Speedway Digest Staff
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Ryan Rackley will be visiting a familiar place when he makes his pro late model debut later this month.
Three days of motorsports events, contests and business transactions came to a close at 4:00 PM Sunday, January 19 when the 36th Pioneer Pole Buildings Motorsports 2020 Race Car & Trade Show came to a close at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA. The show, which had taken two-and-a-half days to build was 90% 'out the door' less than two hours afterward.
Three Sunday competitions featured racing's youth. Crowned Little Ms. Motorsports (ages 8-11) was Madison Hilfiger, 11, of Cresco, PA. She is the daughter of Orange County Fair Speedway 2019 Sportsman champion Grant Hilfiger. Carlyn Singletori, 9 of Aston, PA and Linley Dewease, 10 of Waynesboro, PA were first and second runners up.
Crowned Tiny Ms. Motorsports (ages 4-7) was Zoey Klanold, 7 of Mt. Wolfe, PA. Andy Biever and Hayden Price were runner-ups.
Three age groups of Big Wheel Races were also featured. Kaleb Ambrose, Andy Bieber, and Gavin Thompson were the top three in the ages 3-4 bracket, Ryan Valadez, Bryce Pratt and Tyler Jones were the top three in the 5-6 bracket and Jayde Pratt, Paulie Hartwig and Landon McNeil were the top three in the 7-8 age group.
Exhibitors reported increased booth traffic and sales Sunday. ASI Sportswear and Behrent's Speed Performance Warehouse were observed writing apparel orders and filling last minute parts orders respectively right at the 4 PM show closing time.
Len Sammons Motorsports Productions has established Friday through Sunday, January 15-17, 2021 as the dates for the 37th annual event to be held once again at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center.
Three days of Dirt Late Model racing in the Sunshine State came to an exciting finish on Saturday night at Volusia Speedway Park when Kyle Bronson completed the weekend sweep of the DIRTcar Pro Late Model class after a thrilling battle with Michael Page to capture the $10,000 Sunshine Nationals finale check.
Completing Saturday night’s action were two other action-packed Features in which Colton Leyendecker traded in back-to-back third-place finishes for a win in the 602 Late Model division while Dusty Sparkman got his first career win at Volusia in the Florida Late Model Feature.
DIRTcar PRO LATE MODELS – KYLE BRONSON
A member of the invading “Super Late Model regulars” club this weekend, Brandon, FL’s Kyle Bronson was a big favorite to win it all right from the get-go. And he did just that.
The 29-year-old wheelman known as Killer never lost his focus throughout the entire event. Not once. He was fastest overall on practice night, set fast time in Qualifying on Friday night, won all but one of his Heat races and was victorious in all three Features. Utter domination.
One notable regarding his wins – each one was increasingly more challenging than the last. That notion really came to the forefront in Saturday night’s drive to Victory Lane, when he was forced to drive through fellow Super Late Model guru Michael Page to earn it. And make no mistake, Page really, really made Bronson work for it.
Right at the drop of the green, Page made a beeline for the lead as he proceeded to grab it and lead the field around to complete the first lap. Starting right behind Page, Bronson followed him and broke away from the pack a few laps later to start their high-speed battle for the top spot.
Bronson threw the first of many traded slide-jobs between the two on lap 10, clipping Page’s nose as he drove on by. On a restart just three laps later, Page returned the favor by getting into Bronson’s left-rear on a failed pass attempt in Turn 1.
“I slid [Page] and he kinda got in the back of me, but it was just hard racing,” Bronson said. “He hit me in the left-rear, just trying hard, and when he did it bent my left-rear wheel.”
“We’re both as hard of a racer as the other,” Page said. “I just felt that, on a racetrack that was wide, [Bronson] just kinda came in there and thought he had me cleared but he didn’t. It knocked the steering wheel out of my hands.”
The next restart restacked the field and refocused Page, as he threw a slide-job of his own, which Bronson countered by crossing-over as they raced out of Turn 2. The second of two red flags was displayed as they entered turn three, and there the leaders sat, parked right next to each other amidst the stoppage, discussing their intentions.
“It just rubbed me the wrong way because the last time we raced, [Bronson] did the same so I returned the favor, maybe a little worse, but we stopped down there and I told him,” Page said. “We talked for a minute and I said, ‘let’s race.’ And after that, we raced. I don’t know if you could have raced anybody harder after that.”
