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Monday, October 2, 2017

Lancaster Dragway crowns 2017 champs

Lancaster National Dragway's 2017 season came to a rainy end on Friday, September 29 after the final Franco's Pizza IHRA Drag Racing event of the year was rained out. With the schedule now in the books that means the 2017 drag racing track champions have been decided, and they will be honored at the Season Awards Banquet on Friday, November 10. 
2017 Top ET champ Dale Eckert
credit: Neffke Motorsports Photography

Dale Eckert captured his first career Mallare Enterprises Top ET championship following a run of 10 titles in 11 years while competing in Mod ET. Eckert edged Jan Winkowski by just ten points to lock up the title. 

Reid Ricketson became just the third different driver in 12 year to win the McGard Mod ET championship. Ricketson and teammate Ray Thurston IV combined to win two races in 2017 to help clinch the track title one week before the season ended. 

In Hebeler's Sales Bikes and Sleds, Mike Peters won his second-straight track championship. Peters won three out of the first four races of the season and then won the final race of the year to edge fellow four-time race winner Lucas Salemi for the title. He has won the Bikes & Sleds championships in three out of the last four years.

Mason Fix repeated as track champion in Tread City Tire Street ET. Fix won the final two races of the year to help propel him ahead of Eddie Semlitsch for the Street crown. 

In the Tuesday night Junior Dragster program, Zac Vitez won his second track championship in three years. 

Keep up with the off-season at www.lancasternationalspeedway.com

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

2017 U.S. Open: Jankowiak captures RoC Modified win on Sunday at Lancaster Speedway

Andy Jankowiak captured the U.S. Open 125 Race of Champions Modified Series event on Sunday afternoon at Lancaster National Speedway after starting on the pole and leading 124 of 125 laps. It was his first U.S. Open Modified victory and his seventh U.S. Open win overall.

RoC Modified winner Andy Jankowiak
Jankowiak was joined on the front row by Tommy Catalano to lead the 23-car field to the green flag. A total of 25 cars signed in at the start of the day before Tony Hanbury and Eric Beers were forced to withdraw from the event. Beers had drawn the outside pole position for the feature, but a broken rocker arm took him out of competition.

The first half of the race was dominated by Jankowiak and Catalano as the pair pulled away from the pack during a run of 66 green flag laps without a caution. By the halfway point of a race Jankowiak was catching a pack of lapped cars that included former U.S. Open winners Matt Hirschman and Chuck Hossfeld. Hirschman had started 11th and was leading the group of cars that were hanging on to the tail end of the lead lap. Hossfeld time trialed third fastest overall, but a mechanical problem kept him from running his heat race and he had to start at the rear of the field. The caution flag came on Lap 66 just before Jankowiak was going to put Hossfeld a lap down. On the ensuing pit stops, Jankowiak’s crew got him back out on the track in the lead, but the big winners were Hossfeld and Hirschman, as they followed Jankowiak out of the pits to move into second and third place, respectively.

Hirschman eventually moved into second after a restart on Lap 79 and he and Jankowiak pulled away from the field in the later stages. Jankowiak then started to pull away from Hirschman as the race went past Lap 100. Jankowiak held on to earn his first win in the U.S. Open 125. The win gives him seven career U.S. Open victories, which ties Chuck Hossfeld for most overall wins. Jankowiak also joins Karl Hehr and Todd Hoddick as the only drivers to win U.S. Open features in three different divisions.

In victory lane, Jankowiak dedicated the win to the memory of Ted Christopher. He had a piece of duct tape in his car with the phrase “Be Ted” written on it as inspiration. “I just wanted to win this for Teddy, I don’t even think he liked me,” said Jankowiak. “It’s been an emotional time for Modified racing and just what Teddy meant to racing. I always ride around and I always try to save my tires, but TC never did that. I went out and led every single lap because that's what TC would’ve done.”

Hirschman cruised to his second-place finish in his first Modified start at Lancaster this season. Mike Leaty finished third and he gained ground on teammate Emerling for the RoC Modified Series championship. Scott Wylie and George Skora III rounded out the top five.

