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Lynch Jr. wins on Lernerville opening night

| Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lernerville Speedway's opening night ended the way many nights have in the track's 42-year history -- with Ed Lynch Jr. claiming victory.

Lynch grabbed the lead from Bobby Felmlee on lap 12 and held on to win his 94th Lernerville Sprint Car feature.

Felmlee eventually finished second, followed by Scott Priester in third, Craig Folmer in fourth and defending division champion Kevin Schaeffer in fifth.

"We learned a lot last Saturday in the practice session," Lynch said. "It was a 12-second track at first, and then, it was a 17-second track when it slicked off. Tonight, it was a combination. The turns were full throttle, and the straights were like ice."

The feature began with a bit of drama, as the field came out of Turn 4 to start the race when Scott Bonnell flipped in front of the flag stand, and that was followed by Danny Shetler, who banged into the wall and then flipped, as well. Shetler's car came to rest just by Bonnell's, and both were done for the evening.

Things got a bit dicey for Lynch on lap 16, when he briefly went off the track on the back straight. But, at that same time, Felmlee was having trouble getting through lapped traffic.

"We were just loose coming off of Turn 2, and (Lynch) was a bit better," Felmlee said. "I saw him underneath me a few times, so I knew he was there.

"Compared to how we have been running so far this year, this was a good night. This is a new car for us, too, but this is Lynchville. But with a little bit of adjustment, we could have been better."

From Lynch's position on the track, behind Felmlee, he said he knew it was just a matter of time before he would take the top spot.

"He lit up his tires on the back straight. And then, he zigged, and I zagged," Lynch said. "That's one of the advantages of running second. It really is a different feeling when you know your car is faster."

After a caution on lap 16, the race ran the final nine laps without incident.

Folmer's fourth-place finish was a bit of a surprise, considering that it was his first time on the track.

"The track was nice, and we had a fast car," said Folmer of Phillipsburg. "We made some pretty basic adjustments after the heat race. I ran a setup that I had never run before, but my friend, Brain Paulus, told me what to go with.

"We'll probably be back here for some All-Star and World of Outlaws shows. I had a good time."

Folmer started on the outside of the front row and never fell below sixth. After the midway point of the race, Folmer said he decided not to do anything stupid.

"It was a great night for racing, and I knew that Ed and Bob really knew their way around here, so I just watched what they did and went from there," Folmer said.

This season, Lynch could become just the fourth driver to win 100 races at Lernerville Speedway. Lynch (95 wins) trails Bob Wearing Sr. (179) Lou Blaney (118) and Lynn Geisler (107) in all-time victories.

In the Late Model feature, Gregg Satterlee passed Dave Hess Jr. in Turn 1 on lap 17 and held on the rest of the way for the victory.

John Flinner led the first four laps, but then, he had numerous problems before he eventually exited the race and was credited with a 19th-place finish.

Hess led laps 5-16 and eventually finished fourth.

Doug Horton finished second, followed by Mike Blose in third, Hess in fourth and Gary Lyle in fifth.

The V-8 Modified feature was particularly brutal, with 21 cars starting the race and just eight finishing.

At the end, it was Brian Swartzlander who claimed the checkered flag.

The victory is Swartzlander's 61st career V-8 Modified victory at Lernerville and that tied him with Blackie Watt on the all-time Modified list and with Ralph Quarterson on the all-time overall list.

"We started 12th tonight, so it was hard to get to the front," Swartzlander said. "Everyone was out there trying to find that one groove. To me, it is really a milestone to equal Blackie. It's an honor to even be mentioned with him."

Jeremiah Shingledecker finished second, followed by Chad Brachman in third, Dave Murdick in fourth and Del Rougeux Jr. in fifth. Brachman led laps 3-15.

The race was actually a 26-lap feature because of a caution on the final lap.

On the restart, Brachman got by Swartzlander in Turn 3. But then, he lost it in Turn 4, and Swartzlander hung on for the victory.

In the final feature of the night, Street Stocks, Terry Young, after trying for five seasons, won his career first feature at Lernerville. Young took the lead from Tim Bish on lap 17.

"When I was running second there, the leader got caught behind lapped traffic, and I was able to take advantage of it," Young said. "Finally, I was able to take advantage of it, instead of something happening."

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