Story By: GARY HEEMAN / LERNERVILLE SPEEDWAY – SARVER, PA – The upcoming $50,000-to-win Commonwealth Clash featuring the High Limit Sprint Car Series will bring the stars from all over the Sprint Car racing universe to The Action Track on Tuesday, September 26.
It will also present a golden opportunity for local drivers to show what they’re capable of in front of a wide audience both in the grandstand and also via live streaming.
For seven time and defending Peoples Natural Gas Sprint Car champion AJ Flick, it’s a chance to shine on one of the biggest stages in Sprint Car racing. Flick has turned in a 2023 season to date that stands as a marker of how dominant he can be within the area as he came away with a staggering seven wins in 12 weekly features plus a victory during Western PA Speedweek in May and a $5,000 win at the Sprint Car Spectacular in August. That chance to shine will have a few steps where locals like Flick, Darin Gallagher, Dan Kuriger, Dan Shetler, Brandon Matus as well as Sye Lynch who completed his first full season with the Tezos All Star Circuit of Champion Sprint Car Series, can make an impact on the night starting with time trials. And for the local drivers, it’s a part of the racing program that many of them don’t get to experience quite as much as the invading group of talent making its way to the track on Tuesday night.
We don’t really have much qualifying experience at Lernerville this year, maybe only 2 or 3 races,” Flick said recently. “And for all of them, the track has been slick up to a curb. So if the track surface is any different at all, we basically give up our only qualifying advantage. You must have a good race car. There’s so much money, talent, and experience in competition nowadays that you need to have a good car if you want any chance to race with them. A good car will always give you confidence. But having confidence isn’t always enough to make up for having a bad race car. If you could pick one, always take the good race car. The confidence will follow.”
If there is one advantage local drivers might be able to utilize, it would be that they know every tiny detail of the surface and the way it changes throughout the night. And while that will be helpful, once action gets underway, experience in big money shows will probably start deciding who makes it through to the main event and who will have the deck more stacked against them later on in the night.
“Our advantages here are basically limited to track knowledge.” Flick said. “Running against the High Limit Series will present us with many game breaking opportunities that will decide our success. Most of which we don’t encounter on a normal basis. This includes qualifying, dashes, racing in dirty air against a lot of extremely fast competition, and more laps in features. In my opinion, I would rather have experience in those 4 categories than I would just with track knowledge and experience. These guys all possess so much talent, that lacking experience at a specific racetrack isn’t that much of a concern to them.”
While a win for any of the Western PA Sprint Car contingent would send shock waves through the racing world, similar to Ed Lynch Jr. shocking the World of Outlaws at the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup in 2002, just making the show would be an honor for many. That being said, the capability to pull off such an upset again should the chips fall their way is certainly within them. Sye Lynch set quick time and started on the pole of a Silver Cup in 2021, and both he and Flick have wound up battling against talented fields with big money on the line and battling well, with Flick owning two career feature victories at Port Royal Speedway, topping Danny Dietrich and Anthony Macri in the proces in a $10,000-to-win race on August 4, 2019.
“Success for us would be to just make the race. I, along with most other locals, know our season is about over. Our equipment and motors are lapped out from racing all spring and summer. We’ve already raced 50+ times in 2023, so it takes a toll on our entire operation and team. Western PA drivers don’t race for a living like the majority of teams coming to this event with fresher equipment. We’re going to go out there and race as hard as we can to put a good run together. I think this will be the most difficult field Lernerville Speedway has ever seen. I’m excited to be a part of this event”.
Tickets are available online with reserved seating priced at $50. Reserved seats are those found in the top half of the seating area marked with red painted bleachers and numerals. Simply pick out your own seat on our seating map and enjoy the night from where you like. General admission seating is available for $40 and just announced last week; infield seating is now available for $40. Come bring your lawn chair and enjoy the historic night as close to the action as possible from track level! Tickets will also be available at the gates on race night; however, all tickets purchased in advance will receive a free pit pass upgrade at the track at one of our upgrade areas located near the entrance gate.
Pit gates will open at 2 PM on Tuesday, September 26 with grandstands opening at 4 PM. Hot laps followed by Capitol Renegade Qualifying will commence at 6:15 PM with opening ceremonies scheduled for 7:15 PM. Tickets are selling fast, so make your plans to join us as soon as possible!