SARVER, Pa. (June 26) — With two of the sport's top drivers behind him and a steady line of lapped traffic ahead of him, Chase Junghans expected his lead in Friday night’s Firecracker 100 preliminary feature at Lernerville Speedway to be shrinking.
Instead, signals from a crew member during the second half of the 30-lap race told the second-year World of Outlaws Late Model Series driver that he was pulling away from former WoO champion Scott Bloomquist and current series points leader Shane Clanton.
"I was just riding around out there trying to be patient and my crew guy was giving me signals saying I was pulling away," said Junghans, the 22-year-old racer from Manhattan, Kan. "I was like, 'Are you kidding me?' But I guess I was, and now, I just don't know what to say. This is surreal."
Junghans was indeed nearly speechless after dominating Friday's A-Main to score his first-career WoO victory during the second night of Lernerville's ninth annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com. In notching his fourth top-five finish in the past six WoO events, Junghans earned $6,175 at the 4/10-mile oval and picked up plenty of momentum heading into Saturday's $30,000-to-win Firecracker 100 finale.
Junghans’s Shop Quik Racing Capital Race Car finished the caution-free race with an winning advantage of 2.932 seconds. Bloomquist, 51, of Mooresburg, Tenn., was second with Clanton, the Zebulon, Ga., driver who won Thursday's Firecracker 100 opener, advancing from his seventh starting spot to finish third. Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., finished fourth with Davey Johnson of Latrobe, Pa., rounding out the race's top five finishers.
Junghans was fast all night at Lernerville, setting quick time in qualifying and finishing second to Clanton in his heat race to earn a spot in the Top 8 Redraw. Luck fell his way in drawing the pole for the A-Main, but he didn't waste the opportunity. He pulled away from an early back-and-forth battle between Bloomquist and Frank and never looked back.
"This feels great, especially having all these good guys here behind us," said Junghans, whose previous best WoO finish was a third-place effort at Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway on June 18. "It definitely helped starting up front, but we made the most of it. Hopefully we can build off of this and maybe win tomorrow or if not at least have a good finish."
A frequent contender at Lernerville, Bloomquist took second from Frank on lap 10 and appeared to initially close slightly on Junghans. But his pace slowed around halfway and the two-time Firecracker 100 winner was forced to settle for the runner-up finish in his self-designed Sweet-Bloomquist Race Car.
"We weren't quite where we want to be, but we're happy with this," said Bloomquist, who made his first laps of the weekend on Friday after a late arrival led him to sit out Thursday's opener. "We've been playing with some different stuff on the car and tonight was the first night we tried it. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't exactly what I was hunting."
With his seventh consecutive top-three WoO finish, Clanton kept his recent hot streak rolling. The co-founder of Capital Race Cars was happy to see a Capital car in victory lane, but he would've liked to have made it a one-two sweep for the chassis brand.
"Any time a Capital car can win, we're happy," said Clanton, whose Capital machine is sponsored by Weldbank Energy. "I told Chase to just go on and run his race and hopefully I'd make it to second. We came close, but I was just a little too tight."
Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., was sixth at the finish after climbing as high as third midway through the race. Former Lernerville track champion Jared Miley of Pittsburgh, Pa., advanced from 11th to score his second top 10 of the weekend in finishing seventh. Gregg Satterlee of Indiana, Pa., was eighth with Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., and Rick Eckert of York, Pa., rounding out the top 10.
The ninth annual Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com concludes on Saturday night. With lineups determined by each driver’s best finish over the two preliminary nights, four Firecracker 100 heat races will each transfer four drivers into the 100-lap, $30,000-to-win finale. Two Last-Chance Showdowns will each transfer three more drivers, while provisional starters will round out the field. The night will conclude with the $3,000-to-win Uncle Sam 30 for non-qualifiers.
