Firecracker Flashback – Birkhofer waves Terrible Towel in Sheetz Victory Lane!
7th Annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com is just five weeks away!
SARVER, PA (May 23, 2013) The 7th Annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com is now just five weeks away; scheduled for Thursday-Friday-Saturday, June 27-28-29. Five years ago, in the 2nd Annual Firecracker 100 that paid $40,000-to-win in honor of the 40th Anniversary season of Lernerville Seedway, Iowa native Brian Birkhofer thrilled the Lernerville Speedway crowd by sporting a Steelers themed racing helmet and waving the iconic Terrible Towel in Sheetz Victory Lane after scoring a $40,000 win in the rescheduled 2nd Annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com. Originally scheduled for the last weekend in June, rain pushed the second and final night (recall the original format was time trials & heats Friday Night and then C-Main, B-Mains and Features Saturday Night) back to the end of July. “This is a big deal for me,” said Birkhofer, who pocketed $41,419 (including lap money) for his first-ever victory at a track that’s located a short drive from the Steel City. “I’ve won big races before, but this one has some extra special meaning because this place is so close to Pittsburgh. I usually come out here a couple times a year to see Steelers home games, so it’s cool to finally win a big race out in this area.
“The only thing that could’ve topped off tonight was if somehow Troy Polomalu (the Steelers’ star safety) was here to present me the trophy,” he added with a smile – not long after waving a Steelers ‘Terrible Towel’ in Victory Lane.
Birkhofer, 36, of Muscatine, Iowa, employed a patient approach to capture the postponed World of Outlaws Late Model Series event, which had its final night of action rained out on both June 28 and 29. He calmly filled the role of pursuer until turning up the wick halfway through the A-Main, passing defending WoO LMS champion Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., for second on lap 50 and points leader Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., for the lead on lap 70.
Lanigan, who led laps 1-69 after starting from the outside pole, finished a distant 4.226 seconds behind Birkhofer in second place. Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., advanced from the 13th starting spot to place third, with Francis settling for fourth and three-time WoO LMS titlist Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., placing fifth after overtaking Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., on lap 97.
Driving his Daufeldt Transport Mars/Birkhofer car, the driver known as ‘Birky’ simply waited until the time was right to make his move.
“I had a long-race car,” said Birkhofer, who recorded his third triumph of the season and the seventh of his career on the WoO LMS. “I was just trying to maintain for the first half of the race and not wear the tires out, so if there was a late caution I could fire back up again.
“I’ve watched Scott Bloomquist (the winner of the inaugural Firecracker 100 in 2007) do it in a lot of 100-lap shows – just sit there and bide his time, and then at the end of the race he’s won again. I was able to do that tonight.”
Birkhofer, who started fourth, carefully measured Lanigan’s GottaRace.com Rocket machine before sweeping by on the inside to assume command for good with 30 laps remaining.
“I saw how he was driving the car,” Birkhofer said of Lanigan. “He had to drive the wheels off of it up there on the cushion, so I just figured, ‘He’s gonna have to keep making good laps to stay up there,’ which isn’t easy. Me personally, I know I couldn’t make that many perfect laps if I had a guy right there running second.”
Birkhofer was dominant once in front, pulling away to a commanding advantage during the 39-lap stretch of green-flag racing that closed the 100. His harder-compound Hoosier tire selection proved to be perfect for the event’s late stages.
“It was kind of a tire game for a couple hours before the feature,” said Birkhofer, who finished a quiet 13th in last year’s Firecracker 100. “I made my (compound) decision in hot laps and just stuck with it. You gotta have a car that can handle the tires too, but I think our tire choice was a big key to our success.”
Lanigan, 38, would certainly agree. He was clearly frustrated with the performance of his tires after leading 69 laps but falling short of a signature win for his amazingly steady season on the WoO LMS.
“We ran (the tires) you normally run here,” said Lanigan, shaking his head as he glanced at Birkhofer celebrating in Victory Lane. “These 1425s (Hoosier tires) almost always work here, but (Birkhofer) had on a little harder tire and that was the difference. He could stick a little better on the bottom and the middle.
“I just got too loose – tire-loose. About halfway through the race I knew I was in trouble. I was sliding too much getting in (the corners) and I had to run the top.”
Though $2,467 in lap money boosted Lanigan’s runner-up earnings to a robust $17,667 and his points lead continued to grow, he craved a victory.
“Any time you get up there and lead more than 50 laps, falling back to second kind of hurts,” said Lanigan. “You’d almost rather run second the whole race and not win it.”
Ken Schaltenbrand of Sarver, Pa., won Tuesday night’s C-Main, and the 20-lap B-Mains were captured by David Scott of Garland, Pa., and Scott Bloomquist.
Mike Knight, 21, of Ripley, N.Y., pocketed $3,000 for winning the ‘Uncle Sam 30’ Non-Qualifiers’ Race. He grabbed the lead from Ron Davies of Warren, Pa., on lap nine and never looked back en route to his first-ever victory at Lernerville.
Gregg Satterlee was the top local finisher in 2008 after securing his spot in the A-Main by finishing third in his heat race. Starting 15th on the grid, Satterlee finished the race on the track one lap down in 16th place. As the top local finisher, Satterlee cashed in on $600 in bonus money ($500 from the WoO LMS “Bonus Bucks” and $100 from Stile Tax Service). All told, Saterlee’s winnings amount to $2,900.
