Mercer Raceway Park celebrated Christmas in July on Saturday, July 25, along with other special promotions, and a number of children received brand new bicycles. This Saturday, August 1, they can test them out on the speedway, as children’s bicycle races will be added to the normal Saturday Night Live! racing program. The bicycle races are presented courtesy of Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Approved Toilet Rentals. Parents are reminded that all children must have helmets in order to compete.
There was plenty of action on the track last weekend, and the fans saw some great racing in all six of the divisions. This weekend promises more of the same.
Jack Sodeman, Jr., a former track champion who hails from North Jackson, OH, inherited the lead when another former title holder, Eric Williams, spun while attempting to put another racer a lap down. Williams, of Greenville, was making his first start for Jim Chappel in the 4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels 410 Sprint Cars. Sodeman’s victory, his first of the season, vaulted him ahead of fourth generation racer Brandon Matus, of Wampum, in the point standings. Adam Kekich and A.J. Flick also moved ahead in the rankings. WIlliams dropped to fifth with his own machine, as the points he earned were credited to Chappel under track rules. Dan Kuriger is currently tied with Williams in the standings but will certainly move up when WIlliams goes to the post for Chappel again.
Jimmy Morris earned his first top five finish since moving up from the Outlaw Sprint Warriors, and he will be looking for more for sure. Scott Priester had a disappointing weekend, as he struck the inside guardrail while driving the Martha Dionise Sprinter in a heat race. The damage was too severe to allow him to return for the feature, but will not keep him away from the track this weekend. Brent Matus, Michael Bauer, Gale Ruth, Jr., Paul Kish, Mike Miller, and Brandon Spithaler will also be in contention for the win. And, let us not forget John McCracken, Jr., who turned in a top ten run last weekend.
Darin Gallagher got his first career win in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors, and then he ventured over to Tri-City Raceway Park Sunday and did it again in the gala re-opening of that facility. Gallagher’s confidence is brimming now and he’s ready for the challenge of working up through the pack this week. Under track rules, he will most likely start no better than twelfth this week. George Hobaugh was second, and that was enough for him to regain the lead in the championship standings. Cody Bova slipped to second. Evan Kornbau and Mike Marano, II, another recent first-time winner, complete the top five.
The talent runs deep in this class, too, as Alex Paden, Darren Pifer, Devin Litwiler, George Englert, and Kotie Kirkbride, the lone distaff racer, hold positions in the top ten in the point standings. Andy Feil is just lurking outside that group, and Mike Miller is making headway after getting a late start to his season. A number of others, like Mark and Ken Rossey, C.J. Jones, Tim Callahan, Joe McEwen, Greg Dobrosky, Jacob Gomola, and Gary Kriess, have had spotty attendance records, but their presence is always felt whenever they roll out onto the track.
Tommy Kristyak picked up his second checkers of the season in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, and that put him solidly into the top five in the standings. Jimmy Holden still leads the way, over Lonny Riggs, Kyle Fink, and J.R. McGinley. Sid Unverzagt, Jr., a relative newcomer to Mercer Raceway Park, has adapted well to the tricky oval, and he will be contending for his first win some time soon. Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Shayne Izzo, Brian Schaffer, Rich Whitney, Kyle Holden, Kevin Green are always in the thick of things.
Mark Marcucci suffered just his second defeat of the season in the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites last weekend. He was challenging for the lead, and got involved with Kenny Meadows, and both drivers were sent to the rear of the field. Marcucci charged to the front again, but could not get by Shane Webb and Jacob Bova, both of whom trail him in the quest for the points crown. Steady Bill Stivason holds down fourth. Glenn Teeters has some work to do to get ready for action, as he crashed hard last week, but he should be ready to give it another go.
In the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, Ryan Moyer was an early retiree from the feature, but he still has a commanding lead over Gary Miller, Jr. and Pat Fielding. Curtis J. Bish also had mechanical problems last week, so he will be looking to rebound. Tim Burns grabbed the checkers, and he is getting into position for a strong finish to the 2015 season. Bobby Heim was a close second to Burns, and that was enough to move him into the top ten in the standings in this competitive class.
The full-fendered fury continues in the Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks. Who can stop Mike Thompson? Since taking the controls of the 2H car, he has dominated the competition. Steve Longwell, Sr. continues to rack up consistent finishes, and that has moved him ahead of Tyler Fulton. Fulton has been fast but his car has failed him a few too many times this season. Shane Shook and Russ Grossman, a teammate to Thompson, complete the top five.
The gates will open at 5 p.m. for spectators, and at 4 for the racers. Practice will begin at 6:30, and the first heat race will take the green flag at 7.
Regular event ticket pricing will apply. So, adults can see the action for just $13. Seniors (60+) will be admitted for $11, and students (9-15) for $5. Children (8 and under) will be free. Mom and dad can purchase a family pass for only $28, and that will also apply for up to four minors of any age. Pit passes will be $30.
The Second Annual Putsy Kekich Memorial will be the next event of the schedule. His grandson, Adam, scored an emotional victory in the inaugural running of this event that honors one of Mercer Raceway Park’s most colorful drivers. Then, one week later, on August 15, get ready for Smackdown, the annual contest between the ground pounding Big Block Modifieds of the BRP Modified Tour and Mercer’s own Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds.
Remember that you can get alerts regarding the cancellation of any racing event at Mercer Raceway Park sent directly to your smartphone or other electronic device. To register, please go to the track’s website, www.mercerracewaypark.com, click on the icon for RainedOut.com, and follow the easy steps.
About Mercer Raceway Park: Mercer Raceway Park is a 3/8-mile dirt track located minutes from both Interstate 79 and 80 just off Route 19 on Fairground Road in Mercer, Pa. Dirt track racing and quality family entertainment are presented weekly from late March through late September. For more information, check out www.mercerracewaypark.com, www.twitter.com/mercerraceway, or www.facebook.com/mercerracewaypark.