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Macri Gets Third Straight Kauffman Classic at Port Royal; Amantea and Craig Perigo Also Score

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Photo: Paul Arch

PORT ROYAL, PA (April 27, 2024): Anthony Macri won the Keith Kauffman Classic for the third straight time, but it was not an easy victory. Macri inherited the lead when Chase Dietz blew his left rear tire. But T.J. Stutts surprised Macri on the restart, and it took several laps for the nation’s win leader to regain the top spot. Macri collected $15,000 for the effort. Also scoring wins were Joey Amantea (USAC East Coast 360 Sprints) and Craig Perigo (Wingless Sportsmen).

“It took us a couple of laps to get up to speed,” Macri noted. “He (Stutts) had a really good restart. But I knew it is not good to follow cars on a big track like this, so I pulled my wing back and I was able to get by.”

The original start of the race was marred by a massive crash in turn one that eliminated six competitors. The incident began when Jeff Halligan got turned and backed across the track toward the outside wall. Five other racers, all from the outside line, were collected in the wreck. Heavy damage was inflicted on the cars of Halligan, A.J. Flick, Lance Dewease, and Cullam Williamson. Steve Buckwalter and Austin Bishop had less damage. Fortunately, none of the drivers sustained any reported injuries.

So, the revised starting line-up went like this. On the front row were Dietz and Logan Wagner. Danny Dietrich and Macri were in row two. Stutts and Justin Whittal were in row three. Mike Wagner and Freddie Rahmer, Jr. were the new partners in the fourth row. Devon Borden and Kody Hartlaub were in row five, with Mike Walter, Jr. and Dylan Cisney in row six.

Dietz got the jump on Logan Wagner. Macri and Dietrich led Stutts, Rahmer, Mike Wagner, Cisney, Walter, and Whittal. The running order did not change through the first five laps. On lap six, though, Macri slid past Wagner for second, but he was still far behind Dietz at the time.
Macri began to close in on Dietz as the race neared the midpoint.

On lap thirteen, Macri closed quickly on the lapped car of Aaron Bollinger. There was contact. Macri was able to keep moving, but Bollinger spun toward the wall in turn two. He hit the wall and turned over. Logan Wagner, who was racing in third, struck Bollinger’s car and spun toward the inside of the track. Dietrich tried to get low enough to avoid contact with Wagner, but the two cars collided. Dietrich bent the left rear wheel and flattened the tire. Borden also sustained a flat in the melee. Both Dietrich and Borden were able to restart the race.

Dietz took off again on the restart. He had a commanding lead when his left rear tire exploded midway down the back stretch.

That put Macri on the point for the restart. Stutts lined up in second, with Rahmer, Mike Wagner, Cisney, Lucas Wolfe, Whittal, Walter, Jacob Allen, and Dietrich trailing.

Macri entered turn one on the cushion, but Stutts charged on the inside. He slid up across Macri’s nose to take the lead, much to the delight of the crowd. Stutts held control for the next seven laps before Macri used his own slider in turn one to retake the lead.

Macri reeled off the remaining seven laps without further ado. Stutts remained in second, followed by Rahmer, Mike Wagner, and Wolfe. Whittal, Cisney, Allen, Dietrich, and Borden completed the top ten.

The four heat winners were Whittal, Logan Wagner, Dietrich, and Stutts. Allen turned in an inspired performance in his heat race, coming from the last row to transfer into the A Main. Gerard McIntyre, Jr. was best in the B Main. Macri set the fastest lap in qualifications. His time of 15.089 was best in Group B. Dietz was fastest in Group A with a time of 15.123.

When the leaders of the USAC East Coast 360 Sprint Car race collided on lap fifteen, a good race became a great one. The misfortunes of Alex Bright and Briggs Danner put Christian Bruno on the point for the restart, with Joey Amantea right behind him. What happened after that left the race fans speechless. Bruno and Amantea traded slide jobs lap after lap, swapping the lead at opposite ends of the track, until Amantea got just enough of an advantage on lap twenty-two that Bruno could not slide him back to regain the lead. But, Bruno then came under attack from Carmen Perigo and Steve Drevicki in the final laps of the race. At the checkers, Amantea claimed his first win of the season and the second in his career with the series, with Perigo just a second behind him.

“I don’t think we had a winning car tonight, but with Alex and Briggs taking each other out, that gave us an opportunity,” Amantea said.

Bruno was on the pole for the twenty-five lap affair, with Bright as his running mate. Amantea and Bruce Buckwalter lined up in row two, with Perigo and Drevicki right behind them. Bobby Butler and Danner made up row four.

