(LEHIGHTON, PA) Rick Eckert didn’t wait long after securing his first DIRTcar Summer Nationals victory last Friday night at Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin following it up by leading flag-to-flag and capturing the victory on Sunday night at Wilmot Raceway.
“Anytime I get to race is fun, and I love racing tracks that I’ve never been to,” said an excited Eckert in victory lane. “We were only going to hit a handful [of events] but now every day I get in the truck, I go wherever they set the GPS to, and they’ve been setting it for the next track. So we will probably see them at the next one.”
That truck’s GPS will be directing Eckert, the 2011 World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion, back to his home state of Pennsylvania next week where he will be racing in the “Mid-Summer Thunder! Where Dirt Stars Meet The Asphalt” at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway on Sunday, June 29.
Eckert will be racing for the first time on the paved quarter mile oval. He joins a star-studded list of other area and regional short track standouts for the first ever appearance at Mahoning Valley Speedway with the Sunoco USAC Championship SpeedSTRs and the National Slingshot All Star Tour and Junior National Slingshot Tour.
The SpeedSTR feature will be 45 laps and pay $3000 to win.
SpeedSTRs and Slingshots race each Wednesday night at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA in Kutztownwhere Eckert races, when his schedule permits, and won.
The current entry list includes other notables such as Kenny and Brad Brightbill, Billy Pauch, Jr., Frank Cozze, Kyle Weiss, Kyle Lick, Jeff Strunk and Anthony Perrego.
And while a good number of entrants for the SpeedSTR feature will be made up of dirt racers, there will also be a very strong presence of pavement aces too with the likes of Mahoning track champions Eric Beers, Earl Paules and Kevin Graver, Jr., plus Oswego Speedway Super Modified champion Otto Sutterly will be there. Sutterly is slated to drive Dale Planck’s car.
16-year old Nick Baer, Mahoning’s Pro 4 division point leader, just took purchase on a SpeedSTR and is also entered.
“Some of these guys like Earl (Paules) and Eric (Beers) are pavement specialists and you would think they would have an advantage but to be honest it’s going to be anybody’s game,” said Rich Tobias, SpeedSTR creator and co-promoter at the Action Track.
“In my mind I feel that when Rick Eckert comes here, a dirt Late Model guy who runs really smooth with those cars, he might be someone to watch also.
“They’re all looking forward to it and they are well aware that Mahoning has some great and passionate fans. This will be a unique and exciting show.”
Also competing that day will be the Stage One Modifieds, Micro Stock Racing Series, World Formula Micro Stocks, Champ Karts, Junior Sportsman Champ Karts and the Vintage Division of the ATQMRA. Sunday’s race starts at 4:00 pm. Adult general admission is $15.
Courtney Harrison, host of Inside Track on WNEP-TV 16, the ABC affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, has been named Grand Marshall of the event. Popular vocalist Keith Gerhart will sing the National Anthem and distinguished race caller BarryAngstadt will join regular Mahoning announcers Dino and Mario Oberto in the booth.
Mahoning Valley Speedway is located on PA route 443, two miles west of Lehighton. Additional info can be found on the track’s website at www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com Also on Facebook at Mahoning Valley Speedway.