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Thursday, September 29, 2016

October 2016 racing: Where to see your national favorites

credit: freedigitalphotos.net/David Castillo Dominici
NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:
NASCAR Xfinity Series:
  • October 1 – Dover International Speedway
  • October 7 – Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • October 15 – Kansas Speedway
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series:
World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series:
ARCA Racing Series:
  • October 14 – Kansas Speedway (finale)
For more information and tickets for these events, please click the provided link.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lancaster wraps up oval season with U.S. Open

The oval track season at Lancaster National Speedway concluded last weekend with the 28th annual U.S. Open, featuring seven classes and more than 180 cars over two days of action.

RoC Modified winner Patrick Emerling

Sportsman winner Chuck Hossfeld
Patrick Emerling made it a season sweep at Lancaster by winning Sunday’s Race of Champions Modified Series 125-lap race; he won all four RoC races at the track this season. Chuck Hossfeld won the 75-lap Sunoco Sportsman feature on Saturday night, leading the final 36 laps on his way to the win.
4-Cylinder winner Kevin Bainbridge

TQ Midget winner Andy Nye (66) battles Tommy Catalano

Super Stock winner Mike Nichols
In other action on Saturday at Lancaster, Mike Nichols won the 30-lap Super Stock feature, Kevin Bainbridge won the 25-lap Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinder feature for his eighth win of the year, and Andy Nye won the 25-lap NYPA TQ Midget feature. On Sunday, Dave Heitzhaus won the 30-lap X-Press Signs Late Model feature presented by Abbott Rd Pizza, and Rich Sharpe was victorious in the 35-lap Advance Auto Parts Street Stock feature.

Street Stock winner Rich Sharpe

Late Model winner Dave Heitzhaus

Impressive fields and incredible wrecks were the order of the weekend. Lancaster’s three weekly series were represented by 40 Sportsman, 32 Street Stocks and 23 4-Cylinders, with 19 TQ Midgets, 28 Super Stocks, 16 Late Models and 26 RoC Modifieds added for good measure.

One of the scariest incidents of the weekend took place on Sunday on Lap 22 of the Street Stock feature, when the No. 49 of Jim Bryant hit the end of the inside retaining wall on the front straightaway. Bryant’s car hit the tire that protects the end of the wall to send it airborne. The car flipped in the air before landing on its roof. Bryant walked away from the accident.

Jim Bryant walked away from this accident on the frontstretch
credit: Joe Grabianowski/Lancaster National Speedway

Track president Tim Packman announced the 2017 stock car season at Lancaster will open on Saturday, April 22. The Race of Champions Modified Series will once again have four dates at Lancaster with the Queen City Clash on Saturday, April 29, the third annual Ol’ Boy Cup 60 on Thursday, June 29, the 28th annual Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial 110 on Saturday, August 19 and the 29th annual U.S. Open weekend September 22-24.

Packman also announced that the International Supermodified Association (ISMA) will return to Lancaster on Saturday, June 3. The exciting winged ISMA Supermodifieds haven’t raced at the facility since 2003. The ISMA series hosted its first ever race at Lancaster back in 1974.

The season awards banquet will be held on Saturday, November 12 at the Variety Club Banquet Hall on Broadway in Lancaster. Find out more at www.lancasternationalspeedway.com.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Lancaster kicks off weekend of racing with Championship Night

Lancaster National Speedway wrapped up its most successful regular season for its stock car program in over a decade Thursday with Season Championship Night.

The event was originally scheduled for September 10 but postponed due to rain. Track officials wanted to give competitors a chance to finish the points season with one final race instead of a rain out.

George Skora III
The Sunoco Sportsman title was up for grabs between Jake Lyon and Tommy Catalano, with Lyon holding a 44-point advantage as the night began. Catalano won his heat race, while Lyon finished second in his heat to cut the gap to 42 before the feature began.

Catalano started ninth in the feature with Lyon rolling off from 12th. Lyon’s championship hopes hit a speed bump on Lap 6 when he banged wheels with Mark Pennell going into Turn 1. He spun into the infield, but didn’t appear to suffer any significant damage.  Lyon did have to go the rear of the field.
Tommy Catalano was coming through the field, but his run for a title took a detour to the pits on Lap 11. He returned to action, but was in and out of the pits for the remainder of the race.