Bright blasted into the lead in turn one, with Bruno, Amantea, Danner, and Buckwalter dicing for positions in the top five. Bright set a brisk pace in the early laps, but Danner worked his way into second by lap five. Bruno held third, ahead of Perigo, Amantea, Buckwalter, Drevicki, Bruno, Tommy Kunsman, and Ed Aiken.

Danner was closing in on Bright when the caution waived on lap ten for Buckwalter’s spin in turn four.

Three Rivers Karting

On the ensuing restart, Danner provided a glimpse of things to come. With Bright up on the cushion, Danner entered turn one on the low side, looking for an opening to slide up the track and take the lead away. But, Danner did not carry enough speed into the corner and he could not complete the pass. Bright’s momentum propelled him into the lead coming through turn two.

But Danner wasn’t about to give up just yet. He came storming back after Bright. The duo played cat and mouse for several more laps, but there was no change in the running order.

The race took a dramatic change on lap fifteen. Once again, Bright was up on the cushion, and Danner threw his car into turn one on the inside. He began to slide up through the middle and drew up beside Bright. Bright’s car bumped the cushion and became unstable. He started to come down toward the middle as the rivals entered turn two. There was contact, and the first two cars spun much to the surprise of all. Both cars headed to the infield pit area, and only Bright was able to resume the race.

Bruno inherited the lead, with Amantea in second. Perigo restarted in third, ahead of Drevicki, Butler, Kunsman, Aiken, Dalton Herrick, Matthew Swift, and Michael Smith.

When the race went green again, Bruno and Amantea began an intense battle for the lead. Amantea’s first slide job in turn one came up short, but he had a full head of steam entering turn three, and he easily passed Bruno. Bruno returned the favor in turn one, and Amantea rallied again in turn three. Bruno regained the lead with a slider of his own on lap nineteen.

A caution on that lap for Rich Carnathan interrupted the flow, but soon thereafter Bruno and Amantea were locked in a battle for the lead again. Amantea was able to claim the lead for the final time with three laps remaining.

Amantea led Bruno by a couple of car lengths and the final laps played out. But now Bruno was being challenged for the second spot. Perigo and Drevicki came on to make it a three car contest for the second position. Any one of the three contenders could have taken it, but the outcome remained in doubt until the final corner.

Perigo slid past Bruno in turn four on the last lap to earn the second position. Bruno held off Drevicki, who darted to the inside. Bright marched back through the pack to salvage a fifth place finish.

Butler, Kunsman, Aiken, Buckwalter, and Herrick completed the top ten.

“We were going at it pretty good, and then I took his line away,” Amantea explained. “It was pretty good racing with Chris. He’s a really good racer, and he raced me clean,” he added. Amantea said that the victory would give him added confidence when he next faces the USAC National Sprint Car Series at Eldora Speedway.

There were a pair of heats, with wins going to Danner and Bright. There was no B Main.

The Wingless Sportsmen wore the nightcap, and that race did not disappoint either. Craig Perigo was the leader on each of the twenty laps, although he did briefly surrender the point to Jay Fannasy. When Fannasy spun from second place, Cliff Brian took up the chase, with Steve Wilbur in tow. The three racers put on an entertaining contest for the last eleven laps. Perigo came out on top, with Brian a close second. Wilbur bobbled on the last lap and surrendered third to Trent Yoder. Brett Perigo took the fifth spot.

The sixth through tenth place finishers were Chad Thomas, Chad Baker, Curt Stroup, Brandon Shearer, and Joe Gabner.

“That was a lot of fun on my end,” the winner said enthusiastically. “I didn’t have enough gear. I knew I couldn’t go low to block Brian because there was not enough gear. I had to keep my momentum up.”

Craig Perigo, Fannasy, and Yoder were the winners of the three heat races. There was no B Main.

Port Royal Speedway will present a three division program on May 4, featuring the 410 Sprint Cars, Super Late Models, and 305 Sprints. The track will be dark on May 11, in deference to the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series event at Williams Grove Speedway. Racing will resume at the Speed Palace on May 18 with the 410 Sprints, a Super Late Model Championship, and the Limited Late Models.

Dirt Racing

PPMS, Latrobe and Lervnerville Cancel Saturday Events

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PITTSBURGH, PA (May 25, 2024) A forecast calling for thunderstorms after 3 p.m. with gusty winds and possible hail throughout areas of Western Pennsylvania on Saturday is forcing local tracks to cancel their Saturday nights events.

Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway made the decision early to cancel their Choice for Change Action Event with the RUSH Sprint Cars.  All tickets purchased for the event are eligible for a full refund.  Next up at PPMS is the Western PA Speedweek event on Thursday with UEMS Racing Series.