“We were just telling each other how much we loved each other and were ready to drink a beer after the races,” Bronson joked.
Sitting inside of his Baird Truck and Trailer Sales #18X, Page was dreading the time spent not moving, as the gamble he took on tire selection for the 30-lap Feature did not appear to be working to his advantage.
“The red flags killed it. I went on hard tires so they kinda sealed-up on me. Every time the car would come back in, the yellow would come out,” Page said.
Meanwhile, an unfortunate situation was developing right underneath Bronson’s #40B as they sat parked on the track, waiting for cleanup to conclude. The contact Bronson’s left-rear tire received from Page’s nose on the earlier restart resulted in a slow leak, and Bronson could hear the clock ticking as they awaited the next restart.
“My tire was going flat since lap 14, and then we had the red flag after that,” Bronson said. “I was praying we went back green [quick] because I could hear my tire leaking. Then it finally blew out coming to the checkered.”
“It didn’t officially blow all the way out until the last lap there, we were racing on probably a pound or two of air,” Bronson added.
In the end, the tire held up… at least, as long as it needed to for Bronson to see the checkers. He battled with the Georgian for several more laps after the red, again trading slide-jobs for the lead before lap 20. Another restart with 13 laps remaining threw Brandon Williams into the mix, who Bronson was also able to put behind him as he drove to his third checkered flag in three nights.
All-in-all, the Bronson v. Page battle was settled 100 percent on the racetrack. They may have beaten and banged their cars up quite a bit before all was said and done, but the greatest sight of all may have been in Victory Lane, where the two smiled and shook hands in front of the crowded Volusia bleachers and DIRTVision cameras.
“He knows how I felt and I know how he felt,” Page said. “Instead of going around and talking to everybody else about it, we worked it out like you’re supposed to as a racer.”
Williams brought out the final caution flag of the race with four laps remaining and dropped out due to an ill-timed mechanical failure, crumpling his best run of the weekend. Arthur Walked capped off his solid weekend with his first podium finish, and Jason Fitzgerald rebounded from being a part of the second red flag incident to come back and finish fifth.
Randy Weaver was strong all weekend but couldn’t find his mojo when it mattered most; settling for seventh after starting outside pole in the finale. Ashton Winger joined the Pro Late Model field for a chance at the 10-grand on Saturday, and had a decent run going early, but was on the receiving end of a nasty barrel-rolling flip in Turn 2 that ended his night. He, and every other driver involved, walked away under his own power.
Feature (30 Laps) 1. 40B-Kyle Bronson ; 2. 18X-Michael Page ; 3. 87-Walker Arthur ; 4. 5-Mark Whitener ; 5. 7-Jason Fitzgerald ; 6. 111-Max Blair ; 7. 116-Randy Weaver ; 8. 14H-Cory Hedgecock ; 9. 2-Trynt Lloyd ; 10. 6-Dillon Brown ; 11. 17-Nevin Gainey ; 12. 7A-Corey Almond ; 13. 71-Pierce McCarter ; 14. 11-Cruz Skinner ; 15. 74-Mike Franklin ; 16. 38P-Trey Pearson ; 17. 33-Jeff Mathews ; 18. 84-Sam Halstead ; 19. 95-Brandon Williams ; 20. 66-Jake Knowles ; 21. 9-Ashton Winger ; 22. J8-Jadon Frame ; 23. K37-Drew Kennedy ; 24. 7T-Trever Taylor ; 25. 4-Justin Litchford ; 26. 66K-Jody Knowles  Hard Charger: 5-Mark Whitener[+17]
602 LATE MODELS – COLTON LEYENDECKER
After finishing third twice in the first two races over the weekend, Leyendecker finally pulled it off and picked up the win in the final 602 Late Model Feature of the inaugural Sunshine Nationals.
Driving past Raymond Folwell on lap five, Leyendecker grabbed the lead and never looked back, holding off Thursday night’s winner, Cody Overton, for the $1,500 check. For his consistent efforts throughout the weekend, Leyendecker was also crowned the Sunshine Nationals miniseries champion of his division.
