Williamson scores fourth Diehl Mods win & pads lead in Bud Points
Carl Bowser and Jared Miley rip wins away in the closing laps
Corey McPherson continues to roll with fifth win of 2013
Sarver, PA (July 12, 2013) After a three-week hiatus, Fab Four Racing made its triumphant return Friday Night with another barn-burning edition of the best weekly racing program in America. Feature race action started with the Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Modifieds and Budweiser Points leader Mat Williamson ended it in Sheetz Victory Lane for the fourth time to tie Corey McPherson for 2013 wins; albeit briefly. Both the Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprints and Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Model features were fast-paced with racing and passing from top to bottom all around the track. Both Carl Bowser and Jared Miley scored popular wins utilizing late race passes to steal wins away from Brandon Matus and Brian Swartzlander respectively. And then Corey McPherson capped the night by scoring his Fab Four Racing-leading fifth feature win of the season in the Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman feature. Mat Williamson, carrying the BigE GoPro Hero3 camera, flanked polesitter Dave Murdick to the green flag and jumped out to a quick lead. A pair of early cautions slowed the pace of the race and allowed 10th place starting Jeremiah Shingledecker and Brian Swartzlander, (whom relinquished his ninth place starting position to switch cars after the heats and had to start at the tail of the field), to restart lap seven in third and fifth place respectively. Despite restarting alongside Murdick and a rearview mirror full of Shingledecker and Swartzlander, Williamson cruised to his fourth feature win of the season and extended his lead in the Budweiser Points to 43 points over Shingledecker and 45 points ahead of Swartzlander. Despite leading all 25 laps, Shingledecker and Swartzlander kept the pressure on until the checkered flag waved to finish on the podium alongside Williamson who was joined by fellow Canadian Gage Morin who finished fourth. Mike Turner turned in his best finish of the season with his first top five of the season. Steve Feder, Carl Murdick, Bob Warren, Tommy Marshall and Tom Winkle rounded out the Diehl Top Ten. Polesitter Dave Murdick made a sudden turn into the pits late in the race; surrendering fourth place to be scored a DNF in unlucky 13th place. Shingledecker and Williamson picked up heat race wins earlier in the evening. Third generation star Brandon Matus narrowly missed a disastrous start to the Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprint when he had to stand on the brakes on the back straightaway to avoid being sandwiched as he tried to split the gap between his father Brent Matus and Dan Shetler. A caution behind the leaders slowed the race for a second time in two laps and put “The Wheelman” second on the restart. After passing his dad around the top of turn two, Brandon jumped out to a big lead as 2011 Track Champion Carl Bowser made his way past Shetler and the elder Matus. Once clear of Shetler and Brent, Carl set his sights on Brandon and proceeded to reel him in. By lap 13, Bowser tried to slide under Brandon’s car #13 for the first of several slide job attempts through three & four. Racing him hard, but clean, Bowser repeatedly threw sliders at Matus and even took him to the wall a few times in dead heats to the flag stand but couldn’t make one stick to take the lead.
Despite the heavy pressure, Brandon Matus appeared to be headed for his second career Lernerville feature win. Unfortunately for “The Wheelman”, lapped traffic in the closing laps cost him the win as he slid off the top of turn two to avoid contact with the lapped car of Bob McMillin. When the window of opportunity opened, Carl Bowser blasted past Matus to take the lead down the back straightaway and cruised to his first feature win of the season. Bowser’s win tightened up the Budweiser Point Standings as he now sits in fourth, but just 20 points out of the lead. Matus chased Bowser to the checkered flag to finish a disappointing second place finish, but when he looks back on the race, he’ll hold his head up high that he has matured as a driver to the point where he understands the benefit of finishing second place with an undamaged car. He could have easily stood on the gas and torn up his and a fellow driver’s equipment trying to push the issue; kudos to maturity beyond his years! Better days are ahead! Jack Sodeman Jr. came from 10th on the grid, (by virtue of winning the most recent Peoples TWP Sprint feature on Friday, June 21 on Mid-Season Championship Night), to finished third ahead of Scott Priester and Brandon Spithaler. Both Sodeman (Mid-Season Champion) and Spithaler (current Budweiser Points leader) are locked into this coming Tuesday’s Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup XXII Twin 30 A-Mains. The Peoples TWP Top Ten rounded out with Brent Matus, Eric Williams, Dan Shetler, Dan Kuriger and Charlie Cornelius. Bowser and Sodeman checkered their respective heat races. Jared Miley recovered from a disappointing Firecracker 100 weekend first by debuting new skin on the #H1 and then by becoming first repeat winner of the season in the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models. But in no way, shape or form did Miley run away with the race as he has in some of his previous 17 career feature wins. No, this race was one for the ages!
