From Mike Leone
Markleysburg, PA — (March 14, 2013) –About two months ago word spread like wildfire that the fire-breathing, mudslinging, winged warrior Sprint Cars would be making their first ever appearance at Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex in 2013. Since then, the excitement has been running rampant throughout the area Sprint Car world. In less than two months on Sunday, May 5, the “410” Sprint Cars will convene on the fast 3/8-mile oval competing for an $18,000 purse with $4,000 going to the winner!
Roaring Knob is a relatively new speedway opening its gates in 1998, but over the past 15 years has never hosted a Sprint Car event let along the high-horsepower 410s. During that time, Roaring Knob has contested events for most every division in the region, while holding steadfast to its headlining Super Late Models with national events for the Lucas Oil Series.
The “410 Showdown in the Laurel Highlands” will boast what is expected to be the richest non-sanctioned Sprint Car event of the season in western Pa. Not only will $4,000 go to the winner of the 30-lap feature, but $2,000 will be on the line for second, $1,000 for fifth, $500 for 10th, and $350 to take the green! Any non-starters or qualifiers will receive $100. The complete payoff is posted below.
“When Rick Jones talked about wanting to do some type of Sprint Car show I felt the 410s would be the best avenue for Roaring Knob,” stated Race Director Mike Leone. “The key was finding a conducive date and a purse that was attractive for all race teams. I think we hit on that as once we announced it, the interest and excitement has been tremendous. I’m really looking forward to this event and so are a lot of race fans and teams!”
Roaring Knob is located off historic US Route 40 in Markleysburg, Pa. The scenic area in Fayette County is about 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh and just minutes from the West Virginia and Maryland borders. With its location, strong payout, open date, and neutral grounds, the event has drawn interest from race teams all over Pennsylvania, northeast and southern Ohio along with West Virginia and New Jersey.
In upwards of 30 drivers have already expressed their interest to compete in the event. Former Lernerville Speedway Champion, Danny Holtgraver, who is making a full-time assault on the All Star Circuit of Champions this season, is planning on racing his own #D4. The Pittsburgh racer captured the first three All Star wins of his career last season, and just last month won the $10,000 Ronald Laney Memorial “King of the 360s” at East Bay Raceway Park in Florida!
Brian Ellenberger has spent several seasons chasing the World of Outlaw and All Star Sprints up and down the highway in between competitive seasons locally. The Butler, Pa. resident won four features at Lernerville last year and owns 10 career victories at Mercer Raceway Park as well as three at Sharon Speedway. Though he’s planning on just running a limited schedule again, Ellenberger has two of the best motors that’s he’s ever had in his arsenal and will be a favorite to win this event.
Billy Dietrich certainly made a name for himself last season. The Biglerville, Pa. driver has switched back and forth between the “410” and “358” Sprints over his career in central Pa. Last year, he returned to the 410s full-time and made a splash capturing the first three victories of his “410” career. He won $3,200 on April 28 at Lincoln Speedway then swept the summer races at Dog Hollow Speedway for a $6,000 sweep! He’ll hope to add another big western Pa. win on May 5 in his red #8.
Billy is the older brother to Danny Dietrich, who has quickly risen to the top of the Sprint Car ranks and now is one of the top racers in the Keystone State. Danny is coming off his best year, which saw 10 feature wins including his first career World of Outlaws victory and first track championship- both coming at Lincoln. Danny drives the Gary Kauffman-owned #48 and has the event currently on his schedule.
Another central Pa. driver that has the “410 Showdown in the Laurel Highlands” on his schedule is Logan Schuchart. The grandson of legendary “scruffy” Bobby Allen has come into his own winning the 2012 National Sprint Car 410 Rookie of the Year along with capturing his first All Star victory at Williams Grove Speedway last April. The well-spoken Schuchart appears to have a promising Sprint Car future ahead of him in his “shark attack” #1s.
Andre Layfield may be the only competing Sprint Car driver that has previously raced at Roaring Knob, and will be one of the “local” racers in the field. The Grafton, WV driver is a graduate of the E-Mod division, which he stared in, and is really looking forward to returning to Roaring Knob- a track he calls one of his favorites. Layfield is a rising star in Sprint Cars and isn’t afraid to race with or without wings. Last season, Layfield won the BOSS non-winged event at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway on June 23.
