Swartzlander adds to Hall of Fame Resume & keeps the sponsor happy
Russell King and Carl Bowser score impressive second wins of 2013
Corey McPherson scores sixth win and chips away at Flick’s point lead
Sarver, PA (August 3, 2013) Few drivers are fortunate enough to keep a sponsor as long as Brian Swartzlander has had MEI on the side of his car, but winning the feature when they are on hand as event sponsor is one of the best ways to make it happen. Swartzlander did just that Friday Night while the fine folks from McCutcheon Enterprises Inc. watched on from the press box and then joined Swartzlander in Sheetz Victory Lane for the 80th win of his career. The MEI team also collected donations of over $700 for the JDRF Walk which raises awareness and money for juvenile diabetes research and treatment! After history was once again rewritten by Swartzlander becoming just the seventh driver in the rich 40+ year history of Lernerville Speedway, the current and future history makers of the Action Track put on a show for the Finest Race Fans in the World as Russell King, Carl Bowser and Corey McPherson all made their triumphant returns to Sheetz Victory Lane. Rex King Sr. and Mike Turner led the Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Modifieds to the green flag with Swartzlander just one row back in fourth. King, a multiple-time BRP Modified Tour and Sharon Speedway Track Champion, jumped out to the quick lead as Swartzlander took third entering turn one and then second place by the flagstand to complete lap one. By lap three, Swartzlander was all over King for the lead and then passed him on lap four exiting turn four. King did not relent, however, driving back under him in turns one and two, but Swartzlander took the clear lead for good down the back straightaway and only a handful of cautions stood between him and his 80th career win.
The action behind Swartzlander was exciting as Budweiser Points lead Mat Williamson and last week’s feature winner Dave Murdick made their way to the front, but unfortunately Jeremiah Shingledecker and Brad Rapp found misfortune. Williamson and Murdick eventually passed early leader Rex King Sr. to finish on the podium, while King’s son Rex King Jr. chased him to the checkers in fifth place. Brad Rapp finished sixth, but was involved in two separate cautions that surely cost him a better finish, while Shingledecker slid off the top of turn two mid-race while running within the top three and then rolled to a stop five laps later; officially scored a DNF in unlucky 13th. Behind Brad Rapp in sixth, Tom Winkle, Steve Feder, Carl Murdick and Chanda Leibold rounded out the Diehl Top Ten; Leibold was piloting Shingledecker’s back-up car. Rapp and Williamson won their respective heat races and despite Swartzlander’s win, Williamson maintains a 48-point lead as both drivers accrued 38 points on the night. The “K” cars of Garrett Krummert (#29K) and Russell King (#56K) led the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Model field to the green flag with Krummert taking the early lead until Ken Schaltenbrand came to a stop in turn four on lap two with a busted right front wheel and suspension components. On the ensuing restart, Krummert and King put on a great show for the lead; trading slidejobs back and forth at each end of the track for a few laps before Krummert finally fell in line behind King on lap five. By that time, eventual lead challengers Mike Pegher Jr. and Alex Ferree were putting a show of their own in fourth trying to get to the front. King began to pull away as Pegher and Ferree made their way past Krummert; both eventually dispatched him on lap 17 in the same turn. Pegher reeled in King and challenged for the lead on lap 19 only to see Ferree go around him on the top cushion in turn four. The move came with some contact, however, and Pegher had obvious, but superficial, damage to his right rear quarter panel. Ferree stopped at the flagstand to check for damage to his left front and side during a caution brought out by Krummert whom had jumped the cushion and came to a stop in turn four. King was strong around the top of turn two and held the lead on the restart and again on lap 23 when Ferree slid under and briefly past him for the lead in turn two. But King just had too much forward bite coming off turn two and repeatedly rocketed down the back straightaway to secure his second win of the season and career at Lernerville Speedway.
