Weller Returns to Victory Lane as the United Racing Club Returns
to Big Diamond
Friday night's $1,500 victory couldn't have come at a better time for
Josh Weller and the 25 Eldreth Trucking team. Weller gained valuable
points on 2014 URC Champion Davie Franek and 8 Time URC Champion Curt
Michael. Not to mention Saturday nights National Open for 360 Sprints at
Selinsgrove Speedway is one of biggest paydays of the year.
A field of 24 cars entered the pits of Big Diamond for their Friday
night show. Two New York invaders came down as Joe Trenca from Clay New
York, and Justin Barger from Westchester New York both won their
respective head races. The third and final heat race was won by Josh
Weller. The consolation event was won by Larry Kelleher. The "0" pill
was drawn for the 3rd race in a row creating a heads up start from the
The New York duo of Joe Trenca and Justin Barger lead the 21 United
Racing Club sprint cars to the green flag. Trenca quickly jumped out to
the lead but entering the 3rd turn on the 2nd lap Josh Weller made the
move of the race sliding under Trenca and taking the lead. A lap 3
caution would bunch the field back up this time with Weller in front,
Trenca 2nd, Barger 3rd, Davie Franek 4th and Curt Michael in the 5th
At the drop of the green, Weller took off with the field in line and
continued to lead until a lap 18 spin by Tyler Ross bunched the field
back up. Weller had entered heavy lapped traffic and at the time 2nd
place Justin Barger was closing the gap. As the field took off Weller
taking advantage of the "clean air" jumped out to the lead until a scary
lap 22 crash brought out the red flag stopping all sprint cars on the
track. Tyler Ross hit the wall 1/2 way between turns 3 and 4 and exited
the racing facility. The red flag was displayed for a number of minutes
as Ross exited the car and a pair of tow trucks retrieved the 25 car
from outside the facility. Ross was reported as ok and was seen
attending to the car after the races but the 25e appeared to be a total
With the green ready to be dropped again Weller continued to lead
followed by Barger, Trenca, Michael and Robbie Stillwaggon from the 9th
starting position. Around lap 10 defending URC champion Davie Franek
dropped off the pace a bit appearing to have some trouble with the 28f
machine. Franek continued to battle and would finish in the 9th
With a three lap shootout ready to be played out the minds of the
fans reverted back to a few weeks ago when a similar three lap shootout
involving Steve Buckwalter, Mark Smith, and Curt Michael brought the
crowd to their feet at Williams Grove Speedway and ultimately landing
Curt Michael in victory lane. At the drop of the green Weller shot out
to the lead again and gained valuable real estate down the back stretch.
Weller continued to hold the lead and crossed the checkered flags first
winning his first feature of the 2015 racing season. New Yorker's Joe
Trenca and Justin Barger were 2nd and 3rd on the night, followed by Curt
Michael and Robbie Stillwaggon.
Feature Finish -- 1. Josh Weller, 2. Joe Trenca, 3. Justin Barger, 4.
Curt Michael, 5. Robbie Stillwaggon 6. Jason Clauss, 7. Randy West, 8.
Troy Betts, 9. Davie Franek, 10. Jimmy Stitzel, 11. Brad Franks, 12.
Scott Lutz, 13, Keith Prutzman, 14. Kevin Albert, 15. Mark Bitner, 16.
Art Liedl, 17. Jason Cherry, 18. Tyler Ross, 19. Larry Kelleher, 20. JR
Berry, 21. Andy Best.
DNQ -- Jonathan Swanson, Brett Michalski, Jamie Bodo, Jason Cherry --
Curt Michael Parks It at the Dirty Jersey 3
Curt Michael parked the 5g of Bill Gallagher in victory lane at the
Dirty Jersey 3 presented by Brett Deyo. With 21 cars on hand, the cars
were divided into 3 heat races with 7 cars in each. Heat race winners
went to Curt Michael, Mark Smith and Justin Hoffman. With the invert
possibility being 0,3,6, or 9, Michael pulled the 0 pill which meant a
heads up start for the feature.
Michael and Smith lead the field of 21 URC Sprint Cars to the green
flag with Michael quickly jumping out to the lead. A lap 4 spin by top 5
running Stewart Friesen bunched up the field again. Michael jumped to
the lead, but 2nd place running Mark Smith slowed in turns 1-2 bringing
out the caution once again. Smith headed to the work area and returned
before the green flag was displayed again.
Just over halfway into the feature, the 33 of Stewart Friesen headed
to the pits, and on lap 20, the 89 of Robbie Stillwaggon spun in turns
3-4. Stillwaggon refired and joined the rear of the field. A lap 21
incident involving Justin Hoffman’s left rear coming off in turns 3-4
bunched up the field again, and brought the 28f of Davie Franek right to
Michael’s rear bumper.