2016 Sportsman champ Jake Lyon
On Lap 19, a multi-car incident was triggered when Amy Catalano spun on the frontstretch. Jeff Brown wheel-hopped her car and got airborne before colliding with the wall as several other cars piled in. The lengthy clean up required speedway officials to end the program out of respect for the midnight curfew enforced by the town of Lancaster. The race was past halfway and was declared official, with George Skora III taking the win, followed by John Barber, Matt Druar, Sherri Hogan and Shawn Nye.

Lyon finished sixth to earn his first career track championship. He won three times this season, including two wins in the final three races of the year.

Rich Sharpe
The Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks had their largest field of the season with 32 cars on hand as several drivers from other tracks took advantage of the weeknight show to get some track time before the U.S. Open. The field was trimmed to 26 after heats and a last chance qualifying race.

Lou Carbone and Rob Pocobello led the impressive field to the green flag. Rookie Trevor Pettit moved through the field to challenge Carbone for the lead, getting under Carbone off of Turn 2 on Lap 15. Carbone’s car pushed up the race track as Pettit went by to take the lead. When Carbone came back down the track, he did so in front of Mark Hoch and Dave Wilson. All three cars went sliding through the infield on the backstretch. Carbone and Hoch made it through, but Wilson’s car tagged a jersey barrier and mound of earth that protects one of the infield light poles.
2016 Street Stock champ Dave Wilson

The race resumed with Pettit leading Pocobello and 2015 track champion Rich Sharpe. Sharpe went after Pettit the green flag flew and he took over the lead on Lap 16. Mike Scott had followed Sharpe to the front of the pack from his 18th starting position. The former Super Stock feature winner was in the Cochrane Motorsports No. 76 entry for the evening. Sharpe managed to hold on to score his first win of 2016.

Dan Dressel
Despite his run in with the concrete barrier in the infield, Wilson managed to finish the race and he passed under the checkered flag to lock up the 2016 Street Stock track title. It was Wilson’s first championship at Lancaster, added to his previous titles at Holland and Lake Erie. Three early season victories and a consistent second half of the season propelled Wilson to the championship.

Dan Dressel captured his first career Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinder feature. Dressel passed Joe Brunka for the lead on Lap 15 and pulled away for the final 10 laps to score the win. Brunka settled for second with Jim Dauer, Kevin Bainbridge and Bobby Woch rounding out the top five. Bainbridge had already wrapped up the 2016 track championship thanks to seven wins on the season.

2016 4-Cylinder champ Kevin
Bainbridge
Lancaster National Speedway concludes the 2016 season with the 28th annual U.S. Open this weekend. Event information can be found at www.thelancasterusopen.com.

Lancaster, Camping World join forces for U.S. Open

credit: Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway
Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway and Camping World have put together a fun contest for fans camping out at the racing facility during this weekend’s 28th annual U.S. Open.

The areas in the Lancaster National Speedway parking lot designated for campers during the U.S. Open will be known as the Camping World Village. Residents of the “Village” will have a chance to win one of three Camping World gift certificates as part of the “Best Appearing Campsite” contest.

The most impressive and creative campsite will win a $300 Camping World gift certificate with second place taking home a $150 gift certificate and third place receiving a $50 gift certificate. The judging for the contest will take place on Saturday evening, September 24, with winners being announced on Sunday afternoon, September 25.

Judges will be looking for the most creative and unique campsites. Fans are encouraged to create displays in support of their favorite drivers or divisions of racing. Entries must be tasteful and in accordance with Lancaster’s family-friendly environment.

Camping will once again be free for all race fans during U.S. Open weekend. A designated camping area will be established on the southern side of the parking lot, which is the side adjacent to the pit entrance road.

A two-day adult general admission ticket is just $40, which is a savings of $5. A student (age 12-17) weekend ticket is $15, with kids under 12 free. Family passes are available for families with two adults and two students.

The official U.S. Open website is online at www.thelancasterusopen.com with a complete schedule of events. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lancaster’s U.S. Open by the numbers

