Big Block Modifieds

Big Block Modifieds

Sunday, November 23, 2014

This Week In DIRT- Tough Steak and Cheap Wine?; NSL Goes "Harry Potter" ;Parts Peddler Revelations; Gallardo and Rossi Score Wins







We're back again with yet another edition of your favorite recap of the week that was in DIRT.  For those of you in Buffalo, our apologies if you can't read this because you've had no outside communication, and we hope you are safe and on your way back to life as normal as soon as possible. And if it makes you feel better, you didn't miss much!




For those of you outside of Buffalo, you won't friggen believe what you missed this week!! Rough meals at season ending banquets, A newly formed sprint organization has taken the "Harry Potter" route in determining schedule for 2015, and Fito Gallardo (one of the greatest names in all of racing) kicked ass and took names in El Paso!

Something may have kept you from tuning into to the goings on this week. Maybe it was hard for you to keep up because you were being pursued by bookmakers. We get it, you came into some cash, some NFL game looked like sure bet and the idiots threw the game in the 4th quarter. It isn't your fault, but you were light on cash and now you're staying at one strange house after another, assuming different names and changing your appearance by shaving off that ridiculous looking pornstache and dressing in women's clothes.

Perhaps you were ill. One of your annoying co-workers sneezed all over your telephone and forgot to tell you that they had a not quite deadly stomach virus that eventually infected you, causing you to run to the crapper fast enough to pass Usain Bolt on the way to the last seat in the stalls while your backside rode the porcelain Honda for an eternity.

Don't worry, we've got you covered! So if you are still in the can, hanging on for dear life and you've got your cell phone in hand, you can still check out what you missed on "This Week in DIRT!"





Parts Peddler Trade Show and DIRTcar Banquet Invades Syracuse

The city of Syracuse, NY, which is located near the origins of cuisine favorites such as "salt potatoes", "garbage plates", and ribs at the locally infamous "Dinosaur" played host to local racing prince's, and dregs of society alike this weekend during the Parts Peddler trade show and DIRTcar banquet.

The annual trade show basically consisted of innumerable vendor booths selling everything from full rolling chassis' to firesuits, to hand gathered used tear offs ready to fasten to a brand new Bell helmet for 2015.  But also, it provided a chance for drivers to rub elbows with promoters, car and engine builders and potential sponsors with the hope of improving their edge on the competition in the coming season. 

So far, little news has come out of the Parts Peddler other than a DIRTcar modified rule change which now requires many time stretched part time drivers to spend the winter fastening a new bar on their roll cage. And, that Utica Rome Speedway has now been purchased by Bill Shea who will take over effective April 1.




During the weekend's festivities, the annual DIRTcar awards banquet took center stage on Saturday night. Overheard at the festivities by one of our TDN correspondents was one Dr Danny Johnson who remarked "This steak still has marks where the jockey was hitting it!", while at an adjacent table, an unnamed gentleman was heard saying "I'd rather have a case of the clap than a case of this wine!" Johnson's comments prompted a driver at another table to shout "Shut up and eat your damn veggies Danny,  the steak's just fine!"

Other than an exchange of well thrown dinner rolls between Stew Friesen and Matt Sheppard which almost erupted into a full on food fight, the excitement turned from food to awards as Billy Decker gave a speech thanking the crowd for still showing up to see him accept his championship trophy despite the tough steak and overly sweet Riesling wine.

Erick Rudolph was named 2014 "Rookie of the Year"

Stay tuned to the news that comes out of the weekend's festivities at Dirt Track Digest.



Newly Formed Sprint Tour Elects "Harry Potter" Scheduling Method:

The National Sprint League, a newly formed Midwestern 410 sprint car racing tour, put out it's preliminary schedule release recently, with a few confirmed dates, but an overwhelming majority events taking place are taking place at "TBA" Raceway in an unknown location.

One of our correspondents contacted NSL officials to confirm the whereabouts of said raceway and can now confirm that there's more to the story.

"We've really got something special with our TBA dates in 2015, something nobody has ever done before," said the official. "We thought about it, and decided to purchase the Goblet of Fire! That's right, the cup from one of them there Harry Potter movies. It'll set the standard in scheduling we figure."