Michael led the field to the green flag once more this time for a 2
lap shootout. Franek could get close to Michael, but couldn’t mount a
challenge for the lead. Michael crossed the checkers first for his 3rd
win of the year and increased his points lead in the process. The top 5
were Michael, Franek, Weller, Smith (from the tail of the field) and
URC will next be back in action on Friday night, June 19th, at Big
Diamond Speedway. The next night at Selinsgrove will be the $10,000 to
win National 360 Open.
Finishing order: 1. Curt Michael, 2. Davie Franek, 3. Josh Weller, 4.
Mark Smith, 5. Tyler Ross, 6. Robbie Stillwaggon, 7. Neal Williams, 8.
Troy Betts, 9. Randy West, 10. Andy Best, 11. Mike Haggenbottom, 12. Art
Liedl, 13. Brad Franks, 14. Brett Michalski, 15. Mark Bitner, 16. Justin
Hoffman, 17. Jimmy Stitzel, 18. Keith Prutzman, 19. Stewart Friesen, 20.
Jonathan Swanson, 21. David Swanson.
Mark Smith Simply Unstoppable at Selinsgrove
Mark Smith visited Victory Lane for the 4th time at Selinsgrove and
the 3rd time this year with the United Racing Club. Smith who started in
the 5th spot needed just 13 laps to take control of the race and go onto
A field of 28 URC Sprints assembled for the 2nd night of the 2 night
weekend. Heat races were won by Robbie Stillwaggon, Jason Schultz, and
Ryan Kissinger and the Consolation race was won by Curt Michael just one
day after winning an exciting feature at Williams Grove Speedway.
After Stillwaggon drew the 0 invert number the feature line up was
determined by the heads up start from the heat races. Jason Schultz and
Robbie Stillwaggon lead the field to the green flag. Schultz quickly
jumped out into the lead with 23 URC sprinters closely following the 29
car. Mark Smith was on a mission marching from his 5th starting spot to
take the lead on lap 13 only to have the red flag displayed for an
incident involving Mallie Shuster who went out over the turn 1-2 way.
Although the 49 car was completely destroyed Shuster walked away
Before the field could get back in order a freak incident involving
the 5g of Curt Michael hitting the starters cone on the front stretch
ripped the brake line from the 5g. Michael was retired for the night. On
the restart nothing was going to prevent the 1M of Mark Smith to take
the lead from Jason Schultz. Smith would go on to lead the last 1/2 of
the race. Following Smith across the checkers was TJ Stutts from the 9th
starting position, Jason Schultz, Robbie Stillwaggon and Ryan Kissinger
rounding out the top 5.
URC's is next in action at the Brett Deyo promoted Dirty Jersey 3 on
Thursday night June 11th at the New Egypt Speedway.
Feature Finish, 1. Mark Smith, 2. TJ Stutts, 3. Jason Schultz, 4
Robbie Stillwaggon, 5. Ryan Kissinger, 6. Cody Keller, 7. Josh Weller,
8. Davie Franek, 9. Derek Locke, 10. Tyler Ross, 11. Eric Parker, 12.
Troy Betts, 13. Jason Clauss, 14. Coby Womer, 15. Jordan Thomas, 16.
Justin Hoffman, 17. Brad Franks, 18. Jim Shuster, 19. Derek Steward, 20.
Mike Walter, 21. Art Liedl, 22. Curt Michael, 23. Mallie Shuster, 24.
DNQ. Kevin Albert, Michael Thomas, Charlie Anderson and PJ Williams
Curt Michael and the United Racing Club Make a Statement at
Eight time URC Champion, Curt Michael, driving the Bill Gallagher 5g
made a statement that he is a force to be reckoned with for the 2015 URC
Championship in winning the feature event after battling with Steve
Buckwalter and Mark Smith.
The United Racing Club made the statement that the Club is Back! With
42 sprint cars filling the Williams Grove pits, a handful of 410 drivers
doing double duty, along with the New York Invaders, Jason Barney and
Chuck Hebing, the United Racing Club Feature was the best of the year at
the fast 1/2 mile speedway.
Four heat races were on tap with 5 to qualify out of a starting grid
of 10-11 cars in each, making just qualifying a task. After the pill
draw, many of the top 360 drivers had their work cut out for them.
Heat race wins went to Aaron Ott, Greg Hodnett, Chuck Hebing and Mark
Smith. Heat race 2 was red flagged by a multi car accident involving
David Swanson, PJ Williams, Robbie Stillwaggon, Mike Walter, and Danny
Dietrich. David Swanson's badly damaged race car was the only car able
to refire, but Swanson returned the 117 to the pits 1 lap later. The
Consolation event was more of a feature event with 23 cars scheduled to
start. With the likes of Stillwaggon, Josh Weller, Danny Dietrich, and
Jason Schultz, racing into the top 5 was going to be a challenge. The
consi was won by Josh Weller in the Eldreth Construction #25.
