Mercer, PA (January 22, 2012): Mercer Raceway Park officially closed the books on the 2011 season with its gala banquet and awards ceremonies held at the Normandy Banquet Center, in Hermitage. In addition, speedway management made several improtant announcements for the 2012 racing season.
Receiving top honors were Bob Felmlee (Luxaire Heating and Cooling Sprint Cars), Guy Griffin (Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors), Jimmy Holden (Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds), Rusty Moore (Precise Racing Products Stock Cars), Darin Gallagher (Big Dog R/C Center Modified Lites), and Pete Blazak (Big Daddy's Speed Center Mini Stocks).
Banquet photos from track photographer Toni Carbone are posted online
Felmlee, of Franklin, claimed his second straight title in the Sprint Car division, topping another veteran, Rod George, of Kittanning, by seventeen points. Behind them, however, three younger pilots showed that the future of Sprint Car racing at the Park will be exciting for many years to come. Brandon Spithaler, of Evans City, burst onto the scene with his first win in the early part of the 2011 season, and the momentum carried him to third place in the standings. Finishing fourth and fifth were a pair of third-generation drivers. Adam "Bomb" Kekich, who also was named the track's Rookie of the Year, led Brandon "the Wheelman" Matus in the final tally.
Mercer, PA (January 8, 2012): Tim Gillette returned to the winner's circle in the region's most prestigious enduro, the Jack Frost 150 held at Mercer Raceway Park. Steve Longwell, Sr. opened the season with a big win the one Snowflake 25 for the Big Dog R/C Center Mini Stocks.
Although Gillette took the lead on lap 70, his run to the checkers was not an easy one. "I had just enough power," the enduro meister sighed in relief. He had de-tuned his trusty 1993 Toyota that has carried him to victory many times before. "I thought that the track was going to be slippery," he explained. However, mild temperatures melted the snow, and it didn't take the racers very long to turn the muck into a very tacky racing surface. Nonetheless, Gillette was able to hold off a last-lap challenge from Brian Sprague.
Track photographer Toni Carbone has posted her photos from the Jack Frost 150
Fifty-three cars lined up for the start of the enduro, with a pair of veteran Mini Stock drivers occupying the front row. Trooper Tim Callahan jumped out to the early lead, but Wally Stearns made a power move on the inside of turn four to snatch the lead away.
Stearns' bid for victory ended on lap six, when he retired from the race. That passed the baton to Aaron Hill, who led the next ten laps. Hill surrendered the klead to Brad Shaffer in the heavy traffic. Shaffer maintained control for five circuits beore Wally Naletko slipped out front.