Lernerville: Race report

Smith roars into victory column at Lernerville Speedway. SARVER, PA (May 15) - All it took was some Pennsylvania home cooking for Stevie Smith to return to victory lane following a Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series race. Smith, who lives in New...

Smith roars into victory column at Lernerville Speedway.

SARVER, PA (May 15) - All it took was some Pennsylvania home cooking for Stevie Smith to return to victory lane following a Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series race.

Smith, who lives in New Oxford, won his first "A" Feature of the season Wednesday in the rain-delayed Commonwealth Clash at Lernerville Speedway, passing new single-lap record holder Joey Saldana early in the seventh lap on his way to claiming the $10,000 first prize. The 1990 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year award winner was more than half a lap ahead of Saldana when he took the checkered flag.

"I didn't have any idea how big a lead I had," Smith admitted. "I was just running hard, because with these guys you never know who's coming up on you. We've been kind of struggling here lately; maybe this will get us started back on the right track. The Goodyear tires were definitely working great tonight, and (crew chief) Sonny (Kratzer) and all the guys have worked real hard trying to keep us running up front.

"Ron Beaman from Vivarin is here tonight, and it's great to get a win for those guys. Without them, we probably wouldn't be able to do this. It just takes a little time to get used to a new team and a new situation, but I think we've really started to gel."

The fourth victory of Smith's career at Lernerville Speedway spoiled an otherwise near-perfect event for Saldana. The 1996 Rookie of the Year sliced .079 seconds off the previous single-lap record with a 145.939 M.P.H. lap around the semi-banked, ½-mile oval. He also gained the privilege of starting on the pole by winning his fourth O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash of the season. The runner-up run was Saldana's second in as many races.

Smith, the third-fastest qualifier in the 33-car field, finished fifth in the Third Heat Race and earned the right to start the 35-lap main event inside the second row by following Saldana across the finish line in the First O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash.

Saldana burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' 19th "A" Feature of the year. Donny Schatz flipped in the fourth corner before the leaders completed the first lap, however, nullifying the original start. Saldana controlled the ensuing restart, and was seven car-lengths ahead of fellow front-row starter Jac Haudenschild when he entered lapped traffic five laps into the race.

Mark Kinser, who has won six Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series "A" Features at Lernerville Speedway, exchanged fourth place with P.J. Chesson during the second and fifth laps.

Smith passed Haudenshild for second place late in lap four, then caught Saldana three laps later. Stevie steered the #11H Vivarin Maxim to the lowest point in the second corner to take the lead, and "The Wild Child" passed Saldana for second place in the low groove between turns three and four later in lap seven.

Brian Paulus took the leaders out of lapped traffic five laps later when he spun in the second corner. A broken camshaft in the #5 Wirtgen Maxim forced Haudenschild into the pits during the caution period. Unable to return, "The Wild Child" received credit for 20th place.

Smith raced away from the field while Kinser and Chesson resumed their battle as the green flag replaced the yellow. Chesson took third place with an inside move between turns three and four late in the 11th lap, only to have Kinser regain the position with a similar move the next time around.

Daryn Pittman and Paul McMahan passed Chesson for fourth and fifth place during the 19th and 25th laps as the #76 started to fade.

Smith, who lapped up to ninth place, turned sideways heading out of turn four with the checkered flag in sight, but still won by more than half a lap. The victory pushed him past Schatz into eighth place in the point standings. Smith is the 10th driver to win a Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series main event this year.

Kinser finished in third place, ahead of Pittman, Tim Shaffer of Aliquippa, PA, McMahan, Johnny Herrera, Furr, 14th-starting Craig Dollansky and Steve Kinser.

Steve Kinser, a 12-time winner at Lernerville Speedway, closed to within 10 points of first place Danny Lasoski in the standings by racing into 10th place from outside the ninth row.

Randy Hannagan and the K&C Drywall team suffered through a tough evening. His crew replaced the engine in the #1X Eagle following the warm-up session, but Hannagan was forced to take one lap at the end of time trials when he missed his turn in the qualifying order. Throttle spring problems caused the 1995 Rookie of the Year to stop on the front straightaway during the Four Abreast parade lap and kept him from racing in the "A" Feature.

-WoO-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Steve Kinser , Brian Paulus , Daryn Pittman , Joey Saldana , Paul McMahan , Randy Hannagan , Jac Haudenschild , Johnny Herrera