Despite mother natures attempt at stopping the action, the show went on Friday night at Lernerville Speedway as another night of Fab Four Racing went in the books in surprisingly smooth fashion. And the fans were treated to some great racing on a surface that remained smooth, tacky and racy despite the additional moisture. The evening saw one Dan Kuriger take home his first ever Lernerville feature win in the spints while Mike Pegher Jr, Brian Swartzlander, and Joe Kelley all reached Turner's Victory Lane for the first time in 2015.
|Pat Miller Photo|
Dan Kuriger had yet to taste victory lane in his Lernerville career, and after the rain had ceased and the track was settled, he took full advantage of his starting position to take that long awaited first win. But it would be no cakewalk on this night, not even from the pole.
Kuriger and AJ Flick led the field to green as Kuriger got out to the early lead with Flick and Ed Lynch Jr behind him. And from the drop of the green flag he was very fast and very nimble as he managed to keep the keep the two current point leaders behind him using lapped traffic to get away when they were available. Past the halfway mark, the three were nose to tail when the caution flag waved for the first time on lap 18 when Davey Jones stopped on the front stretch.
On the ensuing restart, Kuriger opened up a tremendous lead over Flick and Lynch Jr and could seemingly put the car wherever he wanted it for the majority of the race, and if he was feeling any pressure from his pursuers, he never let it show. But he would still be tested two more times as the dreaded red flag waved twice in the waning laps.
On lap 19, Lynch Jr lost the handle and wildly went off the track in turn four, ending up in the catch fence after a bicycle flip or two, to bring out the first red flag, then on lap 22 rookie driver Clay Riney went upside down over turns one and two. Both drivers were able to walk away and when the action resumed. Kuriger took his third strong restart and used it to drive away from Flick to secure the victory while Flick and Brandon Matus rounded out the podium.
"We've been trying to win here since 2005, so it's been a long time coming," Kuriger commented from victory lane. "I felt really good tonight, but it felt like I was losing the brakes there, I was having a hard time down in three and four. I was starting to get nervous there at the end, the car was getting really tight and I thought I was going to get passed there for a while, but it worked out tonight."
1. Dan Kuriger
2. AJ Flick
3. Brandon Matus
4. Ralph Spithaler
5. Brandon Spithaler
6. Brent Matus
7. Dan Shetler
8. Jim Morris
9. Ryan Fredericks
10. Zach Morrow
Jared Miley came hungry for his first Lernerville super late model win of the season and jetted out to the early lead. Meanwhile, behind him Mike Pegher Jr and Alex Ferree were setting their sights on joining the battle being separated only by Todd Bachmann running second. Miley carried the momentum around the top of the race track from the get go and looked destined for victory lane.
Miley was in another zip code by the time the first caution flag waved for Brian Swartzlander on lap three following a spin in turn four. When action resumed, Dan Swartzlander took advantage of a brilliant restart to take second from Bachmann and Tommy Beck followed suit just moments later to join the top three.
Miley then began, rolling up a two and ha half second advantage with eight laps in the books as the race for second began to heat up between Dan Swartzlander and Beck with both competitors using the high groove. Beck then caught the cushion in the front stretch and brought out the caution on lap 13.
On the restart, Miley took Pegher Jr with him around Swartzlander and into the second spot as Ferree wrested third place from Swartzlander. However, ahead of them, Miley kept adding to his lead, putting a whole straightaway between himself and Pegher in the process and looked as if he'd never be caught though Pegher Jr would have other ideas.
The driver of the #1 Cochran machine used an outstanding restart following a caution on lap 22 to rocket past Miley who would make one last gasp effort on the final set of turns to dive underneath the eventual winner which came up short. And when the checkered flag fell, Pegher Jr had held on to collect his first victory of 2015
"Obviously Jared was in a different zip code and I was just looking to hang on tonight," Pegher Jr remarked. "I thought we were alright, we definitely could have been a little bit better, but I guess lady luck was on our side tonight."
|Pat Miller Photo|
1. Mike Pegher Jr
2. Jared Miley
3. Dan Swarzlander
4. Michael Norris
5. Alex Ferree
6. John Garvin Jr
7. Brian Swartzlander
8. Todd Bachmann
9. Gary Lyle
10. Clayton Kennedy
The Diehl Automotive group modifieds were once again one of the best races of the night as series points leader Mat Williamson and all time great Brian Swartzlander picked right up from where they left off in another thrilling main event.