Feature (20 Laps) 1. 33-Colton Leyendecker ; 2. 97-Cody Overton ; 3. 58-Tyler Clem ; 4. 5-Dustin Carter ; 5. 5B-Colby Boyett ; 6. 25-Wiley McDaniel ; 7. 32-Bud Chancey ; 8. M51-Mark Steube ; 9. 64-Craig Montesi ; 10. 97B-Garrett Bullington ; 11. 28-Brandon Elwood ; 12. 3-Raymond Folwell ; 13. 31-Donnie Birdwell ; 14. 27K-Timmie King ; 15. OO-Louis Ledlow ; 16. 388-Jackson Hise ; 17. 98-Cody Allen ; 18. 9X-Chad Evans ; 19. 17S-Brenden Smith ; 20. 78-Arthur Conquest ; 21. 14JR-Trey Mills ; 22. O7-Landon Lungren ; 23. O2-Sean Babcock  Hard Charger: 97-Cody Overton[+19]
FLORIDA LATE MODELS – DUSTY SPARKMAN
It was almost a three-peat in two different classes over the weekend, but Sparkman put a stop to that by winning the final Florida Late Model Feature in dominating fashion, leading the final 14 laps to earn his first-ever victory in a Late Model of any kind.
Thursday and Friday night’s winner, David Showers Jr., finished sixth and was crowned the miniseries champion of the division by way of his three top-10 results.
Feature (20 Laps) 1. OO7-Dusty Sparkman ; 2. 27-Bruce Harvey ; 3. 41-Derike Bennett ; 4. 1A-Richard Pratt ; 5. 26B-Adam Bedenbaugh ; 6. 18-David Showers ; 7. 29-Cameron Saunders ; 8. 6-Clay Bedenbaugh ; 9. 5MC-Robert Gast ; 10. 15-John Bledsoe ; 11. 10S-Steve Shead ; 12. 51-Holt Pipkin ; 13. 98-Johnny Allen ; 14. 45-Chuck Jackson ; 15. 54-Terry Bronson ; 16. 22-William Thomas ; 17. 17-Richard Ferry ; 18. 18A-Jared Allison ; 19. 68-Ken Ellefson ; 20. 11K-Josh Kunstbeck  Hard Charger: 18-David Showers[+9]
DIRTcar Racing hits Volusia Speedway Park again on Feb. 4 with the UMP Modifieds to kick-off the 49th annual DIRTcar Nationals presented by Bozard Ford. Tickets are on sale now.
DIRTVision will also be live all throughout DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 4-15, for viewers to watch every lap in every race of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series, Super DIRTcar Series, All-Star Circuit of Champions and DIRTcar UMP Modifieds’ visit to The World’s Fastest Half Mile.
DIRTcar Series PR
Tulsa Expo Raceway (Tulsa, Okla.)
Saturday, January 18, 2020
General Tire Championship Night
Hard Charger: Blake Hahn +10
Kyle Larson passed three-time defending champion Christopher Bell on lap 39 and went on lead the final 17 laps to win Saturday night’s 34th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Center.
It marked the sixth consecutive Chili Bowl Nationals title for Toyota, which also swept the podium as Bell finished second and 17-year-old Cannon McIntosh placed third.
Starting from the outside of the front row, it was Bell who went straight to the lead and began to pull away early. Behind him, Tanner Thorson was second, followed by Larson, Rico Abreu, Jonathan Beason and McIntosh.
By lap 16, Larson had moved into second and shortly after, Bell started to get into lap traffic before a series of yellow flags would bunch the field. As the race passed the midway point, Larson worked to stay with Bell on the restarts and it would eventually pay off big for the California native.
Bell would lead the first 38 laps before Larson would take advantage of a restart, staying close through turn two and then throwing a slider into turn three to take the lead. Once out in front, Larson was comfortably in control the rest of the way, with Bell holding down second.
Behind them, McIntosh had climbed from the eighth starting position up to fourth and eventually overtook Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) teammate Rico Abreu for the third spot.
At the checkered flag, it was Larson leading Bell by .801 seconds, with McIntosh third and Abreu would end up fifth to give Toyota four of the top-five finishers on the night.
Also earning top-10 finishes on the night were KKM’s Buddy Kofoid, who placed seventh, Blake Hahn, in eighth and Tucker Klaasmeyer in the tenth position. For his efforts, the 18-year-old Kofoid would earn Rookie of the Year honors as the only first-year Chili Bowl driver to advance to Saturday’s A Main.
