Wagner and Williamson Wire Fields; McPherson Bests Pro Stocks; Kugel Holds off Holden

The 2017 slate kicked off at Lernerville Speedway on Friday night as the Fab Four presented by Turners Premium Tea graced the clay at The Action Track with seasonal weather in the air and a very racy surface to work with.  Central, PA invader Logan Wagner stopped by and made the trip worthwhile, taking a green to checkered victory in the People’s Natural Gas DIRTcar Sprints, while defending Diehl Automotive DIRTcar Modified champion Mat Williamson picked up right where he left off in 2016,  to claim Opening Night honors.  Corey McPherson made his way through the field to victory in the MIllerstown Pic-A-Part DIRTcar/RUSH Pro Stocks and Rocky Kugel managed to fend off a stiff challenge from Kole Holden to find victory lane in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds.


A staggering 32 cars arrived at the pit gates on Friday night and when the field was whittled down, a process that included a 14 car B-main, Logan Wagner found himself in victory lane for the second time in less than two weeks on the young season following an April 10th win at Susquehanna Speedway.

Wagner and Ohio invader Caleb Helms found themselves on the front row and from the drop of the green flag, Wagner looked nearly unbeatable, taking the early lead while a chase pack formed immediately behind him comprised of Helms, Cory Good, George Hobaugh Jr. and Carl Bowser. Wagner looked to be checking out on the field as lapped traffic approached around the six lap mark. However, Helms would not make it easy on the leader as he hunted with precision and purpose.  Behind the two front runners,  eighth starting Carl Bowser was making his way through the competition, picking up positions seemingly every lap in the early going as he passed Hobaugh with nine laps in the books to put himself in the third spot while 17th starting Dan Shetler charged his way forward into the top 10.


Out front, it was looking more and more like it would be a two car battle for the win as Wagner and Helms kept up a torrid pace, slicing and dicing their way through heavy lapped traffic at the lap 10 mark.  Then with more clean air to work with, Wagner started to stretch a comfortable lead nearing the 10 laps to go point.  However, Wagner’s work was not finished as Helms found a way to creep back into the race following another round of lapped traffic when the caution flag waved for a Sye Lynch spin with 21 laps complete.  The outcome looked to be in doubt, but on the ensuing restart Wagner took off like a rocket and would not be caught the rest of the way while Helms and Bowser rounded out the podium.

“We can’t complain, it’s been an awesome season,” Wagner said. “We ended up winning at Susuquehanna and we got an early jump on the season. I gotta thank my sponsors and crew. I gotta dedicate this one for a good friend that passed away recently, this one goes out to him.”

Top 10: Final

  1. Logan Wagner
  2. Caleb Helms
  3. Carl Bowser
  4. Jack Sodeman Jr.
  5. Brandon Matus
  6. Gary Kreiss Jr.
  7. Dan Shetler
  8. AJ Flick
  9. Brandon Spithaler
  10. Jimmy Seger


Defending champion Mat Williamson looked as if he’d lost nothing in the off season in terms of speed or savvy and was in mid-season form as evidenced by a resounding performance that saw him hold off a hard charging Brian Swartzlander to collect the opening night win.

As the cars made their way out onto the speedway, fans couldn’t help but notice a front row consisting of Wiliamson and Rex King Jr.  The two drivers looked primed for a 25 lap duel that would keep fans glued to the edge of their seats.  Williamson bolted out to the early lead followed by King, a strong running Rick Regalski, Jimmy Weller and Brian Swartzlander.   A caution with two laps down slowed the pace and on the restart, Williamson elected to start on the high side where he would get a good jump on the field. On the same restart, Swartzlander slipped and fell back to ninth while Garrett Krummert charged forward from his 10th starting spot to third, winning a three car position battle between himself, Shingledecker and Weller.

Meanwhile, Williamson was putting the field well behind him in clean air when Regalski brought out the caution with nine laps in the books. Once action resumed, Swartzlander was able to slide under King to take the second spot after a two lap door to door battle. Swartzlander was perhaps the only car that looked capable of catching and perhaps passing the leader, and his cause was helped by a lap 14 caution for JR McGinley who stopped on the back stretch.

Williamson was able to drive away in the waning laps after running a few laps with Swartzlander on his doorstep while behind them, to collect his 20th career feature win at Lernerville while Swartzlander took a hard earned second place and King rounded out the podium. Regalski was able to come back from the tail of the field to score a top five finish.

“This place is awesome, it’s one of the best race tracks in the country,” Williamson said. “The surface is the greatest we go to week in and week out and it makes the four hour drive worthwhile. It’s always fun driving here, but they kept me on my toes tonight, they’re great race car drivers and they’ll make you work for it.”

