Local auto racing: Speedweek a fun time for 24-year-old Pittsburgh racer

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Sprint Car driver Danny Holtgraver wants to forget about the past weekend, when he ended up on top of his winged sprint car rather than under it.

“After our win at Butler, Mich., two weeks ago, we’ve just had awful luck,” Holtgraver said. “We’ve been on our heads more times this year in the past two weeks than the past three years — altogether. I can’t catch a break right now.”

Hopefully for Holtgraver, his luck changes as he begins the most grueling nine days of sprint racing. The UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions tonight kicks off the first night of Ohio Sprint Car Speedweek at Attica Raceway Park in Attica, Ohio.

Holtgraver, a 24-year-old driver from Pittsburgh, likes the opportunity of racing so many nights in a row.

“Hopefully, you have nine nights of racing to get it right or fix [any problems],” Holtgraver said. “It’s tough to have a bad night on a Friday and have to wait until the next Saturday to make it up. I really beat myself up during that time.

“The cool part of speedweek is you get to go out the next night and try again.”

Night No. 5 is Tuesday, when the All Stars visit Sharon Speedway, in nearby Hartford, Ohio, the closest track to western Pennsylvania. The race will be a homecoming for drivers such as Holtgraver, Dale Blaney and Tim Shaffer.

“It’s a great place to race and [the track is] so close to home. I’ll get to see a lot of familiar faces, it’s like a home game for us,” Holtgraver said.

Ohio Sprint Car Speedweek ends June 28 at Fremont Speedway in Fremont, Ohio.

BOSS Sprint visits PPMS

The Buckeye Machine BOSS Sprint Tour makes its first stop of the season at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Aaron Fry, owner of the series, said the wingless sprint car races always provide close competition.

“The late models that race at PPMS have so much downforce with the big bodies,” Fry said. “Without the top wing, the non-wing car is like being on a skateboard — that’s about how much aerodynamic help you have.

“The cars aren’t as fast [without the wing] but there is much more side-by-side racing. In the June race last year at PPMS, we had 11 lead changes with five different leaders and that race went green [flag] to checkered.”

BOSS has produced six different winners in its first six events this season.

Four local drivers — Brandon Spithaler of Evans City; Joe Butera and Bob McMillin of Wampum; and Adam Miller of McDonald — are regulars with the BOSS series.


Lernerville Speedway hosts the Mid-Season Championships for all four divisions at 7:30 p.m. today. Alex Ferree leads Russ King in the DIRTcar Late Model standings by 17 points. The leader in points and the feature winner will receive provisional starting spots June 28 in the Firecraker 100. The Firecracker 100 weekend kicks off Thursday. … Motordrome Speedway, the NASCAR weekly racing series oval in Smithton, Westmoreland County, will once again give free admission to children 12 and under for Kids’ Night. All five divisions will be in action with a 30-lap feature for the Modifieds, and the Pirate Parrot will make an appearance. … Pittsburgh Raceway Park, the IHRA drag strip in New Alexandria, will remained closed this weekend as construction and paving continues. The track is expected to be back in action Thursday, with a test and tune session followed by races the following Friday and the Night of Fire the following Saturday, featuring Jet Cars and more. Go to www.pittsburghracewaypark.com for more information. … Mercer Raceway Park will host Meet Your Heroes Night with all divisions in action at 7 p.m. Saturday. Ed Lynch Jr., of Apollo, won the $3,000 sprint car feature last Saturday at MRP at the Auto Racers for Kids Night.

DJ Johnson: DJ1360rpm@aol.com.

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