Wooster, Ohio's Sheldon Haudenschild had been fast all evening long in the Artic Cat All Star Sprint portion of the card at Lernerville Speedway on Friday night. So it was no surprise that he found himself leading the thirty lap $5,000 to win feature. What was also not surprising was the fact that former track champion Danny Holtgraver, and the red hot Chad Kemenah were stalking him through a jungle of lapped traffic that saw both of them catch and almost over take him for the lead. But the young wheel man seemingly had an answer every time he needed it most as he weaved his way to a couple of critical passes through the lapped traffic en route to his first victory of the season and first career Lernerville win.
"It was a great track tonight," Haudenschild said in victory lane. "Sometimes you just have to get into that dash and start up front with those guys and I knew if we could get up there, especially with this track it would be great. I had a blast running the top for thirty laps, that was fun. Shaffer was really good in the beginning and I got under him and he went over the berm and then me and the 10h (Kemenah) had a really good race and I saw Holtgraver was there and I knew they'd be coming so I just had to hit my marks and be good."
The evening also saw Joe Kelly wire the Millerstown Pic-A-Part Sportsman field while Brian Schaffer held off Nick Ritchey and a furious rally from Chelsie Kriegisch to collect the win in RUSH sportsman modified action.
Arctic Cat All Star Sprints
To say the 30 lap All Star Sprint feature was wild would be an understatement to say the least. Not only was it wild with cautions and scary moments, but it was also one of the most entertaining sprint features in recent memory at the action track as evidenced by multiple lead changes, a few upside down competitors, and a top three running order that could seemingly change positions back and forth in the same lap, for laps on end.
|Toni Carbone Photo|
Aliquippa, Pennsylvania's Tim Shaffer shot out to the early lead, heading straight to the top of the racy surface while the jockeying for position behind him heated up. Chad Kemenah and Sheldon Haudenschild immediately started trading the second position behind Shaffer in the early going while last year's winner, Dale Blaney tangled with the cushion on lap two and fell back several positions. By the fifth circuit, Shaffer had encountered his first dose of lapped traffic while Kenemah made his way around Haudenschild for the second spot and then overtook Shaffer for the lead with less than eight laps in the book. Shaffer then went down the ladder, all the way back to the sixth position when the caution flag waved on lap eight for a Billy Dietrich spin in turn four.
|Toni Carbone Photo|
On the ensuing restart, Haudenshild got a great jump and went underneath Kemenah for the apparent lead when Brandon Spithaler underwent a series of bicycle flips in turns three and four to bring out the red flag. Spithaler appeared to be unhurt as he climbed from his car. When action finally resumed, Haudenschild once again made his way back to the lead and went to pounding the cushion with authority as Danny Holtgraver made his way to third where he immetidately set his sights on the second running Kemenah at the lap fourteen mark. By this time, Kemenah had moved to the bottom of the surface and had found the situation to his liking and with a thick layer of lapped traffic in front of Haudenschild, both drivers licked their chops at the possibilities. However, Haudenschild was patient in an impatient situation and found his way through Dietrich and Carl Bowser, leaving Kemenah and Holtgraver to find a way around them. Holtgraver made the best use of the traffic and managed to move up to second and managed to hunt down Haudenschild, eventually drawing even with him when a lap 19 caution re stacked the field.
When the action resumed, Haudesnschild stretched out his lead considerably as Holtgraver and Kemenah once again battled for the second spot until Eric Williams flipped on the front stretch on lap 23 to bring out another red flag which triggered a fuel stop for the field.
|Toni Marie Carbone|
There was one more chance for the front runners to run down Haudenschild, and just enough laps remaining for him to find lapped traffic again. Shaffer had come back to challenge for third during the final green flag stretch, but all eyes were on the front three, and in particular, if Holtgraver who had permanently wrested the second spot away from Kemenah, would be able to make one last desperate attempt to take the lead from Haudenchild, but as the final laps wound down, he was able to find a way to clear one more car and keep the rest of the field at bay on his way to collecting his first career Lernerville victory and first All Star Sprint win of 2016.
