Hundreds of racers, thousands of fans expected during 3-day event
LANCASTER, N.Y. (September 19, 2017) – Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway will close the curtain on the 2017 X-Press Signs Stock Car Series season with this weekend’s U.S. Open. This three-day event is in its 29th year and has become the area’s most popular racing event of the season with racers and fans.
Over 150 race teams from all over the Northeast are expected to compete across the seven divisions of racing this weekend, including the Race of Champions (RoC) Modified Series, Sunoco Sportsman, Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks, RoC Late Model Series, RoC Super Stock Series, Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders and NYPA TQ Midgets.
“The U.S. Open is Lancaster’s biggest event of the season, with great racing and tons of fans having fun in the stands and camping area,” said Tim Packman, Track President. “With the forecast of summer-like weather for this weekend, this could be our biggest one ever.”
Western New York’s Racing Finale kicks off on Friday night, September 22, with the traditional practice session and U.S. Open Kickoff Party. Pit gates open and inspection begins at 4 p.m. with practice for all divisions taking place from 6-9:30. The grandstand gates will open at 5:30, and fans will be allowed to enter for free to watch practice.
Immediately after practice the main concourse will come to life with the U.S. Open Kickoff Party. Buffalo’s premier retro band, Disco Duck, will be playing live music starting at 9:30 p.m., just outside of the 12 Gates Brewing Beer Stand.
Saturday’s racing action will be headlined by the 75 lap main event for the Sunoco Sportsman. The top Sportsman teams from across the region will do battle against Lancaster’s weekly regulars to make the starting grid for one of the most prestigious races for Sportsman Modifieds. This event is also a part of the Race of Champions Sportsman Series, which kicked off its schedule last Friday at the Delaware (Ontario) Speedway.
The Race of Champions Super Stocks, Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders and NYPA TQ Midgets will also run their heats and features on Saturday. Pit gates open at 12:30 p.m. with practice starting at 2. Front gates will also open at 2 p.m. with qualifying beginning at 4:30.
The Race of Champions Modified Series takes center stage on Sunday with the running of the 29th annual U.S. Open 125. This race is the biggest of the year for Modified racing in Western New York and is the penultimate event of the RoC Series season.
The Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks and Race of Champions Late Models fill out the program on Sunday afternoon. Both highly competitive divisions will have stacked fields going after the chance to add their name to the U.S. Open trophy.
Pit gates open on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. with practice beginning and front gates opening at 12 noon. Heat racing starts at 2 p.m.
Free camping is available all weekend in the Speedway parking lot.
The full schedule of events and information on ticket pricing can be found on the U.S. Open event page on the Lancaster National Speedway website.
About Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway: Founded in 1959, Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway, WNY’s Premier Motorsports and Event Facility, is a multi-use facility located on 77 acres just outside of metropolitan Buffalo, N.Y. The facility features a 1/8-mile drag strip, a 1/2-mile oval track and hosts several non-motorsports events such as car shows and concerts. For the latest information on Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway check out our website www.lancasternationalspeedway.com. Additional information for racers and fans can be found on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LancasterSpeedway) and on Twitter (@LancasterSpdwy).
29th ANNUAL U.S. OPEN BY THE NUMBERS:
29: This is the 29th annual U.S. Open event. It was started in 1989 by the late Alex Friesen to create a major end-of-season event at the facility. It was his vision that made the Open into what it is today.
345: There will be 345 laps of feature racing action among the seven divisions of competition.
22: The numbers of years between U.S. Open wins for Dave Heitzhaus of Strykersville, N.Y. Heitzhaus won the Late Model feature last year to give him his first Open victory since 1994 when he won the Late Model Pro Stock for the third time in seven years.
22 (part 2): 22 different drivers have won the U.S. Open Super Stock feature. There was only one repeat in the first 20 years of the event. In 2016, Mike Nichols won the race for the second time in his career. Jay Mudra has won the race three times for the most all-time wins.
6: The record for most career U.S. Open feature wins is six, which is held by four drivers. Chuck Hossfeld became the latest driver to reach that mark last year when he won the Sunoco Sportsman U.S. Open feature to go along with his five Modified titles.
2: A pair of drivers have won U.S. Open features in three different divisions. Karl Hehr won the inaugural Late Model (then Super Stock) feature in 1989, he won the Sportsman race in 1995 and then scored what might be the most popular win in the event’s history when he captured the 2002 Modified feature. Todd Hoddick accomplished the feat more recently with wins in the Super Stock (1999), Late Model (2007) and Sportsman (2009) features.
2005: The year Eric Beers of Northampton, PA won the U.S. Open 125. Beers will retun to Lancaster for the first time in several years this weekend to attempt to win his second. His Delange Racing teammate, Jack Ely of Wall, N.J., will make his Lancaster debut as well.
13: In 2015, Terry Weldy (Street Stock) and Bobby Hanel, Jr. (4-Cylinders) both got their first U.S. Open wins in 13 years. Both drivers had last won at the 2002 edition of the event with Weldy winning the Super Stock race and Hanel victorious in the Street Stocks.
$61,485: That is the total posted purse to be paid out among the seven divisions. The total does not include any lap money or other bonuses to be paid out.
407: The number of miles Matt Galko will travel from Meriden, CT to drive the Kluth Motorsports Modified in the U.S. Open 125 in his first Lancaster start.
ATTACHED PHOTO BY JOE GRABIANOWSKI
LNS0919-1: Patrick Emerling takes the checkered flag in the 2016 U.S. Open 125