Familiar faces graced victory lane at Lernerville Friday night. One was a little less familiar than the others though…
In one of the better battles for the win out of the fab four features, veteran sportsman driver Terry Young went head to head with defending two time track champion Cory McPherson in a spirited duel to collect his first win since 2012.
Brian Swartzlander got the year started off on the right foot by exercising the touch on the gas pedal with precision. While Danny Holtgraver and Russ King dropped by for the season opener, both taking care of business in their respective divisions.
The evening opened up with some questions for the sprints Friday night. What surprise invaders might drop by? How would sportsman sensation AJ Flick fare in his sprint debut?
21 sprints, led by Lernerville regulars Brandon Spithaler, Eric Williams, Carl Bowser, Brandon Matus and Jack Sodeman Jr were joined by the more travelled Holtgraver and Sheldon Haudenschield.
AJ Flick’s night ended abrubtly early on in the evening in the heats when he got tangled in turn two and rolled the car a few times beyond the cushion. Flick was un injured as Sodeman Jr and Logan Wagner took home heat wins.
As the field took the green for the feature, Holtgraver made his charge while Carl Bowser took the early lead on lap 6 from Cory Good. And for a brief moment it looked as if Bowser would be able to put space between himself and the pack with lapped traffic coming into play, but Holtgraver chased him through cleanly en route to a pass for the lead on lap 12 and proceeded to check out for his first win of the season.
Meanwhile in the middle of the pack, Brandon Matus scratched and clawed his way past Sodeman Jr, Haudenschield and Mike Lutz to pick up a hard earned top 5 finish. Joining Holtgraver and Bowser on the podium Wagner who ran strong all night. Wagner, who’s competing in his first season in 410 sprints following some successes in Central PA 360 sprint racing, looked comfortable from the get go and might prove to be some surprise formidable competition at Williams Grove, Port Royal and Lincoln speedway’s later on this season.
1. (10H) Danny Holtgraver
2. (10) Carl Bowser
3. (RG3) Logan Wagner
4. (40X) Cory Good
5. (13) Brandon Matus
6. (35z) Jared Zimbardi
7. (5M) Mike Lutz, Wampum
8. (93) Sheldon Haudenschild
9. (23Jr) Jack Sodeman Jr
10. (33) Brent Matus
Well, what can we say, it was a physical contest. Russ King and Mike Pegher Jr waged a battle that saw them swap the lead back and forth mid race. To say contact between the two was made would be an understatement but when the dust settled, King found himself in the lead for good.
Pegher Jr actually fell to third, but on the last lap found a way past Jared Miley at the line to finish a strong 2nd place showing. Longtime driver Kenny Schaltenbrand broke out a new piece and much to his chagrin managed to loop it a few times, sometimes during cautions just for good measure. But Schaltenbrand managed to get better as the night went on to take home a surprising top 10 finish charging from the back of the field.
2013 Champion Alex Ferree managed to sneak into the top 5 from deeper in the field while Gary Lyle picked up where he left off from a few years ago with a more than competitive top 10 finish.
Doug Eck and Todd Bachmann added to the physical side of the affair during a mid race tangle on the front straightaway that lead that made for some dented sheet metal and some one some unique salutations between the two drivers.
1. (56K) Russell King
2. (1C) Mike Pegher Jr
3. (H1) Jared Miley
4. (10) Alex Ferree
5. (J4) John Garvin Jr
6. (72) Michael Norris
7. (29) Ken Schaltenbrand
8. (91) Tommy Beck
9. (111) Brian Swartzlander
10. (10L) Gary Lyle
Mat Williamson had earlier announced that he’d intended to run Lernerville as his weekly Friday home track again in 2014. What wasn’t announced, and almost never is, was that a special guest from the Niagara frontier would be invading the modified action Friday night.
Ransomville regular Eric Rudolph made the haul for opening night and shared the podium with Williamson. They both provided strong competition, but chasing down legend Brian Swartzlander from a front row starting spot at Lernerville takes a combination of luck and a strong car. And while both Rudolph and Williamson did their best to track and follow the #83, they both came up short as Swartzlander maneuvered thorough lapped traffic, some which didn’t behave the way that Swartzlander completely appreciated. to keep his pursuers at bay. Williamson had managed to whittle away Swartzlander’s 4 second lead to just over a half second by the final lap but could get no closer as Swartzlander earned his ironic 83rd career victory at Lernerville
In other notable action, Jeremiah Shingledecker charged from the back of the pack, due to an earlier engine issue, to take home a top 10 finish. Shingledecker had to retire early from his heat to make adjustments.
Brad Rapp and Williamson took home relatively quiet heat wins earlier in the night.
1. (83) Brian Swartzlander
2. (6M) Mat Williamson
3. (25) Eric Rudolph
4. (65) Rex King Sr
5. (61) Dave Murdick
6. (11R) Brad Rapp
7. (165) Rex King Jr
8. (37MD) Jeremiah Shingledecker
9. (96) Mike Turner
10. (45) Steve Feder
If you love side by side racing for multiple laps and you didn’t stay for the show ending sportsman stocks, then shame on you because you missed a great one.
Corey McPherson and Terry Young got to the front of the field early on in the action and engaged in duel to the finish, watched closely by the ever improving Mark Sanders who saw the activity from the third spot. At the mid race point, McPherson appeared to make the pass for the lead which involved some contact with Young. However, a caution flag on the lap gave Young the lead back and the contact appeared to awaken him. Young drove the rest of the race like a man possessed, slamming the door on McPherson whenever he could be seen, heard and felt in pursuit. The three drivers had to withstand multiple caution flags and subsequent restarts but when the checkered flag fell, it was young who Young who took home the victory.
1. (28Y) Terry Young
2. (C33) Corey McPherson
3. (32) Mark Sanders
4. (20J) Jim Fosnaught
5. (64) Rob Shook
6. (30) Bob Egley
7. (948) Joe Zambotti
8. (25) Brett McDonald
9. (17R) Stan Riggle
10. (21) Jeff Miller
For Full Results from the Lernerville Main Page Click here:
For Eric Westendorf’s always well done press release of the night’s action Click here: