Sarver, PA (March 21, 2014) Just like the fire-breathing Peoples TWP DIRTcar 410 Sprints need pushed off to get started, so too does the Lernerville Speedway schedule and the Annual Awards Banquet served as the push truck to “put heat in the motor” of the 2014 season. 2013 Track Champions Brandon Spithaler (Peoples TWP Sprints), Alex Ferree (Precise Lates), Mat Williamson (Diehl Mods) and Corey McPherson (Pic-A-Part Sportsman) were honored with trophies, plaques, Championship Jackets from Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic, Championship checks from Fuhrer Eagle Sales for winning the Budweiser Point Standings and a commemorative flipbook of photos from their Championship season.
Along with the latest class of Track Champions, the Lernerville Speedway Hall of Fame Class of 2014 was inducted. The 2014 Class included Johnny Axe, Ouch Roenigk, Jack Sodeman Sr. and Linda Fennell.
Johnny Axe was emotional as he accepted his Hall of Fame plaque and thanks the late, great Don Martin for building the track and giving him the opportunity to win the first race at the historic track way back in the late 1960s. He went on, however, to be very entertaining during the rest of his Hall of fame induction.
Albert “Ouch” Roenigk literally built the Lernerville Speedway with his blood, sweat and tears over a 40 year tenure at the Action Track; from the racing surface itself, to the grandstands, press box, cable reinforced catch fence and the whole way to the Little League Baseball and Youth Football fields.
Jack Sodeman Sr. is one of only a select few drivers to win Track Championships in two different divisions; winning the Sprint Championship in 1979 and Modified Championship in 1985. He is 10th on the All Time Modified wins list with 18 and 19th on the overall wins list with 33 career feature wins at the Lernerville Speedway.
Linda Fennell’s dream job was fulfilled for several years serving as Office Manager at Lernerville Speedway before health issues forced her into an early retirement. Still exuding an unrivaled passion for our sport and the people that make up the local racing community, she serves as a consultant for Office Manager Helen Bauman and as a mentor for anyone involved in local racing media. Linda and her husband Dan served as Track Photographers for many years and published the beloved and award winning Motorsports World that covered the regional racing scene like no other publication in the country had previously. Throughout her career she also wrote columns for other publications and hosted local racing radio shows.
In addition to the Track Champions, the following drivers represented their respective divisions at the Awards Banquet held at the Willow Tree/Comfort Inn and Suites in RIDC Park along Route 28; Brandon Matus, Carl Bowser, Eric Williams, Jack Sodeman Jr., Brent Matus, Daryl Stimeling, Mike Lutz and Bob McMillin in the Peoples TWP Sprints; John Garvin Jr., Jerry Miley on behalf of Jared Miley, Brian Swartzlander, Lynn Geisler, Chuck Sarver and Chris Rhodes in the Precise Lates; Brian Swartzlander, Dave Murdick, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Brad Rapp and Mike Turner in the Diehl Mods; AJ Flick, Mike Miller, Brett McDonald and Mark Sanders in the Pic-A-Part Sportsman. Bryan Colbert of Peoples TWP, Brett Neupert of Precise Racing Produtcs/Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic, Rich Grossman of Diehl Auto Group and Mike & Anne Norris if Millerstown Pic-A-Part/D&D Salvage were on hand to pay tribute to the drivers of their respective divisions.
Special Awards were given out before dinner with Brandon Spithaler, Chris Rhodes, Bob Warren and Mark Sanders being recognized for being the Most Improved drivers of their division. Brandon Spithaler and Mat Williamson were awarded VP Racing Fuels to commemorate their first Lernerville feature wins during the 2013 season. Garrett Krummert was not present for the auspicious award that no driver wants to win; the Hard Luck Award. Joey Zambotti was named 2013 Lernerville Speedway Rookie of the Year. Jackie Matus was presented with the Sportsmanship Award for her work leading the MRO Injured drivers benefit auction the past two seasons and MRO Chaplain Bill Beck was awarded with the Keith Burke Appreciation Award for his spiritual leadership within the racing community. June Feder, mother of Modified driver Steve Feder, won the Grover Clasper Award as she is dealing with some major health issues. Bryan Colbert of Peoples TWP accepted the prestigious Bob Cochran Sponsorship Award and Rick Rarer of Racestud.com and SprintCarNews.com won the Bill Steinbach Media Award. Chuck Sarver won the Milestone in Racing Award and emcee for the night at Lernerville Speedway PA Announcer Dow Carnahan was presented with the Golden Award.
Walt Wimer was on hand to give “Double Duty” Dave Murdick, (who announced earlier in the evening that he would indeed be back in the Pitkavish #1 Late Model for the 2014 season), his #1 Cochran Cavalcade Award for the Modified division and also recognized Jack Sodeman Jr. for the Cavalcade Sprint Car Award that he previously presented to Sodeman at the Mercer Banquet. Wimer also announced the co-winners of the Western PA Rookie of the Year; Sharon Speedway drivers Ty Rhoades and Travis Creech.
General Manager Gary Risch Jr., who was presented with the Promoter of the Year Award at the World of Outlaws/Super DIRTcar Series Banquet in November after the World Finals in Charlotte, brought the formal portion of the banquet to a close by thanking the Management Team and Track Officials, employees, media members, drivers and sponsors for their ongoing support and highlighted upcoming events of the impending 2014 season.
Door prizes were generously donated by Fuhrer Eagle Sales, Snyders of Berlin, Pepsi, Turner Premium Iced Teas, Area Auto Racing News, GottaRace.com/Arizona Sport Shirts, Precise Racing Products/Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic, #1 Cochran Automotive, FantasyDirtRacing.com, C&B Videos, Sugar Rush Cupcakes, Helen Bauman, Dave & Ginger Meloy, Pittsburgh Circle Track Club, Lernerville Speedway and the Justin Fabus Band.
Finally, a special “Thank You” goes out to Helen Bauman who almost singlehandedly plans and executes the Annual Awards Banquet!
Dozens of racecars are on display this weekend at the Clearview Mall in Butler. Cars will remain in the mall until the end of business Saturday and roll South towards the sprawling Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills along Route 28 next weekend; Thursday-Saturday, March 27-29.
The entire 2014 schedule can be viewed and downloaded on our website http://www.lernerville.com and will be available at the Annual Awards Banquet and Mall Car Shows.