Grossman, Alec Siekkinen, Donny May.
4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks: Matt Urey, Joe Campbell, Dillon Morrison, Tim Callahan, Thomas Warren, Ben Aley, Chad Greeley, Jared Hall, Tim Dragar, Justin Dragar, Bill Fuchs, Zack Swartz, Adam Aley.
Old Skool Kool Vintage Stocks: Larry Walters, Foxie Sumner, Steve Tanner.
Old Skool Kool Vintage Modifieds: Paul Bacchus, Tim Beatty, Allen Guthrie, Allen Clarke.
Rudolph wins Mod Tour Race and Clinches BRP Championship; Whitling Tops Pro Stocks, Urey takes Mini Stocks
FRANKLIN, PA (September 2, 2023): Erick Rudolph took the feature win and the championship crown to conclude the twenty-sixth season of the BRP Modified Tour. He passed Rex King, Jr. just before halfway and he maintained a comfortable advantage the rest of the way.
Also taking wins on the holiday special were Bobby Whitling and Matt Urey in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, and 4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks, respectively. Larry Walters and Tim Beatty prevailed in the Old Skool Kool Vintage action.
“It’s plenty of pressure to defend the championship, Rudolph noted.” But he did not let the stress wear him down. Rudolph explained that King “was able to get through lapped traffic better tahn me.” But he had four cautions in the second half to keep the track clear for the most part.
Dave Murdick and Kyle Fink had the front row for the season-ending thirty-five lapper. King Jr. and Chas Wolbert made up row two. Chad Reitz and Garrett Krummert were in the third row. Jeremiah Shingledecker and J.R. McGinley had row four. The fifth paired up Rudolph and Trevor Wright. The sixth matched Jeff Walters and Brad Rapp.
Murdick took the lead at the start of the event. King nestled into second, followed by Wolbert, Krummert, Rudolph, and Fink. McGinley slowed the pace three laps into the event. That realignment allowed King to sweep into the lead on the next completed lap.
Wolbert sustained a flat soon thereafter, and that put King out front for the restart. He held control ahead of Murdick, Krummert, Rudolph, Shingledecker, Fink, Wright, Walters, Rapp, and Austin Eyler.
On the next round of the big half mile, Rudolph took up second and Krummert also nudged ahead of Murdick, and Shingledecker.
On lap sixteen, Macey Adamik brought out the first of her three cautions. On the restart, Rudolph slid past King on the inside of turn three. King got another shot at Rudolph two laps later when a two-car skirmish involving Walters and Rodney Beltz stopped the race.
While Rudolph maintained his lead the rest of the way, several cautions punctuated the flow of the race. Throughout, Rudolph stayed out front, with King in second. Krummert hovered in third until Shingledecker drove by with just a couple of laps left in the contest.
Atthe checkers, it was Rudolph, King, Shingledecker, and Krummert. Rapp, Murdick, McGinley, Wright, and Eyler completed the top five.
Krummert, Rudolph, and King topped the three heat races. There was no B Main.
The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply twenty-five lap A Main had a number of cautions and one red flag interrupt the action. But Bobby Whitling was not phased by the interludes.
Following Whitling atthe checkers were Jackson Humanic, Pat Fielding, Rod Laskey, and Jimmy Fosnaught. Charlie McMillen, Matt Bernard, Aaron Smith, Randy Wyant, and Tim Bish completed the top ten. Matt Bernard passed ten cars on his way to seventh to earn the $100 bonus for the hard charger.
Tyler Wyant and Whitling scored in the preliminaries. There was no B Main.
Matt Urey regained his leading role in the 4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks. He came from seventh to get the win. Dillon Morrison, Chad Greeley, Ben Aley, and Jesse Armstrong had the top five positions covered. Justin Dragar, Bill Fuchs, Zach Swartz, Tim Drager, and Thomas Warren completed the top ten.
Tim Drager and Bill Fuchs got the heat race wins. There was no B Main.
