Racing late models on pavement running out of gas in area

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Motordrome Speedway, the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series track in Smithton, continues to play host to big races for Super Late Models, the sport's premier division, while other tracks have shied away from holding such races, citing low car counts.

In the past weeks, Stan Lasky, promoter of Motordrome Speedway, has been on the phone with car owners drumming up support for the race today with some success.

A field of more than 20 Super Late Model cars are expected to invade the Westmoreland County oval today for a 100-lap feature event that pays $2,000 to the winner.

Motordrome Speedway and CNB Bank Raceway Park in Clearfield are the only remaining pavement tracks in Western Pennsylvania that run the Super Late Models, and only Motordrome runs the class on a weekly basis.

"The problem for pavement late model racing is there aren't places to race anymore," Lasky said. "With all the tracks that have dropped [late models], there's not many places left that run them."

Local racers are made up of mostly veteran drivers such as Neil Brown, Garry Wiltrout, Barry Awtey and a few others. But with a little luck, drivers new to the division such as Matt Sever and Adam Kostelnik have a chance to pull off an upset.

Ohio racers Glen Gault and Scott Baker have to be considered contenders along with Bob Weber from New York, who has improved with each visit to Motordrome. Besides the 100-lap event for the Super Late Models, feature races for Motordrome's other four divisions also are scheduled. Time trials are at 7:30 p.m. and racing at 8 p.m.

PPMS to honor legend

Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway near Imperial will play host to the third stop of the Icon Memorial Tour Speedweek with the Herb Scott Memorial, a 40-lap feature race for the Super Dirt Late Models paying $4,000 to-win.

Scott, who resided in Wexford, was known nationally for his 520 feature wins, a feat that got him inducted into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame in 2007. Racing peers said they respected Scott's prowess on the track and appreciated his sense of humor. Scott died in 2010 at the age of 83.

Also on the schedule will be a 20-lap, $1,200 to-win feature for the E-Mods along with all of PPMS's regular divisions. Racing starts at 7 p.m. at the "Monster Half-Mile."

Lugnuts

Lernerville Speedway is back in action today with four divisions in action on fireworks night. The late models will be the first feature tonight because of the long-standing relationship between No. 1 Cochran and Dirt Late Model legend Lynn Geisler. Geisler now spends more Friday nights in the pits as a car owner than as a driver, with Mike Pegher Jr. getting more seat time in the famed No. 1. Friday marked the first time someone else other than Geisler drove the No. 1 Cochran Dirt Late Model to a win at Lernerville. The Geisler-Pegher combination held off defending late model champion Jared Miley for the win. Next Friday it's the Mid-Season Championship for the late models, where the winner receives that all-important provisional starting spot June 29 in the Firecracker 100. ... Mercer Raceway Park will host the fourth annual Auto Racers for Kids sprint car event Saturday. Founded in 2007, ARK has raised more than $150,000 for 16 charitable organizations in the Erie metro area. Scott Bonnell, a former sprint car driver, is the force behind the event, which has seen three different winners in the past three years at MRP. ... Pittsburgh Raceway Park in New Alexandria has a matinee test-and-tune event at 11 a.m. Saturday.

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DJ Johnson: DJ1360rpm@aol.com.


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