SWARTZLANDER TAKES OPENER

Date: 5/22/2011 8:12:04 PM

 
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SWARTZLANDER TAKES OPENER
 
Brian Swartzlander began his quest for a third BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour championship in convincing style, sweeping his heat and capturing the feature. The victory was a record-setting achievement for the veteran from Leechburg, PA. It was win number 70, which means that he is now the winningest Big Block Modified driver in the history of Lernerville Speedway.
 
Swartzlander surpassed the late, great Lou Blaney. “He was my hero,” Swartzlander said. “It is truly an honor to be mentioned with him.”
Swartzlander added “I learned so much racing with Lou, L couldn’t carry his shoes to the track.”
 
Swartzlander started the thirty lapper in tenth spot and he was the one who took the other drivers to school. He mastered a difficult track surface and found a line that few others would dare to use. With the traditional grooves through turns three and four getting rough due to the extreme moisture, Swartzlander went above the cushion to find a smoother line. To make his winning pass of leader Brian Weaver, Swartzlander turned inside the New Yorker as the cars came off the corner and he dove to the inside as they raced side-by-side down the frontstretch. That gave Swartzlander the preferred low line entering turn one. Weaver tried to close the door on him, but was unable to do so.
 
The heavy hitters populated the front rows for the start of the Mod Tour’s first feature of 2011. Jeremiah Shingledecker and Kevin Bolland occupied row one, with Jeff Schaffer and Weaver in the second row. Behind them were Chad Homan and Brad Rapp. A pair of Kings took row four.
 
Bolland got the initial advantage at the start, but the field was three-wide as they entered the first turn. Bolland came off the second corner with a scant lead over Shingledecker, Weaver and Schaffer. Weaver muscled his way past Shingledecker for second on lap two and repeated the maneuver to take the lead away from Bolland.
 
Weaver seemed to be a man on a mission, stretching his lead as he quickly closed in on the rear of the field. He put his first competitor down a lap on the sixth circuit. A few laps later, he started picking off others with some regularity. In the process, however, Weaver made contact with the lapped car of Doug Fleeger and that fleeting moment would loom large in the final outcome of the race.
 
While Weaver was stretching it out, Shingledecker worked his way past Bolland for second. He was unable to mount a serious challenge to Weaver, however. Shingledecker retired from the action on lap 10, while still running second. He sustained a flat left rear, which he attributed to some early race contact with another car.
 
Shingledecker’s misfortune put two-time defending champion Rex King, Sr. into the second position, but he was a full straight behind the streaking Weaver.
 
The first caution of the event occurred on lap 16, due to Chirs Haines stopping off turn two. During the caution, Carl Murdick, now in his fifty-third year of racing, left the track with a severe oil leak.
 
Weaver lined up for a double file restart beside the lapped car of Fleeger. King Sr and another lapped car, that of Jeff Miller, made up row two. Weaver got away with the lead, but King Sr. had an amazing restart, and was challenging Wever coming off turn two. Weaver pulled out to a slight advantage as they roared down the back chute.
 
While Weaver was able to maintain his lead over King Sr. and Swartzlander, who had quietly but steadily advanced from his tenth place start, his car was showing some signs of damage to the right rear suspension from his earlier contact with Fleeger.
 
Another yellow slowed the pace on lap 18, when Trucker Don Brown spun between turns three and four. The restart put King Sr. and Swartzlander  in position to challenge the bright yellow car of Weaver. It was King Sr. who would mount the first attack. When Weaver was unableto control his broken car bouncing off turn four, King Sr. would actually sneak ahead. However, he washed high coming off turn two and gave the lead back to Weaver.
 
Now Swartzlander picked up the pace and the fans were treated to a three-car battle for the lead. Unfortunately, another caution on lap 20 for Jeff Miller stopped the action.
 
