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Zimbardi sprints to victory at Lernerville

| Saturday, May 17, 2014, 12:09 a.m.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Modified car driver Rex King, Jr. takes the lead during the first heat race Friday, May 16, 2014, at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver.

Jared Zimbardi is starting to like Lernerville Speedway.

Zimbardi, of Bradford, picked up his first Sprint Car victory at the track in four appearances. It also was just the second 410 Sprint victory of his career. The first came in 2005 at Sportsman's Speedway in Knox.

“It definitely was a good night,” Zimbardi said. “The track was really nice tonight. I got by (Danny) Shetler on the bottom and on the one restart I was able to go to the top.”

Jack Sodeman Jr. looked to have the race all but won before his car started to smoke. A few laps later, it got a bit worse, and then finally a burst of flames forced Sodeman to cut the engine 10 laps into the race.

Carl Bowser finished second after a spirited battle with Brandon Matus, who finished third. Cory Good finished fourth, and Mike Lutz rounded out the top five.

“The car was just too tight in the beginning,” Bowser said. “But it started to loosen up later in the race.”

For Matus, the night was a mixed bag. He broke out a new engine for last week's All Star Sprint race, and he not yet has gotten it to where he is comfortable.

“I've been fighting this new engine,” Matus said. “I was sluggish in qualifying (last week), and when you are chasing an engine it is hard. The car is very good. I can't do much else there. From the heat race to the feature tonight I am very happy, though.”

Although Zimbardi was pleased with his night, he admitted it would have been difficult to get to Sodeman had he stayed in the race.

“If we had a restart, I think we may have tried a slide job on him but if there was no caution I don't think we would have had a chance to get him,” Zimbardi said.

Zimbardi has been running the 360 Patriot Sprints in central New York, but he said he was getting discouraged there. He has 15 feature wins in the 360 Sprint and won Patriot titles in 2011 and 2013. In last week's All Star event, Zimbardi started 12th in the feature and finished 11th.

For Sodeman, the night was disappointing.

His car started smoking on lap 8, and the driver said he was well aware of the smoke. He also said he was watching the oil pressure gauge. Sodeman cut the engine when the fire occurred.

Another hard-luck car was driven by A.J. Flick, who was having his best race in this, his debut season in a Sprint Car. Flick was running third with 21 laps completed when he dove under a lapped car as the two entered Turn 1. He dove too low and tore up the left front of his car.

“I was upset with what happened because it was me that did it,” Flick said. “I was really comfortable in the car tonight.”

In other action, Rex King Sr. won the V-8 Modified feature. King Sr. held off a challenge from Rex King Jr. The margin of victory was .294 seconds. Brad Rapp finished third, Jeremiah Shingledecker was fourth and Tommy Winkle finished fifth.

“The track was drier and slicker than I thought it was going to be,” King said. “We saw how it was for hot laps, so we made some changes for the heat race and left it alone for the feature. I actually think (Rex Jr.) was a little quicker out there tonight, and if he had started up front, he might have gotten it.”

Before the Modified feature, Russell King became the track's first repeat winner of the season. King won the Late Model feature on opening night, and Friday he held off a challenge from Jared Miley. Alex Ferree finished third, Garrett Krummert was fourth and Kenny Schaltenbrand finished fifth.

In the evening's finale, Jim Fosnaught picked up his first victory of the season in Sportsman Stocks. Rob Shook was second, followed by Terry Young in third, Aaron Easler in fourth and Joe Kelley in fifth.

Thomas Zuck is a freelance writer.

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