While the Northeast racing community is pushing through cold temperatures and wintry precipitation, there is hope.
That ray of sunshine, literally, comes in the form of the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco ‘Sunshine Swing’ at All-Tech Raceway in Lake City, Fla., February 5-8, 2020.
STSS Modifieds and Crate 602 Sportsman hit the track at the half-mile oval located roughly an hour to the south and west of Jacksonville for an open practice (Wednesday) followed by three consecutive nights of racing.
Entries for this inaugural program are being filed daily at the Short Track Super Series office.
Fresh off his title run efforts in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series, Stewart Friesen of Sprakers, N.Y., returns to the clay in Lake City aboard the Halmar Friesen Racing No. 44. Friesen is the all-time leading STSS Modified winner (17 victories) and owns two championships with the series.
Sheffield, Mass., resident Andy Bachetti won the first-ever Short Track Super Series race in 2014 and has been among the most loyal followers of the program. Bachetti will tow his familiar No. 4 south to compete at All-Tech during the ‘Sunshine Swing’ mini-series.
Phoenix, N.Y., standout Larry Wight joined the STSS for late-season events at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, N.Y., and Georgetown (Del.) Speedway in 2019. Wight said he will be racing frequently with the series in the upcoming season, starting with the ‘Sunshine Swing’ aboard Gary Simpson’s No. 12K.
Mike Gular of Boyertown, Pa., enjoyed a breakout ’19 season that included a $25,000-plus victory at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa., during the annual Freedom 76. Gular, who earned top-six point finishes in both the STSS North and South Regions last season, ventures to the Sunshine State aboard the Terry Fasnacht-owned No. 2A.
One of the most promising young talents from the Garden State – Ryan Krachun – made news this off-season by announcing plans to call Orange County Fair Speedway home in 2020. But first, Krachun will kick-start his season in the Sunshine State at All-Tech.
Returning to the sport to compete with the STSS in ’20 is veteran Danny Hieber, who will field the No. 11 Modified out of his ‘racing famed’ hometown of Langhorne, Pa. Hieber heads to Florida to kick-start his return to the sport.
Multi-time Delaware International Speedway champion H.J. Bunting of Milford, Del., has filed an entry with the familiar Jake Marine-owned No. 85. The First State is well-represented with early entries including Jordan Watson, Crate 602 Sportsman graduate Scott Hitchens, veteran Robert Dutton, Matt Hawkins and Scott Van Gorder.
For the past three seasons, Afton (N.Y.) Motorsports Park regular J.R. Hurlburt of Otego, N.Y., has competed with the Short Track Super Series North Region. Hurlburt and the Jamie and Denise Page No. 6H make their longest journey yet to Florida in February.
Crate 602 Sportsman competitors are eager to hit the whistle-clean All-Tech facility in a showcase event for the division.
Delaware dominant force Scott Hitchens plans double-duty at All-Tech competing with both his STSS Modified and Crate 602 Sportsman. Hitchens is the reigning champion at the Cathell family’s Delaware International Speedway.
Among the recent entrants are Jim Gallagher Jr., a Bridgeport (N.J.) Motorsports Park regular from Swedesboro, N.J.; the Ballestero family – Tony and Michael – out of New York’s Capital District; and Pennsylvania standout Craig Whitmoyer.
The Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) recently announced the 2020 class of the organization’s prestigious Hall of Fame. Voted in by the membership of EMPA, the newest list of inductees is comprised of a diverse group of individuals who carved out impressive paths in their respective careers in motor sports that are praiseworthy to their induction.
I am always proud to point out that I was one of the founders of EMPA way back in 1969 and served a President for about 40 years. So many great memories.
The ceremony and awards dinner, sponsored by NASCAR, will take on Saturday evening, January 11 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, King of Prussia, PA, which is part of the 47th Annual EMPA Convention.
