Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Skyline Speedway to Open Sprint Point Fund

By Scott WolfeSTEWART-Skyline Speedway near Stewart, Ohio will open its gates for the 44th anniversary season Friday, April 18 when the 410 Outlaw Sprint cars and the powerful dirt Late Models come to town for this festive opening night of racing. Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, Modifieds, Four Cylinders, and Mini-Wedges share the racing card.

Last year the sprint cars returned to Skyline for the first time since 1998 and were immediately a big hit. Improvements at Skyline along with regular sprint racing caught the eye of the regional touring group, “The O’Reilly All-Star Circuit of Champions” who will make two appearances at the Athens County oval. One of these events will be the Wednesday night portion of the All-Ohio Outlaw Sprint Speedweek on June 25 and a return visit July 18. New owner Billy Jarrell has made numerous improvements to the facility, but some of the intended improvements were put on hold due to the extremely wet winter. In fact, opening day had been slated for March 28, but heavy rain delayed the necessary work projects until this Friday night.

Long a hot bed of Late Model racing, an improved purse hopes to get even better competition on the fast 3/8 clay oval. Several defending champions and regional series racers are expected for this week’s opener.Skyline Speedway and K-C Raceway have teamed up for a dual-point fund with prizes totally near $20,000. Points must be collected at both tracks. The sprint car champion will win a set of All-Pro Aluminum Heads valued at over $6,000 among other possible contingencies, second will be a JEI sprint chassis, and third a product certificate from DMI racing components. K-C ‘s sprint opener is Saturday, April 19.

Gates open at 4 p.m., warm-ups are at 6 p.m., time trials at 6:30 and racing at racing at 7 p.m. Adult general admission is $15, Pit passes are $30, kids 6-12 $5, and under six free.The Skyline Speedway is located just 4.1 miles off of State Route 50 and 32 on Athens County Road 53 Bethany Ridge Road.

You can get information about the speedway at or call the race day phone at (740)-662-4111. For information during the week please call 304-542-8322

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Jimmy Hawley to return to racing Saturday at Mercer‏


By Mike Leone


(West Middlesex, PA)…One of western Pennsylvania’s all-time Sprint Car greats is set to make his return to racing this Saturday night, April 12 at Mercer Raceway Park. Jimmy Hawley, 42, of West Middlesex, Pa. has accepted the ride in the Jeff & Bonnie Rudzik-owned, Rudzik Excavating #49 Sprint Car.
“This is one of the biggest announcements in recent years for local Sprint Car racing,” stated Mike Leone. “Jimmy Hawley has always been a fan favorite and is a class act on and off the speedway. Every year rumors circulate about his return and to see him in this quality ride will be a boost for racing. Fans will get a real treat seeing him resume his battles with the likes of Bob Felmlee, Ed Lynch, Jr., Rod George, Mike Lutz, Arnie Kent, Brian Ellenberger, Rob Eyler, Scott Bonnell, and others.”
Hawley actually got his first taste of racing since June 21, 2003 on Wednesday night at Mercer Raceway Park during the track’s first practice session. “I didn’t know what to expect,” Hawley acknowledged. “I was nervous when I walked in right up until we pushed off. With every successive lap, I got more and more confident. What’s going to be different is actually passing cars and the biggest adjustment is racing with a lot of people I’m not accustomed to, but it’s good to back.”
The 2008 season will see Hawley run primarily at Mercer with various appearances at Lernerville Speedway and regional specials. There will be no chasing point championships for Hawley, who expects to miss shows here and there especially with his kids’ involvement in sports. Hawley’s two goals are to have fun and be competitive.
“I’m not going to sacrifice my family or business,” stated Hawley. “That’s why I quit in the first place. When it becomes a job and not fun anymore, I will quit and the Rudziks agreed. First and foremost I have to thank my wife and kids for letting me do this. They are so supportive and the kids are all excited. They were watching my old racing tapes and that got me fired up again.”
Hawley has won over 100 Sprint Car features alone in his career with an unofficial total of 106 from His career best season was 1999 when he won 20 races including three track championships at Lernerville, Mercer, and Tri-City Speedways. He owns one career All Star win on June 16, 1994 at Hickory Speedway in New Castle, Pa.; won an IRA-sanctioned event at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio on April 7, 2001; and won the $5,000 Chuck Marsh Memorial on September 15, 2001 at Mercer. Hawley has 34 career wins at Mercer of which 30 have come since the track reopened in 1994, which is still the top mark despite not competing for the past five seasons. He’s drove for numerous car owners such as Butch Osman, Dick Schuller, Amy Shoup, P.J. Kerr, John Toth, Junior Holbrook, Dr. John Crawford III, Billy Shearer, Eric Smith, and Pete Grove.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but I want to still see if I can do it,” expressed Hawley. “I’ve run into racing people over the years, which has made me itchy to come back. I’ve been blown away the last couple days from the response to me coming back. It’s been overwhelming and I’m honored because I don’t feel I’m any different than anyone else.”
One of the biggest changes Hawley feels since he’s been out of action is getting adjusted to the right rear Hoosier Tire. Last year, Sprint Car tracks and sanctioning bodies agreed to run a national Hoosier spec tire and that program will continue in 2008.
“The spec tire is different,” revealed Hawley. “I’m going to have to learn more about it and how it reacts to changes we make. We made some adjustments on Wednesday that didn’t have the effect they would have had in the past.”
Gary Edwards, who drove for the Rudziks and won features at Mercer in both 2004 and 2006, will be an important part of the team. “I’ve known Gary for a long time and I’m thrilled to have him help setup the car,” stated Hawley. “He can visually watch and give great input from a driver’s perspective as to what’s going on with the car. He’s going to be a big help, especially the first part of the year.”
Hawley will utilize Maxim Chassis. Much of Hawley’s success came in J&J cars, but his last ride in 2003 was in Maxim for Pete Grove.
All Star Sprint Car standout and former World of Outlaw racer, Dale Blaney, who owns 93 career wins, will run the team’s second car, the #94, in selected events when he’s not running his primary ride, the George Fisher #2. Blaney was also at Mercer on Wednesday practicing and was set to drive the car last Friday night at Lernerville Speedway before the rain out.
Jeff Rudzik got his start as a car owner at the end of the 2003 season when he purchased P.J. Kerr’s equipment. He has had Gary McCollum, Gary Edwards, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Lee Jacobs, Jody Keegan, and Tom Quarterson in his 360 and 410 cubic inch engine #49 and #94 Sprints. His cars have gone to victory lane seven times led by Sodeman with three wins, Edwards with two, and his most recent victory on September 15 of last season at Sharon with Quarterson.
Jeff and Bonnie Rudzik reside in Struthers, Ohio and operate Rudzik Excavating. They can be reached at 330-755-1540 or at
Mike Leone is the public relations director at Mercer Raceway Park, a Co-Director of the FASTRAK Northeast Racing Series, and is a columnist for the Allied News. He can be reached at 724-964-9300 or