The feature event was by far the best in recent memory of the United
Racing Club. Leading the 25 starters to the green flag were Jason Barney
and Larry Kelleher. Barney and Kelleher battled for the lead, with
Kelleher leading for around 10 laps before the strong field finally
caught up to him. Steve Buckwalter and Mark Smith charged from their 6th
and 9th starting positions with Buckwalter taking the lead. Multi-time
URC Champion Curt Michael also worked his way into the mix with the 5g
advancing from his 5th starting position. Aaron Ott and Greg Hodnett,
both doing double duty, advanced their way into the top 5 as well. Just
as the top 3 of Buckwalter, Smith and Michael were ready to duke it out,
the caution came out providing a 2 lap shootout for the fans’ enjoyment.
With Buckwalter leading Michael and Smith to the green flag, the
excitement was building as the 3 drivers entered turn 1. Exiting turn 2
the line up stayed the same with Michael making a move down the
backstretch, and Smith wanting a part of the lead as well. With the 3
entering turn 3, almost 3 wide, Michael was able to make the slide job
stick and lead the field to the white flag lap. Michael entered turn 1
with Buckwalter and Smith stalking him. Michael was able to keep the
lead off of exit 2 but Smith was now in control of 2nd place and trying
to run down Michael for the lead. Michael triumphantly lead the field to
the checkers closely followed by Mark Smith, Steve Buckwalter, Aaron
Ott, and Larry Kelleher.
This was Michael's 2nd win on the year, now tying him with Mark Smith
who also has 2 with URC as well. This was also Michael's 3rd win in a
360 at Williams Grove, and now his 51st win all time with URC.
URC sprints, 25 laps: 1. Curt Michael, 2. Mark Smith, 3. Steve
Buckwalter, 4. Aaron Ott, 5. Larry Kelleher, 6. Greg Hodnett, 7. Jason
Barney, 8. Tyler Ross, 9. Glenndon Forsythe, 10. Robbie Stillwaggon, 11.
Ryan Kissinger, 12. Chuck Hebing, 13. Tim Wagaman, 14. Cody Lehman, 15.
Davie Franek, 16. Eric Tomecek, 17. Josh Weller, 18. Troy Betts, 19.
Derek Locke, 20. Mark Bitner, 21. Bryn Gohn, 22. Justin Hoffman, 23.
Keith Prutzman, 24. Mallie Shuster, 25. David Swanson
DNQ: Jonathan Swanson, Eric Riggins, Art Leidl, PJ Williams, Chris
Arnold, Danny Dietrich, Mike Walter, Scott Lutz, Jason Cherry, JR Berry,
Jason Schultz, Adam Lyman, Brad Franks, Leah Starner, Kevin Albert,
Jason Clauss, Jimmy Stitzel
A Two Race Weekend on Tap for URC
After a few weeks off The United Racing Club will return to action
Friday night June 5th at the famed Williams Grove Speedway. This is the
first visit to Williams Grove this year and the 358/360 Sprint Car
Challenge will be sure to draw some of the best in the business. On
Saturday night the United Racing Club will return to Selinsgrove for
their 2nd visit of the year. The last visit to Selinsgrove Speedway
Robbie Stillwaggon and the 89 Quality Auto Body sprint car lead most of
the race only to be passed late by a charging Mark Smith. Stillwaggon
will be looking to finish what he started at the Jack Gunn Memorial
In addition to next weekend the United Racing Club has added another
race at Bridgeport Speedway. After a 4 year absence from the facility
the United Racing Club opened its season at Bridgeport Speedway in late
April. With the success of the first Bridgeport event, the Speedway has
decided to offer a 2nd date on July 15th. This midweek show will produce
plenty of excitement on the ultra fast 5/8 mile facility. On tap will be
the United Racing Club and the 358 Modifieds.
With only 4 races in the books the 2015 United Racing Club campaign
has been a very successful one consistently drawing numbers in the mid
to upper 20’s along with some of the best racing around. United Racing
Club has visited Bridgeport, Selinsgrove, Susquehanna and Georgetown
Speedway. Event winners have been former URC Champions Curt Michael and
Davie Franek. Mark Smith swept an early May double header weekend.
With The Pressure on "No Panic" Proves up to the Challenge
Whoever said quantity is better than quality was obviously not at
Georgetown Speedway on Friday Night for the United Racing Club's visit
to the fast 1/2 mile speedway. Seventeen of the best 360 sprint car
drivers the area has to offer assembled into the pit area for the $2,000
to win event.
Even though a full field was not in the pit area there was still
plenty of talent with 8 time URC champion Curt Michael on hand with the
5G owned by Bill Gallagher. Previous URC champions Davie "No Panic"
Franek and Robbie Stillwaggon were also on hand. Young Hot Show Tyler
Ross was on hand with the 25e Eldreth Construction sprint car, and his
teammate Josh Weller also made their way to the first state. Local
Delaware favorites PJ Williams and Troy Betts were also signed into the
With two exciting heat races won by Josh Weller and Davie Franek the
0 invert pill was pulled for a heads up feature line up. The front row
of Franek and Weller lead the field to the drop of the green flag.
