Former champion Chad Kemenah scored his first win of the season in the new UNOH All Stars Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series event held at Mercer Raceway Park. Kemenah is building confidence with his new team, and he’s ready to regain his winning form. “For years with the Outlaws, I got my (butt) kicked pretty hard, but I want to turn it around and start kicking.”
In other action, George Hobaugh, Jr. registered the win in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Tim Burns went wire to wire in the Precise Racing Products Open Stocks, and Jason Darocha withstood a rash of cautions to win the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lite nightcap.
Kemenah was able to pounce when leader Lee Jacobs brushed the front-stretch wall after he got hung up behind a slower car. “Sometimes, when you are leading, it ain’t the best place to be,” Kemenah explained.
Darrah, who put on a late race charge to take second in his first appearance at the Park, admitted that he was struggling earlier in the race. “I was having trouble with the top, and I started moving around and that helped me shake my car out.” He added, “I thought there for a minute that I had something for Chad, but he was so good on the bottom, and then he got through the lapped traffic, and I didn’t have a chance to get there.”
Jacobs noted that he “got into the wall with the right rear, and that’s what messed up my entry into one, and that’s when Chad was able to get around us.” While some would be disappointed with such a turn of events, Jacobs was pleased because his team had been struggling so far this season. “It was a big accomplishment for this team to qualify well, win the dash, and log a top three finish,” he said.
Lee Jacobs and Eric Williams had the fans on the edges of their seats, as they battled back and forth in the early stages of the main event. Jacobs held a slight advantage over the defending track champion. As the leaders got into lapped traffic, Jacobs was able to open a three car length lead over Williams. However, misfortune soon struck Williams. On lap 8, he spun in turn four as he tried the tricky outside groove to dispatch a lapper.
That put Kemenah into the second spot, with another local favorite, Jack Sodeman, Jr., right behind. Cody Darrah restarted in fourth, with Dale Blaney, Cole Duncan and Ed Lynch. Jr. in the mix.
Jacobs got away cleanly, but he could not shake free from Kemenah. With 16 laps down, Kemenah powered off turn two to take the lead from Jacobs, who got hung up behind a slower car. By now, Dale Blaney had worked his way into the third position. Meanwhile, Sodeman was keeping Darrah at bay.
While Kemenah and Jacobs led the way, Blaney, Sodeman, and Darrah hooked up in a three car battle for third. Darrah found the inside to his liking coming through turns one and two. On lap 22, he shot off the second turn, passing both Blaney and Jacobs.
Darrah then began to close in on Kemenah, but he simply ran out of laps. Kemenah swept under the checkers first, with Darrah just a couple of lengths back. Jacobs held on for third, one of his best outings of the season. Ed Lynch, Jr. scrambled up to the fourth spot in the final laps, with Sodeman getting fifth.
Blaney faded to sixth in the stretch run. Brandon Spithaler was seventh. Duncan, Greg Wilson, and Ryan Smith completed the top ten.
Jared Zimbardi, Dan Kuriger, Jack Sodeman, Jr., and Ed Lynch, Jr. prevailed in the heat races. Lee Jacobs took the Dash win. Parker Price-Miller copped the B Main.
Dale Blaney was the evening’s fastest qualifier, setting a new track record at 13.241. Blaney did not eclipse the record set by Erin Crocker, when the track was smaller and the cars raced without weight restrictions. Kuriger had the misfortune of withdrawing from the dash after drawing the pole. He was unable to start the A Main in his own car, but switched to the Davey Jones 76 to get his starting money.
George Hobaugh, Jr. drove the Lockhart 58 to a convincing victory in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Hobaugh is making the adjustment to being a helmet bag driver. He established a relationship with car owner Joe Lockhart last season when he was trying to help Lockhart sort out some engine problems. Hobaugh added, “things didn’t work out with his previous driver, and I just messaged him one day ‘what happened,’ and he asked me if I wanted to drive his car, and here I am.”
Chasing Hobaugh home were Brandon Spithaler, aboard the Skip Daugherty 27D machine, and Mark Rossey.
It was Ken Rossey who dominated the first half of the contest, however. Near the midpoint of the feature though, Ken Rossey closed in on lapped traffic, and his lead rapidly evaporated. Hobaugh was able to draw up on his rear nerf bar, bringing Mark Rossey along for good measure. The trio got ready for an exciting run through traffic, but a caution negated that.
