Sodeman Hustles to First Win of Season at Mercer Raceway Park

Gallagher, Kristyak, Burns, Webb and Thompson also Prevail

Jack Sodeman, Jr. survived a seven-car wreck on the initial green flag and went on to win the feature for the 4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels 410 Sprint Cars on a busy night at Mercer Raceway Park. In addition to celebrating Christmas in July, and Herr’s Meet Your Heroes Night, there were fireworks courtesy of Pizza Joe’s. It was Sodeman’s first win of the season at the Park.

Also taking wins were Sodeman’s protege, Darin Gallagher, in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Tommy Kristyak in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, Tim Burns in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, Shane Webb in the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites, and Mike Thompson in the Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks.

Sodeman said that the opening lap skirmish may have worked to his advantage. “I think that gave me a little bit more of an incentive to do well.” He was put on the hot seat by starting towards the rear when the race resumed, but it did not take him long to get to he front. “I didn’t know exactly how it was going to turn out, but the car was really good, it hooked the bottom and we just chose everything right tonight.” Sodeman also noted that he got a boost from Lady Luck when leader Eric Williams spun while lapping another car. “The luck came our way tonight. It sucks for Turkey (Williams), he had a good car and I think we would have had a heck of a race.” Sodeman continued, “we had about eight laps left there, we might have been able to run him down and put on a show for the fans, but, unfortunately, he just got caught up in lapped traffic.”

Eric Williams was ready to take his new ride, the Jim Chappel 8 recently vacated by former track champion Rod George, to victory. He jumped out to a quick advantage over Adam Kekich, but the fast start was vacated by a seven-car wreck in the middle of the pack. The involved drivers included Sodeman, last week’s winner, Brandon Matus, his dad, Brent, Zach Morrow, John McCracken, Jr., Paul Kish, and Dennis Wagner, who toppled his Sprinter. Wagner was unhurt, but could not continue, and neither did the Matus teammates. All others were able to rejoin the fray.

Williams repeated his powerful drive off turn four to take the lead over Kekich, Sodeman, A.J. Flick, and Dan Kuriger. Williams dominated the early stages of the race. But, Sodeman took second by lap five, and he was getting quicker as the race wore on.

Nonetheless, Williams led through the first 18 laps, which were run under the green. While he was attempting to pass a lapper on the inside of turns three and four, Williams got too close to at ute tire positioned on the inside berm. Williams made contact with the tire, and did a 360, as he desperately tried to keep his car moving to avoid a yellow. Unfortunately, the car struck another tire as it came back around, and WIlliams was done for the evening.

That handed the lead over to Sodeman, with Kekich, Kuriger, and Flick in tow. Jimmy Morris and Mike Miller were batting for positions in the top five, with Michael Bauer looking on.

Sodeman completed the last seven laps without incident. Kekich began to close in in the final rounds, but he ran out of time to make a serious bid for the win. Flick rallied for at third place finish, ahead of Morris and Miller. Bauer was sixth and John McCracken, Jr. placed seventh. Kuriger and Morrow were next, based on laps completed. Williams was credited with the tenth spot, also on laps completed.

The heat winners were Flick and Bauer. There was no B Main.

In the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Darin Gallagher raced out to an early lead that he would never surrender. George Hobaugh, a frequent winner in the class, could not challenge the former Modified Lite track champion. Greg Dobrosky ran a consistent race to get third. Alex Paden closed fast to get the fourth spot. Andy Feil placed fifth.

George Englert, Darren Pifer, Cody Bova, Evan Kornbau, and Devin Litwiler rounded out the top ten.

The heat winners were Mark Rossey and Hobaugh. There was no B Main.

Tommy Kristyak led wire to wire to get his second triumph of the season in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. He withstood an early challenge from J.R. McGinley, and, although he surrendered the lead briefly to Rob Curtis following a restart, when the field came back to the scoring loop, Kristyak was back out front. Lonny Riggs climbed to second, with Kyle Fink in third. Curtis held on for fourth, one spot ahead of Jeff Schaffer, Jr.

Shayne Izzo, Kyle Holden, Kevin Green, and Terry Young were the final finishers. McGinley was awarded tenth based on laps completed.

The preliminaries belonged to Kristyak and Jimmy Holden, who was an early retiree. There was no B Main.

In the Precise Racing products Stock Cars, Tim Burns was the winner. Bobby Heim raced into second, but could not overhaul the fleet Burns machine. Andy Thompson was third. Early leader Pat Fielding held on for fourth. Garrett Calvert was fifth, despite being involved in a pair of cautions. Joe Stajnrajh crossed before Charlie Baptiste. Scott Byers was eighth, Points leader Ryan Moyer was ninth, based on laps completed, and newcomer Matt Lozowski was tenth. Gary Miller, Jr. and Moyer topped the qualifications. There was no B Main.

Shane Webb held off Jacob Bova and a hard-charging Mark Marcucci for the win in the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites. It was looking like Kenny Meadows and Marcucci would battle for the win, but Meadows spun with a little help from his friend, sending them both to the tail for the restart. Bill Stivason was fourth and Meadows came back for fifth. Dusty Frantz and Shane Pfeuffer were next. Glenn Teeter was unable to start the feature after flipping in his heat. He was unhurt. The heat winner was Marcucci. There was no B Main.