credit: Lancaster National Speedway
Western New York’s racing finale, the 28th annual U.S. Open at Lancaster National Speedway, is coming up on September 23-25. The region’s biggest names in asphalt short track racing will convene at the Buffalo-area ½-mile oval for three days of intense competition. Lancaster Speedway has offered these important numbers heading into the biggest race weekend in the region.
  • 28: This is the 28th annual U.S. Open event. It was started in 1989 by the late Alex Friesen to create a major end-of-season event at the facility. It was his vision that made the Open into what it is today.
  • 345: There will be 345 laps of feature racing action among the seven divisions of competition.
  • 25: That was the car number of the first U.S. Open Modified feature winner, Jan Leaty. Leaty is one of the greatest Modified drivers to come out of Western and Central New York. The Williamson, N.Y. native won the U.S. Open 125 for a second time in 2008. He retired from driving a few years ago, while his son, Mike, has followed in his footsteps. He also is the crew chief for Patrick Emerling, who has won all three Modified races held at Lancaster in 2016.
  • 7: The number of wins this season at Lancaster for Patrick Emerling. The Orchard Park, N.Y. driver has been the hottest thing in open-wheeled racing in 2016, including wins in the Queen City Clash 75 on May 21, the Ol’ Boy Cup 60 on June 30 and the Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial 110 on August 20, plus four Sunoco Sportsman feature wins. He also has Race of Champions Modified Series wins at Oswego, Holland and Chemung, and he won the George Decker Memorial Sportsman race at Holland this year.
  • 6: The record for most career U.S. Open feature wins is six, which is held by three drivers. Kirk Rutherford was the first to reach the number with six wins in the Sportsman division (1996, 97, 99, 2002, 06 & 07). Andy Jankowiak also has six wins, with one in the 2006 Street Stock race and then five-straight wins in the Sportsman U.S. Open feature from 2010 to 2014. Jeremy Haudricourt has six wins in the Legends division at the U.S. Open. Chuck Hossfeld and Bobby Weber both have another shot at joining this club in 2016. Hossfeld is in search of his sixth win in the U.S. Open Modified 125. Weber will try once again for his sixth career Xpress Signs Late Model win that weekend. Both drivers have won the most U.S. Open features in their respective divisions.
  • 3: Karl Hehr is the only driver with U.S. Open wins in three different divisions. Hehr won the inaugural Late Model (then Super Stock) feature in 1989, he won the Sportsman race in 1995 and then scored what might be the most popular win in the event’s history when he captured the 2002 Modified feature.Three different drivers have also won multiple U.S. Open features in the same year. The first was Andy Mackereth in 1997 when the TQ Midgets ran features on both days. John Julicher Sr. won both Late Model features in 1999, back when there were still separate features for the stock frame built and tube chassis designed (Late Model Pro Stocks) cars. Current Sunoco Sportsman driver Mike Ramos swept both the New York Super Stock and Big 10 Super Stock Series races in 2013.
  • 14: A total of 14 drivers have U.S. Open wins in multiple divisions. The list includes: Vern Bliss, Tony Hanbury, Karl Hehr, Todd Hoddick, Bobby Holmes, Andy Jankowiak, Dave Johnson, John Julicher Jr., John Julicher Sr., Danny Knoll Jr., Erick Rudolph, Kyle Sharpe, Terry Weldy and Scott Wylie.
  • 5: There have been five different father/son combinations to win at the U.S. Open. The first was the Skora family in 2001 when Rich Skora won the Street Stock feature 10 years after his father, Bob, won in the Late Models. Ten years after that, Rich’s brother, Scott, won the Late Model feature in 2011.The Hirschman family has been synonymous with Modified racing and they have combined to win five U.S. Open Modified features. Tony Hirschman won the second ever U.S. Open Modified race in 1990, while Matt Hirschman is the four-time defending champion of the event.John Julicher Sr. is the greatest Late Model driver in Lancaster Speedway history, including three U.S. Open titles. His son, John Jr., has won in both the Street Stocks and 4-Cylinders.The Wylie family has been to U.S. Open victory lane seven times, including three times with Late Model great Rick Wylie and four times with his sons Scott and Jake.The first son to win before his father was Jared Turnbull in the TQ Midgets in 1999 six years before his dad, Wayne, won in 2005.
  • $59,845: That is the total purse to be paid out among the seven divisions. The total does not include any lap money or other bonuses to be paid out.

The 28th annual U.S. Open at Lancaster National Speedway opens Friday, September 23 with practice for all divisions plus the U.S. Open Kickoff Party featuring live music from 1980 Something. The Sunoco Sportsman headline Saturday night’s action with a 75-lap feature, plus the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders, Super Stocks and NYPA TQ Midgets. Sunday’s main event is the U.S. Open 125 for the Race of Champions Modified Series. The Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks and the X-Press Signs Late Models presented by Abbott Rd. Pizza will also be in action on Sunday. The full schedule of events is available at www.thelancasterusopen.com.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Pagenaud wraps up 2016 IndyCar championship with win at Sonoma

Pagenaud with his championship trophy
credit: IndyCar Media/Joe Skibinki
Verizon IndyCar Series press release

Simon Pagenaud put the exclamation point on a sensational breakthrough season, winning today's GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma to clinch his first Verizon IndyCar Series championship in impressive fashion.

