Share This Page

Evans City man wins school bus race

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Rachel Farkas | Cranberry Journal
Rachel Farkas | Cranberry Journal
Rachel Farkas | Cranberry Journal
Rachel Farkas | Cranberry Journal

The annual summer school bus races at Lernerville Speedway began with a victory but ended with a crash for crowd favorites and veteran drivers Frank and Rose Spithaler.

Frank Spithaler, 75, of Evans City, won the men's feature race in the white and black Cow Patty bus after early leader Jordan Myers, in the AJ Myers bus, broke down mid-race.

Myers led the six bus race with Spithaler close behind until Myers' black and red bus began spewing white smoke and drove off the track. This left the door open for Cow Patty to cruise to a smooth victory.

Spithaler said in an interview before the race that while winning a school bus race takes speed and strategy, he mostly relies on luck. That proved to be true for the veteran driver.

“If you have a misfortune and your bus starts puking, I'll feel sorry for you for about this long,” Frank said “Then I'll pass you.”

The powderpuff race, however, was heated from the start as Rose Spithaler, 73, of Evans City, and Annette Iarrapino, in the red Buszilla bus, battled it out for first place. The two made contact repeatedly around the turns until it came to a head on turn four when Iarrapino took the inside line and bumped Spithaler in the Cow Patty bus.

The Cow Patty tipped on its passenger side and hit the turn four barrier hard, but came back down on its wheels and rolled to a stop.

Rose Spithaler jumped out of the back of the bus under the supervision of the Lernerville Safety Crew and threw up her hands to signify she was all right.

The Cow Patty was towed off the track. It remains to be seen if Cow Patty will make a return in the next school bus series in mid-September.

Helen Bauman, office manager at Lernerville, said the speedway has hosted school bus races at the four-tenth-mile oval dirt track for about 15 years. The Back to School bus race will be held Sept. 13 at Lernerville Speedway.

The buses are equipped with safety harnesses and an internal fuel cell to prevent fires in case of an accident, and all the glass must be removed from the vehicle. Anyone can enter the race, which consists of an eight-lap heat race and a 15-lap feature race for men and 12-lap feature race for women.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.