Lernerville Speedway

    Action Track Recap- Blaney Finds Victory Lane; Bish Jr. Takes Huge Pro Stock Win; Gomola Tops Allegheny Sprint Tour 305s


    Lernerville Speedway

    Action Track Recap- Blaney Finds Victory Lane; Bish Jr. Takes Huge Pro Stock Win; Gomola Tops Allegheny Sprint Tour 305s

    Rick Rarer Photo

    Sarver, PA (June 29, 2024) The inaugural Dirt.Tv 3-Wide Friday Night provided a different kind of racing and lived up to that description. With a lucrative Millerstown Pic-A-Part Pro Stock event anchored at its core and flanked by the Peoples Natural Gas Sprint Cars and Allegheny Sprint Tour (305ci) cars, the program served as a deserved break in the schedule and night off for the Precise Racing Products Late Models following a successful 18th annual Firecracker 100 presented by Big River Steel the week prior and also for the Diehl Automotive Big Block Modifieds. Still, even though there was one less division on the track than can normally be found, the action on the track came fast and furious. The evening started out with a different format to boot as cars took place in either hot lap qualifying or stand alone time trials to line up the night’s heat races, with an appropriate invert of three in all three divisions. And when all racing was in the books, three deserving drivers found their way to Terry Bowser Victory Lane.

    In the 25-lap Peoples Natural Gas Sprint Car main event, Dale Blaney returned to The Action Track and took the lead from a determined Michael Bauer while holding off a late challenge from points leader AJ Flick en route to his first Lernerville victory since a win at the 2015 Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup. Curt Bish Jr. had a dominant performance in the 30-lap $2,500-to-win Millerstown Pic-A-Part Pro Stock showdown and Jake Gomola led from green to checkers to collect his second consecutive Allegheny Sprint Car Tour feature win in a row at The Action Track.

    Blaney Tops Peoples Sprints

    Dale Blaney doesn’t always make stops at Lernerville every Friday, but when he does, he’s always been a threat to win. For the entirety of his career, whether as a weekly competitor and track champion in 1991, or with regional and national touring series, Blaney has always enjoyed a high level of success at Lernerville. But perhaps on Friday night, the win meant a little more to the victor than some others.

    Michael Bauer and Des Moines, IA invader McKenna Haase brought the field to the green flag as Bauer jumped out to the clear and early lead followed by fourth starting Blaney and Western New York invader Matt Farnham as Hasse dropped to fourth in the early going. Less than two laps were in the books when the red hot AJ Flick, who started eighth on the grid, slid Hasse for fourth to join the party up front. Flick made his way around Farnham for third with three laps down while Bauer and Blaney were both on rails at the top of the speedway with a good distance between themselves and the chase pack as five laps went in the books. Then on lap seven, Bauer jumped the cushion allowing Blaney and Flick to drive by. With heavy lapped traffic facing Blaney in front, the wily veteran began moving around all three grooves to evade what he needed to in order to keep some distance between himself and Flick.

    Farnham then set out to engage Bauer in a battle for the third spot at the halfway point with Farnham taking the spot for good at the lap 12 mark. All action came to a crawl a lap later when the caution flag waved for Haase who went over the top of the banking in turn three, setting the stage for a single file restart and clean air for Blaney to work with. When action resumed, Blaney got a huge jump on the field while Farnham slid underneath Flick for second, with the two drivers swapping the position on more than one occasion as Blaney used the battle between the two drivers to start stacking car lengths between himself and the field, garnering a three plus second advantage while Flick made his way back around Farnham to retake the second spot.

    Another caution with less than five laps left re stacked the field as Haase went over the cushion in turn one, giving Flick and Farnham one more chance to run Blaney down for a chance at the win. When the green flag waved again with four laps left, Farnham went straight to the bottom of turn one to wind up a slide job in an attempt to take the second spot which came up just short. However, out front Blaney poured on the speed and cruised to the feature win with Flick and Farnham both taking hard fought podium spots as the checkered flag waved.

    “I felt like my car was pretty good,” Blaney said. “We were a little bit down on crew and it was a last minute decision to come down here and I’m awful glad we could do good. We qualified good, didn’t do so well in the heat. When you look on the scoreboard and see the two behind you it’s like ‘welp, we gotta get going’. I felt like I kind of knew where he would be running, he runs this place so good he can run all over it but I just kind of moved back to the top down here to carry some speed and it worked out.”

