Jones, McGinley, and Wyant also WinMercer, PA (August 23, 2014): Dale Blaney threw the monkey off his back. He won his first career Sprint Car race at Mercer Raceway Park, and it came against the All Stars Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series. The win came on the first night of the 25th Annual Western Pennsylvania Sprint Car Championship presented by Bonnell's Rod Shop. To get it, the nation's winningest Sprint Car driver had to fight off the challenges of Jac Haudenschild.
C.J. Jones won his second straight race, and fourth of the season, in the Outlaw Sprint Warriors presented by Bonnell's Rod Shop. After missing several events, J.R. McGinley returned to the Park and earned his second feature win of the season in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. The silver bullet, Randy Wyant, prevailed in the finale for the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, operating under the Open Stock rules.
"My brother won his first ever Sprint Car race over here, and dad won quite a few, so I was hoping that I was going to get one sooner or later," Blaney said. Continuing, Blaney noted "dad won a lot of races here and he ran every Saturday for a long, long time. It took me a long time to learn something, I guess." Perhaps the final instruction came this night. Blaney explained "Jac [Haudenschild] showed me the best way in three and four, he shoved it around me, and I got to run a little bit harder after that."
Dale Blaney blasted out to the lead at the drop of the green, with pole-sitter Rod George nipping at his heels. Before George could mount a counterattack, a caution was displayed for Dennis Wagner and Francis Sesco, who got together at the top of turn one. On the restart, Haudenschild made a big move, sweeping past George for the second spot. George was then under pressure from Lee Jacobs. Brandon Spithaler and Brandon Matus were lurking close behind.
Haudenschild rode the rim to close in on the All Stars points leader and four-time champion. As the leaders closed in on some lapped cars, Haudenschild got his nose out ahead of Blaney when they crossed for lap ten. George continued in third, with Lee Jacobs close behind.
When the leaders came down the front stretch for the halfway mark, it was Blaney who had the lead by a nose. Soon thereafter, the second and last caution slowed the event. Scott Priester spun off the top of turn three.
On the restart, Blaney surged ahead of Haudenschild. Lee Jacobs rolled the outside in turns one and two to grab third away from George. He pulled Danny Holtgraver along with him, and soon the two popular drivers were fighting for position. Brandon Matus, Brandon Spithaler and Tim Shaffer were locked in a battle within the top ten.
Blaney's car liked the clean air, and he was able to maintain a comfortable advantage over the Wild Child all the way to the finish. Jacobs was a distant third. Holtgraver did work his way past George for the fourth position. Shaffer crossed in sixth, ahead of Brandon Spithaler, Sheldon Haudenschild, Brandon Matus, and Adam Kekich.
The three heats were won by Priester, Brandon Spithaler, and Brandon Matus. There was no B Main. George scored the dash victory. The evening's fastest qualifier was Blaney, turning a lap of 13.771.
Joe McEwen grabbed the early lead with his Pace Performance GM 602 powered Outlaw Sprint Warrior. The former Bonnell's Rod Shop divisional champion led Andy Feil, Mike Marano, II, and C.J. Jones in the early going.
A caution just five laps into the race wiped out McEwen's lead. However, he was able to maintain control when racing resumed. Jones was the primary beneficiary of the restart, as he was able to move into the second spot soon thereafter.
At the halfway mark, Jones was closing in on McEwen. Feil continued in third, but teenager Tyler Denochick was pressing for that position in just his first start at the Park. George Hobaugh held fifth, ahead of Marano, Mike Miller, Ken Rossey, Greg Dobrosky, and Jim Morris.
Jones dove into the third turn on lap 12 to snatch the lead from McEwen. Meanwhile, Feil and Denochick were fighting hard for position.
As the leaders crossed for lap 15, Denochick and Feil got together in the third turn. Surprisingly, they were able to keep their cars moving. The lapped machine of Harold Braden, Jr. was not so fortunate. He came to a rest, causing the second and final stoppage of the race.