Franek got an early jump on Weller into the first turn. The 8w of Rookie
PJ Williams got a little high almost going over the banking, while
Williams lost a few positions from his 8th place starting spot he
gathered it up and headed down the backstretch. The field quickly slowed
for the spinning of the Brad Franks 12 car in turn 2 along with trouble
for the 23j of Jake Eldreth (making his first URC Start) on the front
stretch. While Franks refired and joined the back of the field Jake
Eldreth was towed off and done for the night. URC utilized a single file
restart with the top 5 of Franek, Weller, Ross, Stillwaggon and Andy
Best. On the start Franek again jumped out the lead with Stillwaggon
immediately pressuring Ross for the 3rd spot. By the 3rd lap Curt
Michael moved into 5th from his 7th place starting position. A lap 6
caution for the spinning PJ Williams in turns 3-4 would again bunch up
the field. Franek again would jump out to a sizeable lead over Weller,
Ross, Stillwaggon, and Michael. Ross pressured Weller for the runner up
spot but was unable to make the move stick. Michael passed Stillwaggon
and was now in the top 4 when the caution would again come out, this
time for debris in turn 2.
The restart again proved to be no different than before as Franek
would jump out to the lead, Curt again pressured from the start and
passed Ross for 3rd and immediately charged towards Weller for the 2nd
spot. A nasty flip down the front stretch involving Will Eggimann
brought out the nights only red flag. Eggimann emerged from the car
unhurt but the 77w is a total loss. The top 5 on the restart was Franek,
Weller, Michael, Ross and Stillwaggon. While Franek jumped out to the
lead on the restart Michael immediately pressured and passed Weller for
the runner up spot until the caution came out again. With Michael now in
2nd place the heat was on "No Panic" Franek to live up to his name and
drive his own race. The restart again saw Franek jump out to the lead
with Michael close in tow. Michael would mount a charge on Franek
multiple times but the 28F would continuously shut the door on the 5g of
Michael. Franek would take his first URC sprint car win of the year with
the top 5 completed by Michael, Weller, Stillwaggon and Jason Clauss.
Finishing Order Franek, Michael, Weller, Stillwaggon, Clauss, Ross,
Best, Betts, D. Swanson, Williams, J. Swanson, Cherry, Franks, Eggimann,
C. Darling, Eldreth. DNS West.
Smith Sweeps the Weekend with a Win at Susquehanna Speedway
On Sunday night May 3rd, Mark Smith and his Mach 1 Chassis sponsored
360 sprint car took the win in the 2nd night of the 358/360 challenge
races. Smith, who has been on fire this year, has already won in Florida
and the Selinsgrove’s Jack Gunn Memorial the night before. With the top
8 being inverted from the heat races, 2014 URC Champion Davie Franek,
and the 25 of Josh Weller lead the field of 24 starters to the green
flag. Unfortunately, the caution was immediately displayed due to the 12
of Brad Franks spinning in turns 1-2. A second restart was called back
due to the 44 John Braim stopping in turns 1-2. The 98 of New York
invader Joe Trenca also received some attention during this yellow flag.
They say the 3rd time is a charm, and this time Davie Franek took the
early lead with Josh Weller close in tow. Josh Weller took a run at
Franek in turn 3 on the 4th lap and looped it. Surprisingly enough, no
other contact was made and the Eldreth Construction #25 was able to
re-fire and start at the back of the pack. A single file restart was in
order, and again Franek jumped out to the lead. Mark Smith passed Curt
Michael and set his sights on the 28 of Davie Franek. Smith quickly
pressured Franek for the lead, overtaking Franek on lap 4. Lap 5 saw the
#4 Jimmy Stitzel facing the wrong way in turn 1. With 5 laps down, Smith
was leading, followed by Franek, Michael, Ott, and New York Invader
Jason Barney completing the top 5. Multi-time URC Champion Curt Michael
just wasn’t going to give up. Michael, who won a 360 race at Susquehanna
in the Fall, again had his sights set on the red #28 of Franek. Michael
continuously pressured Franek for the runner up spot, with a slide jobon
lap 14 finally making it stick. A lap 16 spin by the #4 of Jimmy Stitzel
would bunch up the field and give Michael the valuable real estate he
needed to be right on Smith’s bumper for the restart. Michael set his
sights on Smith next, pressuring him in turns 1-2 multiple times. A lap
20 caution again put the GEI Valley Force Inc. #5g right on the back
bumper of Smith. Smithkept the lead and pulled away at the end. The top
5 were Mark Smith, Curt Michael, Aaron Ott, Davie Franek and Jason
Barney. A stout field of 39 360 Sprint Cars were on hand for the night’s
events. Notable entries were New York invaders, Jason Barney, Justin
Barger, and Joe Trenca. Some 410 regulars also were on hand with Mark
Smith, Glenndon Forsythe and Aaron Ott. Heat wins went to Justin Barger,
Aaron Ott, Robbie Stillwaggon, and Mark Smith. The B main was won by
Tyler Ross. No Provisionals were used. URC has Mother’s day weekend off
but will be back in action in the First State with a race at Georgetown
Speedway on Friday, May 15th. Pits open at 4pm, General Admission at
5:30 and racing begins at 7pm.
