Matus, Johnson, Swartzlander and Fosnaught victorious on Nostalgia Night
Sarver, PA (August 8, 2014) After years of either being rained out or suffering through sweltering heat, Nostalgia Night was finally privy to perfect weather and dozens of legendary drivers came back to the Action Track for the annual Nostalgia Night hosted by Don Gamble and his crew. With his Hall of Fame grandfather on hand and celebrating his 20th Birthday, Brandon Matus was hammer down around the top of both turns to win his second Peoples TWP Sprint feature of the season. Future Hall of Famers Davey Johnson and Brian Swartzlander held off young guns Jared Miley and Rex King Jr. to make their triumphant returns to Sheetz Victory Lane. And after a dramatic and disappointing finish to last week’s Pic-A-Part Sportsman feature, Jim Fosnaught dominated this week’s feature to record his fifth win of the season; the most in all of Fab Four Racing.
Michael Bauer and 2013 Track Champion Brandon Spithaler led the Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprint field to the green flag and Spithaler took the early lead. By lap four, Matus was breathing down Spithaler’s neck and a restart was all the third-generation star needed to grab the lead. By lap 11, Spithaler briefly reeled Matus back in as he measured up the fast approaching lapped traffic, but once clear of the lappers, Matus pulled away again in clean air. Spithaler surrendered second place on lap 14 as he rolled into the infield due to overheating. Budweiser Points leader Carl Bowser dispatched Eric Williams late in the race for second, but could not track down Matus who drove away with his second win of the season and chipped away at Bowser’s points lead.
Bowser’s second place finish maintained a 40-point lead heading into the final two weeks of the season. Eric Williams raced home third ahead of Billy Dietrich and Mike Lutz. AJ Flick, Cory Good, Brent Matus, Michael Bauer and George Hobaugh Jr. rounded out the top ten. Dietrich and Williams ran away with heat race wins to start the night.
Local legends Chub Frank and Davey Johnson led the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Model field to green for the Dave Hoffman Memorial, but a slow roll to the green by Frank resulted in a huge pile-up behind him before several drivers could even take the green flag; Mike Pegher Jr. and Dan Swartzlander broke and were scored DNF even though they didn’t really even get to start. After a complete restart, Johnson took the lead around the top of turns one & two and Miley challenged Frank for second. By lap three, Miley got past Frank and started to reel in Johnson. Miley briefly took the lead on lap eight, but Johnson fought back and regained the lead on lap nine around the top of turns one & two. Unfortunately, a series of wrecks behind them spoiled what could have been an amazing race, but the finish was well worth the wait.
The final caution waved on lap 17 when longtime rivals John Flinner and Gary Lyle battled door-to-door in turns three & four and down the front chute, but eventually clipped Herman Bertolini who spun hard into the wall. The result was another multi-car pile-up and a red flag was shown to clear the wreckage. Chub Frank surrendered fifth by taking his car to the pits under caution, but did return to tail the field. On the restart, Johnson and Miley were on the front row, while title combatants Alex Ferree and Russ King rolled back to green from the second row. Johnson beat Miley to turn one and held the lead coming out of two and while Miley tried high and low at both ends of the Action Track, he never did find his way back around Johnson who rolled to Sheetz Victory Lane for the 11th time in his career. A longtime traveler, Johnson would surely be much, much higher on the all time wins list if he focused on local competition, but has been a fan favorite for decades and it’s always great to see him back in Sheetz Victory Lane. Especially happy to see him win was Mary Hoffman, wife of the late Hall of Fame driver Dave Hoffman whom the race was memorialized for.
Jared Miley chased him the whole way to the checkered flag for a second place finish ahead of Russ King, Alex Ferree and Michael Norris. John Garvin Jr. was sixth, Chub Frank recovered to finish seventh, Modified greats Brian Swartzlander and Dave Murdick finished eighth and ninth ahead of Ken Schaltenbrand in tenth. Alex Ferree and future Hall of Famer John Flinner won their respective heat races.
Just minutes after dueling in their respective Late Model rides, (owned by Jim Detman and Jim Pitkavish respectively), Brian Swartzlander and Dave Murdick hopped into their own Modifieds and resumed their battle in the Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Big Block Modifieds. Murdick started outside Rex King Sr. and Swartzlander was right behind him on the second row flanking Jeremiah Shingledecker; two rows of heavy hitters. Murdick took the early advantage, but Swartzlander drove by him thundering off the exit to turn four to lead lap three. But on lap 11, Swartzlander uncharacteristically slid off the top of turn two and surrendered the lead to Murdick who looked like he would drive away with his third win of the season. Unfortunately, his drive shaft had other ideas and Murdick rolled to a stop on lap 21. Swartzlander inherited the lead he had lost 10 laps earlier, but was flanked by Budweiser Points leader Rex King Jr. on the restart. Swartzlander chose the outside of the front row and the decision paid off, as he rolled to his fourth win of the season and 85th of his Lernerville career to extend his All Time division lead.
Rex King Jr. would settle for a rock solid points night with a feature win and a second place finish. He carries a 28-point lead into the final two races of the season. Rex King Sr. followed his son to the checkered flag in third. Steve Feder turned in another top five finish in fourth ahead of Tom Winkle in fifth. Jeff Miller, Bob Warren, Carl Murdick, Rick Regalski and Rodney Beltz rounded out the Diehl Top Ten. Jeremiah Shingledecker (steering issues) joined Dave Murdick in the DNF category. Swartzlander and King Jr. were victorious in heat race action.
After a wild and wooly finish last Friday, the Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman feature was relatively uneventful and Bud Points leader Jim Fosnaught dominated the 20-lapper to secure his fifth feature win of the season without being serious challenged. Fosnaught, like King, will carry a 28-point lead into the final two weeks of the season.
Aaron Easler prevailed over All Time Sportsman/Stock wins leader Joe Kelley for second after a spirited battle in the closing laps. Mark Sanders and Mike Miller turned in top five finishes, while Corey McPherson, Terry Young, Rob Shook, Pat Hanley and Brett McDonald rounded out the top ten. Joe Kelley, Mike Miller and Rob Shook checkered their respective heat races.
Next Friday, August 15 is Turner Dairy Farm Night and the makers of Pittsburgh’s favorite Iced Teas, will be on hand with samples in the TeaBird which will then pace the Fab Four features. Finally, the 2014 season will come to a close with Championship Night on Friday, August 22.