Mike Miller holds off Joe Kelley on the track and for the title Bowser, Hess, Shingledecker and Miller celebrate Championship Night McKisson, Frank and Swartzlander take feature wins
August 28, 2011 (Sarver, PA) Another historic season of Fab Four Racing has come to a close as Carl Bowser (Ti22 Sprints) and Mike Miller (Pic-A-Part Sportsman) add their names to the prestigious list of Lernerville Speedway Track Champions. Dave Hess Jr. (Precise Lates) and Jeremiah Shingledecker (Diehl Mods) add their names to an even more prestigious list of drivers with two Lernerville titles on their racing resume.
The final Fast Friday of 2011 began with the Ti22 Performance DIRTcar Sprints as Australian Luke Bowey led the field to the green flag flanked by veteran Andy McKisson. McKisson jumped out to the early lead, but “The Kittanning Comet” Rod George quickly gave McKisson all he could handle as both drivers aimed for theit first Lernerville win of 2011. From the lap nine restart to the lap 12 restart, George and McKisson traded slide jobs with George taking the lead in turns one & two, only to see McKisson cross back under him down the back straightaway or slide him back in turns three & four to lead at the flagstand.
McKisson got a great jump on the lap 12 restart and was never seriously challenged again, though he did have to navigate lapped traffic and endure a few late race restarts to secure his first feature win of 2011.
Rod George, too busy holding off the advances of Brian Ellenberger and Danny Holtgraver to seriously challenge McKisson the last half of the race, settled for second place. Holtgraver chased George across the line for third, while Kevin Schaeffer (fourth) , Greg Wilson (fifth) and Carl Bowser (sixth) all got past Brian Ellenberger on the final restart after Ellenberger (seventh) jumped the cushion exiting turn two. Brandon Spithaler, Marty Perovich and Brent Matus rounded out the Ti22 Top Ten. Brandon Spithaler, Christopher Bell (a 16 year old from Oklahoma piloting the famed “Ferkel Circle”) and Australian Marty Perovich won National Guard Heat races, while All Star regular Greg Wilson won the B-Main. Wilson and the rest of the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprints will return to the Action Track next Friday, September 2.
Carl Bowser entered the night with the 2011 Track Championship in his back pocket, but still joined the high speed freight train along with Holtgraver, Ellenberger and Wilson coming from midpack to finish seventh. Bowser gave high praise to his devoted pit crew and his supportive parents for his success throughout his career and especially his 2011 Championship run. Bowser finished the 2011 Fab Four Racing season with a career high three feature wins.
Dave Hess Jr. also entered Friday Night having already secured his second consecutive Budweiser Track Championship in the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models. But also like Bowser, Hess didn’t set the cruise control and coast around the Action Track waiting to be crowned. Starting sixth, Hess got up on the wheel and quickly made his way to the front where Russell King had taken the lead from Brian Swartzlander in the Detman 111 on the second lap. On the ninth lap, King narrowly avoided the spinning Ray Kroll Sr. in turn four, bringing out the caution and a crucial restart.
Hess restarted third, but slid under Swartzlander in three and four to take second place. After taking measure of King for several laps, Hess made his move for the lead on lap 18 exiting turn two, but heavy contact with Russell King shredded his left rear tire and crushed his quarter panel. Hess expressed his displeasure with King, then rolled pitside to make repairs. King, meanwhile, was stopped on the front straightaway and sent to the pits by track officials to repair his nose, which was hanging by a thread; he did not return to action.
Brian Swartzlander inherited the lead on the restart and battled Ken Schaltenbrand for the lead, but behind them, World of Outlaws star Chub Frank was fast approaching! “Chubzilla” took the lead from Swartzlander on lap 20 in turns one & two, but Schaltenbrand threw a nasty slider on Frank in three & four, drawing even at the flagstand. Unfortunately for Schaltenbrand, Frank had a lot more forward bite rocketing off the top of turn four and quickly pulled away for his second win of the season and 14th of his career, moving past Hall of Famer Dick Swartzlander and Dick Barton into 11th all time in the division.
After having to restart at the tail of the field, Hess recovered to finish seventh in the feature, but was invited to Sheetz Victory Lane to celebrate his second consecutive Late Model Track Championship. Hess joins a stellar list of drivers, including his father, to win at least a pair of Late Model Track Championships. That list includes Hall of Famers Bob Wearing Sr., Blackie Watt, Dick Swartzlander and Dave Hoffman, as well as future Hall of Famers Lynn Geisler, John Flinner, Ed Ferree and Ben Miley. Alex Ferree, well on his way to a Hall of Fame career, won three straight championships on 2007, 2008 and 2009. Hess finished the season with five feature wins.
Between Frank and Hess were Ken Schaltenbrand in second, Matt Lux in third, John Garvin Jr. in fourth, Jared Miley in fifth and John Mollick in sixth. Chuck Sarver, Brian Swartzlander and Garrett Krummert rounded out the Precise Top Ten. Garvin and King won their respective National Guard heat races.
