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.