Peterson Perfect in Sprint Opener at Tri City Raceway Park; Cipriano, Ruhlman, Wyant, and Urey also Score

(Franklin, PA May 21, 2023): Ricky Peterson opened the 2023 season at Tri City Raceway Park with a dominant performance in the 410 Sprint Cars. Also scoring wins were Ayden Cipriano (358 Modifieds), Chad Ruhlman (RUSH Sprints), Tyler Wyant (Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks), and Matt Urey (4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks).
Defending track champion A.J. Flick had the pole for the 410 Sprint Car race, with Ohio pilot Ricky Peterson by his side. Jack Sodeman, Jr. and Cameron Nastasi were in the second row. Jeremy Weaver and Brandon Spithaler were in the third row. The fourth belonged to Bob Felmlee and Shamus O’Donnell. Row five had Andy Cavanaugh and Nolan Groves. Row six had Blaze Myers inside of divisional rookie Bodey McClintock. Zach Morrow brought up the rear.
Peterson wasted no time heading the field. Flick challenged him for the lead over the first two laps, but Peterson retained control. From that point on, he built upon his lead.
Sodeman held third through the only caution of the event, on lap eleven, when Myers did a 360 degree spin in turn three. Although he continued, the caution was called for safety reasons.
On the restart, Flick switched to the high line in turn four in an attempt to pass Peterson. The move backfired, and Flick lost considerable ground. He did not lose any positions on the track though.
Soon after the caution, Spithaler overtook Sodeman for the final podium position. He began to reel in Flick and the two went at it for several laps. However, Flick emerged with second at the finish.
Spithaler, Sodeman, and Weaver completed the top five. Felmlee, Myers, Cavanaugh, O’Donnell, and McClintock were the next five finishers.
Jack Sodeman, Jr. and A.J. Flick took the first heat races for the 410 Sprint Cars. There was no B Main.
In the 358 Modifieds, Chad Reitz made his return to the speedway after a long absence. He started from the pole, with youngster Ayden Cipriano next to him. Steve Slater and Eric Beggs were next in line. New Yorker Nick Joy and Jimmy Holden departed from row three. Austin Eyler and Don Cornelius were in row four. Kevin Green and Lenny Liebold, another returning veteran, were in row five. The final row matched Jolene Smith and Tom Holden.
Cipriano led from the start of the twenty lap affair. Reitz settled into second, followed by Slater, Beggs, and Joy. Three laps into the race, a caution shook up the field, as two members of the top five spun between turns one and two. Neither Beggs nor Joy were able to continue.
Cipriano continued to lead after the restart. But Jimmy Holden passed Reitz for second. Holden began to close in on his younger rival, but he could not get close enough to attempt a pass.
Cipriano took his first career checkered flag at Tri City Raceway Park 1.526 seconds ahead of Jimmy Holden. Reitz was third, followed by Tom Holden and Slater. Eyler, Cornelius, Liebold, and Smith were the remaining finishers. Joy was scored in tenth based upon laps completed.
Chad Reitz scored his first heat race win since returning to the 358 Modified wars. Also getting a checkered was Jimmy Holden. There was no B Main.
Chad Ruhlman drew the pole for the twenty lap RUSH Sprint Car feature event. It was no walk in the park for the veteran driver, though, as Blaze Myers challenged him throughout. Indeed, Myers even scooted into the lead for several laps in the first half of the contest. Myers got another shot at the leader when the only restart occurred with three laps remaining. However, Ruhlman was ready for him.
Next to Ruhlman in the first row was Charlie Utsinger. Then came Myers and Arnie Kent. Row three belonged to Brian Hartzell and Jammin’ John Mollick. The fourth row had Joe Buccola paired with Zack Wilson. The fifth matched Brian Cressley and Kevin Ruhlman. Row six was made up of Jeff Metzgar and A.J. McQuarrie.
Chad Ruhlman got the initial advantage over Myers, Kent, Mollick, and Utsinger. Myers took over command after pressing Ruhlman for several laps. However, Ruhlman found the outside groove to his liking and he regained the lead on lap seven.
Chad Ruhlman led the way through the next caution, on lap seventeen for a tire marker that came into the racing groove in turn three after being hit by one of the competitors.
On the restart, Myers dropped to the inside and pressured Ruhlman for about a lap and a half. However, Ruhlman still preferred the outside line and he rode that to the win by 0.873 seconds over Myers.
