The Story From Lernerville: Wagner Tops All Stars; Kugel and Ritchey Find Victory Lane

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John Stivason/Stivason Photos

The Arctic Cat All Stars invaded, and were bested by an invader. Continuing the strong start to his 2017 season, Logan Wagner proved to be too much to handle on Friday night at Lernerville Speedway as he wired the field en route to a $5,000 payday, his first career All Star victory.

“I can’t even put it into words,”  Wagner said. “I knew I just had to run that corner as good as I could without going over that banking. I really didn’t feel like I was that good, but I was good enough to win and that’s all that matters. I knew I had to get that wing completely rolled back, it was way tight up in three and four and I had to muscle it through.”

Meanwhile, Rocky Kugel continued his success at The Action Track as he made his way to the front of the 20 lap RUSH Sportsman Modified Feature and never looked back for his second win of the year.   The Allegheny Sprint Tour was also on hand, making their debut at Lernerville where Drew Ritchey took the honors as the first all time winner, took an early lead and kept the field behind him.

Arctic Cat All Star Sprints

When Logan Wagner took a feature win at Lernerville just over a month ago, crossing the finish line ahead of All Star Caleb Helms, few could have imagined that it would be a foreshadowing moment.  Wagner was able to keep his car walking a tightrope on the back stretch throughout the 30 lap main event, surviving several critical restarts along the way while holding off a furious charge from Danny Holtgraver en route to victory.

Wagner and Dean Jacobs led the 27 car field to the green flag as Wagner took off like he’d been shot out of a cannon and assumed early command of the field, putting his car on the high side of the speedway where it would stay the majority of the race. Behind him, series points leader Chad Kemenah got off to a similar start and climbed to the second spot with relative ease. Just as Wagner was about to reach his first lapped traffic of the night, the caution flag appeared for Parker Price Miller who went off the top of turn four with four laps in the books.

On the ensuing restart, Wagner once again got out to a good start and began pulling away from Kemenah while Cole Duncan and Danny Holtgraver found themselves in a battle for the fourth position. Holtgraver was able to fend off Duncan for the time being, and began an assault on the front runners. Wagner looked set to pad his cushion over Kemenah at the lap nine mark, when Max Stambaugh brought out the caution just a moment before a scattered bunch of lapped traffic appeared several car lengths in front of the race leader.

On the restart, Wagner tempted fate with the back stretch, seemingly holding the last inch of the car tenuously onto the surface, coming very close to going over the edge as Kemenah took a look underneath him in a bid for the lead as Holtgraver made his way to the second spot for the time being.   Following another caution and restart, the battle for the third spot began to intensify as Ryan Smith, Duncan and Holtgraver went three wide for position with AJ Flick and Tim Shaffer making forward progress in a hurry. Shaffer would earn hard charger honors on the night, while out front Wagner was on his way to his biggest lead of the night, gaining separation from the pack.  However, Wagner’s biggest challenge awaited him as a large amount of lapped traffic remained in front of him. The Central PA pilot kept to the plan though and remained on the high side for as long as he could while Kemenah began whittling his lead away lap after lap at the mid point of the race.

Brandon Spithaler then brought out the yellow with 20 laps down, slowing in turns three and four.  Wagner then got one last dose of clean air on the restart and kept the field behind him, though Holtgraver made a relentless charge towards him as the laps wound down.  The Pittsburgh area driver would wind up with a second place finish on the night and his performance bore resemblance to those that were all too common in his years of running weekly at Lernerville putting on a fast and assertive show for the fans in the house.  For Wagner, it was his third win on the season and his biggest career win to this point.

“This feels awesome,” Holtgraver said. “I’ve been sitting around, not racing too much. I can’t thank every one that’s helped out on this car enough.”

 

Top 10: 

  1. Logan Wagner
  2. Danny Holtgraver
  3. Chad Kemenah
  4. Cole Duncan
  5. Tim Shaffer
  6. Ryan Smith
  7. AJ Flick
  8. Lee Jacobs
  9. Carl Bowser
  10. Caleb Armstrong

 

RUSH Sportsman Modifieds

Chelsie Kriegisch and Rocky Kugel brought the field of RUSH Sportsman Modifieds to the green flag where Kriegisch would bolt out to the early lead until Kyle Martell brought out the first of many cautions in the 20 lap main event.  Following another round of cautions and restarts, the field started to get some momentum as a three wide battle for the lead emerged between Kriegisch, Brian Schaffer and Kugel.

Shaffer would make his way around Kriegisch and following another restart, Kole Holden began to make his presence felt, moving forward from his seventh starting position.  Meanwhile, Kugel dove underneath Kriegisch in turn four to take the second spot on lap five and set his sights on Schaffer for the lead which he took on lap seven.

At the halfway mark, Holden maneuvered underneath Schaffer for second and the battle for the lead ensued as Kugel started to reach heavy lapped traffic for the first time.  He made his way through the lappers and put significant ground between himself and Holden with the laps starting to wind down.

A pair of cautions, courtesy of Jacob Jordan, gave Holden two chances to capitalize on a late race opportunity, but he could not find a way around Kugel on the subsequent restarts and watched as Kugel made the most of his last taste of clean air and never looked back on his way to victory lane.

“This car is so good I don’t know how to explain it,” Kugel said. “The track crew did a good job and I just wanted to thank all the fans for coming out tonight.”

Top 10: 

  1. Rocky Kugel
  2. Kole Holden
  3. Brian Schaffer
  4. Kyle Martell
  5. Chelsie Kriegisch
  6. Shayne Weaver
  7. Jeremy Weaver
  8. Brandon Ritchie
  9. Anthony Gillespie
  10. Blaze Myers

Allegheny Sprint Tour/305 Sprints

It took all of five laps for Drew Ritchie to move forward from his eighth starting spot to the lead as he made history on Friday night, becoming the first Allegheny Sprint Tour feature winner in history at Lernerville Speedway.

Jonathan Jones brought the field to the green flag and took command of the race early on as a pair of cautions halted all momentum in the race’s early going. Ritchey then proceeded to pound the top side of the surface with authority, moving up to the second spot and then around Jones for first before a caution for Tyler Denochik.  On the restart, Ritchey kept the pedal down and the field behind him as Stevie Kenawell Jr. took up the third spot behind Jones.

Ritchey and Jones would breakaway from the pack while Greg Dobrosky made his way forward, passing Kenawell for third on lap 16 while Ritchey found himself putting Jones further behind him with each passing lap en route to the win.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been here and this is probably the most fun track I’ve ever been to,” Ritchie said in victory lane. “We struggled there in the heat race and we didn’t know if it was going to get really dry or have some grip to it so we took a lot of our stagger out and set it up to be dry.  On that first restart I had a good start on the bottom and just moved up the track.”

Top 10:

  1. Drew Ritchie
  2. Jonathan Jones
  3. Greg Doborsky
  4. Stevie Kenawell Jr.
  5. Jeff Taylor
  6. Ryan Lynn
  7. Ron Aurand
  8. George Frederick
  9. Tyler Denochik
  10. Brian Wright

 

 

 

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