Eriez Speedway ready for new season May 4, names Halpainy Race Director
Hamot, PA (April 30, 2014): Eriez Speedway will see some changes for 2014 but fans will see the first-rate racing they have come to expect since the Rohrer Family purchased the track prior to the 2006 season. One change in the schedule is a later starting time, expected to be beneficial to track conditions. Racing will now begin promptly at 6:30 PM. Track gates will open at 4:30 every Sunday afternoon beginning May 4.
The most notable change is that Steve Halpainy has been named Race Director. Halpainy will be responsible for directing the running of events each race night including line-ups, discipline, timing and scoring, wreck cleanup, track maintenance, and the overall conduct of events.
Halpainy comes to the job with impressive credentials. The Blockville, NY resident has been involved with racing most of his life. He started driving in the old V8 Sportsman division in 1977 and moved into the Super Late Model class in 1980, driving until 2008. Steve is married to Jamie Halpainy and has a daughter Allison and a son Jaik. Jaik, a former EMod competitor, is employed as an engineer with Michael Waltrip Racing, working on the Toyotas driven by Brian Vickers in Sprint Cup competition.
On track action will again be fast with six divisions racing every week. The Jay’s Auto Wrecking Super Late Models will again be the premier division with 2013 champion Rob Blair leading the pack. Former champions Mike Knight, Chris Hackett, Dave Hess Jr, Bump Hedman, and more of the area’s top Super Late Models will be trying to prevent that from happening. Steve Kania, a champion in the Conway & O’Malley Limited Late Models class and son of past champion Andy Kania, will be moving into the class. “Kid” Kania has developed a reputation for being a fierce competitor who can adapt to track conditions and the competition very rapidly and is expected to be a threat right from the start. Specials for the Super Late Models will include the Dick Litz Memorial and a giant show on August 3 when the NDRL Kings of Dirt will pay a visit to Eriez for a $10,000 to win event. The only support class that evening will be the Plyler Overhead Door E-Mods competing for $1000 to win.
The Bonnell Collision Center FASTRAK Late Models will again be on the Sunday card with returning champion Chad Wright ready for all challengers. Former champion Kyle Zimmerman is expected to be back to try to add another title to his resumé. Mike Knight, Chad Ruhlman, Billy Henry, Scott Gurdak, and other top crate drivers are expected to vie for the championship honors. Among new developments for the season is that RUSH Series tires will now be allowable in the crate class. Drivers running RUSH tires will be awarded track points but will not receive FASTRAK points nor will the race count for the twelve required for post season championship eligibility. The FASTRAK Touring Series will compete for $1200 to win on June 22.
The Plyler Overhead Door E-Mods will again be in competition with Rich Michael expected to defend his championship. Former champions Joel Watson and Dave Hess Jr will be working hard each week to be sure that doesn’t happen. Corry, PA driver Shane Crotty is expected to be adding to his win total as well. Gary Eicher, Gerry Kielar, past champion John Boyd, and Steve Dixon, the opening night winner in 2013, are also expected to race at the front of the pack this season. The JoAnne Clinger Memorial, the biggest race of the season for the Plyler Overhead Door E-Mods, will be run July 6.
2013 champion Ryan Scott is expected to again pace the Conway & O’Malley Limited Late Models with constant challenges from Chris McGuire, Dan Maxim, and former champion Chris Ottaway. Reports of new cars being built for the class hold the promise of a stronger field for this season. The annual Bob Vogt Memorial, memorializing one of the winningest drivers ever in the division, will be run July 20 and will again pay $1000 to win.
John Phelps was once voted by Eriez Speedway officials to be the most improved driver. In 2013 he proved them right when he continued to improve to the point of winning the Waterford Hotel Street Stocks Championship. He is expected to be at the front of the pack again in 2014 but will have plenty of competition. Chris Withers is expected to be back as well as Pat and Don McGuire, Mark Thompson, Eric Ester, and Joe Rohrer. With the Penn-Ohio Street Stock Series making an appearance, there should be no shortage of racers looking to take over at the top of the standings.
The Kandy’s Gentleman’s Club Challengers were paced each of the last two years by Kasey Hammond but Joe Beach, Jason Brightman, Tim Fisher, and Wes Stull have also been near the front, ready to step into the champion’s spot at anytime. The annual Dan McGarvie Memorial will be held on May 18 this year and will again pay $500 to win.
Besides the six regular classes the Patriot Sprints will be making appearances during the season, the first at Memorial Day weekend. The PA Vintage Dirt Mods will make an appearance on a special “Nostalgia Night” on June 8. June 29 will have a special “Kid’s Night” featuring bicycle give-a-ways. The annual Auto Racers for Kids Night will be July 27 and will feature clowns, face painting, magicians, balloon artists, and sand art. This annual benefit for area kids charities has become an annual tradition. Economods will be running at the track in a $500 to win special first-time appearance on August 24, which will also be the last points night for the season. The new RUSH Modified Series will make an appearance on June 22. Fireworks by Gibson will cap off the evening on twice, May 25, and again on August 31.
The season will again be capped off with a giant two-day event Friday and Saturday September 26-27 by the Second Annual September Sweep. In the event of rain during the Sweep, events will be made up on Sunday, September 28.
This schedule is subject to change, dates may possibly be added or deleted.