Jordan Thomas and Steve Collins have won the two most recent races in the Patriot series, but Jared Zimbardi, of Bradford, leads the way with five victories. That has staked him to a 26 point advantage over Collins in the quest for the crown. They will be on hand, along with over twenty other racers. The Patriot Sprints have 360 cubic inch powerplants in the cars, and they will fly around the tricky Mercer oval. This appearance is made possible by Bonnell's Rod Shop, of Fairview.
In the track's customary Saturday Night Live! racing, the drivers will earn their final points of the season. After the racing is done, the champions will be recognized. Some of the contests are close, so the competition will be intense.
Jack Sodeman, Jr. is looking to repeat in the Precise Racing Products 410 Sprint Cars. He has only 14 points to his credit over Michael Bauer, who is trying for his first title in the top class at the speedway. A position here or a position there on the track could make all of the difference. George Hobaugh, Jr. has a 40 point margin over Rod George for third, but Hobaugh wants that first victory in the 410 Sprints. He had a great run going the last time out, but faded in the final laps of the Summer Shootout, which was won by Danny Holtgraver. If Hobaugh can pull it off this week, he will take home $2,000. Plenty of other drivers will have their say, including Dan Kuriger, Jimmy Morris, Mike Miller, and Gary Kriess, Jr.
The Bonnell's Rod Shop 305 Sprints will make it a Sprint Car triple header! Darin Gallagher has an insurmountable lead, but don't count out Gregg McCandless, Andy Priest, or Mike Marano, II, as they will fight for the win and the $600 check that will be awarded to the victor.
Likewise, Jimmy Holden seemingly has control of the Turn 4 Toilets 358 Modifieds. He got a boost from an unlikely source last week when rival Kyle Fink drove the Holden machine to a win over Lonny Riggs. Fink is expected to return to his own car, so Holden will have to fend him off as well. Sid Unverzagt, Jr. would like to register his first win at the speedway, too. Veterans Tommy Kristyak, J.R. McGinley, and Kevin Green will be among the other challengers for the $800 prize.
In the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites, $400 will be on the line for the win. Mark Marcucci picked up the loot last week, and the win gave him enough points to overtake Shane Webb in the season standings. But if Webb, or one of the other pilots, can defeat Marcucci, there will be an extra $250 added to the purse, courtesy of J.S. Bova Excavating of Struthers, OH. The bounty brought out some extra cars, and more are expected this week to try and dethrone Marcucci.
And, last but not least, those Mini Stocks will thrill the fans with their exciting wheel to wheel action as they fight for a winner's share of $200. Bill Fuchs has stretched his lead over Tim Callahan in the points battle and it appears as though Fuchs will claim the title offered by Ray's Racing Collectibles and Eperthener's Auto Wrecking. Shane Shook, Isaac Paden, Tyler Fulton, and Ed Haylett will want to end the regular season on a high note if they can.
Herr's Snack Foods will sponsor the popular Meet Your Heroes session at the intermission. The drivers will bring their cars from the pit area and park them behind the grandstand, so the spectators can mix and mingle with them. This is a fun time for fans of all ages to talk with their favorite racers, take pictures, or get autographs.
The fun will continue after the racing is finished, too. For the first time, the speedway will host a championship party in the pits. The divisional champions will be announced, and everyone can partake in the tasty Pig Roast thanks to Thoma's Meat Market. There will also be a DJ and other entertainment. All fans are welcome to participate!
For those who want to kick back and take it easy after the races, there will be plenty of free camping available.
The gates will swing open at 4 p.m. Hot laps and qualifications will start at 6 p.m., with heat racing to follow.
Adult admission for this great event will be just $15. Seniors (60+) will be admitted for $13, and students (9-15) for $7. The youngsters (8 and under) will be admitted for free. The Family Passes will be available for the low price of $35. That will apply to two adults and up to four minors of any age. Pit Passes will also be $35.
Remember that there are no races scheduled for the oval during the month of September. The Fall Finals for the USA East Regional Truck and Tractor pullers will take over the speedway on September 16. The Eighteenth Annual LIttle Guys Nationals will round out the action on October 6 and 7. Watch the website or your favorite media outlets for details on that can't miss event.
Remember, too, that you can get alerts regarding the cancellation of any racing event at Mercer Raceway Park sent directly to your smartphone or other electronic device. To register, please go to the track's website, www.mercerracewaypark.com, click on the icon for RainedOut.com, and follow the easy steps.
Marketing partners of Mercer Raceway Park for 2107 include Hovis Auto & Truck Supply, Schaeffer's Specialized Lubricants, Scheidemantle Motors, Greenhill Farms Equipment, Inc., the Normandy Banquet Center of Hickory VFW Post 6166, Ritenour Equipment Center, Pizza Joe's, AMSOIL, Noga Ambulance Service, Inc., Pyrotechnico, Watson's, Inc., Big Dog Indoor Racing & Hobby, Herr's Foods, the American Cancer Society, Sunburst Environmental, and Lias Tires. About Mercer Raceway Park: Mercer Raceway Park is a 3/8-mile dirt track located minutes from both Interstate 79 and 80 just off Route 19 on Fairground Road in Mercer, Pa. Dirt track racing and quality family entertainment are presented weekly from late March through late September. For more information, check out www.mercerracewaypark.com, www.twitter.com/mercerraceway, or www.facebook.com/mercerracewaypark.