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The Best Entertainment $11 Can Buy! Everyone wins on “Summer Vacation” Night! 8.12

The Best Entertainment $11 Can Buy!  Everyone wins on “Summer Vacation” Night!


Sarver, PA (August 13, 2008) At the risk of being unprofessional, I’m going to take a step back from the normal format of the race report for the “Summer Vacation” Enduro, School Bus and Kid’s Bike races from last night, Tuesday August 12.  The reason I am doing so is because the Enduro, School Bus and Kid’s Bike races are so totally different from our regular Friday Night Fab Four program, that to do a release in the regular Race Report format would do the fantastic evening of family entertainment a great injustice.  Instead, I’ll take you through my night at the race track last night.


Upon arriving at the Lernerville Speedway, I was a bit disheartened at the lack of a crowd.  After all it was 5:45-ish and there was nary a fan in the stands.  Despite the slow start, the crowd did fill in extremely well for a mid-week show without a headlining division. 


After doing a few tasks, I made my way to the pits to check out the Enduro cars.  A lot of cars are what you would expect for an Enduro field, old, beat up, rusty, recently exhumed from local junkyards all over Western Pennsylvania.  However, there were quite a few eye-catching cars which clearly showed how much time and effort were put into them.  But beyond the cars and the starry eyed drivers waiting to take their first laps on the famed “Action Track”, what really caught my attention were the “team shirts” worn by dozens, maybe hundreds of fans.  In today’s economy, many local high profile teams are cutting back on extra expenditures like shirts.  However, the drivers, crews, families and friends of these Enduro cars were so proud and so excited about this most unique racing spectacle that they made and proudly wore their own team shirts.


After a short walk through the pits, I went to work on finding volunteers to help coordinate the Kid’s Bike Races.  This is no easy task and it takes an entire crew of people to properly and, (most importantly), safely execute.  With a combination of National Guardsmen (and women), Pastor Bill Beck from MRO, Kayla Duncan and her brother, Earl Jackson (a die-hard race fan recently back from a tour of duty in Bahrain), Push Truck Diva Lisa McCoy and her daughter, Renee Risch, Summit Academy Cleanup Crew Leader, Flagman Donnie Gallagher and my awesome assistant Tyler Hawk, we got all the kids on the track, down the front stretch and safely across the finish line.  Granted there were a few tipovers in the toddler races and a nasty two-bike crash in the older age brackets, but all participants walked away with a trophy or ribbon and a huge smile on their face.  The winners even got to be interviewed by track announcer Ed Schaefer, received a trophy and got their picture taken in Sheetz Victory Lane.


The highlight of the Kid’s Bike portion of last night’s program falls under the “You had to be there” category, but I have to share it just the same, because it was absolutely classic!  Randy Danielson, (a coworker of mine at Summit Academy who leads a cleanup crew of Summit Academy students who do community service by cleaning up the race track every Saturday morning and Wednesday mornings after our handful of Tuesday Night specials), and myself were in charge of watching the finish line to make sure everyone came to a safe stop and got their appropriate trophy or ribbon.  I warned Randy that some of the older kids would try to keep racing around the track.  At that point I walked over to Ed Schaefer to ask him to make an announcement.  Next thing I know, the crowd erupts into cheer and laughter!  I look down the front straightaway and this little dude “Kip” was haulin’ the mail down the front straightaway like the boogie man was chasing him.  When I brought it to Randy’s attention, he goes running after Kip.  Randy crossed the infield and stopped him exiting turn two, much to the dismay of the fans who booed Randy for stopping “Kip” from completing the circuit!  When he made it back to the front stretch, I gave young “Kip” a trophy for being the Fan Favorite/Crowd Pleaser of the night and Ed Schaefer interviewed him about his peddling prowess!  You had to be there!


The biggest mistake of the night was a major oversight on my part.  During the bike races, Lernerville Speedway General Manager Gary Risch Jr. approached me and asked how I intended on giving away the two bikes we had courtesy of G&D Beverage and Sarver Landscape Supply.  I suddenly came to the realization that my plan to pull two kid admission stubs would not guarantee us one boy winner and one girl winner.  The “Lovely Linda”, (who handles security at the entrance to the press box), suggested, and I agreed, that we should use two rolls of 50/50 tickets.  The boys got a blue ticket and the girls got a pink ticket.  Each kid that came to get a ticket also received a Daily’s “Little Hug”.  We announced that we would be giving away the tickets at 8:30 at the main gate, mainly because it was a central, easy-to-find location.  What we did not foresee, was that in doing so, we forced a lot of kids and their parents to miss the bus race in order to get a ticket.  As bad luck would have it, the bus feature went wire-to-wire with no cautions.  For that, I truly apologize it was not intentional, but it disappointed and angered some fans just the same.  Next month, we will use the same procedure with the blue/pink tickets, but will do so as kids come through the gates, instead of during the show!   That way nobody will forced to decide between watching a race and getting a ticket for a chance to win a bike!


