Bova, Marcucci, Shook, Haupt, and Stivenson also win
by Track News
Mercer, PA (August 15, 2015): The thunder of The BRP Modified Tour once again roared at Mercer Raceway Park, and Butler's Dave Murdick emerged as the winner of the annual Smackdown! event. Murdick started in the sixth position and methodically worked his way forward throughout the 35 lap affair. It was just his second victory of the season for the former touring series champion.
Also reaching victory lane were Cody Bova (Bonnell's Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors), Mark Marcucci (Rock Concrete Modified Lites), Shane Shook (Eperthener's Auto Wrecking/Ray's Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks), Cory Haupt (Pa Vintage Modifieds), and Brian Stivenson (Pa Vintage Modifieds/Sportsmen Division).
Shane Pierce, who hails from the Niagara Region in Ontario, Canada led the first 25 laps of the race after pulling the number two pill in the redraw for starting positions. He was passed for the lead by Murdick after a lap 25 restart, and a lap later, the hard charging Erick Rudolph managed to slide past Pierce as well. Pierce held on to a podium finish as he followed Murdick and Rudolph under the checkers. Fourth place went to Rex King, Jr., while Mercer's own Lonny Riggs led the way for the locals with a very strong fifth place finish.
Positions six through ten went to Rex King, Sr., Rick Richner, Eric Gabany, Rick Regalski, and Tommy Kristyak.
It was a heartbreak for teenager Kyle Holden, a regular in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified ranks, as he finished second in his heat race and pulled the number three pill for the feature, only to have his car break on the first of the parade laps and have to exit the event on the hook.
Winners of the four heat races were Garrett Krummert, Rudolph, Kng, Jr., and Kyle Fink. B Mains went to Richner and Jimmy Holden, the current Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified points leader. Provisionals were granted to J.R. McGinley and Rodney Beltz.
The Outlaw Sprint Warrior feature presented by Bonnell's Rod Shop was the Cody Bova Show as he dominated the race from the drop of the green flag. The 20 lap tilt was only slowed once for a caution on lap 16, when the second place car of George Englert slowed in turn four. At the time of that caution, Bova had over a half track lead on second place and was still pulling away. On the restart, he again jumped out quickly and sailed to the win, his fourth of the year. Crossing in second place was the car that was previously been driven by Tim Callahan as car 54. The car has been renumbered to 86 and is now being driven by Mike Lutz. Ken Rossey, Darin Gallagher, and Andy Priest completed the top five.
Evan Kornbau, George Hobaugh, Greg Dobrosky, Alex Paden, and C.J. Jones rounded out the top 10.
Heat races went to George Englert and George Hobaugh.
Mark Marcucci won the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lite feature despite a lap four tangle with Jacob Bova which saw their cars get locked together. That mishap did not slow either driver, as Bova quickly drove to the lead from the tail on the restart and led for three laps before Marcucci was able to dive under him coming out of turn four and power to the lead on the front stretch. From there, Marcucci cruised to another easy win. Only four of the seven starters finished the feature, as Bova crossed in second, followed by Shane Webb, and Doug Jones. Marcucci won the only heat race.
The Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks were a battle of the 17's for most of the race as the 17k of Steve Longwell, Jr. and the 17s of Shane Shook went back and forth for the lead throughout the race. In the end, it was the S machine of Shook that came out on top. A last lap bonzai move by Michael Thompson allowed him to slip into second place at the checkers, followed by Longwell, Jr. Tyler Fulton and Steve Longwell, Sr. filled out the first five. The next five finishers were Ed Haylet, Mike McConnell, Rudy Troples, Richie Kyle, and Nick Brown. Heat races were won by Ed Haylet and Michael Thompson.
Also on the card were the PA Vintage Modified Series, and this was no exhibition. These guys put on a great racing show, showcasing the glory days of dirt car racing in a nostalgic look at the way things used to be. Gary Haupt was the winner of the overall feature. The Vintage Series has two divisions that run in the same feature, with the smaller block Sportsmen also competing. The Sportsmen winner was Brian Stivenson. The overall top ten were Gary Haupt, Paul Bacchus, Jim Kurpakus, Rob Casti, Jim Kirkwood, Dave George, Marbles Mohney, Rick St. Pierre, Brian Stivenson, and Bobby Coles. Heat race winners were Gary Haupt and Les Myers.
Next week, Mercer Raceway Park will host the Auto Racers for Kids charity race, which was postponed previously due to rain. All six divisions that make up a Saturday Night Live! card will be on hand. Note that the Stock Cars will be OPEN Stocks. The racers will have extra money on the line, courtesy of Scott Bonnell of Bonnell's Rod Shop. There will be no points for this race, however. Remember that all proceeds from that event are used to benefit area children and youth programs.