Pagenaud, driving the No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet for Team Penske, won the 85-lap race at Sonoma Raceway by 3.2523 seconds over Graham Rahal. The dominating performance saw Pagenaud lead all but nine laps and clinch the series crown by 127 points over teammate Will Power.

"I tried to take my future in my destiny by being aggressive and going as fast as I could," Pagenaud said. "Clearly we had a phenomenal car, I think a very dominant car today, so we could do that."

"I just enjoyed driving today. It was an incredible day and I think it just shows the strength of the 22 team for the whole season."

Pagenaud started the race from the pole position and surrendered the lead only during pit stop cycles in winning for the fifth time this season and ninth of his Indy car career. Power, in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, was running second to Pagenaud until a clutch malfunction stopped his car on track on Lap 36. Power fell eight laps off the pace while repairs were made and finished the race in 20th place, but retained second in the championship for the fourth time in his 12-year Indy car career.

"It was obviously disappointing to have that gearbox problem," Power said. "I think Simon was going to be tough to beat as far as the championship goes. Maybe we could have beaten him for the (race) win, but I doubt it if everything just played out as it was."

"But honestly it was still a very strong year," added the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion, whose wife, Liz, is expecting their first child in the off-season. "Four race wins. I won a 500-mile race (at Pocono). Not the right one (the Indianapolis 500), but still a 500-miler."

The championship was the 14th in Indy cars for Team Penske, celebrating its 50th anniversary in racing this year, and the race win was the team's 187th in Indy car competition - more than any other team. Pagenaud, who set a track record in qualifying on the 2.385-mile permanent road course Saturday, etched his name into the Sonoma books again today with his average race speed of 101.181 mph.

Pagenaud now enjoys the spoils of the championship, including a $1 million prize and official presentation of the Astor Cup that will take place Oct. 4 at the INDYCAR Championship Celebration in Indianapolis. It gives the 32-year-old Frenchman two weeks to let the magnitude of his accomplishment sink in.

"It's unbelievable," he admitted. "I think I will realize it more tomorrow. There is so much emotion right now, to be honest, I can't find the words. My whole career has been about this, about today and getting to this point and to this level."

Team Penske completed a 1-2-3 sweep of the championship when Helio Castroneves finished seventh in the race to edge Ed Carpenter Racing's Josef Newgarden by two points in the standings. It marked the first time the same team took the top three championship positions since Penske also accomplished the feat in 1994 with Al Unser Jr., Emerson Fittipaldi and Paul Tracy.

With his second-place race finish in the No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda, Rahal advanced to fifth in the championship - the highest-placing Honda driver.

"Good day, good way to end it," said the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver. "I wanted to get Pagenaud, but when I'd get behind him, I'd get massively loose. I thought at one point it was best I salvage a second place rather than do something stupid."

As he did in winning the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May, Alexander Rossi ran out of fuel and coasted to the finish line today. He was passed by Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay for fourth place, but still secured Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors for the season just as he did for the Indy 500.

Chevrolet, which won 14 of the 16 races this season, also clinched its fifth consecutive manufacturers' championship by 104 points over Honda. Chevy has taken the honor every year since manufacturer competition resumed in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2012.

Find out more at www.indycar.com

Humberstone wraps up 2016 season

Dennis Lunger Jr. - credit: Humberstone Speedway
Chad Chevalier took the win in the Safecracker 100 for the PC Works DIRTcar Sportsman at Humberstone Speedway on Sunday night, while Dennis Lunger Jr. won his eighth Pinty’s Delicious Foods RUSH Late Model feature of the season and clinched the track title for the second straight season. Dave Bailey won his fifth JC Auto Street Stock feature of the season and clinched his first Humberstone title, while Kyle Haynes won his fourth Cosco Haulage Mini Stocks feature event and clinched the track divisional title. Danny Wurster won the main event for the Mike Knapp Ford Pro 4 Trucks while Mike Toovey scored the win in the Pro 4 Trucks non-winners race.

Brad Rouse clinched the 2016 PC Works DIRTcar Sportsman title on Labor Day Weekend. Dylan Llord was the divisional champion in the Mike Knapp Ford Pro 4 Trucks. Bailey completed the Niagara Region Trifecta by winning the Street Stock title not only at Humberstone, but at Ohsweken and Merrittville as well. 

