Jim Fosnaught steals the show with emotional career first feature win
All Time Greats Swartzlander & Geisler win Pitkavish Memorials
New daddy Jack Sodeman Jr. dominates Ti22 Sprint feature
Cowboy Brian Steinman’s Benefit Auction doubles previous donations
Sarver, PA (August 3, 2012) On a night where the finest race fans in the world generously donated thousands of dollars to an injured driver’s benefit fund and a pair of All Time Greats padded their Hall of Fame resumes, it was a first time feature winner that stole the show. While emotions always run high in Sheetz Victory Lane when veteran drivers like Dean Pearson and Chuck Sarver score their first feature wins, there’s nothing like a Sportsman/Stock victory celebration as several drivers come to support their biggest rivals and that was the case again last night when fan favorite Jim Fosnaught led all 20 laps to score his first Fab Four feature win. Prior to Fosnaught’s breakthrough win, future Hall of Famers Brian Swartzlander and Lynn Geisler held of late race surges by Jeremiah Shingledecker and Jared Miley to make return visits to Sheetz Victory Lane, while Jack Sodeman Jr. dominated the Ti22 Sprint feature to score his second win of 2012.
The dual bonus nature of the Joe Pitkavish Memorial & Lernerville/Sharon Big Block Bonus Weekend of the Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Modifieds feature allowed most recent feature winner Dave Murdick to qualify for a pill draw position in lieu of the standard 10th
place on the starting grid; though he will start ninth next Friday. Murdick jumped out to a quick lead from the pole while Brad Rapp quickly came to third from ninth of the grid. By lap eight, Murdick had a full straightaway lead, but a caution on lap nine tightened the field back up and All Time Diehl Mods wins leader Brian Swartzlander had already ascended to sixth from 19th
on the starting grid due to pulling out his backup car after winning his heat race. Rapp got crossed up in turns one & two on the restart and Swartzlander moved into third. Swartzlander was in second by lap 13 and was pursuing Murdick when he slowed dramatically on the back straightaway, giving Swartzlander the lead. Murdick rolled pitside with engine issues and did not return. Swartzlander, meanwhile, led the rest of the way but had to hold off a late charge by Defending Track Champion Jeremiah Shingledecker to score his third win of the season and milestone 75th
career feature win.
Shingledecker settled for second, while Brad Rapp regrouped from the aforementioned issues on the lap nine restart to stand on the podium for the Joe Pitkavish Memorial. Small block star Eric Gabany finished fourth ahead of Steve Feder. The Diehl Top Ten rounded out with Dean Pearson, Skip Moore, Shawn Fleeger, recent Sharon Speedway feature winner Mark Frankhouser and Carl Murdick. Murdick was scored 15th
, while Rex King Jr. was also a DNF in 16th
and father Rex King Sr. was a DNS. Shingledecker and Swartzlander scored heat race wins.
Swartzlander’s perfect night of points, combined with Murdick’s DNF puts Swartzlander in the lead with three remaining in the Chase for the 2012 Budweiser Track Championship by 12 points. It also sets him up for a $1000 bonus and four pit passes for the World Finals in November at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway as part of the Lernerville/Sharon DIRTcar Big Block Bonus if he elects to race at Sharon Speedway tonight (August 4).
After an opening lap accident that saw Gale Ruth Jr. and Brandon Matus get upside down in turn two, Brandon’s dad Brent Matus was on the gas and looking like a legitimate contender to score his first feature win in well over a decade, but new father Jack Sodeman Jr., the son of a legendary driver himself, was on Matus’s tail in hot pursuit. Sodeman made his first bid for the lead with a slide job in turns one & two on lap eight only to see Matus cross back under to hold the lead down the back straightaway, but Sodeman jumped on the cushion and launched past Matus exiting turn four to take the lead at the flagstand. Once at the point, Sodeman checked out; by lap 20 he had a half track lead over Budweiser Points leader Kevin Schaeffer and was on the tail tanks of Carl Bowser and Rod George battling for sixth with two laps to go when a caution slowed the race. The ensuing Green-White-Checkered restart only delayed the inevitable as Sodeman raced to the checkers to score his second feature of the year and the first since the birth of his daughter in July.
Kevin Schaeffer scored yet another top five finish with a strong second place run to stretch his lead to 19 points with three events standing between he and his fourth Track Championship. Eric “Turkey” Williams finished third ahead of Pete Miller III in fourth and Defending Track Champion Carl Bowser in fifth. Rod George piloted a borrowed car to finish sixth and keep hope alive for his sixth title. Early leader Brent Matus, Dan Kuriger, Scott Priester and Bob McMillin (scoring his first career Lernerville top ten) rounded out the Ti22 Top Ten. Heats were checkered by Sodeman and Miller.
