The phrase “You’ll pay for your whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge.” applied to every feature lap in all four divisions Friday night at Lernerville Speedway. In one of the most action packed nights of the season, which is really saying something this year, Rob Shook took home his first victory of the season after so many close calls, while Rex King Jr continued his domination of the area modifieds. Carl Bowser and Alex Ferree added to their point leads in their respective divisions as they each patiently made their way to the front and got rewarded at the finish.
Rob Shook quite possibly may have been as close to a feature win as a driver can be thus far in 2014. But wins in the sportman stock division are hard to come by. Just ask Mike Miller who’s as good as just about anybody in the division and hasn’t reached victory lane this season either. But early on in the 20 lap main event, it looked as if Miller might just end his winless streak first.
Miller led from the green flag and looked impressive in doing so while Shook and Terry Young gave chase in the early going. Then a turn one melee on lap four involving Mark Sanders, Stan Riggle, Aaron Easler, and Jeff Miller reset the field. But Miller held stong on the restart, turning the feature’s fastest lap in the process. At the same time, title contenders Jim Fosnaught and Corey McPherson made their charge to the front and for the rest of the race, it seemed is any of the top six cars had a great chance to hit paydirt.
But on a lap 12 restart, Shook made his move and got around Miller as well as Fosnaught too a couple of laps later, followed next by McPherson and Aaron Easler who’d worked his way into contention from deep in the pack. The stage was set for a fantastic finish. And the last two laps didn’t disappoint as the top five battled to the checkered flag with little separation between them as Shook led Fosnaught, McPherson, Easler, and Young.
And when the smoke cleared, Shook had held on to collect his first victory of the year. In an odd twist on the last set of turns, McPherson drove hard into Fosnaught causing them both to fall out of the running just two tenths of a mile from the finish. McPherson was given a DQ for rough driving .
1. Rob Shook
2. Terry Young
3. Aaron Easler
5. Pat Hanley
6. Brett McDonald
7. Joe Zambotti
8. Paul Schreckengost
9. Stan Riggle
10. Wayne Carbo
In rookie sprint driver AJ Flick’s opening night performance back in April, he never saw a feature lap due to a flip earlier in the night. Less than four months later, he almost pulled off his first ever sprint victory and in the process he almost drove away from the field.
Flick actually spun early in his heat and had come back with a vengeance in the last seven laps to earn a redraw spot in the feature and it was an indication of what was to come. He started third on the grid behind Cory Good and first timer Mike Wagner II and in the first few laps the three of them darted out to the early battle for the lead.
It would be easy to assume that Flick had drawn a lucky pill and was making the most of it. But in reality, he went for broke and it paid off with a pass for the lead, showing a great deal of maturity in terms of decision making as he made his way around Wagner on lap six and then started to drive away from everyone.
Flick put his car in front by a straightaway and maneuvered through lapped traffic unlike any rookie in recent memory, achieving a seven second lead by the time the red flag waved for an accident on lap 13.
It was seemingly only a matter of time before division point leaders Carl Bowser and Brandon Matus would show up in the top five and play a part in the outcome. And with several lapped cars between Flick and the both of them on the lap 14 restart, Flick was able to retain the lead however this time he wasn’t able to stretch out the advantage and jumped the cushion in turn four on back to back laps. He made two saves in a row and held on but Billy Dietrich brought out the red with a flip in turn four and only six laps to go.
Flick then fought off Matus on the restart, who’d actually taken the lead for a brief second in turn two which Flick took right back, diving underneath Matus who then went over the hill in turn two on the following lap. But Bowser patiently bided his time and overtook Flick at the opportune moment, using the high side with five laps to go.
Bowser pulled into victory lane and chugged the Turner’s Premium Iced Tea following the hard fought win which was probably more hard fought than anybody could imagined it would have been from the outset.
1. Carl Bowser
2. AJ Flick
3. Cory Good
4. Scott Priester
5. Mike Lutz
6. Brent Matus
7. Michael Wagner
8. Dan Shetler
9. Bill Jones Jr
10. George Hobaugh Jr
As in the sprints, one driver suffered a heartbreaking end to the night, one got a surprise win that nobody saw coming. And so it was in the late models as Alex Ferree padded his point lead with a thrilling victory on a night where second would still have been quite an accomplishment.
Chris Schneider set the pace early with John Garvin right behind and Jared Miley moving up closer to contention lap after lap. Double duty driver Dave Murdick also had a strong showing, holding in the top five for the entire race and was right there in the mix with Mike Norris as well through the early going.
Garvin got around Schneider on a early restart and then had to put forth his best defense to hold off Miley and Feree who’d moved into the top three in the middle laps. But Miley slipped underneath Garvin in turn two on lap 17 to take the lead, a lead that he and Ferree actually swapped in a thrilling battle that ensued for the waning laps until a lap 24 caution for Norris in turn one reset the scene, making for a green-white-checkers/overtime finish.
Miley chose the high side for the final restart and jumped the cushion in turn two which opened the door for Ferree and Murdick who came home with a strong second place showing while Miley held on for a podium finish.
1. Alex Ferree
2. Dave Murdick
3. Jared Miley
4. John Garvin Jr
5. Mike Pegher Jr
6. Russ King
7. Brian Swartzlander
8. Colton Flinner
9. John Flinner
10. Chris Schneider
Ransomville Speedway regular Erick Rudolph had a night off from his home turf and used it to come to Lernerville. The recent SuperDIRTcar Series winner had appeared once earlier this year in April at the action track. But if he had any notion of taking a quick winner’s paycheck back over the New York border, he had another thing coming.
Rudolph actually appeared in his small block machine and most likely enjoys coming down to the place where it’s wide and cars don’t get too torn up. But he added to the competition mix that was trying to figure out how to either stop or slow down the progress of Rex King Jr.
The current Lernerville, Sharon and BRP Tour points leader is on his way to a season that modified fans haven’t seen in this area in quite some time. And he was in search of his third straight victory.
Brian Swartzlander and Jeff Miller led the modifieds to the green flag with Swartzlander maintaining the early lead while Dave Murdick and Rudolph attempted to track him down.
And then the race changed on a dime. You could say it started with Dave Reges bringing out the caution on lap four. Because on the following restart, Murdick appeared to push Swartzlander off the track in turn two. Race officials sent Murdick to the tail for rough driving.
For the rest of the race, the two veterans drove like they were possessed. Both hell bent on getting to the front any way they could leaving one slower car in their wake in each set of turns. But at the same time, King Jr had already taken command of the race, walking out to a sizeable lead by the mid race point. It appeared as if he wouldn’t be caught as Murdick had to exit the surface with mechanical difficulty on lap 17.
But, Reges scored a hat trick of his own on this night, his third caution of the feature restacked the field and Swartzlander jumped up to third on the restart, but could draw no closer as King Jr was just too tough to tackle.
1. Rex King Jr
2. Erick Rudolph
3. Brian Swartzlander
4. Rex King Sr
5. Tom Winkle
6. Steve Feder
7. Bob Warren
8. Rodney Belz
9. Mike Turner
10. Tom Glenn
For the Full Field Rundown click here: Fab Four Quick Results from Lernerville.com