When asked exactly how this was to help determine the final tour dates the official responded, "What we're asking all interested tracks, is that they write their name on a piece of blank paper and send it in to us, we'll put them in the that silver cup right there and it'll spit out the winners for us. It's completely up to the cup but the good thing that we all know that the cup is never wrong, so really there's no way for us to lose here."
Adn


According to the gentleman, you can expect the rest of the schedule in due time. "It's really up to the cup and that's about all we can say right now, but it's really gonna be a great year!"

Seriously...you can check out the current schedule which looks to have a really strong field of drivers and will feature the return of 410 racing to some places that were running 360's throughout the Midwest by clicking here: National Sprint League Schedule  Should be some great racing!

Domination of Crate Locals in Ocala Thwarted by Rain

The $10,000 Nesmith Crate Late Model Series Event at Bubba The Hunk of Love Sponge Speedway and Pleasure Club, in Ocala, FL was officially rained out on Saturday night.

The rather large field, which contained local, regional and touring crate late model racers, who normally just race for good times cheap beer and the camaraderie of the pits, were spared a severe beating from the likes of former and current World of Late Model champions Josh Richards and Darrell Lanigan who'd set their sights on taking the group of amateur thrill seekers to task.




One local crate racer who wished not to be named remarked, "I really think there's a problem with those tough guys coming in here to take our money. I mean really, don't they earn enough on tour, do they need to beat us to feel better about themselves?

When asked to approximate how much the driver had spent on their car in order to gain an understanding of the discrepancy between Richards, Lanigan and other invaders while in completely "equal" cars, the unnamed driver responded, "That's none of your damn 
business."

Meanwhile, DIRT nation rejoiced when Richards seized the opportunity caused by the Ocala rainout, to jump in ump modified and late model driver Kyle Bronson's car at East Bay Raceway Park Saturday night.  Richards won, besting a 13 car field in the triumph.

He'd missed almost the entire season due to some nerve damage, but managed a win in 2014 anyhow. And even though it was of the local short track variety, we at TDN can say with confidence that the dirt racing landscape is much better and more interesting with a healthy Josh Richards in it, he was sorely missed! Thanks for one last Saturday night Mr. Richards! For the press release click here

From SpeedShift TV


Fito Edges Jake


Co-winner of TDN's best name award, Fito Gallardo (damn that rolls off the tongue), capped his 2014 with a photo finish victory over his son Jake at El Paso Speedway Park Saturday night on the final night of the "Turkey Hunt".


Gallardo, this year's USRA modified national champion has had a 2014 to remember. He'd started the season in Tucson in January with three straight failures to make the show, and ended up in November with 15+ modified victories in the southwest.

Fito, you're one of our favorites here at TDN, and we'd like to give you a proper salutation in Spanish nonetheless at this time...

"Felicitaciones por un fantástico 2014 el Sr. Gallardo! Que tu filete ser mejor que Danny Johnson en el banquete DIRTcar!"


Also at the Turkey Hunt, Billy Moyer Jr held off another modified star who's been very good in a late model too in the way of Rodney "The Sandman" Sanders to sweep the late model portion on Friday and Saturday nights.  To check out the full field rundown for both the modifieds and late models from El Paso, click here
TWC Photos




USAC- Matt Rossi wins- holds victory lane girls hostage

In what might be considered a mild to huge upset on Saturday night, local driver Matt Rossi bested the USAC Sprint Car field at Arizona's Canyon Speedway Park during the Western World Championships.

 The field, which included Brian Clauson, Robert Ballou, and Brady Bacon tried their hardest to fight back after Rossi took the lead in the middle portion of the 30 lap feature event, but Rossi was not to be denied.


Following the win, Rossi inexplicably held the two nice looking victory lane girls hostage with a newly presented rifle. "The money's nice, the trophy is great, and it sure is great to win in some of my fans, but why can't I just keep these two girls, they're fantastic!" said Rossi. "Naw, seriously can I just give the money back and keep the girls, I won't keep em long!'

