Sarver, PA (March 21, 2021) On Saturday night at Brackenridge Golf Course, champions were crowned, hall of fame class was announced and some very deserving special award winners were honored during the Lernerville Speedway Virtual Awards Presentation. A small gathering of 2020 track champions and staff were present as Precise Racing Product DIRTcar Late Model champion Ken Schaltenbrand, Diehl Automotive DIRTcar Big Block Modified champion Garrett Krummert and Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Pro Stock title winner Tyler Dietz each were present to receive their trophies and give their appreciation to their fans and sponsors. Peoples Natural Gas DIRTcar Sprint Car champion AJ Flick found himself competing in racing action at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday, however the four time title winner was able to share a pre recorded audio greeting to the audience.
For Schaltenbrand and Dietz, it capped two straight seasons that ended in titles in their respective divisions as they added their name to an impressive list of track champions that have collected trophies in back to back fashion. Meanwhile, the night was especially sweet for Krummert who earned his first career track title after a hard fought battle with John Mollick that went all the way to championship night with a scant few points between them as the final weeks dwindled down.
The 2021 Hall of Fame class was announced as three former track champions who between them share big roles in the history of the speedway both in terms of performance on the track and legacy of what their careers meant to it. Sprint Car driver Dale Blaney (1991 champion, 18 feature wins), Big Block Modified driver Kevin Bolland (3 time champion, 55 feature wins), and Pro Stock driver Chuck Kennedy (3 time champion, 19 feature wins) will be inducted this year. Stay tuned to our social media channels for more information on official induction ceremonies for this year’s incoming Hall of Fame class.
Peoples Natural Gas DIRTcar Sprint driver Michael Bauer was the recipient of the Most Improved Sprint Car Driver award. Bauer had been able find the top 10 in various appearances at The Action Track over the past few seasons. However, in 2020 Bauer was able to convert those top 10 glimpses into podium finishes in 2020 and even into Terry Bowser Excavating Victory Lane for the first time in his career on July 3rd.
Will Thomas made the decision to play his hand with the Precise Racing Products Late Models starting in 2020. The learning curve when a driver changes to a different type of car can sometimes take months to years to see that driver become a fixture in the top five. Some drivers never truly get the hang of it. However, being a master of change has its advantages and skill behind the wheel can sometimes truly translate across divisions. Will Thomas is that type of driver indeed, taking less than a year to take home his first trophy as a feature winner in year one, a season that saw him tally numerous top five finishes en route to a Most Improved Driver Award in the Late Model division.
Mastering a Big Block Modified in a highly competitive weekly field can take a great deal of time and can be a very difficult process indeed. It requires patience and resiliency and a commitment to learn and apply lessons. And, Colton Walters has all of these in good supply. Having spent the previous two seasons employing those lessons learned, Colton Walters took a huge step forward in 2020 as evidenced by his performance which saw him take the first top ten and top five finishes of his career. And on Saturday night he was presented with our Diehl Automotive Big Block Modified Most Improved Driver Award.
Once again, patience and perseverance came through in the end with our most improved Millerstown Pic-A-Part Pro Stock driver Award. Following three years of learning and growing pains, and with the help and support of his family and team, Chase Lambert went from being a driver learning to be competitive, to a fixture in the top 10 and top 5 in 2020 as Lambert took his team to the next level. Lambert went from being a driver who could compete, to a driver who could be a threat to win on any given night while never letting the bad nights bring him down while bringing his best effort with passion and determination week in and week out.
In his third full season of racing with the Diehl Automotive Big Block Modifieds during a career which has seen him drive at a very high level in almost every type of race car, John Mollick had brought his program to a championship level in 2020. Mollick brought home two feature wins and was a fixture on the podium, bringing him to a position in which he was within four points of the division title as the final two weeks of the regular season lay ahead. He then suffered misfortune in a mid race collision on the front stretch while racing into position to challenge eventual champion Garrett Krummert on October 2 which earned him our Hard Luck Award for 2020.
Two time track champion Jack Sodeman Jr. has been a top competitor for years in our Peoples Natural Gas Sprint Car ranks winning two track championships along the way. But beyond driving skill and the respect he shows others on the track, Jack has been a huge help to many of his fellow drivers including younger drivers looking for guidance and advice. Jack also cares about the future and the health of the division as evidenced by being an integral part in bringing the Sprint Car division back to the way it should be with a series of meetings and candid conversations with the Tomson family as well as other members of the staff and ownership team as the 2019 season wound down. Jack was selected and presented with this year’s Sportsmanship Award.
