Johnson: Lutz earns sprint win as a substitute

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When Mike Lutz gets behind the wheel of a sprint car anything can happen, and sometimes it turns out to be historic.

Lutz, 43, of Mercer, substituted for Jim McMillin Jr. in the No. 5M in the TWP Sprints Friday at Lernerville and took the car to Victory Lane after McMillin decided to take time off from driving.

The trip to Victory Lane was the McMillin family's first at Lernerville since 1976, when Hall of Fame driver Ted Wise won in a sprint car owned by Jim McMillin Sr., Jim and Bob McMillin's father.

"Bob McMillin called on Wednesday and asked if I would drive the car for the rest of the season," Lutz said.

Lutz raced five times in 2012 and once earlier this season, but family commitments had him parked until the opportunity with the McMillins came along.

Even with the time off, Lutz has not forgotten how to win.

"I still remembered how to do it and just put it in Victory Lane," Lutz said.

PPMS Special

The 24th Annual Jook George Memorial for the RUSH Pro-Late Model competitors takes center stage Saturday at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway.

"Jook started this event in 1990 to showcase the Pro-Late Model teams, and we are proud to continue the event in his memory," speedway owner Matt Miley said.

The Pro-Late Models have provided some of the best racing of the season at PPMS with Kyle Lukon, winner of five Pro-Late Model features in 2013 and defending champ of the Jook George Memorial, taking on Tommy Schirnhofer Jr., Ron Hall, Joe Martin, Andrew Wylie, Colton Flinner and Laura Lukon, Kyle's sister.

Schirnhofer's two victories this year make him the only other driver in the division with multiple victories.

PPMS will feature five divisions in action at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Monster Half-Mile near Imperial.

FLD in Greene County

The First Annual PID Day at the Flashlight Drags has been rescheduled for Sunday at Greene County Airport in Waynesburg.

Lingering rain showers spoiled the July 7 event, so promoter Michael Schindel asked PID reunion coordinator Jim Senkewitz to bring the group back Sunday.

"We are so excited about this First Annual PID Day at the Flashlight Drags," Schindel said. "This event constitutes the paragon of racing; the soul of the sport."

There also will be an old-school match race event between PID Hall of Famers Jim Henderson in a 1965 Chevy Chevelle and Bob Liberatore's clone of a 1963 Ford.

Gates open at 11:30 a.m., and racing is from 2 to 6 p.m.. Go to for more information.


Lernerville Speedway returns to action today as the season begins to wind down and teams look to capture championships. Sprint car driver Jack Sodeman Jr. looks to be out for the remainder of the season with a back injury. Sodeman picked up three wins this season at Lernerville before his injury. ... Motordrome Speedway in Westmoreland County plays host to a 30-lap feature for the Street Stocks at 8 p.m. today at the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series track. ... Sprint car drivers Ed Lynch Jr. of Apollo, Tim Shaffer of Aliquippa and Danny Holtgraver of Pittsburgh are the Western Pennsylvania entries in the 53rd Annual Knoxville Nationals Aug. 7-10 in Knoxville, Iowa. ... Pittsburgh Raceway Park, the IHRA sanctioned drag racing facility in New Alexandria, plays host to Points Race No. 9 Saturday. Time trials begin at 3 p.m. for car classes.

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DJ Johnson can be reached at


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