Michael Tompson copped his third Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stock feature in a row. He assumed command one lap after early leader Tyler Fulton came up lame following a lap 6 restart. Steve Longwell, Jr. led the one lap in between. Adam Reseigh crossed in second, but failed post-race tech. That moved Adam Perry up in the running order. Officially placing third was Steve Longwell, Jr. His father, Steve Sr. was fourth, and Shane Shook was fifth. Todd Kougher, Ed Haylett, Rudy Troples, Karlee Longwell, and Tyler Fulton were sixth through tenth. The heat wins went to Perry and Thompson. There was no B Main.

Next week, there will be bicycle races for the children, courtesy of Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Approved Toilet Rentals. Helmets will be required for all participants. The action on the oval will be a Saturday Night Live! racing event.

4 Your Car Connection/World of Wheels 410 Sprint Cars: Jack Sodeman, Jr., Adam Kekich, A.J. Flick, Jimmy Morris, Mike Miller, Michael Bauer, John McCracken, Jr., Dan Kuriger, Zach Morrow, Eric Williams, Gale Ruth, Jr., Paul Kish, Brent Matus, Dennis Wagner, Brandon Matus, Scott Priester (DNS).

Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Darin Gallagher, George Hobaugh, Greg Dobrosky, Alex Paden, Andy Feil, George Englert, Darren Pifer, Cody Bova, Evan Kornbau, Devin Litwiler, Brandon Matus, Joe McEwen, Mike Miller, Mark Rossey, Ken Rossey, Gary Kriess, Bobby Siegel, Kotie Kirkbride, Mike Marano, II (DNS).

Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Tommy Kristyak, Lonny Riggs, Kyle Fink, Rob Curtis, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Shayne Izzo, Kyle Holden, Kevin Green, Terry Young, J.R. McGinley, Brian Schaffer, Jimmy Holden, Rich Whitney, Sid Unverzagt, Jr.

Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Tim Burns, Bobby Heim, Andy Thompson, Pat Fielding, Garrett Calvert, Joe Stajnrajh, Charlie Baptiste. Scott Byers, Ryan Moyer, Matt Lozowski, Gary Miller, Jr., Curtis J. Bish, Chris Myers.

Rock Concrete Modified Lites: Shane Webb, Jacob Bova, Mark Marcucci, Bill Stivason Kenny Meadows, Dusty Frantz, Shane Pfeuffer, Glenn Teeter (DNS).

Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing COllectibles Mini Stocks: Michael Tompson, Adam Perry, Steve Longwell, Jr., Steve Longwell, Sr., Shane Shook, Todd Kougher, Ed Haylett, Rudy Troples, Karlee Longwell, Tyler Fulton, Mike McConnell, Adam Reseigh (DQ).

Matus and Holden Hold Serve as Mercer Mid-Season Champions

Bova, Bish, Thompson, and Marcucci also Win

CodyBovaIt was a good night to be a points leader at Mercer Raceway Park. In four of the six classes, the points leader solidified his hold on his respective championship contest by capturing a feature event. So, it was Brandon Matus (4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels 410 Sprint Cars), Jimmy Holden (Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds), Michael Thompson (Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks), and Mark Marcucci (Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites) who padded their points leads. Cody Bova (Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors), and Curtis J. Bish (Precise Racing Products Stock Cars) also earned Midseason Championships. Bova dedicated the win to his mother, Sherri, who is an eleven year survivor of cancer, as this was the track’s benefit race for the American Cancer Society.

“I can’t complain, I started on the pole, especially here you’ve got to take advantage,” Matus said. “We’ve been having an up and down year, and I can’t seem to get going anywhere else, but I’ve been good at Mercer this year, so I’ll take that.” Matus had a challenge early from his friend, Scott Priester, and Matus explained how he was able to hold him off. “I heard him in three and four, and I just kinda washed up the track to use the whole track, and he never lifted.”

As the 410 Sprint Car points leader entering this night of action, Brandon Matus got the pole position for the 4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels finale when he transferred from his heat race. Next to him was defending track champion, Eric Williams. They got off to an early advantage over Jack Sodeman, Jr., Scott Priester, Dan Kuriger, Jimmy Morris, and A.J. Flick. Priester was showing lots of power early, as he rocketed into the second position.

Priester was closing rapidly on the leader when he slid off the edge of the track going down the back stretch on the third lap. While Priester lost a lot of ground, he maintained second position. It all became a moot point when a three-car tangle slowed the pace and allowed him to close back up to the rear bumper of Matus’ red machine. George Hobaugh, Mike Miller, and Eric L. Williams were involved. Nobody was injured, but only Hobaugh was able to continue.

On the restart, Matus jumped out ahead of Priester and he continued to pour it on. In the long green flag period that followed, Matus built a commanding lead of more than a full straightaway. Priester held the second position, but he was under attack from Williams and Sodeman near the end of that run. A caution bunched things up again with 21 laps completed. The caution was for former track regular, Jimmy Light, who was paying a rare visit to the area.

Matus completed the four lap dash to the checkered flag without incident. Williams climbed into second on lap 23, bringing Sodeman along for good measure. Priester slid up to the frontstretch wall in his desperate attempt to regain the lost positions. Although he did make contact with the concrete, he was able to keep his car moving and brought it home in one piece in the fourth spot. Dan Kuriger crossed right behind him.