You can read all about Rossi's upset win here




And that'll do it for this week! We've got a special driver story coming up later this week and a Thanksgiving to remember from us at TDN. Have a great week everyone and stay DIRTY!




Be sure to check out these helpful reads currently on our site!


TDN Silly Season Update Page


Our Final Northeast Modified Rankings


Our Final Winged 410 Sprint Rankings


TDN Guide To Australian Racing- Follow the Action Down Under




Sunday, November 16, 2014

This Week In DIRT- TDN Celebrates 1st Anniversary




And we've come to another edition of "This Week in DIRT". This is normally reserved for stories you may have missed in the week that was, all wrapped up ala "The Onion" with some assorted barbs at various drivers, sanctions, and incidents with a satirical slant. (Yes, it's more than okay to do so as far too many in the industry take themselves far too seriously)

But there won't be one of those this week. Don't worry, they'll start back up in due time, probably next week, but this one will read like a personal thank you letter, because it's a special day here at TDN!

As of this publishing, we are exactly one year old! A year ago, we put in place a site that could fill the gaps and help unify fans from all divisions. There were sprint, late model, and modified sites all over the internet, but why not build a place that could have some useful information and insight for fans that loved all of them?

Our mission was made, to help keep the fans of all divisions on one page, to help promote the sport in general, to tell the stories of drivers and others who make the dirt racing world go around, and to have some fun at the same time.

TDN Mission Statement

And it has been a tremendous experience. We've been able to tell the story from area tracks that granted us media access, made the acquaintances of many great drivers that shared their stories with us, brought our Pick'em contests to a higher level with more prizes and sponsors, and tried to help everyone get more out of their dirt racing experience by keeping the area and national racing scene on one page.

We'd like to thank the following organizations for taking the risk and believing in us, and we hope it was more than worth it!

  • Lernerville Speedway
  • Mercer Raceway Park
  • Sharon Speedway
  • Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Motor Speedway
  • R and R Racewear
  • Integra Shocks/Keyser Manufacturing
  • Bryan Decals

So whether you've been following us the whole time, or whether you're new to TDN, we just wanted to say THANK YOU, from all of us at TDN to every fan, driver, promoter, concession worker, track grader, or ticket taker who has taken the time to check us out!

Funny, a year ago we weren't sure whether this might last a week or a month, but we made a deal with ourselves that as long as it was fun, we'd still do it. 365 days later, it's still fun, and we're still going to keep doing it!!

So check back often for more driver stories, our new "silly season" update page which will cover all 3 prime divisions, and announcements and commentary.


Thank you for your continued support:

Sincerely, The DIRT Network

Gary Heeman
Tyler Beichner
Jerin Steele
Trever Steele
Pat Miller
Josh Bayko
Brian "Dobie" Compton
Kristen Swartznander
Eric Burton







TDN Final Northeast Modified Rankings and Driver of the Year










Well, we've come to the end! The beasts of the east are now in hibernation....

Normally our rankings are a month to month process, comparing driver performance from one 30 day stretch to the next. But unfortunately, we seem to be out of races save for the "Gobbler" at Accord November 29th. We won't include that one here, because so many cars have gone into the moth balls for the season that it most likely would have no impact.  So in the end, we have what we have, which was a great Northeast modified season to reflect on.


From Nat'l Speed Sport News

In case you weren't familiar, our rankings include modified drivers of the big block and 358 variety, from any region, or any sanction. It matters not whether a driver runs the entire Super DIRTcar Series, or the Race of Champions tour events, or a mix of the two plus unsanctioned specials and home track nights. A driver from any area that dominates with either engine could make this list, and that's what makes it different.

In our final edition we'll rank drivers for their performance throughout the year using a number of factors. Performance in big money sanctioned/tour events, home track performance, and unsanctioned special event performance are all taken into account with special emphasis placed on driver performance in special events where the best of the best are present, and quality of weekly home track.

So here it is, our final Northeast Modified edition, and we shall start with TDN's Northeast Modified Driver of the year!


