After four B-Mains were contested, the Ti22 Performance DIRTcar Challenge Sprint Series finale pushed off as the first of 10 feature races. Last year’s upset specialist Cole Duncan brought the field to the green flag flanked by Cory Good. Duncan led the first five laps, but as he entered lapped traffic he was caught and passed by 2010 Lernerville Speedway/Budweiser Track Champion Danny Holtgraver.
Once at the point, Holtgraver began lapping cars like they had bounties attached to them! By lap 12, he essentially clinched the DIRTcar Challenge Sprint Series when he lapped series points leader Bob Felmlee. Three laps later he passed Rod George to put him a lap down. With Ed Lynch Jr. in the pits after mechanical issues on lap eight, Danny cruised to the DIRTcar CSS Championship, but he couldn’t hold off Dale Blaney on the track.
Blaney has been nearly unstoppable at Lernerville Speedway this season winning four races, including an All Star Feature win on June 4. He ran well enough to win the first 30-lap feature of the Silver Cup but ran short of fuel. He finished second to Tim Shaffer at the September 3 All Star Show, then fourth in the World of Outlaws Commonwealth Clash on September 25.
Blaney reeled in Holtgraver who had stretched his lead to a full straightaway at one point, and used a powerslide through three & four to take the lead on the lap 17 restart. But Holtgraver didn’t put his tail between his legs and settle for second. He slide back under Dale Blaney in turns one & two, only to see Blaney blast past him on the backstretch to take the lead for good. Blaney’s fourth Lernerville feature win of the season earned him $3,000 and a big, shiny Steel City Stampede belt buckle and plate.
Danny Holtgraver finished second behind Blaney, and as mentioned above, clinched the 2010 DIRTcar Challenge Sprint Series Championship over the future Hall of Fame trio of Bob Felmlee, Ed Lynch Jr. and Rod George. Dale Blaney’s Ti22 Performance stable mate Brian Ellenberger continues to ride the wave of success since jumping into the brand new GF1 Chassis. Last year’s Stampede winner Cole Duncan held on to finish fourth ahead of Carl Bowser who capped off a solid 2010 campaign with his ninth top five finish at Lernerville Speedway. The rest of the Ti22/DIRTcar CSS top ten rounded out with Brandon Spithaler (the last driver on the lead lap), Rod George, Bob Felmlee, Gale Ruth and Cory Good. Friday Night heat races were claimed by Dale Blaney and Ed Lynch Jr.
The DIRTcar Late Models were up next and it was the Jared Miley Show! Miley started alongside Michigan traveler Brian Ruhlan on the front row. Miley jumped out to a quick lead as Gregg Satterlee came from fifth on the starting grid to second on lap two. Satterlee challenged Miley the whole way to the checkered flag, but was never able to take the lead away from him. Miley’s $3,000 payday was his third win in the last four races at Lernerville Speedway.
2010 Track Champion Dave Hess Jr. made a late charge and nipped Satterlee at the checkered flag after a big run off the top of turns three & four. Satterlee had to settle for third after battling most of the race for the lead. 2010 Pittsburgh PA’s Motor Speedway Track Champion Brandon Burgoon made his Lernerville debut with an impressive fourth place run, while 2009 Stampede winner Matt Lux finished fifth. The rest of the top ten shook out with Russell King, Brian Ruhlman, John Garvin Jr., Dave Murdick and Denton Boyer. Friday Night race victors were Lux, Hess and Boyer.
The most exciting finish of the night came in the Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Modifieds, which was also the series finale for the BRP Tour. Rex King Sr. clinched the 2010 BRP Tour Championship by starting his heat race Friday Night, and then he almost stole the Stampede feature win away from New York traveler Chad Homan at the checkered flag Saturday Night.
Homan started seventh, but quickly made his way to the front to challenge fellow upstate New Yorker Brian Weaver who took the lead early from polesitter Tom Winkle. Weaver appeared to have the race in the bag, but Homan drew even at the white flag. King made it a three car battle in turns one & two. Entering turn three, Homan went low, King rocketed around the top. Homan appeared to have the advantage exiting turn four, but King was flying off the top and Homan had to nearly take him to the wall to hold him off for the win by 0.019 seconds. Homan and King made significant contact after the checkers and the local crowd expressed their displeasure as Homan got out of his car in Sheetz Victory Lane. King took it all in stride; going pitside with his second consecutive BRP Championship in hand. Weaver had to settle for third after leading the first 24 laps of the feature.
Del Rougeux Jr. found more bad luck in his heat race Friday Night, as he has for much of the 2010 season. He started Saturday Night running the B-Main and had to use a provisional to start the A-Main saddled 24th on the starting grid. Over the course of the 25 lap feature, Rougeux had quite possibly his best run since last year’s Stampede victory by finishing fourth in a deep, talented field. Jeremiah Shingledecker came from 12th to finish fifth. The Diehl/BRP top ten rounded out with “Double Duty” Dave Murdick, Brad Rapp, Chris Haines, Brian Swartzlander and Kevin Hoffman. Friday Night heat races went to Swartzlander, Homan, Kevin Bolland and Shingledecker. J.R. McGinley won the B-Main.