Positions six through ten went to A.J. Flick, who did run as high as fifth in the middle stages of the contest, Adam Kekich, who came from 14th on the grid, Brandon Spithaler, Jimmy Morris, and Ohio invader Jimmy Colvin.

The preliminaries belonged to Williams and Brandon Matus. There was no B Main.

Jimmy “the Jet” Holden romped to victory in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified go, which went non-stop. Lonny Riggs took second, ahead of Kyle Fink, J.R. McGinley, and Sid Unverzagt, Jr. Shayne Izzo, Brian Schaffer, Kyle Holden, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., and Tommy Kristyak completed the top ten. Rich Whitney and Izzo won their respective heats. There was no B Main.

In the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Cody Bova followed points leader George Hobaugh, Jr. for the first fifteen laps. Bova moved ahead the next go round, and he kept control the rest of the way. Hobaugh held on for second. Evan Kornbau, Alex Paden, and Mike Miller completed the top five. Brandon Spithaler, Darren Pifer, Mike Marano, II, Andy Feil, and Devin Litwiler were next. Darin Gallagher had a sure top five finish vanish in the final laps, as his right rear tire began to go down. Gallagher and Marano topped their respective heats. There was no B Main.

Curtis J. Bish returned to the speedway and demonstrated the winning form in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars. However, points leader Ryan Moyer made things interesting on the last lap, as he pulled along side Bish in the final corners. The margin of victory was a scant 0.037 seconds! Tim Burns was a close third. Pat Fielding was fourth, with Bobby Heim in fifth. Gary Miller, Jr. faded to sixth. Andy Thompson, Terry Wheeler, Joe Stajnrajh, and Dennis Clark were the remaining finishers. Fielding and Moyer were top qualifiers. There was no B Main.

Michael Thompson registered the win in the Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks. He was pressured early by Tyler Fulton, and did surrender the lead to him briefly. However, soon after Thompson took the lead away, Fulton retired from action. Steve Longwell, Sr., George Settlemeyer, Rudy Troples, and Todd Kougher held positions two through five. Shane Shook and Karlee Longwell were the final racers to finish. Fulton, Jordan Ehrenberg, and Todd Hanlon were scored in eighth through tenth based on laps completed. Fulton and Thompson topped the first round action. There was no B Main.

Mark Marcucci led wire to wire in the non-stop Modified Lite race presented by Rock Concrete Supply. Shane Webb started and finished second. Jason Darocha, Jacob Bova, Bill Stivason, Glenn Teeters, and Dusty Frantz were the other runners. Levi Spinnewebber was unable to make the call for the nightcap. Marcucci also scored in the heat race.

Next weekend, the speedway will celebrate Christmas in July. There will be extra money available for the racers and gifts for the children.

4 Your Car Connection/World of Wheels 410 Sprint Cars: Brandon Matus,Eric Williams, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Scott Priester, Dan Kuriger, A.J. Flick, Adam Kekich, Brandon Spithaler, Jimmy Morris, Jimmy Colvin, Brent Matus, Michael Bauer, Paul Kish, Gale Ruth, Sr., John McCracken, Jr., Jimmy Light, George Hobaugh, Jr., Mike Miller, Eric L. Williams.

Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Lonny Riggs, Kyle Fink, J.R. McGinley, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Shayne Izzo, Brian Schaffer, Kyle Holden, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Tommy Kristyak, Rich Whitney, Kevin Green, Eric Martin (DNS).

Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Cody Bova, George Hobaugh, Jr., Evan Kornbau, Alex Paden, Mike Miller, Brandon Spithaler, Darren Pifer, Mike Marano, II, Andy Feil, Devin Litwiler, Darin Gallagher, George Englert, Kotie Kirkbride, Tim Callahan, Bob McMillin (DNS).

Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Curtis J. Bish, Ryan Moyer, Tim Burns, Pat Fielding, Bobby Heim, Gary Miller, Jr., Andy Thompson, Terry Wheeler, Joe Stajnrajh, Dennis Clark,Garrett Calvert.

Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Michael Thompson, Steve Longwell, Sr., George Settlemeyer, Rudy Troples, Todd Kougher, Shane Shook, Karlee Longwell, Tyler Fulton, Jordan Ehrenberg, Todd Hanlon, James Tasker.

Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, Shane Webb, Jason Darocha, Jacob Bova, Bill Stivason, Glenn Teeters, Dusty Frantz, Levi Spinnewebber (DNS).

Holden Scores Again in 358 Modifieds, Lunger Best in Crate Lates

Jones, Thompson, Wagner, and Marcucci also Triumph

Jimmy Holden battles Frank GuidaceDefending track champion Jimmy Holden scored his second win of the season in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds at Mercer Raceway Park. He used a lapped car to maximum advantage as he raced by Lonny Riggs in turns three and four on lap 17 and then he held off Riggs in a two lap run to the checkers.

Dennis Lunger cruised to the $1,500 win in the unsanctioned Crate Late Model go, while C.J. Jones prevailed in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors.

Mike Thompson led the way in the Mini Stocks, presented by Epertherner’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. Bryan Wagner topped the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, and Mark Marcucci won the nightcap for the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites.