Because of all the running around with the bike raffle, yours truly saw very little of the bus feature.  I did see enough to know that Bill Clepper dominated the 15 lap extravaganza and that Bob Egley’s Bat Bus was sorely missed by the fans and competitors alike!  Ben Clepper finished second, followed by Frank Spithaler in the “Cow Patty” special, Gary Egli and Sam Duncan.  Steve Lucas, Josh Frye and Harold G. Girardat rounded out the field.  Christa Egli defended last year’s Powder Puff victory with another exciting win over Rose Spithaler and rookie Donna Johns.  Christa and “Racin’ Rosie” traded paint for many laps, much to the excitement of the crowd!


A unique and previously unannounced race took place between the bus races and the 100-lap Enduro between General Manager Gary Risch Jr. (#3G Big Block Modified) and John Garvin (#J4 Super Late Model).  Despite the fact that the man signs his paychecks, flagman Donnie Gallagher threw a lazy green flag, then eventually a yellow flag at the start of the race due to Gary Risch jumping the start.  On the restart, Risch blasted off the low groove exiting turn four.  Garvin got a little bit sideways in turns one and two, spending the rest of the 10 lap shootout chasing Risch.  Despite drawing right up to his rear bumper, Garvin was never able to make a pass for the lead giving the win to Gary Risch Jr.


Finally, it was time for the 100 lap Enduro Feature.  Earlier in the evening, the management team identified three cars they deemed worthy of being nominated for “Best Appearing/Fan Favorite”.  The cars were called to the front stretch before the rest of the 73 car field rolled onto the speedway.  Only two of the three cars answered the bell.  According to the cheers of the crowd, Michelle Patterson (#25 of Kittanning) won the contest, resulting in her starting on the pole.  Tyler Hill (#33T of Sarver) started second and Edward Holben (#11H of Saxonburg), who arrived too late to be voted on by the crowd, lined up third.  The rest of the cars lined up by registration date.


When the green flag dropped, the cars were three, four and sometimes five wide as there was no time to sit and wait for things to shuffle out.  On the opening lap, Bill McDonough (#21 of Renfrew), a veteran from the golden ages of Lernerville Enduro action who started fifth, got spun out and was facing almost 70 cars head-on.  Thankfully McDonough was able to throw it in reverse, spin it back forward and continue.  Bill actually recovered to finish the race on the track officially scored in 13th position.  I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to Bill after the race was over.  He was still glowing and clearly enjoyed his time on the track with over 20 family and friends in attendance rooting him on!  He had some work to do on the car, but stated his intention to register for the Enduro rewind next month!


As the opening lap unfolded, Michelle Patterson and Tyler Hill raced side by side the whole way around to the back straightaway, but out of nowhere came a mid-90s Ford Probe driven by David Campbell (#55 of Apollo).  Campbell led the first half of the race and was lapping the field with relative ease.  But somewhere between laps 40 & 50, (scoring was impossible to keep up with for everyone except for Linda Fennell and Chris Schaeffer), both John Muron (#9 of Freedom) and Ryan Redmond (#20R of Freeport) caught and passed Campbell. 


The first real drama unfolded on lap 53.  All in one lap, Redmond passed Muron for the lead, Campbell got back around Muron for second  and a car flipped in turn three.  Then, under the red flag, a car caught on fire on front stretch.  Despite restarting in second place, early leader David Campbell took the 55 into the pits and would officially be scored in 34th.


On the lap 53 restart, Muron and Redmond raced side by side down the front straightaway, before Redmond pulled ahead into the lead in turns one & two.  Somewhere between laps 60 & 70, Muron took the lead back from Redmond, only to see Redmond reclaim the lead on lap 76.  Another car flipped on lap 82 exiting turn four, bringing the field to a stop.   During the red flag, leader Ryan Redmond sat in turn two with the 20R blowing steam like Old Faithful!  A puddle of coolant/water remained when the green flag flew.  A third flip brought out another red on lap 87.  This time, Redmond’s car did not steam at all.  Randy and I were pondering from the top of the press box if that was a good thing, or a very bad thing meaning he had drained the radiator of all fluids.  As the race went back to green it was clear Ryan’s motor was dying and he disappointingly rolled to a stop on the back straightaway with five laps remaining.


Redmond had already lost the lead, but with the chaos of the unique scoring system, it was unclear who the new leader was.  It was determined by the upstairs scoring and announcing team of Beth & Tyler Hawk and Ed Schaefer that car #63 driven by Mark Thompson (of Ford City, we won’t hold that against him, Go Freeport!) was the new leader.  Keith Sherwin (#6K of Parker) was also in the conversation, but after a thorough review of the scoring sheets, Linda Fennell confirmed that it was indeed Mark Thompson who endured and prevailed to win the grueling 100 lap rolling demolition derby and the $1000 winner’s share of the purse!  For the second year in a row, Keith Sherwin (a proud member of the Osmer Racing Family) took home $500 for second place.  The other drivers finishing “in the money” were David Seibert ($300 for third place), Bud Holben Jr. ($200 for fourth place) and Dan Zimmerman ($100 in fifth place).


