McKean County Raceway
Blair earns 10th Fastrak win at McKean County
By Mike LeoneFastrak Racing Series
EAST SMETHPORT, Pa. (Sept. 23) — Series points leader Max Blair of Centerville, Pa., posted his 10th victory of the season on the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Fastrak tour Sunday at McKean County Speedway, earning $1,200 in an event that was postponed by rain following Friday night’s heat races.
Starting the 25-lap race from the pole, Blair kept his car planted on the bottom and was never seriously challenged in surviving four restarts and typical daytime track conditions. He was followed at the finish by Mike Pegher Jr. of Wexford, Pa., who earned his fifth runner-up and 12th top five of the season.
Scoring his best series finish in more than three years, Dennis Lunger Jr. of Albion, Pa., was third, ahead of Chad Ruhlman of Bemus Point, N.Y., and Bryce Davis of Canisteo, N.Y.
Blair took off when the green flag waved with Brad Kling tucking into the second spot while Matt Latta got a great start to move from fifth to third on the opening lap.
Blair quickly pulled away, leaving the rest of the field to battle for second. Seventh-starting Ruhlman moved into the top five with a pass of Over on lap four, making it a four-car battle for the runner-up spot with Kling trying to fend off Latta, Pegher, and Ruhlman until Brad Mesler spun to cause the race’s first caution with eight laps complete.
When racing resumed, it was three-wide for second with Kling somehow holding off his challengers. Ruhlman and Pegher began swapping the fourth spot on lap 10 while Latta again challenged Kling. Latta pulled alongside for the spot on lap 12 only to see the caution fly before he was able to complete the pass.
The restart played heavily into Pegher’s favor as Latta came up lame with a flat tire as he fired, allowing Pegher to pass Kling to overtake second. Ruhlman also charged by Kling and Latta to grab third.
A four-car accident took place a lap later with Justin Smith, Shane Weaver, Mesler, and Over getting caught in the mess.
Tenth-starting Lunger, Jr. was fifth for the ensuing restart, and passed both Kling and Ruhlman for third before Garrett Mott slowed action bringing out the fourth and final caution with 14 laps recorded.
The final 11 laps ran caution-free as Blair continued to cruise up front. Pegher closed in on Blair slightly in the final laps but couldn’t get close enough to apply pressure.
The victory was the 22-year-old Blair’s series-leading 22nd victory of his career in Northeast Touring Series competition as he closes in on his fourth Tour title in five years.
The event was part of a doubleheader weekend at McKean. Saturday’s race was also rained out and has yet to be rescheduled.
Fastrak @ McKean County: (1) Max Blair, (2) Mike Pegher Jr., (3) Dennis Lunger Jr., (4) Chad Ruhlman, (5) Bryce Davis, (6) Ryan Montgomery, (7) Brad Kling, (8) Paul Grigsby, (9) Butch Lambert, (10) Jason Genco, (11) Kyle Zimmerman, (12) Ward Schell, (13) Matt Cobb, (14) Brad Mesler, (15) John Over, (16) Cody Mason, (17) Marshall Shunk, (18) Shane Weaver, (19) Matt Latta, (20) Justin Smith, (21) Garrett Mott, (22) Chad Wright, (23) Ed Carley, (24) Luke Carleton, (25) Josh Holtgraver. Heat race winners: (among 49 cars): Davis, Over, Wright, Pegher, Blair. Consolation race winners: Mesler, Genco. Non-qualifiers winner: Justin Tatlow.