Auto racing: Unseasonable weather cuts into start of racing season

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While the weather hasn’t exactly ruined the start of the season, it has put a damper on the local racing scene with several speedways having to cancel early season events.

Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway in Imperial was able to kick off the 2014 season opener with the National Dirt Racing League April 10, with Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., picking up the win at the $10,000 feature event for the Super Dirt Late Models.

PPMS has run three weekly events since April 12, when Jared Miley of South Park took the late model checkered flag for the first time in 2014. Other winners on opening night included Ben Policz of Waynesburg, Robinson’s Christian Schneider, Steve Pyeritz of Brentwood and Devin Black of Oakdale.

The Monster Half-Mile will be back in action with five divisions getting the green flag at 7 p.m. Saturday.

New season, new Owner

Motordrome Speedway, a NASCAR-sanctioned weekly racing series track, will open its 25th season with new owners today.

Todd and Melissa Melfi purchased the Smithton oval in January from the Miley family, who had leased the facility to Stan Lasky after James “Red” Miley’s death in 2007.

Todd Melfi, originally from Pittsburgh, was involved in Lake Erie Speedway from the planning stages through the asphalt track opening in 2002. He and his wife were part of the track’s management for five years before Todd was named general manager of Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.

Melfi will continue to operate the Westermoreland County track on Friday nights with five divisions in action under the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series banner.

Lernerville opens season

Lernerville Speedway in Sarver opened its 2014 season April 19, with Pittsburgh’s, Danny Holtgraver winning in the DIRTcar Sprint Cars while Brian Swartzlander from Leechburg picked up his 83rd win of his storied career at Lernerville behind the wheel of his DIRTcar Modified. Other winners were Russ King in the late models and Terry Young in the DIRTcar Sportsman division.

Lernerville will be back in action at 7:30 p.m. today with Breast Cancer Awareness Night. Every $5 donation gets $5 worth of coupons to be used May 16.


Don Gamble’s Rappin’ on Racin’ weekly motorsports program, which can be heard on the MSA Sports Network and online, celebrates 31 years on the air. The show airs live at 6 p.m. Mondays at … Fans of nostalgia drag racing will enjoy the newly released “Snake and Mongoose” movie as a digital download, On Demand, Blu-ray and DVD. It is the true story of rivals and good friends Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen as they form a partnership which led to the explosion of Mattel’s Hot Wheels in the 1970s. The film features rare footage of historic drag racing events from the 1960s through the 1980s. For more on the movie, visit … The UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars return to Lernerville Speedway May 9. Former Lernerville crack champion Dale Blaney recently picked up the 100th All Star win of his career to become the only driver in the 44-year history of the series to win 100 feature races.

DJ Johnson:

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