MURDICK TAKES MOD TOUR OPENER

Date: 5/23/2010 11:14:00 PM

 
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MURDICK TAKES MOD TOUR OPENER

Dave Murdick, the 2001 Champion, opened the BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour season with a popular win at Lernerville Speedway. Murdick survived a lap 21 skirmish with a lapped car and held off Rex King, Jr. and Brian Swartzlander to earn the victory. Murdick could not rest on his laurels, however, for he had to belt into his potent Late Model, which he drove to an impressive third place finish.

"We were running strong, but we needed a few breaks." Murdick explained that he thought his night was over when the lapped car of Mike Miller turned left in front of him. "I knew Del (Rougeux) was there and I had nowhere to go." 

Murdick was driving the same 2007 Troyer car that he demolished at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway last season. "We rebuilt the car to match the specs of a 2010," he said. With this victory coming off a heartbreaking loss to Jeremiah Shingledecker Sunday night at Tri-City Speedway, it appears that Murdick's template car will remain in the shop.

“Dave (Murdick) has a million laps in at this track so finishing second him is nothing to be ashamed of,” King Jr. said. “We threw everything but the kitchen sink at this place,” he added. “Russ threw a lot of Late Model stuff at this car and it took a while for me to get used to it. Normally these cars don’t move like a Late Model. The car was tight through the center. At the start I thought there would be more of a cushion at the start and it wasn’t there.” Cooter was referring, of course, to his older brother Russell, the 2007 Champion and 2009 World of Oulaws Late Model Series Rookie of the Year.

After a dominant heat race win, lady luck put King Jr. on the pole for the 30 lapper. He had to be thinking to himself "maybe tonight I can get that first win," when he fired first. But Murdick swept into the lead using the cushion in turns one and two.

The duo led Brad Rapp, Del Rougeux, Jr., and Ryan Hall until the first caution flew on lap two for Chris Haines. A broken front axle ended the impressive new-comer's night.

On the restart, Murdick assumed command again over King Jr. Rougeux was challenging Rapp for third when the collegian jumped the cushion in turn four, surrendering the spot.

Rougeux slipped into second on lap three and took up the chase. He was pressuring Murdick when the leaders entered lapped traffic.

Their duel was halted briefly when the sophomore jinx bit Hall. Heavy contact with Steve Feder's car ripped off Hall's rear wheel and turned him to face the thundering herd on the frontstretch. Mike Miller made an astounding move, swerving at full speed to avoid the disabled cars. He miraculously squeezed his mount in a narrow opening between two jersey barriers. Miller drove safely through the infield and reentered the track on the backstretch while the field was under yellow. He earned the Red Bear Hand Cleaner Clean Move of the Race award for that maneuver. Hall and Feder were unable to continue, however.

Rougeux nosed ahead on the drop of the green, but Murdick used the high groove again to take the lead. The action was interrupted one lap later when his father, Carl, stopped between turns one and two with a broken transmission.

This time, Murdick was better prepared and he got the jump on Rougeux. The two veterans pulled away from the pack and it was starting to look like there would be another titanic one-on-one clash for the raminder of the race. The week before, Rougeux battled tooth and nail with Jim Weller, Jr., only to lose in the final turn at the Action Track.

Unfortunately, the complexion of the race changed dramatically on lap 21. As the leaders were converging on Mike Miller, Miller's car turned sharply, striking Murdick. Murdick was able to keep moving, but the contact caused Miller's car to veer directly into the path of Rougeux. With no time to react, Rougeux hit Miller. Both cars sustained serious damage.

That left Murdick on the front row for the restart, but it put King Jr. beside him. Surprisingly, though, Brian Swartzlander came to life and passed Cooter for second. Swartzlander briefly challenged Murdick before King Jr. rallied back.

Now it was King Jr. chasing Murdick as the final laps clicked off.  Murdick got to the lapped cars fist and used them to maintain his advantage over the fast-closing King.

At the checkers, it was Murdick with a slim margin over King Jr. Swartzlander held off Rex King, Sr. for third. Rapp completed the top five.

