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The Working Man Story from Lernerville: Eckert, Richards score preliminary victories

(All Photos by Patrick Miller)

With a revamped two day format for the Working Man event at the Lernerville Speedway for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series, two 25 lap features set the field Friday evening for Saturday’s events. Outlaw tour regulars, Rick Eckert and Josh Richards, scored victories in the $2,500 to win features that set the stage for Saturday’s $20,000 to win 75 lap event.  Eckert made a late race charge to victory in the opening feature, while Richards drove away from the field with ease in the second feature.

Brian Shirley and Frank Heckenast Jr led the 17 car field to the green in Feature 1. Shirley took the early advantage on the fast, tacky surface while Heckenast and Eckert gave chase. Chub Frank was on the move early on from the 5th starting spot, as he raced into 2nd by lap 4.  On the next lap, Jared Miley lost the handle while battling for a top five spot, collecting Matt Lux and Jason Covert, which resulted in both going pitside with heavy damage.

When racing resumed, Shirley remained out in front with Frank comfortably in second.  Behind the lead duo, Heckenast and Eckert begun a spirited battle for 3rd that last several circuits.
Shirley began to reach lap traffic on lap 15, as the race continued green.

Eckert begun his move to the front on lap 16 as he dispatched Heckenast for 3rd down the backstretch and then advanced past Frank in the subsequent lap to take command of 2nd.  Eckert, who found speed running the bottom grove, put pressure on Shirley for the lead in the following laps.

Laps 19 and 20 saw Shirley changing to a lower line to attempt to keep the lead, but Eckert had other ideas as he used a strong run off turn 2 to blast by Shirley down the backstretch to make the winning pass on lap 21. Shirley would have to settle for a runner up spot, while Heckenast and Morgan Bagley took the final redraw spots.  Miley also recovered from the earlier caution to race his way into a solid 6th place finish after tailing the field.

Feature #1 Finish (top 4 to the redraw, top 8 to the Amain): 1. Rick Eckert 2. Brian Shirley 3. Frank Heckenanst Jr. 4. Morgan Bagley 5. Chub Frank 6. Jared Miley 7. John Flinner 8. Brandon Overton 9. Dan Angelicchio 10. Michael Davis 11. Gary Lyle 12. Josh Holtgraver 13. John Weaver 14. Greg Beach 15. Andrew Wylie 16. Jason Covert 17. Matt Lux

By way of setting quicktime in Group B, Richards went off from the pole position in Feature #2 alongside Lernerville regular Michael Norris. In all too familiar sight on the Outlaws tour this season, Richards drove flawlessly en route to his 18th victory on the tour in the non stop feature.  Norris kept Richards in his sights early on, but by lap 6, Richards stretched his advantage, as Norris fell into the clutches of Tyler Erb in a race for 2nd. The battle intensified for several laps as Erb tried every way possible around Norris.

While Richards begun to deal with lap traffic at the halfway point, Erb took 2nd and then appeared to be a man on a mission running on the very top of the speedway.  However, he would push too high on lap 20 and made contact with the front stretch wall, handing second back to Norris.  Erb would fall back to fifth by the finish, as Jimmy Mars advanced his way to third in the closing laps ahead of Shane Clanton, who took the final redraw spot for Saturday’s feature.

Feature #2 Finish (top 4 to the redraw, top 8 to the Amain):
1. Josh Richards  2. Michael Norris 3. Jimmy Mars 4. Shane Clanton 5. Tyler Erb 6. Billy Moyer Jr. 7. Eric Wells 8. Alex Ferree 9. Dave Hess Jr. 10. Steve Casebolt 11. Boom Briggs 12. Joey Coulter 13. Donald Bradshear 14. Ken Schaltenbrand 15. Joe Martin 16. Todd Bachman

Millerstown Pic-A-Part Sportsman:

In other action, Jim Fosnaught scored an emotional victory in the 20 lap Crate Sportsman feature. Fosnaught endured several mid-race restarts and a late race battle with 2016 Track Champion Corey McPherson to score the victory.  He dedicated the win to his late uncle, Robert McCall and Lernerville tech inspector Ralph Engel, who passed away earlier in the day.

Crate Sportsman Top 10 Finish: 1. Jim Fosnaught 2. Corey McPherson 3. Joey Zambotti 4. Bob Egley 5. Joe Kelley 6. Tyler Dietz 7. Aaron Easler 8. Butch Lambert 9. Mike Bordt 10. Scott Byers

RUSH Sportsman Modifieds: 

To close the evening, Josh Deems claimed his first career victory in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. For much of the race, Rocky Kugel and Chas Wolbert battled side by side for the lead. However following several restarts, Deems chased down both on the final restart and made it a three wide battle for the lead. The 9D of Deems took command on lap 16 and then held off another outside charge from Wolbert in the final laps to secure the victory.

RUSH Sportsman Top 10 Finish: 1. Josh Deems 2. Chas Wolbert 3. Rocky Kugel 4. Brian Schaffer 5. Kyle Martell 6. Justin Shea 7. Jeff Schaffer 8. Nick Ritchey 9. Brandon Ritchey 10. Kole Holden



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