History rewritten on many levels as 2013 Fab Four Racing draws near an end
Alex Ferree and Mat Williamson secure Budweiser Track Championships
Ferree, Swartzlander and Kelley add to Hall of Fame Resumes
Sarver, PA (August 23, 2013) The Lernerville Speedway is truly blessed to be graced by so many legendary drivers and families still actively involved on a weekly basis. Our rich, 40+ history is rewritten on an almost weekly basis as current drivers ascend the All Time wins lists and add their names to the iconic names who have earn the distinction of Lernerville Speedway Track Champions. Alex Ferree continued to cement himself as one of the all time greats last night by winning his 23rd Late Model feature and securing his fourth Late Model Track Championship; more on those numbers later. Mat Williamson became the first Canadian to win a Track Championship and quite possibly the youngest driver to win the Modified Title. He earned this accomplishment on the strength of finishing all 12 features, so far, in the top four positions and beating a trio of former Track Champions in Brian Swartzlander, Dave Murdick and Jeremiah Shingledecker. Swartzlander himself rewrote history by notching career feature win #81. Joe Kelley, All Time Sportsman/Stock feature winner, did the same in scoring his 45th career feature win as young guns AJ Flick and Corey McPherson battle for the 2013 crown. And while history wasn’t made in the Peoples TWP Sprint division, Wayne County Speedway points leader Andrew Palker put on a show in winning the 25-lap, lightning fast feature. The Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprints took to the Action Track first with Jack Sodeman Jr., recent winner of Sharon Speedway’s $5,000-to-win Lou Blaney Memorial, on the pole. Sodeman jumped out to the quick lead, but it wasn’t long before Wayne County invader Andrew Palker shot past him riding the old school cushion around the top of turns three & four on lap six in heavy lapped traffic. In fact, Sodeman probably didn’t even realize Palker was there until he passed him and by then it was too late. Palker was absolutely fearless riding the rims of the 4/10-mile Action Track and scored his first career Lernerville feature win in only his second appearance; the first being an All Star Sprint show in 2005.
Sodeman’s attempts to reel in and retake the lead from Palker were made all the more difficult by losing tire pressure in the second half of the race and relegated him to a second place finish. Scott Priester turned in his best effort of the season with a podium finish in third. Daryl Stimeling matched his best finish of the season in fourth, while last week’s feature winner Brandon Matus came from 10th to finish fifth. Eric Williams finished sixth ahead of Brandon Spithaler, (who recovered from a mid-race spin in turn four to finish seventh ahead of), Carl Bowser, Brent Matus and Jim Shuster. Veterans Mike Lutz (18th) and Rod George (15th) retired early, completing just 10 and 14 laps respectively. Heat races were won by Carl Bowser and Jack Sodeman Jr. In an amazing statistical anomaly; far too complex to describe here, the four championship contenders left Friday night with the exact same point differentials they entered with, as Brandon Spithaler still leads Brandon Matus by six, Carl Bowser by 17 and Eric Williams by 26. Mike Turner and Brad Rapp brought the Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Modifieds to the green flag, both with sights set on their first career Lernerville feature win. Turner took a quick lead into turn one, but Rapp rode the cushion to the lead through one & two. Rapp’s lead was short lived, however, as All Time division wins leader Brian Swartzlander was doing everything in his power to defend his 2012 Track Championship by taking the lead on lap three. Once at the helm, Swartzlander cruised virtually unchallenged to his 81st career feature win. Despite remaining seventh on the All Time Lernerville overall wins list, Brian is now just three wins short of surpassing Blackie Watt for sixth all time and eight wins short of surpassing Lou Gentile for fifth all time!
Last week’s feature winner Dave Murdick rumbled from 10th on the grid to a runner-up finish, while Mat Williamson came home third. In doing so, Williamson secured the 2013 Track Championship by virtue of a 50-point lead. Congratulations to Mat and the entire #6 team that made the long haul on a weekly basis to breathe some new life into the Diehl Mods division!
