WEST LEBANON, N.Y. -- For the first time in his career, Gerard McIntyre is a main event winner with the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1, forced to out-duel All Star and Destiny Motorsports newcomer, Brock Zearfoss, during a green-white-checkered finish to do so, also scoring $7,000 in the process. McIntyre, driver of Mark Coldren Motorsports, No. 07 sprint car, led all but the first three circuits around Lebanon Valley Speedway’s high-banked, half-mile oval on Sunday night, ultimately inheriting the top spot on lap four after the top-two made contact while battling for the lead. Although gifted the point position, McIntyre’s campaign at the front of the field was constantly under pressure, soon forced to withstand multiple takeover attempts by Sammy Swindell and eventually Brock Zearfoss.
“I’m just really happy to have this opportunity,” an elated Gerard McIntyre said in Lebanon Valley Speedway victory lane. “The first part of the season wasn’t too hot for us, but during the last five races or so, we’ve really been able to pick things up and progress. Tonight played out in our favor. It was tough to pass and I was in the right place at the right time. It all worked out in the end and I am happy.”
Staring third on the feature grid, McIntyre’s big beak occurred just after a restart with three laps in the books. Aaron Reutzel, who started the 25-lap turned 26-lap program alongside pole-sitter Paul McMahan, attempted to slide McMahan for the lead as the pair entered turns one and two on lap four. Contact was made soon thereafter sending McMahan hard into the outside retaining wall. The unintentional contact also caused issues to Reutzel’s machine sending him pit side to replace a flat, right rear tire. Reutzel eventually returned to the speedway but McMahan would not. From that point forward, it was all McIntyre at the front of the field.
Although jumping out to a respectable advantage, McIntyre was soon forced to deal with Swindell, who was aboard the Jared Zimbardi-owned, No. 35 sprinter. A caution on lap 10 and pair of back-to-back cautions on lap 22 bunched the field back together giving Swindell a trio of opportunities to work around McIntyre. The New Oxford, Pa., native proved to be too strong on the ensuing restarts, keeping Swindell at bay even when the former World of Outlaws champion was able to peek his nose under him.
Jonestown, Pennsylvania’s Brock Zearfoss, who fought his way from seventh to third as early as lap ten, finally had the opportunity to battle his way around Swindell for second. The former Pennsylvania Posse representative turned All Star executed a perfect move at the exit of turn two to get around the Germantown, Tenn., native on lap 24.
Unfortunately for McIntyre, a caution on the final circuit resulted in a fuel stop giving Zearfoss an opportunity to restart on the tailtank of the familiar No. 07. All Star Circuit of Champions rules state that feature competition must end with two consecutive green flag laps, therefore, the field would utilize a green-white-checkered finish. Although close, Zearfoss was not able to capitalize, allowing McIntyre to escape to a .7 second margin of victory at the finish. The “Jonestown Jet” battled back to the line to finish second, followed by Sammy Swindell, Tony Stewart and Carson Macedo.
Only five events remain on the August schedule for the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1, four of which will be conducted in the Keystone State on August 23-26; four events in four days at four different facilities. Tony Stewart’s All Stars will visit Grandview Speedway, Williams Grove Speedway, Lincoln Speedway, and BAPS Motor Speedway, respectively, during their four-day trek through Posse Country, chasing a total winner’s share exceeding $20,000.
Adding extra hype to an already action-packed weekend, the visit to Williams Grove Speedway on Friday, August 24, will feature twin 20-lap features for the traveling All Stars. Dubbed the Jack Gunn Memorial, each of the twin features will award a $4,000 top prize.
More information pertaining to the All Star visit to Central Pennsylvania will be posted in the near-future. Fans are encouraged to stay alert via social media and online at www.allstarsprint.com.
-All Star Circuit of Champions Press Release
-Photo credit: Mike Petrucci