Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2017 Pennsylvania Super Late Model Power Rankings: Week 22

Hey there race fans, it's Tuesday, so that means it's time for my update to these here rankings. I know, I know, these updates usually come on Monday afternoons, but I had some eye tests yesterday and I was dilated and staring at a computer screen gave me a major headache. I tried to power through, but I wasn't going to give myself migraine. I got as far as compiling the points for the week yesterday, then I had to lie down. Besides, most of ya'll were outside looking at the eclipse anyways, it's not like you would have read this column until today.

This weekend saw some raised purse specials, and it also saw a couple rainouts. All of Friday night's scheduled shows got in, Marion Center and Hummingbird rained out Saturday, and the lone show iof the day Sunday got in. The specials were Bedford's 8100 to win show Friday, and 10k WoO shows at Port Royal Saturday and Eriez Sunday.

As far as these standings, with all the points being scored there surprisingly wasn't a whole lot of movement. The top two still hold quite the advantage over the rest of the top ten.

Let's get to those rankings:

1. Jeff Rine**********, 104 points. Jeff ran fourth at Bedford Friday.

2. Alex Ferree*******, 85 points. Alex was second under the checkers at Lernerville Friday.

3. Max Blair*****, 65 points. Max ran fifth at Eriez Sunday.

4. Coleby Frye***, 60 points. Coleby took home the checkers at Bedford Friday.

5. Charlie Powell*******, 57 points. Charlie got the win at Thunder Mountain Friday.

6. Michael Lake*******, 56 points. Michael got a second at Dog Hollow Friday.

7. Dave Hess Jr.****, 47 points. Dave went scoreless this week.

7. Matt Cosner***, 47 points. Matt ran second at Bedford Friday.

9. Doug Eck**, 46 points. Doug took an 0fer this weekend.

10. Chris Farrell*****, 41 points. Chris failed to score any points this week.

And that's the top ten for this week. Check back next Monday to see where your favorite ended up.

The Story From Eriez: Sheppard Prevails Over Area Invaders, Boardman Tops Stocks, Simon Gets First Victory

World of Outlaws Late Models
On Sunday night the World of Outlaws Late Models pulled into Eriez Speedway for their annual August event at the 3/8th mile track.  25 cars in total signed in for the event on a beautiful 78 degree evening. Brandon Sheppard would set a new track record with his qualifying attempt at 14.940 seconds with the top 7 times surpassing the former record of 15.113 seconds.

Russ King was fast all night at Eriez Speedway
The redraw lined up Frank Heckenast Jr and Russ King on the front row for the start of the 50 lap feature. Heckengast lead the field to green and got a great jump initially, however he would be surpassed by King on the topside coming to complete lap one. This lead would be short lived, as Breyton Santee and Pete Asplaugh spun in turn 2 of the second lap.  King would lead Sheppard, Heckengast, Jared Miley and Morgan Bagley back to green on the following restart. 

Chris Madden's crew changing his flat left rear in the work area.
They would continue nose to tail until lap 8 when Miley passed Heckengast for the 3rd position and Chris Madden and Shane Clanton both got around Bagley. Madden and Clanton would race side by side for an entire lap for the fifth position when Clanton spun on the high side of turn 4.  With King continuing to lead Sheppard, Miley, Heckenast and Madden, the initial restart would be yellow flagged when Steve Kania slowed after contact in turn 2. Under caution Chris Madden would have to pit for a left rear flat, giving up the 5th spot. 