Overall, Toyota had a program record 13 drivers qualify for the 24-car A Main feature on Saturday. Thomas Meseraull, who narrowly made it back for Saturday’s feature after a family emergency called him back to Indiana, would finish 12th after getting caught up in another car’s flip while challenging for a top-five spot. Chris Windom finished 14th, Jason McDougal was 15th, Zach Daum placed 16th, Michael Pickens was 20th and Aaron Reutzel rounded out the Toyota contingent in 23rd.
This year’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals featured more than 350 entries.
Andrea Cap of East Berlin, PA was named Aqua Duck Water Transport Ms. Motorsports 2020 Saturday night at the Pioneer Pole Buildings Motorsports 2020 Race Car & Trade Show Saturday night. Andrea was crowned her successor, Taylor Fullin. Ms. Cap’s first runner-up was Morgan Rochelle and second runner-up was Casey Robicheau. Ms. Cap was also the Swimwear winner, Ms. Rochelle the Sportswear winner, Ms. Robicheau the Interview winner, Amanda Arms the Ms. Photogenic winner and Rachel Molyneaux was named Ms. Congeniality.
Donna Miller, pageant organizer since the inception of the Ms. Motorsports competition at the first show in 1986, was saluted for her years of excellence. Donna announced that the 2020 show was her last. Jamie Sammons will be the new pageant coordinator starting in 2021.
Nine exhibitors earned laurels superior appearing race cars and displays. Best Open Cockpit race car was the Bitner Automotive No. 15 Wingless Sprint that was part of the Bitner Automotive Display. Best Modified/ Late Model was awarded to the Mike Gular driven No. 2A that was part of the Bicknell Race Cars booth. Stephane Lafrance’s Trick Race Car Products booth display received laurels for Best Commercial Booth. Stephen Hanes’ one-of-a-kind VW drag race car was acknowledged for Best Drag Race Car.
Also earning awards were the Montgomery County Quarter Midget Club of Phoenixville PA for best Quarter Midget Display, the Atlantic Coast Old Timers Club for best Vintage Club display, and Orange County Fair Speedway for best Speedway display.
Other outstanding exhibitor awards were presented to the Jimmy Horton, Jr. Statewide Hi-Way Safety Kenny Weld No. 3 Modified that Horton drove to 47 wins in the 1978 season. The car was recently restored by DKM’s Eric Mack for Chris Larsen, who recently had acquired the car.
Finally, the Weikert’s Livestock No. 29 410 Sprint, a Ben Cook chassis car that Doug Wolfgang raced in 1987 was saluted as the Best Vintage Open Cockpit car of the show.
Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett each met and greeted Motorsports Show attendees for two hours Saturday afternoon, preceded by lively stage interviews with audience participation.
Area Auto Racing News’ winningest drivers of the 2019 season were acknowledged on stage prior to the Ms. Motorsports pageant. Matt Hirschman, Danny Dietrich, Tom Fearn, Matt Sheppard, Tommy Kunzman were the award winners; Hirschman was present to receive his award on stage while Sheppard received his laurels earlier on Saturday.
Tomorrow, Sunday, January 20 will be dedicated to Kids, with Little Ms. Motorsports and Tiny Ms. Motorsports pageants planned. The formal show events conclude with the annual running of Kids Big Wheels Races, featuring events among three age groups of youngsters.
Dates for the 2021 Motorsports Show have been announced for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, January 15, 16, and 17, 2021.
Tulsa Expo Raceway - Tulsa, Okla.
Friday, January 17, 2020
Vacuworx Qualifying Night
Event Count: 343
Hard Charger: Chad Boespflug +14
Sheppard siminar popular; Mahaney wins celebrity Kart Race; Dale Jarrett, Kyle Petty and MS Motorsports pagent on Saturday17 Jan 2020
Matt Sheppard and Mike Mahaney made headlines in different ways on Friday, Day One, of the PPB 2020 Motorsports Race Car & Trade Show in the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center.
Sheppard, winner of 35 Dirt Modified features in 2019, shared trade secrets and offered advice on buying used race cars for the more than 80 racers who attended his Q&A seminar.
“I learn more about setups when things go wrong than when things go right,” Sheppard shared. “You remember what not to do.”