John Mollick, (also sporting a new look on an all-blacked out #4J), and Michael Norris led the field to green with the upstart Norris rocketing of the top of turn two into the early lead. An early caution slowed the race on lap three, but paved the way for a thrilling four-wide battle for second place coming through turns three & four behind Norris as Mike Pegher Jr., Jared Miley and Brian Swartzlander shuffled Mollick back to fifth. A credit to the wide and racy surface, all four made it through the turn and down the front stretch without much, if any contact. Of the four, Swartzlander, (piloting the Detman #111), prevailed into the second position and passed Norris for the lead on lap six as Norris slid off the top of turn two. Miley then drove under Norris entering turn three on lap nine and the race was on for the lead between Swartzlander and Miley, though a pair of mid-race cautions delayed the battle.
Like in the previous feature, Miley and Swartzlander raced each other hard and clean, putting on a thrilling show for the “finest race fans in the world!” Miley was all over Swartzlander for the lead, but couldn’t find a clean line past him until lap 20 when he nipped Swartzlander at the line for a slight lead down the front stretch and into turns one & two only to see the Detman #111 rocket past him off turn two. Miley drew even again coming to the flag stand on lap 23 and then made a clean pass for the lead coming through turns three & four coming to the white flag. Once clear of the All Time Modified division wins leader, Miley cruised to his second win of the season and the 18th of his still early career at Lernerville Speedway. Swartzlander would have to wait another night for his first career Late Model feature win, but it doesn’t appear to be far away! Mid-Season Champion Alex Ferree came from 10th on the starting grid to a third place finish. Early leader Michael Norris finished fourth ahead of Mike Pegher Jr. in fifth. Garrett Krummert won the battle of the 29 cars by finishing sixth ahead of Ken Schaltenbrand in seventh. Schaltenbrand thrilled the home crowd with an impressive mid-race restart when he rocketed off the bottom of turn two to pass three of four cars down the back stretch into third place, but he used up either the traction on the bottom or his tires in the process and faded as the race went on. John Mollick’s #4J finished eighth, one spot ahead of the #J4 of John Garvin Jr. and young Kelvin Kohan notched his first top ten finish and appears to have a bright future in the ultra-competitive Precise Late Model division. Heat races went to Miley and Mollick. Garvin maintains the Budweiser Points lead by six markers over Alex Ferree.
While the pass for the lead came much earlier in the race, the feeling had to be the same for Jim Fosnaught as that of Matus and Swartzlander. Fosnaught has been fast and competitive almost every night of Fab Four Racing, but hasn’t made his way back to Sheetz Victory Lane yet. Unlike Matus and Swartzlander who were reeled in under green flag conditions, it was a caution that spelled disappointment for Fosnaught as his early, commanding lead was erased on lap 12. On the ensuing restart, Fosnaught was flanked by two-time feature winner and incumbent Bud Points leader AJ Flick and tailed four-time feature winner Corey McPherson. McPherson launched off the restart; driving under Flick in turns one & two to second place and then into the lead at the flagstand by .07 seconds! Once out front, McPherson rolled to his Fab Four Racing-leading fifth feature win of the season and he announced in Sheetz Victory Lane that his girlfriend/crew chief Jennifer is expecting their first child!
Photos courtesy of John Stivason/Stivason Photos