Western PA Dirt Track Racing

Covering Dirt Racing througout Western PA!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Blast from the past at PPMS...

Something that has not happened at 6+ years at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway happened last night.

The World of Outlaw’s sprint cars took to the track for a nighttime practice session that was kept hush for over a week.

After speaking to a source, westernparacing has learned that after a full day of track prep, DIRT Motorsports rented PPMS for an evening of testing in an attempt to level the playing field in WoO sprint events.

DIRT provided the 4 drivers with free fuel, rear tires of several compounds and size, and several different types of wing in an attempt to lower speed and prevent the same big money teams from winning night in and night out – an obvious response to the lack of fans at local WoO shows and the complaints by sprint fans that the shows are no longer entertaining due to the domination of certain teams on the circuit.

The night started with drivers and teams being able to run whatever they wanted, it was at this time that DIRT officials’ clocked Ed Lynch Jr. at a 16.156 on the Monster Half Mile. As the night drug to a close, Lynch’s time was reduced to the mid 17.00’s and the cars were running closer together.

Hot Laps sessions were short and wing changes were frequent throughout the night. Teams could alter the wing of the car however they chose, but were required to report those changes to DIRT officials’ throughout the night.

Also, DIRT officals denied any interested of a plan to make an attempt to purchase PPMS.

A track official involved also reported there is no current plan to return the Sprint Cars to PPMS anytime soon.

DIRT will hold a similar test at the Lernerville Speedway sometime within the next week.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Who? Mike Davis!

There is one name that has been brought up many times on the internet this year. Message boards all across the web have racing fans that do not frequent PPMS asking one question: "Who is Mike Davis"?

Mother Nature ruined any chances of Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway continuing it's sucessful run of good weather and racing, but the downpour provided me with an opportunity to sit down with argueably the most talked about late model team at the monster half mile this year, Mike Davis and the 7M crew.

When I arrived at the trailer accompanied by the head of the company who designed Mike's car, Bryan Horvath, the crew was discussing the weather while Mike chatted with other drivers away from the scene. The crew spun many tails that I had been previously unfamiliar with about their start in racing, including some completely outlandish stories, some of which entailed broken trophies, fights with tow trucks, lifetime bans and a pushed over pepsi machine.

What most people do not realize, is that the Davis team got their start in a very grassroots manner which developed in the mid/eastern Ohio racing scene; they traveled to tracks such as Muskingum, Cannonball, and St. Clairesville. Prior to that, Michael Davis was a regular on the drag-strip and basically anything else that has wheels, he is still involved in a team that drives Monster Trucks in the winter

However, Mike was challenged to drive dirt by a close friend, and that's how this story begins.

"He told me, 'if you haven't driven on dirt, you haven't driven anything'".

Davis and the crew had a humble beginning, and took their bumps on the way to where they are now. That includes Davis' first ever attempt at driving a dirt late model. He took out the flagstand at Cannonball his first night behind the wheel.

"I still have a picture of the car with four flats", Davis laughed.

But that was five years ago, and after 2 years of running an outlaw-style schedule, Davis has settled down and become one of the top regulars at PPMS. He finds himself second in points to Lou Bradich, a position quite unfamiliar to the driver and crew.

"We decided last year that we were going to run for the championship", said Davis. "We've been high in the points standings at other tracks, but this is the first time we've decided to stay somewhere and try to win it".

This year, the crew sports new merchandise, a new hauler, and a beautiful 2006 Rocket chassis. They also have chosen to take a different route and run an open motor, as opposed to running the controversial PPMS Spec motor. Despite that, Davis finds himself on the heels of a possible first-ever points title; a position that up until recently had the crew thinking differently.

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Davis has visited Victory Lane three times this year.

The added pressure of running for a title had the crew chasing the car a bit in the past few weeks.

"I think we got scared by the points race", said Davis, "we recently found a problem with the car and now we're just back to running the way we were earlier in the year".