With the Ti22 Sprints and Precise Late Models put to bed, it was time for the two remaining Track Championships to be decided on the track. After National Guard heat race competition, 2009 Track Champion Jeremiah Shingledecker entered the Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Big Block Modifieds feature with a nine point lead over 2011 division wins leader Dave Murdick, while Defending Track Champion Kevin Bolland was 21 points down. Shingledecker, however, was still feeling the effects of pneumonia and was nowhere near 100%. That said, all he had to do to secure his second career Budweiser Track Championship was to keep Murdick in sight; easier said than done!
Chris Haines and Mike Turner led the field to the green flag with Turner leading lap one and Haines leading lap two. Turner retook the lead on lap three, but Brian Swartzlander was on the move in a brand new chassis with a brand new look and a brand new motor! But it in the end, it was the same old result! The All Time division wins leader took the lead from Turner on lap eight and never looked back en route to his third win of the season and 72nd of his Hall of Fame career.
Despite losing the lead, Mike Turner held on to score a career-best second place finish in his first competition at the Action Track since the sudden passing of his father a few weeks ago. Dave Murdick made his way to third place ahead of Kevin Bolland in fourth, but neither accumulated enough points to catch Shingledecker (sixth) who scored his second Track Championship in three seasons. Brad Rapp finished fifth; between the runners-up and the champion. Chris Haines, Rex King Jr., Phil Evans Jr. and JR McGinley rounded out the Diehl Top Ten. Swartzlander and Bolland were victorious in National Guard heat race action.
With perfect weather and five drivers still in the mix for the Track Championship, most of the capacity crowd stuck around for the Main Event! After National Guard heat race action, Defending Track Champion and All Time division wins leader Joe Kelley led Mike Miller by just two points. 2009 Rookie of the Year Corey McPherson was just nine points behind Kelley, while AJ Flick and Rob Shook were still in contention for the title.
Kelley led the field to the green flag from the pole, while Miller started two rows back in fifth. To secure his eighth Track Championship, all Kelley had to do was keep Miller behind him; and he did that, for a few laps. But Miller got a great jump on the lap four restart, momentarily taking the lead down the front stretch, only to see Kelley retake the lead low in turns one & two and hold the position to the flagstand. Another caution slowed the race and gave Miller a second chance to take advantage of a restart.
Miller took the lead high in turns one & two and all of the sudden, the championship was his to lose. Finishing ahead of Kelley, even by just one position, would give Miller the crown by virtue of tie breaker (the first being 2011 feature wins). Kelley did not allow Miller to pull away, but nor could he make up any ground on him, much less get back around him. In fact, as the lap ticked off, both Wayne Carbo and Corey McPherson got past Kelley to secure a clean and clear feature win and Budweiser Track Championship for Miller.
After years of doing double duty in both the Diehl Mods and Pic-A-Part Sportsman, Miller focused all of his time, effort and attention this season on his Ron Thompson’s owned #81 Sportsman stock car and it certainly paid off! Miller finished the season with three feature wins and tied for the lead in National Guard Heat Race wins with Jeremiah Shingledecker and Kevin Bolland.
As mentioned above, chasing Miller across the line were Wayne Carbo in second, Corey McPherson in third and Joe Kelley in fourth. AJ Flick finished fifth ahead of Brett McDonald (sixth), Mark Sanders (seventh), Jim Fosnaught (eighth), Bob Lipinski (ninth) and Greg Beach (tenth). McPherson, McDonald and Kelley checkered their National Guard heat races.
During heat race competition, the Lynch Family Benefit auction was held, raising $1,505 dollars for the families medical and recovery expenses! The generosity of both the heroes of Fab Four Racing and the finest race fans in the world is greatly appreciated!
With the 2011 Fab Four Racing season in the books, it’s time for the after party at Lernerville Speedway, kicking off this Friday, September 2 with the return of the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprints along with the Lernerville Speedway debut of the 305 Sprint Warriors. The Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman will also be on the card next Friday. The following weekend will see a switch to Saturday Night action for the “Back to School” Bus and Kid’s Bike Races on September 10, followed by Autumn-Motive Fest 2011 featuring the Sportsman/Stock Spectacular on September 17 and the return of the “Greatest Show on Dirt” the World of Outlaws for the $10,000-to-win Commonwealth Clash on September 24. Then, after a month off, we’ll re-open the gates to close the 2011 season for the three-day mega show known as the DIRTcar Round Up Steel City Stampede. Last year’s Stampede saw so many cars register to compete that they had to pit in the infield for the first time in the 40+ history of Don Martin’s Lernerville Speedway!