The final night of points will be held on Saturday, August 29. It will be the second Meet Your Heroes Night, presented by Herr's, the official snack food of Mercer Raceway Park. Double points will be awarded. The first twelve starting positions will be lined up based upon the eligible drivers' point standings going into that night of racing.
BRP Modified Tour/Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Dave Murdick, Erick Rudolph, Shane Peirce, Rex King, Jr., Lonny Riggs, Rex King, Sr., Rick Richner, Tommy Kristyak, Jim Rasey, Max Smoker, Kevin Bolland, Gary Smoker, Rich Whitney, Kevin Hoffman, J.R. McGinley, Randy Chrysler, Garrett Krummert, Jimmy Holden, Rodney Beltz, Tom Glenn, Kyle Fink, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Eric Martin, Kyle Holden (DNS).
DNQ: Shawn Fleeger, Mark Frankhouser, Tommy Mattocks, Dillon Barr, Carl Murdick, Randy Chronister, Steve Barr, Brett Clarke, Clyde Gumpp, Eric Beggs, Brad Rapp.
Bonnell's Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Cody Bova, Mike Lutz, Ken Rossey, Darin Gallagher, Andy Priest, Evan Kornbau, George Hobaugh, Jr., Greg Dobrosky, Alex Paden, C.J. Jones, Devin Litwiler, Chris Matthews, Darren Pifer, Andrew Fescemyer, George Englert, Terry Young, Shane Pfeuffer, Mike Marano, II (DNS).
Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, Jacob Bova, Shane Webb, Doug Jones, Bill Stivason, Jason Johnson, Dusty Frantz.
Eperthener's Auto Wrecking/Ray's Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Shane Shook, Michael Thompson, Steve Longwell, Jr., Tyler Fulton, Steve Longwell, Sr., Ed Haylet, Mike McConnell, Rudy Troples, Richie Kyle, Nick Brown, Karlee Longwell, Isaac Paden, Mike Derr.
PA Vintage Modifieds/Sportsmen: Cory Haupt, Paul Bacchus, Jim Kurpakus, Rob Casti, Jim Kirkwood, Dave George, Marbles Mohney, Rick St. Pierre, Brian Stivenson, Bobby Coles, Rick Majka, Dan Osmer, Al Bylerly, Dale McCandless, unknown driver # 33S, Al Harju, Les Myers, Roy Rihne.
Kristyak, Priest, Wheeler, Marcucci, and Thompson also Score
by Track News
Danny Holtgraver took advantage of a rare week off the road to compete at the tracks where he cut his teeth. He showed everybody that he still knows his way around the Mercer Raceway Park, as he survived a furious attack from the defending track champion Eric Williams to get a much needed victory in the Second Annual Putsy Kekich Memorial, presented by Sunburst Environmental and Bonnell's Rod Shop, for the 4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels 410 Sprints.
Also scoring wins were Tommy Kristyak (Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds), Andy Priest (Bonnell's Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors), Leigh Wheeler (Precise Racing Products Stock Cars), Mark Marcucci (Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites), and Michael Thompson (Epertherner's Auto Wrecking/Ray's Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks).
Holtgraver was relieved to get the win before the highly partisan crowd. "This has been a tough year, we really needed this win. I'm really excited to come back home and get this win in front of the best fans in the world." He will now head off to the Knoxville Nationals, but he will be searching for a ride when he gets there. "I'm packing everything I need, helmet, suit, whatever. Hoping maybe something works out."
Holtgraver earned the pole position by winning the Dash held for the evening's six fastest qualifiers. That enabled him to lead the first 21 laps of the race. However, he never could shake loose from Williams, who was back in his own machine for this race. Williams snuck past Holtgraver on lap 22, but the traveler immediately mounted a counter attack. Holtgraver explained the turn of events thusly. "I was working the high side and really wasn't getting the grip I needed, but when I saw Eric go by me low, I knew I could make that line work." And make it work he did, taking the lead back a lap later and then holding off several additional thrusts by Williams.
There were only two cautions to slow the thirty lapper. The first came on lap seven for Mike Flynn. Seven rounds later, John McCracken, Jr. came to a halt.
Brandon Spithaler, Jack Sodeman, Jr., and Lee Jacobs completed the top five. Brandon Matus, Dan Kuriger, Arnie Kent, Brent Matus, and Michael Bauer were the next five to cross the finish line.