1. Sheldon Haudenschild 2. Danny Holtgraver 3. Chad Kemenah 4. Tim Shaffer 5. Andrew Palker
6. Cap Henry 7. Dale Blaney 8. Cole Duncan 9. Kraig Kinser 10. Caleb Armstrong
11. Lee Jacobs 12. Logan Wagner 13. TJ Michael 14. Danny Smith 15. Jack Sodeman Jr.
16. Caleb Helms 17. Brandon Matus 18. Jared Zimbardi 19. Brent Matus 20. Adam Kekich
21. Billy Dietrich 22. John Garvin Jr. 23. Eric Williams 24. Carl Bowser 25. Bradley Howard
26. Brandon Spithaler 27. Bryan Sebetto 28. Michael Bauer
Millerstown Pic-A-Part Sportsman
Odds are, if Corey McPherson doesn't win in Millerstown Pic-A-Part sportsman stock ction, Joe Kelley is as good a bet as their is to take the win as the two drivers have combined for a lion's share of the division's feature win totals over the past two seasons. Sometimes it's as simple as which one of the two legends pulls the best redraw pill. And on this night, Kelley did, and made the most of the opportunity. However, the win was in no way as easy as it might have looked.
Joe Kelley and Jeff Miller led the field to the green flag, and when action commenced it was Kelley out in front while third starting Aaron Easler found some bite in the early action and kept Kelley in his sights, and then some. The former rookie of the year kept applying pressure to Kelley throughout most of the twenty lap feature event while Bob Egley and Tyler Dietz set their sights on running them down. After a caution and restart, Kelley made the top side his home while Easler went downstairs where he kept his momentum intact, staying right alongside Kelley, waiting for a mistake, or a way to slip by the former track champion.
|Pat Miller Photo|
Meanwhile, Terry Young had made his way from his 10th starting spot to third as he tried to go to the top side of Easler for the second spot, but Easler would slam the door and re engaged in the door handle to door handle battle for the lead.
Following a caution for Brett McDonald's spin on lap eight, the battle between Kelley and Easler became more desperate as the seperated themselves from the rest of the pack due to the fierce battle emerging for the third spot between Young and Bob Egley. Young would take the position before the caution flag came out on lap 16 for Noah Brunell. After the restart, with Kelley and Easler furiously battling for the win, contact occurred between the two causing Easler to succumb to a flat tire with just four laps to go. With his closest competitor in the pits, Kelley cruised the rest of the way to collect his first win of the season.
"The 11 car (Easler) was racing me clean and we had contact on the backstretch which was why he got a flat tire there, " Kelley said. "The track was excellent and I'm glad we got to win in front of all these people tonight. We don't typically get to race first a lot and I wish it would have gone green to checkered."
1. Joe Kelley
2. Terry Young
3. Corey McPherson
4. Bob Egley
5. Brandon Wearing
6. Jack Sodeman Jr.
7. Brett McDonald
8. Jeff Miller
9. Sadie Siegel
10. John Hartman
RUSH Sportsman Modifieds
The last time the RUSH sportsman modifeds graced the clay, Chelsie Kriegisch and Kole Holden put on a performance that marked one of the best races of the young series with Holden coming out on top. Friday night, Holden didn't play a factor, and Kriegisch nearly came from all the way back to what would have been a huge win.
Kriegisch took the early lead in the fifteen lap main event while Jerry Schaffer, Chas Wolbert and Rocky Kugel gave chase. Schaffer and Kriegisch then battled for the lead, swapping the top spot in the same lap a couple of times in the early laps until Schaffer suffered an unassisted spin out on lap four with nowhere to go for Kriegisch who went off the track to try to avoid the scene.
And then the carnage erupted. Three cautions in the middle portion of the race kept momentum at a premium, and also gave the lead to Chas Wolbert. Brian Shaffer, who started eighth on the grid, would then emerge and take the lead from Wolbert on lap 10 and never looked back en route to the victory as Wolbert saw one final attempt come up just short when contact with Schaffer caused him to cut down a tire.
"We like to keep it interesting but the track was pretty slick in the middle so we had to work to find the traction," Schaffer said following the win.
1. Brian Schaffer
2. Nick Ritchey
3. Chelsie Kriegisch
4. Ryan Martell
5. Larry Kugel
6. Michael Sparks
7. Tiffany Williams
8. Justin Shea
9. Steve Slater
10. Rocky Kugel