Preliminary notes and results:
With rain beginning to cross the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, officials hurried the B-Mains onto the track immediately after the completion of the heats and will send the 30-lap feature out shortly. It is expected that the 24-car event will be on the 4/10-mile oval by 9:10 p.m. ET. … Chase Junghans drew the pole position, giving him an opportunity to add a feature win to add to his fast-time honors earlier in the night. The 22-year-old WoO sophomore will bid for his first-ever victory on the national tour. … Junghans’s Capital Race Cars teammate, Shane Clanton, will start seventh as he looks to stay perfect this weekend. … Chub Frank starts second, giving him a golden opportunity to snap a frustrating WoO winless streak dating back to August 2009. … WoO rookie Brandon Overton was a late arrival to Lernerville today after missing Thursday night’s program while working to find a replacement for his MasterSbilt by Huey car that was badly damaged in an accident during Tuesday night’s WoO show at Weedsport (N.Y.) Speedway. Overton ended up borrowing a No. 32 machine normally driven at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway by Lindsay Barton, the girlfriend of MasterSbilt by Huey proprietor Billy Vacek; Overton spent Monday at Vacek’s MBH shop in Martinsburg, W.Va., dropping his motor in Barton’s car and preparing it for Friday action. He was strong with the mount in qualifying, timing second-fastest in his group and finishing second to Scott Bloomquist in the fourth heat.
First B-Main (top 3 transfer): Frank Heckenast Jr., Ross Robinson, Kenny Pettyjohn, Ken Schaltenbrand Jr., Dan Angelicchio, Scott Groves, Chris Casner, Dan Swartzlander, Devin Lewis, Herman Bertolini, Trevor Herr, John Mollick (DNS) Alex Ferree, Derrick Casner, Tommy Beck.
Second B-Main (top 3 transfer): Morgan Bagley, Darrell Lanigan, Michael Norris, Michael Lake, Boom Briggs, John Flinner Jr., Todd Bachman, Justin Kann, Jordan Yaggy, Mike Pegher Jr., Bump Hedman, Colton Flinner, Jason Schmidt, Derek Stefanick.
(10 laps; top 3 transfer)
Row 1: Ross Robinson, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 2: Kenny Pettyjohn, Dan Angelicchio
Row 3: Devin Lewis, Dan Swartzlander
Row 4: Scott Groves, Chris Casner
Row 5: Trevor Herr, Ken Schaltenbrand Jr.
Row 6: John Mollick, Michael Lake
Row 7: Alex Ferree, Colton Flinner
Row 8: Tommy Beck, Derrick Casner
Row 1: Darrell Lanigan, Michael Norris
Row 2: Morgan Bagley, Todd Bachman
Row 3: Boom Briggs, Jordan Yaggy
Row 4: John Flinner Jr., Justin Kann
Row 5: Michael Lake, Jason Schmidt
Row 6: Colton Flinner, Bump Hedman
Row 7: Mike Pegher Jr., Derek Stefanick
First heat (top 4 transfer): Davey Johnson, Tim McCreadie, Russ King, Josh Richards, Ross Robinson, Kenny Pettyjohn, Devin Lewis, Scott Groves, Trevor Herr, John Mollick (DNS) Alex Ferree, Tommy Beck.
Second heat (top 4 transfer): Austin Hubbard, Chub Frank, Gregg Satterlee, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Frank Heckenast Jr., Dan Angelicchio, Dan Swartzlander, Chris Casner, Ken Schaltenbrand Jr., Herman Bertolini, Derrick Casner.
Third heat (top 4 transfer): Shane Clanton, Chase Junghans, Jared Miley, Eric Wells, Darrell Lanigan, Morgan Bagley, Boom Briggs, John Flinner Jr., Michael Lake, Colton Flinner, Mike Pegher Jr.
Fourth heat (top 4 transfer): Scott Bloomquist, Brandon Overton, Mason Zeigler, Rick Eckert, Michael Norris, Todd Bachman, Jordan Yaggy, Justin Kann, Jason Schmidt, Bump Hedman, Derek Stefanick.
