Pennsylvania driver travels halfway across country to earn sprint win in front of no fans

Brock Zearfoss
  • Lebanon County's Brock Zearfoss earned a $6,000 410 sprint victory on Saturday.
  • The victory came at Park Jefferson Speedway in South Dakota.
  • The event was held without any fans because of COVID-19 concerns.

A Pennsylvania driver was back in victory lane Saturday night.

It just wasn’t in Pennsylvania.

In fact, Lebanon County racer Brock Zearfoss had to travel halfway across the country to earn the victory.

The driver known as the Jonestown Jet raced to a $6,000 410 sprint victory at the Park Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson, South Dakota.

The drive from Jonestown to Jefferson is nearly 1,200 miles.

Zearfoss drives with the All Star Circuit of Champions and was the 2017 Port Royal Speedway sprint champion.

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In all, 64 open-wheeled machines showed up to compete in an event that featured no fans and no announcer. It was the track's season opener.

Earlier in the week, the track had planned to race in front of 700 fans, which was far below the track’s seating capacity, in order to allow for social distancing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, after discussions with state health officials, the track instead opted to race without any fans.

Zearfoss saw lady luck on his side on Saturday, with a host of other racers struggling with mechanical gremlins.

Another driver who is a familiar face to central Pennsylvania fans finished in second —Australian Kerry Madsen. Austin McCarl took third, followed by Ian Madsen and Channin Tankersley. Dillsburg’s Anthony Macri took sixth. The top 10 was rounded out by Kyle Offill, Jake Blackhurst, Jody Rosenboom and Chad Boespflug.

Hanover's Dylan Norris was 13th and Manheim's Anthony Fiore was 21st.

Quick time was set by Aaron Reutzel, setting a new track record of 12.692 seconds which was just over 113 mph. Heats were won by Blake Hahn, Offill, Scotty Thiel and Brendan Mullen. Blackhurst picked up the B Main.

In the International Motor Contest Association modified nightcap, it was Ricky Thornton Jr. who came from mid-pack to walk away with the checkered flag. Jeff Taylor was second, followed by Robby Sawyer, Chris Abelson and Jim Thies. Some notable NASCAR names, Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader, finished 12th and 13th, respectively.

Another South Dakota dirt-track show was scheduled for New Raceway Park on Sunday evening. That event was originally scheduled to race in front of 500 fans, but it was later decided that the event would also run without any fans.

In some other area dirt-track news, both Lincoln Speedway and Port Royal Speedway have announced they are indefinitely suspending their 2020 seasons. Port Royal announced its decision on Thursday, while Lincoln’s decision came on Friday.

Both tracks made the decision because of because of the Pennsylvania ban on nonessential businesses and large gatherings.

There hasn’t been any racing in central Pennsylvania since mid-March.

Reach Steve Heiser at