Three feature wins this year, constant showings in the top five, and a driving style that is smooth yet agressive, Davis has heads turned towards the Rocket 7M, but plans could become bigger for the crew as the year comes to a close.

Davis acknowledged that he does, in fact, have a new Rocket in the works, on that he hopes to take out on the road.

"We should be getting it back this week".

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Davis' smooth yet agressive driving style has him pegged as a fan favorite at PPMS.

"We're gonna try to get out to some big races in the fall".

Having a second car gives the 7M crew the opportunity to run wherever they would like. So, if you're watching racing in Western PA, keep an eye out for the BSD Decals, Rosewood Manor, Quick Time Performance Parts, Malcuit Engines #7M Rocket Chassis.

He might be coming to a track near you.

Images courtesy of Racing Web.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Casebolt impressive in debut for Beitler; local PA Driver makes noise at K-C.

Chillicothe, OH – Steve Casebolt debuted last night in the Beitler Motorsports Reliable Painting #19 Rocket Chassis at the K-C Raceway in Ohio for their special Thursday night event, featuring NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace.

Casebolt qualified in the top five to make his way into the dash, where he edged out fast qualifier R.J Conley and Bart Hartman, but could not beat a western PA local driver: Mark Banal.

Banal fixed himself on the pole for the race, but things got shaken up after a violent crash in turn three involving R.J Conley, who appeared to have a stuck throttle. After numerous attempts at a restart, Banal and Casebolt were involved in an incident that resulted in both drivers being sent to the rear of the field.

Casebolt would maneuver the #19 back to the number 10 spot by the checker, Banal was unable to recover.

Bart Hartman was the race winner edging out Rick Aukland.

Casebolt will pilot his own orange #C9 this weekend at the infamous “Jackson 100” at Brownstown Speedway in Brownstown, IN

* Special Thanks to Chad for making the trip to K-C and giving us updates.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

PPMS Super Late Model points picture becomes clearer after double-header.

Imperial, PA – The Super Late Model race for the championship in 2005 was possibly the closest in track history. John Flinner took the title by the skin of his teeth over Lou Bradich and Steve Baker in the final point’s race of the season. Most fans of Dirt’s Monster Half-Mile would scoff at you if you told them that the Super Late Model class would re-create the same drama the following year.

But it looks to be shaping up that way. This time, Bradich is in the lead and hoping to secure the title by the last week.

A heated three way battle for the title continued through the double-header weekend. Lou Bradich held a mere 9 point lead over Michael “Hot Rod” Davis, and Hall of Fame driver Lynn Geisler was not far behind. After two races over the weekend, the picture has become clearer. Lynn Geisler pulled closer to Davis, and a feature win Saturday night helped Bradich extend his lead slightly, but with five weeks left there is no room for error for any of these drivers.

The current standings are as follows:

Lou Bradich – 618 Pts.
Mike Davis – 581 Pts.
Lynn Geisler – 561 Pts.

Driver Talk: Steve Casebolt has teamed up with Beitler Motorsports to pilot the famous Reliable Painting #19 Rocket Chassis for a number of races this fall. Casebolt, currently 6th in the Lucas Oil national circuit point’s standings, will pilot his #C9 for most of the remaining races on the NARA schedule. Steve makes his debut in Dale Beitler’s car tonight at K-C Raceway in Ohio. Hopefully, we’ll see Casebolt in Western PA come this fall. Check back tomorrow for Casebolt's results in his first showing for Dale Beitler.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Saturday Night Thunder: Hesston Speedway

The beautiful, mild August weather led to new stops for the mid-summer weekend. Saturday night was spent under the lights and cloud of dirt at Hesston Speedway in Hesston, Pennsylvania.