Going back to green, King used the high side to retain the lead over over Sheppard, Miley, Heckenast and Bagley. Bagley would find his way around Heckenast for the 4th spot on lap 15 and they would all continue to chase King until Lap 19 when Bump Hedman spun in turn 1 bringing out the yellow yet again.  On the following restart Miley in the third spot would get a great jump on Sheppard in second and complete the pass.
Chris Madden, Jared Miley, and Shane Clanton in heat race 2.
In the laps following, King would continue to use the high side while Miley slowly closed, stalking him on the low side. Miley would work himself side by side with King on lap 33, and they encountered lap traffic on lap 34. On lap 36 Miley would get under King and take the lead. Sheppard would also find his way under King on lap 40 and begin his pursuit of Miley. It would take Sheppard just a couple laps to catch the tail of Miley, who was in heavy traffic. They would run side by side for several laps with Sheppard able to take the lead on lap 46. Miley would get back by Sheppard the next lap, and they again raced side by side. Miley would lose his grip on the surface and spin out in turn 4, surrendering the lead to Brandon Sheppard on lap 48. Amidst heartbreak, Miley would circle under caution for a lap and retire to his hauler for the remainder of the event. 

This set up a green white checkerd scenario, with Brandon Sheppard taking an insurmountable 4 car length lead on the restart and picking up the win by almost 2 seconds while Max Blair completed a pass over Rick Eckert to enter the top 5 coming to the white flag. Russ King followed in second, Eric Wells in third, Frank Heckenast Jr in forth and Max Blair in fifth.
Sheppard's car covered in victory confetti.

Top 10 (50 laps)
1. Brandon Sheppard
2. Russ King
3. Eric Wells
4. Frank Heckenast Jr.
5. Max Blair
6. Rick Eckert
7. Morgan Bagley
8. Devin Moran
9. Chub Frank
10. Steve Kania

Street Stocks

Brad Church leads the field.
Brad Church and Michael Reed would lead the field of street stocks to the green of the first feature race of the night. Church would take the early lead over Reed, Gary Fisher, John Boardman and Anthony Marotto. The pace would be slowed quickly by a spin in turn 4 by Allen English on lap 2. Upon the ensuing restart, Boardman would quickly find himself side by side with Fisher for 3rd and subsequently Reed for 2nd by the end of lap 4. The caution would again fly on lap 5 when Eric McCray spun in turn 2. This would line up Church at the point over Boardman, Reed, Brandon Groters and Don McGuire. John Boardman would get a great start this time, taking the high line against Church with several attempts to pull even for the lead in the following laps and actually taking the lead as the yellow came out in turn 2 on lap 8. Jimmy Kennerknecht and Charlie McMillen had gotten together in turn 2 forcing the caution.  

Again, Church would lead the field to the green, this time with Brandon Groters making a hard charge. Groters would take the lead on lap 10, with Boardman following him by Church on lap 11. Boardman would then mount a charge on Groters for the lead. The two would pass under the white flag side by side for the lead and Groters spun in turn 1 collecting Reed in the process bringing out the final caution of the race. Boardman would restart in the top spot over Church, Marotto, Don McGuire and Chris McGuire and Boardman drove to victory in the 1 lap shootout.

John Boardman in heat race action.
Top 10 (15 laps)

1. John Boardman
2. Brad Church
3. Don McGuire
4. Chris McGuire
5. Anthony Marotto
6. Gary Fisher
7. Garrett Calvert
8. Victor Earle Jr.
9. Bill Applebee
10. Wesley McCray 


Devin Henry was fast until sidelined by a flat tire.
Devin Henry and Steve Simon lead the Economod field to the green with Henry taking an early lead. Simon would pull even with Henry on lap 2 as Bob Vogt would spin in turn 1 collecting Jason Brightman. While under caution, Devin Henry would discover he had a flat right rear tire and dash for the pits to make a change. However, he would not be allowed to return to the racing surface due to speeding in the pit area. Steve Simon assumed the lead on the lap 2 restart over Matt Alexander, Eric Reinwald and Kyle Miller. 

Simon would continue to lead with Reinwald completing the pass for second over Alexander on lap 3. Lap 4 Miller would find his way under Reinwald for the second spot and they would run in this order for several laps. Simon would continue to lead Miller, Reinwald, Alexander and Brian Toto and looked like he would cruise to victory until Ashley Rogers spun on lap 14 in turn 4.  Simon again would run away on the restart, taking the win over Miller, Reinwald, Alexander and Mike Boyd.
Steve Simon would not be denied victory.

