With a huge crowd in the stands and a great field of cars in the pits, the fab four racing season resumed Friday night at Lernerville Speedway following the second rain out in three weeks. Fans were treated to a racy track and a little extra on the line as Rex King Jr, Carl Bowser, Alex Ferree and Joe Kelley all earned starting spots to some very big races by way of their feature wins.
|Pat Miller Photo|
DIEHL Automotive Group Modifieds:
Rex King Jr came into the night hungry for a win at the action track, and he left completely satisfied. The defending champion put a stout field of modifieds that included Ransomville invader Erick Rudolph, behind him en route to his second win of the season.
Points leader Mat Williamson started on the pole of the 25 lap feature, but it was week five winner Garrett Krummert who sprinted out to the early lead, rocketing around Williamson on the first set of turns. Krummert and Williamson then proceeded to duel for the lead in the early stages of the race with Williamson working down low while behind them, King Jr began stalking both of them, charging from his sixth starting spot to third on the opening lap.
The field got re stacked on lap six when Shawn Kozar brought out the first caution of the race and on the ensuing restart Williamson put himself in front with a solid restart as King Jr was able to get underneath Krummert to take the second spot. Rudolph would then make it a three car battle for the win as he made quick work of the competition and surged forward from his 10th starting spot to third. The caution flag waved again on lap nine and King jr capitalized on the restart as the good jump enabled him to take the lead away from Williamson. The eventual winner would find himself in lapped traffic at the lap 15 mark while behind him Williamson and Rudolph engaged in a battle for second. The two could not reel in King Jr for the remainder of the contest as he took home his second feature victory of the season, a win which gave him a starting spot in the modified portion of the Steel City Stampede in October.
“The track was good, it was racy and fast,” King Jr said in victory lane. “We got a good start there and I could see Mat was coming and luckily we got him.”
1. Rex King Jr
2. Mat Williamson
3. Erick Rudolph
4. Brian Swartzlander
5. Garrett Krummert
6. Jeremiah Shingledecker
7. Rex King
8. Steve Feder
9. Tom Winkle
10. Kevin Bolland
Peoples TWP Sprints:
Carl Bowser dominated the sprint feature with a performance that saw him nearly lap half the field Friday night. The defending champion made it look easy on the way to his third victory of 2015 as the rest of the field simply tried to stay in the same zip code.
Scott Priester took the lead on the initial green flag while Bowser and points leader AJ Flick immediately went to work on running him down. Bowser would get there first, courtesy of a lap two restart that saw him make his way around Priester with Ralph Spithaler and Brent Matus in tow. Flick took a longer route to the front, and in the time it took for him to get around Spithaler and Matus, Bowser had checked out to an insurmountable lead. Bowser made use of a well handling car and a top side that was much to his liking in establishing a half track lead on Priester.
As Bowser flew around the surface, the only battle to watch was the developing one for the final podium spots as Priester would not go away quietly. Ed Lynch Jr was able to move forward from his 8th starting spot to join the fray on lap 15. Lynch passed the third running Spithaler and Priester on back to back laps to take the second spot and Flick followed suit just two laps later to join the top three. But, barring a caution or an insane amount of lapped traffic, Bowser simply couldn’t be caught, and on this night, whatever lapped traffic that did emerge was passed with ease by the eventual race winner. With the win, Bowser locked himself into a starting spot for the World of Outlaws Don Martin SIlver Cup in July.
“I thought we got hung up in lapped traffic with four to go and I though surely that someone ought to be catching me,” Bowser stated. “I take my hat off to the guys that work on the car, I just come in and tell them what I think the car is doing and then tell them what I need it to do and they just make it all work. You’re always worried that the car might go away, that’s the hard thing about starting up front, you just have to go by feel and hope for the best.”
1. Carl Bowser
2. Ed Lynch Jr
3. AJ Flick
4. Brandon Spithaler
5. Brandon Matus
6. Brent Matus
7. Eric Williams
8. Jack Sodeman Jr
9. Ralph Spithaler
10. Scott Priester
Precise Racing Products Late Models:
Alex Ferree may have had a car as dominant as Bowser’s, but he’d have to survive a large number of restarts to collect his second victory of the season.