The list includes open wheel ace Dave Blaney, a native of Hartford, OH. Blaney won the USAC Silver Crown title in 1984, the World of Outlaws title in 1995, scored a Knoxville Nationals win in 1997, and was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2014.
Versatile Ken Schrader of Fenton, MO began racing in 1971 as a 17-year-old at Lake Hill Speedway in his home state. In the time since he has become America’s definition of a ‘Real Racer’, a term as coveted as it is attainable by anyone in the sport.
By 1980, Schrader was running USAC stock cars and in 1982 he won the USAC Silver Crown championship. He spent three decades running at the highest levels of NASCAR competition with 763 starts in the Cup series and four wins. This past summer, he became the oldest, at 64, to earn the pole for an ARCA race. Schrader has competed and won at nearly every track of significance in open wheel and stock car classes.
Northeast dirt Modified standout Sammy Beavers raced from the early 1960s through the mid-1990s and won 114 feature events along the way including an impressive 49 times at his home track, Flemington Fair Speedway, and 39 wins at East Windsor Speedway.
Multifaceted promoter Bob Miller, who is commonly known for his hugely popular ‘Thunder on the Hill’ series at Grandview Speedway, as well as numerous other successful motorsport endeavors, joins the 2020 class.
John and Mildred Marcum, founders of the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA), the country’s second oldest stock car sanctioning body, are among the honorees.
And, Sam Posey, an accomplished road racer, race analyst and writer. Posey competed in Indy Cars, the Can-Am and Trans-Am Series’, and is former winner of both the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. He was the Rookie of the Year at the 1972 Indy 500.
The Al Holbert Memorial National Driver of the Year statue will go Christopher Bell. Bell was an all-around driver this past season, winning on the NASCAR Xfinity Series, World of Outlaws Sprint cars and in Midgets, including picking up his third victory last January in the Chili Bowl Midget Classic.
The Richie Evans Memorial Northeast Driver of the Year for the first time saw two winners, as one each in dirt and asphalt was selected.
Mat Williamson had a banner year that saw him win at Super Dirt Week, the Centennial 160 at Orange County Fair Speedway and he took top honors as the Super DIRTCar Series champion.
For the past several seasons Matt Hirschman has been a lead contender for the Evans award and this year the wait is over. The leader in northeast asphalt victories, Hirschman triumphed from Maine to Florida and included a record seventh Sunoco Modified Race of Champions and Turkey Derby XLVI.
The John Blewett III Young Guns Award, presented by New England Race Fuels, will be presented to Tyler Thompson.
The Chris Economaki Memorial News Maker of the Year award goes to Roger Penske, who made headlines throughout the year. Most notable was his acquisition of the principal assets of Hulman & Company, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series, and IMS Productions. Team Penske also notched a record-extending 18th Indianapolis 500 and 16th IndyCar championship.
The Promotional Effort of the Year will be presented to Brett Deyo who spearheads the popular Short Track Super Series and is on the promotional team of Fonda (NY) and Georgetown Speedways (DE).
Kenny Wallace was the top vote getter for the Junie Dunlavey Memorial Spirit of the Sport award. This year Wallace realized he had to give-up being one of the following: a good family man, television personality or racer, and he chose to end his television career.
A number of other prestigious honors will be announced during the NASCAR/EMPA Hall of Fame banquet, among them the Jim Hunter Memorial Writer Award, the Ace Lane Sr. Memorial Photography Award, the Ernie and Marilyn Saxton Dedication to EMPA Award and the Jerry Reigle Memorial Sprint Car Award winner which is presented by World Racing Group.
Winners in the hard fought Pocono Raceway Writer’s Contest, the American Honda Motor Co. Video Contest and the Brice’s NAPA Photography Contest will also be announced at the banquet.
Founded in 1969, EMPA is an organization of professional writers, broadcasters, announcers, videographers and photographers working in the motorsports industry, along with Associate and Corporate members. Very proud to say that I was one of the founders of the EMPA and president of the group for many years with help from my wife Marilyn. NTT IndyCar Series, NASCAR, Dover International Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Honda and NAPA Auto Parts are among the supporters of the organization.
US Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) have introduced H.R. 5434, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2019 (RPM Act of 2019). The bipartisan RPM Act of 2019 protects Americans’ right to convert street vehicles into dedicated race cars and the motorsports parts industry’s ability to sell products that enable racers to compete.
SEMA is urging all racing industry members and enthusiasts to contact their members of Congress and ask them to support the bill. To send a letter to your members of Congress (it takes less than 30 seconds), visit sema.org/rpm.
The RPM Act reverses the EPA’s interpretation that the Clean Air Act does not allow a motor vehicle designed for street use—including a car, truck, or motorcycle—to be converted into a dedicated race car. This American tradition was unquestioned for nearly 50 years until 2015, when the EPA took the position that converted vehicles must remain emissions-compliant, even though they are no longer driven on public streets or highways.
“SEMA looks forward to working with Congress to enact the RPM Act and make permanent the Clean Air Act’s original intention that race vehicle conversions are legal,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “We thank Representatives McHenry and Ruiz for introducing a bipartisan bill that will protect racing and the businesses that produce, install, and sell the parts that enable racers to compete.”
The RPM Act is well positioned to become law in 2020. The bill cleared several major legislative hurdles in the previous Congress, including passage by the US House Energy and Commerce Committee and hearings in the House and Senate. The bipartisan RPM Act included five other original sponsors: Reps. Richard Hudson (R-NC), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Bill Posey (R-FL), Gil Cisneros (D-CA), and Michael Burgess (R-TX).
H.R. 5434 is the House counterpart to the Senate’s version of the bill, S. 2602, which was introduced by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) and currently has 28 bipartisan cosponsors.
Motorsports competition involves tens of thousands of participants and vehicle owners each year, both amateur and professional. Retail sales of racing products make up a nearly $2 billion market annually. Most of the vehicles raced on the estimated 1,300 race tracks operating across the US are converted vehicles that the EPA considers to be illegal.
For more information, contact Eric Snyder at email@example.com.
While INDYCAR enjoyed several intriguing stories during this year’s NTT IndyCar Series season, the blockbuster came after the season when Roger Penske announced that Penske Corporation would be acquiring Indianapolis Motor Speedway, INDYCAR and additional Hulman & Company holdings.
The November announcement was no doubt the most captivating story of 2019 for INDYCAR, but it also ranked among the top stories in all of motorsports with its worldwide interest.
Tony Hulman purchased the Speedway in dilapidated condition in November 1945 and turned it into one of the world’s most iconic sporting venues. Over the past 75 years, Hulman and his family have reshaped the facility and hosted Indy cars, NASCAR, Formula One, MotoGP, major golf tournaments and concerts, among other events.
The official sale is scheduled for early January and most expect the impact Penske will have on the sport and the famed track in the future could be even greater than his record 18 Indianapolis 500 victories.
With the Penske acquisition news leading the way, here’s a look at INDYCAR’s top stories of the year:
Penske acquires IMS, INDYCAR: Tony George, Hulman & Company’s Chairman of the Board, said he first approached Roger Penske about buying the company’s assets on the final day of the NTT IndyCar Series season, which was Sept. 22 in Monterey, Calif., at the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. Private, highly confidential meetings were held over the next six weeks, with only a handful of executives included in the negotiations. Penske seemed genuinely pleased that one of the biggest secrets in motorsports history held until the deal was formally announced Monday, Nov. 4, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
NBC airs its first Indianapolis 500, becomes exclusive home of the NTT IndyCar Series: The 500 had been on ABC since 1965, so that alone made the switch to NBC newsworthy. But NBC also significantly increased exposure for the NTT IndyCar Series through its first of a multiyear deal. Eight races were shown live on network television, three more than in 2018, and fans enjoyed action of all on-track activity via NBC Sports Gold, a leading direct-to-consumer product. Another positive was the inclusion of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in NBC’s “Championship Season” marketing campaign.