Late Model winner Dave Heitzhaus
Dave Heitzhaus won the 30-lap Race of Champions Late Model Series feature. Heitzhaus inherited the lead on Lap 14 after Ron Nurmi and Bobby Weber tangled in Turn 2 while racing for the top spot. He then held off a late race challenge from Terry Weldy to score his second-straight U.S. Open Late Model win. Nurmi was making his final Late Model start before hanging up his helmet in retirement. The three-time track champion started on the pole and led the first 14 laps, but he got caught up in a couple incidents to finish ninth. 

Street Stock winner Rich Sharpe
Rich Sharpe of Lancaster dominated the 35-lap Advance Auto Parts Street Stock feature for his 10th win of the season. Sharpe took the lead from Mark Hoch on Lap 8 and never looked back as he cruised his way to a second-straight U.S. Open victory. A long green flag run during the second half of the race combined unseasonably hot temperatures made the race a war of attrition for several drivers. Brian Hoffman finished second followed by Andy Cryan, Garrett Cleversley and Jarrod Brown.

Keep up with the action at www.lancasternationalspeedway.com

2017 U.S. Open: Hossfeld tops Sportsman field Saturday at Lancaster Speedway

Lancaster National Speedway kicked off the 29th annual U.S. Open weekend on Saturday night with over 100 cars pitside across four divisions. Chuck Hossfeld captured the main event of the program, winning the 75-lap Race of Champions Sunoco Sportsman feature for the second year in a row.
In other X-Press Signs Stock Car Series action, Tim Gullo won the Race of Champions Super Stock feature,  Kevin Bainbridge won the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinder U.S. Open feature for the second-straight year, and Dave Wollaber won the NYPA TQ Midget feature.

Sportsman winner Chuck Hossfeld
39 Sunoco Sportsman attempted to qualify for the 28-car starting field for round two of the Race of Champions Sportsman Series. Neal Dietz Jr. established a track record for Sportsman cars during qualifying with a quick time of 18.174 seconds.

Sportsman rookie Jeremy Haudricourt and Kevin Miller led the field to the opening green flag. Miller and Tommy Catalano eventually settled into the top two spots when the race restarted. Catalano took the lead from Miller on Lap 5 before pulling away from the field early on.

Defending race winner Hossfeld started ninth and was on the move from the drop of the green flag. He moved up to fourth place by Lap 6 and took over the runner-up position from Miller just five laps later. Catalano and Hossfeld pulled away during a long green flag run through the middle stages of the event, with Hossfeld taking the lead from Catalano on Lap 38. The pair caught lap traffic shortly thereafter and Catalano was able to maneuver around Hossfeld and a lapped car to regain the lead on Lap 49. The 31 laps of continuous green flag racing was interrupted moments later for a spin by Owen Bednasz on Lap 49. It took Hossfeld two laps after the race restarted to regain the lead on Lap 51.

The biggest wreck of the feature happened on lap 69 for multi-car pileup that included Owen Bednasz, Andy Lewis and Timmy Catalano. All drivers were ok, but all three cars suffered serious damage. Hossfeld held on through a few final restarts to win the U.S. Open Sportsman feature for a second year in a row. The victory gives him seven career U.S. Open with five in the Modifieds to go along with his two Sportsman wins. That gives Hossfeld the record for most overall U.S Open victories.

Catalano settled for second, followed by Tyler Rypkema in third; Daryl Lewis Jr. and George Skora III rounded out the top five.

Super Stock winner Tim Gullo
Joel Gleason and Joe Mancuso led the field to the green flag in the 30-lap Race of Champions Super Stock feature, with Mancuso taking the early lead. Gullo came up through the field quickly after starting in the 10th position, moving into the second spot by Lap 6. Mancuso slipped up around Lap 23 when pushed high in Turn 2, allowing Gullo to take the lead; Mancuso eventually got tangled up with Gleason as the pair battled for second place with less than five laps to go.

Gullo cruised the rest of the way for this fourth RoC Super Stock win at Lancaster in 2017 and his first victory in the U.S. Open. Eric Hadley finished second followed by Tommy Reese, Terry Cheetham and TJ Cochrane.

