Spithaler Takes Sprint Opener, Guidace, Kelly, Griffin, Sliter and McConnell also Win

Mercer, PA (April 6, 2102):  Brandon Spithaler is developing a taste for opening night victories at Mercer Raceway Park. For the second year in a row, the young driver from Evans City, PA captured the win in the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars. Frank Guidace topped the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. Joe Kelly won a thriller in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, while Guy Griffin scored the win in the ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Canadian Josh Sliter copped the Modified Lite feature presented by Big Daddy’s Speed Center and Rock Concrete. Mike McConnell picked up his first win of the season in the Mini Stock division.

Spithaler explained that his car was really locked down at the beginning of the race. “It was great for about the first two-thirds of the race, then it started to go away as the track slicked off.” So, he slid the wing back all the way, and hoped for the best. His concerns were for naught, as he maintained a comfortable margin over Jack Sodeman, Jr., who was making his first start at the track since his horrific accident last season at an All Star Circuit of Champions race in Canada.

brandon spithalerSpithaler shot out to the lead from the pole position and led the entire 25 lap distance in the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars. Sodeman took second on the opening lap, held the position throughout the race, and finished several car lengths behind the winner. Eric Williams took third, one notch ahead of Chris Myers.

Behind the top four, however, the drivers were swapping positions, much to the delight of the crowd. Veteran racers Bob Felmlee and Rod George came to life after restarts. Felmlee took off after the caution on lap ten, and George moved ahead after the caution on lap 18. George was the prime beneficiary, charging his way to fifth at the checkers.
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Mercer, PA (April 5, 2012):  When Bob Felmlee received the accolades this January for his fifth Sprint Car championship at Mercer Raceway Park, it appeared that there would be a vacancy on the throne. Felmlee had sold all of his equipment and he was still searching for a ride. However, he recently struck a deal with car owner Jim Chappel. So, the reigning points king will return to defend his crown this Saturday when the track plays host to the opening event for the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars.

For just the third time in his illustrious career, Felmlee will be a hired gun. Most of his success came behind the wheel of his own race cars. “It will be different,” Felmlee said. But, he is optimistic that he will work well with his new car owner. “Jim and I are both pretty laid back, so we should get along fine.”

The team will debut a brand new race car this Saturday. It will be a GF-1 chassis, just like the one that Felmlee drove in 2011. The team will choose between Rider and Garrett race engines. “Jim has good stuff, I am excited about the opportunities,” Felmlee said. He was at the shop earlier this week to install his seat and shoulder harness. The crew still has some finishing touches to make, but they will be ready for action when the pit gates open at 4 p.m.
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Mercer, PA (April 1, 2012):  Keith Barbara, of South Park, PA, roared to victory in the Chiller Thriller before a large opening night crowd at Mercer Raceway Park. In taking the round one of the UFo Race Championship, the former series titlist scored his first career victory at the track. Greg Johnson, of Busti, NY, capitailized on another driver’s mechanical woes to win the UEMS Modified race. The Open Stocks presented by Precise Racing Products went down to the wire, with Rusty Martz taking the cool thousand dollar victory. Lucas Sprouse topped the Mini Stock finale.

Photos from Carbone Motorsports Photography, our track photographers for 2012, can be accessed from our PHOTO page.

keith barbara won the ufo late model featureIn the middle stages of the race, Barbara was able to stretch his lead by working the inside line. “My visor was fogging up, so I did not know where I was at,” the winner said. “So, I just stayed on the bottom.” Barbara also creditted his tire choice as a key to the victory. “I went soft on tires, and I think the other guys went with harder tires.” That meant that he was quicker on the restarts than his opponents.

Barbara shot out to an early lead, followed by Gregg Satterlee, Greg Oakes and Garrett Krummert, a former competitor in the Mercer 358 Modified class. A caution for Corey Conley set up a series of restarts with two laps down. This seemed to be a good development for Krummert, who had trouble negotiating the outside of turn two each time. Unfortunately for him, damage sustained in one of his excursions soon sent him pitside.

In the middle stages of the race, the man on the move was Russell King. He took third on lap 12, and he gave chase to Barbara and second place runner Satterlee. However, King was never able to overtake them.
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