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George, McGinley, Gabriel, Matthews, Teeters and Hooks Win at Mercer
by Lou Long
Mercer, PA (July 7, 2012): Rod George took his second checkered flag of the weekend when he romped to the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Car win at Mercer Raceway Park. J.R. McGinley, grandson of venerated drivers Dick Rankin and Johnny McGinley, took his first career victory in the non-stop Approved Toilet Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature.
Todd Gabriel was declared the winner in the Mini Stocks when Leo Hanlon's car failed a post-race inspection.
Chris Matthews scored his first win at Mercer Raceway Park in the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Jeff Teeters sped to victory in the Modified Lites presented by Big Daddy's Speed Center and Rock Concrete.
The Precise Racing Products Stocks went to Shaun Hooks, who was making his first start at the Park in 2012.
A shower hit the track around 3:30 and the added moisture delayed the start of festivities by about half an hour. However, the track was perfectly manicured, and the racers provided an exciting night of action.
Eric Williams and Brandon Matus, two of the division's recent winners, started on the front row of the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Car feature event. While Williams did grab the early lead, Rod George, who pulled Williams' pill, moved into second.
Williams paced the field for the first twelve laps. However, he got hung up in lapped traffic, and that allowed George to drop to the inside of turn four and pull him off the corner to grab the lead on lap 13.
George began to stretch his advantage over Williams, as it appeared that the race could go without interruption. The hopes of a non-stop affair were dashed when Francis Sesco spun in the middle of the backstretch on lap 22. Marty Perovich was collected in the incident. Both cars were taken to the pits, but the drivers were unhurt.
George completed the remaining three laps without fail. Williams remained in second and Andy McKisson finished third. Scott Priester, aboard Martha Dionise's 15, out dueled Adam Kekich for fourth in the final three laps.
Brandon Matus was sixth, Jack Sodeman, Jr. seventh, Dan Kuriger eighth, last week's winner Mike Lutz ninth and Chris Best tenth.
Heat races for the 19 Sprints went to George and Perovich.
The Goodyear Tire certificates were awarded to George (winner), Todd Bauer (hard charger), Sodeman (last car lead lap), and Brandon Matus and Chris Best (random).
In the Approved Toilet Rental 358 Modifieds, defending champion Jimmy Holden started on the pole and led the first fifteen laps. Tom Glenn and Ron Eperthener were swapping second and third in the early going,that is, until Glenn broke while holding the spot.
The man on the move though was J.R. McGinley. He worked into second on lap 8. At the time, Holden held a lead of slightly more than a full straightaway. McGinley methodically cut into the advantage and soon he was pressing Holden. Like George, McGinley made a power move on the inside of turn four to take the lead on lap 15. McGinley also used a lapped car as a pick to get a little extra breathing room over his adversary.
McGinley pulled away from Holden over the remaining five laps of the race. As he swept under the flagstand, his fist was pumping in the air.
Points leader Rob Curtis slipped by Holden in the final laps to take second. Eperthener was fourth and Kyle Fink fifth.
Last week's winner, Lonny Riggs, led the next group of five. Eric Gabany, Kevin Green, Matt Reeher and Dave Cogswell were the other members.
Holden and Gabany took the preliminaries for the 13 cars.
The apparent winner in the Mini Stocks, Leo Hanlon, passed early leader Todd Gabriel on lap 6. However, his car failed a post-race inspection due to an illegally mounted shock, handing the win back to Gabriel. Steve Longwell, Sr., Rudy Troples, Steve Longwell, Jr., and Joel Wisser finished next.
The balance of the top ten were Matt Cwynar, Ed Haylett, Caleb Hickok, Patricia Riffe, and Wally Stearns.
The pair of heat winners were Hanlon and Gabriel. There were 16 cars on hand.
