Local auto racing: Jennerstown witnesses a first in its storied history

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Jayme Beck had raced a long time at Jennerstown Speedway before the Somerset County Speedway’s closing in 2008 and its subsequent reopening in 2014, but the Jeannette resident had never won a Super Late Model feature on asphalt there until Saturday.

In fact, before Beck’s win, no female had won a Late Model race at Jennerstown Speedway, on dirt or asphalt, in its long, storied history.

Beck, who raced as Jayme Bolkovac before her marriage, has won many races in other divisions at Jennerstown and has a feature win in the Super Late Models at Motordrome Speedway, but she had never captured a feature win in Jennerstown’s premier class.

“It has been over eight years since I raced on asphalt,” Beck said. “It’s my first win on pavement in 13 years. There were nights that [my team was] close [to winning], but it just didn’t happen for me.”

Jayme and her husband, Tommy Beck, raced on asphalt before switching to dirt. Tommy, a Super Late Model driver on dirt, still races occasionally on asphalt.

Beck was waiting for the engine in her dirt Super Late Model to be repaired when her father, John Bolkovac, approached her about returning to her pavement racing roots and running at Jennerstown this year when the track reopened.

“It was a month before the season opened when my dad asked if I wanted to return to pavement racing,” Jayme Beck said. “It was pretty last-minute and we bought a car from asphalt racer Neil Brown.

“My dad wanted to go back to racing asphalt this year since Jennerstown reopened and I’ve always liked the track. I agreed to go back only if we had a full Autism Awareness car, and my dad agreed to it.”

Jayme, whose son is autistic, is an advocate for awareness of the disorder.

“I wanted to do a full Autism Awareness car for my son. The car has the Autism Awareness ribbon on the hood and broken-up puzzle pieces all over the car,” she said.

Beck plans on returning to the dirt this season along with racing the asphalt Late Model at Motordrome Speedway later this year.


There are four divisions of racing and Fireworks on #1 Cochran Fan Appreciation Night at 7:30 p.m. today at Lernerville Speedway. In the DIRTcar Sportsman feature at Lernerville last Friday, Corey McPherson picked up his sixth win of the season. Upon getting out of his car after the race, McPherson removed an engagement ring he had on a chain around his neck and proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Jennifer Walborn, who of course said yes.

• Today at Motordrome Speedway, kids 12 and under will be admitted for free at the NASCAR weekly racing series oval in Smithton, Westmoreland County. All five divisions will be in action, and the Pirate Parrot will make an appearance.

• Pittsburgh Raceway Park, the IHRA drag strip in New Alexandria, will be closed this weekend as a section of the track will be resurfaced. Go to www.pittsburghracewaypark.com for updates.

• Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway returns to racing at 7 p.m. Saturday on the Monster Half-Mile. There also will be a closest to the pin golf contest with prizes from 6 to 7 p.m.

• Mercer Raceway Park will be in action at 7 p.m. Saturday, hosting the Auto Racers for Kids event, which benefits youth in Northwestern Pennsylvania, for the fifth consecutive season. Vice president of the foundation Scott Bonnell is a former racer. Additional prize money will be available for all classes.

• The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series returns Saturday to High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pa., for its annual visit. Go to www.promotocross.com for more information.

DJ Johnson: DJ 1360rpm@aol.com.

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