Myerstown, PA — Mike Bednar of Whitehall, Pa. used a late season surge to capture last year’s National SpeedSTR championship. As the new campaign counts down to its April 15 lift-off, Bednar is prepared to defend his title while sporting a different look and even a new car number. But Bednar will be the first to admit that the 2016 USAC SpeedSTR All Pro Tour Powered by M5 from VP Racing Fuels is not going to be the same old series.
There’s a positive buzz coming out of the Speedway Entertainment shop in Myerstown, Pa. – the home base of the class of spec racecars created by Rich Tobias – and the keyword for the rapidly upcoming season is “new”, as in new drivers, a brand new speedway that will host the division, a new mini-series, and some nifty performance enhancements available to the race teams.
As more and more racers from various divisions of motorsports come to the realization that the SpeedSTRs are not only an affordable and cost effective class, the cars are pretty doggone racy, too. Some of the drivers who are making the leap into the division in ’16 include dirt Modified and Late Model star Ricky Elliott, two-time ARDC Champion Steve Drevicki, Sprint Car and Midget standout Steve Buckwalter, father-and-son combo Tom and TJ Mayberry, Jeff Hartman, Eric Ankiewicz, Sprint Car veteran Keith Prutzman, Slingshot grads Dylan Hoch and Louden Reimert, and CJ Faison, whose resume includes the K&N East and Xfinity Series.
The newcomers will join series regulars Bednar, Tim Buckwalter, Billy Pauch Sr. and son Billy Jr., Kenny and Brad Brightbill, Mike Mahaney, Ryan Smith, John Bockhorn, and a host of others. Buckwalter returns to the seat of Paul Lotier’s No. 7 (or will it be No. 17?), while Pauch Jr. is back wheeling the Wayne Subaru No. 1. Billy Sr. will steer the Mike Heffner owned, Lelands.com No. 27 once again.
All of the SpeedSTR wheel-twisters will enjoy some significant performance upgrades as Tobias continues to experiment, tweak, and improve the horsepower and handling of his creations.
When the green flag waves at Silo Speedway on April 15 and at Linda’s Speedway on Thursday, April 21, drivers will mash the throttle and feel the response of a new power package that is highlighted by a better flowing fuel injection system and the allowance this year of M5 from VP Racing Fuels. There’s also a new and improved suspension package that will provide better traction to handle the increased horsepower.
The milder-than-normal winter couldn’t have come at a better time for Ron and CJ Faison, who took on the ambitious task of building a brand new race track in Felton, Delaware. Named for the huge silo that stands on the property, the Faison’s banked playground of clay is set to embark on a 27-race slate of events with SpeedSTRs as the headlining division. The grand opening is Friday, April 15, with National Tour races set for April 29, July 1, and the season-ending Fall Jamboree on November 5 and 6. The track is also planning special events on Friday nights of the weekends that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is just up the road at Dover International Speedway.
To learn more about Silo Speedway, log on to their website at www.silospeedway.com or visit the track’s Facebook page. They’re also on Twitter; search on @SiloSpeedway to follow and receive updates.
Linda’s Speedway in Jonestown, Pa., has played host to one SpeedSTR event per year for the past three seasons. Tim Buckwalter was victorious in September of 2015, and the division has been so well received – and the racing has been a lot of fun for the drivers, too – that a five race mini-series has been inked for this season.
The SpeedSTRs will appear at the Jonestown quarter-mile on Thursday, April 21, and four Fridays, including June 24, July 22, September 2, and September 23. The events on June 24 and September 23 are designated as National Tour races.
The division’s home track for the past three years, the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds, will once again feature the SpeedSTRs on Wednesday nights beginning on May 11. Billy Pauch Jr. is now a two-time point champion at AT USA, capturing the 2014 and ’15 titles after ageless veteran Kenny Brightbill claimed the 2013 point crown.
Kutztown’s Action Track USA has a pair of National Tour events on its schedule, June 1 and the Kutztown Fair Week National on August 17.
While the races noted in the paragraphs above will award points toward the National Championship, every 2016 SpeedSTR feature run on U.S. soil will carry points for the United States Regional title – a crown also worn by Mike Bednar after the final race last November.
In 2015, Bednar served notice that he’s one of the top drivers in the class, even prior to winning the National and U.S. Regional titles by capturing both features in the Fall Jamboree season finales. He’s certainly one of the favorites again this year, but Pauch and Pauch (Billy Sr. was National Champion in ’14), Tim Buckwalter, and that long list of talented newcomers make the battle for the ’16 championship a wide open affair.
The additional races offered by a brand new track in Delaware and a five race series at Linda’s, combined with the uber-competitive, fierce competition at Action Track USA in Kutztown, and this is shaping up to be a breakout season for the USAC All Pro SpeedSTR Tour Powered by M5 from VP Racing Fuels.
-Speedway Entertainment Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speedway Entertainment