Rick’s Racing Roundup: Weather Allows All Five Nights of Thrilling Action in Western Pa Speedweek

For the first time since its return three years ago, the weather allowed all five nights of Western Pennsylvania Speedweek to be completed without the threat of rain.

(Pictured above: AJ Flick scored a pair of wins and his second consecutive Speedweek title. Photo by Rick Rarer.)

The mini Speedweek, which featured five races in five nights at five different western Pennsylvania tracks, proved to be a hit with full fields of cars, nice crowds, and great racing over the five action-filled nights.

The first of five nights kicked off Wednesday night at Knox Raceway where local favorite Brandon Spithaler put on a repeat performance of his opening night win.

On a “cowboy up” race track, Brandon took the lead on lap fifteen and never looked back. His “hammer down” style put on a thrilling show for the fans as he went on for the win over Dan Kuriger, and Mike Bauer to kick off Speedweek.

On Thursday night, the action moved south to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, also known as the Monster Half Mile. Tonight the action would be the battle between defending Speedweek champ AJ Flick and racing legend Dave Blaney. The two would go wheel to wheel in the final stages of the race before Flick would take command and go on for the win over Blaney and central Pennsylvania invader Ryan Smith.

The win also boosted Flick to the Speedweek point lead, which he would never relinquish.

Friday night at Lernerville, the storyline would be the same where AJ Flick and Dave Blaney would do battle the majority of the thirty-lap feature. In the end, Flick would prevail for his second Speedweek win in as many nights. Dave would settle for the runner-up spot for the second night in a row while brother Dale Blaney would round out the podium in third.

Lernerville will be back in action this Friday with another Fab 4 racing program.

Saturday night action moved across the border to Sharon Speedway where Dave Blaney would use home-field advantage to dominate the night. Blaney would win his heat and then lap up to fifth place in the 30-lap feature for a more than convincing win. Dave Blaney is now two-for-two at his home track this season in a sprint car competition.

Central Pennsylvania invader Mark Smith thrilled the fans with his win at Tri-City on Sunday night. Photo by Rick Rarer.

Central Pennsylvania invader Mark Smith thrilled the fans with his win at Tri-City on Sunday night. Photo by Rick Rarer.

There will be no racing at Sharon this Saturday but action will resume on Tuesday, June 13, with the All-Star sprint cars for Ohio Speedweek.

Since 1996, the fifth and final night of Western Pennsylvania Speedweek has been held at Tri-City Raceway. On Sunday, fans would see central-Pa invader Mark Smith turn his week of bad luck around and lead all 25 laps on a very fast track to win the finale. With his fourth-place finish, AJ Flick would be crowned the Speedweek champion for the second year in a row.

2021 Speedweek champ Ryan Smith would finish second in the standings. Mike Bauer would finish third while Mark Smith and Dan Kuriger would round out the top five in Speedweek points. A total of 11 teams would compete in all five nights of action. Over $90,000 was awarded over the five days in prize money and points and fans are already looking forward to next year.

The International Professional Rodeo Association will be at Tri-City this coming Sunday but racing will return to the Speedway on June 18.

The BOSS Wingless Sprint Car Series will be in town this weekend as they make their only appearances of the season at Mercer Raceway on Saturday and then at Knox Raceway on Sunday for the first time. The BOSS sprint cars always put on a good show when they visit western Pennsylvania.

Rick’s Racing Roundup is brought to you by:

Gatesman Auto Body
Zacherl Motors
Kerle Tire Company
Bauer Truck Repair

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