Greg Rockwell and Todd Gabriel Take Initial 2016 Checkers
Greg Rockwell was declared the winner of the annual Jack Frost 150 Enduro at Mercer Raceway Park after a thorough check of scorecards after the event. Rockwell chased down enduromeister Tim Gillette and made the winning pass with just five laps remaining in the contest. Rockwell was aided in the stretch run by the flat tire on Gillette’s otherwise trusty mount. In the Snowflake 25 for the Mini Stocks, Todd Gabriel regained the lead after Robert Paden’s vehicle slowed. Gabriel drove the same car that Tyler Fulton raced to the big win previously.
Jack Frost 150
All but three of the fifty entries answered the bell for the start of the Enduro, which took place under overcast skies. No precipitation fell during the event, meaning that racers had a fast surface for the entire afternoon drive.
Tim Callahan, one of the track’s regular competitors in the Mini Stock class, jumped out to an early lead over George Settlmire, Jason Easler, Caleb Hickok, Larry Wagner, Jr., and Gillette. However, by lap ten, Jim Frank clawed his way to the front. Frank is a cousin to Super Late Model racer Chub Frank. Frank led the way for more than 50 laps, with Ryan Boyd, Gillette, Derek Frank, and Bobby Siegel among those giving chase.
Frank’s cruise came to a sudden halt shy of the halfway mark when he suddenly veered onto the turn three exit. That handed the lead over to Gillette. Gilette’s Toyota was humming along, and he opened a wide margin over Callahan, Stan Watkins, IV, Hickok, and Rockwell.
Gillette seemed to have the race well in hand. But, during the final third of the race, he got a flat left rear tire. Still, he held control, but his lap times did fall off a bit.
Callahan was the first driver to try to take advantage. He began to reel in the leader. With ten laps remaining, it appeared as though Callahan would steal the victory. Callahan’s bid for the win ended when his fuel tank ran dry. But Rockwell was ready to pick up the slack. He, too, was clicking off lap times a second or more faster than Gillette.
When Rockwell swept past Gillette, many, including track officials, thought that he was merely unlapping himself. But, as revealed by the scoresheets, the pass was really one to take command of the race.
The checkers waved for Gillette, who was interviewed as the apparent victor. Rockwell came to track officials during the interview of Gillette and suggested that he may have been the winner. That indeed proved to be correct in the post-race audit of the scorecards. Both racers conferred with track officials after the discrepancy was confirmed, and Gillette graciously acknowledged that Rockwell did prevail.
After Rockwell and Gillette came Don Speer, Watkins, and Siegel. Sixth went to Ryan Boyd, with Rick Feely, Callahan, Chris Potocki, and Justin Bailey completing the top ten.
The Enduro was stopped twice for safety issues. Just eleven laps into the fray, two fires occurred. Neither Jason Easler nor Austin Burkholder were injured. The other stoppage took place between laps 80 and 90, when young Jake Bish wildly flipped on the frontstretch. The third generation racer climbed out of the battered car with a big grin, and pronounced himself safe and sound.
In the Snowflake 25 for the Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks, Logan Keney jumped out in front, with Gabriel, Terry Feely, Robert Paden, and Tim Callahan close behind.
Gabriel assumed command on lap two, and it looked as though he would romp to victory. But Paden chased him down and took command on lap 14. Paden quickly opened a significant lead over Gabriel, Feely, Andy Proper, and and Jacob Rice.
Paden’s blazing run ended on lap 22, though, and Gabriel maintained control over the final three laps. Feely crossed in second, with Paden holding on for third. Joe Keney and Rice completed the top five. Sophomore driver Karlee Longwell was sixth, ahead of Proper, William Haylett, Logan Keney, and Callahan.
Next week, the Chiller Thriller will pit the ground-pounding Big Blocks of the BRP Modified Tour against the track’s Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds.
March 26 Prices: Pits – $35, Stands – $17, Seniors – $15, Kids – $7, Family – $35
This will be the first of two appearances for the Big Blocks at MercerRaceway Park. Also in the card will be the Crate Late Models, racing without a sanction, the UEMS E-Mods, and the Precise Racing Products Open Stocks. Pit gates will open at 4 p.m., spectator gates will open at 4:30, and racing will start at 5:30.
If you cannot make it to the track for the Chiller Thriller, the first Saturday Night Live program will be held on April 2. No foolin’, the new format will roll out that night, with the first session of action starting at 5:30 for the Junior Sprints, Mini Stocks, and Modified Lites. The evening session will feature the Stocks, the 358 Modifieds, and both Sprint classes, commencing at 7 p.m.
Jack Frost 150 Enduro Results
Greg Rockwell, Tim Gillette, Don Speer, Stan Watkins, IV, Bobby Siegel, Ryan Boyd, Rick Feely, Tim Callahan, Chris Potocki, Justin Bailey, Mike Wygant, Ed Papsun, Parker Cooper, Cameron McBean, Jr., Claeb Hickok, Jim Frank, Terry Wheeler, Jr., George Settlmire, Donald Peebles, Joshua Peebles, Jake Shipman, Scott Coss, Kelly Jolley, William Meyers, Larry Wagner, Jr., Tod Hanlon, James Hang, Allen Perry, Don Vernier, Rig Karns, Nick Birkiner, Andrew Nail, Skip Lindemuth, Derek Frank, Travis Mathias, Ronnie Boyd, Jacob Billyk, Jr., Jake Bish, Jason Easler, Shawn Lindemuth, Clay Garing, Austin Burkholder, Nickolas Steiger, Justin Hoffman, Brandon Jolley, Ralph Hedglin, Curt Bish.
Snowflake 25 Mini Stocks
Todd Gabriel, Terry Feely, Robert Paden, Joe Keney, Jacob Rice, Karlee Longwell, Andy Proper, William Haylett, Logan Keney, Tim Callahan, Austin Burk (DNS).