Mercer, PA (June 12, 2011) – With the rain sprinkling on the last two features of the night, Mercer Raceway Park moved quickly through the entire Saturday Night Live program with Brian Ellenberger, Rusty Moore, Jimmy Holden, Brian Miller, Jerry Batcher, and Mike Lutz visiting victory lane.
Rusty Moore opened the night’s features with a dominating performance in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars as he and second place finisher Marty Warren walked away from the rest of the pack.
The two cars started on the front row with Warren in the leader’s seat but Moore was able to pass him on the first circuit following a caution for last week’s winner Russ Byler. The leaders reached lapped traffic on lap 12, but Warren was unable to get close enough to put a move on Moore in the final circuits of the 15-lap feature. Bob McCann, Joe Kelley and Terry Wheeler rounded out the top five.
Brian Ellenberger became the first repeat winner in the Luxaire Heating & Cooling 410 Sprint Car division following his victory in the Auto Racers for Kids Charities Sprint Car Shootout on May 28.
“We’d like for this to happen more,” Ellenberger said. “That’s always our goal. Everything kind of came together.”
Chris Best and Dan Kuriger lead the field into the first turn, but a multi-car pileup ensued as the field jammed up. The crash sent Carl Bowser and Andy McKisson flipping across the track with the two cars sustaining the majority of the damage. Bob Felmlee and Jason Dolick were able to continue, while Adam Kekich was able to pit and rejoin the field. Broc Martin and Skip Daugherty pitted for the night.
As the race resumed, Kuriger leapt into the lead as Best got sideways on the restart with Ellenberger jumping into the second position from his third place starting spot. A lap four caution gave Kuriger the choice of positions on the restart, and Kuriger wisely chose the outside groove to hold off the Butler native. The two drivers ran a close race until Kuriger jumped the cushion in turn three on the seventh lap, allowing Ellenberger to gain the lead and the victory.
Brandon Spithaler had advanced from his sixth place starting position to capitalize on Kuriger’s misfortune, taking second place position. Spithaler challenged Ellenberger on a late race caution but was unable to beat the veteran. The final finishing order saw Ellenberger in victory lane over Spithaler, Best, Felmlee, and Kuriger.
Ellenberger also joined some elite company as one of three drivers to post back-to-back wins this season at Lernerville Speedway on Friday and Mercer Raceway Park on Saturday. Danny Smith and Daryn Pittman did so on May 7 and May 21, respectively.
“That’s fantastic,” Ellenberger said. “That’s not bad company to be in. I had a great car both nights and had decent starting spots so that doesn’t hurt either.”
Goodyear Tire Certificates wen tot Ellenberger, Spithaler (hard charger), Brent Matus (last car on the lead lap), Brandon Matus (random) and John McCracken, Jr. (random).
The Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature also proved exciting for the crowd as Jimmy Holden picked up his third victory of 2011. The Tiona native took the lead from the pole position and led every circuit of the 20-lap feature.
The race behind Holden, however, quickly heated up as Lonnie Riggs and Frank Guidace quickly went to work on the field from their ninth and twelfth place starting positions, respectively. By the fifth circuit, the cars had advanced to third and fourth place positions as smoked poured out of Riggs’ machine. Eric Gabany took the high side to Holden’s low line, looking as if he would challenge the leader but Holden was able to extend his lead as they hit lap traffic on with five laps remaining.
With only one lap to go, Gabany drove in hard to get around the lap car of Dave Murdick and spun coming out of turns three and four, collecting the third and fourth place cars of Guidace and Kyle Fink. All three cars were able to resume, but the final finish saw Holden, Rick Hall, Matt Reeher, Kevin Green and Dave Murdick as the top five.
The Big Daddy’s Speed Center Mod Lites were the next show, and there was no less drama at the finish line as Brian Miller picked up his second win at Mercer Raceway Park.
Darin Gallagher looked as if he would be the one sitting in victory lane for the second time this season as he jumped into the lead on the first lap from his outside pole starting position. Miller quickly advanced through the field, sitting in fourth position by the fourth circuit, but Gallagher was extending his lead.
Gallagher had built nearly a straightaway lead on the field on the seventh lap, and looked to be untouchable. But a lap 10 caution for Andy Feil and Shane Pfeuffer, who were battling for second position, advanced Miller to the second slot. Miller was able to get by Gallagher as the pair hit traffic three laps later to pick up the win over Gallagher, Brian Kaszubski, Terry Young, and Cody Bova.
Jerry Batcher picked up his first victory of 2011 in the Big Dog R/C Mini Stock feature. Batcher quickly grabbed the pole position after a first lap caution for Joel Wisser, who had engine problems, and lead every circuit of the 12-lap feature event. Mike McConnell picked up a strong second place finish over Michael Thompson, Pete Blazczak and Tim Callahan. An unfortunate incident took place after the checkered flag as Carl Keller connected with a wheel off of Steve Longwell, Sr.’s car, sending Keller flipping. Although the car caught fire as it settled, the driver was okay.