Though the retirement talk comes up every year, don’t be surprised to see Sprint ace Rod George at the Knob as he’s planning on racing again in 2013. The Kittanning, Pa. veteran owns multiple track championships and 112 victories at Lernerville, Mercer, and Tri-City Speedways alone! George will go down in the history books as the first ever “410” Sprint Car winner at Dog Hollow in 2011.
Second generation racer Sheldon Haudenschild is planning on making the trip from Wooster, Ohio to compete in his #93. The 19-year-old has learned the trade from his father Jac- a Sprint Car icon who has been winning races steady since 1975. Sheldon has been racing Sprint Cars since 2009 and thrills fans with his exciting style wherever this young “outlaw” goes.
Eric Williams is fresh off his best career season in Sprint Car competition capturing his first track championship at Mercer and finishing third in points at Lernerville. The Greenville, Pa. driver’s first career “410” win came back on June 26, 2009 at Thunder Mountain Speedway in just the second appearance by the Sprints at Knoxdale, Pa. track. Williams also captured his first career Lernerville and Mercer victories last season.
Carl Bowser grew up right down the road from Lernerville. He honed his skills in the Micro Sprints before moving into the full-size Sprint Car division and has become one of the top racers in the region. Bowser was the 2011 Lernerville track champion. He owns four career victories at Mercer including the prestigious Western PA Sprint Championship in 2009.
Third generation racer Brandon Matus has improved each year. The Wampum, Pa. teen picked up his first career Sprint Car victory in 2011 at Lernerville then won a stunning $5,000 All Star victory at Sharon last year during Ohio Speedweek. Brandon will be joined by his father Brent, a longtime western Pa. Sprint Car competitor.
Two other western Pa. veteran front-runners expected to make the trip to Roaring Knob include Mike Lutz and Scott Priester. Both racers not only campaign their own cars, but also drive for car owners with Lutz aboard the Jim Chappel #8 and Priester in the Martha Dionise #15. Both own victories at numerous speedways throughout the region and will be contenders in this event.
While not competing on weekly basis, Dan Shetler is always competitive in his #7K. Shetler has spent many Saturday nights over the years at Challenger, Sharon, Lincoln, and Port Royal Speedways in addition to Friday nights at Lernerville. Shetler captured the 2008 Sharon track championship.
New Jersey’s Jeff Taylor may be making the longest tow of anyone to the Knob. The former Washington Redskin turned Sprint Car racer turned track owner will have his #17T in action. Taylor purchased the former Hidden Valley/Gambler’s Speedway and has made major improvements to what will now be known as America’s Motorsports Park in Clearfield, Pa. Taylor has a “410” Sprint show scheduled for Wednesday, July 3 at his speedway.
Central Pa. racers Hunter and Jordan Mackison, Bob Howard, Mark Zimmerman, and Matt Boland are planning on competing as is Wes McGlumphy, who races all throughout the state of Ohio. Other western Pa. racers like Skip Dougherty, Dennis Wagner, Joe McEwen, Bob McMillin, and Brandon Cornelius have also expressed interest in competing. Several other western and central Pa. racers are expected to compete.
“I’ve always enjoyed the Sprint Cars,” acknowledged Jones. “I haven’t been in 410 Sprint Car country with the tracks that I’ve promoted over the years, but always wanted to try a show. It’s great to see so much interest generated for this event. Even a lot of Late Model fans and racers are looking forward to seeing the Sprints at the Knob. We’ll give them a good track to race on and it should be an awesome show seeing the Sprints fly around the outside of the Knob.”
30-lap feature payoff ($18,000): 1. $4,000 2. $2,000 3. $1,300 4. $1,100 5. $1,000 6. $900 7. $800 8. $400 9. $600 10. $500 11. $425 12. $400 13. $375 14. $370 15. $365 16. $360 17. $355 18-24. $350. $100 to non-qualifiers.
For Sprint Car teams, there will be no weight, muffler or tire rule nor will any entry/registration fee be charged. RACEceivers are required. Experienced push truck drivers are welcome. You and a guest will be admitted at no charge.
Gates open at 4 p.m. with racing at 6:30. The STARS Mod Lites will be in competition with one other division TBA.
Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Rick Jones for more information at 410-259-6297.
Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex is a 3/8-mile clay oval located near Markleysburg, Pa. just off of scenic Route 40 at 380 Fearer Road (look for the road sign) just seven miles east of Nemacolin Woodlands on the right, one mile west of Yough Lake on the left. Check out the website at www.roaringknob.com or call 410-857-3821 (office) or 724-329-0306 on race day.