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George & Swartzlander pad Hall of Fame Resumes - Fab Four Race Report 7.11

Jy11 Rod

Rod George scores 44th career win in season debut
Brian Swartzlander ties Hall of Famer Blackie Watt for sixth All Time
Michael Norris breaks through for first win, while Jim Fosnaught nets third win

Sarver, PA (July 13, 2014)  Only four men have won more Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprint features than Rod George, but their respective work schedules provide George and car-owner Jim Chappell with precious few opportunities to add to that total.  However, in their 2014 Lernerville debut, George and Chappell stood victorious in Sheetz Victory Lane as the future Hall of Famer scored his 44th career Lernerville feature win.  In a season dominated by Alex Ferree and Russ King so far, Michael Norris broke through for his first feature win of the season.  Brian Swartzlander won on Opening Night back in April, but has been struggling most of the season since.  On Friday Night, however, the All Time division wins leader held off the father-son duo of Rex King Sr. & Jr. to score his 84th career feature win at the Action Track; tying Blackie Watt for sixth All Time!  Budweiser Points leader Jim Fosnaught scored his career-best third feature win of the season after Joe Kelley led the way earlier in the race.

With 43 career wins to his credit, Rod George brought the Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprint field to the green flag from the pole with Defending Track Champion Brandon Spithaler to his right.  George quickly stretched his lead to almost a full straightaway in just three laps and reeled in lapped traffic in just seven laps.  A few cautions mid-race put Jack Sodeman Jr. and Brandon Spithaler on his tail tank, but it was the final two laps that truly tested George’s mettle.  With two distinct grooves in turns three and four, George was rimming the top of the Action Track while Spithaler was pounding the middle.  In heavy lapped traffic, Spithaler pulled alongside George at the flagstand with two to go, (just 0.006 of a second separated the two), but a caution for Bill Kiley in turn four slowed the race one last time.  With an open track, Rod George used a great restart and a fast cushion around the top of turns three & four to score his 44th career feature win.

Defending Track Champion Brandon Spithaler came up just short of his first win of the season, but will have to be satisfied with his best finish of the season in second for now.  It does seem, however, that he has his program back on track and brighter days are ahead for Spithaler who has found defending his title more difficult than winning it last year.  Jack Sodeman Jr. is also looking for his first feature win of the season at Lernerville, but settled for his fifth podium finish in third.  Most recent winners Brandon Matus (June 20) and Carl Bowser (June 13) came from the fifth row to round out the Peoples Top Five.  May 16 feature winner Jared Zimbardi returned to the Action Track for a Silver Cup tune-up and finished sixth ahead of Mike Lutz, AJ Flick, Billy Dietrich and Dan Shetler.  Dietrich and Zimbardi scored the heat race wins earlier in the evening.

Budweiser Points leaders Alex Ferree and Russ King have accounted for five of the eight feature wins heading into Friday Night’s Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models 25-Lap A-Main, but Alex started 10th and Russ King had a pair of bad luck incidents that sent him to the pits mid-race.  Jared Miley started on the pole and took the early lead, but the aforementioned distinct lines provided Sarver’s own Michael Norris with a faster line through the middle of turns three & four and he slid under Miley for a brief lead in one & two and then for good in turns three & four on lap five.  Norris endured a few mid-race cautions, (including one red flag spell while King, Sarver and Pegher had to be untangled in turns three & four), and the advances of Jared Miley and Alex Ferree, to score his first win of the season; just three weeks after a horrific flip in turn three that destroyed his car, but clearly not his confidence!

Alex Ferree and Jared Miley chased him to the checkered flag and joined him on the proverbial podium, while John Garvin Jr. and Brian Swartzlander rounded out the top five.  Mike Pegher Jr. recovered from the mid-race melee to salvage a sixth place finish ahead of Gary Lyle, Chris Schneider, Chuck Sarver and Ken Schaltenbrand.  Garvin and Ferree were victorious in heat race action.

Brian Swartzlander continued to pad his Hall of Fame resume Friday Night with his 84th career feature win in the Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Big Block Modifieds and in doing so, tied Blackie Watt for sixth on the All Time Lernerville Wins List; Watt of course was a member of the Inaugural Class of the Lernerville Speedway Hall of Fame.  But it was another 83 car, the 83T of Tom Glenn, that jumped out to a quick lead.  Rex King Sr. passed him in turns three & four to officially lead lap one, but seventh-starting Swartzlander came to second by lap three and passed King for the lead down the back straightaway on lap nine.  Once out front, Swartzlander is nearly invincible and he deftly navigated lapped traffic late in the race to cruise to his second win of the season.

Rex King Sr. ran a strong second ahead of his son and Budweiser Points leader Rex King Jr. in third.  Tom Winkle finished fourth ahead of Dave Murdick who started tenth after back-to-back wins in June.  Shayne Pierce and Justin Wright joined us from St. Catharines, ONT and Piffard, NY respectively to finish sixth and eighth.  Jeremiah Shingledecker finished between them in seventh, while Bob Warren and Tom Glenn rounded out the Diehl top ten.  Swartzlander and King Jr. were heat race victors.

With fellow future Hall of Famers Rod George and Brian Swartzlander already victorious, All Time Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman feature wins leader Joe Kelley was licking his chops as the green flag dropped on their 20-lap A-Main.  Bob Egley and second-year gunner Aaron Easler led the field to green with Easler taking the early lead.  By lap six, Kelley took the lead and appeared to be on his way to career feature win #47, but Budweiser Points leader Jimmy Fosnaught was charging towards the front from the fifth row on the starting grid.  A caution on lap 12 was the break Jimmy needed, as he restarted third, but took the lead on lap 13 through the low side of turns one & two and then rolled on to his third feature win of the season to extend his Budweiser points.

Aaron Easler turned in his best finish of the season in second and credited the new 604 GM Peformance Crate Engine, (an upgrade from the previous 602 they had under the hood), for the improvement.  Joe Kelley held on to finish third ahead of Corey McPherson, (from 12th on the grid), in fourth and Terry Young in fifth.  The Pic-A-Part top ten was rounded out by Mark Sanders, Pat Hanley, Rob Shook, Colin Burke and Joey Zambotti.  McPherson, Shook and Young took the checkered flags in their respective heat races.

Advance reserved tickets for this Tuesday, July 15’s Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup XXIII Twin 30s presented by GottaRace.com are still on sale for just $39 on our website www.Lernerville.com or by calling the speedway office Monday at (724) 353-1511.  The advance $39 reserved ticket also includes a FREE pit pass upgrade, but must be ordered by Monday at 11:59PM for the pit pass upgrade.  As part of the “The Greatest Show on Dirt” we will be honoring Steve Kinser as part of the “Salute to the King” tour as the 20-Time Outlaws Champion makes his final visit to the Silver Cup as a full-time touring member of the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars.

Contact: Lernerville Speedway                      

Eric J. Westendorf, Public Relations Director

(724) 664-1075 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photos Courtesy of John Stivason/Stivason Photos

© 2012 World Racing Group - Interactive

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