Thursday, September 22, 2016

Super Late Models and Outlaws Highlight Weekend Ahead

One more weekend is on tap in our area this weekend, and the weather looks awesome anywhere you go. This weekend we find some outstanding two day shows with great value, some World of Outlaw Sprints in their last Western PA appearance of the season, and a little bit of everything else at another area facility.  Though footballs fill the air right now, there's still plenty of action to take in, so look over the options, find what you like, and make your plans. It won't be long before mother nature has us locked indoors in the days ahead, so make every opportunity count! Here's a closer look!

ULMS Late Models and UEMS Modifieds at Eriez Speedway- Annual September Sweep:

One of the best postseason blowouts takes place at Eriez Speedway this weekend with the Annual September Sweep. You'll see two complete shows for the ULMS Late Models with Econo Mods on Friday and the UEMS E-Modifieds on Saturday plus Crate Late Models, Street Stocks and Challengers, the latter four will be running their heat races on Friday. Saturday brings complete shows for the ULMS and UEMS and any necessary bmains from the prior night's heats and main events. We'll be there covering the action on Saturday night providing social media updates and a full recap.

Todd Nunes Photo

When: Friday and Saturday September 23 and 24:  Gates open at 5 PM, Racing at 7:30 PM

Tickets: General Admission Friday-   $17      General Admission Saturday- $25

What's at Stake

$4,000 to win for the ULMS Late Models on Friday
$6,000 to win for the ULMS Late Models on Saturday
$3,000 to win for Crate Late Models on Saturday
$1,000 to win for the Economods on Friday
$2,000 to win for the UEMS Modifieds on Saturday
$1,500 to win for the Street Stocks on Saturday
$1,000 to win for the Chargers on Saturday

Todd Nunes Photo

What to Look For:

ULMS Points leader Dave Hess, John Volpe and Greg Oakes are within 25 points of each other coming into the weekend and have a lot riding on the line with back to back point shows. Meanwhile, track champion Rob Blair will be looking to sweep the weekend, which would earn him an additional bonus should he be able to complete the task while Pennsylvania-TDN Weekly Super Late Model Champion Max Blair looks to add to his trophy collection. But coming in to crash the party will be one Jared Miley who gave the World of Outlaw Late Models all they could handle and then some at Eriez back in August.

Todd Nunes Photo

On the UEMS side of the equation, Ischua New York's Rich Michael Jr., Joel Watson and Carl Watson are seperated by 20 points headed into the weekend. Meanwhile,  area standout and Eriez track champion "Slow Ride" David Scott is hovering in fourth place and will be looking to defend home turf.

Event Page Eriez Speedway-Detailed Information

UFO Late Models at Dog Hollow Speedway

The UFO Late Model Season will come to it's conclusion this weekend at Dog Hollow Speedway as the annual Thunderdog Weekend takes place Friday and Saturday. Also on the card will be the UFO Semi Late Models, Crate Late Models, Pure Stocks and Four Cylinders. On Friday night, heats for the latter four take place while the UFO Late Models will run a complete show (the annual Flyin Floyd Kline Klassic, while Saturday will see the bmains, and feature events for support classes and a complete Thunder Dog 50; 61 lap main event for the UFO Late Models.

When: Friday and Saturday September 23 and 24; Grandstands open at 5 PM, Racing following Hot Laps

Tickets: General Admission Friday- $20  General Admission Saturday - $25.

What's at Stake:

$2,000 to Win for UFO Late Models on Friday
$6,000 to Win for UFO Late Models on Saturday
$1,700 to Win for UFO Semi Late Models on Saturday
$1,500 to Win for Crate Late Models on Saturday
$700 to Win for the Pure Stocks on Saturday
$400 to Win for the Four Cylinders on Saturday

What to Look For: 

Dylan Yoder holds a 18 point lead over Bump Hedman in UFO Points coming into the weekend, beyond that there doesn't look to be many potential threats to the two top front runners. Look for Gregg Satterlee, Mason Zeigler, Devin Friese. Michael Lake, Jason Covert, Jeremy Miller and Kyle Hardy to also be in attendance.

