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Spithaler B.O.S.S. at Mercer; Holden, Morris, Moore, Marcucci and Bratcher also Win
by Lou Long
Mercer, PA (May 19, 2012): Brandon Spithaler thrilled a partisan crowd at Mercer Raceway Park by leading all 25 laps to capture the Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series' debut in the Keystone State. Jack Sodeman, Jr. also did the Mercer faithful proud by taking second in the final two-lap dash. The first visitor across the stripe was Dustin Smith.
In the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, Jimmy the Jet Holden rebounded from successive weeks of engine failures to score his first win of the season. The Precise Racing Products Stock Car winner was Rusty Moore, who survived a lap seven skirmish with the leader, Dan Lewis.
Jimmy Morris took his first career win at Mercer in the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors. The win in the Modified Lites presented by Big Daddy's Speed Center and Rock Concrete belonged to Mark Marcicci. The Mini Stock feature winner was Jerry Batcher.
For Spithaler, it was just his second time in a Sprinter without a wing. The lack of experience did not show, however, as he was quick all night long. Spithaler explainted, "we kept the winged set-up on the car, all we did was to move the right rear out some." Working in hois corner was veteran non-wing car owner Tom Burkey.
Sodeman also had a verteran in his corner. His father has over fifteeen years of experience racing without the wings."He told me what to expect with the car," Sodeman said. "that really helped with making adjustments as the night went on."
The luck of the draw put Spithaler on the outside front row for the start. He powered off the cushion in turn four with the lead. His partner on the front row, Indiana native, Dustin Smith, followed him into the first corner.
The first 22 laps went non-stop, with Spithaler leading the way. As he negotiated his way through traffic, Smith began to close in. Before he could set up Spithaler for a pass for the lead, the caution flew for a spin by Ron Rough in turn four. Pete Miller also spun in turn two.
On the next circuit, Miller crashed hard in turn one. It was his second flip of the evening. The first one coming in hot laps. Miller was unhurt. That gave Smith a chance to adjust his shock under the red, "but I think I wentthe wrong way with it," he said after the event.
When racing resumed, Spithaler faced a two-lap dash with Smith and Sodeman well within striking distance. Although they fired that way on the single-file restart, Sodeman had a the better run thought turns one and two and he managed to slip by Smith. Sodeman then made a valliant charge after Spithaler but he came up a few car lengths sort at the end.
Behind Spithaler, Sodeman and Smith was Landon Simon, who advanced from twelfth on the grid. Fifth went to Tony Beaber, who ran a steady race and never fell far from thge top five.
Back after a long absence, Superman, Arnie Kent, charged from nineteenth to claim sixth at the checkers. Mark Cassella crossed in seventh. Michigander Steve Irwin was eighth. Ninth belonged to Kirk Jeffweries. Mike Burkin, who entered the event as the series points leader, rounded out the top ten.
Heat winners for the 22 cars went to Andre Leyfield, Sodeman and Cassella. There was no B Main.
Lonny Riggs jumped out to the early lead and paced the field for the first six laps of the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. Then the Gremlins appeared. He limped off the track at turn two, handling the lead to Kyle FInk.
Fink held control for a couple of laps, but he was pressed hard by Holden and Rob Curtis. Holden slipped by in turn three for the lead, and Curtis and Frank on the Gas Guidace also went by Fink on the next lap. That set up a furious battle between Curtis and Guidace that allowed Holden to scoot away.
Holden's advantage was wiped away by a caution on lap 17. Guidace then made a charge on Curtis and brought Eric Gabany with him. Their three-car battle ended with Curtis taking second and Gabany third. Guidace came to a halt just one corner from the finish line. His misfortune moved Fink back up to fourth and Rick Hall into fifth.
Sixth was Ron Eperthener, trailed by Richard Whitney, Dustin Martin and Shane Izzo. Guidace was credited with tenth based on laps completed.
The pair of heats for the sixteen cars went to Curtis and Holden.
The feature for the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars was marred by numerous yellow flags, including one for the leader, Dan Lewis. Lewis led from the start of the race, but tangled with Rusty Moore coming off turn two several laps into the feature. Moore was able to keep moving, so he was awarded the point for the restart.
Moore took maximum advantage of that break and he led the rest of the way. Darrin Hyde was second. Curtis J. Bish was third. Invader Corey McPherson was fourth. Bobby Heim cracked the top five.
Russell Byler, Brandon Johnston, A.J. Flick, Matt Wagner, and Lewis completed thge top ten.
Fifteen cars signed in. The pair of heats went to Wagner and Moore.
Jimmy Morris picked up where he left off from the heat race as he dminatd the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warrior main.
