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Track regulars dominate Elite 8 event at Lernerville

| Saturday, July 19, 2014, 12:03 a.m.
John Garvin Jr. (J4) of Sarver Pa, and Brian Swartzlander (111x) of Leechburg, fight for first as they exit turn four, during the Late Models qualifier at Lernerville Speedway on Friday July 18, 2014.

Lernerville Speedway regulars dominated the Elite 8 Late Model event Friday with Jared Miley taking the checkered flag and the $3,000 winner's purse.

Once he got the lead, Miley dominated the race and led second-place finisher Davey Johnson by 3.346 seconds at the finish to record the 21st Lernerville victory of his career.

Defending track champion Alex Ferree finished third, Mike Pegher Jr. was fourth and John Garvin Jr. rounded out the top five.

“This car has been good here all year,” Miley said. “This is the same car we ran here for the (World of Outlaws) Firecracker, and we wrecked it pretty good. We've finally just now gotten it figured out, and it is pretty good.”

Miley and Ferree battled for the lead for much of the first 15 laps. Miley finally got around and took command. From then on, the only question was would a couple of late cautions give anyone else a chance.

Neither restart mattered.

“Our car really wasn't very good tonight,” said Johnson, of Greensburg. “We came here tonight to do a lot of testing because we are heading out to Cedar Lake (Wis.) Speedway, and we wanted to work on some things. We did them before the heat, but none of it worked, so we can write them off and not try them again.

“That's really one of the great things about coming here on a weekly show night,” Johnson added.

“If you win a local race here, there are some very good cars so (you) will have to run really well. That makes it well worth coming here to test.”

Johnson was referencing the three-day World of Outlaws Late Model US Nationals 100 at Cedar Lake.

For Ferree, the night was good, but not as good as it could have been because of a braking issue that hit his car midway through the race.

“The brakes got really squishy by lap twelve. I really couldn't get through the turns or I would go up and over,” Ferree said. “The red flag out there actually helped us because I got some pedal back, but it really didn't matter because if you give Jared (Miley) and inch it's just as good as giving him a mile.”

For Miley, the late-race restarts did not have an impact on his approach to the race. In fact, it turned out to be a good thing.

“The cautions didn't bother me because sometimes with a treacherous cushion it's not a bad thing that you get a break at hitting it every lap, and then you come back at it,” Miley said.

“It was smaller in Turns 3 and 4 but in Turns 1 and 2 it was really high.

“Early on in the race I wasn't too worried, because I could run with Alex (Ferree), and the way the car felt I wasn't too worried about any restarts.”

The next races on the Elite 8 tour are Sept. 13 at Hilltop (Ohio) Speedway and Sept. 20 at Wayne County (Ohio) Speedway.

In other action Friday night, Rich Michael Jr. took the checkered flag in the 25-lap Renegades of Dirt Modified event.

Jacob Hawkins finished second, 1.959 seconds behind Michael.

Chris Basich was third, Steve Dixon was fourth and Evan Taylor finished fifth.

Jim Fosnaught continued his breakout season by winning his fourth Sportsman Stock feature of 2014.

Joe Kelley finished second, Aaron Easler was third, Terry Young was fourth and Pat Hanley finished fifth.

In the final event of the night, Adam Hilton took the checkered flag in the RUSH Sportsman Modified feature. Rocky Kugel was second, 1.560 seconds behind, and Jeremy Paup was third.

Jamie Duncan finished fourth, and Jeremy Zufall was fifth.

Thomas Zuck is a freelance writer.

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