It has been well over a dozen years since the last Western Pennsylvania All Star Sprint Speedweek. And while it seems there have been Speedweeks on either side of our region for several years, the idea of reviving a weeklong series of races for the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions just hasn’t come to fruition. So, what’s the next best thing? The Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions I-79 Summer Shootout!
Once again, Tri City Raceway Park will host the last of the series’ three events on Sunday, July 23rd. “We are thrilled to host the final leg of the three-day shootout,” said Chad Wagner, Tri City Raceway Park Co-Promoter. “Race fans have been wanting an event like this for several years after the Western PA Speedweek with the All Stars didn’t continue, so this is a great event for them to replace it. With our track being the final segment of the three days, a lot is on the line when it comes to the finale on Sunday.” In last year’s race, Kraig Kinser made a last-lap, last-turn move on Sheldon Haudenschild to take the victory. “Race fans didn’t use their entire seat last year and I don’t expect them to this year. They can purchase the whole seat but will only need the edge of it with the excitement of the All Stars and RUSH Late Models.”
Last year’s inaugural running of the I-79 Summer Shootout saw Dale Blaney take the win on Friday night at Eriez Speedway. On Saturday, heavy rains moved into the Pittsburgh area, washing out all but the qualifying and heat races at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. Saturday rainout aside, last year’s I-79 Shootout was a huge success. With three tracks just a short drive apart, many fans chose to follow the series along Interstate 79 and camp along the way, while others simply drove to each track with a reasonable drive home each night.
This year’s I-79 Summer Shootout Weekend will put Chad Kemanah to the test as he attempts to maintain his 282-point lead in the All Stars points standings over Ryan Smith. The rest of the top five in the standings are Caleb Armstrong, Kaleb Helms and Max Stambaugh. Sprint car locals including Danny Holtgraver, Carl Bowser, Brandon Matus, AJ Flick and Sye Lynch are all expected to take part in the events this year. Donovan and Bauer Auto Group is pleased to present the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions at Tri City.
Like last year, the RUSH Late Models presented by Armstrong Cable will also be competing as part of the I-79 Summer Shootout at all three venues. Vicki Emig, Co-Director of the RUSH Series, is thrilled to be a part of what is becoming a much-anticipated summer event. “The I-79 Shootout is fast becoming one of the most prestigious three-day weekends of our Series,” said Emig. “It’s so great to see our sanctioned speedways working together to not only promote these events but also post the additional point fund.” Born to Run Lubricants, a division of Hovis Truck And Auto Supply is the RUSH points sponsor. “We really appreciate the opportunity to be on the card with the All Stars and showcase our style of racing to the large crowds that will be in attendance.” Joining the All Star Sprints and RUSH Late Models will be the Thunder in the Dirt Vintage Modified Racing Series presented by Erie Bank.