Charlie Lynch led the opening circuits in the Safecracker 100 for the Sportsman. Adam Leslie caught Lynch on Lap 17 and took the lead on Lap 19. On Lap 31, Dave DiPetro spun in Turn 3 and collected the lead duo of Leslie and Lynch, giving Rouse the race lead. Chevalier took the lead away from Rouse on the outside off the restart on Lap 35 before Rouse retook the lead and led at halfway mark. Chevalier regained the lead off a mid-race restart and pulled away for the win.

Travis Martineau and Ken Winfield shared the front row for the RUSH Late Models main event with Martineau showing the way early. Lunger Jr. took the lead away from his teammate Martineau with just three laps completed. Rob Pietz took second away from Martineau on Lap 4 and tried to chase down Lunger, who stretched out his lead to nearly a half a track ahead of Pietz by the race’s checkered flag.

The final event of the 2016 season will be next Sunday, September 25 as Tidyman Maintenance and Port Colborne Laundry presents the annual Eve of Destruction. Grandstand gates opening at 10 a.m. with the destruction starting at noon. Find out more at www.humberstonespeedway.com

Hyde, Manzi earn first wins at Lancaster Dragway

Gerry Manzi - credit: Lancaster National Dragway

Wayne Cleveland returned to victory lane in Top 8 for his third win overall this season on Friday night at Lancaster National Dragway, besting Steve Moscovic in the final round.

In Mallare Enterprises Top ET, Gerry Manzi made his first trip to Lancaster in 12 years a memorable one as he scored his first career win at the track, passing Rick Szewczyk Jr. in the final round to get the win. There was also a first time winner in McGard Mod as Lew Hyde made his first trip to victory lane after “Fast Eddie” Semlitsch red lighted in the finals.

Lew Hyde - credit: Lancaster National Dragway
The Gasser Racing Series Mod finale was a meeting between twin brothers Ryan and Reid Ricketson, with Ryan getting the better of Reid. Barry Lingle took the win in the Gasser Racing Series Gassers.

Rob Brandel scored his second win of the year in Hebeler’s Sales Sleds & Bikes after Alan Fletcher ed lighted in the finals. In Tread City Tire Street ET, John Cira Jr. earned his third win of the 2016 after a red light by Tim Markle. 

Lancaster National Dragway will be off this Friday, September 23. The 2016 track champions will be crowned on Friday, September 30 in the season finale. One class champion has been decided as Dale Eckert has clinched his 10th Mod ET track title in the last 11 years. Keep up with the action at www.lancasternationalspeedway.com

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Abbott Rd. Pizza to sponsor Late Model race at U.S. Open

Bobby Weber has five US Open Late Model wins
credit: WNY Motorsports
Lancaster National Speedway has announced that Abbott Rd. Pizza is returning to support the 28th Annual U.S. Open by sponsoring the X-Press Signs Late Model event on Sunday, September 25.

Abbott Rd. Pizza of South Buffalo, located at 1177 Abbott Rd., is the presenting sponsor of the race, which will pay $1,500 to the winner of the 30-lap event. In addition, each position from second on back will receive an extra $150 to $350 more, depending on where they finish, than a regular race during the season. The race will pay a minimum of $350 to start for a 20-car field.

The owners of Abbott Rd Pizza have been supporters of the Late Model division at Lancaster National Speedway for the past two seasons.

The division has raced three times this year at Lancaster, with five-time U.S. Open Late Model winner Bobby Weber winning the first two events and Dave Whittaker winning the most recent race on August 6. Lancaster has adopted the Race of Champions Late Model rule book in an attempt to draw a diverse field of cars.

Weber has been fielding a four-car operation this season with a talented stable of drivers, including Late Model veteran and former Pro Cup Series driver Sam Fullone, defending U.S. Open Street Stock winner Terry Weldy and open-wheeled young gun Tommy Catalano.  

Dave Russell is the defending U.S. Open winner. He passed 2014 winner Jeff Brown for the lead on Lap 17 and never looked back to score his biggest win ever at Lancaster.

The 28th annual U.S. Open at Lancaster National Speedway will take place Friday through Sunday, September 23-25. The Late Models will run their heats and feature on Sunday. The full schedule of events is posted on the event’s official website, www.thelancasterusopen.com. Pre-event preregistration is available there, as well.