Andrew Coppley Photo



1. Stewart Friesen:

He didn't win the Super DIRTcar tour. He didn't need to. Stew Friesen's 2014 performance was nothing short of amazing! We'll start with his overall performance where he put the car on the track 86 times, amassing 24 wins which was a 28% winning percentage. The 2014 Dirt Race of Champions winner finished in the top 10- 83% of the time, only bested by Matt Sheppard's 92%.

But what put Friesen atop our rankings was his performance in the toughest contests. Syracuse 200, Victoria 200, and the Freedom 76er, all great events where the best drivers are present, and he won them all! Throw in a couple of SDS tour events including a exclamation point victory in the World Finals where he came from 9th and passed many people on this list on his way to victory lane and it's not even as close as it might have seemed. On the weekly side, he was dominant at Fonda and Utica-Rome winning 1/2 the shows at the former, and a third of the latter. It was as impressive a season as we've seen in recent memory. Congrats to our Driver of the Year...Mr. Freeze!



2. Matt Sheppard:

Had it not been for some bad luck, or maybe a decision or two he'd rather have back, Super Matt Sheppard could have easily been at the top of the list. And second place to Stew Friesen's season is really quite an accomplishment this year. 

The former three time SDS champion set career high water marks in wins, top 5's and top 10's in 2014, putting the car on the track 93 times and winning 27% of them. His 19 top 10 finishes in SDS action demonstrated a model of consistency and he took four wins to boot. Plus he took home his fair share of races outside of the SDS highlighted by a win in the Outlaw 200 at Fulton, an RoC win at Five Mile Point, and a Short Track Super Series win at Thunder Mountain.

Sheppard also took track championships at Brewerton and Canandaigua, two very difficult places to win given the quality of the field, his performance at Canandaigua in particular was quite astounding. However, he just falls short here and that's mostly due to money won where Friesen was king, and Syracuse probably serves as the tiebreaker and a microcosm of how close this was and how great the two seasons just were for Friesen and Sheppard.



3. Brett Hearn:

Nothing to be ashamed of here for the jet. He took care of what he takes care of best, Lebanon Valley where he won the track title yet again, and also took home $17,500 when the SDS paid a visit in August. Hearn also put the field at OCFS to bed in the Eastern States 200 and made a three driver chase for the SDS championship going into the final weekend at Charlotte where he fell just short.

Hearn also claimed two of the bigger 358 tour wins during Super DIRT Week taking checkers at Brewerton in the Hurricane 100 and winning the 150 lap $20,000 check at Syracuse.

If we're honest, and his 50% plus winning percentage in home track action were at say Canandaigua or Utica-Rome, he might have leapfrogged Sheppard, but they were at Malta and Lebanon Valley respectively and while those are great tracks, the results were pretty much expected.  Still, he sits on our annual podium with a 3rd place showing in SDS action, and some big money wins in 2014.


4. Danny Johnson:

Aging like a fine cabernet, the doctor proved that you didn't need a deep pocketed owner, or even a weekly home track to make the top five in this list. You just need to win, and he did that in a variety of arenas. Those include five SDS wins (most on the tour in 2014), two RoC tour wins, 3- 358 modified tour wins, and an STSS tour win.

He won 16 times in 2014. And never called any one track a weekly home with the exception of his 13 appearances at Ransomville. If he'd had one he would have earned a top five season in SDS tour points with the bonus factor. But nevertheless, his season was as dominant as we've seen from the doctor in a few years WITHOUT having to drive in some other owner's equipment.

In a fitting ending, he took the final SDS win of the year at Charlotte, a place he'd never won before and his reception from the crowd was astounding and love him or hate him, if you love modifieds, the fact that he was as good as he was in 2014 was a great thing.



5. Billy Decker:

It's strange that the SDS tour champion is actually fifth on this list. Or perhaps that fact speaks to the great mix we have in our rankings. But the way we see it, he's fifth. But that's not to say Decker didn't have a great season. 

Decker put 48 of 68 appearances in the top 10 at some tough places including the SDS tour, Fulton and Brewerton on a weekly basis. To win the SDS tour, you've got to be consistent when it counts and Decker was just that, never finishing outside the top 10 during the 150 point portion of the season in the final two months.  He actually came from behind on the final weekend at Charlotte, holding off a charging Matt Sheppard on the final night to earn the six point victory in the final standings.