This year’s Golden Award winner, Mark Hawk, became part of the Lernerville family in 1976 when he started attending races on a regular basis. The late Don Martin saw Mark’s enthusiasm and made him a part of the team shortly thereafter, working every position at the track, culminating in him becoming race director. His hiring launched him on a 30 plus year career in the area racing industry where he worked on his off nights at other area speedways and regional racing series such as MACS, All Star Late Models and others. Among drivers, he is known for treating drivers fairly and with respect and has been doing so at a high level for years. Following the 2020 season, Mark stepped down from his position as race director but will still be watching on race nights from time to time. We’d like to thank Mark for all he has done for The Action Track over the years and wish him nothing but the best as he enjoys being a fan once again.
For the past four years, Michelle Tomson has gone well above and beyond the call of duty in her position in the front office. The behind the scenes details and hard work on a race night can be exhausting. But just as trying sometimes, can be the behind the scenes details that need to be taken care of throughout the year. Michelle has kept a smile on her face through it all. Whether it’s making a fan’s experience a little more comfortable, a last minute request from a driver’s family, sponsor or media member, or dealing with customers that have had an issue and need immediate action, her patience and hard work always deliver and her friendly customer service skills are always appreciated. For her impeccable service and for her relentless commitment, Michelle was selected and presented with this year’s Keith Burke Appreciation Award.
Doc and Betty Sarver started out pushing Sprint Cars in 1970 and have been at The Action Track ever since. In fact, it could be said that Doc pushed virtually every Sprint Car at Lernerville over the years, with Betty in the passenger seat by his side. Doc worked at Lernerville nearly every day for 45 years through both the Don Martin years and the World Racing Group ownership eras. And to this day, they still sell 50/50 tickets on race night. In appreciation to their lengthy and committed stewardship at Lernerville Speedway, Doc and Betty were presented with this year’s Milestone Award.
The Grover Clasper Award recognizes a member of the Lernerville community dealing with or who has overcome a significant health scare. During the 2020 Steel City Stampede, Kevin Long certainly gave us all a huge scare. The Big Block Modified pilot suffered a heart attack during the year end event and pulled through to better health sufficient to see him to return to the seat in 2021. Kevin has been racing for the past five seasons, starting in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds and progressing to Big Blocks and has been a fixture in the division on a weekly basis ever since. Here’s to good health and continued perseverance for this year’s Grover Clasper Award winner, Kevin Long.
Taking photos for a wide variety of magazines, news papers and online publications while helping keep Terry Bowser Excavating Victory Lane organized and smooth, This year’s Bill Steinbach Media Award winner, Tommy Hein, has been turning in quality work that appears in many different places and has made sacrifices to be with us on Friday nights. His work has meant a great deal to not only drivers and families but also their sponsors as well, capturing moments that turn into memories for so many throughout his years of service.
At the completion of the 2019 season, it was announced that Phil DiLucente and Associates would be coming onboard to join our Sponsor team with a unique gift, presented in a very unique way. Phil was interested in contributing to the purse fund for the drivers. And he brought forward a process for dispersing a very substantial $30,000 gift that rewarded drivers who finished in the top 10 in their feature events and also channeled money into the season points fund. And so it was, that the Pad the Purse program came to life in 2020 thanks to Phil. The spinning of the Pad the Purse wheel became a welcome sight on Fab4 Friday nights as it directed a $100 bonus for the top 10 finishers in two of our weekly divisions based on the random nature of the spinning of the wheel. And in impressive fashion, provisions were made for the total $30,000 gift to be distributed; even should a race night rainout occur, directing funds reserved for that particular night directly to the points fund. We couldn’t have asked for more with such a timely gift that drivers, fans and the entire Lernerville Speedway family appreciated. On Saturday night, Phil was named winner of our Bob Cochran Sponsorship Award.
Levi Yetter gave many some eyebrow raising eyebrow moments in 2020 to say the least. The young Late Model pilot who’s currently still in high school, managed four top 10 appearances this season, his first at The Action Track. For many teen drivers, simply getting the car around the track without disrupting veteran drivers and keeping their car together would make for a good showing as a rookie. What Yetter accomplished in 2020 went far beyond that expectation and points to a great future on the horizon, recipient of this year’s Rookie of the Year Award.
The action turns to the track at Lernerville Speedway in less than two weeks as the first of our two scheduled Test and Tune nights kick off our live event schedule on Friday, April 2.
For more information on our upcoming season, stay tuned to our social media channels and our newly revamped website at Lernerville.com.