For the second straight week, Ferree had to settle for a strong second place finish and his sixth straight podium finish (including his $3,000 ULMS victory) dating back to Fireworks Night on June 14; obviously not including the Firecracker 100 weekend. John Mollick continues to run strong and finally has a feature finish to match how well he’s been running lately; his best finish of the season in third. Last week’s feature winner Jared Miley came from 10th on the grid to finish fourth ahead of Mike Pegher Jr. who faded to fifth after the contact with Ferree. The Precise Top Ten rounded out with Brian Swartzlander, John Garvin Jr., Chris Rhodes, Jim Rasey and Brandon Wearing. Pegher and Ferree checkered their respective heat races. Alex Ferree still leads the Budweiser point standing with Garvin and Miley both within 20 points with four races remaining on the 2013 schedule. This title chase could come down to the final laps of the final race of the season! With weather threatening to rain on our high speed parade, the Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprints pushed off with an interesting mix of newly returned veterans (Mike Lutz and Rod George) and the latest Canadian invader (Tom Huppunen) joining our regular field of competitors. On a night when 2011 Track Champion Carl Bowser released brand new tee shirts to his fans, Bowser drew the pole for the feature after losing power steering during the heat race. The crew had the car ready to roll for the feature and Carl did the rest; leading all 25 laps of a green-to-checkers caution-free race. Bowser never wavered on the way to his second win of the season and he tightened up the Budweiser Point standings with Brandon Spithaler and Brandon Matus both finishing outside the top ten. Carl and the 10 team are running a contest on their Facebook fan page for a free tee shirt giveaway; the new shirts are really sharp and different than the traditional front/back design. Log on to Facebook or stop at the Stivason Photo booth next week to check them out!
Eric Williams also improved his Budweiser Track Championship stock with an impressive second place finish and might have had something for Bowser had he caught break with a caution and restart. Gary Rankin had his best finish in recent memory piloting at Brent Matus’s #33 for a second straight week as Brent recovers from kidney stones. Rankin rolled around the bottom of both ends of the track but was really fast launching off turns two and four. Daryl Stimeling matched his best finish of the season with a fourth place run, while Scott Priester, (who also released new shirts), and Brandon Matus battled for fifth the whole way to the checkered flag and made significant contact just past the flagstand, resulting in both drivers spinning to a stop on the front straightaway and requiring a tow truck ride to the pits. Priester prevailed for fifth, relegating Matus to sixth. Last week’s feature winner Mike Lutz was seventh ahead of Dan Kuriger in eighth. Budweiser Points leader Brandon Spithaler limped a ill-sounding motor to a ninth place finish and Rod George returned to the Action Track in the Chappell #8 to finish tenth after running away with his heat race. Eric Williams won the other heat. With four Fast Fridays remaining, Spithaler holds a 10-point lead over Williams, 19 over Matus and 21 over Bowser; this championship too might just come down to the last lap of the last race of the season! As sprinkles were falling, the Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman rolled onto the Action Track with the hopes of logging at least 11 laps to make the race official, but the rain never did progress. After shredding a tire while battling for the lead last Friday Night and thus surrending his share of the Budweiser Points lead with AJ Flick, McPherson rolled to the green flag from the pole and led first four laps of the 20-lap feature. Using the same low line Gary Rankin rode to a podium finish in the Sprint feature, All Time Division Wins leader and Seven-Time Track Champion Joe Kelley drove under and past McPherson on lap five. Kelley looked once again, like he might finally notch his first win of the season, but a caution on lap 14 reracked the field with six laps to go. On the ensuing restart, both McPherson and Flick slid under Kelley in turn four with McPherson taking the lead for good. After one final restart and on an open track, McPherson pulled away, but a near spin in turn two on the final lap brought the crowd to its feet as Flick made one last charge for the lead. Despite the bobble, McPherson held true and rolled into Sheetz Victory Lane for the sixth time this season and already the 13th time in his career; tying him for 12th all time with Greg Beach and Dave Harbaugh.
Photos Courtesy of John Stivason/Stivason Photos