Sarver, PA (May 4, 2014) Like so many things in life, a fast and tacky Action Track is always a love/hate siutation. For the guy standing in Sheetz Victory Lane celebrating a breathtaking win with his family and crew, it was the best racing surface they’ll see all season, but not so much for the guy that suffered mechanical failure or had to see his racecar towed to the pits after a wreck. The fast paced features were much to the liking of feature winners Alex Ferree, Rex King Jr., Carl Bowser and Corey McPherson, but drivers like Brandon Matus, John Garvin, Mike Pegher, Brian Swartzlander, Mat Williamson and Jeremiah Shingledecker did not like how their night came to an early end.
With 18 competitors in tow, Mike Pegher Jr. and John Garvin Jr. brought the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models to the green flag. The high speed hijinx started early when Tommy Beck and Todd Bachman got together on the opening lap to bring out a caution before the leaders could complete a lap. After drag racing Pegher down the front chute, Garvin took the lead through turns & and set a torrid pace as Pegher had his hands full with Ferree for second. Ferree repeatedly tried to slide under Pegher through the bottom of the turns, but Pegher was faster rocketing off the tops of turns two and four. Ferree finally found his spot and got by Pegher in turns three in four as they navigated heavy lapped traffic.
The major turning point in the race came on lap 12 when Jared Miley couldn’t avoid contact with Sam Eichelberger in heavy lapped traffic. The resulting caution put Ferree on the inside pole of the restart as Garvin chose to restart on the highside. Garvin rocketed out to the lead and then launched off the apex of turns one and two the following lap to surrender the lead to Ferree. Once at the point, Ferree never looked back en route to his first win of the season and 26th of his career at the Action Track.
The excitement behind Ferree continued as Pegher and Garvin charged to the front after earlier incidents, but ultimately ended up taking each other out as they made heavy contact coming through turn four to take the white flag. Both cars went off on the hook and Garvin walked gingerly back to the pits after a hard hit into the turn four wall. Garvin officially finished 10th, while Pegher was credited with 11th.
Opening Night Feature Winner Russ King got to restart alongside Ferree for the Green-White-Checkered restart, but could only chase him home to a second place finish. Garrett Krummert scored a podium finish in his season debut with a sharp looking new wrap on his ride for 2014. Brian Swartzlander finished fourth ahead of Ken Schaltenbrand, Doug Eck, Dan Swartzlander, Brandon Wearing and Bo Lockwood. King, Miley and Ferree took heat race wins earlier in the evening. King was turning laps 0.3 second faster than the official track record during his runaway heat race win!
The Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Modifieds rolled to the green flag with Tom Winkle flanked by Rex King Jr. on the front row. King jumped out to the early lead and led all 25 laps on the way to his second career Lernerville feature win. King was never seriously challenged, but at different parts of the race had Mat Williamson, Brian Swartzlander and his father Rex King Sr. in the rearview mirror. Williamson and Swartzlander fell prey to a bad coil wire and a broken rearend respectively. King Sr. however, chased his son the whole way to Sheetz Victory Lane where “Cooter” celebrated his second win in less than a year!
Behind the father-son King duo, “Double Duty” Dave Murdick finished third, Tom Winkle was fourth and Brad Rapp finished fifth. Jim Rasey was sixth ahead of Tom Glenn, Steve Feder, Rick Regalski and Bob Warren. Glenn’s seventh place finish and Regalski’s ninth place finish were career best Lernerville finishes! Williamson and Rapp scored heat race wins.
Carl Bowser lost the lead on lap 12 of the Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprint Feature on Opening Night, to eventual winner Danny Holtgraver. But last night, Bowser went from prey to predator as he ran down and passed early leader Brandon Matus on lap 13 around the top of a still lightning fast turn two. And like Holtgraver two weeks ago, Bowser checked out and ran away with the feature win; winning the race by almost half a lap over second place Cole Duncan. Bowser’s first win of the season was his 10th career feature win!
Duncan was the first black #22 car to cross the finish line, followed close in tow by Defending Track Champion Brandon Spithaler’s black #22 car. Jack Sodeman Jr. finished fourth ahead of fifth place Eric Williams. The Peoples TWP Top Ten rounded out with Jared Zimbardi, Cory Good, Mike Lutz, Dan Shetler and Brent Matus. As mentioned above, Brandon Matus led the first 12 laps of the feature, but dropped a cylinder very shortly after losing the lead to Bowser and rolled to the pits to officially be scored in 15th. AJ Flick’s rookie season continues to be a frustrating one having retired to the pits after his brakes caught fire under red flag conditions after Bob McMillin got upside down in turn three early in the race. Carl Bowser, Brandon Matus and Dan Shetler were victorious in heat race action.
As usual, we saved the best for last as the Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman put on another great show, starting with Rob Shook beating front row mate Wayne Carbo to turn one to take the early lead. Two-Time Defending Track Champion Corey McPherson quickly jumped from fourth on the grid to second in pursuit of Shook. McPherson first looked under Shook in turns three & four on lap five, but Shook held the lead at the line and on through lap eight when McPherson finally got around him on the topside of turn four to take the lead. Despite a much faster and heavier track than they are used to racing on, the Sportsman/Stocks ran all 20 laps under consecutive green flag conditions with McPherson cruising to his 15th career feature win by a full straightaway.
Shook held on to finish second; his best finish since winning the Sportsman feature on July 6, 2012. All Time Division wins leader Joe Kelley raced home third ahead of Mark Sanders in fourth and Jim Fosnaught in fifth. Wayne Carbo, Bob Egley, Joey Zambotti, Terry Young and Aaron Easler rounded out the top ten. Corey McPherson, Mark Sander and Brett McDonald were heat race victors earlier in the evening.
Fab Four Racing will pump the brakes next week and give way to the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions Sprints $5,000-to-win race presented by Turner’s Premium Iced Tea and the RUSH Late Model and Modified Series. The All Stars come to town led by a triumvirate of former Track Champions in Dale Blaney, Danny Holtgraver and Tim Shaffer. The RUSH (Crate) Late Models are no stranger to Lernerville Speedway, but the RUSH Sportsman (Crate) Modifieds will be making their Action Track debut. Time Trial start at 7:15, with green flag racing starting at 8:00PM.