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AJ Flick chugs the Turner’s Tea and takes the Budweiser Points lead
Sodeman, Spithaler and Beaber carry on family traditions of Sprint Car success
Josh Double nails down his first RUSH Late Model Tour win
Sarver, PA (July 5, 2013) Third generation star AJ Flick continues to show his championship prowess and after his second win of the season paired with Corey McPherson’s DNF after a first lap front stretch pile-up, he leads the Budweiser Point Standings by a single point over McPherson. Flick’s night started out with just about the worst possible pill draw with a 49 out of 50 pills. But he made short order of his heat race competition to pick up his Fab Four Racing-leading sixth heat race win.
The Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman feature redraw was kinder to the 2-team as Flick started fifth and was ahead of the front-stretch pile up on what should have been the completion of lap one. The crash collected almost a dozen cars and included a rare red flag as Rookie of the Year contender Joey Zambotti’s car catapulted into the air before coming to a stop wheels down. Corey McPherson entered the event with a relatively comfortable 26-point lead after back-to-back wins, but that lead was erased by an early tow-truck ride to the pits. Pat Hanley, Bob Egley, Eric Piotrowski, Bob Egley, Stan Riggle, Brett McDonald, Mark Sanders, Brian Stivenson and Jake Simmons were all involved with varying degrees of damage.
Being that the entire field failed to complete the lap, there was a complete restart and All-Time division wins leader Joe Kelley took the early lead, but Jim Fosnaught charged around the top of turns one & two to take the lead on lap two. AJ Flick took second and made it a three-car battle for the lead on lap eight. Mike Miller joined the fray two laps later and grabbed second place with a great restart from the outside of the second row when Flick didn’t come to speed right away and fell back to fifth. Miller took the lead when Fosnaught jumped the cushion on unlucky lap 13 and the three leaders really diced it up on lap 14 as Kelley and Fosnaught both dove below Miller to make it a three-wide battle in turns one & two. A caution slowed the field a final time and gave Flick a shot at restart redemption.
As fate would have it, Flick restarted fourth, just as Miller had laps earlier. Flick made an incredible move entering turn three to dive to the bottom and into second place ahead of Kelley and Fosnaught. Kelley fought back, made it three-wide again for the lead off turn two and led lap 16 at the flagstand. Flick took the lead around the top of turns one & two only to see Kelley pass him back low in three & four to maintain the lead at the flagstand. But Flick took the lead for good on lap 18 around the top of turns one & two again and held off one last charge by Kelley coming to the white flag to score his second win of the season. In Sheetz Victory Lane, Flick claimed the Approved Toilet Rental checkered flag and might have started a new Lernerville Speedway tradition of chugging the Turner’s Premium Iced Tea to celebrate Indy 500 style!
Kelley chased Flick to the checkered flag to his best finish of the season and seems to be on the cusp of returning to Sheetz Victory Lane in the near future to add to his All Time division win total. Jim Fosnaught also finished on the podium for his best feature finish of the season in third. Mike Miller finished fourth and Mark Sanders notched his second top five of 2013. The Pic-A-Part top ten rounded out with Paul Schreckengost, Rob Shook, Jake Simmons, Brett McDonald and Wayne Carbo. The feature podium trio of AJ Flick, Jim Fosnaught and Joe Kelley were also victorious in their respective heat races.
The names Sodeman, Spithaler and Beaber have been in the Lernerville Sprint car race results for decades, but on Friday, July 5 the names were tied to a new generation and without their signature wings. 20-25 years ago the names were Johnny Beaber, Jack Sodeman and Ralph Spithaler, last night it was sons Tony Beaber and Jack Sodeman Jr. and cousin Brandon Spithaler. Beaber took the early lead from the inside of row two and set a blistering pace, but Sodeman and Spithaler gave chase from fourth and fifth on the grid.
Sodeman was all over Beaber on lap seven when a red flag came out for Steve Irwin in turn two. On the restart, Sodeman pulled even with Beaber exiting turn two and took the lead in turn four. Two laps later, Spithaler got around Beaber for second and the Budweiser Points leader Spithaler was on the prowl of his runner-up Sodeman as lightning off turn two and fireworks off turn three lit up the sky. Despite Spithaler’s best efforts on a lap 20 restart, Sodeman pulled away on an open track and scored his third win of the season; both at Lernerville Speedway and with the BOSS Wingless Sprint Series.
Brandon Spithaler raced home to a second place finish and Mike Miller (no, not the Sportsman driver) finished third. Earlier leader Tony Beaber finished fourth ahead of Kirk Jeffries in fifth, Chad Wilson in sixth and Aaron Middaugh in seventh. Hall of Famer Johnny Beaber made his long-awaited return to the Action Track where he dominated the sprint ranks in the 1980s with three Track Championships and 55 feature wins. Third generation star Brandon Matus came home ninth ahead of Gale Ruth Jr. in tenth. Michael Fischesser, Jack Sodeman Jr. and Aaron Middaugh scored BOSS Heat Race wins.
Sodeman, Spithaler and the boys will put the wings back on next Friday, July 12 for another Fast Friday of Fab Four Racing as the Peoples TWP Sprints get one last tune-up for Tuesday, July 16’s Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup Twin 30s against the World of Outlaws STP Sprints! Sodeman is already locked into the A-Main as the Mid-Season Championship and Brandon Spithaler can punch his ticket into the show by maintaining his Budweiser Points lead.
