By Mike Leone


(Markleysburg, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Pace Performance FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series returned to the scenic Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex on Friday night for the second of four appearances of the season. For the second straight year, FASTRAK was part of the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series event as a large crowd filled the grandstand and hillside viewing areas. A great field of 42 competitors from Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, New York, and Ontario, Canada were on hand.

Mike Pegher, Jr. has certainly taken a liking to Roaring Knob. For the fourth time in his past five Northeast Touring Series starts at the Markleysburg, Pa. oval, Pegher has come out victorious. Pegher passed Justin Tatlow on lap five and cruised over the final 21 non-stop laps to become the Touring Series' all-time winner. Pegher broke the tie with April 1 Roaring Knob winner, Max Blair, for his 14th career Touring Series victory.

"The track was awesome," expressed the 26-year-old Wexford, Pa. racer. "It was smooth and you could run on the outside and inside. We really like this track and hope to come back here soon. The car was just perfect. Justin (Tatlow) was really good on the bottom. I knew if I couldn't get by him on a restart it was going to be tough to get him on the inside. Anytime you can come back from a crash and win it's a huge deal. I have to thank everyone that helps me."

Tatlow raced past pole-sitter Butch Lambert to take the early lead with Lambert and Pegher trailing. Kyle Thomas was making his first FASTRAK start of the season and moved from his sixth starting spot into fourth after one lap. Billy Stile III cracked the top five on lap two passing Nolan Dalton then got around Thomas for fourth on lap three.

The event's first caution took place with three laps completed when Ricky Meglaye, Lauren Longbrake, and Brad Kline tangled in turn two and got hooked together. After a lengthy delay to separate the cars and then another accident for Doug Horton, Pegher got under Lambert for second when green replaced yellow. Stile's great run ended when he ran out of racing room off turn four on lap four and brushed the wall to bring out the caution. On the ensuing restart, several cars got bunched up as Chad Ruhlman, John Over, and Rick Singleton stopped to bring out another caution with four laps completed.

Finally after four cautions in the first four laps, the last 21 would go green-to-checkered. The final caution may have proved crucial because on the ensuing restart, Pegher made his winning move from Tatlow to lead lap five. Lambert would lose two positions on the fifth circuit as Thomas grabbed third and Max Blair, who started ninth, was able to advance up to fourth. Blair then was able to get under Thomas for third one lap later.

By lap eight, Pegher began to pull away and by the halfway point had built a straightaway lead over Tatlow. Lambert was able to work his way back by Thomas for fourth on lap 15. Lambert and Thomas then ran down Blair and it a three-car race for third on lap 18.

Pegher struggled a couple times in lapped traffic, which allowed Tatlow to close within a half-straightaway; however, in the final laps Pegher stretched his lead to a straightaway margin at the finish. Pegher's $1,200 win came in the Lynn Geisler-owned, #1 Cochran/Triple-S Auto Outlet/Alternative Power Sources/Zero Wraps-sponsored Rocket Chassis #1c. Pegher was joined in victory lane by the first driver of the #1 Cochran Late Model Donnie Allison.

What a great run for Tatlow. Making just his 11th career Touring Series start over the past three seasons and second ever race at Roaring Knob, Tatlow recorded a career best second in the Lewy Kratts #81! His prior best Touring Series finish was just a 13th last July 3 at the Eriez Speedweek event.

"This is real good," stated the Franklinville, New York racer. "It's an honor to finish second to Mike- last year's Grand National champion. We had a carburetor stumble there early- maybe it was nerves knowing Mike (Pegher) was behind me. I felt bad for the cars behind me that got stacked up, but it just wouldn't go. We learned a lot last time here in the heat race then got bent up in the feature, but the crew worked hard to get it back together."

Blair edged out Lambert for third and continues to lead the points. Blair was also awarded the $100 Genesis Shocks "Top Dog of the Night" Award certificate. Lambert's fourth place was his best Touring Series finish since a runner-up on June 25 last year at Sharon Speedway, and will unofficially advance six spots to second in points. Thomas was fifth. After missing the April 1 opener due to recovering from two broken legs, Josh Holtgraver was a solid sixth over Dan Angelicchio.

George Kowatic salvaged his night with an eighth place finish. Kowatic won the third heat race, but failed to scale and was disqualified. He then came from the tail of the second B main to win that and earned the 22nd starting spot. Kowatic then advanced 14 positions to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger Award gift card. Former Pace Performance "Future's Cup" racers Ryan Montgomery and Damian Bidwell both had good runs. Montgomery came from 19th to finish ninth, while Bidwell raced from 23rd to finish 10th for the second straight Touring race and third straight overall.

Stile was the last car on the lead lap at the finish and earned a free Hoosier Tire presented by Utsinger's Towing. Ruhlman, who charged from 19th to fifth on the April 1 event, was again moving forward from his eighth starting spot. Ruhlman had worked his way up to fifth before getting stacked up on that lap five restart. Ruhlman was awarded the Brake Man "Tough Brake of the Night".