Heats went to Scott Priester and Brandon Spithaler, while Holtgraver prevailed in the Dash. The fastest qualifier was Adam Kekich, grandson of the late Putsy Kekich. Adam was an early retiree from the memorial feature that he wanted to win so badly.
In the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, Tommy Kristyak scored his third win of the season, but it wasn't easy for the veteran driver. Eric Gabany was right with him throughout the race, and Gabany did take the lead away on lap three. But, by lap nine, Kristyak was back out front to stay. Jimmy Holden was closing fast on the leaders, but ran out of time. Lonny Riggs was also right there at the end, recovering nicely from the first lap melee. J.R. McGinley was fifth. Kyle Fink, Sid Unvezagt, Jr., Shayne Izzo, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., and Brian Schaffer completed the top ten. Heat races went to Kristyak and Kyle Fink.
On the first lap of the 358 Modified feature, there was a four-car pile-up involving Riggs, Max Smoker, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., and Kevin Green. All but Smoker were able to continue. Green would be involved in a red flag incident later, for a brief fire, but it was extinguished safely.
The Outlaw Sprint Warrior feature presented by Bonnell's Rod Shop was the Andy Priest show. In just his second start in the brand new Ted Hull machine, Priest dominated the race, opening up a 5 second lead at one point. Joe McEwen led the first two laps but Priest took command on lap 3 and never looked back. Cody Bova's car was a rocket and he worked thru the field and was closing on Priest, but ran out of laps. He was just 1.5 seconds behind at the checkers. McEwen held on for third, with Mike Marano, II and George Hobaugh, Jr. taking fourth and fifth. Devin Litwiler, Darin Gallagher, Terry Young, Chris Matthews, and Shane Pfeuffer rounded out the top ten. Young and Bova won the two preliminaries.
There was only one stoppage in the Outlaw Sprint Warrior feature, but it was a doozie on the first lap, collecting the cars of Darren Pifer, Brandon Spithaler, Darin Gallagher, George Englert, and Evan Kornbau.
The Precise Racing Products Stock Car feature was a disappointing affair, as there were numerous cautions and a red flag, as well as other incidents that prolonged the race. Leigh Wheeler managed to lead the entire distance and was able to avoid all of the mayhem behind him. Trailing Leigh Wheeler across the line were Gary Miller, Jr., Ryan Moyer, Pat Fileding, and Terry Wheeler. The rest of the cars were scored on the basis of laps completed. They were Brandon Wearing, Garrett Calvert, Brent Johnson, and Charlie Baptise. Andy Thompson was disqualified for causing an intentional yellow. Miller prevailed in the only heat for this division. The red was for Brandon Wearing who crashed hard into the spinning car of Ryan Moyer. Both drivers were unhurt.
Due to the unsportsmanlike conduct displayed on and off the track by the Stock Car drivers, the class has been taken off the racing card for the August 15 event.
The Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks were once again dominated by Michael Thompson. Tim Callahan, Shane Shook, Steve Longwell, Sr., and Mike McConnell were second through fifth. Isaac Paden, Rudy Troples, Ed Haylett, Karlee Longwell, and Tyler Fulton ran in the top ten. The only excitement in this race came on lap six when Todd Kougher's car briefly caught fire. He, too, was not injured. There was just one caution here, on lap seven, when Tyler Fulton's car broke. Heat races went to Thompson and Callahan, who definitely was back in his comfort zone.
The Rock Concrete Modified Lites closed out the evening, with Mark Marcucci scoring the victory once again. Three cautions slowed the race, but not Marcucci, as he dominated. Levi Spinneweber spun out on lap six, but charged back through the field to finish second. Newcomer Cole Petrelle car finished third. Positions four through ten belonged to Jacob Bova, Shane Webb, Doug Jones, Keith Smith, Bill Stivason, Dusty Frantz, and Josh Christopher. Heat races went to Smith and Marcucci.
Next week, Mercer Raceway Park will host Smackdown! This event pits the visiting Big Block Modifieds of the BRP Modified Tour against the home team, the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. The BRP Modified Tour has been drawing outstanding fields of cars and the addition of the Mercer faithful should make things very interesting. A Mercer regular, Lonny Riggs, finally broke the long string of domination by the touring Big Block drivers, but the 358 pilots will try to use their familairity with the tricky oval to close the gap. You will not want to miss this Modified sibling rivalry.
