Afternoon rain kept things in doubt right up to near start time, but the sun was shining by the time the green flag waved on the first qualifying race, and it turned out to be a beautiful night for auto racing in Monroeton, Pa.
J.T.McKernan (Street Stock), Dayton Brewer (Sportsman), Rodney Morgan (Modified), and Scott Lehman (FWD) all recorded their first feature win of 2019, with Joe Lane (RWD) making it two in a row in his division.
The Front Wheel Drive Four Cylinders were first up with their Johnson Quarries Night feature, and the field was brought to green by Scott Lehman Jr., whose was making his 2019 debut at The Hill, and two time feature winner Matt McKernan. Lehman grabbed the lead exitting turn two on the first lap and never looked back, leading all twenty laps. McKernan kept the pressure on, but was also focussed on keeping newcomer Ryan Austin at bay. Austin pulled alongside McKernan on numerous laps, but was unable to complete the pass until lap thirteen. McKernan and Austin battled side by side through heavy lap traffic for the next few laps, but with three to go, Austin coasted to the infield with mechanical ills and McKernan cruised to a second place finish. Matt Browning was a solid third, holding off 2018 Champion Adam Degrosso and Trevor Williams who were fourth and fifth.
Two time feature winner Earl Zimmer grabbed the early lead in the Street Stock/Pure Stock feature, and appeared set to add a third feature win to his resume. Cody Kershner kept it interesting in the early going, along with Dan Force and Mike Koser, but it quickly became apparent that the car to watch was the black number 83 of J.T. McKernan. McKernan took over the seat of the car that Chad Ely had pilotted the first two weeks, and the driver change put him to the back of the starting lineup in the sixteen car field.you With no yellow flags to bunch the field, McKernan drove to second place by the fourteenth lap, and started to whittle away at Zimmer’s advantage. A spin back in the pack brought out the first yellow flag on the sixteenth lap, putting McKernan on Zimmer’s back bumper for the restart. For the next three laps, McKernan threw everything he had at the leader, but was unable to close the deal. Another yellow on the nineteenth lap set up a one lap shootout. On the green, McKernan drove deep into turn one on the outside, rotated the car and made an inside move exitting turn two. By the middle of the backstretch, the pair were side by side, and powered through turns three and four just inches apart. Mckernan snagged the win, leading only the last 50 feet or so of the twenty lap event. Dan Force crossed the finish line third with Kershner fourth and Dustin Maynard fifth.
Joe Lane had the the Rear Wheel Drive Four Cylinder class covered as he led the entire twenty lap Johnson Quarries feature to pick up his second win of the season in convincing fashion. Larry Colton and Scott Bump kept the fans entertained with a spirited battle for the runner up spot for much of the race, with Colton snagging the spot at the finish. Logan Bump recorded his best run of the 2019 season with a solid fourth place finish, with newcomer Robert Decker rounding out the top five.
Young gun Dayton Brewer set the early pace in the Snellfab Crate Sportsman division and opened up a gap on the field on the first couple of laps, but points leader Ajay Potrezbowski got around Chris Clemens to take over second on the third lap, and set his sights on catching the leader. The pair ran inches apart for the next ten laps, with Potrezbowski inching alongside on every lap, but Brewer managing to be in front at the scoring line. Completing lap 12, as the pair ran wheel to wheel in turn three, Potrezbowski made contact with the inner barrier and dropped to fourth in the running order. He charged back to keep the pressure on the leader, but was unable to get back alongside and followed Brewer under the checkered flag. Clemens finished third, with Braden Buchanan fourth. Dalton Maynard was a DNS.
Jake Maynard has been running near the front most of the season, and this week he led a large portion of the feature. Maynard was pressured first by Ray McClure for a couple laps, then by Keith Lamphere, then Gary Lamphere, and then Randy Morgan...everyone wanted that top spot, but no one seemed able to overpower the leader, who was working to perfection on the outside lane. Then, on the twelfth lap distributor problems ended the Maynard team’s night. Randy Morgan inherited the top spot, and held off a determined effort by Jason Benjamin to pick up the win. Keith Lamphere got to the finish line third, Gary Lamphere finished fourth, and McClure rounded out the top five.
The wet weather during the preceding week, and on Friday, threw the track prep crew a curve, and the track was uncharacteristically soft and rough through the heats. Some creative grader and packing work was required during an extended intermisson, and we want to thank our patient and loyal fans for accepting the delay. The features were much more competitive and fan friendly after the work and the show was still completed in near four hours.