But what keeps him fifth, was simply that he never took that one big paycheck, and probably could have used a few more chances to earn some wins than his schedule permitted. It was great to see someone outside of Sheppard and Hearn on top of the SDS standings though, and we have to congratulate him on a great 2014. Welcome back to the SDS Mr. Decker, you've been missed!

6. Jimmy Phelps:

Based on wins, you'd have a perfect right to say that he's no where near the top 10. But it isn't all about the wins. And Phelps is testament to the fact that we monitor strength of schedule closely.

Phelps finished the night in the top 10 - 83% of the time, second only to Friesen and Sheppard. If he were simply cherry picking, visiting places where he had the best chance to win based on the local competition, this fact might elicit a few yawns.  But the fact is that Phelps finished in the top 10 frequently in SDS tour action. 15 times in 18 attempts to be precise. He also competed at Brewerton and Fulton on a weekly basis where he was in the top 5 at both places nearly half the time.

He did manage two unsanctioned special wins at Rolling Wheels and Thunder Mountain with the likes of Matt Sheppard and Alan Johnson in the house, and if he'd had any manner of luck, we'd probably be talking about 5-8 wins for him in 2014. Regardless, he gets rewarded here for finishing consistently at the toughest places from a touring standpoint.


7. Erick Rudolph:

Mr. Rudolph's here not because he won another 358 Modified tour championship, that alone couldn't get it done here, though it doesn't hurt either. He's here because he added a big block to the repotoire by virtue of being tapped on the shoulder to pilot the Mike Payne owned Page Trucking #7, and made the most of the opportunity.

Rudolph confirmed what many in the Niagara frontier already knew, that he was one of the brightest young talents in Northeast modified racing. He did it by racking up two Canandaigua weekly wins, an SDS tour victory, and a top 10 finish in the SDS tour standings.

When you put that information on top of his typical 358 modified performance, both on the tour and at Ransomville, this one's a no brainer. Expect big things from this young gentleman in 2015!

8. Duane Howard:

The mayor of Grandview Speedway makes our top 10 for the year. Howard was the best of a stout field at the famed oval throughout the 2014, and had a very respectable run at nearby Big Diamond too. Between the two home tracks, Howard garnered 25 top 10's in 32 weekly shows.

But he didn't stop there, taking home a RoC on his home turf with Friesen, Sheppard, and the Dr all present as well as the likes of Strunk, Godown, Watt and others from the area.

Couple that info with top five runs at Syracuse and Charlotte, and he's right about where he should be.

9. Larry Wight:

The teenage wonder opened eyes in 2014, though for diehard modified fans it was never a question of "if" but "when".  Wight was a weekly visitor at some tough places this year including Fulton and Utica-Rome where he won twice at each and put almost ever finish in the top 10.

That's a pretty fine year, but perhaps not top 10 material. The fact that he bested both Friesen and Sheppard in September at UR in the "New Yorker 200" RoC tour event and competed in the full SDS tour cements him. As in the case of Rudolph, be on the lookout for him in 2015!


From Nat'l Speed Sport News

10. Anthony Perrego:


Perrego was the king of the southern tier/catskills in 2014 as evidenced by his combined 10 wins in 30 weekly shows at Five Mile Point and Accord respectively.

But outside of that, there was much to consider for the young pilot. He took home four top 10's in five SDS tour starts, three of which were in Volusia. Perrego also proved he can win the bigger shows with a Southern Tier 100 win at FMP, and a STSS win at Accord. He also managed a top five point finish in the RoC tour points in 2014 as well.

He proved that his win in the 2013 Gobbler was no fluke and that he's ready for more prime time in 2015 whether it's the full SDS or simply more travelling in general, the future looks bright!


And that's all folks! We hope you enjoyed our 2014 Northeast modified coverage here at TDN and hope you have a safe and happy holiday season! We'll see you next April, thanks for checking us out!


















