Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lernerville Race Recap: Ferree and Bowser Repeat, Murdick takes Mods, Sanders earns career first in Sportsman.

Despite three straight days of heavy rain, the Lernerville track crew provided a racy, multi- groove surface on Holiday Fireworks night.  The ‘Action Track’ certainly lived up to his name, as all four features saw plenty of fierce battles for the lead and throughout the field.  

Familiar faces again rose to the occasion in the Sprint Cars and Super Late Models, with Carl Bowser and Alex Ferree each winning their third features of the season.  Dave Murdick was victorious in the Modifieds for the first time in 2014, while the Sportsman class saw a first time winner.

The Super Late Models took to the track first for their 25 lap feature event.  Chuck Sarver led the first lap before a caution flew for a tangle between Brian Swartzlander and Chris Rhodes in turn 4.  

On the restart, King used the inside groove in turns 1 and 2 to overtake Sarver for the lead.   John Garvin Jr. and Alex Ferree also moved past Sarver to take over 2nd and 3rd on a lap 5 restart, while King remained out front.

By lap 8, newcomer Mike Altobelli Jr was on the charge moving into 5th after starting 14th. Doug Eck slowed the pace again on lap 10 after stopping on the backstretch. 

Ferree would take advantage of the restart, as he moved past Garvin to take over 2nd.  Garvin fell back to 3rd while Altobelli and Mike Pegher Jr. ran 4th and 5th.

King maintained a slight lead over Ferree over the next ten laps. Just as the two made their way into heavy lap traffic on lap 20, 5th place running Jared Miley went up in smoke.  A broken oil line ended his night, which set up one final restart for King and Ferree to battle for the win.

King chose the inside for the lap 20 restart, but it was Ferree who used the outer groove to race to the lead on lap 21.  

Ferree remained in command the rest of the way to claim his third feature win of the season.  King suffered a flat RR tire on the last lap, which resulted in a disappointing 10th place finish after a solid run.  Garvin took home a solid 2nd followed by Pegher, Altobelli, and 18th starting Dave Murdick.

1. Alex Ferree - Saxonburg
2. John Garvin Jr. - Sarver
3. Mike Pegher Jr. - Wexford
4. Mike Altobelli Jr.- Saxton
5. Dave Murdick- Slippery Rock
6. Chuck Sarver - West Sunbury
7, Kenny Schaltenbrand – Sarver
8. Brian Swartzlander- Leechburg
9. Todd Bachman- Natrona Heights
10. Russ King- Bristol, OH

Lap Leaders: Sarver 1, King 2-20, Ferree 21-25
Heat Winners: Sarver, Dan Swartzlander
B-Main Winner: Brian Swartzlander


In the Sprint feature, Jack Sodeman Jr and Brandon Spithaler paced the 19 car field to green. Both drivers were searching for their first win of 2014. Sodeman drove out to the early lead, while Brandon Matus quickly overtook Spithaler for 2nd.   Sodeman kept a consistent lead over Matus as both moved through lap traffic over the first 18 green flag laps.

Last week’s winner and 10th starting Carl Bowser began to make his way to the front, as he passed Scott Priester for 5th on lap 11, and then split Spithaler and Billy Dietrich in turns 3 and 4 to move into 3rd on lap 16.  Dietrich then brought out the first caution of the race, after spinning in turn 3 a few laps later.

Bowser had been primarily using the very top line on his way to the front, while Sodeman and Matus were using more of the middle to lower grooves.  The restart provided a very hotly contested battle for the lead between the three drivers.

Matus was able to get under Sodeman to momentarily take the lead on lap 19, but Bowser was hot in pursuit running the outside.  Coming out of turn 2 the next lap, Bowser powered by both Matus and Sodeman to take command of the race.

Bowser held on the rest of the way for his second straight victory, while Matus settled for the runner up spot again.  Sodeman rode home in 3rd while Spithaler and Priester finished 4th and 5th, respectively.