Event Page Dog Hollow Speedway- Detailed Information

World of Outlaw Sprints at Lernerville Speedway

Pat Miller Photo

So, you say you'd like to see some things with wings. Lernerville plays host to the annual Commonwealth Clash on Saturday Night and it promises to be a great night for action at the action track.  You'll see the best of the best here, taking on the area's finest and a few invaders from both Ohio and Central Pennsylvania as well.

When: Saturday Night- Grandstands open at 5 PM  Qualifying at 7:15 PM

Tickets: Reserved- $32  General Admission- $30

What at Stake: 

$10,000 to win for the World of Outlaw Sprint Cars.

What To Look For:

Look for Donny Schatz to win.  Actually, we're just kidding, or not.  Schatz has once again made a mockery of the point standings and unless there's an injury on his part, will win yet another championship. Look for David Gravel, Joey Saldana and Daryn Pittman to be right there in the mix as well as all of them have all either won or come close to the win in Sarver and are probably the best bets to challenge Schatz for the win. Last time out, in 2014, Logan Wagner started on the poll with Saldana leading all 35 laps as 41 cars were in the pits. Look for a similar number this weekend.

Event Information Page Here:

Little Guy Nationals at Mercer Raceway Park

Okay then, if you want to see something you didn't see up further, you'd better try here. Mercer Raceway Park's Annual Little Guy Nationals is on tap and it's got plenty of what you're looking for in terms of action.  With 358 Modifieds, Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Stocks, Four Cylinders, 2 Barrel Emods and much much more.

When: Friday and Saturday September 23 and 24; Hot Laps at 6 on Friday- Racing at 3 PM on Saturday

Event Page Here:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Top 25 National Sprint Car Poll - Week 17

Ryan Smith makes his debut in our Top 25 rankings

It's beginning to feel like the season is coming to an end, and my notion was confirmed when I put together this week's results file for our voting panel. Only 10 '410' sprint car races across the country were scheduled, with all but one being ran as scheduled. The only event to be lost to rain was Atomic Speedway's "Jeff Gordon Night" in southern Ohio.

As the season is winding down, we've developed a gameplan for our rankings. Instead of releasing weekly up through the World Finals at the end of October, we'll only continue our weekly trend for the next two weeks, and then go on hiatus until the week following the World Finals. That will mark the end of our inaugural sprint car poll.

Enough about the future, let's get to the down and dirty that took place last weekend. There were nine different winners among the nine races. Jason Johnson, Donny Schatz, Brad Sweet, Logan Schuchart, Shane Stewart, Ryan Smith and Brent Marks were the only drivers to record multiple Top 5's.

Sliding into the Top 25 this week is a trio of Central Pennsylvania drivers. Brent Marks (19), Lucas Wolfe (20) and Ryan Smith (22) all move up into the poll. Marks and Wolfe have been in and out over the course of the year, whereas this is Ryan Smith's debut in our rankings.

In order for them to move up, three drivers had to drop out of the rankings to make room for the PA Posse. Craig Dollansky, Sammy Swindell, and Bill Balog are the drivers that fell out of the Top 25.

This weekend we'll see major events at Eldora Speedway, Lernerville Speedway, and Lincoln Speedway that will be sure to shake up the rankings. Be sure to get out and support your local dirt track this weekend, before winter comes and it's too late!

Our panel of voting members for Week 17 included the following:
Anthony Corini, Blake Anderson, Brian Liskai, Bobby Gerould, Kyle Symons, Mike Leone, Mike Mallett, Shawn Miller, and Tyler Beichner.

