Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: First Commonwealth Bank Clash at Lernerville Speedway While the on-track action this year for the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series has been second none with...
Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: First Commonwealth Bank Clash at Lernerville Speedway
While the on-track action this year for the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series has been second none with one of the strongest fields ever assembled following the tour full-time, the toughest challenger that the drivers have faced has been Mother Nature. The drivers and teams looks to outrun the rain, cold and even snow that has been following them throughout the spring, as they embark on their first East Coast swing of the season this week. The busy stretch begins at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, May 13 with the First Commonwealth Bank Clash.
The World of Outlaws made their first stop at the historic Lernerville Speedway in 1979 and have competed at the track every season since. The event on Tuesday, May 13 will mark the 65th A-Feature event that the series has contested at the high-banked 0.4-mile. There have been 18 drivers that have won at the track over the last 29 years, including six former series champions.
Steve Kinser won the series inaugural event at the track and is the winningest driver with the series at Lernerville Speedway, taking the checkered flag for the 16th time in his career last season. He has won in 15 different seasons at the track, including in the last three seasons (2004, 2005 and 2007) that he has competed at Lernerville. The 20-time series champion is one of just four drivers that earned Top-10 finishes in both events at the track in 2007.
Donny Schatz, the two-time defending series champion has won the last two Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup events at the track, claiming $30,000 for each of those wins. The native of North Dakota won the series most recent event at Knoxville Raceway on May 3. He is currently third in championship points, just 20 markers out of the lead, in his first season driving for Tony Stewart Racing. He has three career wins at Lernerville.
Craig Dollansky leads the World of Outlaws standings entering the event on Tuesday, May 13, on the strength of seven finishes of sixth or better this season, including two A-Feature wins. He finished sixth last season in the First Commonwealth Bank Clash and was second in the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup.
Jason Meyers finished third last spring at Lernerville and currently leads the series with three A-Feature wins. The native of Clovis, California is just 12 markers behind Dollansky in the standings, as both chase their first World of Outlaws title.
Joey Saldana, in his third season driving for Kasey Kahne Racing is fourth in points and has one career win at Lernerville. He set the track record in time trials in 2002, with a lap of 12.334 seconds, a record that still stands today.
Kerry Madsen, the reigning Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year currently is fifth in points driving for the Vermeer Motorsports team based in Iowa. The native of St. Mary's, NSW, Australia won twice during his rookie campaign with the series in 2007.
Other drivers that are currently in the Top-10 in championship points that will be competing in the First Commonwealth Bank Clash include: Jac Haudenschild who is seventh in the standings, Terry McCarl who is eighth, Chad Kemenah, the 2006 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year who is ninth and Daryn Pittman who is 10th.
With one of the strongest fields ever assembled traveling full-time with the series a number of other drivers will be in attendance at Lernerville Speedway on Tuesday, May 13 including: Tim Shaffer, a former track champion at the 0.4-mile who hails from nearby Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Jason Sides, the 2003 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, Kraig Kinser who was the series top rookie in 2004, Lucas Wolfe, a rookie this season, Shane Stewart, the 2005 rookie of the year, second-year driver Sam Hafertepe Jr. of Texas, fellow sophomore driver Tony Bruce Jr. and second-year driver Chad Hillier of Washington.
2007 Race Recaps: Steve Kinser dominated the First Commonwealth Bank Clash to earn his 16th career victory with the series at the track.
The 20-time series champion started the 35-lap A-Feature from the pole position for the first time this season. Tim Shaffer jumped to the second spot on the opening lap and began to chase Kinser. Just as the pair was about to enter lapped traffic, the caution flag flew on the fifth lap. Kinser used a strong restart to pull away, as he led every lap on his way to his third A-Feature win of the season.
Joey Saldana was second, with Jason Meyers third, former Lernerville Speedway track champion Tim Shaffer fourth and Danny Lasoski fifth.
In the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup last July, two-time reigning series champion Donny Schatz was victorious for the second consecutive year, to take the $30,000 to prize.
The race began with pole sitter Craig Dollansky taking the opening lead with Schatz looking low in the first turn. Dollansky ran the high side of the track for the first few laps and held about a fourth car length advantage with Schatz running the low side.