4 Your Car Connection/World of Wheels 410 Sprint Cars: Danny Holtgraver, Eric Williams, Brandon Spithaler, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Lee Jacobs, Brandon Matus, Dan Kuriger, Arnie Kent, Brent Matus, Michael Bauer, Scott Priester, Dan Shetler, A.J. Flick, Jimmy Morris, Zach Morrow, Davey Jones, John McCracken, Jr., Adam Kekich, Gale Ruth, Jr., Mike Flynn, Dennis Wagner.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Tommy Kristyak, Eric Gabany, Jimmy Holden, Lonny Riggs, J.R. McGinley, Kyle Fink, Sid Unvezagt, Jr., Shayne Izzo, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Brian Schaffer, Kyle Holden, Rich Whitney, Eric Martin, Dillon Barr, Kevin Green, Max Smoker.
Bonnell's Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Andy Priest, Cody Bova, Joe McEwen, Mike Marano, II, George Hobaugh, Jr., Devin Litwiler, Darin Gallagher, Terry Young, Chris Matthews, Shane Pfeuffer, Evan Kornbau, George Englert, Brandon Spithaler, Darren Pifer.
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Leigh Wheeler, Gary Miller, Jr., Ryan Moyer, Pat Fileding, Terry Wheeler, Brandon Wearing, Garrett Calvert, Brent Johnson, Charlie Baptise, Andy Thompson (DQ).
Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, Levi Spinnewebber, Cole Petrelle, Jacob Bova, Shane Webb, Doug Jones, Keith Smith, Bill Stivason, Dusty Frantz, Josh Christopher.
Epertherner's Auto Wrecking/Ray's Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Michael Thompson, Tim Callahan, Shane Shook, Steve Longwell, Sr., Mike McConnell, Isaac Paden, Rudy Troples, Ed Haylett, Karlee Longwell, Tyler Fulton, Todd Kougher.
Hobaugh, Riggs, Bish, Marcucci, and McConnell Also Score
by Track News
Just a week after destroying Martha Dionise's 410 Sprint Car in a heat race at Mercer Raceway Park, Scott Priester and the rest of the crew finished assembling a replacement in the pit area, and he drove it to victory later in the evening.
George Hobaugh continued his hot streak, earning his third feature win of the weekend in his Outlaw Sprint Warrior presented by Bonnell's Rod Shop. Lonny Riggs captured a thriller in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature event after a ding dong battle with Kyle Fink. Curtis J. Bish topped the Precise Racing Products Stock Car go. Mark Marcucci claimed the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lite feature, and Mike McConnell paced the Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks.
"I just had a feeling we were going to be fast," said a tired but happy Scott Priester. He met his crew early at the track, so they could put the finishing touches on the car. "We were picking up a tiny bit each week, but we only ran 100 feet of a heat race last week, but we were going better the week before that," he explained. Last week, was when Priester tore the Dionise car apart by striking the inside guard rail entering the first corner. Using a borrowed chassis, the team put this mount together, and Priester admitted that he was "pretty comfortable" by feature time. And, boy, it showed.
He shot out to the lead from the pole position in the 4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels 410 Sprint Cars. He stayed out front, way out front, for the first 18 laps. Over that long run of green flag racing, Priester developed a five second lead. However, a caution wiped it away, allowing youg Michael Bauer to close to his rear nerf bar. Bauer could not get a run on the veteran Priester on the restart, but he got another shot with just one lap to go. Once again, Priester balsted out to the lead, and Bauer was left to fight off Brent Matus for the third position.
Behind the leaders, there was plenty of action. Brandon Matus and Jack Sodeman, Jr. raced up through the field. They started in eleventh and twelfth, respectively. They displaced Dan Shetler and Adam Kekich in the running order just about halfway through the contest. Sodeman and Matus carried their battle all the way to the checkers, with Sodeman barely edging the fourth generation driver by .006 seconds for the fourth spot.
Shetler held on for sixth. Eric Williams struggled in his second appearance for Jim Chappel, getting seventh. Kekich was next. A.J. Flick and Mike Miller was tenth.
Sodeman and Brandon Matus topped their respective heat races. There was no B Main.
"It's been a good couple of days for us," George Hobaugh said modestly. He racked up this third win in less than 24 hours aboard the Lockhart Motorsports Outlaw Sprint Warrior. To do it, he chased down Greg Dobrosky, who had a nose wing failure. Hobaugh was so focused on driving, that he was oblivious to his rival's problem. "I don't know what happened to him there, he was slowing down a little bit, but I think we just took advantage of having a little better line," he added.
Greg Dobrosky and Darren Pifer paced the field for the start of the Outlaw Sprint Warrior feature event, offered by Bonnell's Rod Shop. Dobrosky held control through a caution and a red flag, the latter due to a flip by Mike MIller in turn one. Miller was unhurt, but he was unable to continue. When racing resumed, Dobrosky took control. His time out front was limited by a collapsed nose wing. That loosened up his machine and it allowed George Hobaugh to take the lead away on lap 17. Cody Bova also passed Dobrosky in the waning laps.
