SARVER, Pa. — Without impending weather issues or chilly temperatures, Fab Four Racing lit up the Action Track tonight as Brian Swartzlander, Daryn Pittman, Dave Hess Jr. and Chris Schneider were all victorious on Bowser Pontiac Night.
With his BRP/Diehl Mods feature win, Swartzlander surpassed Hall of Famer Lou Blaney as the All Time Wins Leader in the Big Block Modifieds. Chris Schneider also made Lernerville Speedway history Friday Night by winning the Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman feature with a GM Performance 602 Crate Engine under the hood of his SS Chassis.
With the BRP Modifieds on hand and starting 10th on the grid, Brian Swartzlander had his work cut out for him; but a driver doesn’t reach 69 career feature wins by being timid and settling for top five finishes. Swartzlander was on the gas hard and early, but it appeared for most of the $1,500-to-win, 30-lap BRP Tour/Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Modifieds feature that New York invader Brian Weaver would run away from the stout field.
A late race caution served as a great equalizer by bunching up the field and Swartzlander was sitting comfortably in second place. He tried to power through the middle of turns three & four, but bounced up the track and allowed Weaver to pull away again. Then, on lap 25, Swartzlander drove under Weaver in turns one & two and blasted down the back straightaway to take the lead. Once at the point, Swartzlander would not be denied his place in history as he cruised to Sheetz Victory Lane for the 70th time!
The 70th feature win moves him past Lernerville Speedway Hall of Fame Inaugural Class Member Lou Blaney’s 69 career feature wins in the Big Block Modifieds. Swartzlander also becomes just the seventh driver to reach the 70 win plateau, joining Hall of Famers Bob Wearing Jr., Lou Blaney, Lou Gentile and Blackie Watt, and fellow eventual first ballot Hall of Famers Lynn Geisler and Ed Lynch, Jr.
After losing the lead, Weaver tried to hold off a hard charging Rex King, Sr., but the two drivers made a lot of contact in the closing laps with Defending BRP Series Champion King prevailing for second while Weaver would get shuffled back to sixth after leading the first 24 circuits. Between King and Weaver were Kevin Hoffman in third, Dave Murdick in fourth and Rex “Cooter” King Jr. in fifth
The Ti22 Performance DIRTcar Sprints pushed off next with rising star Brandon Matus on the pole alongside World of Outlaws veteran and current PA Posse member Daryn Pittman. Pittman, coming off a big win against the Outlaws at historic Williams Grove Speedway last weekend, jumped out to a quick lead and quickly stretched a full straightaway lead. Coming from row four, both Ti22 Ace Brian Ellenberger and Defending Track Champion Danny Holtgraver were making their way to the front. As the laps clicked away, Brian Ellenberger reeled in the leader, but couldn’t get enough forward bite off turn two to make a serious run at the lead. With 22 laps down, a late race caution leveled the playing field but Pittman took off when the green flag waved and cruised to Sheetz Victory Lane.
Ellenberger and Holtgraver chased Pittman to the stripe in second and third place respectively. Andre Layfield scored a strong fourth place finish in his Action Track debut, while Brandon Matus scored his second straight top five finish.
Like Pittman before him, Dave Hess Jr. took the lead at the drop of the green flag from the front row, (albeit from the pole position), and was never serious challenged on the way to his second Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models feature of the 2011 season. Hess’s dominant night was made all the more impressive by the fact that it was done in a brand new Rocket Chassis. Hess has also taken over the Budweiser Points lead from Gregg Satterlee.
The real race was behind Hess as Jared Miley and Chub Frank waged a classic battle for second place from lap 11 the whole way to the checkered flag. Miley was visibly faster along the top, while Chubzilla was better on the bottom. Miley’s bugaboo was the exit of turn two as he kept hanging the right rear tire over the back straightaway and losing momentum. When the checkers waved, Frank crossed the stripe second ahead of Miley in third. Russell King joined his dad and brother with top five finishes by taking the checkers fourth. Boom Briggs finished fifth ahead of Brian Swartzlander, John Garvin Jr., Dave Murdick, Todd Bachman and John Flinner.
Chris Schneider proved that bigger isn’t always better by winning the ultra-competitive Millerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar Sportsman feature with a GM Performance 602 crate engine. Most of Schneider’s competition, including his own SS Chassis customers, had a marked advantage in horsepower, but Schneider needn’t lift coming into and around the turns. That said, after taking the early lead and pacing the first 13 laps, Defending Track Champion Joe Kelley took the lead away from Schneider. Schneider came back like a bat out of hell and passed Kelley on the outside of turn two and motored past him down the backstretch to take the lead for good on lap 18.
After struggling through back-to-back DNS disappointments to start the season, All Time Sportsman/Stock Wins Leader Joe Kelley finished second. 2009 Lernerville Speedway Rookie of the Year Corey McPherson had another solid run and scored his best finish of the early season in third, while 2010 Rookie of the Year A.J. Flick finished fourth.