Mahaney was the winner of a Celebrity Go Kart race run Friday night. To win, he executed a last turn, last lap pass against Ryan Watt to register the top prize. Eric Kormann was third.
“It was a lot of fun,” Mahaney shared. “The track was pretty slippery and it made for some good racing.”
Day Two of the Motorsports Show will feature guest appearances by NASCAR fan favorites Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett.
Petty, a third generation NASCAR Cup driver prior to retirement, is now one of the top NASCAR TV commentators. He will sign autographs and meet and greet Motorsports attendees from 1:00 to 3:00 PM.
Second generation Cup driver Jarrett is a three-time Daytona 500 winner and one time NASCAR Cup season champion plus being a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a TV personality. Jarrett will sign autographs from 4:00 to 6:00 PM Saturday afternoon.
Following the autograph signing sessions by Petty and Jarrett, the stage will be set for the 35th annual Ms. Motorsports Competition, sponsored by Aqua Duck Water Transport. Fifteen contestants have entered the competition in advance with more expected. At stake is a $1,500 top prize, a poster deal and the opportunity to travel the nation’s speedways as the official representative of the Motorsports Show.
On Sunday, the closing day of the show, three competitions, each centered on the sport’s youth, will be held. The Little Ms. Motorsports pageant and Tiny Ms. Motorsports competition transpire followed by Kids Big Wheel Races, featuring youngsters racing in various age groups with trophies presented to all winners.
The Best In Show awards will be presented to deserving exhibitors on Sunday afternoon as well.
Dates on or about the second weekend in January, 2021 are anticipated to be released in the near future.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers continued their challenge of a deep and experienced midget racing field as the 34th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl raced toward Saturday's finals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
One night after Santino Ferrucci finished fifth in a C-Main qualifying race, James Davison was 10th in a similar race Thursday at Tulsa Expo Raceway. Davison was poised to finish higher but was bumped from behind in the last corner of the final lap.
Conor Daly is scheduled to race Friday night. All of the record 360 entered drivers will be slotted into stepladder races Saturday.
Ferrucci, coming off a successful 2019 rookie campaign with Dale Coyne Racing, and Davison, a five-time Indianapolis 500 starter, are making their dirt-track racing debuts this week. They were given only a handful of practice laps on this quarter-mile indoor track before their first heat races.
Ferrucci started his heat race on the front row alongside five-time Chili Bowl champion and dirt-track legend, Sammy Swindell. Davison was one of 73 drivers competing Thursday, and the night was won by NASCAR Cup Series rookie Christopher Bell, the three-time-reigning champion of this prestigious event.
The driver contingent competing in this event encompass 40 states and six countries. Among them are seven former Chili Bowl champions, plus NASCAR Cup standouts Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman. Larson, Bell and Rico Abreu won their respective nights this week.
"For Santino and I, this is Day 1 in a midget and racing on dirt, and we only got (a few) minutes of practice prior to our heat races," said Davison, a native of Melbourne, Australia who plans to compete in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 this season. "We're having to figure everything out at the Super Bowl of dirt racing, and it's obviously not an ideal, textbook situation.
"But we've at least had the (guts) to sign up and do this and not care if we look bad."
Daly, who will compete on INDYCAR's road and street circuits this year in the No. 20 Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter Racing and in a third team entry in the Indianapolis 500, is competing in the Chili Bowl for the second time. Ferrucci and Davison have seen the draw to competing in Tulsa.
"It's a blast and I want to get good at it, and the only way that's going to happen is by doing it more," Davison said. "I'm up for any challenge, and I want to get good at this."
Added Ferrucci: "I don't really care how I do; I came here to have fun, stay clean and have a blast. I want to come back and do it again next year."
Ferrucci, Daly and Davison are driving with help from David Byrd, whose inspiration for supporting talented open-wheel drivers comes from his father, Jonathan, who helped Rich Vogler and Stan Fox compete in Indianapolis 500s. David Byrd also helped Bryan Clauson compete in the 500 in 2015 and '16.
Weeknight action of the Chili Bowl can be viewed online by pay-per-view at racinboys.com. Saturday's final feature races will air on the MAVTV Motorsports Network. Results can be found at chilibowl.com.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season begins March 13-15 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida.
NTT IndyCar Series PR