Penn Ohio Pro Stock Touring Series and Latrobe Speedway officials are also postponing the tour’s season-opener because of Mother Nature.  The good news is the delay is only one week.

Three Rivers Karting

“Despite the unfortunate weather forecast that canceled our fourth race in a row, we have a silver lining,” said SNB Promotions Dennis Bates. “Thankfully, we were able to reschedule the Homak Penn Ohio Pro Stock Tour for the following Saturday, June 1. Providing a new opportunity for our stakeholders to enjoy a modified six-division event. Most Homak Penn Ohio Pro Stock touring teams have more than a two-hour drive to the speedway, so it made sense to postpone the race.”

The modified six-division show will also include the K2 Engineering FASTrak Pro Late Models, Joe’s Body Shop & Towing Pure Stocks, Special T Metals LLC Modified 4 Cylinders, the Marilungo Disposal LLC Strictly Stock 4 Cylinders, and the Dean Pollock Hobby Stocks.

The grim forecast is also causing Overdrive Monster Truck and Lernerville Speedway officials to postpone tonight’s event. The show will now take place on Sunday, May 26 with VIP gates opening at 2 p.m.  The grandstands will open at 2:30 p.m. with a scheduled start of 6 p.m.  All tickets purchased in advance will be honored for May 26.

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Dirt Racing

Red-Hot Spithaler Continues His Winning Ways At Lernerville

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SARVER, PA (May 24, 2024) There its not a hotter driver in the local 410 Sprint Car ranks than Brandon Spithaler.  One week after finishing fourth in the World of Outlaws A Main at Attica Raceway Park, Spithaler picked up the checkered flag in the People’s Natural Gas feature Friday night at Lernerville Speedway.

Spithaler started eighth in the 19-car field and held off Bradon Matus and Michael Bauer to pick up the win.  AJ Flick finished fourth and hard-charger Dan Kuriger rounded out the Top 5 after starting 18th.

Flick remains atop the Championship standing followed by Carl Bowser, who trails flick by 16-points.  Bauer and Matus each sit 19-points back of Flick with Baurer holding down third in the standings by virtue of his 2-Top 5 finished.  The victory moves Spithaler to sixth, 29-points back despite participating in only 2-events.

Tyler Dietz started on the front row and took home the victory in the Precise Racing Products Late Model feature.  Colton Flinner finished second followed by Michael Norris and John Garvin Jr.

Norris remains atop the Championship standings with Flinner in second, 1-point behind.  Garvin is 7-points behind in third and Dietz’ victory leaves him sitting in fourth, 13-points behind.

Three Rivers Karting

Garrett Krummert is your winner in the Diehl Automotive Big Block Modifieds.  Krummert started seventh and expertly worked traffic to get past second-place starter and finisher Rex King Jr.  Jeremiah Shingledecker finished third followed by Will Thomas in fourth.  Ayden Cipriano rounded out the Top 5.

The Top 4 finishers are your Top 4 in the Championship standings with King Jr 5-points behind Krummert.  Shingledecker sits third, 16-points back and Thomas is only one point back of third, 17-points behind Krummert.

Pole sitter Chris Schneider held off a hard-charging Dietz to win the Millerstown Pic-A-Part Pro Stocks feature.  Christian Schneider came home third after starting sixth followed by Corey McPherson in fourth and Jason Fosnaught in fifth.

Dietz and Christian Schneider are tied atop the Championship standings with 113 points each.  Chris Schneider is third 9-points back in a battle that is bound to go down to the final weekend.

Saturday night’s Overdrive Monster Trucks event has been postponed to Sunday due to the forecast.  VIP Gates will open at 2 p.m. with grandstands opening at 2:30 p.m.  The event will start at 6 p.m.  All tickets purchased in advance will be honored for May 26.

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Dirt Racing

Dietrich Does It At The Grove

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Williams Grove Speedway

MECHANICSBURG, PA (May 24, 2024): Danny Dietrich got a break at the start of the John Trone Tribute A Main at Williams Grove Speedway, and he made the most of it. Dietrich fell in behind Lucas Wolfe on the initial green, but a multi-car crash before the entire field crossed for lap one necessitated a complete restart. Dietrich was better prepared for the second try, and he was able to keep Wolfe behind him motoring down the long straightaway. Still, Dietrich had to fend Wolfe off once or twice during the contest to ensure the $10,039 win. Wolfe slid out of the rubber once in the late going, and Spencer Bayston scooted by for second.