In the Old Skool Kool Vintage Series, Larry Walters topped teh Stock Car go. Foxie Sumner, Brian Lederhouse, and Steve Tanner followed. In the Modifieds, Tim Beatty, Paul Baccus, Jim Kurpakis, and Allen Guthrie, were the front runners.
BRP Modified Tour: Erick Rudolph, Rex King, Jr., Jeremiah Shingledecker, Garrett Krummert, Brad Rapp, Dave Murdick, Chas Wolbert, Trevor Wright, Austin Eyler, Wally Wade, Chad Reitz, Mark Frankhouser, Shawn Kozar, Kevin Green, Macey Adamik, Rodney Beltz, Kyle Fink, Lenny Liebold, III, Colton Waters, Jeff Walters, J.R. McGinley.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks: Bobby Whitling, Jackson Humanic, Pat Fielding, Rod Laskey, Jimmy Fosnaught, Charlie McMillen, Matt Bernard, Aaron Smith, Randy Wyant, Tim Bish, Brayden Seippel, Andrew Hammond, Josh Seippel, Tyler Wyant, Russ Coyne, Curt J. Bish, Andy Buckley (DNS).
4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks: Matt Urey, Dillon Morrison, Chad Greeley, Ben Aley, Jesse Armstrong, Justin Drager, Bill Fuchs, Zack Swartz, Tim Dragar, Thomas Warren, Adam Aley (DNS).
Old Skool Kool Vintage Stocks: Larry Walters, Foxie Sumner, Brian Lederhouse, Steve Tanner.
Old Skool Kool Vintage Modifieds: Tim Beatty, Paul Baccus, Jim Kurpakis, Allen Guthrie, Dave Phillips (DNS), Allen Clarke (DNS).
Zeigler Apologetic After Labor Day 55 Win, Altobelli Annihilates Modified Field
BEDFORD, PA (September 1, 2023): When a racer wins one of the most historic Super Late Model Races in the region, he should be ecstatic. Especially when the race is sanctioned by the ULMS and when it pays a hefty $12,055 to the winner. But Mason Zeigler was noticeably subdued after taking his second triumph in the annual Labor Day 55 classic.
Zeigler got to victory lane after he tangled with Alex Ferree on a lap 47 restart. Ferree led from the start and he withstood a similar move several laps earlier. Zeigler again threw a wicked slider at Ferree, and there was heavy side-to-side contact between them. Both cars got sideways, Zeigler checked up, and maintained his forward momentum. However, Ferree spun to the top of the track. Rather than taking his position at the rear of the field, Ferree called it a night.
Zeigler was greeted by a cascade of boos and derogatory remarks when he drove up onto the fairgrounds stage. “I didn’t deserve that win,” he said sheepishly. “I got loose and I doored him. Alex is my buddy. I’m going to try to make it right with him. It would be different if we were rivals, but he’s my buddy. I’m sorry to all the fans to stink up a show like that.”
Ferree and Coleby Frye started on the front row for the holiday special. Matt Cosner was inside row two sporting a throwback paint scheme. Max
Blair was his dancing partner. Zeigler rolled off in third, with Tyler Emery on his flank. Gregg Satterlee and Brian Bernheisel had row four to themselves. Jeff Rine, who was eventually crowned as the Bedford Speedway points champion, lined up in row five, along with Dylan Yoder.
Michael Norris and Jason Covert made it an even dozen. Further back in the field were Kyle Hardy, Kyle Lee, Ryan Montgomery, Logan Zarin, Justin Weaver, Colton Flinner, Dan Stone, and Jakob Piper.
Ferree and Frye charged into turn one at the start of the fifty-five lap A Main held under the ULMS banner. Cosner, Emery, Blair, Zeigler, Bernheisel, Satterlee, and Yoder were sorting themselves out. The top five remained unchanged as Ferree began to distance himself from Frye, even as he entered lapped traffic around lap ten.
