In the Diehl Automotive DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, Jeremiah Shingledecker was a man on a mission and moved forward with authority until he caught up leader Garrett Krummert who looked at one point to be solidly in command. Krummert became stuck with the task of trying to find a way around the lapped car of Colton Walters late in the race and Shingledecker found the opportune moment to make his way round him as he took the lead and survived several late race restarts to secure his first victory at Lernerville since August of 2017.
Jeremiah Shingledecker almost always does one thing every season. He finds victory at Lernerville at least once every year. But with the rain shortened season coming to and end, and no end to Mat Williamson’s grip on the weekly field in sight, it appeared this might be the year to see his personal streak come to an end. It would take a monumental effort, even with Williamson starting 10th on the field, to keep the points leader out of victory lane. And it was exactly what Shingledecker came up with on Friday night as he secured at least one feature victory for the 9th time in the past 10 seasons.
Shingledecker and Michael Turner led the field to the green flag and Williamson wasted no time at all in making forward progress, gaining four positions on the opening lap. Two early cautions, one for Garrett Krummert who went off the top of the banking in turns three and four, and one for Colton Walters who spun in turn four, reset the field early in the 25 lap main event. On the second restart, Williamson made his way underneath Turner for the fourth spot while out front, Shingledecker, Brian Swartzlander and John Mollick separated themselves from the rest of the pack, creating a high speed freight train on the top side of the speedway in the early going.
Williamson looked to be on the verge of watching his three race winning streak come to and end as he seemingly gained no ground on third running Mollick as the race crept up on the halfway mark and was in need of a caution. His hopes were answered with 11 laps down when Tom Glenn slowed on the speedway. On the restart, Williamson looked as if he had a new lease on life as he made up the center of a three wide battle for the lead with Shingledecker and Swartzlander. Shingledecker held on to the lead though and did not look like he had any intention of giving it up as he consistently found good bite and momentum coming out of turn two all race long.
Meanwhile, Williamson was able to make his way around Swartzlander for the second spot and began to hunt Shingledecker for the lead as he lurked on the cushion, waiting for a mistake from the race leader to capitalize on. Mollick then began to take looks underneath Swartzlander for the third spot with 10 laps remaining. The battle for third allowed Shingledecker and Williamson to break away and make it a two car race. The leaders ran nose to tail, and then door to door on lap 18 as it appeared Williamson was making his way underneath Shingledecker in a bid for the lead.
However, Shingledecker was able to power down the back stretch with authority and was able to stave off Williamson’s attempt. Williamson kept taking looks on the low side in the waning laps, but Shingledecker proved to be too strong to overcome on this night as he used two lapped cars to keep Williamson at bay while at the same time, hitting his marks at a near perfect rate as he crossed the finish line first while Brian Swartzlander rounded out the podium and Mollick, who looked impressive in only his third time in a Big Block Modified, came home fourth.
“Mat almost had me there a couple of times, the car was a little too tight and I was bobbling a little bit myself, he raced me really clean,” Shingledecker said. “As many races as he’s won this year I was happy to beat him under green laps. He’s been very fast and that kind of says a little bit about what we’re doing, improving ourselves.”
Making his season debut, Jeremiah Shingledecker ended a near four-year winless drought at Sharon after a wire-to-wire win in the 30-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modified feature. Shingledecker earned $2,000 as he became the eighth different “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner in nine events on the Modified side as only last year’s winner, Jim Rasey, has been able to repeat amongst both divisions.
“Unfortunately our luck hasn’t been real good here so hopefully we turned it around,” stated the 40-year-old Polk, Pa. driver. “This reminds me of the old Tri-City (Speedway) surface. It’s a really nice surface. You guys have done a really great job with it. We went from silty sand and single file racing to this. We’ve been trying to get the car a little bit better and we were edging on this since last year. I really have to thank my dad. He spends a lot of time on these engines. I’d like to thank the Blaney Family and all of Sharon for putting this race on. It’s a very good race. When I first started racing I looked up to Lou Blaney and got to race with him a few years before he got out of the Modifieds.”
Shingledecker took off in the lead after an invert four from the heat races over point leader Dave Murdick, Kevin Bolland, Rasey, and Jim Weller, Jr. Murdick clipped an infield tire on lap two and spun to bring out the caution. After a caution for a spin by rookie Modified racer, Colton Walters, Weller got by Rasey for third on the lap five.
Shingledecker began to pull away by lap 10 and two laps later was in lapped traffic; meanwhile, the battle for third was hot and heavy between Weller, Bolland, and eighth starting Rex King, Jr. On lap 15, it was three-wide for the spot as Rasey spun in turn three. This moved King, Jr. to fourth for the restart, but it was short-lived as two laps later ninth starting Brian Swartzlander made the pass.
King, Jr. didn’t go away as he got on the top and it was three-wide again for third this time with King, Jr. prevailing over Swartzlander and Weller. Shingledecker had pulled away from Bolland, who sat fairly comfortable ahead of the continual battle for third, before a spin by Murdick with 27 laps completed halted action for the final time.
Bolland was unable to make the pass on the double-file restart, as Shingledecker maintained his lead over the final three laps and went on for his third career Sharon win, but first since September 13, 2013, by 0.560 of a second in his Garage Bar & Grill/RCR Auto-sponsored #37MD.