The initial leader was Dalton Daniels. He had a hair-raising experience on the frontstretch, when his car began to swerve. While he foughtto regain control, the rest of the field closed in on him. Miraculously, nobody struch him. He kept moving, but lost many posiotions in the process.
That put Jacob Lagastee out front, but it diod not take Morris very long to rocket past him. Lagastee held on for second, with Mike Miller racing home in third. Justion Whitesell ran fourth and last week's winner, Joe McWEwen climbed from twelfth to fifth.
Chris Matthews led the next group of five across the finish line. Guy Griffin, Jason Scoville, Harold Braden, Jr., and Bob McMillin were the others.
Griffin and Morris triumphed in thgeir respective heats. There were seventeen cars on hand.
In the Modified Lite feature, presented by Big Daddy's and Rock Concrete, Codsy Bova was the early leader. A lap seven restart put Marck Marcucci to his outside. Marcucci assumed command soon thereafter.
Bova held on for second. Bill Stivason scored a caree-best Mercer finish of third. George Englert ran fourth and Tyler Frankenberry was fifth.
Positions six through ten belonged to Rick Ament, Kotie Kirkbride, Jason Johnston, Braeden Dillinger and Richard Lawson.
The heat winners were Cody Bova and Marcucci. There were sixteen cars in the pits.
The Mini Stock feature was first up, and, as usual, the little cars were exciting. Jordan Ehrenberg led at the drop of the green, but Tyler Fulton quickly took over. He came up lame on lap 3, giving the lead to defending champ, Pete Blazak.
Blazak held control for several laps. However, during a caution, his fuel pump failed and he had to retire from the race. That led to an intense dog fight on the restart.
Jerry Batcher was on the charge and he emerged from a four-wide run through turn four with the lead. Batcher never lopoked back, as he cruised to his second win of the year.
Finishing second was Adam Bulfone. Steve Longwell, Jr, bested Steve Longwell, Sr. and Trooper Tim Callahan was fifth.
Rudy Troples, Chase Anthony, Dennis Jeuther, Maria Nevin and Patricia Riffe rounded out the top ten.
Nineteen cars required two heats, which were won by Bratcher and Blazak.
Next week, Mercer Raceway Park will have a Saturday Night Live! racing program on Saturday and the truck and tractor pulls on Sunday.
B.O.S.S. Sprint Cars: Brandon Spithaler, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Dustin Smith, Landon Simon, Tont Beaber, Arnie Kent, Mark Cassella, Steve Irwin, Kirk Jeffries, Mike Burkin, Andre Leyfiled, Brandon Matus, Ron Rough, Gale Ruth, Sr., Brent Matus, Aaron Middaugh, Pete Miller, III. Scott Priester, Charlie Cornelius, Chuck Wilson, Lewie Christan, Adam Miller.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Rob Curtis, Eric Gabany, Kyle Fink, Rick Hall, Ron Eperthener, Rich Whitney, Dustin Martin, Shayne Izzo, Frank Guidace, Matt Reeher, Bill Paden, Lonny Riggs, Clyde Gumpp, J.R. McGinley, Rod Artman.
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Rusty Moore, DarrinHyde, Curtis J. Bish, Corey McPherson, Bobby Heim, Russell Byler, Brandon Johnston, A.J. Flick, Matt Wagner, Dan Lewis, Dillon Kineston, Travis Walsh, Bill Banick, Jr., Andy Thompson.
Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Jimmy Morris, Jacob Lagastee, Mike Miller, Justin Whitesell, Joe McEwen, Chris Matthews, Guy Griffin, Jason Scoville, Harold Braden, Jr., Joe Siembida, C.J. Jones, Andy Feil, Tom Sanders, Dalton Daniels. DNS: Dennis Wagner, Rob Felix.
Big Daddy's Speed Center/Rock Concrete Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, Cody Bova, Bill Stivason, George Englert, Tyler Frankenberry, Rick Ament, Kotie Kirkbride, Jason Johnston, Braeden Dillinger, Richard Lawson, Taylor Smith, Kyle Eckstrom, Jacob Bova, Jordie McClaine, Daniel Demyan. DNS: Andrew Bruce.
Mini Stocks: Jerry Batcher, Adam Bulfone, Steve ongwell, Jr., Steve Longwell, Sr., Tim Callahan, Rudy Troples, Chasae Anthony, Dennois Jeuther, Maria Nevin, Patricia Riffe, Jordan Ehrenberg, Joel Wisser, Wally Stearns, Tyler Fulton, Pete Blazak, Ed Haylett, Clay Wansor, Kris Anderson. DNS: Carl Keller.