When racing resumed with 11 laps complete, Hobaugh dropped to the inside entering turn one. He powered through the corners to take an advantage that he would never surrender.
Meanwhile, Brandon Spithaler was the man on the move. In just a few short laps, Spithaler advanced to second and he began to stalk the leader. A pair of cautions enabled him to close up to the rear of Hobaugh, but Spithaler could not take advantage of the opportunities.
Hobaugh held serve on the final two restarts, and dashed home to the win by several car lengths. Spithaler was second, with Mark Rossey, Andy Feil, and Ken Rossey rounding out the top five.
Darin Gallagher came across in sixth. Evan Kornbau, Joe McEwen, Rob Felix, and C.J. Jones were the next finishers.
Three heats were held for the 25 car field, with Mark Rossey, Darin Gallagher, and Chis Matthews getting the checkers. There was no B Main.
In The Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, 20 racers took the green flag, with Tim Burns leading the first lap over Terry Wheeler. Burns would maintain the advantage, while Wheeler hustled his new car in second. Rob Shook, Curtis J. Bish, and Gary Miller gave chase.
As the race went on, Bish got faster and faster. He took second, and closed in on Burns. However, he could not make a bid for the win. Following Burns and Bish across the finish line were Shook, Miller, and Mark Sanders.
William Hurrelbrink was sixth, with Wheeler edging out Brett McDonald. David Baker and Andy Thompson were ninth and tenth.
The heats went to Hurrelbrink and Bish, who came from tenth to get the win. There was no B Main.
Keith Smith led the way for much of the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lite finale. However, he relinquished the lead to Darocha with just a few circuits remaining. Shane Pfeuffer recovered from a couple of scrapes to get third. Doug Jones, Shane Webb, Jason Johnson, and Josh Christopher were the final finishers. Mike Flockerzi, Jacob Bova, and Preston Roach were placed in the top ten based on laps completed.
The pair of preliminaries went to Mark Marcucci and Pfeuffer. There was no B Main.
The upside down club inducted its first members for 2015. Andrew Fescemyer and Mike Marano, II, tumbled in their Outlaw Sprint Warriors, but neither racer was injured.
Mercer Raceway Park will be back in action Sunday afternoon with the May Flowers 150 Enduro and the Full Bloom 25 for the Mini Stocks. Saturday Night Live! racing will resume on May 9 and 16.
UNOH All Stars Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars: Chad Kemenah, Cody Darrah, Lee Jacobs, Ed Lynch, Jr., Jack Sodeman, Jr., Dale Blaney, Brandon Spithaler, Cole Duncan, Greg Wilson, Ryan Smith, Tim Shaffer, Jared Zimbardi, Sheldon Haudenschild, Paige Polyak, Danny Smith, Brandon Matus, Travis Philo, Parker Price-Miller, A.J. Flick, Danny Holtgraver, Adam Kekich, Andrew Palker, Caleb Helms, Eric Williams, Dan Kuriger, Scott Priester.
Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: George Hobaugh, Jr. Brandon Spithaler, Mark Rossey, Andy Feil, Ken Rossey, Darin Gallagher, Evan Kornbau, Joe McEwen, Rob Felix, C.J. Jones, Greg Dobroski, Devin Litwiler, Hunter McCracken, Mike Marano, II, George Englert, Jacob Gomola, Chris Matthews, Cody Bova, Kotie Kirkbride, Alex Paden, Tyler Denochik, Darren Pifer, Gary Kriess, Jr., Andrew Fescemyer (DNS), Tim Callahan (DNS).
Precise Racing Products Open Stock Cars: Tim Burns, Curtis J. Bish, Rob Shook, Gary Miller, Jr., Mark Sanders, William Hurrelbrink, Terry Wheeler, Brett McDonald, David Baker, Andy Thompson, Pat Fielding, Travis Norman, Bill Banick, Jr., Curt Bish, Bill Phillips, Jr., Ray Reynolds, Garrett Calvert, Joe Stajnrajh, Jacob Billyk, Dennis Clark (DNS).
Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Jason Darocha, Keith Smith, Shane Pfeuffer, Doug Jones, Shane Webb, Jason Johnson, Preston Roach, Glenn Teeters, Mark Marcucci, Curtis Stivason, Anthony Cavicchia.