Twenty-four limited lates took to the track for the early evening racing. While Tim Smith, Jr. appeared to have the early car to beat, his #39 went up in an impressive cloud of smoke during the heats. This led to another strong showing by Derek Byler, who shot away from the field early in the feature and took his second trip to Hesston’s Victory Lane over a persistent Rance Garlock.

As most of the field spread to single file in the feature; Mike Shoemaker, Shawn Bilger and Mike Altobelli, Jr. put on the best show of the evening and rounded out the top five. The feature ran with few caution laps and showcased a fast Limited Late field with great side-by-side action.

The Street Stock car count and competition at Hesston did not fail to disappoint any fan. As the green dropped on the twenty-four car feature, Bill Henney, Dave Brown and Jarrett Walker began to carefully pick their way through traffic and move to the front -- pursuing race leader Bill Heffner and Mike Desch.

As quickly as the race began, the end of the field piled up in turns one and two. The incident ended the evening for both Dave Swanger and Jessie Snyder; bringing a red flag to the Stocker action. Swanger was sent to JC Blair Hospital for treatment of a foot injury and was later released.

When racing resumed, Heffner and Desch were continuing to battle in front as Walker reeled them in. Henney and Brown were working their way through the field but could not catch Walker’s #44. Walker tallied another 2006 win at Hesston, with Henney, Brown, Galen Sheffield and Desch in tow.

Mike Freet garnered his first Hesston victory on Saturday in 305 Sprint action. The #11 sprinter was tops over Craig Robinson, Tommy Beavers, Richie Fitz and Ryan Lynn.

The action was red flagged briefly after Roger Irvine and George Ridden got together coming out of turn two. After hitting the inside wall, Irvine tumbled wildly down the backstretch and came to rest at the pit entrance. Irvine’s car had suffered slight damage from a racing incident a few laps earlier and found the second round of contact to be an end to his evening.

The hobby stock feature rounded out the night with a great battle between Curtis Heath and Bill Replogle. Lap after lap saw the lead become a game of cat and mouse between the racers. Heath and Replogle exchanged positions throughout the entire event, but not out of striking distance from Jeff Shoemaker.

At the checkers Heath edged out Replogle, with Shoemaker, Brian Ayers and Joe Hammers finishing closely behind.

Pit Patter: Sunday found this staff member visiting Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway (for the first time, ever) and taking in the Nick Garin Memorial. Though a review will not be in the works, I’m very interested to return to the track during the weekend of the Pittsburgher 100. You may see something from me then!

Next up will be the (4) 20’s at Thunder Valley on Saturday and a visit to Challenger Raceway for their highly advertised, long-named August event on Sunday. Look for articles showcasing the exciting racing and competitors at both facilities.

Comments, story suggestions and stalker mail is always appreciated. Contact me here, find me at the track or e-mail corlebs@aol.com.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Welcome to a new era of coverage for western Pennsylvania dirt motor sports!

Westernparacing blog will bring you cutting edge coverage of local track action; including driver interviews and biographies, point race coverage, photos, and results.

Here at westernparacing, we will provide you with in-depth coverage at the driver’s you set out to watch every weekend. You, the fans, will have a chance to get a unique look at the drivers you both love and hate.

We also want this site to be interactive. If you have any suggestions for articles or interviews, please e-mail us at westernparacing@hotmail.com, or leave us a comment on an entry.

We’re also still looking for staff members to cover local tracks. If you have an interest in writing or photography and would like to be a part of our staff, you can reach us at the above e-mail to apply for a position.

We look to kick off our coverage this weekend, starting Sunday with Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway $4,000 to win, 40 Lap “Nick Garin Memorial”.

So until then, what we’d like the most is to hear from you, the fans. So leave us comments on the look of the site. Visit our profile to see link’s to some of your favorite racing sites. If you’d like to advertise with us, e-mail us and let us know!

We’ll see you at PPMS this weekend for the Nick Garin, and if you can’t catch the action there, check back after the event for the most prompt and in-depth coverage you will find on the web!


- WPA Racing Staff