Friday, November 14, 2014

Donny Schatz Named Top Sprint Car Driver of 2014

As far as we're concerned, racing season for us sprint car fans (at least in America) is behind us. With just one major winged 410 Sprint show remaining [$10,000 to win at Susquehanna Speedway (PA)] we are left simply with memories of the great runs, races and rallies that we witnessed on the track from the time the green flag dropped on the 2014 racing season.

I'm here, a fan just as much as all of you, to give you the rundown on the final rankings of the top 410 Sprint Car drivers in the United States this season. The following rankings are the official 'TDN' Winged Sprint Car rankings for the 2014 season.


1. Donny Schatz
I'd like to say that Schatz has turned back the clock and showed us some vintage Steve Kinser this year, but this isn't the first time that he's had a stranglehold over his fellow competitors. Ending the year with 26 WoO wins is an astounding feat in this day and age where so many drivers are competitive, regardless of whether they follow the tour. The local competition poses more of a threat to the traveling stars than at any time in the past. And yet, Donny stands out for more than just wins. He and his TSR #15 team have time and again been the odds on favorite regardless of where they start on the feature grid. This can be highlighted by his 2013 Knoxville Nationals triumph from 21st, his blast to the front at Fremont Speedway (OH) in October, or his rally from the tail of the field to 4th place in less than 20 laps against the stout World Finals field. His 2014 stats include 26 wins, 63 top 5's, and 0 DNF's. For all of these reasons and many more that have gone unmentioned here, Donny Schatz solidifes himself as the top 410 Sprint Car driver of 2014.


2. Dale Blaney
It was one hell of a year for the "King of the All Stars" that included 16 wins on the ASCoC circuit as well as the series title. His most impressive stretch of the year undoubtedly came in late June when he won 4 of the 6 contested Ohio Speedweek events against star-studded fields. Throw in a triumph over the World of Outlaws, IRA competitors and a few against the best that Ohio has to offer and you've got yourself a career year. It's also worth mentioning that Blaney was in his first full year driving for car owner Tony Kennedy. Is it possible that Dale and co. could be gearing up for an even more successful season now that the team has had time to mesh? It's scary to think that for this driver, an even more successful season could be on the horizon. With that said, there is no question that Dale Blaney is deserving of the runner-up ranking that has been given to him here.


3. Daryn Pittman
The 2013 World of Outlaws champion lost his 1-year reign of the crown, but in some ways he had a more successful year as he went on to finish runner-up in this year's final standings. Pittman, of Owasso, Okla., found victory lane 14 times this season including standout wins at the $20,000 event at Devil's Bowl and a Summer Nationals triumph at Williams Grove worth $17,000. Pittman also showed that he can get on a hot streak and become nearly unbeatable. This proved to be true when he won four straight races during a spring stretch through Pennsylvania and New York and then again when he swept the weekend at the Dodge County Fairgrounds in Kansas. A year that included 14 wins and 50 top 5's against the best in the world are more than enough reason to place Daryn Pittman at 3rd in our final Winged 410 Sprint Car Rankings.


4. Brian Brown
As the multi-time Knoxville Raceway 410 champion and Knoxville Nationals runner-up, Brian Brown has been widely agreed upon as the best sprint car driver in the country to have not won a World of Outlaws race. Well...he's finally got that monkey off his back. Brown's heart-throbbing win last weekend at the World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte is one is one that will not be soon forgotten. Brown's 2014 campaign included more than a handful of wins, including 4 at the famed Knoxville Raceway (one being a prelim win during the Knoxville Nationals). Brown also had notable runner-up finishes during the 55th Annual Knoxville Nationals, during a WoO Sprint visit to Calistoga Raceway (CA), and during Knoxville's prestigious Capitani Classic". It is because of his consistently strong runs against the best competition in the business that Brian Brown clocks in on our rankings at no. 4.