Seven rounds later, the traffic picked up as Ferreee was still cruising out front. However, due to the other cars, which were fighting for positions, Ferreee got held up and Frye closed in to a couple of car lengths behind the leader.
Blair moved into fourth on lap twenty-three and he was closing in on Cosner. Meanwhile Ferree got into a safe position and he started to pull away from Frye and Cosner once again.
Ferree’s advantage was swept away with the display ofn the first caution twenty-nine laps into the contest. For the first Delaware couple-file restart, Ferree was all alone out front, with Frye, Cosner, Blair, Zeigler, Emery, Bernheisel, Jeff Rine, Hardy, and Norris making up the top ten. Norris surrendered his preferred spot, though, when he pitted with a flat right rear while the field was under the caution.
Frye took a run at the leader on the green, but Ferree was up to the task. He remained ahead of “Superfly.” Due to Norris’ misfortune, Lee moved into the top ten. Six laps later, Lee brought out caution number two when he stopped at the entry to turn three.
On the ensuing restart, Zeigler was lined up in third, but he would not stay there for long. Entering turn one, he made a bold move to the inside of Ferree. Zeigler grabbed the lead briefly, but Ferree rode the rim to regain the advantage coming off turn two.
Chuck Clise called for the next caution on lap 44, when he spun on the front stretch. He did not hit any other cars or the inside wall, so he was able to regain the roster. Blair was not so fortunate on the restart, though. He tangled with Hardy and Frye, and spun to the inside a bit closer to the flagstand. Blair’s car sustained some damage to the right front corner, and he needed assistance from a tow truck to get back to the pits.
Lee brought out another caution just three laps later, setting up Zeigler’s aggressive inside move that changed the complexion of the race. Zeigler was able to keep moving and Ferree retired from the race, much to the dismay of the large crowd on hand. Ferree was a sentimental favorite as his car owner, Lynn Geisler, won the Labor Day 55 back in 1998 under the MACS sanction.
However, Zeigler stopped to get some sheet metal pulled from around the right rear. He was able to retain his point position for the final green of the night.
Zeigler got away cleanly and Cosner hovered in second. Frye rallied in the final eight laps, but he could not make up any positions on Zeigler or Cosner. Frye, Hardy, and Rine took the next three positions.
Yoder, Zarin, Emery, Montgomery, and Bernheisel completed the top ten.
Four heat races were presented, with the checkers going to Emery, Frye, Ferree, and Bernheisel. The B Mains were split between Montgomery and Zarin. The evening’s fastest qualifier was Emery, with a lap of 19.479 in Group A. Zeigler did have fast time, but his lap was disallowed for leaving the track in turn four instead of turn two after his rapid run. He was one of a handful of racers who suffered that fate. The top runner in Group B was Ferree, with a time of 19.601.
In the Mid-Atlantic Modified go, Donnie Farling raced to the front from his outside pole position. Drake Troutman ran along in second, followed by john Whitfield, Brandon Hoover, and Mitch Thomas, who was doing double duty.
Mike Altobelli moved ahead, taking second in traffic with a dozen laps in the books. Although a caution came out almost immediately, Altobelli had the advantage at the flagstand so he started on the pole.
Altobeli took the checkers ahead of Farling, Drake Troutman, Jacob Marker, and Ridge Bookwalter. Nabbing positions six through ten were Whitfield, Dave Troutman, Bruce Dreistadt, Tom Wakefield, and Ryan Dolan.
Preliminaries belonged to Altobelli and Mitchell. There was no B Main.
Bedford Speedway will be back in action on Sunday, September 3, with Championship Night for the Late Model Spportsmen, Semi Late Models, Pure Stocks, and Four Cylinders.
Then, the three-day Dave Toutman Memorial will be held Thursday through Staurday, September 21 through 23. Racing will return with the Annual Keystone Cup for the Super Late Models on October 20 and 21. Friday support will come from the Semi Late Models, Pure Stocks, and Four Cylinders. The Late Model Sportsmen and the Mid-Atlantic Modifieds will add to the show on Staurday, which is the season finale.