With his son and World Racing Group exec Ben Geisler in attendance for a rare visit with his family, Lynn Geisler strapped into the #1 Cochran Late Model and started on the pole alongside John Garvin Jr. With 108 wins to his credit, the future Hall of Famer knows the way to Sheetz Victory Lane, but it’s been three full seasons since he’s driven there; though he does have wins as car owner of Mike Pegher Jr.’s Pro Late Model during that time. After taking a quick lead and being dominant on restarts, Geisler led 23 of 25 laps to score his 109th
career feature win to help celebrate the recent acquisition of the former Charapp Ford/Dodge/Jeep along Route 28 just a few miles south of the track; now the #1 Cochran Allegheny Valley MegaCenter!
Jared Miley was mired in the back of his heat race due to a brutal pill draw and stacked field, which resulted in being mired in the back of the feature after winning the B-Main. That said, the incumbent Budweiser Points leader charged from 16th
on the grid to finish a strong second and if the Precise Racing Products Late Model feature had been 30 laps like the Pitkavish Memorial for the Diehl Mods, he might have picked up his sixth feature win of 2012. Instead, Miley scored an impressive runner up finish, stretched his lead to 83 points over Garvin and could clinch his first Lernerville Track Championship next Friday Night.
Boom Briggs briefly but unofficially took the lead on lap 23 with a slide job in turns three & four. But Boom jumped the cushion in turn four, allowing Geisler to motor away and Jared Miley to get by with his own slide job in turns one & two. Briggs finished third ahead of Mike Norris in fourth and Ken Schaltenbrand in fifth. Doug Eck also briefly took the lead on the lap 18 restart, but finished a disappointing sixth after Geisler, Briggs and Miley all got by on laps 20 & 21. Despite the disappointing finish, Eck certainly has his recently acquired Rocket Chassis by Chub hooked up and could be poised for his first feature win in almost a decade before the season comes to an end; his last win coming in 2004. Denton Boyer, Brian Swartzlander, Mike Johnson and John Garvin Jr. rounded out the Precise Top Ten. Heats were checkers by Lynn Geisler, Brian Swartzlander and Mike Johnson.
Well it’s been a long time coming for Jim Fosnaught. After following in the footsteps and sometimes living in the shadows of his brother Jason Fosnaught, Jim has become a fan favorite and championship contender in the ultra-competitive Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman. Nobody works harder or is more dedicated to the division than Fosnaught and his persistence finally paid off Friday night with a dominant feature win; his first in Fab Four Racing competition. He won the non-winners race at the Sportsman/Stock Spectacular during 2010 Autumn-Motive Fest, but he’s been knocking on the door during full Fab Four competition for the better part of three years, so to finally break through and seal the deal was very emotional for Fosnaught who was welcomed by a large crowd of family, friends and rivals from within the division; something that rarely happens in the top three divisions, but is quite common place in the aptly named Sportsman division.
Starting from outside row two, Fosnaught joined Scott Bowman, Chris Schneider and Scott Byers in a four-wide battle for the lead down the backstretch. Fosnaught nosed ahead of the pack entering turn three and lead by a hair at the flagstand to complete lap one. That’s about as close as anyone would get, as Fosnaught would go on to lead all 20 laps before doing doughnuts on the front stretch and taking a Polish Victory Lap before rolling his #20J SS Chassis into Sheetz Victory Lane. The icing on the cake is that Fosnaught’s perfect point night chipped away at McPherson’s lead (413-396) with just three Fab Four races remaining in 2012.
AJ Flick out dueled Chris Schneider for second and held off late charges by Budweiser Points leader Corey McPherson and Wayne Carbo. When the checkers waved, it was McPherson in third, Schneider in fourth and Carbo in fifth, but the four drivers swapped those top five positions wildly in the closing laps. Brett McDonald scored a solid top six finish after welcoming folks from GBG Pittsburgh in the Butler Pavilion before the races. The Pic-A-Part Top Ten rounded out with Pat Hanley, Brian Duffy, Ryan Moyer and Mark Sanders. Heats were claimed by Jim Fosnaught, AJ Flick and Brett McDonald; Brian Lockhart won the B-Main.
Before, and even during, the action moved to the track, Jackie & Liz Matus, Kayla Duncan and an army of volunteers set up and facilitated an incredible Chinese & silent auction for the “Cowboy” Brian Steinman Benefit Fund. Cowboy was injured in a horrific wreck and fire in turn four last month, but continues to make progress at UPMC Mercy hospital in Pittsburgh. Once again the finest race fans in the world stepped to the plate to generously donate almost $10,000, which goes a long way to assuage Brian’s financial burdens while he continues to battle through aggressive and intensive physical therapy. Further donations can be sent to the Brian Steinman Benefit Fund, First Union National Bank, 400 Liberty Street, Clarion, PA 16214.
Fab Four Racing will return next Friday, August 10 for Pittsburgh Circle Track Club Night; one of just three nights remaining in the 2012 Chase for the Budweiser Track Championships. But before that, the Action Track will host the family friendly “Summer Vacation” School Bus & Kids Bike Races with Mod Lites, Enduro 100 & Trailer Races this Tuesday, August 7.
Contact: Lernerville Speedway
Eric J. Westendorf, Public Relations Director
(724) 664-1075 /
Photos Courtesy of John Stivason/Stivason Photos