Top 10 (15 laps)
1. Steve Simon
2. Kyle Miller
3. Eric Reinwald
4. Matt Alexander
5. Mike Boyd
6. Keith Felicetty
7. Zack Lenart
8. Brian Toto
9. Dustin Eckman
10. Ashley Rogers

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Story From Lernerville: Shingledecker Wins Thriller; Bowser Spins To Win; Norris Inches Closer to Title; McPherson Rules Pro Stocks

Patrick Miller Photo

Sarver, PA (August 19, 2017) It was just what the doctor ordered. Beautiful skies surrounded Lernerville Speedway on Friday night, and the racing on the track produced two very memorable moments that resulted in victories from drivers who had yet to make an appearance in victory lane in 2017. While at the same time, two drivers that have consistently been the class of the field all season, demonstrated their dominance once again. It was a great night to chase away the misery that comes with three straight weeks of rain outs.

Carl Bowser looked to have victory firmly within his grasp until a late race spin nearly cost him a sure feature win in the 25 lap Peoples Natural Gas Sprint main event. However, he was able to shrug off the momentary setback and rain away from the field on his way to victory lane.  Jeremiah Shingledecker's performance in holding off a late charging Mat Williamson in the Diehl Automotive DIRTcar Big Block Modified feature may just be remembered for years to come as the veteran pilot managed to get add another win to his career total.  Michael Norris put the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models behind him with authority and Corey McPherson came through the field like a knife through warm butter yet again has he collected his sixth win of the season, and another track championship as well.

Shingledecker Bests Williamson In Duel To The Finish

Jeremiah Shingledecker almost always does one thing every season. He finds victory at Lernerville at least once every year. But with the rain shortened season coming to and end, and no end to Mat Williamson's grip on the weekly field in sight, it appeared this might be the year to see his personal streak come to an end.  It would take a monumental effort, even with Williamson starting 10th on the field, to keep the points leader out of victory lane. And it was exactly what Shingledecker came up with on Friday night as he secured at least one feature victory for the 9th time in the past 10 seasons.

Shingledecker and Michael Turner led the field to the green flag and Williamson wasted no time at all in making forward progress, gaining four positions on the opening lap. Two early cautions, one for Garrett Krummert who went off the top of the banking in turns three and four, and one for Colton Walters who spun in turn four, reset the field early in the 25 lap main event.  On the second restart, Williamson made his way underneath Turner for the fourth spot while out front, Shingledecker, Brian Swartzlander and John Mollick separated themselves from the rest of the pack, creating a high speed freight train on the top side of the speedway in the early going.

Williamson looked to be on the verge of watching his three race winning streak come to and end as he seemingly gained no ground on third running Mollick as the race crept up on the halfway mark and was in need of a caution. His hopes were answered with 11 laps down when Tom Glenn slowed on the speedway.  On the restart, Williamson looked as if he had a new lease on life as he made up the center of a three wide battle for the lead with Shingledecker and Swartzlander. Shingledecker held on to the lead though and did not look like he had any intention of giving it up as he consistently found good bite and momentum coming out of turn two all race long.

Meanwhile, Williamson was able to make his way around Swartzlander for the second spot and began to hunt Shingledecker for the lead as he lurked on the cushion, waiting for a mistake from the race leader to capitalize on. Mollick then began to take looks underneath Swartzlander for the third spot with 10 laps remaining.  The battle for third allowed Shingledecker and Williamson to break away and make it a two car race. The leaders ran nose to tail, and then door to door on lap 18 as it appeared Williamson was making his way underneath Shingledecker in a bid for the lead.

Pat Miller Photo

However, Shingledecker was able to power down the back stretch with authority and was able to stave off Williamson's attempt. Williamson kept taking looks on the low side in the waning laps, but Shingledecker proved to be too strong to overcome on this night as he used two lapped cars to keep Williamson at bay while at the same time, hitting his marks at a near perfect rate as he crossed the finish line first while Brian Swartzlander rounded out the podium and Mollick, who looked impressive in only his third time in a Big Block Modified, came home fourth.

