PA Sprint Car Great Jerry Matus Dies At 81

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Jerry Matus was a three-time Lernerville Speedway champion. (Photo courtesy Don Gamble)

SARVER, Pa. – Lernerville Speedway Hall of Famer Jerry Matus died Saturday at the age of 81. The news was confirmed by Matus’ grandson, Brandon, on social media.

A three-time track champion at the four-tenths-mile Lernerville dirt oval, Matus took top honors in a sprint car at Lernerville in 1981, 1983 and 1984. He may be best remembered for his years driving the purple No. 15 owned by Martha Dionese.

The father of current sprint car veteran Brent Matus and grandfather of sprint car young gun Brandon Matus, Jerry Matus later drove his own sprint cars against his son before his retirement.

In 2008, Jerry Matus strapped into a sprint car for a final set of parade laps at Lernerville, taking to the track alongside his son and grandson. It was a poignant moment that marked the first time in Lernerville history that three generations of a driving family were on track together at the Sarver, Pa., facility in sprint cars.

Brandon Matus, who ran a limited schedule of national sprint car events in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and focused on local competition, released a short statement remembering his grandfather on Saturday.

“We lost a good one today. (My grandfather) was my biggest fan,” said the third-generation Matus. “I’m going to miss shedding tears in victory lane with him every time (we get there).”

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