Jones led McEwen in the final uneventful five laps of the contest. Feil maintained third over Denochick, Marano was some distance back in fifth. Hobaugh, Miller, Morris, Rossey, and Dobrosky completed the top ten.
Denochick, Miller and Morris won their preliminaries. There was no B Main.
In the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, Rich Whitney set the pace for the first two laps, but all eyes were on veteran Tommy Kristyak, who went deep into the marbles in turn one to snag the lead as they raced through the turn. Kristyak opened a slight advantage, but a caution on lap seven for the disabled car of Frank Guidace, who had been running well inside the top five.
On the restart, McGinley worked into second and he was challenging for the lead. He soon overtook Kristyak. Jimmy Holden then took up the challenge for second, with Kyle Fink lurking close behind.
Despite two cautions, McGinley continued to lead, with Kristyak, Holden and Fink in a furious battle for second. Holden retired from the fray while the field was under caution, leaving Kristyak and Fink to do battle. Fink did assume second on a restart, but he only held the position for only lap.
A final caution set up a three lap dash for the cash. Kristyak used the inside line to take second away from Fink. Shawn Fleeger advanced to fourth, and Matt Reeher to fifth, in the final circuits. Next to cross was Makayla Guidace. Shane Izzo was the final car running atthe conclusion of the contest. Jimmy Holden was awarded eighth on the basis of laps completed. Rich Whitney and Kyle Martel were scored ninth and tenth on the same basis.
Frank Guidace and Fink were the tops in the qualifiers.
Randy Wyant took the lead from Shawn Lindemuth on the second lap and he did not look back. He sped away from the field. Meanwhile, Curt Bish worked his way to second, with Gary Miller and Brent Johnson fighting for positions with a fading Lindemuth.
Wyant swept under the checkers first. Bish trailed by a full straightaway. Miller, Johnson, and Pat Fielding rounded out the top five. Lindemuth held on for sixth. William Hurrelbrink was seventh. Bob McCann, Bob Schwartzmiller, and Rob Shook were the next finishers.
The preliminaries went to Bish and Fielding. There was no B Main.
All Stars Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars: Dale Blaney, Jac Haudenschild, Lee Jacobs, Danny Holtgraver, Rod George, Tim Shaffer, Brandon Spithaler, Sheldon Haudenschild, Brandon Matus, Adam Kekich, Andy McKisson, Carl Bowser, Ralph Spithaler, Scott Priester, Michael Bauer, Brent Matus, Jimmy Light, Dennis Wagner, Francis Sesco, Andy Feil (DNS), Eric Williams (DNS).
Bonnell's Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: C.J. Jones, Joe McEwen, Andy Feil, Tyler Denochick, Mike Marano, II, George Hobaugh, Mike Miller, Jimmy Morris, Ken Rossey, Greg Dobrosky, Clay Riney, Michael Bauer, Darren Pifer, Kotie Kirkbride, Devin Litwiler, Harold Braden, Jr., Cody Bova, Alex Paden, Eric L. Williams, Chad Matthews, Bob McMillin (DNS), Evan Kornbau (DNS).
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: J.R. McGinley, Tommy Kristyak, Kyle Fink, Shawn Fleeger, Matt Reeher, Makayla Guidace, Shane Izzo, Jimmy Holden, Rich Whitney, Kyle Martel, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Clyde Gumpp, Max Smoker, Frank Guidace, Lonny Riigs (DNS).
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Randy Wyant, Curtis J. Bish, Gary Miller, Jr., Brent Johnson, Pat Fielding, Shawn Lindemuth, William Hurrelbrink, Bob McCann, Bob Schwartzmiller, Rob Shook, Tim Bish, Brian Booher, Rob Bates, Brett McDonald, Garrett Calvert, Bill Banick, Jr., Rusty Moore, Jesse Brock, Curt Bish (DNS), Tim Burns (DNS).