Bowser and Hess benefit from Steinman’s and Garvin’s heartbreak

lernerville speedway
lernerville speedway

By Eric Westendorf

July 29, 2011 (Sarver, PA) With all due respect to Carl Bowser and Dave Hess Jr., this race report should be highlighting the career first feature wins of Brian Steinman and John Garvin Jr. Instead, Budweiser points leaders Carl Bowser and Dave Hess Jr. each made return visits to Sheetz Victory Lane, as did Dave Murdick and Joe Kelley.

The 2011 season has been a roller coaster ride from “Cowboy” Brian Steinman. He’s scored career best finishes by recording career first top ten and top five finishes at the Action Track. He has also taken some wild rides followed by tow truck rides. Tonight the stars seemed to be lined up for Steinman as he started on the pole on a lightning fast track. He took the lead at the drop of the green flag and had a comfortable lead for most of the 25-lap, $2,000-to-win Ti22 DIRTcar Sprint feature with an extra $250 bonus money courtesy of Tyler Altmeyer &

Carl Bowser quickly jumped to second place and spent most of the race trying to lasso the Cowboy. Bowser caught Steinman as they entered lapped traffic on lap 22 and even showed him his right front in turn four. Steinman, however, seemed unphased by the presence of Bowser and continued to hit his marks. A caution slowed the race shortly after the leaders took the white flag and Steinman would have to survive a green-white-checkered restart if he wanted his first checkered flag at the famed 4/10-mile Action Track. But with the track lights out and the green flag ready to fly, Steinman rolled to a sudden stop in turns one & two; OUT OF GAS. Heartbreak for the Cowboy, but his day in the sun is shortly in the near future!

Assuming the lead with two to go, Carl Bowser rolled to the green flag with future Hall of Famer Rod George in his wake. George threw it hard into three & four and drove under Bowser, but the Boggsville Bullett hammered the top cushion and rocketed back around George exiting turn four and cruised to his second feature win of the season and a handsome $2,250 payday and the lead in the Budweiser point standings with just four weeks of Fab Four Racing on the schedule.

Rod George scored his best finish of the season in second ahead of a hardcharging Andy McKisson in third. Todd Bauer finished fourth ahead of Brandon Matus, (making his return to the Action Track after a wild ride at the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup 10 days ago). The Ti22 top ten rounded out with Scott Priester, Brent Matus, Gary Rankin, Brian Steinman and Brandon Spithaler. Kevin Schaeffer and Danny Holtgraver both DNFed with mechanical issues. Schaeffer and Danny Holtgraver Bowser and Spithaler won the Ti22 Sprint heats.

Diehl Modified stars Brian Swartzlander and Dave Murdick lead the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Model field to the green flag on the inside of rows one and two, with Swartzlander jumping out to the early lead. But before the field could get sorted out, a pair of turn four/front straightaway pileups narrowed the field and collected Gregg Satterlee, Ken Schaltenbrand, Dave Murdick and Dan Swartzlander. Jared Miley, Chuck Sarver and Tommy Beck were also involved, but returned to the track. Doug Eck also suffered heavy damage on the ensuing restart.

When racing actually got under way, John Garvin Jr. rocketed past Brian Swartzlander and checked out from the field, but Dave Hess Jr. rapidly made his way from 12th and was chasing Garvin by lap four. By lap seven, Garvin had a half-straightaway lead over Hess. On an open track, Garvin maintained that lead, but by lap 13 he entered lapped traffic and Hess closed fast. On lap 17, Hess challenged Garvin in turns one & two and took the lead entering turn three; but Garvin wasn’t done! Tommy Beck brought out a caution on lap 22 and Garvin took the lead back from Hess on the restart. But Garvin’s return to the lead was short lived as his car started slowing dramatically, then accelerating as quickly. Hess took advantage and took the lead for good on lap 23, cruising to his third straight win and fifth of the season.

Celebrating his 40th birthday, Boom Briggs got by Garvin on the last lap to finish second. Garvin sputtered to a disappointing third place finish ahead of early leader Brian Swartzlander in fourth. Rookie of the Year contender Bryan Force scored his best career Super Late Model finish in fifth. The Precise top ten shook out with Tony Musolino, Jared Miley, Chuck Sarver, Jeff Jones and Tommy Beck. Garvin and Briggs won National Guard heats.

After a disappointing DNF in Jimmie Pitkavish’s late model, “Double Duty” Dave Murdick strapped into his Modified and led the field to the green flag flanked by Steve Feder. Murdick thundered to the early leader and quickly checked out from the field. By the time the checkered flag waved, Murdick led by half the track en route to his third win of the season in the Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Big Block Modifieds.

Other than Murdick running away with the win, the action from second back was incredible with Brad Rapp, Jeremiah Shingledecker and Kevin Bolland battling Steve Feder. The finished in that order with Brian Swartzlander finishing sixth after starting from the tail due to using a backup car for the feature. Mark Frankhouser, Mike Turner, Carl Murdick and Kevin Hoffman rounded out the Diehl top ten. National Guard heat races were claimed by Bolland and Murdick.

All time division wins leader Joe Kelley started on the pole of the Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman feature and led all 20 caution-riddle laps for his second win of the season and 43rd of his Hall of Fame career. Pat Hanley started alongside Kelley and finished close behind him, but never presented much of a challenge for the lead. By the time Kelley crossed the finish line, a scant 11 cars remained in action; 12 had retired or been towed to the pits after what seemed more like a demolition derby at times than a 20-lap feature.

Paul Schreckengost and Terry Young had a great race for third for most of the race with Schreckengost prevailing at the checkers. Rob Shook scored a fifth place finish, while Budweiser points leader Corey McPherson (22nd) and Mike Miller (12th) scored DNFs and AJ Flick (11th) was two laps down after suffering heavy rear end damage and a flat left rear on lap ten. The Pic-A-Part top ten rounded out with Troy Jeuther (his best career finish), John McCann, Brett McDonald, Randy Hanovick and Jeff Miller. National Guard heats went to Brent McDonald, Wayne Carbo and Joe Kelley.

With July in the books, just four Fast Fridays of Fab Four Racing remain with Budweiser Track Champions being crowned on Championship Night on August 26. But before Fab Four Racing resumes next Friday, August 5, “Summer Vacation” School Bus and Kid’s Bike races hit the Action Track this Tuesday, August 2 along with a 100-lap Enduro and Trailer Races.

$2,000-to-win Ti22/DIRTcar Sprint Feature (25 Laps)

Winner: (10) Carl Bowser, Sarver

(4) Rod George, (0) Andy McKisson, (45) Todd Bauer, (13) Brandon Matus, (11) Scott Priester, (33) Brent Matus, (16) Gary Rankin, (24S) Brian Steinman, (22B) Brandon Spithaler, (4K) Bill Kiley, (B6) Bobbi Rankin, (9) Kevin Schaeffer, (D4) Danny Holtgraver, (55AU) Luke Bowey, (6) Shelia Rankin

National Guard Heat Race Winners: Carl Bowser, Brandon Spithaler