Top 10: FInal

  1. Mat Williamson
  2. Brian Swartzlander
  3. Rex King Jr.
  4. Jeremiah Shingledecker
  5. Rick Regalski
  6. Jimmy Weller
  7. Dave Murdick
  8. Thomas Glenn
  9. Rodney Beltz
  10. Shawn Fleeger


11th starting Corey McPherson had his work cut out for him on Friday night, and he methodically marched through the field en route to the opening night victory. The four time and defending champion would need some luck to go along with his skill and found it in the middle portion of the 20 lap feature as a slew of cautions and restarts enabled him to advance his position.

Former track champion Joe Kelley and Collin Burke comprised the front row as Kelley won the drag race to the early lead and looked to be in command of the field. Behind him, a strong chase pack emerged consisting of McDonald, Joey Zambotti, Jim Fosnaught and Paul Shreckengost.  Kelley found the top side of the speedway to his liking in the early going, but could not get much in the way of separation.  The first caution flag waved with four laps down and on the ensuing restart, Fosnaught got a good jump from fifth to second and appeared to be up to the challenge of hunting Kelley down for the lead.  Kelley then slipped on the back stretch at the seven lap mark as Fosnaught and McPherson tried to make their way by. Kelley would then end up sideways on the frontstretch after contact between himself and Fosnaught as a result of a hard battle for the lead.  When action got back underway, McPherson was in control of the race while Tyler Dietz, who had worked forward from his 10th starting spot, found himself taking looks under Zambotti for the second spot in turns one and two, but just as the battle began, the caution came out for Terry Young who spun on the back stretch while collecting Aaron Easler, Mike Bordt and Fosnaught with a little over half the race to go.


On the ensuing restart, Dietz and Zambotti continued to do battle for the second spot door to door which enabled McPherson to widen his margin over the field.  McPherson ran his fastest laps of the night on lap 15 and looked to be checking out on the field when a caution for debris re-stacked the field.  McPherson pegged the restart and cruised to the opening night victory the 32nd feature win for him at Lernerville Speedway.
“It kind of seemed like they were playing cat and mouse to some extent so I figured I’d try to stay away from them,” McPherson said in reference to the contact between Kelley and Fosnaught in the battle for the lead.  “And sure enough they got tangled up so I kept away from them enough just to get by. I’m humbled to come out opening night here. ”

Top 10: Final

  1. Corey McPherson
  2. Joey Zambotti
  3. Tyler Dietz
  4. Steve D’Apolito
  5. Brandon Wearing
  6. Aaron Easler
  7. Joe Kellley
  8. Terry Young
  9. Mark Sanders
  10. Paul Schreckengost


Perhaps the best battle for the win tonight took place in the RUSH Sportsman Modified feature as two former winners at Lernerville, Rocky Kugel and Kole Holden, swapped the lead on more than one occasion before Kugel took it for good on lap 15 and didn’t look back.

The two drivers started on the front row and were door to door for the lead in the early going while Chelsie Kriegisch occupied the third spot. Kugel then started to get separation from Holden while Chas Wolbert made his way around Krigisch for the third spot on lap three.  Holden didn’t lose sight of the leader though, and clawed his way back even by lap seven as Wolbert came within striking distance of the leaders to make it a three car battle for a moment.

As heavy lapped traffic came into play for Kugel, Holden was able to make a pass for the lead down low in turns three and four when the caution flag waved, slowing all momentum. On the restart Holden elected the inside and Kugel won the drag race. He would survive one more restart before checking out for good down the stretch to collect the win. Kyle Martell drove a patient race, saving the best for last as he managed to cross the line third to round out the podium.

John Stivason/Stivason Photos

“I just pulled this thing out of the garage about two days ago,” Kugel said. “It sat there the same way it came off the race track, I did’t even buy a new tire over the winter, this thing sat on the bars all winter long, they’ve got 15 races on them and they’re in victory lane again. I’m gonna try to run everything here this year, as long as I can make it here, I’m going to be here.”

Top 10 Final:

  1. Rocky Kugel
  2. Kole Holden
  3. Kyle Martell
  4. Brian Schaffer
  5. Chelsie Kriegisch
  6. Chas Wolbert
  7. Justin Shea
  8. Brandon Ritchey
  9. Steve Slater
  10. Kenny Hardy

For the full field rundown from Friday Night’s events, you can view our quick results page here; Fab Four Quick Results 4.21

The Fab Four Presented by Turners Premium Tea will be back in action on Friday, April 28 as the Precise Racing Products DIRTcar Late Models make their 2017 season debut.