Holden explained his winning move on Riggs, made with the assistance of a lapped car. “It would have been close, I think we were catching him, but as far as the timing went, its tough to say (if he would have been able to make the pass).” Holden was convinced that he had the better car. “Things just went our way tonight.”

Riggs blasted out from the pole position to build a commanding lead. Young Kyle Holden, making his first start of the season, was impressive in the runner-up spot. Cousin Jimmy raced along in third, with Frankie Guidace and Kyle Fink rounding out the top five.

Jimmy Holden took second away from Kyle by lap 10, and he immediately went after Riggs. He steadily cut into the margin, and by lap 15, he was nipping on Riggs’ heels. Holden made the winning move two laps later with a little help from a lapped car.

With Jimmy Holden out front, and Riggs in second, it looked as though the racers might make it all the way to the finish without any interruption. It was not to be, however, as the cars racing in positions three, four, and five, tangled with two lapped cars in the second corner. That ended the outstanding effort of Kyle Holden. Also eliminated was Frankie Guidace, who has had nothing but bad luck so far in 2015. The other top five car involved, Kyle Fink, was able to resume the action.

Jimmy Holden selected the inside line for the restart. While Riggs raced hard into turn one, he was unable to get his nose ahead again. Holden pulled away coming off turn two and led the rest of the way. Riggs was second, but veteran Tommy Kristyak used the restart to pick up valuable points in his quest for a track championship. Rob Curtis placed fourth. Last week’s winner, J.R. McGinley was fifth.

Fink rebounded to sixth. JeffSchaffer, Jr. edged out Brian Schaffer for seventh. Sid Unversagt, Jr. was ninth, and Shayne Izzo was tenth, despite spinning in turn three on the final lap.

Rich Whitney and Frankie Guidace scored in their respective heat races. There was no B Main.

Lunger was happy to get the win, but disappointed that more of his brethren did not support the show. “We really love this place, we wish they had the Crate cars more often, but we understand that we won’t get the chances to race here if the racers will not support the show.” Lunger talked the race up the night before at another area track. “I tried to get cars, and I think we got a couple of them to come down,” he said.

Bobby Whitling set the pace in the Crate Late Model feature event, with Dennis Lunger, Matt Latta, Alan Dellinger, and Joe Long holding spots in the top five. Dellinger tangled with Russ Byler in turn two on lap four, and both competitors were out of the race.

On the restart, Whitling rode the cushion, but he got a bit too wide in turn four, and that left the middle open for Lunger. Lunger drove by, and never looked back. One brief caution did bring him back to the rest of the field, but nobody could keep up with him over the remaining laps.

At the checkers, it was Lunger ahead of Matt Latta, Whitling, Khole Wanzer, and Long. Breyton Santee was the final finisher. Byler and Dellinger were scored in seventh and eighth based on laps completed.

Russ Byler topped the preliminary for the Crate Late Models. There was no B Main.

C.J. Jones was the surprise winner in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. He was racing in fifth when an unusual set of events eliminated the first four cars on lap 14. Mark Rossey, Cody Bova, and Jeff Taylor were collected by a lapped car in turn four. Meanwhile, the leader, George Hobaugh, Jr., got together with another lapped car in turn three. That moved Jones to the front, and he delivered the win from there.

Mike Miller, Darin Gallagher, and Jake Gomola, other racers who benefited from the shuffles, were second through fourth. Bova made a daring run back through the field in the final six laps to take fifth.

Terry Young, subbing for his niece, Kotie Kirkbride, was sixth. Mike Marano, II was seventh. Hobaugh came back to eighth without the nose wing of his machine. Ninth belonged to Chris Matthews. George Englert was tenth.

Heat winners were Cody Bova and C.J. Jones. There was no B Main.

Mike Thompson was a last minute driver change in one of the Grossman’s Garage Mini Stocks, but he made the most of the opportunity to drive the machine. He romped to the victory over Steve Longwell, Sr., Tyler Fulton, and Shane Shook. Steve Longwell, Jr. was fifth.

Ed Haylett made his return to the speedway a successful one, taking the sixth spot. Caleb Hickok, in the other Grossman car, was seventh. Rudy Troples was eighth after missing a few recent contests. Jordan Ehrenberg was ninth. Todd Kougher was unable to start the event.

Caleb Hickok was the Mini meister in the heat race. There was no B Main.

Bryan Wagner was the second substitute driver to go to victory lane this night. He was aboard the car normally driven Ryan Moyer. Wagner adapted quickly to the unfamiliar machine. He fought off an early challenge from Gary Miller, Jr. But, over the second half of the race, William Hurrelbrink was applying the pressure to Wagner.

Wagner kept his cool and drove to the win. Following Hurrelbrink to the finish was Tim Burns. Curtis J. Bish raced from twelfth to fourth. Rob Shook was fifth. Invader Jim Fosnaught was sixth. Miller took seventh. Mark Sander, Joe Stajnrajh and Leigh Wheeler completed the top ten.

Curtis J. Bish and Mark Sanders went green to checkers in their qualification runs. There was no B Main.

