Annual Awards Banquet Recap
Geisler, Murdick, Gamble and Wheeling inducted into Hall of Fame
Sarver, PA (March 15, 2016) If the initial impression of the Tomson family at the Awards Banquet is any indication of things to come, the Lernerville Speedway is in excellent hands as they not only provided a beautiful venue and wonderful spread of food, but they literally provided it as servers, bar tenders and bus staff. It’s easy to see that they take pride in things they put their name on and will do everything in their power to serve our local racing community by putting their own special touch on Lernerville Speedway in years to come.
As always, the banquet was the perfect balance of paying homage to the past and looking forward to the future of the sport. The Hall of Fame induction is always a tip of the cap to the best and most loyal contributors to the long and storied history of Lernerville Speedway and this year’s class was no different. Lynn Geisler has the fourth most feature wins in the history of the speedway and Carl Murdick had been racing at the Action Track since the first green flag fell in 1968 before he took his final laps last season. Carol Gamble was truly an innovator in the Public Relations department and Greg Wheeling is one of, if not the, most respected track officials in Western Pennsylvania; most recently and currently serving as Race Director.
There was a time, not so long ago, that Alex Ferree was the young gun at the Championship Table, but as a Six-Time Track Champion in the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Model division, Ferree was once again the elder statesman this year, surrounded by a new generation of champions including AJ Flick in the Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprints, Mat Williamson in the Diehl Automotive DIRTcar Northeast Big Block Modifieds and Corey McPherson in the Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman. Flick became the first third-generation Track Champion, following the family footsteps of his grandfather Pee Wee (1973 Late Model Champion) and father Mark (1994 Big Block Modified Champion). Despite their relative youth, both Williamson (2014) and Corey McPherson (2013/2014) were returnees to the Championship Table.
Even the presentation of the plaques and point fund monies to the top 10 drivers in each division is a contrast between longstanding veterans and stars on the rise. Drivers like Carl and Dave Murdick, Ralph Spithaler, Brent Matus, Gary Lyle and Dan Swartzlander, shared the stage with rising stars like Garrett Krummert, Brandon Spithaler, Sye Lynch, Brandon Matus, Michael Norris and Joey Zambotti. Of course, the ultimate tip of the cap to future comes in Walt Wimer’s Western Pennsylvania Rookie of the Year Award which was presented this year to 17 year old RUSH Sportsman Modified driver Kole Holden.
Regarding the aforementioned Sye Lynch, he dropped the bombshell of the night by announcing that his father, Ed Lynch Jr., is officially retired as of the end of the 2015 season and that Sye himself will be replacing his father as pilot of the iconic family owned #2L effective immediately. The Apollo Rocket retires as the all time leader in Sprint wins (111) at Lernerville Speedway and third all time with 112 overall career feature wins.
Other award winners from Saturday Night include AJ Flick, Clayton Kennedy, Rick Regalski and Jeff Miller as the Most Improved Driver for their respective divisions. Scott Priester “won” the Hard Luck Award, Mike Ingram won the Sportsmanship Award and Noah Brunell won Lernerville Rookie of the Year. Long time Tech Inspector Ralph Engle won the Keith Burke Appreciation Award and long time Pit Gate Man Morris Steinheiser won the Golden Award. The Bob Cochran Sponsorship Award went to Turner Dairy Farms and Gary Heeman of The Dirt Network won the Bill Steinbach Media Award. In addition to being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Carl Murdick was also presented with the Golden Award. Thankfully, other than previous honorees, we had no need to issue the Grover Clasper Award this year, but we keep June Feder, Candy Binkert, Marsha Schempp and Brian Steinman in our thoughts and prayers!
Gary Risch once again spoke highly of the Lernerville Speedway family, from the Finest Race Fans in the World, the stars of Fab4 Racing, car owners, crews and families of the best weekly program on the planet and the awesome team we have assembled from the track crew and officials all the way down to our hard working concessions workers and ticket sellers/takers. Gary commented that he would put his team up against any he’s seen in his travels all over the country with the World Racing Group. It truly is a great family and community that make Lernerville Speedway home to so many people on so many levels.
Risch was excited to announce the return of the Commonwealth Clash for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars, a new event with Full Pull Productions and the expansion of the Working Man 50 for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Models. While the details are still yet to be finalized, Gary teased that Friday Night would include two or three qualifying features and that Saturday Night’s 50-Lap A-Main would pay the winner $20,000!
And after Gary spoke, he passed the microphone to family spokesman for the night Jim Tomson who reiterated the family’s commitment to the ongoing success of Lernerville Speedway. He introduced the family members that again, were not only on hand, but hard at work ensuring the banquet was a success and that all of their guests felt welcomed to their beautiful facility at Tables on the Green and Brackenridge Heights Country Club.
It’s new era at Lernerville Speedway and while we appreciate all of the improvements made by the World Racing Group during their ownership, we all look forward to the new ownership team of the Tomson Family and their plans for the present and future in the years to come!
The Lernerville Pre-Season continues this week with the first of two car shows. Cars will move into the Clearview Mall in Butler on Wednesday Night and will be on display from Thursday morning through Friday Night. Next weekend the car show moves south to the expansive Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills along Route 28 South below Tarentum. Then after a week’s hiatus, the Pre-Season will conclude with the Test & Tune Practice session on Saturday, April 9; an event that feature FREE general admission into the grand stands! And the green flag flies on the Tomson Scrap Metal Era of Lernerville Speedway on Friday, April 15 for Opening Night 2016 of Fab4 Racing Fueled by Turner’s Premium Iced Teas. The full schedule and rules for all divisions can be viewed and downloaded on our newly redesigned website at www.Lernerville.com.
Contact: Lernerville Speedway
Eric J. Westendorf, Public Relations Director
(724) 664-1075 / firstname.lastname@example.org