Believe it or not, horse racing is a very important and beneficial part of my life. Although I want nothing to do with standardbreds and generally stay away from the barn as much as possible, it is much of my family’s focus and income. With horse racing also comes putting up with weather conditions and ongoing changing track surfaces. Even with rapid changing weather forecasts and unpredictable conditions, one major advantage that horse racing fans have over dirt track lovers is that they don’t cancel when it rains. Winning.
This weekend turned out to be a big tease. Friday night turned out to be a pretty nice evening. Temperatures were tolerable and better yet, the rain stayed away – allowing for Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania to finally open their 2011 season. 18 cars lined the front row of the Sarver based 4/10’s mile – which was kind of a shocker. My guess on the way down was at least 22 cars. After taking a quick stroll down the front lane of the pit parking area, I noticed that my initial estimate was a tad off. There was no evidence of Jack Sodeman Jr., Ed Lynch Jr., Todd Bauer, or Andy Mckisson; just to name a few.
Track conditions were a little on the “ehh rats” side; hard and dry, allowing dust to fly during ‘hot laps.’ Team Fully Injected was much represented Friday night – with Brandon Matus, Danny Holtgraver, and Rod George wearing the FI logo. Cole Duncan, an Ohio native and son to the well known Rodney Duncan, claimed his first win of the season at Lernerville Speedway – and 2nd since the Steel City Stampede a few seasons ago. Cole made a high side pass early on in the 25 lap event and held off a steady charging Dale Blaney for the checkers. Blaney would finish 2nd after starting 9th – with Carl Bowser rounding out the top three.
Team Fully Injected had an up and down night so to speak. Brandon Matus – the Wampum native and still relatively “new face” to 410ci sprint car competition, started his season in great fashion – finishing with an 8th place finish. “I’m pretty satisfied to get a top 10 on opening night here at Lernerville…with it being the only Friday night track around, it attracts some awesome drivers – feels good to be up there with them towards the front.” Danny Holtgraver, the Pittsburgh native and defending Lernerville Speedway Track Champion, suffered some mechanical issues for much of the evening. “We pretty much missed the set up in the feature…” explained Holtgraver. “We had to change the steering gear early on and things never did quite take off for us.” Danny would settle for 6th.
Speaking of mechanical issues, Rod George seems to enjoy racing without any power steering. For the second consecutive weekend; power steering issues kept the Kittanning, PA native from having solid results. After starting 7th, Rod would settle for a 10th place finish after racing all 25 laps with out power steering. Hopefully next week proves to be a little different for the FI team.
As far as the rest of the weekend is concerned; there isn’t much to discuss. Mercer Raceway Park in Mercer, PA – which was my Saturday night or Sunday night destination – cancelled their Saturday night program and Sunday night rain date early Saturday morning; leaving me with no plans and no bait to fish with. The USAC triple header originally schedule for this past weekend at the Kokomo Speedway, Lawrenceburg Speedway, and Gas City Speedway were all postponed due to wet conditions. They were all rescheduled for the last weekend of the month; April 29, 30, and May 1st. Indiana “traditional” sprint car fans will get to enjoy the USAC National Sprints in just a few weeks.
The World of Outlaw Sprint Car Series events originally scheduled for Friday at Paducah and Saturday at I-55 were also cancelled due to rain and wet conditions. Rain dates for those shows are in the process of being scheduled. Joey Saldana, the current points leader with the World of Outlaws, will lead the traveling series into Oklahoma next weekend as the WoO visits the Salina Highbanks Speedway in Salina, OK.
The popular 360ci Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series made a trip to the I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Arkansas over the weekend. Jeff Swindell had a solid weekend; picking up the win Friday night before finishing 2nd on Saturday to the “Texas”, Gary Wright. Gary Wright would pick up the $6,000 victory, but the series points chance is still in the hands of a Bixby, OK native. Shane Stewart continues to lead the National points battle over Johnny Herrera and Jeff Swindell.
The King of the West Series saw a new winner of the weekend; ‘TK’ Tim Kaeding picked up with the victory and the points lead at Tulare over the weekend. All three Kaedings were in attendance; Brent, Bud, and Tim all competed on Saturday evening. The KWS will head to the Ocean Speedway next Saturday night for the third round of the King of the West Series.
Random thought of the night; Brian Leppo and Tyler Walker are currently tied at the top of the Williams Grove Speedway points chase. Excellent. Leppo was the winner on Friday night at the Grove.
As far as my plans are concerned; next weekend is kinda “up in the air.” I will probably spend my evening at Lernerville Speedway on Friday before trying heading to Mercer Raceway Park on Saturday. Hopefully, the weather cooperates and allows for a double race weekend. Im thinking about getting up early on Saturday morning and trying this whole trout fishing thing again. This past Saturday didn’t work out so well; resulting in me almost drowning and losing a lot of worms.
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and as always – RACE OPEN WHEEL!