Chris Matthews shot out to the early lead in the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors. He had a comanding lead wiped out by a caution on lap 13. That put Michael Bauer on his tail. Bauer took second just the lap before. Bauer got another shot at the leader, as there was a red flag with 14 laps down for an incident in turn two. None of the involved drivers were injured, and the race was finished without further ado.
Behind Matthews and Bauer were Rob Felix, C.J. Jones, and Mike Miller. Dalton Daniels, Jimmy Morris, Andy Feil, Jeffrey Goodman, Jr., and Tom Sanders completed the top ten.
Joe McEwen and Daniels won the heats for 17 cars.
Jeff Teeters took the convincing win in the Modified Lites presented by Big Daddy's Speed Center and Rock Concrete. Cody Bova held off Andrew Bruce for second. Last week's winner, Shane Pfeuffer, was fourth. Kotie Kirkbride was fifth. Teeters' teammate, Rod Jones, held sixth. Daniel Demyan overcame a poor start to finish seventh. Points leader Mark Marcucci was off the mark, in eighth. Braeden Dellinger and Jacob Bova rounded out the top ten.
Teeters and Marcucci claimed the heats for the 14 cars.
Shaun Hooks certainly remembered the fast way around Mercer Raceway Park. He held off Bob McCann for the win in the Precise Racing Products Stocks. Matt Wagner edged Curtis J. Bish for third. Dan Lewis, Bob Hein and Rusty Moore battled to the wire for the next three spots. Russ Byler, Darrin Hyde and Charlie McMillen were eighth through tenth.
Curtis J. Bish and Lewis won their heats. Sixteen Stocks competed this night.
Next weekend, the Northeast Regional FASTRAK Late Model Series will return to its former home. The Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars will be off, but they will be back the following week for the Sprint Slugout, along with the ARDC Midgets.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars: Rod George, Eric Williams, Andy McKisson, Scott Priester, Adam Kekich, Brandon Matus, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Dan Kuriger, Mike Lutz, Chris Best, Steve Collins, Todd Bauer, Gale Ruth, Sr., Brent Matus, Justin Schwein, John McCracken, Jr., Marty Perovich, Francis Sesco, Adam Anderson.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: J.R. McGinley, Rob Curtis, Jimmy Holden, Ron Eperthener, Kyle Fink, Lonny Riggs, Eric Gabany, Kevin Green, Matt Reeher, David Cogswell, Shayne Izzo, Max Smoker, Tom Glenn.
Mini Stocks: Todd Gabriel, Steve Longwell, Sr., Rudy Troples, Steve Longwell, Jr., Joel Wisser, Matt Cwynar, Ed Haylett, Caleb Hickok, Patricia Riffe, Wally StearnsCorrin Martin, Chase Anthony, Josh Eakman, Tyler Fulton. Leo Hanlon (DQ). Tim Callahan (DNS).
Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Chris Matthews, Michael Bauer, Rob Felix, C.J. Jones, Mike Miller, Dalton Daniels, Jimmy Morris, Andy Feil, Jeffrey Goodman, Jr., Tom Sanders, Justin Whitesell, Jacob Lagastee, Bob McMillin, Joe McEwen, Harold Braden, Jr., Dennis Wagner, Jennifer Matthews.
Big Daddy's Speed Center/Rock Concrete Modifed Lites: Jeff Teeters, Cody Bova, Andrew Bruce, Shane Pfeuffer, Kotie Kirkbride, Rod Jones, Daniel Demyan, Mark Marcucci, Braeden Dellinger, Jacob Bova, Taylor Smith, Chris Whan, Darrin Gallagher. Bill Stivason (DNS).
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Shaun Hooks, Bob McCann, Matt Wagner, Curtis J. Bish, Dan Lewis, Bob Hein, Rusty Moore, Russ Byler, Darrin Hyde, Charlie McMillen, Curtis Bish, Sr., Brandon Johnston, Andy Thompson, Tony Hyde, Bob Schwartzmiller, Michael Tonkinson.