1. Donny Schatz, 225 points (9)
Recent Results: Got back on the winning track at Clay County, and finished runner-up at El Paso.
Previous Ranking: 1st (NC)

2. David Gravel, 205 points
Recent Results: Had runs of 3rd (US 36 Raceway), 6th (El Paso), and 12th (Clay County) last week.
Previous Ranking: 3rd (+1)

3. Daryn Pittman, 196 points
Recent Results: Came up short with a runner-up result at Clay County in his only Top 5 last weekend.
Previous Ranking: 2nd (-1)

4. Shane Stewart, 190 points
Recent Results: Claimed a pair of Top 5 finishes at Clay County and US 36 Raceway
Previous Ranking: 4th (NC)

5. Brad Sweet, 189 points
Recent Results: Finished on the podium twice and added a 5th over the three WoO races last weekend.
Previous Ranking: 6th (+1)

6. Dale Blaney, 172 points
Recent Results: Will be back in action at Eldora Speedway this weekend as part of the Four Crown Nationals.
Previous Ranking: 5th (-1)

7. Joey Saldana, 163 points
Recent Results: Picked up his 5th World of Outlaws win of the season at US 36 Raceway.
Previous Ranking: 14th (+7)

8. Greg Hodnett, 159 points
Recent Results: Ran a dismal 12th at Williams Grove but rebounded with a 2nd place finish at Selinsgrove.
Previous Ranking: 8th (NC)

9. Jason Johnson, 153 points
Recent Results: Picked up the win in the WoO's stop in Colorado. Also added a runner-up result at US 36.
Previous Ranking: 12th (+3)

10. Logan Schuchart, 127 points
Recent Results: Finished 4th in two of the three stops the World of Outlaws made last week.
Previous Ranking: 17th (+7)

11. Lance Dewease, 122 points
Recent Results: Beginning preparations for the Dirt Classic and National Open.
Previous Ranking: 9th (-2)

12. Sheldon Haudenschild, 114 points
Recent Results: Will be in action this weekend at Eldora's Four Crown Nationals.
Previous Ranking: 10th (-2)

13. Chad Kemenah, 109 points
Recent Results: Picks back up with his ASCoC counterparts this weekend in Rossburg, OH.
Previous Ranking: 13th (NC)

14. Rico Abreu, 102 points
Recent Results: Finished 19th at Chicagoland in his NASCAR Truck ride.
Previous Ranking: 7th (-7)

15. Kerry Madsen, 98 points
Recent Results: Garnered respectable 9th & 10th place finishes at Clay County and US 36 with the WoO.
Previous Ranking: 14th (-1)

16. Danny Lasoski, 75 points
Recent Results: Notched a pair of 6th place runs with the World of Outlaws at Clay County and US 36 Raceway.
Previous Ranking: 16th (NC)

17. Mark Dobmeier, 73 points
Recent Results: By no surprise, he picked up another win to cap off a great year at River Cities Speedway.
Previous Ranking: 20th (+3)

18. Stevie Smith, 68 points
Recent Results: Didn't make any starts as the team gets ready for Lincoln Speedway's Dirt Classic.
Previous Ranking: 15th (-3)

19. Brent Marks, 58 points
Recent Results: Had strong runs of 3rd at Williams Grove and 4th at Selinsgrove this past weekend.
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

20. Lucas Wolfe, 57 points
Recent Results: Comes off a 6th place run at Williams Grove to pick up a dominating win at Selinsgrove.
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

21. Danny Dietrich, 45 points
Recent Results: Had a rough weekend with finishes of 9th & 10th at Williams Grove & Selinsgrove, respectively.
Previous Ranking: 19th (-2)

22. Ryan Smith, 44 points
Recent Results: Finally picked up a win at Williams Grove before a 3rd place run at Selinsgrove the next night.
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

23. Ian Madsen, 32 points
Recent Results: Failed to crack the Top 10 in a pair of starts with the World of Outlaws last weekend.
Previous Ranking: 18th (-5)

24. Brian Brown, 30 points
Recent Results: Failed to register a Top 10 at any of the three WoO events he entered last weekend.
Previous Ranking: 21st (-3)

25. Byron Reed, 29 points
Recent Results: Picked up the win in Fremont Speedway's Jim Ford Classic.
Previous Ranking: 25th (NC)

Dropped Out of Rankings
Craig Dollansky (22), Sammy Swindell (23), Bill Balog (24)

Commentary: Super Dirt Week's New Beginning Could Be Welcome Change

Perhaps Oswego brings an opportunity, one that may bring the racing up to the level of the party...