    Peoples Natural Gas Sprint Car Feature: (Finish-Name-Start) 1. 32-Dale Blaney[4]; 2. 2-AJ Flick[8]; 3. 7NY-Matt Farnham[3]; 4. 22-Brandon Spithaler[9]; 5. 11-Carl Bowser[5]; 6. 46-Michael Bauer[1]; 7. 5-Jeremy Weaver[12]; 8. 23JR-Jack Sodeman Jr[7]; 9. 08-Danny Kuriger[14]; 10. 13-Brandon Matus[6]; 11. 43JR-Blaze Myers[13]; 12. 24-Gale Ruth Jr[15]; 13. 33-Brent Matus[10]; 14. 11J-David Kalb[17]; 15. 22E-Nash Ely[11]; 16. 29-Dan Shetler[19]; 17. 79W-Will Fleming[20]; 18. (DNF) 55T-McKenna Haase[2]; 19. (DNF) 55*-Matt Sherlock[16]; 20. (DNF) 12G-Tommy Jasen[18]

    Bish Rolls to Big Pro Stock Paycheck

    A $2,500 winner’s share with a $10,000 total purse brought the heavy hitters in the area to take on the stout weekly field of Millerstown Pic-A-Part Pro Stocks on Friday night. A 30 car field awaited fans that came out to watch the area’s best drivers compete for the top prize and the bragging rights as the main event of the night hit the track.

    Curt Bish Jr. started on the pole alongside Joey Zambotti as Bish got the upper hand early with an oncoming Bobby Whitling and Cody Kotels making up a formidable chase pack in the early going. Whitling began challenging Zambotti for the second spot, eventually taking it away on lap four while the always tough Chris Schneider rose from his eighth starting spot to challenge Koteles for fourth and Zambotti for third. Schneider, the author of two consecutive weekly wins coming into action on Friday then set his sights on Whitling and Bish out front with seven laps down while Christian Schneider began moving forward past Koteles and Zambotti to enter the top five with 10 laps down.
    Out front Bish was setting a torrid pace, putting a rather sizable gap between himself and Whitling and was facing a pack of lapped traffic directly in front of him as the halfway point came and went. With 18 laps down, Whitling had made up considerable ground on the leader as Schneider began taking looks underneath WHitling for the second spot. But Bish was unflappable in lapped traffic and hit his marks with consistency as WHitling pulled to his back bumper with eight laps left.

    With six laps to go, the top four of Bish, Whitling Chris Schneider and Christian Schneider found themselves running nose to tail until the caution flag waved with five laps remaining. Bish elected to start on the bottom of the restart and when action resumed it was short lived as Jason Fosnaught brought out another yellow. Bish pegged the second restart as Chris Schneider moved under Whitling to take the second spot, giving himself four laps to run down Bish. However, he came up just short as Bish, operating with maximum smoothness throughout the night, crossed first under the checkers to take the lucrative feature win.

    “This is truly a blessing to be able to drive this car,” Bish remarked in Terry Bowser Excavating Victory Lane. “This race is dedicated to my dad, he’s with us but not here with us tonight. Chris (Schneider) is definitely one of the best in the division, there’s no two ways about it. He’s a very talented driver, chassis builder, setup guy and a good guy all around to be around. You know that you can count on him to race you clean and you know he’s going to be there.”

    Millerstown Pic-A-Part Feature: (Finish-Name-[Start]) 1. 29-Curt Bish Jr[1]; 2. 55S-Chris Schneider[8]; 3. 7W-Bobby Whitling[4]; 4. 56-Christian Schneider[10]; 5. 17-Jackson Humanic[6]; 6. 1K-Cody Koteles[3]; 7. C33-Corey McPherson[9]; 8. 155-Tyler Schneider[14]; 9. 10-Nick Kocuba[17]; 10. 55-Brandon Connor[16]; 11. 4-Brett Hutira[13]; 12. J19-Jason Fosnaught[19]; 13. 948-Joey Zambotti III[2]; 14. 13J-Jordan Perkins[20]; 15. 26-Mike Bordt[18]; 16. 00L-Cole Miller[12]; 17. 25-Brett McDonald[7]; 18. 68-John Peterman Jr[11]; 19. 8C-Russ Coyne[23]; 20. 310-Dale Tuche[22]; 21. 0-Larry Kugel[15]; 22. (DNF) 12MM-Scott Malone[21]; 23. (DNF) 22-Chase Lambert[5]; 24. (DNF) 77H-Heath Close[24]