Trailing Hobaugh, Bova, and Dobrosky were Darren Pifer and Evan Kornbau. Andy Priest took sixth in his first start in the Cal Hull number 41. C.J. Jones was seventh, ahead of Mike Marano, II, Darren Gallagher, and Joe McEwen.
The heat winners were Hobaugh and Priest. There was no B Main.
In the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, Lonny Riggs jumped out front, but Kyle Fink reeled him in. Fink took the lead away on lap six. Immediately thereafter, Riggs fought back, and the two waged a side by side duel for several laps. Remarkably, Riggs was able to recover from interference by a lapped car on two occasions. The next time the leaders encountered lapped traffic though, Riggs found his way to the inside line and he was able to pass both the lapped car and the leader! Jimmy Holden followed him into second, and now the question was whether Holden could sneak past for the win.
However, Riggs was up to the task. Riggs, Holden, Fink, Kyle Holden, and J.R. McGinley completed the top five. Next to cross were Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Tommy Kristyak, Brian Schaffer, Rich Whitney, and Jeff Schaffer, Jr.
The pair of preliminaries went to Fink and Kristyak. There was no B Main.
Gary Miller, Jr. and William Hurrelbrink ran out front early in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars. But, it was Curtis J. Bish who took command and led the racers to the finish. Ryan Moyer moved through the pack to take second. Hurrelbrink captured the third spot. Garrett Calvert and Curt Bish were next. Then came Tim Burns, Miller, Andy Thompson, Dennis Clark, and Charlie Baptiste. Burns, and Curtis J. Bish took the qualifiers. There was no B Main.
Mark Marcucci came on strong in the late stages of the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lite feature event. He defeated Jacob Bova, Chris Logan, Shane Webb, Bill Stivason, and Dusty Frantz. Bova prevailed in the heat. There was no B Main.
Former track champion Mike McConnell raced to victory in the Mini Stock race sponsored by Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles. Finishing second was his teammate, Michael Thompson, who has been almost unbeatable since strapping into one of these potent little cars. Steve Longwell, Jr. was third. Shane Shook was the apparent fourth place runner, but he failed a post-race tech inspection. That moved Steve Longwell, Sr. and Ed Haylett into the top five. Rudy Troples, Todd Kougher, Todd Hanlon, and Isaac Paden were the remaining finishers. Todd Gabriel and Thompson copped their heats. There was no B Main.
Next up will be the Third Annual Putsy Kekich Memorial for the 410 Sprint Cars. Adam, his grandson, won the inaugural running two years ago, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. You won't want to miss this one.
4 Your Car Connection/World of Wheels 410 SPrint Cars: Scott Priester, Michael Bauer, Brent Matus, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Brandin Matus, Dan Shetler, Eric Williams, Adam Kekich, A.J. Flick Mike Miller, Gale Ruth, Jr., John McCracken, Jr., Dennis Wagner, Paul Kish, Davey Jones.
Bonnell's Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: George Hobaugh, Cody Bova, Greg Dobrosky, Darren Pifer, Evan Kornbau, Andy Priest, C.J. Jones, Mike Marano, II, Darren Gallagher, Joe McEwen, George Englert, Gary Kriess, Alex Paden, Kotie Kirkbride, Andy Feil, Mike Miller, Tim Callahan (DNS).
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Lonny Riggs, Jimmy Holden, Kyle Fink, Kyle Holden, J.R. McGinley, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Tommy Kristyak, Brian Schaffer, Rich Whitney, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Jerry Schaffer, Kevin Green, William Schaffer, Shayne Izzo.
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Curtis J. Bish, Ryan Moyer, William Hurrelbrink, Garrett Calvert, Curt Bish, Tim Burns, Gary Miller, Jr., Andy Thompson, Dennis Clark, Charlie Baptiste, Bob Schwartzmiller.
Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, Jacob Bova, Chris Logan, Shane Webb, Bill Stivason, Dusty Frantz.
Eperthener's Auto Wrecking/Ray's Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Mike McConnell, Michael Thompson, Steve Longwell, Jr., Steve Longwell, Sr., Ed Haylett, Rudy Troples, Todd Kougher, Todd Hanlon, Isaac PadenTodd Gabriel (DQ), Shane Shook (DQ), Karlee Longwell (DNS).
Gallagher, Kristyak, Burns, Webb and Thompson also Prevail
by Track News
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).
It 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).