Mark Smith Takes Jack Gunn Memorial
A strong field of 32 sprints were on hand for the 35th
Annual Mark Smith Memorial race paying a cool $3,500 to the winner.
Pole sitter Mark Smith and Robbie Stillwaggon lead the field of 26 to
the green flag. Stillwaggon quickly jumped out to the lead followed by
Josh Weller in the Eldreth Sprinter. Lap 4 brought a caution with the 29
Jason Schultz the victim of a flat left rear. Once the rear was changed
the field went back green. Mark Smith shot under Josh Weller in turns
3-4 to take over second on lap 5. Already a winner at Selinsgrove Davie
Franek was on the move on lap 7 over taking invader Jessica Zemkin. A
lap 8 red flag was brought out for a wreck involving 29 Jason Schultz
who eventually went over. Others involved were 25e Tyler Ross, 66 Ryan
Kissinger, and 99 Cody Keller. All 4 drivers were retired for the
On the lap 8 restart Stillwaggon again jumped back out to the lead
with Smith again trying taking a run at Stillwaggon on lap 9.
Stillwaggon would retain the lead. The front runners started catching
lapped traffic on lap 16 with allowed Smith to once again catch
Stillwaggon. At the halfway point the top 5 were Stillwaggon, Smith,
Weller, Franek and Ott.
Lap 21 Smith would again take a run at Stillwaggon in turns 3-4.
Smith got up into the loose stuff but was able to recover without
loosing any positions. Lap 28 Smith's run finally stuck as he lead at
the start finish line. Smith would pull away for a comfortable 1.4
second lead at the end of the 30 lap feature. Heat wins went to
defending URC Champion Davie Franek, Derek Locke, Jason Schultz, and
multiple time URC Champion Curt Michael winning the fourth and final
heat race by .050 of a second.
The teams will have just enough time to wash the cars and preform
some general maintenance before heading off to Susquehanna Speedway Park
for tonight's challenge race again with the 358 division.
United Racing Club will then be off until the 15th when they return
to the first state and the Georgetown Speedway.
360 Sprint Cars – 32 Entries 30-Lap A-Main: 1) 1 Mark Smith 2) 89
Robbie Stillwaggon 3) 25 Aaron Ott 4) 23 TJ Stutts 5) 28F Davie Franek
6) 1W Eric Tomecek 7) 5G Curt Michael 8) 77 Derek Locke 9) 25 Josh
Weller 10) 5 Justin Barger 11) 08 Jason Claus 12) 1Z Jessica Zemken 13)
76 Larry Kelleher 14) 33W Michael Walter II 15) F5 Mark Bitner 16) 19
Colby Womer 17) 66 Ryan Kissinger 18) 22 Troy Betts 19) 39 Eric Parker
20) M16 Justin Hoffman 21) 12B Brad Franks 22) 29S Derek Steward 23) 56
Randy West 24) 25E Tyler Ross 25) 99K Cody Keller 26) 29 Jason Shultz
Heat Winner: Davie Franek, Derek Locke, Jason Shultz, Curt Michael
B-Main Winner: Tyler Ross
Broadsliding with Bev
Bridgeport –Sunday April 12th, 2015
No, you didn’t read that byline wrong. Yes, I’m still alive and well and
living in Newtown, PA. And no, I’m not returning to write a column
weekly about sprint cars, but I couldn’t help myself after visiting
Bridgeport Speedway this past Sunday. We are now avid boaters as many of
my Facebook friends know and for the past two winters have been living
on our boat down in Florida. Life has been good post racing and while we
sometimes enjoy watching our grandsons run quarter midgets at Atco, we
don’t get to very many races anymore. Bruce does not want to be bitten
by the racing bug, so he stays away. Me, I still miss the people!
This past weekend though we returned to Bridgeport Speedway in NJ as
guests, which included The United Racing Club’s opener. It was an honor
to be included in the celebration of the “club” returning to a
membership club that only wants what’s best for the racers, fans and
racetracks. Having been involved with URC for more than a dozen years as
racers, media, board members and President, Bruce and I never agreed
with the club turning into a company but understand why it happened. We
thank Bill Gallagher and URC for including us in this historic day. Bill
is the driving force behind the membership and along with a handful of
folks will hopefully return URC into the strong club it once was.
Bridgeport also holds a special place in my heart as it was the first
racetrack I ever drove a sprint car. We rented the track for a day with
several other racers and I got to run my #10 URC sprinter there for many
practice laps. The facility is much nicer than I remember and I think
that Dave Adams and Keith Hoffman have done a wonderful job of promoting
this track. Owner, Brian Ramey has put money into this place and it
shows. They are kid friendly and run a very efficient show. We were
impressed with car counts and the officials. The bathrooms were great
(such a women thing). My only wish is that the track was physically
smaller. It would be SO much racier and would allow fans to watch closer
competition if they’d just cut it down a bit. At least that’s how the
sprint car fans and racers feel. We all think cars get too spread out
and it’s boring to watch.
The new dirt put on the track this year made for a smooth dusty surface.
It’s often hard to tell how a surface will remain for the season for
several reasons. Judging it by the first race is tough because of
weather, wind, cold, recent rain and new clay. I believe dirt track prep
is one of the hardest jobs there is, so I always reserved judgment until
June, when we raced. Bridgeport’s track was what I would have expected
early in the season.
It was in May of 1948 (and no I wasn’t born back then) that the very
first URC race took place at Lockport, NY, with only 9 cars in
attendance. The first Champion was Bob Cooney and people like Harry
Johnson, Shorty Pritzbur, Jules Furslew and Carl Miller were all
instrumental in making that first year a success and car counts grew
each week. They even had a banquet that first year, imagine that! The
subsequent years that followed proved even more successful and the
working man’s club flourished, thanks to guys like Louis Kunz and Bill
Bauer. It was April 29th, 1973 that URC first raced Bridgeport and Harry
Benjamin was the winner that day with Toby Tobias running 2nd. Leroy
Felty would go on to become the URC Champion that year and car counts
were good. If you ask me URC’s hay-days were during the 80’s and 90’s
but maybe I’m prejudice because that’s when we were involved with the
It’s been four years since URC has raced Bridgeport when Daryn Pittman
and JJ Grasso were the winners in 2011. The 22 racers and car owners
were excited to return there to race and many expressed to me how happy
they were to be there and be part of the club camaraderie again. Some
teams talked to me about wanting it to be fun again. They claim the last
3 years have been pretty bad.
Several retired URC racers as well as officials and friends were present
to kick off Sunday’s race. A few past Champions that I talked with were
(1975, 76) Gary Gollup and (1994) Greg Coverdale. Both are doing well
and happy. Other former racers on hand included Stew Brown, Tm Hogue and
Bruce Thompson. Past owners Rick Shive, Pat and Kathy Palladino, Larry
and Jan Gilbert, and Fred Kennedy were there as well. Former URC
officials, Flo Fling along with daughter Stephanie Hill as well as Bob
Hafner were there supporting the opener. It was also good to see so many
old friends. It was very nostalgic for me.
Many of the racing faces at Bridgeport on Sunday have been supporting
URC for many years, even through the last 9 years of the Company.
Eight-time Champion Curt Michael is in full support of the renewed club
atmosphere and won his 50th career win in fine style. The Michael family
have been long time racing folks with Brother Sean a former driver as
well. Mom and Dad were on hand to support their favored driver and the
new club racing. Curt still is smooth and fast and I enjoyed seeing him
in the green #5G. Many others that have been supporters of URC for at
least 8-10 years including Mike Haggenbottom, Mark Bitner, Randy West,
Josh Weller, Dave Betts, Dave Franek, Jason Clauss, Jimmy Stitzel and
Robbie Stillwaggon. Most of these URC teams are family affairs with
support from local businesses in their towns as well as other family
Speaking of Josh Weller, he is a nice young man who drives for long time
URC owner, past President and past board member, Ken Eldreth. The
Eldreth family has supported URC for many years and at one time had son
Jon driving. They now support two cars, including the #25e driven by 21
year old Tyler Ross who finished a solid 5th. Josh drove an excellent
race and put the good looking #25 in second place, giving Curt a run for
his money. The two Eldreth cars will be a force to be reckoned with this
year I’m sure.
There was only one sprint car flip all day which is pretty good
considering it was opening day. The unfortunate one was Jason Cherry, in
turn one during the feature, driving the Cherry family #67. He bent the
frame and had his bell rung, but was back in the pits assessing the
damage so they could regroup.
I got a chance to visit with the Swanson Family who supports two cars.
Younger brother David Swanson drives the family red #117. He finished
13th in the feature. Dave will run a limited schedule due to his work
schedule as a NJ policeman. Older brother Jonathan who drives the red
#17j dropped from the feature early with a flat tire. Both were running
Kriner motors and both look forward to supporting the new URC.