After leading five laps of the non-qualifier race at the opening Roaring Knob event before finishing sixth, veteran Louie Krushansky didn't let this one slip away as he led all 10 laps to capture his first "Wheelman" Bonus Event Challenge Series victory. The Morgantown, West Virginia driver earned $125 and became the 16th different winner in the 19 races run all-time.

Krushansky survived three cautions and late race pressure by Kyle Wiser for the victory in his #23. Krushansky also takes over the "Wheelman" point lead. Wiser, who was running his first career FASTRAK race, started fifth and passed both Jamie Brown and W.L. Stile on lap six for second. Wiser caught Krushansky on lap eight, but was unable to get by in the final laps. Stile was third. Jamie Brown finished fourth for the second straight time. Ben Policz, another newcomer to FASTRAK, rounded out the top five.

The five heat races were won by Thomas, Holtgraver, Shane Weaver, Dalton, and Lambert, while Andrew Wylie and Kowatic captured the B mains. The 42 car count was the second highest ever at Roaring Knob behind the 47 at the season opening "Super Nationals" earlier this month. Twelve new cars were part of the field Friday night bringing the total up to 59 different cars after two events this season.

New marketing partner, K&N Filters, awarded the first of six Cold Air Induction System giveaways on Friday night. Bob Bennett of Flushing, Ohio won the prize valued at up to $500. In the season's second K&N "Cold Air Induction Dash", Dan Angelicchio came from fourth to win the $100 K&N certificate and gained three starting spots for the feature. His win also tied him with the opening event dash winner, Damian Bidwell, for the Dash Championship Series point lead.

Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Pace Performance FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series Race #2 (25 laps, $1,200 to-win): 1. MIKE PEGHER, JR. (Geisler 1c) 2. Justin Tatlow (Kratts 81) 3. Max Blair (111) 4. Butch Lambert (27) 5. Kyle Thomas (Groves 32) 6. Josh Holtgraver (00) 7. Dan Angelicchio (14) 8. George Kowatic (5) 9. Ryan Montgomery (12) 10. Damian Bidwell (17) 11. Nolan Dalton (D2) 12. Chad Wright (6) 13. Joe Martin (55) 14. Ricky Meglaye (5) 15. Shane Hitt (2*) 16. Andrew Wylie (84) 17. Troy Shields (11) 18. Chad Ruhlman (Suppa 4s) 19. Billy Stile III (51) 20. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x) 21. Russell Baird, Jr. (17) 22. Lauren Longbrake (27) 23. John Over (K2) 24. Rick Singleton (Enyeart 99*) 25. Doug Horton (Lake 27) 26. Brad Kling (Powell 100) (Note: Joe Martin took a Series provisional & Troy Shields took a track provisional.)

Non-Qualifier Race (10 laps, $125 to-win): 1. Louie Krushansky (23) 2. Kyle Wiser (Price 34) 3. W.L. Stile (2$) 4. Jamie Brown (135) 5. Ben Policz (14B) 6. Bobby Rohrer (11) 7. Mike Thorne (47) 8. Corey Metheny (11c) 9. Derek Rogers (Haris 96) 10. Tim Sears, Jr. (Kingsley 3T)-DNS 11. Will Thomas III (9)-DNS 12. Daniel Hill (8)-DNS 13. Jorden Peters (11P)-DNS 14. Scott Smith (2%)-DNS 15. Joey Jenkins (1J)-DNS 16. Darren Peters (1P)-DNS.

Heat Winners: Thomas, Holtgraver, Weaver, Dalton, Lambert
K&N Cold Air Induction Dash: 1. Dan Angelicchio 2. Lauren Longbrake 3. John Over 4. Chad Wright
B Main Winners: Wylie, Kowatic
Feature Lap Leaders: Tatlow (1-4), Pegher (5-25)
Car Count: 42

Genesis Shocks "Top Dog of the Night": Max Blair
Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger: George Kowatic (+14)
Utsinger's Towing Hoosier Tire Giveaway: Billy Stile III
Brake Man "Tough Brake of the Night": Chad Ruhlman

2012 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series Results
Date/Track/State/Winner/# of Wins/To-Win Amount/Car Count
April 1 Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex (PA)/Max Blair (1)/$3,000/47
April 20 Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex (PA)/Mike Pegher, Jr. (1)/$1,200/42

The next race for the Sweeney Chevrolet FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series will be at Dog Hollow Speedway this Friday night, April 27 for the Series' only appearance of the season at the Strongstown, Pa. oval.

2012 FASTRAK Northeast marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tires, Original Pizza Logs, K&N Filters, The Brake Man, Utsinger's Towing, Precise Racing Products, Genesis Shocks, VP Fuels, Beyea Custom Headers, H&H Racing Equipment, High Gear Speed Shop, Hyperco, Jake's Golf Carts, Lincoln Electric, Wrisco Aluminum, and Wylie Race Cars.

You can reach co-directors Vicki Emig and Mike Leone at the FASTRAK Northeast office at 724-964-9300. E-mail to info@fastraknortheast.com and snail mail to 4368 Route 422, Pulaski, PA 16143. The office is open daily late mornings and after 1:30 p.m. For more information, check out the FASTRAK Northeast website at www.fastraknortheast.com. Become our fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fastraknortheast.

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