Mother nature tried her best to take a second straight night of fab four racing away from the fans on hand at Lernerville Speedway Friday night. But the skies cleared, leaving a beautiful night of racing on tap for the crowd, and the racing action saw some fantastic finishes highlighted by the first ever career victory for AJ Flick in the Peoples TWP Sprints. In the the Diehl Automotive Group Modifieds, Brian Swartzlander snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a last lap pass of leader Rex King Jr. In Precise Late Model action, Michael Norris held Alex Ferree off to take his fifth career win at Lernerville while Corey McPherson scored yet another victory from deep in the field, his second consecutive feature victory in the sportsman stocks.
Peoples TWP Sprints:
Finishing in second place four times in five races in the sprint ranks had been a fulfilling feeling for second year pilot AJ Flick, but he found out on this evening, that there's nothing like winning. Flick started the 25 lap main event in the eighth spot with stiff competition both in front and behind him as Eric Williams brought the field to the green flag. Outside pole sitter Jack Sodeman Jr would take command in the initial laps, but was soon entangled in a battle with Ed Lynch Jr for the lead as behind them, Rod George, Scott Priester and Flick emerged and separated from the pack as they attempted to reel in the leaders until disaster struck for the leader on lap six.
Sodeman Jr appeared to have something break and exited the racing surface in turn two while in mid air, bringing out an extended caution period. Sodeman Jr did not appear to suffer any injury however, and when the racing resumed Lynch Jr took firm control of the race, stretching out a significant lead over George as Flick and former track champion Danny Holtgraver began to mount their charge towards the podium.
|Pat Miller Photo|
Flick would eventually dive underneath George to take second as Lynch Jr encountered lapped traffic on lap 12. Holtgraver then made his way past George and the stage was set for a three car showdown for the win. Flick was able to make up considerable ground on Lynch while the front runners adjusted lines to move around the lapped cars, but once clear of traffic, Lynch would stretch out his lead once again. He seemed destined to take yet another feature event win until he fell victim to an engine failure on lap 21 as he slowed down the front straight to bring out the final caution of the night.
Flick then found himself with the lead, four laps to go, and the formidable Holtgraver right behind him during the single file restart. Flick made for the top side immediately after taking the green flag on the ensuing restart while cutting down low in turns three and four in an attempt to keep Holtgraver at bay, and at the end of 25 laps, he found himself in victory lane for the first time in a sprint car.
"I have to give this race to Jack Sodeman, I know his mom's not doing great so this one's for her," an emotional Flick said in victory lane. "Tonight, Jack had us all pretty much covered until he broke and I think Ed Lynch really would have had me covered until he broke too. I was catching him in lapped traffic but it was Ed Lynch Jr at Lernerville and it's pretty much hard to beat that. I was glad there was only four laps left on the last restart because I didn't want the mental side to get to me."
1. AJ Flick
2. Danny Holtgraver
3. Rod George
4. Cole Duncan
5. Carl Bowser
6. Brent Matus
7. Brandon Matus
8. Sye Lynch
9. Scott Priester
10. Jim Morris
Diehl Automotive Group Modifieds:
To say that 2015 had been disappointing for former track champion Jeremiah Shingledecker would be an understatement. The veteran modified pilot had been subjected to mechanical difficulty in one form or another in almost all of his first five starts. He found himself in a position to turn the momentum around however as he started on the outside pole of the modified feature and from the initial green flag, he looked as if he'd put the problems behind him completely.
|Pat Miller Photo|
Shingledecker and pole sitter Steve Feder checked out early on in the action, leaving the pack of cars including, Mat Williamson, Brian Swartzlander and Rex King Jr.
Williamson was the first of the chase pack to make his way to the front and made a bid to take second away from Feder using the bottom of the track to make his way by and take the spot. King Jr followed suit. Meanwhile, Brian Swartzlander began making his charge from his ninth starting spot which moved him into the top five at the halfway point.
Shingledecker then encountered his first round of lapped traffic which enabled King Jr to inch closer to the leader. The two then engaged in a battle for the lead that lasted several laps. King Jr was eventually able to wrest the lead away on lap 13 as Shingledecker would eventually be eliminated from contention with yet another round of mechanical issues.
Swartzlander then started to supply serious pressure to the leaders during the races's second half. He dispatched of Williamson using the bottom on lap 14 to move into third, and then began to run down the leader King Jr as the laps would down, helped by King Jr having moved into lapped traffic.
The caution flag slowed the action on lap 21 for the first and only time in the feature allowing Swartzlander one more opportunity to get around King Jr for the win. On the restart, King Jr kept the lead as the two battled for the final four laps. Then on the final circuit, King Jr went to the top in turn one and Swartzlander dove underneath him in turn two to make the pass that would seal the deal. It was his 89th career victory at Lenerville.