    Gomola Picks up Where He Left Off in AST 305 Action

    When it comes to the area’s best 305ci Winged Sprint Car drivers, Jake Gomola certainly would make the top of anyone’s list, along with Greg Dobrosky and a handful of others over the years. Dobrosky currently tops the Lernerville wins list within the division with nine total victories, many of which were clear cut wins sporting decent margins of victory. Gomola seemed to suffer from misfortune at the track since the series started to receive multiple dates per season several years back. However, fans could say that he has now found his own groove and mastery of the speedway at this time. Gomola took the honors as 305 Sprint Champion of the 2023 Steel City Stampede in October, and on Friday night, added to his win total, besting a 26 car field en route to his second Lernerville win in a row.

    Nolan Groves and Justin Kovach were on the front row of the 20-lap main event and just after the green flag waved, Kovach found himself spun out on the top of turn two prompting a full restart which moved the third starting Gomola to the front row. When racing resumed, Gomola used the momentum on the top side of the speedway to launch himself into the lead ahead of Groves, Roman Jones, Kasey Weaver, Andy Priest and Jeremy Kornbau. Groves kept close to Gomola’s tail tank in the early going as Kornbau made his way around Priest with three laps in to take the fourth spot while Greg Doborosky was making moves towards to the front of the field from his 11th starting spot to seventh in the early going.

    With four laps down, another Kovach spin brought out the yellow, making for a single file restart. Gomola was challenged by Jones on the restart but was able to keep him behind as Jones was able to make his way around Groves for the second spot. Kornbau then looked to take the third spot away from Groves who slid off the backstretch, but had his position saved by another caution on the speedway. There were six laps in the books when the green flag waved again, Weaver took the fourth spot from Groves just before another caution flag waved for Jarrett Rosencrance with eight laps down.

    Gomola put car lengths behind him once again on the ensuing restart while Kornbau seemed to slip coming out of turn four, costing him several positions with 10 laps to go. Kornbau was then a man on a mission after the slip, passing cars at a good clip, putting on a clinic in the race’s final laps while out front, Roman Jones was reeling in Gomola when Groves brought out the caution at the top of turn two with 16 laps down. When action resumed, Gomola still maintained his lead while Kornbau passed Weaver for fourth as Gomola cruised to the win in the final three laps with Jones and Priest joining him on the podium.

    “I was expecting to run out of fuel,” Gomola said. “I was getting tired out their running around after cautions. It’s a tough place to get around because you want to tiptoe up top and we don’t really get a lot of those types of places. It’s a beautiful surface. I wish we could race here more now that I’ve found the front.”

    Allegheny Sprint Tour Feature: (Finish-Name-[Start]) 1. 4J-Jacob Gomola[3]; 2. 82M-Roman Jones[4]; 3. 21N-Andy Priest[9]; 4. 27K-Jeremy Kornbau[6]; 5. 4W-Kasey Weaver[5]; 6. 42-Jim Pattach[7]; 7. 316-Brandon McWilliams[15]; 8. 20M-Vivian Jones[8]; 9. 67B-Dillan Baldwin[17]; 10. 3-Ryan Beatty[12]; 11. 17S-Shane Heath[20]; 12. 25G-Nolan Groves[1]; 13. 154-Shamus O'Donnell[19]; 14. 347-Nevan O'Donnell[16]; 15. 30-Jazlyn Boyles[18]; 16. 15-Lacey Shuttlesworth[13]; 17. 97-JR Jameson[23]; 18. (DNF) 29B-Robbie Bartchy[22]; 19. (DNF) 25-Jarrett Rosencrance[14]; 20. (DNF) 21-Hunter Hite[10]; 21. (DNF) 88-Greg Dobrosky[11]; 22. (DNF) 36H-Seth Harrelson[24]; 23. (DNF) 4G-Justin Kovach[2]; 24. (DNF) 4B-Walt Tutak Jr[21]; 25. (DNS) 5W-Kolby Weaver; 26. (DNS) 30R-Glenn Worrell

    Submitted By: Gary Heeman

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