By Eric Westendorf
Sarver, PA (October 1, 2013) The list of names of Lernerville Speedway Track Champions in the Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprints is long and distinguished. The list is also a mix of one-time champions that moved on to “bigger and better” things and mainstays that will inevitably be inducted into the Lernerville Speedway Hall of Fame. And while the story of Brandon Spithaler’s career remains largely untold, regardless of what happens in subsequent chapter he will forever be known as a Lernerville Speedway Track Champion!
Second cousin of longtime fan favorite Ralph Spithaler, Brandon started his Championship campaign on the podium by finishing third behind Opening Night feature winner Jack Sodeman Jr. and runner-up Eric Williams. Spithaler picked up his first career Lernerville feature win on Friday, May 31. But it was his consistency that set him apart from fellow title contender Brandon Matus and the aforementioned Sodeman and Williams. Spithaler tied for the division lead with eight top five finishes and tied for second with 11 top ten finishes. Down the stretch, Spithaler held off the triumvirate of Brandon Matus, Carl Bowser and Eric Williams to secure his coveted Budweiser Track Championship.
Matus, Bowser and Williams were in title contention right up until Championship Night, but their combined four feature wins and 12 heat race wins could not surpass Spithaler’s consistency. Matus (August 16) and Williams (June 14) each scored one win on the season, while Bowser scored a pair of wins in a three race swing between July 12 and August 2. Matus finished the season second in points, ahead of Bowser in third and Williams in fourth.
Jack Sodeman Jr. finished the season fifth in Budweiser Points and almost certainly would have been a title contender right up until the final checkered flag of the season had it not been for fracturing vertebrae in his neck mid-season. Despite the almost tragic injury, Sodeman only missed one week of Fab Four Racing, but it was enough to take him out of the running for the championship. Although he missed a week of action and finished the season some degree less than 100% healthy, Sodeman led the division with four feature wins, including bookend wins to start and end the season, the Mid-Season Championship and a win against the BOSS Wingless Sprints; he also led the division in heat race wins with seven.
Mike Lutz was the only other semi-regular in the Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprints to win a Fab Four feature in 2013. Cap Henry, Ed Lynch Jr. and Andrew Palker popped in to steal the other three feature wins.
Speaking of three feature wins, Dale Blaney has flat out dominated the Peoples TWP Sprint car portion of the DIRTcar Round Up Steel City Stampede with three straight $3,000 wins to his credit! After looking to secure his fourth career All Star Circuit of Champions title at Eldora Speedway on October 12, Blaney should be returning to his Friday Night home track to chase a fourth straight Stampede Belt Buckle!
The only other driver with a Steel City Stampede Sprint car win on his resume is Ohio rising star Cole Duncan, who won the Inaugural event in 2009 with a thrilling late race pass on a green-white-checkered restart to put his name on the regional sprint car racing map.
The Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprints will headline the 5th Annual DIRTcar Round Up Steel City Stampede along with the Precise/ULMS Lates Models and Diehl/BRP Modifieds; each running for $3,000 to win. The RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series, Millerstown Pic-A-Part Sportsman/Stocks, UEMS/UMP Modifieds, 305 Sprints, 4-Cylinders and Mod Lites will also be in action all three nights on Thursday-Friday-Saturday, October 24-25-26 and Saturday Night will be capped with the third and final $1,000-to-win Enduro 100 of the 2013 season.