Motor Mountain Mania Launches for 2018 This Saturday!
(Jennerstown, PA) “Opening Day 2018” for the Jennerstown Speedway Complex has race fans in the region abuzz with anticipation, as "Motor Mountain Mania" will kick-off at 6pm this Saturday, May 12. Numerous rookie drivers, and a few veterans ending lengthy absences from the sport, will make the first event of 2018 noteworthy. Following three pre-season “Practice Days” at the speedway, most race teams are ready for the challenge of door-to-door competition, to earn those valuable points, and the weekly prize money.
Zane Ferrell, of Ruffs Dale, PA, has climbed the divisional ladder to the Martella’s Pharmacies Late Model division for 2018. Racing as a rookie in the premier division, Ferrell’s new car matches the appearance of cars raced by his grandfather, decades ago. Ferrell will steer a machine nicknamed “The Pink Lady,” due to the tribute paint scheme color, and he is ready to challenge the veterans in the top level of racing. Ferrell has adapted quickly, in his previous racing advancements, as a champion go-kart racing graduate. After being crowned a Champion in Charger division racing, he stepped up to the Street Stocks, and then advanced to Modified competition, where he was Jennerstown Speedway’s 2016 Stoystown Auto Modified Champion. On May 12, 2018, he will make his Late Model racing debut, aboard a family-owned #14 Ford.
Joining Ferrell as a rookie at the top level of competition will be Brandan Marhefka. The third generation driver is still a teenager, and has never competed previously. Last year, Brandan’s grandfather, Bob, was inducted into the Jennerstown Speedway Hall of Fame after an illustrious driving career in the dirt track era. Brandan’s father, Robby, is a two time Late Model winner at Jennerstown, in the asphalt-surface era, and has also won at several dirt tracks, as well. All three generations have been present at the Practice Days, helping to guide Brandan’s transition from pit crew member, to driver in the Martella’s Pharmacy Late Model division.
Several rookies will take the green flag for the first time on May 12, in the Stoystown Auto Modified division. Joining former J&J Truck Equipment Street Stock Champion Anthony Aiello as rookies, will be two local favorites: Cindy Rhodes and R.J. Dallape, both advancing from the Somerset Trust Co. Fast ‘N Furious 4-Cylinders, into the open-wheel Modified division. Besides controlling twice as many cylinders and significantly increased horsepower, both drivers will also need to adapt from operating front-wheel-drive machines, to the rear-wheel-driven Modifieds. Both Rhodes and Dallape were winners at Jennerstown last year, but Rhodes has notably more experience behind the wheel. Rhodes has competed in 4-Cylinder race cars on dirt tracks, and for several years at Jennerstown, whereas teenager Dallape has just one full season of experience to draw from.
Veteran, Paul Fess, Jr. will end a hiatus from racing, and become a Modified rookie, after years of truck division competition. Fess has not been in action on a speedway for nearly 15 years, but his family’s roots are deep in the sport. His father, Paul Sr., drove in NASCAR’s top level “Cup Series” for team owner Piney Lasky. Lasky was the most prominent owner/promoter of Jennerstown Speedway, having operated the track from the late 1960’s into the paved-track era, until his passing in 1994.
Other drivers who have been out of action for several years, but anticipate returning to the oval in 2018 include former Late Model Champions Mark Smith, Mark Cottone, and former Street Stock ace Rick Meehlieb. Meehlieb, who raced just three times in 2017, expects to race full time this season.
Former dirt track veteran Steve Brown will be hauling his new Farmers Union Co-Op Charger division car from Central PA, to become a rookie on the asphalt surface. Dan Jackson and Casey Fleegle are also rookies to the Charger division, after successful dirt track careers in the region. Fleegle was a winner twice in 4-Cylinder action at Jennerstown last year. Jeremy Shaffer is a J&J Truck Equipment Street Stock division rookie, after a notable dirt track career of ten years.
The fast paced excitement launches at 6pm on Saturday, May 12, with gates opening at 4pm and on-track practice sessions starting at 4:30pm. For more information visit www.jennerstown.org.