"Mat almost had me there a couple of times, the car was a little too tight and I was bobbling a little bit myself, he raced me really clean," Shingledecker said. "As many races as he's won this year I was happy to beat him under green laps. He's been very fast and that kind of says a little bit about what we're doing, improving ourselves."

Top 10: 

1. Jeremiah Shingledecker
2. Mat Williamson
3. Brian Swartzlander
4. John Mollick
5. Dave Murdick
6. Rodney Beltz
7. Rick Regalski
8. Mike Turner
9. Jeff Miller
10. Colton Walters
John Stivason/Stivason Photos

Bowser Dominates Sprint Car Field

To say Carl Bowser was dominant on Friday night may be a total understatement. Especially when you consider that he was able to spin 360 degrees on the front stretch while keeping the lead and was able to extend leads twice in heavy lapped traffic. Bowser led all 25 laps and was never seriously challenged en route to his first victory of the season. He was fast, his command of lapped traffic was smooth, and on this night, appeared to racing in another world altogether.

Gary Kreiss Jr. brought the field to the green flag with Bowser alongside him on the front row as Bowser made straight for the top of the speedway and to the early lead. Cory Good brought out the first caution with a spin in turn four, and when action resumed, Bowser timed the green flag perfectly and bolted out to a lengthy advantage over Kreiss, AJ Flick and Dan Shetler.  Flick and Shetler who came into the night just five points apart in the season standings kept an epic battle for position going for most of the race. And while Bowser put a full straight away between himself and second running Kreiss while in heavy lapped traffic, Shetler crept up on Flick lap by lay until he was able to slide underneath the points leader for the third spot on lap six.  Shetler then set his sights on Kreiss, but could gain no forward movement as the spinning car of Pete Landram brought out the caution flag on lap eight.

On the ensuing restart, Bowser once again made his way up top while Kreiss held off Shetler with another round of lapped traffic coming in to play on lap 12. Bowser kept stretching out his advantage, moving in all three grooves to make his way past the lapped cars and looked to have the race completely under his command when on lap 16, he and Davey Jones made contact as both cars spun. Bowser was somehow able to keep going however which kept him in the lead as the caution flag fell for Jones.

When action resumed, Bowser left the field behind as Shetler took looks underneath Kreis for the second spot. Behind them, Sye Lynch and Dan Kuriger became locked in a battle for fifth. Lynch was able to make his way underneath Kuriger for the position while Flick began moving in on Shetler with a sense of urgency. Flick made the pass in the waning laps to wind up on the podium, but the night belonged to Bowser who turned in one of the most dominant performances of the season.

Pat Miller Photo

"I have to thank Tom and Fran Chiapelli for giving me the opportunity to drive this car," Bowser said. "We've been working really hard, we've been getting a lot faster, the results haven't showed it but I think we're headed in the right direction and tonight showed that."

Top 10: 

1. Carl Bowser
2. Gary Kreiss Jr.
3. AJ Flick
4. Sye Lynch
5. Dan Shetler
6. Dan Kuriger
7. George Hobaugh
8. Ralph Spithaler Jr.
9. Darren Pifer
10. Jimmy Morris

Norris Inches Closer To Title With Fifth Victory

It doesn't seem to matter where he starts, or who is in the field, Michael Norris is a great bet to win on any night and is putting the finishing touches on a season to remember. And Friday night was no exception for Norris, who seemingly used all three grooves and hit his marks with precision all race long as he put the field of Late Models behind him and never looked back.

Pat Miller Photo

Alex Ferree and Clayton Kennedy started on the front row and while Ferree jumped out to the early lead, he would find himself being chased by third starting Kenny Schaltenbrand who made his way around Kennedy with ease and stalked the leader. Ferree and Schaltenbrand gained early separation from third running Gary Lyle while Clay Ruffo took up the fourth spot.

Meanwhile, Norris was making his way through the field with a sense of urgency, tempered with the right amount of patience, making his way up to the fifth spot from ninth in the first six laps. Out front, Ferree was making a clean getaway from Schaltenbrand until a caution slowed progress with eight laps in the books when Ruffo went over the banking in turns three and four and made hard contact with the retaining wall.