It doesn't feel right.  It doesn't seem natural. Super Dirt Week at any place other than the Moody Mile is a notion that is hard to get a handle on at first. And fans are allowed to feel one way or another on the matter. We're not here to judge tastes, and we're also not here to wax romantic on how good the racing at Syracuse was either. There were great races there, and there were some that made people want to fall asleep.

And for those who hold their memories of the mile in a special place, never to be surpassed by any other event for as long as they live, you're entitled. After all, your commitment to the event for 40 plus years as a group made Super Dirt Week's future a strong priority last off season.

But the events that transpired this week, the laying of tons of clay on top of the asphalt at the legendary Oswego Speedway, have piqued the interest of many, including many of which have never been before. And fans who have been going since day one should be excited too. Excited because maybe that much more of the track will be visible. Excited because it may lead to drivers who couldn't really run Syracuse with their program may now have a chance to compete and not just to bow out in the last chance races and party on Sunday. Excited to see their friends they see every Super Dirt Week in a different place where no one knows for sure what to expect.

Gary Risch Jr Photo

I'm not saying there won't be some rough moments. Doing the first of anything with this particular scope and magnitude in unfamiliar surroundings will need some time to iron out. I'm not saying the racing will be perfect at Oswego either. I'm sure there will be a challenge or two to overcome.

"I think it's going to be very interesting," Australian Super Dirt Car touring series driver Peter Britten said.  "It's a big blindside for a lot of teams."

But, at least all the drivers will be looking at the same challenge more or less together and putting their brains to work on how to adjust.

"It's going to be a different experience," Tour driver Larry Wight said.  "After 6-8 hot laps we're going to have a good idea of what to do, we do it at all the different tracks we go to" (tour guys)

Gary Risch Jr Photo

I'm betting the challenges from a surface standpoint are going to be probably less than most people are thinking. Yes, we've heard horror stories from some places where laying dirt over asphalt has not gone according to plan. But there have been successes too. And with a lot on the line, in front of a huge audience, the stakes are high, but will probably bring out the best in those who will be the caretakers of the surface. The current crew have new dirt, and every manner of equipment and expertise necessary to get the job done and then some.

"We've worked really hard here the last few weeks," World Racing Group's Gary Risch Jr. said Tuesday at the kickoff press conference. "We came together with the Wights and Eric Kingsley. putting wood chips down to preserve the asphalt surfact. We're going to be ready to go.  The staff here has been really helpful.  It's been great having good equipment.  We can do some two and three wide racing here which we couldn't' do at Syracuse because of the shape here"

So welcome to the newest chapter in the Super Dirt Week story. It could be the welcome change that was necessary to bring it to a new level. And if it becomes a permanent fixture at Oswego, here's betting that the memories become just as strong and vivid for a new generation to enjoy.

It was always dirt racing's biggest party, full of some of the heartiest, most passionate fans in the world. Oswego brings hope, that the racing will equal the intensity of the party, for good reason.

Full Super Dirt Week Opening Press Conference Here

For all details, schedule and events at Super Dirt Week check out the official website here

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

2016 Dirt Classic Preview; Unique Format and Invaders Set to Tangle at Lincoln

This coming Saturday Kasey Kahne presents the third annual Dirt Classic at the fabulous Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, Pa.  The event has grown over the previous two seasons, and this year should be no different as many outsider stars are planning on testing their luck against the vaunted Pennsylvania Posse in the second biggest race in Central Pennsylvania all season, and one of the biggest non-sanctioned races in the United States.  The event is a fan-friendly event, and with the unique format it is a must see show for any sprint car fan.

Pat Miller Photo

The Format - The Dirt Classic carries a very unique format with time trials setting the lineup for heat races.  From there things get interesting.  There are two sets of heat races with drivers being lined up heads up from time trials in the first set, and completely inverted in the second set.  Passing points are awarded and the top point getters are locked into the A-Main

Purse - The event pays a whopping $20,000-to-win, and a huge $1,000 just to start the A-Main event.

Now for who you should be looking out for!

