Sodeman wins first feature of 2011

lernerville speedway
lernerville speedway

June 3, 2011 (Sarver, PA) After battling the weather for the first two months of the season, the Lernerville Speedway was blessed with near perfect conditions for Fab Four Racing on Fire, Police and EMS Night and Kenny Ross Night. Officer Jim Kuzak arrived shortly after 5:00 and got a crash course in sprint car racing from Dan and Danny Holtgraver outside the main gates. Volunteers were on hand taking donations on Jim’s behalf for his rehabilitation and recovery fund while he experienced Fab Four Racing for the first time; but certainly not the last! Despite his injuries, Jim exudes life, hope and happiness. The Lernerville Speedway was truly blessed to have enjoyed his company for the night and greatly looks forward to his return!

For presumably the first time in the 43 year history of the Lernerville Speedway a husband and wife tandem started alongside one another as Gary and Sheila Rankin brought the Ti22 Performance DIRTcar Sprint field to the green flag, but it was 2010 All Star Circuit of Champions Rookie of the Year Cap Henry that took the early lead. After disappointing and frustrating finishes in recent weeks at Lernerville Speedway, Henry appeared to be on his way to making it four straight wins for invaders from the west and east as the first three Ti22 Sprint features had been captured by Ohioans Cole Duncan and Danny Smith, and most recently by PA Posse transplant Daryn Pittman.

Enter Jack Sodeman Jr.! Sodeman started seventh on the grid, but quickly made his way to second by lap five and began his pursuit of Henry. By mid-race, Henry’s tires appeared to be giving up on him as Sodeman, Carl Bowser and Danny Holtgraver were all closing in. On successive laps, Henry gave way to Sodeman for first, then Bowser for second and Holtgraver for third. As Holtgraver rocketed down the back stretch, he dove to the bottom of Bobbi Rankin, (yes the daughter of front row mates Gary & Sheila), entering turn three. Bobbi checked up hard and spun, resulting in Henry doing the same. Both came to a stop and brought out the caution.

Undaunted by the restart with Bowser and Holtgraver in position to steal the win away, Sodeman launched off turn four and cruised to Sheetz Victory Lane for his first win of the season. Bowser and Holtgraver chased him to the checkers for second and third respectively. Brandon Matus scored his third straight top five finish and a career best fourth. Early leader Cap Henry recovered from his lap 18 snafu to finish fifth. Gary Rankin, Brent Matus, Rod George, Kevin Schaeffer and Jimmy Light rounded out the Ti22 Top Ten. Sodeman and Light took the checkers in National Guard heat race action.

All Time Modifieds Wins Leader Brian Swartzlander led the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models to the green flag in the Detman #111 alongside West Virginian Corey Conley. Swartzlander led the first two circuits before giving way to Conley on lap three as they exited turn four. Conley would not be long for the lead as World of Outlaws star Chub Frank dove under him through turns one and two to take the lead on lap five. Once at the helm, Chubzilla is virtually unstoppable and he cruised to a relatively easy feature win as the 5th Annual Firecracker 100 presented by draws near.

The real race was between the next five cars as Gregg Satterlee battled both Corey Conley and then Davey Johnson for second. “The Truth” took the measure of Conley for several laps before taking second from him driving low through turns three & four. Then as the laps wound down, grizzled veteran Davey Johnson reeled Satterlee in and nearly passed him on the last lap as Satterlee appeared to be stuck between the lapped cars of Bryan Force and 14-year old newbie Matt Tifft. Satterlee made a daring but sensational move to split the young drivers and power through the middle of turn two as Johnson tried to rim ride around all the traffic. Satterlee held on to finish second ahead of Johnson in third and Conley in fourth. Jared Miley rounded out the Precise Top Five ahead of Budweiser points leader Dave Hess Jr., Brian Swartzlander, Ken Schaltenbrand, Mike Johnson and Doug Eck. Gregg Satterlee, John Garvin Jr. and Corey Conley won their respective heat races.

Matt Tifft is a very young, but even more talented driver from Ohio and he’s making his rounds all over the Midwest and East Coast both on pavement and on dirt getting as much seat time as possible. Tifft unofficially made his Lernerville Speedway debut last Tuesday evening during the Rocket Chassis practice session and plans on returning to the Action Track multiple times this season! He finished lapped and in 15th place in the 25-lap feature, but ran a strong second during National Guard heat race competition!

Like his longtime rival Brian Swartzlander, “Double Duty” Dave Murdick continues to be a dual threat in the Late Models and Modifieds. He drew the pole position for tonight’s Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Big Block Modified feature, jumped out to a quick lead ahead of Swartzlander and led the whole way as all 25-laps clicked off without a caution. Murdick’s 20th career feature win was an early birthday present for his father and competitor Carl who will be 74 years young on Monday.

Swartzlander and Defending Track Champion Kevin Bolland raced to second and third place by lap two and finished in that same order. Jeremiah Shingledecker started 12th due to winning the most recent Diehl Mods feature on Friday, May 6, (Brian Swartzlander’s win on Friday, May 20 did not count towards Budweiser Points as it was a BRP-sanctioned race). By the end of the race, Shingledecker made his way to fourth after battling with Dean Pearson and Mike Turner, whom finished fifth and sixth respectively. The Diehl Top Ten rounded out with Steve Feder, Shawn Fleeger, Carl Murdick and Mark Frankhouser. Swartzlander and Shingledecker were heat race victors earlier in the evening.

The Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman feature was highlighted by a lot of passing amongst the top six cars, but was also marred by an excessive amount of cautions. But the cautions were just what the doctor order for the “Tarentum Terror” Corey McPherson. After a tumultuous 2010 season in which he was plagued by motor issues from start to finish, McPherson has regained his 2009 form when he won the Lernerville Speedway Rookie of the Year Award. After starting seventh, McPherson dodged the early cautions and picked off the front runners one at a time, including All Time Sportsman/Stock wins leader and Defending Track Champion Joe Kelley whom he passed on lap nine for second. Still, Mike Miller seemed to be uncatchable during the early restarts. But a lap 14 restart saw McPherson drag race Miller down the front shoot, then under and past him in turns one & two. Once in the lead, McPherson would not be denied his first career feature win, even when his mettle was tested on the final few restarts. McPherson held true each time and made his debut in Sheetz Victory Lane.

Early leader Mike Miller finished second ahead of incumbent Budweiser points leader Rob Shook in third. When last we experienced Fab Four Racing, SS Chassis guru Chris Schneider rode his GM Performance 602 crate engine to Sheetz Victory Lane, tonight he came from 12th on the starting grid to fourth ahead of Kelley in fifth. Bob Egley recovered from being tangled up in an eight-car pileup on the lap three restart to finish sixth. Spots seven through ten went to Ryan Moyer, Pat Hanley (whom returned after an 18-month hiatus and a detour onto the asphalt at Motordrome last season), Paul Schreckengost and Jimmy Fosnaught. Heats were checkered by AJ Flick, Chris Schneider and Mike Miller.

Fab Four Racing is scheduled for each of the next two Fast Fridays and both events will provide the finest race fans in the world with more bang for their buck without an increase in admission prices! Next Friday, June 10 is our annual Holiday Races with Fireworks as part of #1 Cochran Fan Appreciation Night, then the following Friday, June 17 is the always thrilling Mid-Season Championships for all four divisions!

And of course, in just three short weeks, the biggest racing weekend of the season in Western PA hits the Action Track for the 5th Annual Firecracker 100 presented by! Reserved camping is almost sold out and tickets are going fast! Give dad the Father’s Day gift he’ll remember and enjoy the most, log on to today and buy him tickets to the Firecracker 100!