NTT joins as the series’ title sponsor: The signing of a multiyear agreement with the global information technology and communications leader was executed in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The agreement affords INDYCAR the opportunity to benefit from NTT’s digital innovations, including the evolution of the INDYCAR Mobile App and integration of NTT’s proprietary Smart Platform.
INDYCAR introduces Aeroscreen, hybrid technology: INDYCAR announced a partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies during the Indy 500 race weekend for the development and implementation of an Aeroscreen for enhanced driver cockpit protection. The safety innovation, which will make its competition debut at the outset of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, consists of a ballistic Aeroscreen anchored by titanium framework that encompasses the cockpit. The Aeroscreen had its first on-track test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Team Penske’s Will Power, who both considered the initial outing a success. Other tests followed at Barber Motorsports Park, Richmond Raceway and Sebring International Raceway. The Aeroscreen has been described by INDYCAR President Jay Frye as “a game-changer.” For 2022, INDYCAR, in partnership with Chevrolet and Honda, will implement a single-source hybrid system in its race cars. In keeping with INDYCAR’s history of integrating innovation into the sport, the hybrid powertrain will mark the first time that vehicles will depart from the traditional, manual hand-held electric starters to a hybrid component that can be activated by the driver from the cockpit. Additionally, engines are targeted to exceed 900 horsepower.
Pagenaud has a history-making Month of May in Indianapolis: For the first time, the same driver won all three major Indianapolis Motor Speedway events in May: the INDYCAR Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 pole and the 500 itself. In the 500, Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud led 116 of the 200 laps and outdueled Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport in the final laps to become the first Frenchman to win the race since Rene Thomas in 1914. Pagenaud also became the first pole winner to win the 500 since Helio Castroneves in 2009.
Juncos/Kaiser bump McLaren/Alonso from Indianapolis 500 field: Who imagined Fernando Alonso, a two-time Formula One World Champion who ran so well in the 500 in 2017, failing to earn a spot in his return? Or revered McLaren, which came to Indy with its own program for the first time in this era of the sport, also going home early with Alonso? But the orange No. 66 Chevrolet was in a precarious position in the final minutes of qualifying, and Kyle Kaiser, driving for the small, part-time Juncos Racing team, ran four laps fast enough to make the show in a thrilling David-vs.-Goliath matchup.
Newgarden wins four races, captures second series championship: Josef Newgarden won a season-high four races en route to his second series crown in three years with Team Penske. He also joined Sam Hornish Jr. as the only Americans to win multiple series crowns since Al Unser Jr. in 1994. Newgarden jumped to the top spot in the standings by winning the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and relinquished the position only once – after Simon Pagenaud won the 500 – to effectively go wire-to-wire against a strong field.
History-setting Herta leads stout rookie class: Colton Herta of Harding Steinbrenner Racing made the first emphatic statement by winning the season’s second race, the inaugural INDYCAR Classic at Circuit of The Americas, to become the youngest race winner in INDYCAR history at 18 years, 11 months, 25 days. Herta added another victory in the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Felix Rosenqvist of Chip Ganassi Racing won the season’s Rookie-of-the-Year Award on the strength of two top-three and six top-five finishes while the Indianapolis 500’s top-finishing rookie, Santino Ferrucci of Dale Coyne Racing, produced three fourth-place finishes in addition to a seventh at Indy. Marcus Ericsson of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports finished second in the second Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix race while Carlin’s Pato O’Ward put on a show at COTA in finishing eighth. Ben Hanley of DragonSpeed, a part-time team making only its third INDYCAR start, delivered a strong effort at the 500, qualifying 27th.