X-Press Signs Late Model U.S. Open 30-lap feature presented by Abbott Rd Pizza Purse
  • 1st: $1,500
  • 2nd: $1,000
  • 3rd: $850
  • 4th: $800
  • 5th: $750
  • 6th: $700
  • 7th: $650
  • 8th: $625
  • 9th: $600
  • 10th: $575
  • 11th: $500
  • 12th: $450
  • 13th: $425
  • 14th: $400
  • 15th-24th: $350
U.S Open Late Model feature winners
  • 1989 – Karl Hehr #59
  • 1990 – Jim Reid  #76
  • 1991 – Bob Skora #56
  • 1992 – John Murrett #49
  • 1993 – Ron Nurmi #2
  • 1994 – John Julicher #09
  • 1995 – Bob Weber #11
  • 1996 – Joe Carbone #31
  • 1997 – Brett Scherrer #44
  • 1998 – Bob Weber (2) #11
  • 1999 – John Julicher (2)  #09
  • 2000 – Tim Windnagle #61
  • 2001 – Vern Bliss #03
  • 2002 – Bob Weber (3) #11
  • 2003 – Vern Bliss (2) #03
  • 2004 – Vern Bliss (3) #03
  • 2005 – Mark Bliss #0
  • 2006 – Will Thomas #9
  • 2007 – Todd Hoddick #49
  • 2008 – Jeff Brown #3
  • 2009 – Bob Weber (4) #11
  • 2010 – Bob Weber (5) #11
  • 2011 – Scott Skora #56
  • 2012 – George Skora III  #65
  • 2013 – NO RACE
  • 2014 – Jeff Brown (2) #3
  • 2015 - Dave Russell #93
 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Aasbo continues fight for the 2016 Formula Drift crown

Fredric Aasbo in Dallas
credit: SR by Toyota
Defending Formula Drift champion Fredric Aasbo will take his fight for the 2016 crown to the final round of the season following a fifth-place result in Texas this weekend. The Rockstar Energy Drink/Nexen Tire SR by Toyota tC is second in the standings and within striking distance of the title as the Formula Drift championship heads to its exciting season finale October 7-8 in Irwindale Speedway.

"We had the car to beat out there this weekend," said Aasbo. "We've never had a better package in terms of setup and grip and speed. We are dialed."

Aasbo put in a strong qualifying performance to rank in the Top 3 and advanced through the opening round. A one-more-time re-run in the Top 16 saw the Norwegian put in a textbook performance on both his lead and chase runs to defeat Geoff Stoneback and move up the ladder.

The next match was a much-anticipated battle between champions as Aasbo faced Chris Forsberg. In a rare misstep, Aasbo over-corrected as he chased his rival through the smoke and Forsberg advanced.

"We fell to one of the most experienced drivers in the sport," said Aasbo. "Where the game is at right now, you can't afford to make any mistakes and we're definitely battling hard. As a competitor, there's nothing better than a fight and we'll come back swinging for Irwindale."

Aasbo has scored three podium results this year, winning in Orlando and Montreal and placing second at the opener in Long Beach. With one round remaining in the season, Papadakis Racing manufacturer partner SR by Toyota leads the Auto Cup, while tire partner Nexen Tire tops the Tire Cup standings.

The championship moves to Southern California for its final round of 2016 at Irwindale Speedway. Each year, fans pack the Los Angeles area venue, known as the "House of Drift" for its historic involvement in the foundation of the sport of drifting in the United States. With the championship on the line, the competition is always intense.

"We have a car that can win at Irwindale right now and we're not changing anything," said team owner Stephan Papadakis. "We're going into the season finale to be top qualifier and win. That's what we need to do."

The veteran Papadakis Racing team has competed at every Irwindale event since the creation of Formula Drift in 2004 and has three Formula Drift titles to its credit. The team won the title in 2015 with Aasbo, and earned two titles with driver Tanner Foust in 2007 and 2008. 

Next, Aasbo will travel to Shanghai to compete in the first-ever D1GP Series in China, September 15-17. Learn more about Aasbo and Papadakis Racing at www.fredricaasbo.com and www.papadakisracing.com. Learn more about Formula Drift at www.formulad.com.

Quotes in this piece provided by Papadakis Racing.

Davis III takes Wilkens Memorial at Humberstone Speedway

Ron Davis III in victory lane
credit: Steve Petty
Ron Davis III won the Trevor Wilkens Memorial for the Sportsman Super DIRTcar Series Sunday night at Humberstone Speedway . Tim Gillespie won his first Pinty’s RUSH Late Model feature of the season, while Jason Fontaine won his fourth JC Auto Street Stock feature of the season. Olivier Larocque won his first Cosco Haulage Mini Stocks feature of the season, and Kyle Tomaski won his second consecutive Mike Knapp Ford Pro 4 Trucks feature of the season.

