Bowser gets long-awaited win at Lernerville
It's been a long time coming, but Sarver's Carl Bowser finally had some luck break his way Friday night at Lernerville Speedway.
Bowser, Lernerville's 2011 Sprint Car champion, took advantage of some late-race misfortune for Brandon Matus to score his first victory at the track since May 11, 2012.
Matus, who had set the pace the entire feature, led the field into Turn 1 on lap 23, but as he exited Turn 2, he encountered the lapped car of Bob McMillin. He had to check up and even went off the backside of the track. That opened the door for Bowser, who had shadowed Matus for most of the race, to take the lead coming down the back straight.
Once that happened, Bowser quickly drove away and led Matus by a little more than three seconds at the finish. Matus held on to second, followed by Jack Sodeman Jr., Scott Priester and Brandon Spithaler.
“I gave one up a couple weeks ago,” Bowser said. “But once we got caught in lapped traffic that sort of thing can happen.”
Bowser followed Matus as the two drove pretty much the same line up top for most of the race. The track was similar to what drivers will encounter Tuesday when the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series is at the track for the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup.
“It made it tough out there with the track the way it was and the line,” Bowser said. “It was just so fast on the top, and once we got into heavy traffic that pretty much took the bottom of the track away if you tried to make a pass down low.”
Despite just his first win since early last season, Bowser likes where the team is heading into Tuesday.
“I think we are in a good space right now,” Bowser said. “Last year we tried a lot of things, and they just didn't work. This year we went back to what we knew worked. We also have done a pretty good job of figuring out the tires this season, and that has helped a lot.”
For Matus losing the lead like that is a reminder of the well worn adage that sometimes it is better to be second when going through lapped traffic.
“It happens,” Matus said “But it shouldn't. I got out to such a good start tonight. I should have won that one. But I think the car is pretty good, and if the track slicks off some more Tuesday I think we will be alright.”
The finish was good for Sodeman — although he will bring a different car for Tuesday.
“When you have a track like this tonight you can only take what the track gives you sometimes,” Sodeman said. “I didn't have any brakes, and that made it tough to go to the bottom. The cars have been really good lately. I will bring a different one for Tuesday. I think once we get to the second feature the track will be pretty much what we saw tonight.”
Sodeman is planning on racing Saturday night at Mercer and then Tuesday for the WoO before heading to a pair of All-Star races in New York on Wednesday and Thursday.
In the first feature of the night, Mat Williamson, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada, held off a late challenge from Jeremiah Shingledecker to win his fourth feature of the season by a margin of just over a half-second. Brian Swartzlander, who had to go to a back-up car after the heat race, finished third, Gage Morin was fourth and Mike Turner was fifth.
“It was good for sure tonight; the top was just as good as the bottom,” Williamson said. “This track reminds me of a track back home — one where I ran a Sportsman — in that there is room to pass.”
Even though Shingledecker did not get the victory he generally was pleased with how things went.
“We had the small-block motor again tonight, and I couldn't run the top of the track,” Shingledecker said. “I think if we had a couple more laps there we might have had a chance to pressure Mat, but I'm not sure about passing him.”
Swartzlander was also in contention in the Late Model feature, but his bid for his first victory fell short when defending division champion Jared Miley of South Park made a late pass to secure the victory. Miley got around Swartzlander out of Turn 4 on lap 24 of 25. Swartzlander held on for second, Alex Ferree finished third, Michael Norris was fourth and Mike Pegher Jr. was fifth.
In the final feature of the night, defending Sportsman Stock champion Corey McPherson of Tarentum picked up his fifth victory of the season. McPherson leads all drivers in total wins this season. A.J. Flick finished second, Jimmy Fosnaught was third, Paul Schreckengost was fourth and Bob Egley was fifth.