Johnson: Shaffer revved up for new toy

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Tim Shaffer, former Lernerville Sprint Car champion, four-time champion of the UNOH All-Stars and winner of World of Outlaw Sprint Car races at Lernerville and Knoxville, is starting over with an open trailer pulled by a dump truck.

Say what?

Don't worry. Shaffer isn't giving up his regular job as the driver of the No. 83 sprint car owned by Janet Holbrook and Aaron Call.

The Steel City Outlaw is going racing for fun again, and this time he'll be racing a crate late model on a budget.

When Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway opened its gates Saturday for a practice session, Shaffer rolled a 2003 Rocket Chassis off a construction trailer pulled by a dump truck.

According to Shaffer, it was a deal he couldn't pass up.

"It was something I could afford, come out and play, so why not try and have fun with it," Shaffer said.

A friend, Paul Jablonski, bought two cars, and after Jablonski removed all the lightweight components for his car, Jablonski made Shaffer an offer he couldn't refuse.

Shaffer is using one of Jablonski's motors and another friend, Ronnie Hall, provided the body for the car.

"I've been working on this car for two weeks straight, 14, 15 hours a day just trying to learn these cars," Shaffer said. "Just trying to get familiar with it. I am excited about it."

You may wonder why someone like Shaffer, who races for a living, would want to spend his weekends doing more racing.

"It's about having fun again," Shaffer said.

"Come out here with an open trailer and race with your buddies, close to home, it doesn't get any better than that."

Shaffer hopes his "day job" allows him to race his new toy six to seven times in 2013, with his first opportunity coming at Sunday's rescheduled Steel City Stampede at Lernerville Speedway.

If time allows, look for Shaffer to carry his old No. 45 on the sides of his crate late model when he makes his competitive debut this weekend at one of his favorite haunts, Lernerville Speedway.

Steel City Stampede Sunday

The weather-delayed Steel City Stampede will open the season of racing at Lernerville.

Lernerville has decided to hold a daytime practice session from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday so racers still can compete at their favorite track after testing in the afternoon.

According to Lernerville general manager Gary Risch, the track is ready to go after hard rain Thursday.

"The track is in pretty good shape, so the conditions should be the same for both days," Risch said. "We're really pleased where we are at with the track surface and are confident that we'll have a good surface all weekend."

Lernerville's gates will open at 1 p.m. with the first of nine feature events starting at 3 p.m..

Go to www.lernerville.com for more information.

PPMS to race on Saturdays

In an effort to race in warmer temperatures, Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway near Imperial will be racing at 2 p.m. on Saturdays in April.

The 2013 season open features five divisions of racing, including the debut of the new RUSH Pro-Late Model Series.

Go to www.ppms.com for more information.

Lugnuts

Pittsburgh Raceway Park, the IHRA-sanctioned drag strip in New Alexandria, will hold a test and tune session on Saturday afternoon. ... Mercer Raceway Park races Saturday evening with six divisions. ... Dog Hollow Speedway in Strongstown has pushed the season opener back until May 3, with practice sessions April 20 and 27.

autoracing

DJ Johnson: DJ1360rpm@aol.com.


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