The action track was engulfed in a surge of great weather and a great crowd Friday night. And those in attendance were treated to four feature events more than worthy of the admission price and then some. Side by side battles for the lead, and charges from the middle of the pack toward the front were the norm in every feature, aided by a track that was neither too tacky for danger or typical full moon behavior, nor so slick that you could see your own reflection on it. And as far as surfaces go, this one might have been the best of the season to this point.
A lighter than normal field of 14 late models took the track Friday night. But when Jared Miley and Russ King brought the field to the green flag, it was far more about quality than quantity.
Especially when the likes of Mike Pegher Jr, Alex Ferree, and John Garvin Jr are not far behind and ready to bear down on the front row starters for 25 laps. Miley took the early lead, looking strong in doing so while Russ King tangled with the cushion and lost on lap three.
In the catbird seat, was one Michael Norris who surveyed the action from his sixth starting spot and charged forward at a rate of one spot per lap until he moved under Miley for the lead on lap 5. Ferree made a Norris-like charge himself from his 10th starting spot to third in the first half of the feature as well. But, a lap 11 melee involving King, Pegher Jr, and Chuck Sarver in turn four reset the scene. Norris was assigned the task of keeping Ferree and Jared Miley at bay for 14 laps with minimal lapped traffic to use for defense, and he did it as well as can be done. The top three spent much of the final moments nose to tail, and Ferree was able to pull to ever so close to Norris in turns two and four but at the end of 25 laps, Norris held on to collect his first Lernerville win of the season and third career victory there.
1. Michael Norris
2. Alex Ferree
3. Jared Miley
4. John Garvin Jr
5. Brian Swartzlander
6. Mike Pegher Jr
7. Gary Lyle
8. Chris Schneider
9. Chuck Sarver
10. Kenny Schaltenbrand
He’s still got it! Not that he ever lost it. Rod George had yet to grace the clay at the action track in 2014, but the former track champion still has the skills to pay the bills and they were on display throughout the sprint main event.
George started from the pole and quickly checked out to a four second advantage while his front row mate, Brandon Spithaler drifted back a couple of spots from the drop of the green flag. Mike Lutz moved up to second early on, but was never able to pose a threat to George who looked as if he was in position to win by half a track. Meanwhile, Jack Sodeman Jr was able to make quick work of the four cars in front of him to take second from Lutz just before the halfway point as Spithaler perhaps made an adjustment or found a better way around the track.
Whatever he did, it worked and he worked his way back to second. Following a mid race restart Spithaler was as fast as George and perhaps faster in the final laps. A lap 20 caution for Bill Kiley (right front wheel broke), saw the margin between George and 2nd place Spithaler shrink to .006 seconds at the line.
The two drivers then forged a battle to the finish with Spithaler almost pulling to a dead heat coming out of turn four on some laps, but George kept him at bay using his experience and just enough top side momentum to claim his 44th victory at Lernerville.
1. Rod George
2. Brandon Spithaler
3. Jack Sodeman Jr
4. Brandon Matus
5. Carl Bowser
6. Jared Zimbardi
7. Mike Lutz
8. AJ Flick
9. Billy Dietrich
10. Dan Shetler
Brian Swartzlander’s early season demons have officially been exorcised. His performance Friday night was something to see as he made his way through the field from his second starting spot to second in the first two laps of the main event.
And that’s where he found, Rex King Sr waiting to do battle. Swartzlander got around the #65 on the top side on lap six and looked to be in control the rest of the way.
But King Sr wouldn’t go away. He and Swartzlander swapped the lead on several occasions in the feature’s middle portion while Rex King Jr made a run to third and Tom Winkle kept a strong hold on fourth.
Swartzlander would gain firm control of the feature by moving down low on the surface to go around lapped traffic and once in clean air, he was gone.
“It’s been an up and down year” Swartzlander said. “It’s really been a roller coaster, we’ve had some really good runs and we probably should have a few more wins, but that’s racing.”
1. Brian Swartzander
2. Rex King Sr
3. Rex King Jr
4. Tom Winkle
5. Dave Murdick
6. Shayne Pierce
7. Jeremiah Shingledecker
8. Justin Wright
9. Bob Warren
10. Tom Glenn
You might want to keep a more interested eye on one Aaron Easler. He didn’t win Friday night, and hasn’t won yet this season, but he’s proving he can hang with the best of the sportsman stock division, and that’s not an easy thing.
Easler led the field to green Friday night and held of former track champion Joe Kelley for the first five laps of the 20 lap main event before finally yielding the lead to the #66 on lap six.
Behind them, Paul Schreckengost and Terry Young swapped the third spot back and forth lap after lap and behind them, Jim Fosnaught had entered the fray. Climbing from his tenth starting position, Fosnaught patiently picked his way though the cars in front of him using all three grooves while shrinking Kelley’s lead. After a late race restart, Fosnaught used the bottom to get around Kelly as Easler found his way back around the former leader to take a strong second place while posting the fastest lap time in the main event.
But the night belonged to Fosnaught, who’s maturity and patience have really shone through in 2014. It was his third victory of the season.
An emotional Fosnaught spoke in victory lane. “Last year I was very erratic and kind of all over the place, but this year I’m having fun, even when I’m not winning, I’m still having fun.”
1. Jim Fosnaught
2. Aaron Easler
3. Joe Kelley
4. Corey McPherson
5. Terry Young
6. Mark Sanders
7. Pat Hanley
8. Rob Shook
9. Colin Burke
10. Joey Zambotti
You can find the full field rundown from Lernerville here: Fab Four Quick Results 7/11/14
The World of Outlaws Sprint Cars take the track Tuesday July 15th for the Don Martin Silver Cup, be sure to submit an entry for our 4th Annual Don Martin Silver Cup Pickem Contest! All entries must be received by Tuesday at 4 PM.
To play simply click the following link and start picking:4th Annual Don Martin Silver Cup Pickem Contest