Almost nineteen year old rookie, Brad Franks driving the 12B will be
running the URC schedule this year. He finished 12th in the feature on
Sunday and was giving the car a good shake down. Speaking of rookies, I
know this isn’t sprint car stuff, but congrats to Tommy Tanner who won
the DA’s Auto Body Rookie Feature on Sunday at Bridgeport. He will be a
Sportsman to watch this year as he drives the family #93.
Getting the distance award was Chuck Hebing from Ontario, NY with his
#45. Chuck led the field at the drop of the green but had some problems
with his power steering and was a DNF getting paid for 19th. He was
driving the car his daughter uses in the 305 division.
Some new/old URC officials include Glenn (Stretch) Fitzcharles Jr who I
know will do a great job as Race Director. As a former crew chief for
his dad, Stretch has already worked several years as an official and
grew up around racing. Billy Gallagher has official experience and will
be an asset as well. Mimi, (sorry don’t know your last name) will also
be a big help. The club will use track scorers and flagman due to a
They have a limited amount of money to advertise and need new sponsors
to support their 22 race schedule. Their payout is consistent with what
it was with the company and will pay $2000 to win on a regular or
special sponsored race and $1500 to win a regular non sponsored event.
They will pay $200 /$250 to take the green and their total payout varies
from $8500 to $10,045 depending on sponsorship. They will be returning
to Central PA at tracks like Williams Grove, Selinsgrove and Port Royal
and Susquehanna, which I think is exciting. I am looking forward to
watching the growth they will make and maybe even catching another race
here or there this season.
Please support them this year. Check out the club website and schedule
at: unitedracingclub.net Then go watch some racing with the oldest
continuous sprint car club in America. You can reach Bill Gallagher with
questions at: 610-960-0440. Their next race will be May 2, for the Jack
Gunn Memorial at Selinsgrove.
Bev Thompson is a former URC, Central PA, sprint car
columnist, who wrote for Area Racing News for 15 years, as well as
posting her column on Hoseheads. Her husband Bruce drove stock cars and
sprint cars for many years, as did their son Len, who drove sprint cars
in Central PA. Now their grandson’s Mike and Owen drive quarter-midgets.
With the sun setting in the distance, New York Invader Chuck
Hebing led the 20 URC Sprints to the green flag. Before a lap was completed,
the potent, Bill Gallagher owned 5G with Curt Michael in the driver’s seat
overtook Hebing coming out of turn 4. From lap 1 until 25, Curt Michael led
the 2015 URC Season opener, scoring the 50th URC win of his career.
Before the 2nd lap could be completed, the 17J of Jonathan
Swanson stopped in turn 1. During the caution, Robbie Stillwaggon headed to
the pits only to return just prior to the green flag. On the restart, Curt
Michael led with Chuck "Cobra" Hebing close in tow along with Josh Weller,
Troy Betts and Jimmy Stitzel rounding out the top 5. On lap 3 Weller
overtook Hebing for the runner up spot. One lap later Hebing retired to the
infield with power steering problems. The Quality Auto Body 360 sprinter of
Robbie Stillwaggon returned to the pits again on lap 5 with a fuel pump
issue. The 17J of Swanson stopped again in turns 1-2 on lap 6. A hard
charging Randy West made his way up into the top 5 only to retire on lap 8
with motor issues. Lap 11 saw Jason Cherry flip hard in turn 1. Cherry
reported that the car got a little loose then hit a rut and began to flip.
Cherry walked away, but the 67 was totally demolished. On the restart,
Michael jumped out again to the lead with Josh Weller and the Eldreth
sponsored sprinter close behind. With the top 5 of Michael, Weller, Betts,
Stitzel and Franek all running the top line, Michael began to catch the end
of the field on lap 17. Michael worked through lapped traffic for the
remaining 8 laps and went on to score his 50th career URC win. The top 5
included runner up Josh Weller, Troy Betts, reigning URC Champion, Davie
Franek, and URC rookie Tyler Ross, who gained 9 positions aboard the second
Eldreth Construction ride.
With a total of 22 cars on hand, URC had 3 heat races with
heat wins going to Robbie Stillwaggon, Chuck Hebing and Curt Michael. With
the 76 of Jamie Bodo and the 8w of PJ Williams retiring their cars after the
heats, a consi was no longer needed. Many drivers were spotted in the pits
during the night. Andy Best reports recently purchasing the 360 of Kevin
Darling, so the 88B will be back in action soon. Kevin Darling reports that
he is still getting the 9D together, but will be back on track soon. Also,
Tim Hogue is reportedly waiting on a motor before he and Kyle Reinhardt can
hit the track in the 39 car.