Mark Marcucci regained the winning ways in the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites. He was over a second ahead of Shane Pfeuffer at the finish. Bill Stivason turned in his best finish ever at the Park, a third, while early leader Shane Webb was fourth. Jacob Bova led Mike Flockerzi, Jason Johnson, and Glenn Teeters to the stripe.

Mark Marcucci loped to the win in his opening event. There was no B Main.

Next week will feature the Auto Racers for Kids charity event. Each of the Saturday Night Live! classes will race for extra cash and bragging rights. This event is made possible by Bonnell’s Collision Center. All proceeds benefit disadvantaged youth in the region. Come out early, as there will be an auction of racing memorabilia held behind the stands to help raise funds for the needy children.

Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Lonny Riggs, Tommy Kristyak, Rob Curtis, J.R. McGinley, Kyle Fink, JeffSchaffer, Jr., Brian Schaffer, Sid Unversagt, Jr., Shayne Izzo, Kevin Green, Makayla Guidace, Kyle Holden, Frank Guidace, Rich Whitney, Clyde Gumpp (DNS).
Crate Late Models: Dennis Lunger, Matt Latta, Bobby Whitling, Khole Wanzer, Joe Long, Breyton Santee, Russ Byler, Alan Dellinger.

Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: C.J. Jones, Mike Miller, Darin Gallagher, Jake Gomola, Terry Young, Mike Marano, II, George Hobaugh, Jr., Chris Matthews, George Englert, Devin Litwiler, Tim Callahan, Mark Rossey, Jeff Taylor, Darren Pifer, Andy Feil, Andrew Fescemyer, Alex Paden (DNS).

Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Minis Stocks: Mike Thompson, Steve Longwell, Sr., Tyler Fulton, Shane Shook, Steve Longwell, Jr., Ed Haylett, Caleb Hickok, Rudy Troples, Jordan Ehrenberg, Todd Kougher (DNS).

Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Bryan Wagner, William Hurrelbrink, Tim Burns, Curtis J. Bish, Rob Shook, Jim Fosnaught, Gary Miller, Jr., Mark Sanders, Joe Stajnrajh, Leigh Wheeler, Garrett Calvert, Dillon Kineston, Andy Thompson, Dennis Clark (DNS), Pat Fielding (DNS).

Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, Shane Pfeuffer, Bill Stivason, Shane Webb, Jacob Bova, Mike Flockerzi, Jason Johnson, Glenn Teeters.

Matus B.O.S.S. at Mercer; McGinley Scores Emotional Win

Bova, Bish, and Fulton Also Victorious

Mercer, PA (May 23, 2015): Brandon Matus, the third generation racer from Wampum, PA, was the Mo Vaughn Transport B.O.S.S. winner at Mercer Raceway Park. He led another Mercer regular, Gale Ruth, Jr. to the finish. Taking third for the invaders was Mike Miller.

Other winners included J.R. McGinley in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. McGinley dedicated the win to the memory of his late mother, Pam, who recently succumbed to brain cancer. In the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Cody Bova scored his second win of the season, holding off points leader George Hobaugh, Jr., in the process. Curtis J. Bish romped to the win in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, as did Tyler Fulton in the Mini Stocks presented by Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles.


Brandon Matus was unsure whether he was even going to come to the track tonight. He struggled in a winged 410 Sprint show at another area speedway the night before, and “I ran this race last year, and I really $uck*d.” But, he got tips from several friends from other areas of the country where the Sprints regularly race without wings. “Some friends from Indiana gotta get the credit, because they set the car up for me.” Hopefully, Matus saved the notes for next year’s running of this race.

Andy Feil rode the cushion in turns one and two to take the early lead in the B.O.S.S. feature event. He was followed by Brandon Spithaler and Shawn Westerfield. Feil withstood Spithaler’s challenges for the first three laps. However, on lap four, Feil spun in turn four. In the scramble that immediately followed, he collected Westerfield. Aaron Middaugh was also involved in the caution. He and Westerfield were able to continue, but Feil was done for the night.

That put local favorite Brandon Spithaler on the point for the restart, with teenager Cooper Clouse in second, Brandon Matus in third, and Gale Ruth, Jr. and Jack Sodeman, Jr. rounding out the top five. Soon after racing resumed, Matus rode the rim in turns one and two to take second from Clouse. Nonetheless, Spithaler still had a commanding lead.

A pair of cautions slowed the pace, the second one coming when Jack Sodeman spun after being struck from behind by Kirk Jeffries. Sodeman managed to keep his car moving, but several others spun. When the dust finally settled, Arnie Kent was sitting in the corner. His car was hit by Dustin Smith. While the cars were circulating under the yellow, Spithaler parked his car in turn two, the victim of an apparent blown radiator hose.

Matus thus inherited the lead, with Clouse, Ruth, Sodeman, and Miller right behind. Two laps after the green was displayed, Ruth moved into second, and he started to close the gap on Matus. Matus was up to the test, tough. Indeed, he maintained his advantage, despite two more brief interruptions before the checkers flew.

As the laps wound down, it seemed as though there would be a Mercer sweep of the top three positions. But, Sodeman got hung up on the cushion in turns one and two on lap 23, and then he made contact with another car. Sodeman lost valuable ground, but was able to keep moving to the finish.