"That was a really exciting race tonight," Swartzlander remarked. "Cooter ran me really clean there when we were side by side. He drifted up a little going into turn one and I got underneath him."
1. Brian Swartzlander
2. Rex King Jr
3. Mat Williamson
4. Rex King Sr
5. Garrett Krummert
6. Steve Feder
7. Jeff Miller
8. Rick Regalski
9. Rodney Beltz
10. Dave Murdick
Precise Late Models;
Michael Norris had been fairly close to victory lane in 2015, and on this night, a perfect set of circumstances presented themselves and he took advantage of them
Chuck Sarver and Todd Bachman lead the field to green in the 25 lap feature and it was Bachman who would get out to the early lead as Norris climbed to second from fourth, before the caution flag waved on lap two for a Clayton Kennedy spin. On the ensuing restart, Norris made his way around Bachman for the lead and would never look back for the remainder of the race.
Behind him, Alex Ferree made his way around Sarver and Bachman to move into second place while Jared Miley sets his sights on joining them in the top three at the lap four mark Norris and Ferree got some separation from the remainder of the field with Norris calling the top side of the speedway home for much of the race.
Kennedy then proceeded to bring out the caution flag for the second time of the night on lap 7. He was followed in the catuion parade by Mike Pegher Jr on lap 8. Three time winner in 2015, Russ King then finished off the caution hat trick on lap 9 when he broke while running fourth.
|Pat Miller Photo|
Norris, Ferree and Miley led the field on the restart with a charging Kenny Schaltenbrand behind them. Schaltenbrand actually took the third spot away from Miley on lap 11 and the two battled for the position through the mid portion of the race while Norris and Ferree would separate themselves. Ferree was able to make slight gains on Norris in the second half of the race as the two eventually became separated by just a few tenths of a second at the lap 15 mark. Norris' car was extremely impressive in turn two, but Ferree was just as good in turn four, and with five laps to go and the leader approaching lapped traffic, John Garvin Jr brought out the final caution of the race on lap 21.
On the final restart Norris elected top side and was able to keep the lead while Ferree and Miley were looking for an opportunity to find their way around. But Norris would not and could not be caught as Miley then engaged Ferree in a battle for second which gave Norris some breathing room on his way to the his first victory of the season.
"I have to thank Alex (Ferree), he's one hell of a race car driver and he runs me clean every week and racing with him is fun," Norris said. "The car was a little tight tonight, so we were working there and I wasn't being really easy on it.
1. Michael Norris
2. Alex Ferree
3. Jared Miley
4. Kenny Schaltenbrand
5. Chuck Sarver
6. Todd Bachmann
7. Gary Lyle
8. Clayton Kennedy
9. Tom Kitchen
10. Trevor Herr
To win back to back features at Lernerville is a special feat. A driver needs a great car, a willing racing surface, and a great deal of luck. Corey McPherson had all three working in his favor on Friday night.
Joey Zambotti led the from the outset of the 20 lap feature until front runner Jim Fosnaught made his way around him on lap four. At lap five mark, Joe Kelley made his presence known by climbing into the top four with a pass of Scott Byers. The stage was set for another classic battle for supremacy in the sportsman stocks with Kelley's emergence and after a lap six caution, Fosnaught and Kelley ran in the top two spots, as they would for the majority of the race.
|Pat Miller Photo|
Behind them, late model driver Alex Ferree was making the most of a double duty opportunity. Ferree, driving for an absent Wayne Carbo, started the race in eighth and patiently worked his way into the top three.
With Fosnaught and Kelley battling hard for the win, the caution flag flew on lap 15 as Aaron Easler, Scott Byers and Bob Egley tangled in turn four. It would fly one last time on lap 16 when Brian Stievenson spun as the field re-stacked one final time. Fosnaught would retain the lead, but on lap 18, Kelley and Fosnaught make contact coming out of turn four going for the win, which ruined both of their chances , but it also opened a door which McPherson walked right through. The divisional point leader took full advantage of the opportunity and never looked back en route to his second win in as many nights at Lernerville.
" Tonight, coming out for the feature with the track as bitey as it was, I thought the crate motor would be a little bit of a disadvantage," McPherson said. "But towards the end there it started to work out. I got my line figured out."
1. Corey McPherson
2. Alex Ferree
3. Joe Kelley
4. Bob Egley
5. Brett McDonald
6. Jim Fosnaught
7. Brandon Wearing
8. Mike Miller
9. Joey Zambotti
10. Jeff Miller