BUFFALO TWP — With 109 career trips to victory lane at Lernerville Speedway, Lynn Geisler knows how to win in a race car.
Apparently, he knows how to pick a winner as well.
The Cranberry Township resident and 48-year racing veteran picked Seneca Valley graduate Mike Pegher Jr. to share his ride in the No. 1C Late Model six years ago.
“I was looking to cut back a little bit and Mike was doing extremely well in the Stocks,” Geisler, 63, recalled. “I liked the way he drove and he was a local kid.
“We’ve been working well together ever since.”
And getting better.
Pegher, 28, is enjoying a breakthrough season in the Late Model at Lernerville. He is third in points with 328, has two feature wins, six top-five finishes and eight top-tens.
By comparison, he amassed 288 points, one win, four top-fives and five top-tens all of last year.
“We had two DNF’s this year or we’d be right up there in points,” Pegher said. “I got caught up in traffic and hit the wall one night, we broke a tire rod another night.”
When finishing a feature race at Lernerville this year, Pegher has not finished lower than sixth. The only driver in the division more consistent than that is points leader Alex Ferree of Saxonburg, who has 11 top-five finishes.
“Focus has been the difference this year,” Pegher said. “I’m not running the Crate (Late Model) this season. It’s sitting at home. I’d like to be running more than just one night, but Lynn and I decided to concentrate on Lernerville this year and see what we can do.
“I’ve been able to adjust to the big car more. I feel like I’ve made some big strides.”
Pegher conquered the Crate division in a big way over the past five years. He won 70 features in that class during that time, including the FASTRAK Grand National Championship and the RUSH Northeast Tour.
In June of 2013, Pegher secured career win No. 100 at age 27. Included in that total are 11 Sportsman Stock division wins at Lernerville.
“Those years racing Stocks really helped me in terms of experience and getting my feet wet,” Pegher said.
Geisler still races the No. 1C himself at Pittsburgh (Pa.) Motor Speedway.
“I still like racing. I’m not ready to give it up yet,” Geisler said. “My crew still enjoys going down there and we’ve been together more than 25 years.
“The seat time ... just more experience ... has made a difference for Mike this year. He’d be even better if we could get him more seat time.”
That may happen next season. Pegher hopes to travel to different tracks with the Geisler race team in 2015 and get behind the wheel more than once a week.
Geisler sees their racing relationship lasting for a while.
“We’re pretty happy with it,” Geisler said. “Mike lives in a trailer on my property, so he’s right there. He provides help in the garage with the car. Things are working out pretty well.”
All three of Pegher’s Late Model wins at Lernerville have occurred in the past two seasons.
“We’re happy with where we are,” Pegher said. “Winning a points title at Lernerville someday is something I want to do.”