4-Cylinder winner Kevin Bainbridge
Kevin Bainbridge captured his second straight U.S. Open win in the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders. Bainbridge started 10th and picked his way through the field to get to the front. The race came down to catching teammate Chris Bugenhagen for the lead in the closing laps. Both cars approached lap traffic going into Turn 1 on Lap 22 when Bugenhagen got hung up behind a lapped car and Bainbridge drove past him on the inside to take the lead. Bainbridge held off Dave Brunka in the final two laps to secure his second U.S. Open win a row, with Bugenhagen settling for third. Jason Anasiewicz and pole sitter Russ Hartke rounded out the top five.

NYPA TQ Midget winner Dave Wollaber
Dave Wollaber captured his fifth career U.S. Open win in the NYPA TQ Midgets. Wollaber took the lead with just seven laps to go on a three-wide pass between leader Kyle Hutchinson and the lapped car of Vinny Christiano Jr. This was Wollaber’s first U.S. Open win since 2008. Bobby Holmes finished second followed by Hutchinson, Erik Musto and Brandon Zavarella.

Keep up with the action at www.lancasternationalspeedway.com

Masullo tops Lancaster Dragway “Thank You Thursday” drag racing program

Joe Masullo captured the Top 8 class on Thursday night
credit: Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway
Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway held a Thursday night show for the Franco's Pizza IHRA Drag Racing program as a special opening act for U.S. Open weekend. Thank You Thursday was also special treat for fans as they were able to catch the next-to-last drag race of the 2017 season for just $5. 

In Top 8 Eliminator, Joe Masullo scored his first win of the season while denying Brian Hitchcock his third-straight Top 8 victory. Masullo took advantage of a breakout by Hitchcock to score the win.

Jeff Sobczysnki picked up the win in Mallare Enterprises Top ET over class points leader Dale Eckert. Eckert handed Sobczysnki his first Top win of the season by breaking out by just .02 seconds. He now holds a slim 10 point lead over Jan Winkowski going into the final race of the season. 

In McGard Mod ET, Clay Ricketson grabbed his second victory of the year, defeating Jeff Kerl in the final round. Ricketson's brother Reid clinched the 2017 McGard Mod track championship as he extended his points lead to 90 with one race to go. 

Mike Peters was victorious for the fourth time this season in Hebeler's Sales Bikes & Sleds. Peters rode past the sled of Rob Brandel in the finals to earn the win. He holds a 50-point lead over Lucas Salemi going into next Friday's Season Championship Night. 

Mason Fix scored his second-straight win in Tread City Tire Street to extend his points lead in the class. Fix went head-to-head with Lancaster National Dragway Wall of Famer DJ Raiser in the final round, but Raiser red lighted the race. Fix leads Eddie Semlitsch by 40 points in the race for the Street ET title. 

Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway would like to congratulate the racers and officials that represented the facility last weekend at the IHRA Division 3 Summit Team Finals at Pittsburgh Raceway Park in New Alexandria, PA. Team Lancaster won the Best Team Spirit Award for showing their home track pride and Dale Eckert won in Mod Eliminator. 

The 2017 season comes to an end next Friday, September 30 on Season Championship Night. The TNT Hot Rod Series joins the four weekly classes as we crown our track champions. Time trials start at 5 p.m. Find out more at www.lancasternationalspeedway.com

Monday, September 18, 2017

Farnham, Wagner score big at Ransomville’s King of the Hill weekend

Matt Farnham in victory lane Friday night
credit: Tom Stevens
2017 Ransomville Speedway Sportsman Champion Matt Farnham scored the win in the Sid Jeffery Memorial for the Investors Service Sportsman presented by Performance Mfg. and Jeffery Machine to cap off Friday night action during the 26th annual King of the Hill Weekend at Ransomville Speedway. Pete Stefanski and Jason Fontaine won the dash races for the KiPo Chevrolet Street Stocks.  Matt Hornquist won his first Gippsters Collision 4 Bangers feature of the season while Chris Leone clinched his third divisional title. Kyle Wendt won his fifth Stevenson’s Hardware Novice Sportsman feature of the season, while Cameron Tuttle was crowned the divisional champion.  

Chris Burek and Farnham brought the field of Sportsman to the green flag for the inaugural running of the Sid Jeffery Memorial with Farnham taking command of the field early on. Farnham would lead all 30 laps to win the inaugural Sid Jeffery Memorial.