Taking third was Kent, followed by Mollick and Wilson. Positions six through ten went to Hartzell, Brandon Shughart, Cressley, McQuarrie, and Ricky Tucker.
Jammin’ John Mollick and Blaze Myers captured the wins in the RUSH Sprint Car preliminaries. There was no B Main.
Pat Fielding and Tyler Wyant paced the field for the start of the fifteen lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply feature event. Jason Fosnaught and Rod Laskey were in row two, In the third row were nJosh Blum and veteran Bobby Whitling. Mike Bordt and Charlie McMillen were in the fourth row. Russ Coyne and Quinten Boozell were in row five. Matt Bernard was shotgun on the field.
Myers powered off turn four to take the early lead. Fielding held down second for several laps. However, Whittling was on the march. He took second and he chased the leader for a handful of laps.
On lap ten, the first caution appeared, giving Whitling a chance to start beside Wyant. The duo ran side by side for several laps. Wyant inched ahead before another caution flew with three laps remaining.
Whitling was unable to mount a challenge after the final green was displayed. Wyant went on to grab his fourth career win at the track. Whitling followed him across the finish line. Fosnaught passed Fielding in the waning laps to take third. Bordt was fifth.
Coyne, McMillen, Bernard, Blum, and Boozell rounded out the top ten.
The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks had a pair of heats as well. Jason Fosnaught and Bobby Whitling prevailed. There was no B Main.
The 4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks John Gill and Tyler Ellenberger brought the field to the green, followed by Kyle Janas and Levi Maskal. Thomas Warren and Chad Greeley were in row three.
Urey jumped out to an early lead, followed by Janas. However, Janas encountered a mechanical problem, as did Warren. That moved Ellenberger into the second spot followed by Dillon Morrison, Gill, and Greeley.
Janas, Warren, Kevin Wice, Jr., and Levi Mascal were scored seventh through ninth based upon laps completed.
The 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks presented a pair of qualifiers. The triumphant racers were Thomas Warren and Levi Maskal. There was no B Main.
Next week, Tri City Raceway Park will present its first special of the season. The ground pounding Big Block Modifieds of the BRP Modified Tour will invade to do battle with the 358 Modifieds. It has been quite some time since a small block racer topped the more powerful cousins, so come out to see if history can be repeated on the big half mile oval. Joining the fun will be the UMP Modifieds, the 410 Sprint Cars, the Four Cylinder Mini Stocks presented by 4 Your Car Connection, and the Vintage Modifieds will race in a Memorial for Lloyd Keith.
Then, on June 4, Tri City Raceway Park will host the final round of the Western PA Sprint Car Speedweek. The other Sunday Thunder divisions will also be in action. So come out to watch the 358 Modifieds, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, and the 4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks.
There will be no auto racing on June 11. Instead, the track will present the All American Rodeo Company on Saturday, June 10, under the auspices of the International Professional Rodeo Association.
410 Sprint Cars: Ricky Peterson, A.J. Flick, Flick, Brandon Spithaler, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Jeremy Weaver, Biob Felmlee, Blaze Myers, Andy Cavanaugh, Shamus O’Donnell, Bodey McClintock, Nolan Groves, Cameron Nastasi, Zach Morrow,
358 Modifieds: Ayden Cipriano, Jimmy Holden, Chad Reitz, Tom Holden, Steve Slater, Austin Eyler, Don Cornelius, Lenny Liebold, Jolene Smith, Nick Joy, Eric Beggs, Kevin Green (DNS).
RUSH Sprint Cars: Chad Ruhlman, Blaze Myers, Arnie Kent, John Mollick, Zach Wilson, Brian Hartzell, Brandon Shughart, Brian Cressley, A.J. McQuarrie, Ricky Tucker, Charlie Utsinger, Jeff Metzgar, Kevin Ruhlman, Trent Marshall, Lacey Shuttleworth, Devon Deeter, Tyler Clark, Joe Buccola.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks: Tyler Wyant, Bobby Whitling, Jason Fosnaught, Pat Fielding, Mike Bordt, Russ Coyne, Charlie McMillen, Matt Bernard, Josh Blum, Quinten Boozell, Rod Laskey.
4 Your Car Connection Four Cylinder Mini Stocks: Matt Urey, Tyler Ellenberger, Dillon Morrison, John Gill, Chad Greeley, Kyle Janas, Thomas Warren, Kevin Wice, Jr., Levi Maskal, Bill Fuchs (DNS), Matt Daugherty (DNS).