(10 laps; top 4 transfer)
Row 1: Davey Johnson, Josh Richards
Row 2: Tim McCreadie, Russ King
Row 3: Scott Groves, Alex Ferree
Row 4: Ross Robinson, Kenny Pettyjohn
Row 5: John Mollick, Devin Lewis
Row 6: Tommy Beck, Trevor Herr
Row 1: Frank Heckenast Jr., Austin Hubbard
Row 2: Gregg Satterlee, Chub Frank
Row 3: Dan Angelicchio, Paul Wilmoth Jr.
Row 4: Derrick Casner, Dan Swartzlander
Row 5: Ken Schaltenbrand Jr., Chris Casner
Row 6: Herman Bertolini
Row 1: Chase Jungians, Boom Briggs
Row 2: Shane Clanton, Jared Miley
Row 3: Darrell Lanigan, Eric Wells
Row 4: Mike Pegher Jr., Morgan Bagley
Row 5: John Flinner Jr., Michael Lake
Row 6: Colton Flinner
Row 1: Brandon Overton, Scott Bloomquist
Row 2: Mason Zeigler, Todd Bachman
Row 3: Rick Eckert, Michael Norris
Row 4: Jason Schmidt, Bump Hedman
Row 5: Jordan Yaggy, Justin Kann
Row 6: Derek Stefanick
Davey Johnson (1J), Latrobe, Pa., 15.917
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99Jr), Orland Park, Ill., 15.993
Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 16.042
Austin Hubbard (11), Seaford, Del., 16.064
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 16.111
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 16.13
Russ King (56), Bristolville, Ohio, 16.131
Chub Frank (1*), Bear Lake, Pa., 16.168
Scott Groves (311), Canton, Ga., 16.281
Dan Angelicchio (14), Greensburg, Pa., 16.322
Alex Ferree (10), Saxonburg, Pa., 16.37
Paul Wilmoth Jr. (B1), Clarksburg, W.Va., 16.375
Ross Robinson (7), Georgetown, Del., 16.392
Derrick Casner (41), Mifflintown, Pa., 16.428
Kenny Pettyjohn (38), Millsboro, Del., 16.513
Dan Swartzlander (3), Freeport, Pa., 16.526
John Mollick (4J), Toronto, Ohio, 16.573
Ken Schaltenbrand (29s), Sarver, Pa., 16.581
Devin Lewis (73), St. Mary's, Pa., 16.693
Chris Casner (c33), Mifflintown, Pa., 16.716
Tommy Beck (91), Jeannette, Pa., 16.756
Herman Bertolini (7x), Creighton, Pa., 17.475
Trevor Herr (32), Sarver, Pa., N/T
Chase Junghans (18c), Manhattan, Kan., 15.861
Brandon Overton (32), Evans, Ga., 15.967
Boom Briggs (99b), Bear Lake, Pa., 16.072
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 16.09
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 16.146
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 16.147
Jared Miley (H1), South Park, Pa., 16.351
Todd Bachman (66), Natrona Heights, Pa., 16.362
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., 16.371
Rick Eckert (7V), York, Pa., 16.372
Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., 16.401
Michael Norris (72), Sarver, Pa., 16.429
Mike Pegher Jr. (1c), Wexford, Pa., 16.435
Jason Schmidt (11), Lewistown, Pa., 16.53
Morgan Bagley (14M), Tyler, Texas, 16.546
Bump Hedman (B22), Sugar Grove, Pa., 16.648
John Flinner Jr. (48), Zelionople, Pa., 16.703
Jordan Yaggy (77), Rochester, Minn., 16.717
Michael Lake (27), Uniontown, Pa., 16.781
Justin Kann (66K), Huntingdon, Pa., 16.938
Colton Flinner (75), Allison Park, Pa., 17.281
Derek Stefanick (44G), Oakdale, Pa., 17.95