Monday, April 07, 2008

Opening Night, Take Three! Budweiser Points Chase Begins This Friday!!

Sarver, PA (April 7, 2008) After two successive rainouts, the Lernerville Speedway will try once again to throw the green flag on its 40th Anniversary Season this Friday April 11. The Opening Night, non-points race format has been cast aside, and the Budweiser Points Chase will begin this Friday Night.

All four divisions of Fab Four Racing will be in action with Budweiser Points on the line for the Commercial Truck & Trailer Sprints, Friedman’s Freshmarkets UMP DIRTcar Super Late Models, Ferrante Motor Cars DIRTcar Modifieds, and Advance Auto Parts UMP DIRTcar Street Stocks.

A large, talented field of late model drivers is expected as this week will be the only tune-up before the World of Outlaws Late Model Series rolls into town on Tuesday April 15 for the Showdown in Sarvertown sponsored by Y108.

2007 Friedman’s Freshmarkets UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model Track Champion “Awesome” Alex Ferree will begin the long road to defend his title. Meanwhile, 2006 and five-time Track Champion Lynn Geisler will be looking to build on his season-opening win this past weekend at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. Another five-time Track Champion John Flinner will also make his return to weekly action in pursuit of a sixth Track Championship.

2007 Track Champions “Kool” Kevin Schaeffer (Back-to-Back Commercial Truck & Trailer Sprints) and Flyin’ Brian Swartzlander (Five-time Ferrante Motor Cars DIRTcar Modifieds) will also begin their title defenses.

2007 Advance Auto Parts UMP DIRTcar Street Stock Champion Mike Pegher Jr. is expected to be on hand racing his #09 Street Stock, but is not scheduled to run the full slate of Fab Four races to defend his title. Instead, he will be focusing more attention on his Lynn Geisler-owned #1 Cochran Crate Late Model.

As mentioned above, the first World of Outlaws event of the season is just over a week away. The Showdown in Sarvertown presented by Y108 will feature the World of Outlaws Late Model Series on Tuesday April 15.

Over the weekend, Billy Moyer continued his blazing hot start to the 2008 season with another win, capturing the World of Outlaws Late Model Series event at Farmer City Raceway for the “Illini 100”. The win was his third straight Outlaw A-Main feature win and ninth overall of the young season! 2007 Showdown in Sarvertown Champion Shannon Babb came from the back of the pack to finish second in the Clint Bowyer-owned #18 Late Model.

Mike Pegher Jr. will lead a pack of cars in the UMP DIRTcar Pro (Crate) Late Models which will be the support division for the Showdown. Tickets are on sale now by calling the Speedway Office during normal business hours at (724) 353-1511.

Eric J. Westendorf
Public Relations Director
Lernerville Speedway