McLaren, SPM merge, hire O’Ward and Askew: McLaren, with its Formula One pedigree and rich history, announced in August its full-time return to Indy car competition in a partnership with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. The team was rebranded Arrow McLaren Racing SP and also announced a partnership with Chevrolet. More change followed with the 2019 driving tandem of James Hinchcliffe and Marcus Ericsson being replaced by Oliver Askew and Pato O’Ward, the two most recent series champions of Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires. At 23 and 20 years, respectively, Askew, the 2019 champion, and O’Ward, the ’18 champ, form the youngest pairing in the series.
Rossi re-signs with Andretti Autosport: The 28-year-old Alexander Rossi could have become a highly sought-after free agent with a number of enticing options, but he decided to re-sign with Andretti Autosport in July. In addition to announcing a multi-year deal with Rossi, Andretti Autosport also announced a renewal with Honda. The Rossi-Honda tandem was strong in 2019, with the Californian finishing third in the NTT IndyCar Series championship, which was the top finish for the engine manufacturer. He also delivered dominating wins at Long Beach and Road America, leading an impressive 134 of the combined 140 laps, and a runner-up finish in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Selinsgrove Speedway has unveiled its 2020 racing schedule of special events that boasts 21 total races, comprised of nearly all two and three-division programs, for sprint car and stock car fans alike to enjoy!
A full and diverse slate of events has been put together featuring Triple 7’s for three prime divisions of sprint cars including 410, 360 and 305 sprints, each competing in seven individual races!
In addition an even 10 races will be spun off for the super late models with nine on tap for the limited lates and 11 contests for the roadrunner division.
The Snyder County oval will kick off its highly anticipated season of specials with the return of the Icebreaker for combined big and small block modifieds on Saturday afternoon, March 21 at 2 pm.
And the track will swing right back into action one week later, on Sunday afternoon March 29 with March Mayhem for the 410 sprints and super late models, again at 2 pm.
In total, the ever-popular 410 sprints will compete seven times during Selinsgrove’s 74th year in 2020 with additional dates slated including the Ray Tilley Classic on April 26, the PA Speedweek Jan Opperman/Dick Bogar Memorial on June 28, a Summer Championship on July 25, the Summer Sendoff on August 29, and the Selinsgrove Ford Jim Nace Memorial National Open Qualifier on September 6.
The always-exciting super late models will vie during the year including in the Jeff’s Auto Body & Recycling Center World of Outlaws 22nd annual National Open on Saturday, June 20.
Both the ULMS and NUSLMS will sanction specials at the track during the season for the full-size super late models.
Other popular dates for the super lates include the Ron Keister Memorial on May 16, the Pa Super Late Model Challenge Series on June 13 and a Summer Championship on July 25.
The 360-powered sprint cars will also highlight the 2020 Selinsgrove Speedway schedule with shows on the docket including appearances by the ASCS, URC, USAC Wingless and Patriot Sprints.
The division’s marquee Selinsgrove event, the Mach I Chassis 360 National Open will be held on Saturday, July 11.
Other 360 specials will include the Jack Gunn Memorial, the Joe Whitcomb Memorial and the Kramer Cup, slated for May 23, June 6 and June 27, respectively.
Recently announced, the mighty USAC Silver Crown Series will mark USAC’s return to the track for the first time since 1971 when they invade to stage the Bill Holland Classic 74th Selinsgrove Speedway Anniversary Race on Sunday night, August 9.
The IMCA/PASS 305 sprints will race with dates etched from May 9 through September 26. The limited late models will race April through August.
Selinsgrove Speedway will end its 2020 season of specials on Saturday night, September 26 with the running of the $20,000-to-win, 38th annual Jim Nace Memorial National Open for the 410 sprint cars.
The race will again pay $20,000 to win for the second year in a row in 2020 as the biggest winner’s share up for grabs in the state in an unsanctioned 410 sprint car event.
The winged super sportsman division will make one appearance during the season, on June 13.
View the complete 2020 Selinsgrove Speedway schedule of events by visiting the speedway’s official website at www.selinsgrovespeedway.com.