|Jared Zimbardi in action at Lernerville. (Pat Miller photo)
On a chilly, but clear Friday night it was a new face in the sprint cars who found victory lane at Lernerville, while the King family continued their winning ways in the modifieds and late models.The racing was also capped off by an exciting sportsman feature.
The Sprint Cars were up first in the program on their sponsor Peoples TWP’s night. Dan Shetler and Jack Sodeman, Jr lead the field to green with Sodeman getting out to an early lead. Jared Zimbardi and Brandon Matus were able to make early moves to get into second and third respectively.
The 23jr machine would pull out to a nice lead on the field, but his engine started to smoke as he entered lapped traffic around lap seven. The engine smoke would last for a few laps until it expired causing a fire under Sodeman’s car, which brought out the red flag. Safety crews were able to put the fire out and Sodeman was ok.
“I don’t know if we would’ve caught Sodeman tonight,” Zimbardi said. “If we had a yellow I could have tried a slide job or something, but he was definitely fast tonight.”
Zimbardi inherited the lead and on the restart withstood a challenge from Matus to hold onto the top spot. Matus and third place running AJ Flick were right in tow with Zimbardi as the driver of the 35 Zimbardi Electric sprinter started to get into lapped traffic.
Flick, running the middle groove, was ready to challenge Matus for second when something broke in the front end of the 2 car sending him spinning in turn two to bring out the yellow with four laps remaining. This would unfortunately end a very strong run for the sprint car rookie.
When the green flag flew Matus made a charge at Zimbardi sliding slightly ahead of him coming out of turn two, but Zimbardi held his line around the top and powered back by.
“Matus did a good job there and it almost stuck,” Zimbardi said. “I had just enough room to squeeze back by him on the outside.It’s always intense because you are so close.”
From there Zimbardi was able to pull away and take the checkered flag to get his first career win at the Sarver speedway.
“This is a really nice facility with a lot of history,” Zimbardi said. “I consider it the gem of Western PA so it is really cool to get a win here. We will come down here as much as we can.”
Tenth starting Carl Bowser was able to make a last lap pass around Matus to get second. Cory Good took home a solid fourth place finish and Mike Lutz rounded out the top five.
While Zimbardi won his first race at Lernerville he is no stranger to victory lane as he is the defending and two time champion of the 360 Patriot Sprint Tour. He will be in action with them next week in a three race weekend.
1. (35z) Jared Zimbardi, Bradford, PA, 2. (10) Carl Bowser Sarver, PA, 3. (13) Brandon Matus, Wampum, PA, 4. (40x) Cory Good, Smicksburg, PA, 5. (5m) Mike Lutz, Wampum, PA, 6. (33) Brent Matus, Wampum, PA, 7. (11) Scott Priester, Rimersburg, PA, 8. (7k) Dan Shetler, Windber, PA, 9. (35) Wes McGlumphy, Veto, OH, 10. (2s) Francis Sesco, New Bethlehem, PA.
It was another King sweep atop the podium in the Diehl Automotive Group modifieds. Rex King Sr led the 19 car field to green with Mike Turner beside him, but it wouldn’t be long before fourth starting Brian Swartzlander took the lead from him on lap 8, while Brad Rapp comfortably tucked himself in the third spot.
Behind the action up front, a battle emerged between, Tom Winkle, King Jr, Jeremiah Shingledecker, and Dave Murdick that waged on for the majority of the race. Shingledecker patiently picked his way through the quartet en route to a fourth place finish.
Swartzlander looked to be in command until he spun on lap 19 down low between turns 3 and 4. That opened the door for King Sr and on the restart he took care of business while King Jr used the opportunity to vault into the top three. Neither would look back the rest of the way for the final six circuits, sealing the second consecutive King 1-2 sweep.
In an interesting turn of events, 2013 modified champion Mat Williamson suffered mechanical issues for the second straight week in his heat and failed to answer the bell for the feature. The loss of points leaves him currently in 12 place in the point standings, badly damaging his hopes of defending his title.
