SWARTZLANDER, SCHAEFFER, KELLEY, STILE VISIT VICTORY LANE By Eric J. Westendorf
(Sarver, PA) Despite gloomy, threatening skies, the Lernerville Speedway squeezed in a complete night of Fab Four Racing. First on the track tonight were the Ferrante Motor Cars Modifieds. What a difference a week makes! A week ago, Brian Swartzlander (#83) of Leechburg had a probable win slip through his fingers after tangling with Jim Weller Jr. on lap 22. Tonight, however, Swartzlander took the lead on lap four in his Budweiser/MEI sponsored #83 and cruised to Victory Lane without incident. Swartzlander was not unchallenged. Both Kevin Bolland (#777) from New Brighton and Tom Winkle (#28) of Mars made Swartzlander earn the win. Winkle led the first three laps of the feature, then ran second until lap 16. Bolland passed Winkle two laps after a restart, and put pressure on Swartzlander but was not able to catch and pass him. The win was the 49th of Swartzlander’s career at Lernerville Speedway. Del Rougeux Jr. (#20D) of Frenchville and Jim Weller Jr. (#31) of Hubbard, OH rounded out the top five. Bolland and Winkle won their respective heat races.
The Commercial Truck & Trailers Sprint Cars pushed off second tonight and put on a tremendous show. Track Prep Guru Ouch Roenigk provided an excellent surface for wheel-to-wheel racing all over the 4/10 of a mile oval. Reigning Track Champion “Cool” Kevin Schaeffer (#9) of Kittanning started on the outside pole, took the lead on the front straightaway and never looked back on his way to Victory Lane. Schaeffer, in the True Image Tattoo/Schaeffer Tire #9, had to fight off fierce challenges by Bob Felmlee (#6F) of Seneca until lap 20, then by Brian Ellenberger (#20E) of Butler during the last five laps of the race. Schaeffer expertly used lapped traffic to his advantage to keep Felmlee and Ellenberger at bay and captured his first win of the 2007 season and 12th career at the Action Track. Ellenberger finished second, a hard-charging Ed Lynch Jr. (#2L) of Apollo came from 12th to finish third, Felmlee finished fourth, and Dan Shetler (#98) of Johnstown raced home fifth. Lynch and Felmlee won their heat races, but in opposite manners. Lynch didn’t the lead until the last lap of the first heat, while Felmlee lead wire-to-wire in the second heat race.
A correction to last week’s release, Ed Lynch Jr’s April 20win was his 83rd career win at the Action Track, not his 82nd as stated in last week’s release!
Joe Kelley (#66) of Greensburg followed Schaeffer’s lead and led the Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks feature from green to checkered. Starting from the inside pole, Kelley was mostly unchallenged on his way to Victory Lane. Kelley, who last ran weekly at Lernerville in 2004, is back full time this year and wants to reclaim his place atop the Budweiser Point Standings in the Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks. Kelley won six Track Championships from 1998 to 2004. Greg Beach (#33X) of Chicora ran second the entire race, but never truly challenged Kelley for the lead. Mike Pegher Jr. (#09) of Wexford, Bob Egley (#30) of Kittanning, and Terry Young (#28Y) of Butler rounded out the top 5. Egley, Pegher, and Pat Hanley (#380) of Monroeville won their qualifying heat races.
The Main Event of the night was the Friedman’s Freshmarket’s Late Models feature as everyone was on the edge of their seats waiting to see if Alex Ferree (#4) of Saxonburg could find a way to open the season with a Three-peat. Sammy Stile (#2S) of Charleroi had others ideas, stating. Stabled out of the same garage in Saxonburg, Stile out-dueled Ferree to deny him of his third feature win of the 2007 season. Stile took the lead on lap nine in his Elite Custom Trucks/ADC Rocket Chassis from Mike Blose (#5) of Dayton. Blose had taken the lead on lap five from pole sitter Jared Hawkins (#37) of Fairmont, WV. By virtue of his feature win a week ago, Budweiser points leader Alex Ferree started 12th for the second straight week. By lap nine, Ferree had worked the bottom of the track to move into third. Both Stile and Blose were running the top of the track and had a tremendous battle through lapped traffic. Like Schaeffer did earlier, Stile used lap traffic to his advantage. The lapped cars were running the bottom, preventing Ferree from passing him low, and keeping Blose behind him on the top. Ferree took second place from Blose on lap 22 by dive-bombing below him in turns three & four. Blose, who finished fourth, gave way to Jared Miley (#H1) on the last lap for third. Pole sitter and early leader Jared Hawkins finished fifth. Reigning Track Champion Lynn Geisler (#1C) of Cranberry Township shredded a right rear tire and finished 19th. Dutch Davies (#40) of Warren, Blose and Ferree won heat races.
Up next at the Action Track are two Fab Four shows on May 4 and 11. On May 11, Lernerville Speedway will pay tribute to Mothers in honor of Mother’s Day. In conjunction with the Lernerville Speedway walking teams in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Gary Rankin and his daughter Jo will be on hand with information about Breast Cancer and to raise money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Drivers Gary Rankin, Dan Swartzlander, Dave Murdick, and Jake Ayers will be on hand to sign autographs. Don’t forget that the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars will be coming to town in just over two weeks for the May 15 $10,000 to win First Commonwealth Bank Clash. Tickets are available at the track office (724) 353-1511.