1. Carl Bowser- Sarver
2. Brandon Matus- Wampum
3. Jack Sodeman Jr.- North Jackson, OH
4. Brandon Spithaler- Evans City
5. Scott Priester- Rimersburg
6. AJ Flick- Apollo
7. Dan Shetler- Johnstown
8. Cory Good- Smicksburg
9. Mike Lutz- Wampum
10. Brent Matus- Wampum

Lap Leaders: Sodeman 1-18, Matus 19, Bowser 20-25
Heat Winners- AJ Flick, Brandon Matus


Following a spectacular fireworks display, the Big Block Modifieds were next on the card for another 25 lap feature.  Dave Murdick grabbed the early lead from the outside pole, followed closely by 3rd starting Rex King Jr.  Murdick’s lead would be short-lived, as King cruised by on the low side to lead lap 4.

 On a lap 9 restart, Murdick retook the top spot. King fought back to lead lap 11, as he slid by Murdick on the inside off turn 4.  However, Murdick used the momentum coming off the outside of turn 2 to retake the lead again on the next lap. 

The final caution of the race flew on lap 14 when Rick Regalski spun and collected Bob Warren.  Murdick chose the outside on the restart and was barely able to clear King for the lead.

5th row starters Mat Williamson and Jeremiah Shingledecker made it a four car battle for the lead over the next several laps. Willimamson moved by Shingledecker for 3rd on lap 16, while King continued to pressure Murdick for the lead.

Murdick held a smooth, consistent line, driving all the way to the top in 3 and 4, and then to the bottom in 1 and 2 each lap.  This allowed Murdick to keep up his momentum and fend off every challenge from King. 

Murdick claimed the hotly contested feature by just 0.681 seconds over King Jr., Williamson, Shingledecker and King Sr.  Murdick certainty earned his first victory of the season, and celebrated by doing donuts in the infield.

1. Dave Murdick - Slippery Rock
2. Rex King Jr. - Bristol, OH
3. Mat Williamson - St. Catharines, Ontario
4. Jeremiah Shingledecker - Polk
5. Rex King Sr. - Bristol, OH
6. Brian Swartzlander - Leechburg
7. Tom Winkle - Mars
8. Rodney Beltz - Ellwood City
9. Steve Feder - Butler
10. Chris Haines - Sandy Lake

Lap Leaders: Murdick 1-3, King 4-9, Murdick 10, King 11, Murdick 12-25

Heat Race Winners: Rex King Jr., Dave Murdick


After three very exciting features, the Sportsman division capped the night with more late race drama.  Veterans Mike Miller and Joe Kelley took the field to green. Miller held the early advantage and would then open a sizeable lead over Kelley through the first 13 caution free laps. 

8th starting Mark Sanders made his way past Kelley for 2nd on lap 13. Last week’s winner Corey McPherson experienced troubles on the following lap.  After tangling with a lap car, the next turn McPherson spun to bring out the first caution.

On the restart, Miller chose the outside with Sanders to his inside.  Sanders and Miller raced side by side for the next 5 laps, but it was Miller who edged Sanders each time at the line.

With just two laps to go, the deadlock was broken as Sanders charged off the inside of turn 4 to take the lead.  9th starting Jim Fosnaught was also able to slide by Miller for 2nd the following lap.  Sanders then held off Fosnaught on the final lap to claim his first career Lernerville sportsman victory.  

1. Mark Sanders - Lowellville, OH
2. Jim Fosnaught - Bairdford
3. Mike Miller - Chicora
4. Joe Kelley - Mt. Pleasant
5. Rob Shook - Creighton
6. Aaron Easler - Butler
7. Jason Fosnaught - Tarentum
8. Brian Stivenson - Freeport
9. Pat Hanley - Monroeville
10. Eric Pitrowski - Cranberry

Lap Leaders: Miller 1-17, Sanders 18-20

Heat Winners: McPherson, Kelley, Fosnaught

Next week, track provisionals for the top races of the season will be on the line in the Mid Season Championships.  

Full results from this week can be found at the following link : Holiday Races/Fab Four Quick Results 6.13

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