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Briggs takes O'Reilly's All Star Late Model race

| Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Inaugural O'Reilly's All Star Late Model Series race Friday night at Lernerville Speedway was not without a few hiccups. But once things got rolling, the racing was worth the wait.

What started out as a one-car show for more than the first half of the race turned into a two-car duel, and, at the end, it was Boom Briggs who took the checkered flag and the $5,000 purse for the winner. Briggs was followed by Eddie Carrier in second, Alex Ferree in third, Coleby Frye in fourth and Doug Horton in fifth.

Jason Covert had dominated the entire feature up until lap 35. That's when Gregg Satterlee started to get close enough to show his front end. On that lap, Satterlee came close to making a move for the lead, but couldn't stick it in turns 3 and 4.

Two laps later, Satterlee, a Lernerville regular, made the move for the lead. After that, Covert started to drop back into trouble, with Briggs now in position for a run at Covert. On lap 40, Covert's night was done, as he rolled to a stop on the front straight just past the exit to Turn 4.

With five laps to go, Briggs was close enough to make a move. On lap 48, Briggs went low into Turn 1. As the two headed into Turn 2, they made contact, and Satterlee went off the track, losing a chance to take the lead.

"I dove in there, and I was trying to slide him, and I never felt him (Satterlee)," Briggs said to a chorus of boos from the pro-Satterlee crowd.

The Crate Late Models were also on the schedule last night. In the feature, it was David Scott who held off a spirited challenge from Mike Pegher Jr. The show was running a bit late, and there were too many cautions, so the Crate feature was shortened to 15 laps. But that did not appear to have a discernible impact.

Scott has been one of the area's most talented drivers in either the Late Model or Sprint Car divisions. But now, he is going to run the FASTRAK Late Model season. For financial reasons, he has parked his Late Model team and will run the Crate for the season.

Qualifying was unspectacular for the entire group of All Star Late Models. Davey Johnson of Greensburg set the fast time with a lap of 15.165 seconds. That was off the record set by Darrell Lanigan on April 29, 2005. That was for a World of Outlaws show, and that night, a total of 14 cars broke the old record that had been held by Bart Hartman from the 2004 season.

Jeremy Miller was second fastest with a time of 15.214 seconds, and after that, the drop was considerable. Horton was third with a 15.406, Satterlee was fourth with a 15.433 and Covert qualified fifth. Other than Satterlee, Matt Lux was the top local qualifier with a time of 15.519, good for seventh.

Heat races proved to be tough on engines and tires.

Johnson, who registered the fast time in time trials, was leading the first heat, but with seven laps completed, he pulled to a stop at the top of Turn 4 with his engine smoking. That allowed Horton to inherit the lead. He held on for the final three laps and was followed by Carrier in second, Lux in third and Steve Wilmouth in the final automatic transfer spot.

Miller was leading in the second heat, but he suffered a flat tire on lap four. That gave the lead to Robbie Blair, who led the next five laps before also suffering a flat tire. Blair was able to get the car over the finish line, but in second place, as Satterlee took the lead through Turns 3 and 4. In third, behind Blair, was Rod Conley, followed by Mike Knight.

Heat three was less hectic up front. It was in the middle of the field when the cars couldn't keep out of trouble. The result was a nearly 30-minute, 10-lap heat race. Covert led start to finish, followed by Tim Dohm in second, Mike Blose in third and Dave Hess Jr. in the fourth and final transfer spot.

Frye dominated the fourth and final heat. Jared Hawkins was second, followed by Briggs in third. Michael Norris was in the final transfer spot.

Two B-Mains were run to complete the field. In the first, it was Jared Miley who took the checkered flag. He was followed by Ron Davies in second, defending Lernerville champion Ferree in third and Rick Aukland in the final transfer spot. Chris Farrell was first in the second B-Main, followed by John Mollick in second. Duane Chamberlain finished third, and Gary Lyle grabbed the final transfer spot.

Keith Barbara, who had trouble in the heat race, also had problems in the second B-Main. He pulled off and did not finish the race.

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