Behind the home-town drivers, Matus and Ruth, was Miller, Clouse, and Kent Walters. Arnie Kent recovered from two mishaps to earn the sixth position. Chad Wilson led Sodeman to the stripe. Middaugh was ninth, and Bob McMillen tenth.

The heat winners for the B.O.S.S. Sprints were Gale Ruth, Jr., Shawn Westerfield, Brandon Spithaler, and Andy Feil. The B Main belonged to Chad Wilson.

J.R. McGinley registered an emotional win in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. McGinley jumped out to a big lead as the racers completed the first 17 laps without interruption. However, two more cautions slowed his trek to victory lane. “I got worried,” he said about the rash of late-race cautions.

Little did he know that we would have to fend off a stiff challenge from Lonny Riggs to score the win. “I fired right here (pointing to turn four) and I could hear him right beside me and I wasn’t going to give it up.” But, on that final restart, Lonny Riggs mustered up the horsepower to move into the lead as he battled side by side with McGinley. McGinley fought back coming off the second corner and there was slight contact between the two as they raced toward turn three. “I thought that I was going to get pushed out of first again,” McGinley explained. He was referring to a similar skirmish that he had with Jimmy Holden the last time out, when Holden went on to victory. Both drivers kept control of their mounts, but Riggs pushed high entering the corner, and McGinley hugged the bottom to take command. “We rode each other fairly hard, and he pushed hard into three and four and that gave me the bottom to get it.”

McGinley thus powered off turn four to the popular triumph. Tommy Kristyak followed him into the second spot. Riggs recovered to take third. Kyle Fink was fourth and Richard Whitney crossed in fifth, after racing second for the first 17 rounds.

Jimmy Holden, Clyde Gumpp, Brian Schaffer, Max Smoker, and Frank Guidace completed the top ten.

Jimmy Holden and Tommy Kristyak prevailed in their respective heats. There was no B Main.

In the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors, C.J. Jones raced out front until Cody Bova swept by him just before the halfway mark. Evan Kornbau was turning in an impressive performance until he slipped off the edge of the backstretch with 14 laps completed. A number of other racers checked up, and that caused a four-car tangle in the second corner.

Bova led the rest of the way to earn the win. Hobaugh came back from an early race incident to take the second spot. Jones held on for third. Darren Pifer passed Rob Felix late in the contest for fourth. Kotie Kirkbride was sixth, Mark Rossey, Devin Litwiler, Chris Matthews, and Tim Callahan completed the top ten.

Preliminaries went to George Hobaugh and Darren Pifer. There was no B Main.

In the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, Curtis J. Bish drove to a convincing win. Along the way, he had to avoid contact with a lapped car, but, other than that, there was no stopping his ride to victory. Ryan Moyer fought off Gary Miller, Jr. for second. Tim Burns and Dillon Kinneston were fourth and fifth.

Andy Thompson, Pat Fielding, Curt Bish, Dennis Clark, and Joe Stajnrajh completed the top ten.

Tim Burns and Curtis J. Bish copped their qualifiers. There was no B Main.

Tyler Fulton was just as dominant in the nightcap for the Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks. Steve Longwell, Sr. came through the field for second. Shane Shook, Patrick Hanlon, and Todd Kougher were the remaining finishers. The balance of the field was scored in this order based on laps completed: Roger Wigton, Josh Ehrenberg, Caleb Hickok, and Jordan Ehrenberg. Steve Longwell, Jr. was unable to start the event.

Jordan Ehrenberg scored in the only heat for the Mini Stocks. There was no B Main.

Next week, Mercer Raceway Park will present a triple-header of Sprint Cars. Joining the regular 4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels 410 Sprints and the Bonnell’s Rod Shops Outlaw Sprint Warriors will be the Patriot Sprint Tour 360 Sprint Cars. Also on the card will be the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds and the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites.

B.O.S.S. Sprint Cars: Brandon Matus, Gale Ruth, Jr., Mike Miller, Cooper Clouse, Kent Walters, Arnie Kent, Chad Wilson, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Aaron Middaugh, Bob McMillen, Jake Gomola, Brent Matus, Kirk Jeffries, Michael Fischesser, Cody Gardner, Shawn Westerfield, Justin Owen, Chuck WIlson, Brandon Spithaler, Dustin Smith, Andy Feil, Davey Jones.

Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: J.R. McGinley, Tommy Kristyak, Lonny Riggs, Kyle Fink, Richard Whitney, Jimmy Holden, Clyde Gumpp, Brian Schaffer, Max Smoker, Frank Guidace, Makayla Guidace, Sid Unversagt, Jr., Jeff Schaffer, Tommy Holden, Rob Curtis, Shayne Izzo (DNS

Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Cody Bova, George Hobaugh, Jr., C.J. Jones, Darren Pifer, Rob Felix, Kotie Kirkbride, Mark Rossey, Devin Litwiler, Chris Matthews, Tim Callahan, Evan Kornbau, Mike Marano, II, Greg Dobrosky, Alex Paden, Darin Gallagher, George Englert (DNS), Ken Rossey (DNS).

Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Curtis J. Bish, Ryan Moyer, Gary Miller, Jr., Tim Burns, Dillon Kinneston, Andy Thompson, Pat Fielding, Curt Bish, Dennis Clark, Joe Stajnrajh, Mark Sanders, Terry Wheeler, Garrett Calvert, Michael Tonkinson (DNS), Jacob Billyk (DNS), David Baker (DNS).

Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Tyler Fulton, Steve Longwell, Sr., Shane Shook, Patrick Hanlon, Todd Kougher, Roger Wigton, Josh Ehrenberg, Caleb Hickok, Jordan Ehrenberg, Steve Longwell, Jr. (DNS).

Williams and Holden Show Championship Form at Mercer Raceway Park

Callahan, Hobaugh, Meister, and Hooks also Prevail

On Pittsburgh Circle Track Club night at Mercer Raceway Park, a pair of defending divisional champions, Eric “Turkey” WIlliams (4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels 410 Sprints) and Jimmy Holden (Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds) went to victory lane.

Also taking wins were Tim Callahan (Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks), George Hobaugh, Jr. (Bonnel’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors), Aaron Meister (Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites, and Shawn Hooks (Precise Racing Products Stock Cars).

eric williamsBrandon Matus blasted out to an early lead in the 410 Sprint feature, presented by 4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels. Francis Sesco, the pole man, held second briefly, but Eric Williams and Jack Sodeman, Jr. quickly nudged him back a couple of spots in the running order. Matus could not get away from WIlliams and Sodeman as he began to work his way through traffic.

Sodeman just passed Williams moments before the race was halted on lap 12 due to an emergency in the pit area requiring the attention of the track medical crew. During that extended red, Williams gathered his thoughts. “My mind doesn’t always work too fast in these 25 lap races. I had a long time to think about it.”

On the restart, Matus and and Sodeman held their positions, However, the start was waived off when Joe Kubiniec brought his car to a stop in turn four. That gave Williams another shot at the leaders. This time, he showed that he clearly had the fastest car on the track, and the plan that he devised under the extended red worked to perfection the second time around.

“He (Sodeman) was real good on the bottom, so it was a pretty safe thing where he was going to go on the restart,” WIlliams said. He acknowledged that Sodeman had the edge the first time. “He drove away on that first restart but then we had that early caution, so I just thought we’d take it to the top and see what happens.” Williams concluded, “it stuck, and it worked, and now we’re here (in Victory Lane). Williams rode the cushion and passed both Sodeman and Matus to take the lead.

Williams pulled away over the next twelve laps for the easy win. On the final lap of the contest, Sodeman worked the inside line in turn one to take second from Matus. Rod George took fourth, ahead of Dan Kuriger. Earlier in the race, they had a spirited battle for fourth before George salted it away.

Carl Bowser finished sixth. Adam Kekich was seventh. Scott Priester slipped ahead of A.J. Flick, who made a remarkable save in turns three and four when he pulled a wheelie. Texas teen T.J. Michaels made his first appearance at the Park a memorable one with a solid tenth place run.

The preliminaries belonged to George and Brandon Matus. There was no B Main.

Jimmy “the Jet” Holden and early leader J.R. McGinley thrilled the fans with a side by side duel for the lead after a lap six restart. “Any time that you have a track like that where you can move positions and really race side by side, it’s a lot of fun,” Holden said. “We really had a good two, three lap run there side by side, and I think that’s what we come here for, and what the fans come for.” Their battle was so intense that they made slight contact fighting for the preferred line on the back stretch. “I think he wanted to come up, and I wanted to come down, I think it was about mutual, you know.” But, they gathered it up and kept on racing, much to the delight of the crowd.

J.R. McGinley and Frankie Guidace paced the field for the start of the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature event. Guidace rolled the top of turn one to take the lead, but he slid too high on the exit of the second corner, surrendering the lead to McGinley. Before McGinley could stretch his advantage, the caution was displayed for a spin by Eric Beggs in turn two.

On the restart, McGinley resumed the lead. but now Lonnie Riggs was giving chase.. Jimmy Holden was lurking in third, with Sid Unversagt, Jr., and Clyde Gumpp close behind. Kyle Fink had climbed from ninth to sixth in the early going.

Another caution on lap 5 for a four car skirmish between turns one and two shook up the running order in the top ten, as Richard Whitney, Tommy Kristyak, Shayne Izzo, and Clyde Gumpp came together.

The racers completed one more round before the third and final caution was displayed. for the disabled car of Kevin Green. During this stoppage, Riggs pulled off the track while still in the third position.

McGinley had the inside line, but Holden found some bite on the top of the track. The two ran side by side for a couple of laps before Holden took command. It was during this run that McGinley and Holden made slight contact while battling on the back chute. They both kept control of their cars, and no positions changed hands.

Holden led the rest of the way for his first win of the young season. McGinley held on for second, with Kyle Fink advancing to third. Tommy Kristyak rallied for fourth. Unversagt crossed in fifth. Tom Holden was sixth. Brian Schaffer, Shayne Izzo, Makayla Guidace, and Clyde Gumpp rounded out the top ten.

The heat winners were Shayne Izzo and Kyle Fink. There was no B Main.

In the Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks, Tim Callahan scored his second victory in his second car. With Callahan’s Outlaw Sprint Warrior sidelined indefinitely due to crash damage, he slipped behind the wheel of the car normally driven by Todd Hanlon. Callahan turned in a masterful performance to get the win.

