Rick’s Racing Roundup: Big Crowds, Competitive Racing Headlines Opening Weekend

SARVER, Pa. (EYT) — A strong field of race cars and a big crowd filled Lernerville Speedway this past Friday to get the 2023 season underway.

(Pictured above: Defending track champ AJ Flick opened the season with a win against some tough competition Friday night. Photo by Rick Rarer.)

Fans and drivers were greeted by several improvements to the Speedway, which include a new jumbotron located above the scoreboard and higher purses for all four weekly classes. Despite rain in the area, Lernerville was able to beat the elements and complete the entire show before the rain arrived.

A strong field of 31 sprint cars filled the pits, including several Ohio and All-Star invaders. Five-time track champion AJ Flick was up to the challenge, though.

Flick was able to hold off Ohio hot shoe Trey Jacobs and All-Star regular Scotty Thiel to score his first win of the season.

“I knew this was going to be a fast field,” Flick said. “It’s probably one of the toughest regular season fields we’ve ever had, so this is definitely high up on my list for being able to keep somebody like Trey Jacobs or Dale Blaney behind us.”

The twenty- nine car late model field also had some invaders, but defending track champ John Garvin made it look easy, dominating all 25 laps for his first win of the season. Logan Zarin and Kyle Hardy rounded out the podium.

“The car was perfect,” Garvin said. “I didn’t try the very top tonight. I probably could have, but I was good where I was, so until I saw or heard someone real close, I was good where I was.”

Up next were the big block modifieds, and it was a familiar face in victory lane. Eight time track champion Brian Swartzlander held off the challenges of Steve Feder on his way to win number 101 at the Sarver oval. Feder would hold on for the runner-up spot while Rex King Jr. would round out the podium.

“It’s awesome; the car was feeling really good tonight.” Swartzlander said in victory lane. “Starting up front helped for sure. I want to dedicate this to my cousin Flip Swartzlander, who passed away recently. He was here every Friday and always with us in victory lane and this first win is dedicated to him.”

Joe Petyak was the opening night winner at Thunder Mountain Speedway. Photo by Derek Bobik.

Joe Petyak was the opening night winner at Thunder Mountain Speedway. Photo by Derek Bobik.

Rounding out the opening night Fab 4 action was the pro stocks where Tyler Dietz raced from his seventh starting spot to score the win. Lernerville will be back in action this Friday with another Fab4 racing program with the first green waving at 7:30 p.m.

Thunder Mountain Speedway in Brookville opened their gates under new management this past Friday where Joe Petyak was the late model winner. Thunder Mountain will be back in action this Friday with a regular show highlighted by a 2,500 to win SCDRA event.

Tri-City Raceway had an open practice cancelled due to cold and wet weather last Sunday. This Sunday, the Venango county oval will look to open their gates on the 2023 season with the first “Sunday Thunder” program of the season. 410 sprint cars and the 358 modifieds will highlight the card again this season with racing slated for 6:00 p.m.

Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway will also attempt to get their season underway this Saturday. RUSH Modifieds, RUSH Late Model Dirt Series, Pro Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Young Guns, and Four Cylinders will all be in action with racing getting underway at 7:00 p.m.

Rick’s Racing Roundup is brought to you by:

Gatesman Auto Body
Zacherl Motors
Kerle Tire Company
Bauer Truck Repair

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