5. Stevie Smith
Representing the PA Posse's finest, Stevie Smith enters our final Winged 410 Sprint Car rankings at no. 5. Smith teamed up with long-time racer Fred Rahmer and together they made it a season to remember. In just a limited number of starts over the season, Smith was a factor in just about every race that he entered. The win total climbed to 7 by the time their season ended, including wins with the World of Outlaws, All Star Circuit of Champions, and during PA Speedweek. With a handful of big wins on the year, the most rewarding may have been his $20,000 Dirt Classic triumph at Lincoln Speedway (PA). The Broken Arrow, Okla. native was also runner-up during the WoO finale at The Dirt Track at Charlotte and was just a few laps away from capturing the $50,000 National Open at Williams Grove before suffering heartbreak. The Smith/Rahmer duo have agreed to team up again in 2015, but for now they'll sit at 5th in our standings until next season rolls around.


Missed the Cut
Paul McMahan
Greg Hodnett
Kerry Madsen

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

2014 TDN Regional Awards for Western Pennsylvania


With the World Finals in the rear view mirror and only this weekend's race at Susquehanna left on the Pennsylvania schedule, the sad reality is that the dirt racing season is coming to an end.

Before the book is closed on the 2014 season in Western Pennsylvania we at TDN have decided to put together a list of categories to recognize our area's drivers and their respective seasons.

It wasn't easy to come down to a final decision on some of these categories as there were many worthy candidates, but here are our choices below.

DRIVER OF THE YEAR - REX KING, JR



Cooter completed the modified hat trick this season winning the points titles at Sharon and Lernerville as well as picking up the BRP Modified Tour title. He amassed nine victories including a half dozen at Sharon. The Bristolville, OH native also picked up the Lou Blaney Memorial at Sharon. The breakout season certainly was a dominating performance.

Honorable Mentions
Jared Miley- The pilot of the H1 Late Model won nine features in 2014. He won races at Eriez, Lernerville, McKean, and the Floyd Kline Memorial at Dog Hollow. Miley also had good showings outside the region including a fifth at the Winchester 200.

Jim Fosnaught- The driver of the 20j found victory lane seven times en route to his first Lernerville track Championship. He also defended his home turf to pick up $2,000 at the Autumn-Motive Fest/Penn-Ohio Stock series race.

TDN SPIRIT AWARD- DARREN PIFER

We could all learn something from young Mr. Pifer. He was dealt a bad hand when he suffered second and third degree burns to his legs during an incident at Sportsmans Speedway. But the driver of the number 23, 305 sprint showed the determination, spirit and heart that is ingrained in the fabric of a dirt racer on his road to recovery. He never wavered on the idea that he would be back behind the wheel this season and returned to racing at Mercer on August 11th just a few months after the incident. We look forward to seeing that 23 machine back on the track in 2015 and beyond.

RACE OF THE YEAR IN WESTERN PA- BOSS RACE-MERCER




Thanks to Aaron Fry and BOSS, wingless sprint car racing has a place again in Western Pennsylvania. The tour made a stop at Mercer in May and boy did they put on a show. Brandon Spithaler and Dustin Smith drag raced to the line, with Smith narrowly edging out Spithaler by .014 seconds. Spithaler ran the second half of the race with out any brakes, but still continued to pressure Smith throughout the race. The BOSS series also had a great finish at Lernerville when Logan Hupp made a last lap pass for a victory.

Honorable Mentions
Davey Johnson ran a mistake free race while being pressured for the duration by Jared Miley to win a fab four late model race at Lernerville.

Dave Blaney held off his brother Dale to win the sprint car portion of the Lou Blaney Memorial at Sharon.

TDN DIVISIONAL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR- LOGAN WAGNER
Pat Miller Photo
(This award is for a driver running their first season in a 410 Sprint, Big Block Modified, or a Super
Late Model.)
Logan Wagner doesn't make his home in Western Pennsylvania, but he made noise in the region. Wagner got his first 410 win at Lernerville in the regular season finale, but he turned the most heads when the World of Outlaws rolled into town in September. He won his heat, and the dash putting him on the pole for the main event. Wagner was running second when David Gravel made contact with him leading to an accident which ended his night. Though the result wasn't what the driver of the Bedford Valley Petroleum RG3 wanted he still impressed many. Wagner also had a second place run at Lernerville where he traded the lead with track champ Carl Bowser on the final lap.

Honorable Mention
AJ Flick- Flick came close to winning multiple times at Lernerville and Mercer in his rookie season in the 410 sprints including a second place run to Wagner. He will be a force on the 410 scene for years to come.