As the pair was just about to enter lapped traffic, Schatz dove low off the fourth turn on the eighth lap to take the lead from Dollansky, who fought back on the high side of the track in turns one and two.
From here Schatz began to pull away and encountered plenty of lapped traffic in the 40-lap event that went green-to-checkers in just under 10 ½ minutes.
Dollansky finished second, with Daryn Pittman third, Steve Kinser fourth and Shaffer fifth.
What to look for this year at Lernerville Speedway:
* The World of Outlaws competed seven times last season on 0.4-mile tracks, with four different drivers earning wins (Steve Kinser, Jason Meyers Donny Schatz and Joey Saldana). Kinser, Schatz and Saldana each won two races on tracks that size.
* Steve Kinser had 16 career A-Feature wins with the World of Outlaws at Lernerville Speedway and 41 Top-Five finishes dating back to 1979. The 20-time series champion won the First Commonwealth Bank Clash last season.
* Donny Schatz, the two-time defending series champion has won the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup the last two seasons at the track and has three wins overall in his career at the 0.4-mile.
* Joey Saldana won at Lernerville Speedway in 2005, and has 16 career Top-10's at the track. He also holds the track record in time trials, which he established in 2002.
* Tim Shaffer won the Lernerville Speedway track championship in 1993. The native of nearby Aliquippa, Pennsylvania has six career A-Feature wins at the track, including the 2005 Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup.
* Craig Dollansky, the current World of Outlaws championship point leader finished second and sixth in two starts last season at Lernerville Speedway. He has finished sixth or better in each of the first seven events this season.
* Lucas Wolfe, a native of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and current Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender competed in both events at Lernerville Speedway last season.
By the Numbers- Lernerville Speedway:
0.4- Miles around Lernerville Speedway
1- Track Championship for World of Outlaws driver Tim Shaffer at Lernerville Speedway (1993)
2- Drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws that call the state of Pennsylvania home- Tim Shaffer and Lucas Wolfe
4- Drivers that earned Top-10 finishes in both events at Lernerville Speedway last season for the series: Craig Dollansky, Steve Kinser, Donny Schatz and Tim Shaffer
12- Points that separate Craig Dollansky and Jason Meyers atop the World of Outlaws standings
12.334- Track record established in time trials by Joey Saldana on May 15, 2002
16- Wins for 20-time series champion Steve Kinser in his career at Lernerville Speedway; Drivers competing full-time with the series this season that competed at the track in 2007
18- Drivers that have won World of Outlaws A-Feature events at the track dating back to 1979; Drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws; Drivers currently competing full-time with the series
30- Consecutive seasons that the World of Outlaws have competed at Lernerville Speedway
33- Laps led by Donny Schatz en route to the win in the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup last season
35- Laps led by Steve Kinser en route to the win in the First Commonwealth Bank Clash last season
64- A-Feature events contested by the World of Outlaws at Lernerville Speedway dating back to 1979
75- Feet, wide that the corners at Lernerville Speedway are
85- Feet, wide that the straightaway at the track are
632- Miles from Paducah International Raceway where the World of Outlaws compete on May 10 to Lernerville Speedway
1967- Year that Lernerville Speedway first hosted racing- two events in October
1979- First season that the World of Outlaws competed at Lernerville Speedway
10,000- Dollars the winner of the First Commonwealth Bank Clash will receive on Tuesday, May 13
40,100- Dollars earned by Jason Meyers this season to lead the series
Tickets: On Tuesday, May 13 at Lernerville Speedway, General admission tickets will be $25 for those 18-over, $22 for Seniors and $20 for those ages 11-17, with kid 10-under admitted free of charge. Reserved tickets will be $27 for those 18-over, $24 for Seniors and $22 for those age 17-under. For ticket information visit www.lernerville.com or call 724-353-1511. There will be an autograph session under the main grandstand at 5:45 p.m. featuring: Chad Kemenah, Kraig Kinser, Jason Meyers, and Tim Shaffer.
Next Up: The first of three visits this season to the famed Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, May 15 and Friday, May 16.