For the fourth week in a row, Mike Lutz visited victory lane in the ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warrior class. Guy Griffin took the early lead from his pole position but Justin Whitesell was able to steal it from the veteran, who again suffered mechanical problems, on a lap five restart. Lutz was able to take the lead from Whitesell on lap eight and led the remaining seven circuits to take the win over Whitesell, Adam Anderson, Rob Felix and Michael Bauer.
Next week on June 18, the Saturday Night Live program will be back in action with double points for six rousing divisions of racing with the Mid-Season Championship presented by NAPA Auto Parts. Join us for another night of family fun!
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. RUSTY MOORE (17m) 2. Marty Warren (05) 3. Bob McCann (33) 4. Joe Kelley (100) 5. Terry Wheeler (2w) 6. Bob Schwartzmiller (28s) 7. Chad O’Brien (77) 8. Bobby Heim (92) 9. Andy Thompson (7) 10. Craig Koteles (64K) 11. Tony Spaghetti (97) 12. Gary Koteles (1K) 13. Brandon Johnston (14J) 14. Darrin Hyde (4) 15. Travis Walsh (1) 16. Russ Byler (06R) 17. Jamie Duncan (67J); Heat Race Winners: Rusty Moore, Bob McCann
Luxaire Heating & Cooling 410 Sprint Cars (25 laps): 1. BRIAN ELLENBERGER (TI22) 2. Brandon Spithaler (22s) 3. Chris Best (66) 4. Bob Felmlee (6) 5. Dan Kuriger (08) 6. Rod George (4) 7. Scott Priester (15) 8. A.J. Albrecht (7x) 9. Brian Steinman (24s) 10. Jason Dolick (D12) 11. Brent Matus (33) 12. Jeff Taylor (17t) 13. Brandon Matus (13) 14. Shawn Minor (3m) 15. Adam Kekich (5k) 16. Skip Daugherty (27) 17. John McCracken Jr. (79) 18. Carl Bowser (10) 19. Andy McKisson (0) 20. Broc Martin (83m) 21. Jimmy Light (23) – DNS; Heat Race Winners: Rod George, Brandon Spithaler, Dan Kuriger
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds (20 laps): 1. JIMMY HOLDEN (28H) 2. Rick Hall (B2) 3. Matt Reeher (711) 4. Kevin Green (74) 5. Dave Murdick (77) 6. Frank Guidace (1G) 7. Kyle Fink (66F) 8. Dustin Martin (29D) 9. Eric Gabany (3e) 10. Tom Holden (15H) 11. Don Brown (71B) 12. Lonnie Riggs (58) 13. Rich Whitney (19w) 14. Ron Eperthener (333) – DNS; Heat Race Winners: Eric Gabany, Jimmy Holden
Big Daddy’s Speed Center Mod Lites (15 laps): 1. BRIAN MILLER (726) 2. Darin Gallagher (12) 3. Brian Kaszubski (5) 4. Terry Young (97N) 5. Cody Bova (20B) 6. Tom Kline (68) 7. Shane Pfeuffer (717) 8. Bill Johnson (7) 9. Andy Feil (08) 10. Taylor Smith (23TT) 11. Jacob Bova (28K) 12. Erik Smith (14E) – DSQ 13. Andrew Bruce (70×7) – DNS 14. Tom Harvey (15J) – DNS; Heat Race Winners: Andy Feil, Brian Miller
Big Dog R/C Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. JERRY BATCHER (7) 2. Mike McConnell (31) 3. Michael Thompson (82t) 4. Pete Blazczak (77) 5. Tim Callahan (54) 6. Troy Lehnortt (46) 7. Wally Stearns (33) 8. Steve Longwell, Sr. (16K) 9. Rudy Troples (28) 10. Carl Keller (98) 11. Tyler Fulton (409) 12. Chase Anthony (26) 13. Ed Haylett (8-ball) 14. Joel Wisser (15K) 15. Kris Anderson (3d) 16. Scott Say (07) – DNS 17. Steve Longwell, Jr. (17K) – DNS 18. Clay Wansor (197) – DNS; Heat Race Winners: Tim Callahan, Mike McConnell
ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors (15 laps): 1. MIKE LUTZ (86) 2. Justin Whitesell (17) 3. Adam Anderson (5B) 4. Rob Felix (21) 5. Michael Bauer (35) 6. Jake Lagestee (72) 7. Guy Griffin (11) 8. Jimmy Morris (16) 9. Cory Theiss (30) 10. Jeff Taylor (17t) 11. Chad Mathews (1) – DNS; Heat Race Winner: Justin Whitesell
6/18: Saturday Night Live Mid-Season Championship presented by NAPA Auto Parts with 410 Sprints, 358 Modifieds, Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Mod Lites, Stock Cars, Mini Stocks. Pittsburgh Circle Track Club Night. Pits and grandstands open at 4:00pm. Hot Laps at 6:15pm. Racing at 7:00pm.
6/25: BRP Big Block Modified Tour with 410 Sprints, Outlaw Sprint Warriors, and Stock Cars plus Kaboom 100! Enduro. Pits and grandstands open at 4:00pm. Hot Laps at 6:15pm. Racing at 7:00pm.