Brianna Ladouceur and Martin Pelletier led the Sportsman Super DIRTcar Series to the green flag for their 50-lap feature with Ladouceur taking the lead early on. Davis III took the lead for the first time on Lap 18 until Lap 24, when Pelletier took over. Pelletier and Davis battled for the lead in the late stages, with Davis regaining the lead with five laps to go. Davis held off Pelletier and Dave Marcuccilli to score his second win on the tour in three days.

Sam Pennacchio took the lead off the start Pinty’s Delicious Foods RUSH Late Models feature, but Gillespie took the lead away at the end of Lap 1. Gillespie held off Jeff Dayman, Dennis Lunger and Pennacchio in the final stages to earn his first Late Model victory of the season.

Next Sunday, September 18, is the Safecracker 100 for the Sportsman. It is also season championship night for the Late Models, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and the Pro 4 Trucks. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. with racing getting underway at 6:30 p.m. Find out more at www.humberstonespeedway.com

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Lancaster postpones Championship Night until September 22

credit: Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway
With severe weather forecasted for the Western New York area on Saturday evening, Lancaster National Speedway officials postponed Season Championship Night for the stock car program until Thursday, September 22, now a precursor to U.S. Open weekend. The Sunoco Sportsman, Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks and Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders will run their final points races of the 2016 season and crown their respective track champions, with racing starting at 7 p.m.

"We have had some great racing this year and the points battles between the second and 10th positions are very tight," said Tim Packman, Track President. "Having it decided by rain rather than racing wasn't the fitting way to end it for our three weekly divisions."

The top 10 in points for each division are eligible to receive money at the year-end banquet, and there are still plenty of important points battles that need to be settled. The biggest one is the chase for the Sunoco Sportsman track championship with Jake Lyon holding a 44-point lead over Tommy Catalano. With the possibility of earning a maximum of 70 points, there is still a chance for Catalano to win the title. 

"This will be treated as a totally separate event from the U.S. Open, which starts the next day (Friday, September 23),” said Packman. “There is already a lot of interest in this year's U.S. Open and this will add even one more day of action for everyone to come out and enjoy some great racing at Lancaster."

Pit gates will open at 4:30 p.m. on September 22 with practice starting and front gates opening at 5:30. Racing will begin at 7 p.m.

The full schedule of events for the 28th annual U.S. Open is available at www.thelancasterusopen.com. Fans and racers planning on camping for the U.S. Open are welcome to set up camp on Thursday.

Quotes in this piece provided by Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Begolo wins Sportsman feature at Humberstone, Rouse takes title

Brett Begolo celebrates his Sportsman win at Humberstone
credit: Steve Petty/Humberstone Speedway
Third-generation driver Brent Begolo grabbed the checkered flag in the PC Works DIRTcar Sportsman feature at Humberstone Speedway on Sunday, while Brad Rouse earned the Sportsman divisional championship for the second time of his career with his second-place finish. Rob Pietz scored his fifth victory of 2016 in the Pinty’s Delicious Foods RUSH Late Models, while Bill Bleich Jr. won his fourth JC Auto Street Stocks feature of the year. Tony Kelly won his second Cosco Haulage Mini Stocks feature of 2016, Kyle Tomaski won his second Mike Knapp Ford Pro 4 Trucks feature of the season, and BJ Willard scored his second win of the season for the Vintage Cars.

Begolo led from the drop of the green flag in the PC Works DIRTcar Sportsman main event and opened up a lead on the field. Rouse moved up to second and went after Begolo for the lead. Begolo held the bottom of the speedway, making Rouse to go to the outside to try and pass, but Begolo held off Rouse to score his first career Sportsman victory at Humberstone.

John McIntire and Chad Homan brought the Pinty’s Delicious Foods RUSH Late Models to the green flag with Homan showing the way, pulling away from Pietz and Jeff Dayman. Homan and Pietz battled for the lead following a Lap 7 restart with Pietz taking over the lead on Lap 8. Pietz and Homan went side by side later in the race before Pietz regained the lead and pulled away to score the victory.

