2024 05 30 Ppms Pa Speedweek Dave Blaney Brandon Spithaler Ryan Smith Paul Arch Photo Dsc 2432 (516)a
Dave Blaney (10) races under Ryan Smith (6) and Brandon Spithaler Thursday at Pittsburgh PA Motor Speedway. (Paul Arch photo)

KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race

Where the heck did May go? With that in mind, it’s time for our weekly trip around the racing universe with the Friday Morning Heat Race.

Hot Laps: Heavy Heart

It is with a heavy heart we write this column and follow this week’s racing action. Jerry Gappens, promoter of Eldora Speedway, died earlier this week. Much like this reporter, Jerry got his start under the tutelage of Chris Economaki in Ridgewood, N.J. We knew Jerry for more than 30 years, shared his passion for motorsports and enjoyed his intense laugh. RIP, friend.

Qualifying: Indy Star

Santino Ferrucci has finished in the top 10 in six consecutive Indianapolis 500s, including finishing third and eighth the past two years, while driving for A.J. Foyt.

First Heat: Take A Bow

Another graduate of the school of Economaki and SPEED SPORT alumni, Anne Fornoro, was recognized for her long commitment to Indy car racing. Flanked by her longtime client and friend, A.J. Foyt, Anne received the Robin Miller Award, which is presented to a person who dedicates a good portion of their life to Indy car racing. In Economaki’s words, “Take a bow, Anne.”

Second Heat: Hall of Famers

If you live in western Pennsylvania or eastern Ohio and you want to see Hall of Fame sprint car drivers in action, get out to Western PA Speedweek this weekend at Lernerville Speedway, Sharon Speedway or Tri-City Raceway.

In Thursday’s series opener at Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, Hall of Famers Dave Blaney Tim Shaffer and Dale Blaney finished second, third and fourth.

Third Heat: Brotherly Success

It was great to see California brothers — by the way of Ohio — Carson and Cole Macedo each on the podium during a recent World of Outlaws race at Fremont (Ohio) Speedway.

The Macedos, who each spent significant time as youngsters racing with Ohio’s Linder family, are each making noise on the national sprint car racing scene. Carson got the victory at Fremont, while Cole, who has multiple wins in the Golden State this season, finished third.

Fourth Heat: An Accomplished Class

Longtime SPEED SPORT columnist Bones Bourcier will be among the eight inductees into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum on Saturday. The Hall’s 34th induction ceremony will be held at Dyer-Hudson Hall on the Marion County Fairgrounds at Knoxville Raceway.

Joining Bourcier in entering the Hall of Fame will be speedy drivers Tracy Hines, Paul McMahan and Jon Stanbrough, as well as wrench men Gary “Deuce” Turrill and Ricky Warner. Roy Robbins and Bill Holder will also be inducted on Saturday.

Dash: Nürburgring

The 24 Hours of Nürburgring is being run for the 52nd time this weekend. The world-famous GT race was first run in 1970, but was not held in 1974 and 1975 because of the oil crisis.

It features 130 cars in 23 classes competing on the longest road course in the world. Watch all the action on SPEED SPORT 1. The race begins at 9:30 a.m. ET Saturday morning.

B Main: Heartbreak

When Jim McKay said the words “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” over and over again for the introduction to ABC’s Wide World of Sports during the 1970s and early ’80s, he was speaking about every sport on the planet.

But those words could not have been more true of this year’s Indianapolis 500.

There’s no bigger emotion swing than seeing Josef Newgarden celebrating wildly after a second consecutive Indianapolis victory and only yards away, runner-up Pato O’Ward contemplating what could have been. That’s Indy, and that in a nutshell why we love sports.

Feature: End Of An Era

It’s a sad ending for one of NASCAR’s super teams as Stewart-Haas Racing will close at the end of the season.

Team co-owners Gene Haas and Tony Stewart have other racing interests they wish to focus on and the team had seemingly lost its way on the race track in recent seasons, but it’s the many SHR employees who must endure a time of uncertainty and the grind of finding work elsewhere.

Most will find other jobs in the industry as the team’s four NASCAR Cup Series charters are already being gobbled up by other teams, and the drivers will land work as well — some in familiar places.

Still, SHR won two Cup Series titles with Stewart and Kevin Harvick driving, and it’s closing is a loss for not just NASCAR, but the motorsports industry as a whole.

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