HARD LUCK DRIVER- JACK SODEMAN, JR
Pat Miller Photo
Jack Sodeman, Jr looked to be headed to a top 15 finish in race one of the Silver Cup Twins at Lernerville, but was clipped by the car of Danny Holtgraver, which was flipping on the front stretch. Sodeman came to a stop in turn one, but his car seemed fine. Safety crews rushed to attend to Sodeman a few minutes later though, and after a trip to the hospital it was determined that Sodeman had a broken leg from the incident. Sodeman has had more than his fare share of bad luck in his career, but we know Jack is tough and we hope to see him back in action in 2015.

Honorable Mention
Jeremiah Shingledecker- The 37md mod was plagued with mechanical issues in 2014. Shingledecker also was involved in several accidents. He did not finish in almost half of the races he started this year,

MOST IMPROVED DRIVER- AARON EASLER
Aaron Easler, in his first full season behind the wheel of a sportsman car, was a fixture in the top five at Lernerville and finished fifth in the point standings. Look for the driver of the 11 car to breakthrough for his first victory next year.

TDN HEART/HERO AWARD- KENNY PETTYJOHN



While Kenny Pettyjohn does not reside in Western Pennsylvania we would like to acknowledge his act of donating his winnings from Volusia to the Wounded Warrior Project. It was a very kind act that deserves a mention from us.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Final Pickem Standings - World Finals

Congratulations to Tony White, who will be receiving our top prize of a 1:25 scale Steve Kinser diecast and $50 cash.

Runner-up point getter Andrew Loria will also receive an official 'The Dirt Network' t-shirt and $25 cash.

Rounding out the podium was Ryan Riffe, who will receive a $10 Eat N' Park gift card and free Fantasy Team entry at dickdragonmotorsports.com

Thank you to all who participated. A massive number of 62 entrants took part in our World Finals Pickem contest, falling one person shy of tying our record of 63 participants at the most recent Knoxville Nationals Pickem.

This about wraps it up folks...thanks for a great season and be sure to check back in the offseason for more news and notes that will keep you up to date with the latest in the racing world.


Rank
Points
Name
1
359
Tony White
2
353
Andrew Loria
3
350
Ryan Riffe
4
335
Nick Lohrmann
5
331
Kaley Gharst
6
321
Josh Bayko
7
317
Kim Gerber
8
315
Scott Priester
9
312
Dustin Leverknight
10
311
Nick Halbedl
11
309
Jeff Barnes
12
308
Greg Martin
13
306
Nichole Emmons
14
305
J.W. Houck
15
304
Nathan Wheeling
16
304
Todd Beichner
17
303
Gary Heeman
18
300
Aaron Clay
19
298
Justin Holzapfel
20
291
Dale Sipe
21
291
Mike Smith
22
287
The Voss
23
286
Josh Fremouw
24
286
Scott Smith
25
283
Brent Chance
26
279
Brian Johnson
27
279
Rich Yeager
28
277
Troy Wagaman Jr
29
274
Scott McBride
30
274
Marcie Barlow
31
274
Ric Blevins
32
269
Tawn O'Rock
33
268
Jared Butcosk
34
266
Rob Graham
35
265
Mike Ernst
36
263
Tim Gunter
37
263
Mike Dutko
38
261
Earl Jackson
39
258
Greg Wheeling
40
253
Jackie West
41
252
Brent Leach
42
252
Tyler Beichner
43
251
Christian Dundee
44
243
Jerin Steele
45
239
Cory Flack
46
238
Dave Doctrow
47
238
Jeff Wilson
48
238
Steve Penland
49
235
Mike Norris
50
234
Mike Leone
51
233
Dick Dragon
52
232
Dee Gallagher
53
230
Ryan Mitchell
54
229
Todd Wilder
55
221
Jason Stearns
56
220
Jeff Compton
57
210
Kevin Meadows
58
208
Brian Compton
59
205
Terry Gleason
60
182
Jr. Moist
61
182
Dan Mankie
62
173
Joshua Cloninger