Finishing sixth was Ed Lynch, Jr., filling in for the vacationing Kevin Bolland. Lynch was easily the quickest car over the final ten laps, but he started deep in the field and it took him a while to become comfortable with the potent machine.

Mike Turner continued his consistent runs with a seventh place finish. Shingledecker, Dean Pearson and Mark Frankhouser completed the top ten. Frankhouser started 24th in the feature.

Heat wins went to the youthful triumvirate of Rapp, King Jr., and Hall.

There was no B Main.

The next stop on the BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour will be at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 29.

Tom Zuck contributed to this story.

BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour Round One:  May 21, 2010:  Lernerville Speedway, Sarver, PA:  30 Laps:  1. (61) Dave Murdick, Slippery Rock ($870); 2. (165) Rex King Jr., Bristolville, OH ($870); 3. (83) Brian Swartzlander, Leechburg ($650); 4. (65) Rex King Sr., Bristolville, OH ($550); 5. (11R) Brad Rapp, Shippenville ($500); 6. (777) Ed Lynch Jr., Apollo ($420); 7. (96) Mike Turner, Butler ($400); 8. (37MD) Jeremiah Shingledecker, Polk ($380); 9. (8J) Dean Pearson, Harrisville ($360); 10. (03) Mark Franhouser, Philipsburg ($330); 11. (516) Gary Smoker, Mercer ($320); 12. (66) J.R. McGinley, Fairmount City ($310); 13. (17H) Kevin Hoffman, Franklin ($300); 14. (3E) Eric Gabany, Mercer (290); 15. (333) Ron Eperthener, Jr., Grove City ($280); 16. (75) Jeff Miller, Sarver ($260); 17. (88) Shawn Fleeger, Butler ($240); 18. (19) Joe Kubiniek, Lockport, NY ($230); 19. (71B) Don Brown, Butler ($220); 20. (20D) Del Rougeux, Jr., Frenchville ($200); 21. (6) Carl Murdick, Butler ($200); 22. (74) Kevin Green, New Castle ($200); 23. (72) Mike Miller, Chicora ($200); 24. (X) Jeremy Paup, Polk ($200); 25. (B4) Ryan Hall, Stoneboro ($200); 26. (45) Steve Feder, Butler ($200); 27. (35H) Chris Haines, Sandy Lake ($200).

The Modified Tour, Inc. would like to thank the 2010 series sponsors:  Bicknell Racing Products; Hoosier Racing Tire Corp.; Sunoco Racing Fuel - Bazell Oil Co., Inc.; World Racing Group - DIRTcar; Approved Toilet Rentals, Inc.; Behrent’s Speed Center, Inc.; Bert Transmission; Big Daddy's Speed Center Inc.; Engles Trucking Services, Inc.; Bilstein Shocks – Fastline Performance; Fast Axle, LLC; Frankland Racing Supply; ISC Racers Tape; Hall's Safety Equipment Corp.; Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG); Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Inc.; King Brothers; Kirkey Racing Fabrication Inc.; Landrum Spring; McCool's Signs and Graphics; Motorsports World; Oyler Photos & More; Pennsylvania Army National Guard; Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP; Preist Enterprises, Inc.; Pro Shocks; RaceQuip; Ray's Racing Collectibles; Red Bear Hand Cleaner; Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants; Slippery Rock Sportswear; Smokey's; SpeedBear Fasteners; Turbo Start Batteries; Ultra-Shield Race Products; Valken Wheels; Wedge Motorsports, LLC; Winters Performance Products Inc.; and Wrisco Industries Inc.

The Modified Tour, Inc. racing series is a non-profit organization established in 1998 to give the V-8 Modifieds in the Western Pennsylvania area the opportunity to compete for higher purses and for a seasonal point fund.  It has had great success at bringing the local cars together at tracks throughout the tri-state area and in expanding the profile for this exciting brand of motorsports.

For more information about The BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour, check the website at www.modifiedtourinc.com.



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