Thursday, September 21, 2006

O'Connor and Motorsports News

Shifting it into high gear.... ... The Internet Source for Motorsports News and Information O’Connor to Grand Marshall 18th Annual Pittsburgher

by Judy Gower, Dow Carnahan

IMPERIAL, Pa. -- The son of late Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O’Connor will be the Grand Marshall at the 18th Annual “Pittsburgher 100” this Saturday, September 23rd at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. This prestigious event is the highest paying race for the World of Outlaws Late Models series in 2006.

The O’Connor name has long been synonymous with stock car racing in Western Pennsylvania. Bob O’Connor’s uncle, Buddy O’Connor, was champion of the Pittsburgh Racing Association in 1954 and 1966, and was honored by the Dapper Dan Club of Pittsburgh those same years. One of the many tracks Buddy O’Connor competed at was the former Heidelberg Raceway. Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, near Imperial, is nearly a mirror image of Heidelberg with the same light standards, grandstands, and press box.

When Bob O’Connor was growing up, he and his family would often attend the area speedways to cheer on his Uncle Buddy. Bob was very instrumental in getting racing memorabilia displayed at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. Some of those items are from Buddy O’Connor’s racing career.

“Western Pennsylvania lost a great man with Bob O’Connor’s recent passing”, said Miley Motorsports President Red Miley. “We are very pleased that Corey and other members of the O’Connor family can be with us this weekend for our premier event.”

Preliminary events including time trials and heat races are scheduled for Friday night with the “Pittsburgher 100” and other features set for Saturday night. Race time both nights is 7pm. For more information, visit the speedway website – or call (412) 279-RACE.
Then on Sunday, there is "The Great Race."

Prestige, glitter, going fast, awards.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Two days later, the P-G covered the story:

Auto Racing: No fueling, this race goes 100 nonstop

Saturday, September 23, 2006
By DJ Johnson

The highest-paying race on the World of Outlaws Late Model schedule will have Corey O'Connor, the son of late Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor as the Grand Marshal for the 18th Pittsburgher 100 at Pittsburgh's Pa. Motor Speedway near Imperial.

The name O'Connor is synonymous with auto racing in the area. Bob O'Connor's uncle, Buddy O'Connor, was the Pittsburgh Racing Association champion in 1954 and '56. Pittsburgh's Pa. Motor Speedway utilizes the same light standards, grandstands and press box that was used at the former Heidelberg Raceway.

Steve Casebolt was the fastest qualifier last night for the Pittsburgher 100. Prelim winners were Chub Frank, Steve Francis, Tim McCreadie and Rick Eckert.

Gates open at noon today with racing starting at 7 p.m. for the WoO consolation races and features for E-Mods and Pure Stocks. The Pittsburgher 100, the longest distance race for WoO Late Models in Western Pennsylvania, will not have a mid-race fuel stop, as in previous years.

In 2004, the WoO Late Models in their first appearance at PPMS sanctioned the Pittsburgher 100, which was divided into 40- and 60-lap races. An electrical problem with a transformer outside the race track caused the 40-lap portion to be canceled. Bart Hartman from Zanesville, Ohio won the 60-lap event that year.

Most of the Pittsburgher 100s were run on Sunday afternoon, but this year the format change to Saturday, allowing Sunday to be used as a rain date.

The fact that local drivers usually don't run the 100-lap races during the season might be a problem for some, but not for Lou Bradish, 2006 PPMS Late Model champion.

"With 100 laps, you've got to think through that race," he said. "The fastest car doesn't always win that race."

Bradish prefers the longer races to the split format.

"The last time they ran a 100-lap race here without stopping was a few years ago. I prefer them because I get in a rhythm, I like the longer races. We've run in a lot of them, so that is an advantage for us," said the veteran of many Pittsburgher 100 events.

Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., a tour regular and winner of the 2001 Pittsburgher 100, has competed in every Pittsburgher except the 2005 race.

"It's one of the 12 biggest races in the country for dirt late models," Frank said. "It's also close to home for us, so it means a lot to win it."

With two races remaining on the World of Outlaws schedule, the Pittsburgher will more than likely have an impact on the 2006 championship. McCreadie of Watertown, NY., leads the points battle over Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., by 28. Billy Moyer is 38 back.

While it won't be easy, McCreadie can inch closer to his first WoO Late Model Championship and $120,000 by finishing sixth or better in the Pittsburgher 100 and at the last race of the season in October at Volusia Speedway Park near Daytona, Fla.