UFO/ULMS: Flinner Flies to First Half of Pennational, Weather Wins Second Half
IMPERIAL, Pa. - July 24. Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway had scheduled the PENNational on Saturday, with twin 28-lap feature races. John Flinner from Zelienople, Pa. won the first race, but weather moved in and the second race was canceled by rain.
In the redraw for the top 12 starting positions, front row berths were earned by Jim Stephans and Jared Miley, who took off in the lead over Stephans, Mark Banal, and UFo point leader Chad McClellan until Steve Baker shot to third on lap two ahead of Banal and eighth starting John Flinner, as McClellan slowed to a stop with a flat tire for the event’s first caution period. After another incident on the attempted restart, Miley continued to lead over Baker, Flinner, Stephans, and Keith Barbara. Miley quickly built an advantage over the field, but entering turn one on lap five, his mount shot up the track and pounded the outside wall, ending his evening.
Baker inherited the lead on the restart, and he controlled the race over Flinner, Barbara, Stephans, and PPMS point leader Mike Johnson. Baker and Flinner pulled away from the field as they raced for the lead, with Flinner making a strong challenge at lap 10. Flinner dove to the bottom of the track and cleared Baker, becoming the new race leader with 11 laps complete. Third was being hotly contested between Barbara, Stephans, and Johnson, with Johnson taking fourth on lap 12.
Flinner continued to extend his lead. and took the white flag as the eighth place car of Lynn Geisler slowed in turn two to add some drama to the end of the race. Gone was Flinner’s huge lead, and Baker would line up alongside in what would be a two-lap race to the finish per series rules, but Flinner was able to hold off Baker's charge to claim the win.
11th starting Mike Johnson and Barbara were third and fourth, with 21st starting Alex Ferree getting a great restart on the high side to gain several spots to get to fifth, emerging from 21st after getting caught in the lap two tangle.