The Story From Lernerville; Flick Bests Sprint Field; King Cruises To Victory; Williamson Takes 7th; McPherson Finds Victory Lane
If flagman Todd Beichner’s elbow is a little sore on Saturday morning, it would be easy to understand why. Seemingly one yellow or red flag after another marred two of the Fab Four features on Friday night at Lernerville Speedway as the Millerstown Pic-A-Part Sportsman and the People’s Gas DIRTCar Sprints both saw their main events undergo many a restart. The flags weren’t waving quite as furiously in two of the evening’s features however. In the Precie Racing Products Late Models, Russ King and Michael Norris dazzled fans with a hard fought duel to the end that saw King take the victory while in the Diehl Automotive Modifieds, Mat Williamson simply ran away from the field for his seventh win of the season, eclipsing his total from the previous year.
|AJ Ayers Photo|
People’s Gas DIRTCar Sprints:
Andrew Palker stopped in on the People’s Gas DIRTCar Sprints for a Friday night visit. The Ohio native came looking to tame the field of 26 cars on hand as he did almost a year ago in collecting the victory on Pennsylvania soil. But on this night, he was no match for one AJ Flick who one week earlier looked as if he was about to pull off one of the most memorable sprint victories in recent years, only to have his hopes vanquished by a slip on the cushion and a wild ride down the front stretch. Flick came back a week later hungrier than ever, and left completely satisfied.
John Garvin Jr. and Flick brought the field to the initial green flag with Garvin quickly assuming the lead, but it would be short lived as from the get go, Flick looked as if he’d been shot out of a cannon and quickly picked his moment and slid underneath Garvin to assume control on lap two. Once out front, Flick set a torrid pace and separated himself from the rest of the field with authority, while behind him, Dan Shetler and Palker set their sights on chasing Garvin down for the second spot.
As Flick approached heavy lapped traffic six laps in, Palker found himself running third with his sights set on Garvin. The two drivers engaged in a battle for the lead that saw Palker make a bid for a pass, however he slipped up coming out of turn four and smacked the front stretch wall to bring out the first caution. Palker was able to continue, but with compromised equipment and a restart at the tail of the field, was never a significant factor the rest of the way.
|AJ Ayers Photo|
When the race resumed, Flick one again made for the top of the speedway with Garvin and Shetler tucked in behind him. Just two laps later, a scary moment took place when longtime pilot Scott Priester appeared to have something break on the car coming out of turn four. Priester went hard into the fence on the front stretch, bending the majority of the car into an unrecognizable metal figure. Priester was able to get out of the car under his own power during the red flag period.
When the scene was reset, Flick bolted out to the lead once more as some familiar foes joined the fray with Jack Sodeman Jr, Sye Lynch, and Carl Bowser joining the chase pack. Sodeman would dive underneath Bowser for the fifth spot on lap 12 while Lynch, who had worked his way to the fourth spot before Priester brought the red flag, looked impressive in his forward charge from his eighth starting position. Still though, Flick put more ground between himself and the battles for position behind him until he found himself in lapped traffic again on lap 17 as Bowser and Lynch took part in a hard fought battle for the fourth spot.
Flick looked to be in total command with the laps winding down until Riney jumped the cushion in turn four and wound up upside down, bringing out another red flag. With 24 laps in the books, a green, white, checkered finish was in order, and on the final restart, Flick once again held firm as one last ditch effort from Shetler on the final lap came up short in turn two. It was Flick’s fourth victory of the season.
|AJ Ayers Photo|
“I screwed up last week, that was completely my fault, frustration got the best of me and I needed to keep calm,” Flick said in victory lane. “But the crew, I love them so much, every single one of them, they worked their butts off this week to get this car back out on the track and it was lightning quick yet again. When the red flag comes out the first thing you want to do is make sure the driver is okay and that’s one of the things I thank Greg Wheeling for especially because he tells you if everyone is okay. To know Scott and Clay were alright was important to all of us drivers. I told my dad that as long as we didn’t get a late caution we were going to be fine, but I knew we had a fast car, so it was just me and keeping my emotions in check and not getting stress get to me.”
1. AJ Flick
2. Dan Shetler
3. Carl Bowser
4. Sye Lynch
5. John Garvin Jr.
6. Jack Sodeman Jr.
7. Andy McKisson
8. Andrew Palker
9. Alex Paden
10. George Hobaugh
Precise Racing Products Late Models
Attrition may have taken a small bite out of the total number of cars on hand for the late models on Friday night, but less cars doesn’t necessarily mean a lessor race. Russ King and Mike Norris put on a show worth the price of admission and then some as they put the rest of the 11 car field behind them for the majority of the race and battled to the bitter end.
Norris started on the pole alongside Andrew Wylie and quickly sprinted out to the early lead while the third starting King wasted little time in getting around Wylie and starting his chase of Norris in the early stages of the race. The top two then made themselves a good deal of separation while behind them, Matt Lux and Mike Pegher Jr. entered the top five and made their way around Wylie as well. Meanwhile, King began reeling Norris in at a torrid pace with both cars using the top side of the speedway.
|AJ Ayers Photo|
Norris encountered his first dose of lapped traffic at the 10 lap mark as he made his way around Brandon Wearing and Kenny Schaltenbrand in an attempt to get some breathing room. However, King worked his way around them and continued his pursuit. With the number of remaining laps starting to favor Norris, King needed to make his move, and on lap 15, he and Norris traded slide jobs for the lead, clearing each other by a small margin, but cleanly until they made contact in turn three and four on lap 17. The action was fast and furious between the two when more lapped traffic would come into play as Mike Miller found himself in the way of the front runners. King found the perfect moment on lap 18 with another slide job in turn four that put himself in the lead, but Norris would not go gently as he put himself on King’s rear bumper and tried to keep pace. Norris found himself with one more golden opportunity with three laps to go when Gary Lyle brought out the caution after going off the track in turn two.