The Favorite

Lance Dewease - At this point I don't see how anyone else can considered the favorite to win.  After teaming up with Donnie Kreitz Racing over the off-season, Dewease has been on an absolute tear.  They have won an amazing ten events this year.  That may not seem all that impressive until you look at the fact that they have only entered 20 events this season.  Yes you read that right.  They have won 50% of the events that have entered this season.  One of those wins was the Pennsylvania Speedweek event at Lincoln earlier this season.  They did not enter the World of Outlaws race at Lincoln.  Look for Dewease to be in contention all night long, and he is most definitely the favorite to bring home the big check.

Who else to watch for:

Pat Miller Photo

Greg Hodnett - Despite being a Port Royal regular, Hodnett has four victories at Lincoln this season which is an impressive feat for anyone, much less someone who hasn't ran there on a weekly basis.  Hodnett also leads Central Pennsylvania in victories with 21 victories, and is second only to Donny Schatz in winged sprint car wins in the nation.  It has been a great season for Hodnett, but he's still searching for that major victory to really establish his dominance, and the Dirt Classic at Lincoln could be the victory he's looking for.

Stevie Smith - Don't look now, but Stevie is getting hot.  After a slower than usual start to the season for the pilot of Fred Rahmer's No. 51s machine, the team has figured things out over the last couple of months.  An All Star victory at Port Royal the night before the Tuscarora 50 and a runner-up finish in the major Port Royal event the next night has shown the speed that Smith and his team have been looking for.  He also was the inaugural winner of the Dirt Classic, and a runner-up finisher in last year's event which means he knows how to get around Lincoln, and more importantly he knows how to score big points in this type of a format.

Pat Miller Photo

Brian Montieth - The Edge is having a little bit of a down year by his standards, but he is always fast at Lincoln, and more importantly he picked up the win in this event last season which shows that he has the speed to get the job done.

Pat Miller Photo

Danny Dietrich - Hot and cold would be a good way to describe Dietrich's season to this point.  When the Gary Kauffman-owned 48 is hot, then they are tough to beat, but when they've been cold they've been very average.  But Lincoln is Dietrich's base track and he has always seemed to get the job done there in big money shows.  He has beaten the World of Outlaws there twice, and the last time the All Stars were in town, Dietrich was in victory lane.  If Dietrich takes home the win in the Dirt Classic we shouldn't be all that surprised.

Terry McCarl - Of the invaders that are coming in to Lincoln this weekend, McCarl probably has the best chance to run good or possibly pick up the win.  A lot of people don't know this, but McCarl has picked up a victory at the Lincoln Speedway.  Years ago in an early season show, McCarl piloted the legendary Weikert's Livestock No. 29 machine to a victory at Lincoln.  So there is a little bit of experience there as the track is not brand new to McCarl like it will be for some of the invaders, but he is still facing an uphill battle in competing with the likes of Dewease, Hodnett and Smith.

James McFadden - The Kasey Kahne-owned No. 4 machine is going to be piloted by Australian James McFadden.  McFadden is a hard-charging driver who can get to the front when his car is on, and there should be no doubt that the Kahne No. 4 machine can get the job done.  McFadden had a successful sting in Pennsylvania earlier this season filling in for injured driver Pat Cannon in the Highlands No. 3 machine.  The stint even saw them qualify for the Knoxville Nationals.

Tim Kaeding - California native Tim Kaeding is one heck of a wheel man.  While he may not have the experience at Lincoln that you would need to win a show like this, he can adapt very quickly.  Don't be surprised if Kaeding runs very good this Saturday.

Pat Miller Photo

Alan Krimes - This year's Lincoln Speedway track champion should not be considered a sleeper, but Krimes is always a sleeper.  No matter how good he runs, and no matter how well he does against stiff competition, Krimes never seems to get the credit he so richly deserves for as good as he is.  Krimes winning the Dirt Classic might be a surprise to some, but it shouldn't be.

One thing is for sure.  The Dirt Classic at the Lincoln Speedway should be an excellent show.  Lincoln is known for great racing, and with the type of field that is expected this weekend at the big show, it should be no different.  If you can make it out there I would recommend this show to anyone.  I know I will be there.