By Mike Leone
After a weekend off, the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series kicked off the five-night “Cross the Borders Speedweek” on Friday night in the first of two appearances of 2013 at Lernerville Speedway. A great field of 37 cars from Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, New York, and Ontario Canada was on hand for “Off with the Tops” presented by RainEater Wiper Blades.
Josh Double led all 25 laps of the RainEater Wiper Blades “topless” feature driving an impeccable race through lapped traffic to score his first Sweeney Tour win, and became the fifth different winner in seven events this season! Double’s $1,200 victory also put a stop to Series point leader Mike Pegher, Jr’s hot streak. Pegher entered the night as the perennial favorite winning two straight and three of the last six events and competing at the track he has called home since starting his racing career.
“I’m tired, but this feels great,” expressed the 20-year-old Bristolville, Ohio 2011 Sharon Speedway champion. “The nice thing about this place is there’s so much track you can race on and room to race. You don’t want to see the lapped traffic when you’re leading, but it doesn’t bother you that bad here. This is definitely a big confidence boost. I had this car all torn apart last week. I didn’t even race last week trying to figure out why haven’t been going good and think we finally got it dialed in. Hopefully it’s a good rest of the season! I have to thank all of my family and sponsors for making this possible.”
Double drew the pole position and got a great start taking the lead over opening Sweeney Tour event winner Rick Singleton. It was three-wide for second down the backstretch and entering turn three as Singleton came out on top over Ryan Montgomery and Justin Tatlow on the opening lap. Montgomery though would drive under Singleton in turn four to grab second on lap two.
Max Blair, who won Wednesday’s Sweeney Weekly Series event at McKean, was making just his second Sweeney Tour start of the season. Blair started ninth and made a great move to get by both Pegher and Tatlow to take over fourth on lap three. The top four of Double, Montgomery, Singleton, and Blair quickly began to distance themselves from the field.
Chad Ruhlman started eighth, but nearly spun on the opening lap. Ruhlman gathered himself back up and found the topside to his liking. Ruhlman passed Dan Angelicchio, Pegher, and Tatlow all on the outside as he cracked the top five on lap nine. Singleton began putting the heat on Montgomery on lap 10 trying to find a way by on the racey 4/10-mile track; meanwhile, Ruhlman continued running the highline as he closed in on Blair for fourth on lap 12.
At the halfway point, Double had a 1.9 second lead as the battle for runner-up continued. Singleton drove hard in turn four and slipped under Montgomery for second on lap 14, while Ruhlman simultaneously made the pass of Blair. Singleton and Montgomery began chewing into Double’s lead, while Ruhlman was running the fastest laps of the race.
With five laps to go it was a three-car race for the lead. Just as it seemed like Double’s lead was shrinking away and heavy traffic loomed ahead, Double did a great job on laps 21 and 22 through traffic. Those moves through traffic would be the deciding factor as he opened up a more comfortable advantage in the final laps and took the checkered flag first by a margin of 2.724 seconds.
Double’s non-stop time was 7:36.729 and came in his Cortland Auto Repair/Wedge Motorsports/King Bros. Ready Mix/Thomas Heating & Cooling/Glunt Industries-sponsored #38. It was a big night for Double, who not only garnered maximum Sweeney Tour and Sweeney Weekly points, but also takes over the early lead of the $1,000 to-win “Cross the Borders” Speedweek title and the early lead in the $3,000 to-win Pace Performance “Summer Chase”!
Singleton edged out Montgomery for runner-up as it was his seventh finish in the top seven this season and closed to within one of Pegher for the Sweeney Tour point lead. Montgomery’s third gives him three straight top four finishes as he moves into third in points. Ruhlman simply ran out of the time without any cautions as his fourth place finish was his third top five of the season. Blair was fifth. Sixth through 10th were Angelicchio, Josh Holtgraver, Butch Lambert, Pegher, and Tatlow.
While Canadian “Futures Cup” racer Jorden Peters’ 15th place finish was his worst of the season, he was able to garner the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card for the first time this season as he advanced seven positions. Sharon Speedway point leader and Sweeney Weekly Series Championship contender Dennis Lunger, Jr. was awarded The “Brake Man” Tough Brake of the Night after getting caught up in a heat race accident and suffered an apparent broken hand.
After a heartbreaking night of coming light at the scales twice after qualifying for the feature through both his heat race and last chance B main, rookie Late Model racer Jamie Wrightsman ended his night with a small consolation winning the six-lap non-qualifier event. “This Late Model racing is so different,” acknowledged the 23-year-old Cortland, Ohio former six-time Sharon Speedway Mini Stock winner. “I can’t believe that happened to me (being light)- what a disappointing night. We’re going to make sure everything is right for Sharon- looking forward to that. I have to thank my mom and dad- they’ve been behind me 100% on this whole deal and making it all possible.”
Wrightsman started fifth and passed both Joey Valenti and Chris Lander on the opening lap. Wrightsman then got around both W.L. Stile and race-long leader, Nico Dabecco, on lap four and led the final laps for the $125 victory in his #21J to take over the “Wheelman” Bonus Event Challenge Series point lead. Dabecco, Lander, Stile, and Valenti completed the field.
Pegher, Angelicchio, Montgomery, and Tatlow picked up heat race victories, while Andrew Wylie and Matt Latta copped the last chance B mains. Twelve-year-old Michael Lake became the youngest driver to ever win a race at Lernerville as he captured his season’s first Dash victory.