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WNY Auto Racing: Lorenc, 14, makes the grade at Paradise Speedway

By Larry Ott


Dane Lorenc, an eighth-grader at Depew Middle School, is busy these days hitting the books in the classroom and getting ready to play ice hockey and lacrosse in the months ahead.

But he also has a distinct difference between his classmates and himself. He is one of the few 14-year-olds who straps himself into a very fast 600cc Micro Sprint race car each week to compete on the dirt at the Paradise Speedway in Geneva against competitors who are often far older. He has also been able to learn how to win in his relatively brief time behind the wheel of his race car, one that obtains speeds of up to 120 mph.

“Last year was my first year in the Micro Sprints at Paradise,” Lorenc said. “I had six wins and this year I had one win. It was harder to win this year at Paradise because there was a lot more cars in the class. We usually had 20 to 25 cars in the A-Main each week this year.

“This year I was second in the points until about midseason, then I had some mechanical problems and I’m fifth in points right now. It’s been a pretty good year this year because with my win I got two weeks ago, I’ve also had a couple seconds and thirds. There is just a couple weeks to go in the season so hopefully I will move up in points.”

Lorenc began racing at age 5 when his father Brian Lorenc got him involved in motocross style motorcycle racing competition.

“I raced all across the country in motocross and I won two championships,” said Lorenc. “One was the New York State 50cc championship and the other was the Pennsylvania 50cc championship. I was 8 and 9 years old when I won those championships. When I was 10 we got out of the motocross racing and took two years off to kind of rest up and relax from racing.”

After that brief hiatus, Lorenc reappeared but this time instead of latching his hands onto the handle bars of a motorcycle he was gripping the steering wheel of a four-wheel race car in the form of an open-cockpit, open-wheel Casey’s TQ Midget Racing Series racing machine.

After a year there for a little more seat time seasoning, it was on to the Micro Sprints in the spring of 2012 at age 12.

“I’m learning about racing,” Lorenc said. “I’m mostly trying to learn to get my own driving style and to take my time more in traffic. Next season, I’m looking to leave the Micro Sprints and go up to the 360 winged Sprint Cars, probably with the Patriot Sprint Group. It will be tough but I’m looking forward to it.”

Lorenc is enjoying the guidance, inspiration and support provided by his crew chief and dad, Brian Lorenc, as well as his mother, Roni Sue Lorenc Stasaitis. Dane is also grateful for his sponsor, Totally Tools.

Historian to speak

The International Motor Racing Research Center at Watkins Glen will be hosting noted motorsports historian, car collector and retired racer Peter Sachs in a Center Conversation Series event Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.

Sachs manages the Klemantaski Collection, one of the world’s largest archives of motorsports photography. Sachs, a Harvard University graduate, drove his first actual race at Silverstone in 1960 in a Turner 950 and continued to compete in racing until 2007.

In 1963, Sachs earned the Sports Car Club of America’s F Modified national championship. He also drove in IMSA Firehawk, Grand-Am Cup and vintage series events.

Outside of racing, after a stint in the automobile business, Sachs worked for 37 years as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs before retiring.

The Oct. 5 talk is free to the public. The IMRRC is located at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen.

In other Watkins Glen news, following this season, the Grand American Road Racing Association (Grand-Am) and the American Le Mans Series will merge to form the unified TUDOR United Sports Car Championship. The USCC released its 2014 schedule this week and Watkins Glen will host the USCC in the annual Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, next June 29. The Sahlen’s event was formerly part of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.

“It’s an honor to welcome the new TUDOR United Sports Car Championship to the Glen,” said Watkins Glen President and Hamburg native Michael Printup. “To be one of only 12 tracks to host the series speaks volumes to Watkins Glen’s standing in the sport.”

Pit stops

• Winners of Elegant Builders Raceway Park’s US Open stock car season finale run on Sunday were: Matt Hirschman, ROC Modifieds; Andy Jankowiak, Sportsman; T.J. Cochrane, Street Stocks; Mike Ramos, Super Stocks; Peter Koschuk, Four-Cylinders; Timex Morgan, Empire State TQ Midgets; Jeremy Haudricourt, Legends.

• Orchard Park’s Patrick Emerling finished a solid fifth in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event last Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.

• WNY Starting Line: Elegant Builders Raceway Park, IHRA Drag Racing Points Finale, Friday 7 p.m. Raceway 5, Stock Car Racing, Saturday, 4 p.m.