Mike Norris Is Surprise Lernerville Firecracker

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Michael Norris won Friday night's preliminary feature for the Firecracker 100 at Lernerville Speedway. (Julia Johnson photo)

SARVER, Pa. — Michael Norris defeated the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series regulars while defending his home turf at Lernerville Speedway during the second night of the 12th annual Firecracker 100.

Norris had a perfect Friday night. He set the fastest qualifying time in Group B, collected his heat win by fending off a hard-charging Chris Madden, drew the pole and led flag-to-flag in the 30-lap feature.

After climbing on the rooftop of his No.72 Rocket Chassis powered by Gary Henry Racing Engines, announcer Rick Eshelman approached Norris.

Norris then sighed in relief and said, “I need a second” as he tried to take in the moment of his first World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series triumph.

“This pretty much makes my year,” said Norris. “I got to thank my crew guy Dakota. I’ve never had a signal guy here and we have talked about doing it forever and he was standing on the front stretch and man, that was nice. I knew when there was one-to-go and I knew when I could ride.”

The reigning track champion now has five wins and two second-place finishes in seven races at the four-tenths-mile oval this season.

“This one is for my dad and my grandparents,” continued Norris as his victory began to sink in and he became overwhelmed with emotion. “I grew up coming here and used to sit right there (grandstands outside of turn four) with my grandma… I can’t say no more. Thanks to all of the fans, sponsors, family, and Dan Bauman (Lernerville track operations) for giving me that cushion down there. We’re alright.”

Michael Norris in victory lane at Lernerville Speedway. (Julia Johnson photo)

Norris held off multiple charges from 2017 rookie of the year Devin Moran throughout the 30-lap shootout.

“First of all, congrats to them guys,” said Moran. “That is a freaking awesome win. Home track in front of a home crowd for a race like this. That’s awesome.”

A humble Moran congratulated Norris despite the fact that he and his Tye Twarog/ Donnie Moran Racing team are still in search of their first win of the season.

“I actually felt like we had the car to beat we just got stuck behind them two lap cars and [Norris] gained a straight-away on me,” explained Moran. “We ran him back down and I knew we had something. Wylie [Moran] showed me with the sticks I was pulling away from Madden a little bit. It’s just one of those deals where this is [Norris’s] night and we just have to take notes and hopefully in the race tomorrow we get to put our notes toward that.”

Madden, the series point leader and winner of Thursday night’s feature at Lernerville Speedway, rounded out the podium.

“Track condition and track position is everything,” said Madden. “If we could go back and get the heat race win and not have had that caution in the heat we would have started in the first two rows and maybe would have won the feature again tonight but congratulations to Norris and his team, and Devin and his guys work hard so congratulations to them on the runner-up spot. Overall, we’ve done a little trial-and-error tonight and our car wasn’t as good tonight as it was last night. So, we definitely have something to build off of.”

One win and a third-place finish for Madden places him at the top of the Firecracker 100 rankings. Madden will start on the pole for the first heat race in Saturday’s Firecracker 100.

The finish:

Sears Craftsman Feature (30 Laps): 1. 72n-Mike Norris [1][$6,000]; 2. 9-Devin Moran [3][$3,000]; 3. 44-Chris Madden [5][$2,000]; 4. 1-Brandon Sheppard [9][$1,750]; 5. 157-Mike Marlar [4][$1,500]; 6. 91-Tyler Erb [12][$1,400]; 7. 54-David Breazeale [2][$1,300]; 8. 25-Shane Clanton [7][$1,200]; 9. 7-Rick Eckert [10][$1,100]; 10. 18c-Chase Junghans [13][$1,000]; 11. 22-Chris Ferguson [11][$900]; 12. 17M-Dale McDowell [6][$850]; 13. 22s-Gregg Satterlee [18][$800]; 14. 14-Darrell Lanigan [19][$775]; 15. 4-Alex Ferree [16][$750]; 16. B1-Brent Larson [23][$700]; 17. 72-Jason Covert [20][$660]; 18. 89-Justin Williams [21][$640]; 19. 14a-Dan Angellicchio [22][$620]; 20. 14m-Morgan Bagley [15][$600]; 21. 6-Blake Spencer [24][$600]; 22. 1x-Chub Frank [8][$600]; 23. 10-Jared Miley [14][$600]; 24. 7mm-Michael Maresca [17][$600]