1. (65) Rex King, Sr, Bristolville, OH, 2. (165) Rex King, Jr, Bristolville, OH, 3. (11r) Brad Rapp, Shippenville, PA. 4. (37md) Jeremiah Shingledecker, Polk, PA, 5. (28) Tom Winkle, Mars, PA, 6. (61) Dave Murdick, Slippery Rock, PA, 7. (83) Brian Swartzlander, Leechburg, PA, 8. (13) Rick Regalski, Slippery Rock, PA, 9. (64) Rodney Beltz, Ellwood City, PA, 10. (96) Mike Turner, Herman, PA.
In the Late Model feature it was Tommy Beck and Kenny Schaltenbrand on the front row. When the green flag dropped Schaltenbrand was able to get the advantage and take the early lead. Russ King jumped into second and was able to get right on the tail of the black and green 29 car.
King and Schaltenbrand battled for the lead for several laps until King was able to get the advantage on lap five.
From there King would stretch the lead out and started getting into lapped traffic until third place running Mike Pegher had a malfunction in the front end of his car causing him to stop on the front stretch on lap 13.
On the restart Jared Miley used lapped cars who mixed in on the restart to get by Schaltenbrand to take the second spot. He would then set sights on the 56 machine of King. Miley would get within a car length of King, but was not able to get any closer as King would cross the line first for his second win of the young season.
“I had my cousin Mark spotting giving me hand signals so I knew (Miley) was there,” King said. “It felt like I was getting wicked loose towards the end there.” King then pointed to a left rear tire that was flat on his late model.
Alex Ferree and Garrett Krummert found their way by Schaltenbrand late in the race to take third and fourth respectively. Schaltenbrand ended up crossing the checkers in fifth.
For King it is special to see his whole family running as well as they have been to start the season.
“We work hard on our stuff,” King said.”For all our cars to be fast it really means a lot to me. This is my job I work on (the modifieds) and we have great helpers. My dad and brother go to work and make the money so we feel it is our obligation to make (these cars) fast.”
King has started the season at Lernerville with two first place finishes and a second.
“Our stuff is just clicking right now,” King said. “I’ve been on both sides of it. When you are running good you got to keep your stuff up and try to keep the momentum.”
1. (56) Russ King, Bristolville, OH, 2. (H1) Jared Miley, South Park, PA, 3. (10) Alex Ferree, Saxonburg, PA, 4. (29k) Garrett Krummert, Butler, PA, 5. (29) Kenny Schaltenbrand, Sarver, PA, 6. (111) Brian Swartzlander, Leechburg, PA, 7. (J4) John Garvin, Jr, Sarver, PA, 8. (88) Chuck Sarver, West Sunbury, PA, 9. (21m) Tony Musolino, Pittsburgh, PA, 10. (91) Tommy Beck, Murrysville, PA.
The sportsman class capped off the evening and it was Terry Young who was able to grab the early lead. A couple of laps into the main Corey McPherson and Paul Schrekengost made contact causing McPherson to spin and cut down a left rear tire.
When the field returned to racing Young continued to lead with Jim Fosnaught and Rob Shook in tow until he got into lapped traffic
With Young caught in traffic Fosnaught made a bold move passing two lapped machines on the inside to take the lead on lap 12. Rob Shook was also able to get by too to move into second.
Shook was unable to gain much ground on Fosnaught who ended up getting the victory.
Shook settled for second followed by Young, Aaron Easler, and Joe Kelley.
An elated Fosnaught celebrated the victory with multiple donuts on the front stretch before pulling into victory lane.
1. (20j) Jim Fosnaught, Bairdford, PA, 2. (64) Rob Shook, Creighton, PA, 3. (28y) Terry Young, Butler, PA, 4. (11) Aaron Easler, Butler, PA, 5. (66) Joe Kelley, Mt. Pleasant, PA, 6. (32) Mark Sanders, Lowellville, OH, 7. (54) Wayne Carbo, Saxonburg, PA, 8. (380) Pat Hanley, Monroeville, PA, 9. (25) Brett McDonald, Saxonburg, PA, 10. (948) Joey Zambotti, Kittanning, PA.
The fab four will return to Lernerville next Friday night.