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Provided courtesy of The Monthly Post

Rweb Note: The Monthly Post is a print publication, based in the Pittsburgh airport area. Editor Peter Chase and writer Keith Koval have graciously agreed to share Keith's PPMS column with the community.
The Monthly Post has been in circulation for over four years and distributes 20,000+ copies in Western Allegheny County each month. It covers the towns of North Fayette, Findlay, Robinson, Moon, & Coraopolis. If you don't get The Monthly Post delivered to your home, you can pick up a copy in their display racks in most convenience stores and supermarkets (Shop'N Save, Giant Eagle, WalMart, etc.) and many local restaurants and businesses (Kings, Rite-Aid, National City, etc.). For more info on The Monthly Post, visit their website, located at
Keith Koval is a freelance journalist who covers local and regional racing for various publications including The Monthly Post and Motorsports Fan Report. Keith has a press pass for all the local and many of the regional raceways and gets the inside scoop on your favorite racing teams in addition to one-on-one interviews with many drivers. Contact Keith at .

The Season Thus Far

by Keith Koval

NORTH FAYETTE... If you read my column last month, you noticed that I said the weather should be improving since we are getting closer to summer. With that in mind, I hate to say that heading into the Memorial Day weekend, there were two straight weeks of rainouts at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. You will be glad to know that I will no longer be making predictions concerning the weather.

To date, there have been 40 different late model drivers that have earned points this season. The Late Model point battle is pretty close so far with Mark Banal holding an 8-point lead over Lynn Geisler. However, Geisler will not be a factor in the final outcome, as he will miss several races when his son Travis competes in the NASCAR Elite Touring Division. Travis' 1st scheduled race is June 6th in Nashville. Currently, Jim Zarin is third in points with Jim Lepro and Dave Wade rounding out the top five.
With his quick start, Scott Gunn is the early point leader in the Advance Auto Parts Limited Late Model division. However, with his victory last time out, Rich Apolito has jumped all the way up to second place, only 17 points behind Gunn. Jesse Burroughs, Tony Sinicrope and Mike Morgan round out the top five.
As the only driver with 3 wins so far at PPMS, Russ Matejka has built himself a comfortable lead in the E-modified division. Only 10 points separate second through fourth and Chuck Kennedy, Wayne Tessean and Ralph Hysong, Jr. hold those positions, respectively. Daryl Charlier is currently in the fifth position.
Darryl Robison has an early 39-point lead in the Isiminger's Pennzoil Pure Stocks division, the largest lead so far in any of the five racing divisions. Craig Kamicker is currently in second with Frank Schneider in third, Ron O'Patchen in fourth and Willie White in fifth.
Bill Robertson is the current leader in the Amateur Stock division and his 187 points are the most of any driver at PPMS. Josh Langer is in the second position but is only 2 points ahead of Bobby Siemon. Ian Tomei and Robby Torrens round out the top five.
Upcoming events in June
On June 7, a regular action event will be held that includes qualifying heats and feature races for all five of the racing divisions plus an appearance by the Pittsburgh Circle Track Club Senior Series. In addition, it will be Little League and Scouts night. All kids will be admitted free if they wear their uniform top. Take advantage of this opportunity to get your troop or little league team out to the speedway for an inexpensive and fun evening.
Act three of the late model Twin 20's is scheduled for June 14th. The first time the Twin 20's were run, John Flinner and John Mason picked up the victories. The second set of Twin 20's were rained out and rescheduled for May 24th. On June 21st, the Advance Auto Parts Limited Late Models will have a special event. In addition, there will be a complete program for the other divisions.
A new event is planned for Tuesday, June 24th. See the Late Model and Limited Late Model drivers compete on "Topless Tuesday" without the roofs on their cars. Gates open at 5 PM and racing gets underway at 7 PM.
Colussy Cheverolet will be presenting the racing action on June 28th. Included in the evening is a regular action event along with the second demolition derby of the season which will get underway immediately following the regular racing program.
For more information on the racing program at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, call the business office during the week at 724-853-7223 or visit the web site at

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Start of Season Notes
By Keith Koval

N. FAYETTE - The open practice session scheduled for March 22nd at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway was cancelled due to inclement weather. It was rescheduled for Saturday, March 29th. Because of all of this, opening night has been moved back to Saturday, April 5th. There is a new starting time in 2003. Gates open at 5 PM with the racing action to begin at 7 PM. For more information, you can call the track office at (724) 853-7223 or check the website at

New flagman for 2003 season
Denny Carson will be the new flagman at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. He replaces 14-year veteran Greg Wheeling who stepped down at the end of the 2002 season. Carson is also the flagman at Motordrome Speedway in Smithton, PA.

Driver Updates
F.B. Fuhrer Motorsports has announced their continued sponsorship of two drivers at PPMS. Yuengling Lager will be the sponsor of Dave Wade, driver of #76 in the QPI Tools Late Model Division. It has been announced that Coors Light will be the main sponsor for AJ Poljak in the Isiminger's Pennzoil Pure Stock Division. In addition to Coors Light, Poljak has also picked up sponsorship from Brown Timber & Land Company. This company is owned by Neil Brown, a competitor in the Falconi Dodge Late Model Division at Motordrome Speedway.
Keith Barbara, the 2001 QPI Tools Late Model champion at PPMS, has announced that he will be competing for the championship in the Mid-Atlantic Championship Series (MACS) this season. Barbara will be driving the #93x late model owned by Jack Curry and sponsored by the Falconi Auto Group.
"I got hooked up with that team for the Pittsburgher last year," Keith said. "We went to Mercer and Challenger last season and things went pretty well so here we are. We are going to hit the MACS Series this year. For me, I don't like racing the same track over and over again. I like to get out and try different situations and track conditions."
When the MACS series is not racing, Barbara will be competing in selected events in his family-owned #17 late model. This car is sponsored by Ran Group Racing Tours, Josh's Auto & Painting, Sam & Craig's Detailing Plus and First Light Professional Photographic Images. Barbara has competed in two events in his own car so far in 2003. Both times he has finished 9th. These races were held at the Hagerstown Speedway and at the Challenger Raceway.
Rick Meglaye, a regular competitor in the e-mod division at Latrobe and Challenger, has announced that he will start the 2003 season racing at PPMS. In addition, he will be following the York Triathlon Series. Meglaye's #5 modified is a nice looking car with a white body that has green, black and red trim. He is receiving sponsorship from Bumper to Bumper Auto Part Specialists of Gibsonia, Ashley's Truck Service, Slavic Custom Racing Shirts & Decals and Simon Racing Supply.
Veteran PPMS late model driver Jim Lepro has decided against racing for points at any one track. Instead, Lepro will tour the local racing circuit hitting all of the big money events. The driver of the #6 late model sponsored by Bud's Place in Carrick and Zappi Oil says that economics has played a part in his decision.
"We would like to travel around a little bit and get some more experience in the big shows," Lepro said. "Really, running for points doesn't pay that well when you look at the fact that you have to consistently run there every week."

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2003 Preseason Activities

A tentative 2003 race schedule at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway has been released. There will be twenty-five Action Events and Special Events for the weekly divisions. The racing divisions will include the QPI Tools Late Models, Advance Auto Parts Limited Late Models, E-Modifieds, Isiminger's Pennzoil Pure Stocks, Amateur Stocks, as well as Dirt Divas, a new female novice class.
The schedule begins with a practice day on March 22nd. There will be four other open practice sessions mixed into the season. These Test 'N Tune sessions will be held on Wednesday evenings and are scheduled for May 14th, June 18th, July 9th and August 6th. Grandstand admission to these events is free.
The first weekend of racing action will be March 29th, and there will be racing each weekend until the final Action Event on September 13th. All of this, of course, is weather permitting. There will be four Late Model Twin 20's intermixed with the regular schedule. These events are two twenty-lap races for the late model division and usually have special rules for the evening. They are scheduled for April 26th, May 17th, June 21st and August 23rd.  There are four demolition derbys scheduled for May 31st, June 28th, July 26st and August 30th.
There are several Special Events that will be held during the season. On July 5th, the E-Modifieds division will race in the Dan Burns Memorial. Last season, Wayne Tessean of Austintown, OH picked up the victory and a $1,069 payday. On August 30th, the Jook George Memorial Fall Classic will be held for the limited late model division. Gary Cellone of McDonald was the 2002 winner of this event.
The Mid Atlantic Championship Series (MACS) will make one lone appearance at the Monster Half Mile during the 2003 season. On August 2nd, the forty lap Nick Garin Memorial will be held. Tim Hitt was the winner of this race in 2002. Hitt also won the Penn National 50 last season which was also MACS sanctioned. However, this season it does not appear that the MACS Series will sanction this race, and it has been changed to the Penn National 100. This race will be held July 12th.
The 2003 season concludes with the running of the 15th Annual Renegade DirtCar "Pittsburgher 100." This event has turned into one of the most prestigious dirt-track races in the country. The four days of racing will be held September 18-21. Last year, a total purse of $75,000 was paid out and Rick Aukland of Zanesville, OH bettered 75 other drivers to pick up the victory and the $22,000 first prize. Aukland joins Scott Bloomquist, Davey Johnson and Tim Hitt as multiple winners of the "Pittsburgher 100." Bloomquist and Johnson have both won this event three times while Hitt and Aukland both have two victories. Bob Wearing, Jr., Donnie Moran, Todd Andrews and Chub Frank have won this event once each.
If the upcoming season is anything like the 2002 season, there promises to be some great racing action at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. For more information on any of the above races, or for ticket information, you can call the speedway office at 724-853-RACE (7223) or log onto their website at

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