Ti22 Performance DIRTcar Sprint Feature (25 Laps)
National Guard Heat Race Winners: Brandon Spithaler, Christopher Bell, Marty Perovich
- (0) Andy McKission, Strattanville
- (4) Rod George, Kittanning
- (D4) Danny Holtgraver, Pittsburgh
- (9) Kevin Schaeffer, Kittanning
- (W20) Greg Wilson, Benton Ridge, OH
- (10) Carl Bowser, Sarver
- (20E) Brian Ellenberger, Butler
- (22B) Brandon Spithaler, Evans City
- (17P) Marty Perovich, Sydney, AUS
- (33) Brent Matus, Wampum
- (11) Scott Priester, Rimersburg
- (0Z) Christopher Bell, Norman, OK
- (55AU) Luke Bowey, Adelade, S. AUS
- (7W) Eric Williams, Greenville
- (1R) Gale Ruth Sr., Pleasantville
- (44) Pete Landram, Jeannette
- (4K) Bill Kiley, Cabot
- (3E) Billy Eash, Johnstown
- (21W) Jack Whitmore, Brookfield, OH
- (6) Sheila Rankin, Renfrew
2011 Budweiser Track Champion – Carl Bowser
Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models Feature (25 Laps)
DNS: (3) Dan Swartzlander, Freeport
- (1*) Chub Frank, Bear Lake
- (29) Ken Schaltenbrand, Sarver
- (21L) Matt Lux, Franklin
- (J4) John Garvin Jr., Sarver
- (H1) Jared Miley, South Park
- (4J) John Mollick, Toronto OH.
- (44) Dave Hess Jr., Waterford
- (88) Chuck Sarver, West Sunburry
- (111) Brian Swartzlander, Leechburg
- (29K) Garrett Krummert, New Castle
- (55) Chris Schneider, Springdale
- (1C) Mike Pegher Jr., Cranberry Twp.
- (27) Jeff Jones, Zelienople
- (J19) Jason Fosnaught, Creighton
- (99B) Rick “Boom” Briggs, Bear Lake
- (89) Matt Tifft, Hinckley OH.
- (92) Jayme Beck, Jeanette
- (56K) Russell King, Bristol OH.
- (15K) Ray Kroll Sr., Renfrew
- (1J) Dave Murdick, Slippery Rock
National Guard Heat Race Winners: John Garvin Jr., Russell King
2011 Budweiser Track Champion – Dave Hess Jr.
Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Modifieds Feature (25 Laps)
National Guard Heat Race Winners: Kevin Bolland, Brian Swartzlander
- (83) Brian Swartzlander, Leechburg
- (96) Mike Turner, Butler
- (61) Dave Murdick, Slippery Rock
- (777) Kevin Bolland, New Brighton
- (11R) Brad Rapp, Shippenville
- (37MD) Jeremiah Shingledecker, Polk
- (35H) Chris Haines, Sandy Lake
- (165) Rex King Jr., Bristol OH.
- (38) Phil Evans, Greensburg
- (66) J.R. McGinley, Fairmount City
- (8J) Dean Pearson, Harrisville
- (29E) Erik Martin, Evans City
- (45) Steve Feder, Butler
- (03) Mark Frankhouser, Philipsburg
- (6) Carl Murdick, Butler
- (88) Shawn Fleeger, Butler
- (71B) Don Brown, Butler
2011 Budweiser Track Champion – Jeremiah Shingledecker
Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman Feature (20 Laps)
DNS: (29B) Scott Byers, Butler
- (81) Mike Miller, Chicora
- (54) Wayne Carbo, Saxonburg
- (C33) Corey McPherson, Tarentum
- (66) Joe Kelley, Mt. Pleasant
- (2) A.J. Flick, Apollo
- (25) Brett McDonald, Saxonburg
- (32) Mark Sanders, Lowellville OH.
- (20J) Jim Fosnaught, Bairdford
- (55L) Bob Lipinski, Pittsburgh
- (33X) Greg Beach, Greece City
- (380) Pat Hanley, Monroeville
- (57) Troy Jeuther, Valencia
- (1) Randy Hanovick, Mars
- (28Y) Terry Young, Butler
- (21) Jeff Miller, Natrona Heights
- (8C) Fred Casagni, Vandergrift
- (53) Rob Shook, Creighton
- (55S) Dr. Bob Lipinski, Pittsburgh
- (77) Bryan Shaffer, New Castle
- (41) Gib Overly Jr., Allegheny Twp.
- (52) William Shipeck, Gibsonia
- (12M) John McCann, Ford City
DNS: (30) Bob Egley, Kittanning
National Guard Heat Race Winners: Corey McPherson, Brett McDonald, Joe Kelley
2011 Budweiser Track Champion – Mike Miller
Car Count Total: 88
Ti22 Performance DIRTcar Sprints: 27
Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models: 21
Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Modifieds: 17
Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman: 25
Contact: Lernerville Speedway
Eric J. Westendorf, Public Relations Director