Brian Swartzlander holds off Mat Williamson #78
The Apollo Rocket returns to Action Track Dominance
Defending Champs Jared Miley & Corey McPherson dominate
Sarver, PA (May 17, 2013) Indelibly etched in the Lernervile Speedway record books as their respective divisions’ All Time wins leaders, future Hall of Famers Brian Swartzlander and Ed Lynch Jr. returned to familiar territory Friday Night by scoring their first feature wins of 2013. Jared Miley also scored his first feature win of 2013 in defense of his 2012 Precise Late Model Track Championship and fellow Defending Track Champion Corey McPherson won his second Pic-A-Part Sportsman feature of the season. 90 cars were on hand for round three of Fab Four Racing with near perfect weather conditions.
The Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Modifieds took to the track first with Brad Rapp and Mike Turner leading the field to green. Rapp took the early lead and paced the first 11 circuits, but spun under heavy pressure, (without contact), from Defending Track Champion Brian Swartzlander who quickly came to second from fifth on the starting grid. Canadian invader Mat Williamson, (winner of both Diehl Mod features heading into the event), restarted second on lap 12 and gave chase the whole way to the checkered flag, but could never mount a serious challenge to the All Time division wins leader as Brian Swartzlander accomplished what he had seemingly accomplished on Opening Night; career win #78!
Earlier heat race winner Rex King Sr. challenged Mat Williamson for second mid-race and then Jeremiah Shingldecker for third, but contact with Shingledecker at the flagstand to complete lap 19 resulted in suspension damage that would eventually shuffle the “Bandit” outside of the top five. Budweiser points leader Mat Williamson and Jeremiah Shingledecker chased Swartzlander to the checkered flag; finishing second and third respectively. Dave Murdick and Jim Weller Jr. rounded out the top five ahead of Tom Winkle, Rex King Sr., Mike Turner, Brad Rapp and Eric Gabany. Rex King Sr. was joined by his son Rex King Jr. as heat race victors.
All Time division wins leader Ed Lynch Jr. made a spur of the moment decision to join the Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprint field as a tune up for an upcoming World of Outlaws STP Sprint feature in Charlotte. Despite running a limited scheduled in recent years, the Apollo Rocket was the class of the field Friday Night, taking the lead from front row starters Carl Bowser and Eric Williams by lap five. 2011 Track Champion Carl Bowser jumped out to the early lead and Williams gave chase. On just the second lap, Budweiser Points leader Eric Williams spun in turn two and thus relinquished second to Ed Lynch Jr.; but a caution for a spinning backmarker gave Williams his spot back for the restart. Bowser had a terrific restart, but Lynch made quick work of Williams and set his sights on Bowser. Bowser was rim-riding around the tops of both turns, while Lynch was rolling around the bottoms and rocketing off the exits of turns two and four. Lynch dove under Bowser entering turn three and took the lead officially on lap four. Bowser pulled even with Lynch on a lap seven restart, but couldn’t come any closer as Lynch cruised to his 107th career Lernerville feature win; 106of which have come in a sprint car.
A series of restarts kept Lynch in check and the racing behind him was fierce. Brandon Spithaler spent most of the race battling Opening Night feature winner Jack Sodeman Jr. for third and they exchanged a few wicked sliders on a late race restart. After clearing Sodeman, Spithaler reeled in and passed Bowser for second on lap 24 with a great run off the top of turn two, but ran out of time to pose a challenge to Lynch. Spithaler’s second place finish in the feature brought him to a tie with Eric Williams in the current Budweiser Point standings. Bowser scored a podium finish after a disappointing start to the season. Sodeman finished fourth, while Brian Ellenberger made a last lap charge and pulled a wheelie coming to the flagstand to steal fifth away from Eric Williams. Daryl Stimeling, Dan Kuriger, Gary Rankin and Brandon Matus rounded out the top ten. Lynch and Sodeman scored heat race wins earlier in the evening.
The Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Model feature was loaded again with 26 cars laden with regional stars including World of Outlaws star Chub Frank. Frank and the rest of the World of Outlaws Late Models will take center stage in just six short weeks for the 7th Annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com, but Friday night’s feature was all about Defending Track Champion Jared Miley and Budweiser Points leader Dave Hess Jr. Miley drew the pole for the 25-lap A-Main, after having to win the B-Main just to start the feature two weeks ago. Hess started right behind him in third and chased him the whole way to the finish with no cautions between the green and checkered flags. On an open track and navigating lapped traffic, Miley never wavered on the way to his first feature win of his title defense season and rolled into Sheetz Victory Lane for the 17th time; one ahead of the aforementioned Chub Frank and tying him with “Slow Ride” David Scott for 10th all time.
With his second place finish, Hess maintains a double digit lead in the Bud Points over Miley. Chub Frank finished third ahead of John Garvin Jr. who came from 11th on the grid and Russell King who came from 10th. Alex Ferree, Michael Norris, Lynn Geisler, Mike Pegher Jr. and Ken Schaltenbrand rounded out the Precise Top Ten. Geisler and Pegher usually split duties in the #1 Cochran Late Model, but drover together in nearly matching cars for the very first time. Heat races were checkered by Lynn Geisler, John Mollick and Russell King. King’s heat race win matched that of his father and brother earlier in the evening; the first time a father and both sons all won their respective heat races in the same night in the 40+ year history of Lernerville Speedway! Brian Swartzlander won the Precise Late Model B-Main in the Detman #111.
Corey McPherson won the most recent Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman feature on May 3. As such, he started 12th on the starting grid for the 20-lap feature. McPherson made quick work of the otherwise stout and competitive field on the power of a GM 604 crate engine to score his second consecutive feature win. Scott Byers took the quick lead from the pole, and then Mark Sanders and Mike Miller battled for the lead through some early cautions. McPherson, however, made his way to fifth by lap five and was in the lead by lap nine. Once out front, McPherson was never challenged on the way to his second win of the season and holds a comfortable 22 point lead just three weeks into his title defense.
The race for second through tenth was fantastic throughout the race, with positions traded each lap and especially after a handful of restarts. After battling for the lead early and for second later in the race, Mike Miller beat Mark Sanders to the checkered flag. Brett McDonald continues his rock solid start to the season with another top five finish in fourth. Jim Fosnaught passed Paul Schreckengost in the final laps for fifth. The Pic-A-Part Top Ten rounded out with Opening Night feature winner Bob Egley, Joe Kelley, Rob Shook and Scott Byers. 2013 Western PA Rookie of the Year contender Joey Zambotti had a great late race surge and just missed out on a top ten finish in 11th. Heat races were won by Miller, McPherson and Sanders.
Fab Four Racing returns next Friday, May 24 on Fire, Police & EMS Night. Eric Williams and Brandon Spithaler will enter the event tied atop the Budweiser Point Standings, just one point ahead of Jack Sodeman Jr., while Dave Hess Jr., Mat Williamson and Corey McPherson will all carry double digit leads into another Fast Friday.