Brad Rapp turned in his fifth top five of the season in fourth, while Eric Gabany scored his best finish of the season, albeit in limited action, in fifth. The Diehl Top Ten rounded out with Steve Feder, Rodney Beltz, Carl Murdick, Bob Warren and Troy Senchak. Mike Turner and Jeremiah Shingledecker were notable DNFs. Heats were checkered by Shingledecker and Rapp. After winning last Friday’s Dave Hoffman Memorial, the best Alex Ferree could’ve started last night’s Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Model feature was 10th, but a mechanical failure in the heat race put him shotgun on a field that included polesitter Chub Frank, who was visiting the Action Track on a rare Friday Night off from the grinding World of Outlaws Late Model Series. Frank took the early lead, but a bevy of cautions, (including those for John Garvin Jr. and Mike Pegher Jr.) and a bad fast race car, allowed Alex Ferree to quickly make his way to the front. Ferree took second from Brian Swartzlander on lap seven and then briefly passed Frank on lap 11 before a caution voided the rapid transit transaction. But on the restart, Ferree rocketed into the lead and never looked back. The car was actually stuck in high gear after (and presumably during) the race, but after some rocking, lifting and coercion, the Frankland Rearend finally rolled free, Ferree crossed the scales and arrived in Sheetz Victory Lane for his fourth win of the season and in doing so, secured the 2013 Budweiser Track Championship, as Jared Miley was on vacation and John Garvin Jr. was a DNF after completing just one lap in the feature.
Chub Frank settled for a second place finish and Modified feature winner Brian Swartzlander finished third in the Detman #111. Jason Rider and Brandon Wearing turned in strong top five finishes ahead of Chuck Sarver, Todd Bachman, Kelvin Kohan, Jim Kurpakus and Marc Sallack. Chris Rhodes, Ken Schaltenbrand and Tommy Beck were other notable DNFs. Garrett Krummert was a scratch for both his heat and feature. Heats were won by feature DNFs Garvin and Beck. Ferree’s win and championship both carry historical significance. His 23rd career feature win ties him for fifth all time in the Late Model division with Hall of Famer Blackie Watt and Bob Wearing Jr. His fourth Track Championship puts him in the rarefied air of Bob Wearing Sr., Lynn Geisler, Ben Miley and John Flinner as the only drivers to win more than three Late Model titles. Congratulations to Alex and the entire Ferree family for these milestone accomplishments! The Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman rolled onto the Action Track with AJ Flick leading Defending Track Champion Corey McPherson by just five points after McPherson won his heat race. Front row starters Rob Shook and Bob Egley each led a lap before All Time Sportsman/Stock wins leader Joe Kelley powered off the bottom of turn four and into the lead for seemingly the fifth or sixth week in a row. Taking the lead hasn’t been a problem for Kelley recently, but sealing the deal and leading at the checkered flag has been. But that all, finally, came to an end Friday Night as Kelley scored his first feature win in over two years to bring his career total to 45!
In addition to Kelley rewriting history, the other main story of the night was the chase for the 2013 Track Championship between third-generation star AJ Flick and Defending Track Champion Corey McPherson. Flick carried a seven point lead into the night and five point lead into the feature, however, a mid-race flat tire pushed Flick off the top of turn two and into the pits. He rejoined the field at the tail and worked his way back to a respectable finish, but McPherson chased Kelley to the checkered flag in second and rides into next Friday’s Championship Night with a nine point lead over Flick who finished in eighth. Behind McPherson in second, Paul Schreckengost tied his best finish of the season in third. Opening Night feature winner Bob Egley finished fourth ahead of Terry Young who returned in a brand new GM Performance 604-crate powered SS Chassis after missing most of the season. Terry might be one to watch next season in that new hot rod! Jim Fosnaught was sixth, last week’s feature winner Mike Miller was seventh. After AJ Flick in eighth were Brett McDonald in ninth and Chris Schneider in tenth. Joe Kelley and Terry Young joined Corey McPherson as heat race winners.
Photos Courtesy of John Stivason/Stivason Photos