But on the subsequent restart, King proved to be too strong for Norris, and third running Alex Ferree took the opportunity to get around Norris as well to finish second to King at the end of 25 laps.
|AJ Ayers Photo|
“It was awesome tonight, we got into lapped traffic there and leaned on each other a little bit but there wasn’t anything intentional there, it was a great race,” King remarked regarding his battle with Norris for the win. “Lapped traffic was havoc there and I had to get a little bit aggressive with them, but overall it’s fun racing with him and Alex and I love this core group that we run with here, it’s why we keep coming every week. I’ve never really ran a local track for points since we’ve started running these cars.”
1. Russ King
2. Alex Ferree
3. Michael Norris
4. Mike Pegher Jr.
5. Andrew Wylie
6. Gary Lyle
7. Mike Miller
8. Matt Lux
9. Kenny Schaltenbrand
10. Brandon Wearing
Diehl Automotive Modifieds
There is simply a shortage of words to describe what Mat Williamson has done this season at Lernerville in his accumulating of seven victories. He’s won from the mid pack, from even further back than that, and almost from starting dead last on a couple of occasions this year. Friday’s performance simply added to the legacy that has been his 2016 campaign at the action track.
Jimmy Weller III and Steve Feder led the field to the green flag with Weller bolting out to the early lead while behind him, Feder, JR McGinley, Tom Winkle and Rex King Jr. began sorting themselves out for positions 2-5. It took King just three laps to establish himself as a challenger to Weller when the caution flag was brought out for McGinley who slowed on the back stretch on lap five. King took the lead on the restart, but slid over the turn two banking, turning the lead back over to Weller in the meantime, as King fell back to the seventh spot. He made up ground quickly though, and looked poised to make another charge towards the top three when on lap eight, he and Winkle made contact on the back stretch that sent both cars to the pits afterwards.
|AJ Ayers Photo|
Once action resumed, Weller again assumed control, but Williamson was making his patented methodical march towards the front from his seventh starting spot and following the lap eight caution, had moved into second and was all over Weller for the lead. Just three laps later, Williamson slid underneath Weller on the back stretch in an attempt take the top spot while Steve Feder went off the top of the speedway in turns one and two to bring out yet another caution with ten laps in the books. On the next field reset, Weller elected to start on the high side, giving the bottom to Williamson who used it to his advantage as he took the lead for good while behind him, eighth starting Rex King Sr. entered the fray and put forth a valiant effort to run down Weller for second.
King’s efforts did little to effect the outcome of the race however as in front of himself and Weller, Williamson was driving away from them, gaining a back stretch of separation from the rest of the field. King would everntually overtake Weller for the position, but the night belonged to Williamson who looked as impressive as he ever has in yet another textbook win.
|AJ Ayers Photo|
“I didn’t know how close Rex was,” Williamson said. “I knew he was behind me so I got into lapped traffic and kept pounding the cushion in three and four pretty hard and I’d get tight for a few laps and I figured he was right there, but it’s always good to get one when you can.”
1. Mat Williamson
2. Rex King
3. Jimmy Weller III
4. Brian Swartzlander
5. Jeremiah Shingledecker
6. Dave Murdick
7. Kevin Bolland
8. Rick Regalski
9. Mike Turner
10. Tom Glenn
Millerstown Pic-A-Part Sportsman
Once again, Corey McPherson found himself on the front row on Friday night, but this time he took full advantage of it as he put the field of 18 cars behind him and made it look easy en route to his fourth feature victory of the season.
McPherson darted out to the early lead followed by Joe Kelley, Jim Fosnaught and Tyler Dietz, and in the early going, it looked like it would be a textbook Corey McPherson win as he had his car working on the cushion looking totally effortless in doing so. Meanwhile, Kelley was perfectly content to let his car roll through the middle of the surface and running a strong second. Sadie Siegel then brought out the caution with eight laps in the books following her spin on the front stretch.
|AJ Ayers Photo|
Once action resumed, Fosnaught slid under Kelley for the second spot and started to set his sights on McPherson. It was a flashback moment for those in attendance who had witnessed the seemingly never ending duel in years prior between the two drivers for sportsman supremacy With 10 laps in the books, contact between Brett Mcdonald and Brandon Wearing brought out the caution flag with McPherson and Fosnaught running neck and neck.
The caution came out again on lap 12 when Kelley appeared to have something break on his car as he slid wildly in turns three and four. Kelley would land on all fours, but his night was over with. And on the ensuing restart, McPherson decided to try the low side putting Fosnaught on the top of the surface. McPherson kept the lead though , and on one more restart with five laps to go as Noah Brunell and Fosnaught both had flat tires on the same lap.
Just a couple of laps later, Brett McDonald and Brian Stivenson made contact down the back stretch that lead to spins and the action would collect Aaron Easler as well. McDonald would actually end up at the bottom of the hill off the back side of the speedway. Just when fans though it couldn’t get more bizarre, Joey Zambotti and Bob Egley got together and made contact in turn four with just a precious few laps remaining, Zambotti would be sent off the track for rough driving. Meanwhile, McPherson was in control on every restart and was the class of the field on this night.
|AJ Ayers Photo|
“We haven’t been here in victory lane since June 10th,” McPherson said following his fourth win of the season. “We’ve been really struggling and I wasn’t happy with how the car was handling so last night we switched back to the same suspension we had last year and this is one hell of a car.”
1. Corey McPherson
2. Tyler Dietz
3. Aaron Easler
4. Jim Fosnaught
5. Scott Byers
6. John Hartman
7. Sadie Siegel
8. Bob Egley
9. Joey Zambotti
10. Paul Schreckengost
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