But the show stopper of that Firecracker weekend was Mike Blose! Blose qualified into the A-Main in what can only be described as a legendary heat race in which he spun out and went to the tail twice before racing his way into the third and final transfer position. Blose had no such magic left up his sleeve in the A-Main, however, as he slowed on the back straightaway and went pitside on lap 52, officially scored in 26thplace and earning $2000.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (4) Brian Birkhofer/100 $41,419
2. (2) Darrell Lanigan/100 $17,667
3. (13) Shannon Babb/100 $8,000
4. (3) Steve Francis/100 $6,000
5. (9) Billy Moyer/100 $5,000
6. (12) Chub Frank/100 $4,500
7. (20) Scott Bloomquist/100 $4,100
8. (18) Tim McCreadie/100 $3,500
9. (6) Earl Pearson Jr./100 $3,000
10. (11) Tim Fuller/100 $2,900
11. (19) Rick Eckert/100 $2,800
12. (1) Josh Richards/100 $2,800
13. (16) Chris Madden/100 $2,600
14. (27) John Blankenship/99 $2,500
15. (21) Vic Coffey/99 $2,650
16. (15) Gregg Satterlee/99 $2,900
17. (22) Dan Stone/99 $2,200
18. (10) Donnie Moran/99 $2,100
19. (25) Clint Smith/98 $2,050
20. (7) Coleby Frye/97 $2,000
21. (24) Matt Lux/81 $2,000
22. (28) Lynn Geisler/69 $2,000
23. (23) John Mollick/67 $2,000
24. (5) Shane Clanton/61 $2,000
25. (17) David Scott/50 $2,000
26. (14) Mike Blose/49 $2,000
27. (26) Alex Ferree/13 $2,000
28. (8) Brandon Kinzer/10 $2,000
Did Not Start: Jeremy Miller
Time of Race: 50 Mins., 20.102 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 4.226 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 4 (Lap 11, 19, 45, 61)
Lap Leaders: Lanigan (1-69); Birkfhoer (70-100)
Provisional Starters: C. Smith, Blankenship (WoO); Ferree, Geisler (track)
Rookie of the Race: Coffey ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Satterlee ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race ($100): Jeff Roby (Birkhofer)
Chick Hawk Racing Hot Lap Award: Lanigan (half-off tire warmers)
Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’: Lanigan ($100)
Top Local Finisher: Satterlee ($100)
Hard Charger (sponsored by Ms. Area Auto Racing News Alyssa Sharman): Bloomquist ($100)
Hard Luck (sponsored by Ms. Area Auto Racing News Alyssa Sharman): Clanton ($100)
Uncle Sam 30 Non-Qualifiers’ Race Finish (30 laps): 1. Mike Knight ($3,000); 2. Ron Davies ($2,000); 3. Rick Briggs ($1,500); 4. Brent Rhebergen ($1,200); 5. Dave Hess Jr. ($1,000); 6. Russell King ($800); 7. John Flinner ($700); 8. Keith Barbara ($600); 9. Gary Lyle ($500); 10. Chuck Kennedy ($400); 11. Tony Burke ($300); 12. Clate Copeman ($300); 13. Bump Hedman ($300); 14. Todd Bachman ($300); 15. Chad Valone ($300); 16. Nick Reges ($300); 17. Jared Miley ($300); 18. Dutch Davies ($300); 19. Ryan Scott ($300); 20. Doug Horton ($300); 21. Robbie Blair ($300); 22. Ken Schaltenbrand ($300) – DNS: Davey Johnson ($200); Jimmy Owens ($200); Dane Laraway ($200)
B-Main No. 1 Finish (20 laps – Top 4 Transfer): 1. David Scott, 2. Rick Eckert, 3. Vic Coffey, 4. John Mollick, 5. Davey Johnson, 6. Dave Hess Jr., 7. Doug Horton, 8. Mike Knight, 9. Dutch Davies, 10. Chuck Kennedy, 11. Clate Copeman, 12. Todd Bachman, 13. Jared Miley, 14. Ken Schaltenbrand, 15. Robbie Blair, 16. Dane Laraway, 17. Alex Ferree
B-Main No. 2 Finish (20 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Scott Bloomquist, 2. Dan Stone, 3. Matt Lux, 4. Ron Davies, 5. Rick Briggs, 6. John Flinner, 7. John Blankenship, 8. Brent Rhebergen, 9. Gary Lyle, 10. Russell King, 11. Chad Valone, 12. Tony Burke, 13. Nick Reges, 14. Keith Barbara, 15. Lynn Geisler, 16. Clint Smith, 17. Jimmy Owens
C-Main Finish (8 laps – Top 4 Transfer to B-Mains): 1. Ken Schaltenbrand, 2. Russell King, 3. Jared Miley, 4. Rick Briggs, 5. Ryan Scott, 6. Bump Hedman
Entered drivers who did not return for rescheduled date: Jeremy Miller, Danny Johnson, Sean Beardsley, Joe Isabell, Jason Covert, Bob Close, Josh McGuire Tickets for the 7th Annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com are on sale 24/7 at Lernerville.com by clicking the “Buy Tickets” tab or by calling the speedway office during normal business hours at (724) 353-1511. Three-day packages are just $69 and advanced ticket purchases included a FREE pit pass upgrade for Thursday & Friday Night’s prelimary World of Outlaws Late Model Series programs.
Contact: Lernerville Speedway
Eric J. Westendorf, Public Relations Director