Area 358 modified standout Eric Gabany led the field to green with Swartzlander right alongside him and from the start of the race, it was apparent that Swartzlander would call the top of the speedway home. The #83 McCutcheon Enterprises entry wasted no time at all in jumping out to the early lead and behind him, a strong running Rodney Beltz overtook Gabany for the second spot. But it would be a short lived stay near the top for Beltz who brought out the caution on lap four suffering mechanical difficulties.
Once the race resumed, Rex King Sr became the second casualty as he broke on lap five running 13th. Meanwhile, between the stoppages, Dave Murdick and Williamson managed to move into the top 3 as both found their way around Rex King Jr.
Williamson put Murdick behind him on the following restart and the battle for the win officially began with the #83 and #6m separated by just a few car lengths.
Swartzlander stretched out a significant lead over Williamson during the middle portion of the feature event and looked to be in command when lapped traffic started to come into play on lap 12. Swartzlander easily made his way though though, and Williamson was forced to try a different line to close the gap, and it paid off as he took to the bottom in turns one and two. By lap 20, the two were were a mere two tenths of a second apart with Williamson showing Swartzlander the nose of his car in the first set of turns.
As the laps wound down the #83 elected to dive low on entry to take away Willliamson's edge and it turned out to be a good decision as it created just enough breathing room for Swartzlander to cross the finish line first at the end of 25 laps to collect his 88th career victory at Lernerville. Behind the two front runners, Garrett Krummert moved forward from his 14th starting spot to join the podium with an impressive run.
"It's going to be one of those kind of years for us," Swartzlander said referring to the potential year long points battle between the two. "He's really fast and last week we changed positions a couple of times, so I thought I'd try the same thing tonight to kind of keep him guessing. All of the sudden I saw his nose there toward the end and I thought I'd better go now and it worked out tonight for us."
1. Brian Swartzlander
2. Mat Williamson
3. Garrett Krummert
4. Dave Murdick
5. Rex King Jr
6. Rick Regalski
7. Jeremiah Shingledecker
8. Eric Gabany
9. Steve Feder
10. Shawn Fleeger
|Pat Miller Photo|
The sportsman stocks were treated to a track that had a good deal more bite than they were used to and it produced a great battle for the win between two divisional heavyweights in Joe Kelley and Terry Young.
The two veteran pilots brought the field to the green flag where Kelly would jump out to the early lead with Young, Bob Egley, Aaron Easler and Wayne Carbo in tow. Meanwhile, perennial favorites Jim Fosnaught, Mike Miller, and Corey McPherson were mired in the mid pack for the first few laps while Kelly maintained a strong lead during the initial handful of laps.
Egley brought out the caution on lap 4 with a spin resetting the field for a restart that saw McPherson break from the pack to join the top three. Young took advantage of a good restart as well and challenged Kelly for the lead. Young held a slight advantage on laps five through seven, but Kelley would re-take the lead on lap eight and would never look back as he and Young would have to fight off a determined Carbo and McPherson to hold on to his second position.
Jim Fosnaught then stated his charge forward from his ninth starting spot, diving under the competition to find the best available traction. Fosnaught was able to get around Carbo and McPherson near the halfway mark of the 20 lap feature, but could not run down Kelley who'd checked out to a two plus second advantage on the remainder of the field en route to his first Lernerville victory of the season. While behind him, Fosnaught and Young took the final two podium spots with Young enduring a battle with McPherson to finish third.
"Terry Young is so strong here," said Kelley post race. "I wasn't great on the bottom in three and four so that's why I ran the bottom in one and two and went to the top in three and four and it was a little choppy up there but it worked out. We started on the front row and had a really great car, a new one from Chris Schneider and we talk ever week and go over things. I don't change many things very much from what he tells me to do which we used to do all the time."
1. Joe Kelley
2. Jim Fosnaught
3. Terry Young
4. Corey McPherson
5. Wayne Carbo
6. Brett McDonald
7. Joey Zambotti
8. Adam Lipinski
9. Jeff Miller
10. Paul Schreckengost