Ferree elected to restart on the bottom of the speedway, and when action resumed, Norris dove underneath Schaltenbrand in turn two, making the pass stick for good coming out of turn four.  Norris then made his way to Ferree's back bumper as the two ran nose to tail. With 11 laps down, the two leaders made contact as Ferree jumped the cushion ever so slightly in turn four, enabling Norris to take command just as he crossed the flag stand on lap 13.  Norris found himself almost immediately in lapped traffic, but was able to make his way around with no slowdown of momentum. Once clear of the lappers, Norris found himself in clean air and looked to be on his way to victory lane until one more caution for a Jon Hodgkiss spin on lap 24, setting up a green, white, checkered finish.

Pat Miller Photo

Norris elected to start up high on the final restart and easily cruised to his fifth victory of the season.

"The first couple laps I was just trying to let it play out," Norris said. "I knew the top was there and I hadn't got a good clean run at it and I got it there and it felt pretty good. I knew it would be tough to get by Alex, he would have had to make a mistake and he did and I got into him a little bit. But if he would have done that to me, I would have understood. He races me awesome."

Top 10

1. Michael Norris
2. Alex Ferree
3. Kenny Schaltenbrand
4. Gary Lyle
5. Clayton Kennedy
6. Ed Ferree
7. Andrew Wylie
8. Mike Miller
9. Jon Hodgkiss
10. Weston A. Phillis

McPherson Puts Exclamation Point On Season

In previous years, the Pro Stocks had the most competitive fields among the Fab 4 divisions. And although there are still a great number of drivers whom are capable of winning on many given night, Corey McPherson has made it a much more difficult main even to win over the past six seasons. And in 2017, he  has taken his game to another different level altogether by virtue of clinching his fifth track championship with his sixth victory of the season on Friday night.

Pat Miller Photo

Tyler Dietz and Brandon Wearing comprised the front row as the 20 lap feature took the green flag as the action spread three wide and in multiple layers behind them. Dietz assumed early control of the race with Joe Kelley and Noah Brunell locked in a battle for third spot behind them.  Jake Dietz brought out the first of many cautions with a spin with three laps in the books.  When action resumed, Dale Tuche spun in turn four barely a second before Wearing went over the banking in turn two, allowing Wearing to keep the second spot with four laps down.

On the ensuing restart, McPherson and Joey Zambotti split Kelley and set their sights on third running Brunell as McPherson made his way around the action on the top side and began pursuit of Wearing for the second spot. Wearing and McPherson ran door to door in the battle for the position when the caution flag waved once again with six laps down. McPherson got a great jump on the restart and began taking looks underneath Dietz in turn four, then moved up to the top of the speedway in an attempt to wrest the lead away. But the caution flag waved once again for a Mike Bordt spin.  The yellow was displayed one more time just as McPherson had made a pass for the lead as Dietz kept electing the low side on the subsequent restarts.

Then, with nine laps down, McPherson powered to the outside of Dietz who later mishandled his car in turn two, allowing Zambotti and Wearing to make their way around him. Dietz would gather it back together and would get back around Zambotti and Wearing as the caution flag came out for a Mark Sanders spin with 12 laps down.

McPherson, who managed to peg virtually every restart the rest of the way, could not be caught the rest of the way while Aaron Easler's bid to join the podium came up just short as Zambotti was able to beat him to the line by less than a car length.

Pat Miller Photo

"I'm not gonna lie, this feels really good, " McPherson said. "These guys behind me here, they worked their asses off since we've started, especially this year. They gave me such a great car and to clinch it a night early, it's a great feeling.

Top 10: 

1.Corey McPherson
2. Tyler Dietz
3. Joey Zambotti
4. Aaron Easler
5. Mark Sanders
6. Terry Young
7. Jim Fonaught
8. Paul Schreckengost
9. Brett McDonald
10. Brandon Wearing