Stefanski and Chris Dziomba led the first Street Stock dash to the green flag for the 15-lap event with Stefanski in the lead early. Stefanski would hold off his nephew Jake to get the win. Fontaine and Vince Fargnoli brought the second dash to the green with Fargnoli taking the lead. Fontaine took the lead from his brother-in-law on Lap 9 and drove away from the field to score the win. The top five in each dash race were locked into the redraw for the Street Stock King of the Hill 100 on Saturday night.
Derek Wagner in victory lane Saturday night
credit: Tom Stevens
Derek Wagner scored his biggest win of his career to date with a Saturday night tally in the King of the Hill 100 for the Sportsman, his third win of the season. Stefanski won the King of the Hill Street Stock 100 for the Street Stocks, while Leone scored his fifth win of the season in the 4 Bangers.  Rick Blech won the main event for the Stevenson’s Hardware Novice Sportsman. 

Greg Martin and Wagner brought the field of Sportsman to the green flag for the King of the Hill 100 with Wagner taking the early lead and holding off Farnham to score the win.

Stefanski and Mike Kramarz led the field of Street Stocks to the green flag for the main event with Stefanski showing the way early. Stefanski was passed by nephew Jake on Lap 6 but regained the lead on Lap 8. The two traded the lead a few more times before late in the race, when Uncle Pete finally got the best of his nephew and went on to win the race.

The 2017 Ransomville Speedway season concludes on Monday, October 16 with the rescheduled World of Outlaw Craftsman Sprint Cars Big R Outlaw Shootout presented by Budweiser. Pit gates open at 4 p.m. with grandstand gates opening at 5 p.m. and racing getting underway at 7 p.m.  Joining the “Greatest Show on Dirt” will be the Sportsman. Keep up with the action at www.ransomvillespeedway.com

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

McPherson wins Safecracker 100 at Humberstone

Cody McPherson celebrates
credit: Softouch Photos
Cody McPherson won the Trevor Wilkens Memorial Safecracker 100 for the Sportsman Super DIRTcar Series on Mike Knapp Ford Night at Humberstone Speedway on Sunday evening. For McPherson, it was his second straight win on the Series and fourth in 2017 at Humberstone. Dave Bailey won his eighth JC Auto Street Stock feature of the season, while Kyle Haynes won his second Cosco Haulage Mini Stocks feature of the season. Mitch Dumont won the main event for the Mike Knapp Ford Pro 4 Trucks, and Rick St. Pierre won the main event for the Vintage Cars.

Emily Puchalski and Ron Davis III brought the field to the green flag for the Sportsman event with Puchalski showing the way early on. Puchalski continued to lead until Davis took the lead away on Lap 9. On a Lap 13 restart, McPherson made his way into the lead for the first time in the event and led until late in the race, when Chad Chevalier took the lead with eight laps to go; McPherson retook the lead with less than five laps remaining and went on to hold off Chevalier and Brad Rouse to get the win.  

Front-row starter Kyle Pelrine took the early lead in the 20-lap season finale for the Street Stocks. 2017 track champion Bailey took the lead away from Pelrine exiting Turn 4 on Lap 2 and dominated the rest of the way, picking up his eighth win and sixth in a row.

The last racing event on the 2017 schedule is the annual Eve of Destruction next Sunday, September 17. An Enduro, Boat-Trailer Race, Demolition Derbies and more are on the card. Gates open at 9 a.m. in the pits, 10 a.m. in the grandstands and racing begins at noon.  Find out more at www.humberstonespeedway.com

Lancaster Speedway crowns 2017 track champions

Lancaster National Speedway crowned its 2017 track champions for the X-Press Signs Stock Series on Saturday night during Season Championship Night. The final night of the regular season featured close racing and plenty of drama as drivers tried to capture every remaining point.

The Sunoco Sportsman title chase came down to three young drivers going after their first divisional crown with Shawn Nye leading Kevin Miller and Owen Bednasz. Nye padded his points lead through the heat races as he was the only driver of the three to earn points in the qualifiers. Miller’s night started on a bad note as he developed mechanical issues in his primary car during hot laps, and he was forced to borrow Joe Brainard’s car to compete.