Ferree started on the pole alongside perenniel favorite Russ King, and he bolted out out to the early lead while King and Kenny Schaltenbrand took up the two spots behind him in th early going. Ferree was best around the top of the speedway while King Jr looked to make up ground in the low groove in the early going. Ferree would encounter lapped traffic on lap seven as he sliced between Herman Bertollini and John Garvin Jr on the back stretch, narrowly avoiding disaster.
|Pat Miller Photo|
Then at the lap eight mark, Garvin Jr would slow to bring out the first of many yellow on the night. The cautions took their toll on last week’s winner, Michael Norris and Mike Pegher Jr as the former would succumb to a flat tire and the latter would survive a car that had significant damage to the left side body panels. Pegher Jr would keep the car in the race and actually at a high level despite being caught up in a multi car jam up on the front stretch.
The yellow flags came fast and furious as the laps wound down and on the subsequent restarts, King and Schaltenbrand would both test Ferree, especially in turns one and two, but once Ferree got off the second corner, he established himself as the man to beat. Pegher Jr was able to challenge Schaltenbrand for the third spot but was not able to stay ahead of him at the end of 25 laps. With the win, Ferree punched his ticket to the next week’s Firecracker 100 for the World of Outlaw Late Models.
” It’s so hard when you start up front and get out to the early lead,” Ferree explained. “When you see King and Kenny and Pegher and start wondering to yourself, how close are they? But it feels great to know we’re in the Firecracker, hopefully this will take some pressure off of us.”
1. Alex Feree
2. Russ KIng
3. Kenny Schaltenbrand
4. Mike Pegher Jr
5. Bump Hedman
6. Gary Lyle
7. Jim Rasey
8. Todd Bachmann
9. Dan Swartzlander
10. John Mollick
Late Model Fans, Don’t Miss our Firecracker 100 Pickem Contest, It’s Free!
Millerstown Pic-A-Part Sportsman Stocks
|Pat Miller Photo|
Joe Kelley took the lead on lap two of the sportsman feature and never looked back to collect his 49th career victory at Lernerville. If he could have, he would have seen a determined Jeff Miller who’s performance was nothing short of surprising to say the least.
The veteran stock driver shocked the crowd with a heat win early in the going, and was a force to be reckoned with. Kelley moved into the lead from his fourth starting spot while behind him, Miller had his hands full of formidable competition in the likes of the red hot Corey McPherson, Terry Young and Jim Fosnaught. The first caution flag came out on lap six when Fosnaught appeared to have something break. On the restart, Kelly jumped out to a sizable lead, however McPherson shuffled back to sixth, and wouldn’t be heard from again until the end of the race.
Following a lap 8 restart, 2014 rookie of the year Aaron Easler started to mount a charge towards the front as Miller held firmly in second while Kelley set a torrid pace with the lead while Young held down the third spot. McPherson and Easler would then engage in a battle for fourth as McPherson took his familiar spot in the high groove, but Easler was able to keep him at bay until lap 16 when McPherson switched lines and made his way around to take the positition.
Miller and Young then put on a terrific battle for second in the waning laps while Easler bobbled lap 17. McPherson was then able to get around Miller and Young to climb to third, but a lap 18 caution set the table for one last restart and one last chance for Kelley to slip up on the way to what looked to be a certain victory. Kelley kept calm though and smoothly drove away towards the checkered flag while Young and McPherson rounded out the podium. Kelley earned a starting spot in the sportsman stock portion of the annual Autumn Motive Fest in September.
“We got in a wreck on the first lap of our heat race and if it would have been a regular night we’d have started in the back,” Kelly said. “The bottom was there tonight, and I was able to make it work. Terry Young is so strong up top so I was concerned there towards the end, and Miller was running really good too so I really didn’t know what was going to happen.”
1. Joe Kelley
2. Terry Young
3. Corey McPherson
4. Jeff Miller
5. Aaron Miller
6. Mike Miller
7. Brandon Wearing
8. Paul Schreckengost
9. Bob Egley
10. Brett McDonald