The month of September will continue with one of the biggest weekends of the season as Cosco Haulage presents the Trevor Wilkens Memorial for the Sportsman Super DIRTcar Series on Sunday, September 11. The RUSH Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro 4 Trucks and Mini Stocks will also be on the card. Gates will open up at 4:30 p.m. with racing getting underway at 6:30 p.m. Find out more at www.humberstonespeedway.com

George Skora III wins Pro Mod event at Holland

George Skora III and family celebrate in victory lane
credit: Holland Speedway
George Skora III grabbed the checkered flag in the 75-lap main event for the Pro Modifieds at Holland International Speedway Saturday night, part of the Busch 200 presented by Try-It Distributing and the Upstate Automotive Group. Mark Hoch won his second Getzoni Agency NASCAR Pro Charger feature of the season, while Zach Myers clinched his second track championship. Louis Carbone won his second Bank of Holland Hornet feature of the season, with Jeff Szafraniec wrapping up his second straight track championship. Kyle Hutchinson won his first NYPA TQ Midget feature of the season, while second-place finisher Dave Wollaber wrapped up the track championship. Carl Vilardo IV won his fifth Advance Auto Parts INEX Legends feature of the season and won the INEX Legends divisional title, Jim Steins won his sixth M&M U Pull-It Figure 8’s feature of 2016 and clinched the track championship, and Darryl Phillips picked up the win in the Rookie 4’s and won the track title.

Mike Fiebelkorn Jr. and Kevin Lewis led the Pro Modified field to green, with Fiebelkorn showing the way early. Fiebelkorn and Tommy Catalano pulled away from the field while Shawn Nye and George Skora III moved up through the pack. Skora passed Shawn Nye to take over fifth place with 35 laps completed and began to reel in the leaders. A restart with six laps to go found Fiebelkorn and Skora on the front row, with Skora out-sprinting Fiebelkorn to take the lead with Amy Catalano battling Jake Vernon for third place. Fiebelkorn got loose off Turn 4 with four laps remaining, allowing Amy Catalano take over second as Skora checked out on the field.

The 75-lap main event for the Pro Chargers was split up into two different segments. In the 35-lap segment, Nik Welshans jumped into the lead over Matt Fleming to start, but Hoch took over the lead with 24 laps completed, leading the way until the competition caution on Lap 35. In the final 40-lap segment, Tim Welshans took a slight lead over Hoch off the start, but Hoch regained the lead with 37 laps remaining, pulling away from Tim Welshans to score the victory. Zach Myers clinch his second track championship with his fifth-place finish.

The 2016 season comes to a close on Saturday, September 10 with the return of Crash-A-Rama. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets early by logging on to www.hollandspeedway.com and by stopping by Advance Auto Parts throughout Western New York and getting pre-sale tickets, which will entitle to enter the grandstands one hour before the general public. Use the #HollandCrashARama throughout the week to get ready for the “Wildest Show on Wheels”. The Cannon Lady and Radical Rob the Human Bomb return for the show, along with the School Bus Figure 8 Race, Enduro, the popular Boat-Trailer Race and the return of the reverse chain race. The show starts at 6:30 p.m.

Moe Alfaqih wins Street Outlaws show at Lancaster Dragway

Buffalo Street Outlaws winner Moe Alfaqih
credit: Neffke Motorsports Photography
Lancaster National Dragway kicked off Labor Day weekend with Franco’s Pizza Friday Night IHRA Drag Racing plus the final appearance of the season by the Buffalo Street Outlaws and TNT Hot Rod Series.

The Buffalo Street Outlaws final round featured the two most recent winners at Lancaster with Moe Alfaqih defeating Ed McGuinn, who left the starting line too soon to give Alfaqih his second win of the year. Chris Halton won the Buffalo Street Outlaws Limited Street class by beating Darrow Rumsey on a starting line hole-shot.

Jim Thomson took top honors in the TNT Hot Rod Series, defeating former Super Gas competitor Bill Elekes in the finals. Zell Gaymon picked up his third win of the season in Top 8 after beating Ernie Masullo in the finals.

Dave Surmatchewski took the win light in Mallare Enterprises Top ET with a hole-shot advantage over George Pease. Guy Menard earned his first career win in McGard Mod ET, beating Jeff Kerl in the finals. Hebeler’s Sleds & Bikes was a motorcycle versus snowmobile final, with the snowmobile of Pete Marston besting the bike of Drew Nearhoof to get the win. Dan Knab scored his second win of the year in Tread City Tire Street. 

Lancaster National Dragway is off this Friday, September 9 for IHRA Team Break Finals in Pittsburgh. Action resumes on September 16 with the Gasser Racing Series joining Lancaster’s weekly classes. Find out more at www.lancasternationalspeedway.com