Lernerville Speedway Track Champion Joe Kelley ended the 2010 campaign as he started it; in Sheetz Victory Lane! His 10th win of the season came in dramatic fashion as the Charapp Route 28 Sportsman/Stock feature was a race that didn’t want to end! It took seven Green-White-Checker (GWC) restarts to finally end the 20-lapper.
Polesitter Bob Egley jumped out to a quick lead at the drop of the initial green flag, but Kelley took the lead on lap four only to see Sportsman/Stock Spectacular winner Chris Schneider take the lead away on a lap five restart. Schneider led three laps, then Kelley got by him to lead the next three laps before giving way to Schneider again on lap 11.
Schneider led the rest of the way until a caution slowed the field on lap 19. Kelley and Schneider made contact in turn two of the fifth GWC restart, Schneider spun and collected Bobby Whitling, but the caution was thrown for a backmarker in turn four. The caution allowed Schneider to retain the lead on the sixth restart, but he spun in turns one & two with apparent suspension damage from the previous wreck. With Schneider out of the picture, Kelley rolled to his 10th win of the season and a $1,000 payday to cap off a fantastic 2010 campaign.
Bob Egley held off PPMS star Pat Weldon to finish second. Behind Weldon in third was Jeff Walters who came the whole way from 24th on the starting grid to finish fifth. Ryan Moyer also came from the back of the field racing from 20th to round out the top five. Pat Hanley returned to the dirt of Lernerville Speedway, (after racing a Modified on the asphalt at Motordrome this summer), with a solid seventh place finish. Early leader Chris Schneider finished 15th. Chris Withers, Joe Kelley, Rusty Martz and Chris Schneider won Friday Night heat races.
Speaking of heat races, Joe Kelley was also awarded his second consecutive National Guard Heat Race Challenge Boot Trophy during pre-race festivities Saturday Night. By virtue of his seven heat race wins during Fab Four Racing this season, then via tiebreaker over Danny Holtgraver and Wayne Carbo.
Bryan Force dominated the UMP Pro Late Model feature, leading all 20 laps. He was challenged late in the race by Josh Double, but held on for his first career Lernerville Speedway feature win. Double finished second ahead of Sean Puz, Chris Schneider and Andrew Satterlee. Friday Night heat races went to Ken Herman and Bryan Force.
Most in attendance will agree that the most exciting feature of the night played out in the UMP Modifieds feature as local EMod (as they are more commonly referred to in Western PA) stars Dave Hess Jr. and Brent Rhebergen came from the back half of the starting grid to finish second and third respectively. Both drivers are also both stars on the regional Super Late Model scene. Hess, of course, is the 2010 Lernerville Speedway Late Model Track Champion. He started 21st after winning the B-Main, while Rhebergen came from 15th.
Watching these two guys come through the field was truly a sight to behold. But by the time they came to the front, leader and eventual winner Brian Ruhlman had put too much real estate between himself and the rest of the field and he cruised virtually unchallenged to Sheetz Victory Lane. Ruhlman made the tow from Clarklake, MI for the first time since 1994! Russ Coyne and Carl McKinney rounded out the top five. Friday Night heat races were checkered by Randy Hall, Brian Ruhlman, Kevin Buff and Russ Coyne.
Somebody forgot to tell the 4 cylinder drivers that they were not competing in the Enduro! The 15 lap feature was riddled with cautions with very short segments of green flag racing. By the time the checkered flag waved for feature winner Brent Sholtis, just eight cars (of 24 that took the green flag) remained in competition. But despite the carnage and short segments of green flag racing, they were quite entertaining!
Inaugural Steel City Stampede STARS Mod Lites feature winner Mikey Hay is the only driver in any division to defend his event win. After starting 11th, Hay masterfully made his way to the front and took the lead on lap 11 from his brother Matt, who finished second for the second straight year. Fifth place finisher Rick Ament was crowned as the 2010 STARS Mod Lites Champion.
Kenny Meadows drove Doug Peterman’s #67 to the win in the Mini Late Models exhibition.
Former Sportsman/Stock and Sprint Car driver Glenn Noland dominated the Enduro 100, winning by over five laps ahead of second place Dan Zimmerman. Joe Yakich, Joe Petyak and John Bigley rounded out the top five.
The Action Track will sit dark and dormant for the next few months until Opening Night 2011. Please stay tuned for exciting announcements about the 2011 season including dates for the 2011 editions of the Firecracker 100, Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup, Commonwealth Clash and DIRTcar Round Up Steel City Stampede!