Sportsman winner Jake Lyon
In the 35-lap main event, Tony Carbone and Jayme Thompson started on the front row with Nye back in 10th, Bednasz in sixth and Miller 16th. Carbone grabbed the lead at the drop of the green flag with Jake Lyon following him into the second position. The trio of Carbone, Lyon and Bednasz pulled away from the pack early on as the race settled into a long green flag run. Lyon eventually got by Carbone for the lead on Lap 12, then started to open up a gap between himself and Bednasz and Carbone. He opened up a half-straightaway lead over his next closest competitor while cruising to his first win of the 2017 season.

Sportsman champ Shawn Nye
Tommy Catalano, who started 12th, got by Bednasz late in the race to finish second. Bednasz had to settle for third place, while Jeff Brown finished fourth. Nye finished fifth to clinch the 2017 Sunoco Sportsman track championship. Nye earned two wins and strung together a series consistent finishes to lock up the title in just his second season in the Sportsman. He got his start racing go-karts and TQ Midgets before moving into the open-wheeled cars. 

The Advance Auto Parts Street Stock championship was already decided before Championship Night began as Rich Sharpe of Lancaster had locked up the title thanks to nine feature wins in 2017.

Street Stock champ Rich Sharpe
Frank Prell and Ken Maltby led the field of 20 Street Stocks to the final opening green flag of the regular season. Prell took advantage of his pole position, leading the opening laps before Maltby got by him on a restart on Lap 7. Maltby held the spot for four laps before he was overtaken on a restart by Andy Cryan.

Street Stock winner Ken Maltby
Sharpe started 12th, and just like he has done in every other race this season, he was able to come through the field to be a factor. He was running second on a Lap 18 restart when he made contact with Cryan in turn 2. Sharpe spun out and Cryan was sent to the tail of the field for contact, handing the lead back to Maltby with just seven laps to go. He survived the final circuits to capture his first career Street Stock win at Lancaster.

The closest championship battle was in the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders with Bobby Woch starting the night with a one point lead over Jason Anasiewicz. Both drivers earned the same amount of points in their heat races to keep the deficit at just a single point going into the feature.

Joe Brunka started on the pole for the feature with Anasiewicz to his outside. The pair battled side-by-side for the lead during the opening 10 laps of the race. Woch started seventh, but he almost gave up that starting position after his car developed transmission problems in his heat race. He and his team contemplated running home to get a backup car, but they eventually chose to run with what they brought to the track. Despite the problems, Woch worked his way through field as he moved from seventh to third by Lap 10. A caution on Lap 12 bunched up the field and gave him a shot to challenge Anasiewicz. The race restarted with Anasiewicz getting hung out to dry on the outside of Woch and his teammate Dan Dressel. Anasiewicz and Dressel made contact on Lap 17 and Dressel spun out, which led to Anasiewicz being penalized to the rear of the field.

4-Cylinder winner Joe Brunka
Brunka led every lap of the feature, but he had to hold off Chris Pennell throughout the second half of the race. Pennell stayed on Brunka’s back bumper in the closing laps as Brunka held on for his first win of the season. Woch finished third to clinch his second career Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinder track championship. Dave Brunka and Anasiewicz rounded out the top five.

4-Cylinder champ Bobby Woch
Dave Wollaber won the 20-lap NYPA TQ Midget feature. Wollaber led most of the race, but he had to hold off Kyle Hutchinson and Bobby Holmes in the final five laps to secure the win. Hutchinson finished second and locked up the NYPA TQ Midget Series championship.

NYPA TQ Midget winner Dave Wollaber
On Saturday, September 16, Lancaster National Speedway welcomes the Monster Truck Racing League for a family fun event. The monster trucks are part of a night of metal smashing and crashing that also includes a Demolition Derby. The event starts at 6 p.m. with a pit party from 4-5:30 p.m., where fans can get close to their favorite monster trucks.

With the regular season in the books, Lancaster National Speedway can focus on the 29th annual U.S. Open weekend, Friday through Sunday, September 22-24. The three days of racing and fun is headlined by the U.S. Open 125 for the Race of Champions Modified Series. Full details are available at www.lancasternationalspeedway.com