Also grabbing a win was Logan Spahr in the PASS IMCA 305 Sprint undercard.

“We had a good draw, but we had a bad start,” the Gettsysburg pilot observed. “I like racing with Lucas (Wolfe) because he will always race you clean. Lucas got me, but we were better the next time.” Dietrich explained that there was some moisture in the middle of the track, and that was where Wolfe launched at the drop of the green. “I didn’t push him up enough, so the second time I moved up and I got a better run,” Dietrich added.

Dietrich started on the pole carrying the traditional red, white, and blue colors and the historic number 29 that always adorned the Bob Weikert-owned machines over the years. The next generation of Weikerts sponsor Dietrich’s car, owned by Gary Kauffman of Biglerville, and the Kauffman/Dietrich team pay homage to the iconic car and the famous owner over the Memorial Day Weekend. The same livery will be used in the two-day event at the Port Royal Speedway.

Wolfe was on Dietrich’s flank for the start of the twenty-five lapper. In the row behind were Devon Borden and Bayston. Row three paired up Chase Dietz and Cory Eliason. Anthony Macri and Rico Abreu made up row four. Next were T.J. Stutts and midwestern star Brian Brown. James McFadden and Kyle Reinhardt occupied row six.

The first lap melee eliminated several cars, including those of current points leader and defending champion Freddie Rahmer, Jr., and Lance Dewease.

After the failed attempt to start the race, Dietrich claimed the lead that he would never relinquish. Wolfe stayed close, particularly in the early going. He was followed by Bayston, Borden, Dietz, Eliason, Macri, Abreu, Brown, and Reinhardt. Dietrich had a comfortable margin eliminated on lap eleven when Austin Bishop stopped on the track for the first official caution.

On the restart, Wolfe drove in the middle grove entering turn one. He was able to get along side of Dietrich, but the bottom was the better line due to the accumulated rubber. So Dietrich was able to drive away from his challenger in turn two. Bayston remained in third, with Dietz and Eliason next.

Two laps later, Abreu spun himself out of the top ten. He managed to keep moving, so there was no caution but, now, Abreu was at the tail of the field. Bayston got a good run on Wolfe for second a lap later, but Bayston slid up the track and handed third over to Dietz. Bayston was able to regain the position by lap fifteen, when Abreu and Aaron Bollinger tangled in turn one.

Three Rivers Karting

On the restart, Dietrich continued to lead Wolfe and Bayston. Bayston was pressing Wolfe while Dietrich began to pull away. With just two laps remaining, Wolfe slid up off the rubber in turn one, losing second to Bayston in the process.

At the checkers, it was Dietrich by a wide margin over Bayston, Wolfe, Eliason, and Dietz. Macri, Borden, Reinhardt, Brown, and Stutts completed the top ten.

The four heat wins went to Abreu, Bayston, Wolfe, and Dietrich. Cameron Smith prevailed in the B Main. Eliason was the fastest qualifier this night, topping Group A with a lap of 17.898 seconds. Macri was best in Group B with a time of 18.278 seconds.

Josh Beamer had the pole for the twenty-lap nightcap for the PASS IMCA 305 Sprints. Beside him was Erin Statler. Row two consisted of Jason Roush and Spahr. The third row matched Andrew Boyer with Kenny Heffner. Drew Young shared row four with Mike Alleman. Owen Dimm and Danny Buccafusco raced from row five, and they were trailed by Landon Price and Mike Melair.

Beamer dashed out front, but Spahr was into second in no time at all. Roush, Heffner, Boyer, and Young followed closely. As the lap counter advanced, Beamer and Spahr separated themselves from Heffner, who raced alone in third. Positions four on back were hotly contested.

Spahr assumed the lead on lap eleven, just one round ahead of the lone caution of the race for Croix Beasom.

On the restart, Spahr got a tremendous jump on Beasom. Young lost several positions after the race resumed. Moving ahead of him were Christian Rumsey, Heffner, Melair, Statler, and Buccafusco.

Spahr showed no mercy to his competitors over the final eight laps. Beamer registered a second place finish, ahead of Rumsey, Melair, and Statler. Positions six through ten went to Heffner, Buccafusco, Young, Boyer, and Dimm.

Boyer and Heffner shared the heats. There was no B Main.

Next week, the 358 Sprints will return to support the 410 Sprints. The 358s will go for twenty-five laps with extra purse money on the line. The month of June will commence with the 410s and USAC East Coast Sprints in the Bill Gallagher Memorial. On June 14, the USAC National Sprints will be the added attraction, along with the 410 Sprints. June 21 will be the tune-up for Central PA Speedweek.

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