Despite the excitement and entertainment the School Buses and Enduros provide, the real winners last night were the kids.  To get the chance to race their bikes on the same track where Ed Lynch Jr., Rod George, Kevin Schaeffer, Bob Felmlee, Alex Ferree, Lynn Geisler, John Flinner, Mike Blose, Brian Swartzlander, Kevin Bolland, Del Rougeux, Dave Murdick, Bob Egley, Wayne Carbo, Jason Fosnaught, Joe Kelley, Bill Clepper, Christa Egli and Mark Thompson race, is truly a dream come true for local kids.  Someday, some of those same kids will be the next generation of local sprint car, late model, modified and street stock drivers.  And isn’t that really what it’s all about?!?!


The School Buses, Bikes and Enduros will all be back for more family fun before the 40th Anniversary Season comes to a close.  The School Buses and Bikes are scheduled to return Saturday September 6 along with the Senior Series.  If you have kids or just enjoy the simple pleasures in life, you really need to come out for this School Bus and Bike races.  It’s not event for the racing diehards who breathe, eat and sleep speed & horsepower, but it is a very fun evening of good wholesome family entertainment.  Adults get in for $11, kids 10 & under get in free! 


The Enduros are on the Advance Autumn-Motive Fest schedule Saturday Night along with Street Stock Pandemonium.  For more details and to view the rest of the 40th Anniversary Season schedule log on to www.Lernerville.com.   


Race Results



Enduro Feature Finish (100 Laps)

1.       (63) Mark Thompson

2.       (6K) Keith Sherwin

3.       (Co4) David Seibert

4.       (11H) Bud Holben Jr.

5.       (112) Dan Zimmerman

6.       (1) Steve Blazczak

7.       (20R) Ryan Redmond

8.       (108) Chris Schneider

9.       (71SL) Lee Lehnerd

10.   (57) Dennis Jeuther

11.   (00H) Howard VanSlyke

12.   (07X) Chris Fox

13.   (21) Bill McDonough

14.   (25) Michelle Patterson

15.   (39) Calvin Wetzel

16.   (98) Steve Ace

17.   (66) Michael Baker

18.   (54) Gary B. Reichhold

19.   (56) Dillon Kineston

20.   (C-13) Mike “Bubba” Roberts

21.   (85) John Radvansky Jr.

22.   (16) Steve Guthrie

23.   (9) John Muron

24.   (33) Todd Gabriel

25.   (311) Tim Beatty

26.   (64) Kevin Latshaw

27.   (81) David Smail/Shawn Thorn

28.   (34) Glenn Noland

29.   (3V) Mickey Vantine

30.   (723) Nik Pflueger

31.   (666)Ben Kunning

32.   (46) Christopher Dean

33.   (07) Adam Noland

34.   (55) David Campbell

35.   (24) Chuck Henry

36.   (33R) Richard Hein

37.   (419) Dan Pflueger

38.   (44) Adam Holben

39.   (28) Ray Seibert

40.   (97) Fred Brothers

41.   (111M) Mike DeMeno

42.   (78) Ryan Beatty

43.   (23Z) Kyle Zaffuto

44.   (36w) Larry White

45.   (58) Chad Bowser

46.   (10) Tim Stump

47.   (12) Tim Gillette

48.   (45) Bob Christy

49.   (71) Gary Beer

50.   (13K) Don Vernier

51.   (11) Steve Haefke

52.   (13) Jeffrey  Seibert

53.   (757) Cody Bergad

54.   (06) Gregory A. Shoop Jr.

55.   (37) Aaron Hayes


The following Score Cards were not turned in at the end of the Race: 801 Nick Ranalli Jr., 128 Bryan Krstonich, 33T Tyler Hill, 4L Curtis Loeffler, 65 Zane Grafton, 18B Greg Borczyk, 74 Jerry Batcher, 77 Pete Blazczak, 31 Martin Jones, 92M Scotty Carbaugh, 11T Randy Wyant, 5 Ed Delo, 79 Mike Klein, 66H Ronald R. Hein


Cars That Did Not Start: 18 Matt Cadamore, 88 Justin Stephenson, 9M Cameron McQuown



School Bus Feature Finish (15 Laps)

1.       (99) Bill Clepper

2.       (69) Ben Clepper

3.       (008) Frank Spithaler

4.       (48) Gary Egli

5.       (79X) Sam Duncan

6.       (99G) Stevie Lucas

7.       (84) Josh Frye

8.       (51) Harold G. Girardat

Heat Race Winners: Harold G. Girardat, Bill Clepper


Ladies Powder Puff Feature Finish (10 Laps)

1.       (48) Christa Egli

2.       (008) Rose Spithaler

3.       (79X) Donna Johns


Contact: Lernerville Speedway                 

Eric J. Westendorf, Public Relations Director

(724) 664-1075 · This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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