On the restart, Brad Rapp blasted from fourth into second, and it appeared that he may have something for Weaver. His bid for a career first Mod Tour win ended one lap later, when Rapp spun between turns one and two. Weaver and Rapp seemed to check up in the corner, but King Sr. was fighting hard with Swartzlander for position. King Sr. had momentum around the top and tapped Rapp. The contact was enough to turn the orange racer.
 
The ensuing restart, the last one of the night, put Swartzlander to the outside of Weaver. Weaver again fired first and opened a slight advantage. That was when Swartzlander found something on the far outside of turns three and four. As mentioned above, Swartzlander make a classic lane change move coming off turn four to gain the advantage and the lead.
 
Swartzlander opened up an insurmountable lead over the final five circuits. However, the action was hot and furious behind him. Weaver still maintained second, but the rest of the pack was closing in on him. Positions were being swapped, along with some paint, all over the speedway in the final laps! When the checkers fell, Weaver was shuffled back several spots.
 
Swartzlander took the win, followed by King Sr. Kevin Hoffman benefitted most from the bump and grind over the last few circuits. He was able to scoot past it to take third in his Ford powered machine. Former champ Dave Murdick and Rex King, Jr. rounded out the top five.
 
Weaver held on for sixth, a disappointing end to is night. Mike Turner logged a solid seventh, followed by Mark Frankhouser, Chad Homan (who was victimized by a poor restart mid-race), and Kevin Bolland.
 
Heat race wins went to Bolland, Rapp and Swartzlander.
 
There was no B Main.
 
No provisionals were needed to complete the field.
 
In addition to his cash, Swartzlander picked up two valuable contingencies. He received the Landrum Performance Springs Racer of the Race award for his drive to the front from tenth. He also got a prize from new series sponsor, R2C Performance Products.
 
BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour Round One:  Lernerville Speedway, Sarver, PA:  May 20, 2011:  1. Brian Swartzlander ($1,300); 2. Rex King, Sr. ($870); 3. Kevin Hoffman ($650); 4. Dave Murdick ($550); 5. Rex King, Jr. ($500); 6. Brian Weaver ($420); 7. Mike Turner ($400); 8. Mark Frankhouser ($380); 9. Chad Homan ($360); 10. Kevin Bolland ($330); 11. Brad rapp ($320); 12. Shannon Whaley ($310); 13. Phil Evans ($300); 14. Doug Fleeger ($290); 15. Tommy Mattocks ($280); 16. Don Brown ($260); 17. Jeff Miller ($240); 18. Eric Gabany ($230); 19. Jeff Schaffer ($220);  20. Carl Murdick ($200); 21. Chris Haines ($200); 22. Jeremiah Shingledecker ($200); 23. John Buchanan ($200) (no laps complete); 24. Steve Feder ($100)(did not start).
 
 
The roster of 2011 sponsors for The Modified Tour, Inc. includes:  Bicknell Racing Products; Hoosier Racing Tire Corp.; World Racing Group - DIRTcar; Sunoco Race Fuels - Bazell Oil Co.; Approved Toilet Rentals, Inc.; Bert Transmission; Big Daddy's Speed Center Inc.; Bulldog Rear Ends - Diversified Machine, Inc.; Engles Trucking Services, Inc.; Bilstein Shocks – Fastline Performance; ISC Racers Tape; Hall's Safety Equipment Corp.; King Brothers; Kirkey Racing Fabrication Inc.; Landrum Spring; McCool's Signs and Graphics; Motorsports World; Oyler Photos & More; Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP; Preist Enterprises, Inc.; Pro Shocks; R2C Performance Products; RaceQuip; Ray's Racing Collectibles; Rock Concrete; Slippery Rock Sportswear; T & D Machine; Ultra-Shield Race Products; Valken Wheels;  Winters Performance Products Inc.; and Wrisco Industries Inc.  Watch for further addThe itions to the list of 2011 sponsors.
 
Now entering its fourteeth year of success, The Modified Tour, Inc. racing series is a non-profit organization established 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 expands the profile for this exciting brand of motorsports throught the the tri-state area.
 
 


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