Next up for the United Racing Club on May 2nd will be the
annual running of the Jack Gunn Memorial race at Selinsgrove Speedway. The
following night URC will travel to Susquehanna Speedway for a special Sunday
1 Curt Michael, 2 Josh Weller, 3 Troy Betts, 4 Davie Franek,
5 Tyler Ross, 6 Jimmy Stitzel, 7 Mark Bitner, 8 Jason Clauss, 9 Scott Lutz,
10 Mike Haggenbottom, 11 Bill Unglert, 12 Brad Franks, 13 David Swanson, 14
Justin Hoffman, 15 Jason Cherry, 16 Randy West, 17 Jonathan Swanson, 18
Robbie Stillwaggon, 19 Chuck Hebing, 20 JR Berry
Throughout the 2015 race season we will be highlighting the
stars of the United Racing Club. The first edition is getting to know Cody
Jourdan. Jourdan will be running the entire United Racing Club 2015 schedule
aboard the 21c sprint car. Cody has been racing for 10 years in a career
that, like most, started in quarter midget racing until the age of 16. At
16, Jourdan moved up to the 305 winged sprint car series sanctioned by the
TSRS. Even though this will be Jourdan's first full year with a 360 series,
he did try his hand running with the 360's during last year’s race at
Grandview Speedway. Jourdan chose Grandview to try out because he enjoys a
small, fast track that focuses more on the driver’s ability than the amount
of money you can spend on a motor. Cody credits the experiences with, and
respect he’s already been shown by the drivers in the United Racing Club as
the main reasons for moving up to the ultra competitive division. Jourdan's
expectations are reasonable and attainable for a driver making the step up
in competition. Cody expects to learn a lot this year visiting tracks he has
never been to or seen. Most importantly, Jourdan just wants to learn and
gain respect from his competitors in his rookie season. Make sure to visit
the 21c pits before or after the races to meet United Racing Club’s Cody
The first race of the season for the United Racing Club will
be April 12th at the large 5/8 mile, ultra fast Bridgeport Speedway. Come
out early for the URC FanFest and enjoy the stars and cars of the United
Racing Club past and present. Bring the whole family for food, music by
Whiskey Grin, give-a-ways, driver autographs, bounce houses and more!
FanFest will be held at the pavilion behind the main grandstands.
The United Racing Club Return to Port Royal Speedway
for the “Open Wheel Madness” event on October 17 featuring the URC 360
sprints and 410 sprints. The show will highlight two popular divisions as
the famous fairgrounds host Port Royal Fall Foliage Days, a local trademark
craft and fall festival during the daytime, followed by the big Open Wheel
The URC sprints look forward to bringing a large car count
to the Famous Speedway located in middle of the small Port Royal town. URC
will run its regular show with pill draw for heats and invert for feature,
starting a 20 car field. The 358 sprints will be allowed to race with URC
but they must pass PA 358 tech and run an URC legal 5x5 wing.
On April 12, the United Racing Club will be at the
Bridgeport Speedway for the first race of the season. Race teams are
encouraged to arrive early as they must go through New Jersey State tech
procedures. The pit gates swing open at 12:30pm with hot laps starting at
3pm and racing getting underway at 4pm.
It is recommended that all competitors obtain a URC license
to be eligible for points, contingency sponsorships and provisional starting
spots and there will be a discount for URC members entering the pits at
Bridgeport. To avoid a delay the day of the event, send your membership
forms to the URC office in advance. Memberships forms can be found on the
URC website, www.unitedracingclub.net.
Race night sponsorship packages are still available with URC
at a few of the events so act fast to get in on the excitement. For more
information, please contact Curt Michael at 302-344-1882 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to keep up with everything URC related by
checking our website or Facebook pages.
The United Racing Club makes its return to Big Diamond
Speedway on Friday, June 19th. The always racy 3/8-mile speedway in
Minersville, PA has put on some of the best URC races over the years and
this year’s event should be no different.
No matter where you look on the speedway you will always
find action taking place. That is what Randy West, driver of the Fred
Kennedy owned sprint car finds most intriguing. “There’s usually two grooves
which makes for great racing and the fans are always very happy to see us
there. It is great to race in front of such a energetic crowd.”
Curt Michael, eight time URC Champion, is also looking
forward to URC’s return to Big Diamond. “Big Diamond is a track that I have
had success at. I like the small tracks where things happen quick and you
have to get your elbows up,” stated the driver of Bill Gallagher’s potent
The United Racing Club season kicks off Sunday April 12th at
the spacious 5/8 mile Bridgeport Speedway in Bridgeport, NJ. Randy West and
Curt Michael will be looking to win the season opener along with Robbie
Stillwaggon, Josh Weller, Mark Bitner, Brad Franks, Kyle Reinhardt and Brian
Carber just to name a few.
With races also taking place at Williams Grove, Selinsgrove,
Georgetown, New Egypt, Thunder Mountain, Utica Rome, Susquehanna, Port
Royal, and Orange County the schedule has a little something for everyone,
drivers and fans alike.
Anyone interest in scheduling a URC race should contact
booking agent Curt Michael at 302-344-1882.