The Story From Lernerville: Shetler Scores Sprint Win; Norris Wires Late Models; Williamson Goes Two For Two

 

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John Stivason/Stivason Photos

The official first week of Fab Four Racing Presented by Turner’s Premium Iced Tea provided three thrilling features before the sprinkles turned into showers, washing out the Millerstown Pic-A-Part RUSH/DIRTcar Pro Stocks on Friday night.  Dan Shetler and Jason Shultz put on a battle for the win that was worth the price of admission alone in the Peoples Natural Gas DIRTcar Sprints, while Michael Norris looked impressive in the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models, leading all 25 laps to score his eighth career victory.  And, in the Diehl Automotive DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, Mat Williamson was patient and precise and picked the opportune time to make his way past Brian Swartzlander for his second win in a row.

In addition to the action on the track, the annual Autism Awareness Night was a resounding success. The event raised awareness and featured drivers who passed the helmet through the crowd on hand, accepting donations that totaled over $2400 that were directed to the Autism Society of Pittsburgh.

Peoples Natural Gas DIRTcar Sprints

Working hard week in and week out normally brings a steady flow of good results including feature wins, but there is a luck side that comes into play in a winning formula for almost all drivers too. Dan Shetler knows that all to well.  At various times in the 2016 season, Shetler had victory within his grasp and watched it slip away due to one piece of misfortune or another.  But on this night, the hard work and skill caught a well deserved break, and Shetler took advantage of the opportunity as he emerged victorious following a fierce battle with Central PA invader Jason Shultz.

Cory Good and Dan Kuriger brought the field to the green flag where it did not take long for Shultz to emerge as the early leader, but Good made his way back around him on lap two. Behind the action up front, Kuriger, fifth starting AJ Flick and the sixth starting Shetler and last year’s champion, Jack Sodeman Jr. started threading his way through traffic to join the party.  Shultz began to take looks underneath Good for the lead on lap six.  Good would surrender the lead just to laps later though when he spun in turn two in a bid to take the lead.

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John Stivason/Stivason Photos

On the single file restart, Shultz bolted out to the lead but had Shetler to contend with as heavy lapped traffic appeared for the leader at the lap 13 mark where it looked as if Shetler’s bad luck might continue. While looking to take the lead, Shetler got hung up by the lapped car of Davey Jones, allowing Shultz to make a clean getaway for the time being while AJ Flick was making up ground on Shetler, advancing from his fifth starting spot.

Ralph Spithaler then brought out the yellow flag with 17 laps in the books, setting up the epic battle for the win with the field re-stacked. On the restart, Shetler went to the bottom of the speedway with Shultz running up high, the two cars were neck and neck, coming close to contact at times as Shetler prepared for one last shot at victory which he took on lap 21. However, he found himself sliding off of turns one and two as all hope looked to be lost which would have been the case had it not been for Vinny Dougherty bringing out the original caution just moments earlier.   Back in the second spot on the restart, Shetler was able to keep the leader close enough to pass with just three laps remaining and never looked back while Shultz and Flick rounded out the podium.

Top 10:

  1. Dan Shetler
  2. Jason Shultz
  3. AJ Flick
  4. Jack Sodeman Jr.
  5. Gary Kreiss Jr.
  6. Dan Kuriger
  7. George Hobaugh
  8. Ralph Engel Jr.
  9. Rod George
  10. Cory Good

Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models

Though the Precise Late Model field might have been short some cars due to attrition, it was not short on talent with the normally tough weekly drivers joined by Texan invader Jon Mitchell, Michael Lake and current Lucas Oil Late Model Series regular Colton Flinner.  But none of them had anything for Michael Norris on this night, and nobody else in the area did either.

Mitchell and Mike Miller comprised the front row and after the drop of the green flag, it  took less than a lap for Norris to make his way around both to become he early leader. Behind the top three, Michael Lake was making a serious charge to the front.  The action was slowed by two cautions less than three laps apart in the early going, and on the ensuing restart following the second caution, Norris looked as if he was taking total control, moving to the top of the speedway and stretching out a sizable advantage.

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John Stivason/Stivason Photos

Behind him, Alex Ferree began to make up some ground and was able to make his way to the second position. However, he was being pursued by Mitchell who was desperately trying to make his way back around Ferree which enabled Norris to put greater distance between himelf and the rest of the field.  The caution flag came out once again when Flinner spun while collecting Miller in turn two.  Once action resumed, Ferree, Matt Lux and 2016 champion Russ King all started pounding the cushion with Norris making a four car train at the top of the speedway. Ferree was starting to pick up ground. He would make one last attempt to change his line and managed to stay within range of Norris but could not make the pass for the lead as Norris drove a near flawless race and crossed the flag stand first for his eighth career Lernerville win.

 

Top 10:

  1. Michael Norris
  2. Alex Ferree
  3. Jon Mitchell
  4. Russ King
  5. Matt Lux
  6. Michael Lake
  7. Clayton Kennedy
  8. Mike Miller
  9. Colton Flinner
  10. Joshua Powell

Diehl Automotive Big Block Modifieds

To win from the 10th starting spot is no easy task. It’s been done on plenty of occasions over the years, but it often takes the perfect alignment of stars, a good deal of luck and a near perfect race from the driver.  Mat Williamson didn’t need much in the way of the first two elements, and used the third in a methodical march to victory on Friday night.

Rick Regalski looked like the man early on as he took advantage of his front row starting spot and took the early lead while behind him, Brian Swartzlander, Rex King Jr., and Garrett Krummert made up a formidable chase pack. Following a caution with four laps in the books, Swartzlander started to go to work at the top of the surface and made the pass for the lead on the front stretch, sending Regalski on a downward path while seventh starting Garrett Krummert managed to make his way to the third spot.

Another early caution reset the field and when the green flag waved again, Swartzlander and Krummert were running nose to tail up top while behind them, Williamson began his forward charge as he passed Dave Murdick for the third spot and set his sights on the leaders with Swartzlander putting more separation between himself and Krummert.

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John Stivason/Stivason Photos

By lap 12, Swartzlander was well into a thick group of lapped cars. He managed to pick through the traffic clean, however Krummert found himself hindered by the lapped cars and Williamson was waiting to pounce on the opportunity.  Williamson did as he passed Krummert to take the second spot on lap 17, but appeared to be running out of laps in his bid to overtake Swartzlander who had a significant lead over Williamson.  The Canadian standout would manage to close the gap though, reeling the leader in a little more with each passing lap.

As the laps wound down, and the leaders running nose to tail, Williamson started taking looks underneath as Swartzlander defended the lead in relentless fashion, the battle took another turn when Williamson had to practice his patience one more time in getting around Jimmy Weller III. With Swartzlander in clean air, Williamson was able to pull off the pass for the lead on the front stretch with one lap remaining and never looked back en route to his 21st career Lernerville victory while Rex King Jr. took the final podium spot

Top 10: 

  1. Mat Williamson
  2. Brian Swartzlander
  3. Rex King Jr.
  4. Jeremiah Shingledecker
  5. Rex King Sr.
  6. Dave Murdick
  7. JR McGinley
  8. Steve Feder
  9. Garrett Krummert
  10. Jimmy Welller III

For the full field rundown from Fab4 Presented by Turner’s Premium Tea Click Here

 

 

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