Matt Rubright had the early lead, but Tyler Fulton chased him down. Callahan followed Fulton into second. Fulton retianed control after a restart, but Callahan grabbed the lead on the third round of the tricky oval.

Steve Longwell, Jr. displaced Fulton for second late in the race. Steve Longwell, Sr., and Russ Grossman were fourth and fifth. Rubright led the next group of five across the line. Trailing him were Shane Shook, Todd Kougher, John E. Gill, and Pete Blaczak.

Callahan and Fulton led the way in their heat races. There was no B Main.

George Hobaugh parlayed the pole position into a dominating win in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. It was his second straight win in the Lockhart Motorsports 58. Taking second was Evan Kornbau, a career best finish for the young pilot. Cody Bova was third. Alex Paden registered a solid fourth place finish, with Greg Dobrosky taking fifth.

Mark Rossey, Darin Gallagher, George Englert, Ken Rossey, and Joe McEwen earned top ten finishes. C.J. Jones was the victim of circumstances. While running third, he was caught up in a spin by a lapped machine.

Tyler Denochik and Hobaugh copped the heat wins. There was no B Main.

Shane Webb led the first half of the Rock Concrete Supply Modiifed Lite feature. Shane Pfueffer, challenged midway through the race, and took the lead soon thereafter. Pfeuffer survived a couple of cautions. However, with one lap to go, the field was bunched back up by a caution, Pfeuffer was turned as he raced through turns one and two, That set off a wild scramble that collected several other cars.

Webb restarted on the point, with Aaron Meister beside him. They raced side by side for the final lap, with Meister getting the victory by a narrow margin. Mike Flockerzi was third. Keith Smith and Bill Stivason rounded out the top five.

Veronica Jones placed sixth. Jacob Bova returned to seventh after being caught up in the final caution. Mark Marcucci, Sr., Glenn Teeter, and Doug Jones were the next finishers.

The preliminaries belonged to Pfeuffer and Bova. There was no B Main.

The Precise Racing Poducts Stock Car finale was a thriller. Shawn Hooks and Tim Burns raced side by side for the final laps, with Hooks taking the win by less than a car length. Chris Schneider edged Bob Schwartzmiller for third. Bobby Heim was fifth.

Mark Sanders, Ryan Moyer, Andy Thompson, Gary Miller, Jr., and Brett McDonald had positions six through ten.
Pat Fielding and Bobby Heim topped the heats. There was no B Main.

Next week will be another Saturday Night Live! racing program. The Twin State Auto Racing Fan Club will be guests of the speedway. All club members in good standing will be admitted to the grandstands for free.

The month of May will close with two exciting Sprint a special events. The Mo Vaughn Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series rides into town with their traditional, non-wing Sprints on May 23. Then, May 30, there will be three, count ’em, three winged Sprint divisions in action. The Patriot Sprint Tour will bring in their 360 cubic inch Sprints. Also in action will be the track’s 4 Your Car Connection/World of Wheels 410 Sprints and the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. You will not want to miss that one!

4 Your Car Connection/World of Wheels 410 Sprints: Eric WIlliams, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Brandon Matus, Rod George, Dan Kuriger, Carl Bowser, Adam Kekich, Scott Priester, A.J. Flick, T.J. Michaels, Jim Morris, Michael Bauer, John McCracken, Jr., Dennis Wagner, Brent Matus, Francis Sesco, Joe Kubiniec, Davey Jones, Gale Ruth, Jr. (DNS).

Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, J.R. McGinley, Kyle Fink, Tommy Kristyak, Sid Unversagt, Jr. , Tom Holden, Brian Schaffer, Shayne Izzo, Makayla Guidace, Clyde Gumpp, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Max Smoker, Eric Beggs, Chelsea Kriegisch, William Schaffer, Frank Guidace, Lonnie Riggs, Richard Whitney, Kevin Green.

Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Tim Callahan, Steve Longwell, Jr., Tyler Fulton, Steve Longwell, Sr., Russ Grossman, Matt Rubright, Shane Shook, Todd Kougher, John E. Gill, Pete Blazak, Jerry Batcher, Jordan Ehrenberg, Roger Wigton, Josh Rathbun (DNS), James Tasker (DNS).

Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: George Hobaugh, Evan Kornbau, Cody Bova, Alex Paden, Greg Dobrosky, Mark Rossey, Darin Gallagher, George Englert, Ken Rossey, and Joe McEwen, Chris Matthews, Andy Feil, Darren Pifer, Devin Litwiler, C.J. Jones, Tyler Denochik, Mike Marano, II, Kotie Kirkbride.

Rock Concrete Modified Lites: Aaron Meister, Shane Webb, Mike Flockerzi, Keith Smith, Bill Stivason, Veronica Jones, Jacob Bova, Mark Marcucci, Sr., Glenn Teeter, Doug Jones, Josh Christopher, Shane Pfeuffer, Jason Darocha, Dave Jones, Jason Johnson (DNS).

Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Shawn Hooks, Tim Burns, Chris Schneider, Bob Schwartzmiller, Bobby Heim, Mark Sanders, Ryan Moyer, Andy Thompson, Gary Miller, Jr., Brett McDonald, Curtis J. Bish, Terry Wheeler, Pat Fielding, Garrett Calvert, Dillon Kineston.