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Holden Snares Little Guy Nationals for 358 Mods; May, Morris, Kennedy, Martz, Moore and Koffler also Score
by Lou Long
Mercer, PA (September 23, 2012): Despite two interruptions for rain, the staff at Mercer Raceway Park held tough and completed the 13th Annual Little Guy Nationals Sunday night. A record field of 213 cars were on hand through the weekend of racing.
Jimmy Holden used a late-race restart to overtake invader Shayne Peirce for the win in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. Then, Holden donated half of his $2,000 prize to the Cowboy Brian Steinman recovery fund.
Josh May, from Iowa, earned the STARS Modified Lite National points championship with his win in the race presented by Big Daddy's Speed Center and Rock Concrete.
Jimmy Morris dominated the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warrior feature. Similarly, Chris Kennedy led wire to wire in the Micro Sprints.
The first of two Precise Racing Products Open Stock Car features went to Rusty Martz, while Rusty Moore took the nightcap.
The final Mini Stock race of the season belonged to Paul Koffler, Jr.
Jeremiah Shingledecker took the early lead in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. However, Kevin Hoffman drove by in Ted Hull's 41 on lap 5, just before the yellow was displayed. The field had trouble getting started again, but when the racing did resume, Peirce took the lead away.
Peirce showed no signs of unfamiliarity with the tricky oval, as he led through numerous cautions. Meanwhile, Hoffman ran in second and Shingeldecker in third. When Shingledecker got caught up in a yellow, he surrendered his position.
It looked as though the race may go green to the finish thereafter, but that was not to be. A number of cautions on lap 21 gave Hoffman a couple of shots at the leader. In fact, Hoffman did get a nose ahead of Peirce on one occasion, but a yellow nullified the pass. When the field finally did get another lap in the books, Hoffman lost second to a hard-charging Jimmy Holden.
Holden started to close in on Peirce, and the fans had to wonder if Holden had some more late-race theatrics to present. He came on strong on Friday night, only to come up short of the win by a couple of feet. The suspense ended when a caution was displayed on lap 23. That put Holden to the outside of Peirce for the restart.
The lane choice was Peirce's undoing. Holden charged off turn four with the lead, and got down in front of Peirce as they raced through turn two.
Holden led the final two laps to claim the popular win. Peirce held on for second. Taking third was Hoffman. Points champ Rob Curtis crossed in fourth, with J.R. McGinley in fifth.
Steve Barr was sixth, after running with the lead cars for much of the race. The Schaffer brothers, Jeff and Jerry, were next. Lonny Riggs and Marvin Williams rounded out the top ten.
In the STARS Modified Lite finale, Mikey Hay led much of the race. First May challenged, and then it was Kenny Meadows' turn. Neither could get by the talented driver form Somerset, PA. Meadows ran into problems and gave second back to May.
That seemed to be the boost that the Iowa driver needed. May closed in on Hay, who may have been starting to have some mechanical issues. In fact, soon after being passed for the lead, Hay limped down the backstretch and into the pits.
May led the rest of the way, with Meadows holding on for second. Matt Hay finished third. Derek Wagner and Rod Jones were fourth and fifth.
Point champ Mark Marcucci ended the season with a sixth place run. Mitch Ward was right behind him. Braeden Dellinger, Kevin Spencer and Levi Walters completed the top ten.
Jimmy Morris bolted out to a full straightaway lead in the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors.
His lead was wiped out when second place runner Jacob Lagastee spun in turn four. Morris opened up a substantial lead, but when Joe McEwen stopped on the back chute for the second yellow of the race, Morris had to go to work again.
Morris was starting to stretch it out again when McEwen brought out another caution. That was only a temporary setback, however.
Morris sped to the checkers ahead of Chris Matthews, Michael Bauer, C.J. Jones, and Andy Feil.
Jeffrey Goodman, Jr., Jacob Lagastee, Tom Sanders, Joe McEwen and Justin Whitesell were the next group of five finishers.
Chris Kennedy led the Micro Sprint feature from start to finish. Tim Eakin was second. Todd Reuser charged through the pack for third. Bob Garvey, Jr. and Jacob Gomola trailed him.
Al Cavoto, Will Fleming, Dave Fleming, Steve DUnmire and Jeff Haefke claimed sixth trough tenth.
The first Precise Racing Products Open Stock Car main wa a real dogfight. Ray Hickock grabbed the early lead, but he had Mike Miller on his tail Before you knew it, though, Rusty Wheeler came charging to the front. After sever laps of thrilling side by side action, Wheeler powered ahead.
Wheeler opened up a small advantage while a pack of hungry racers were battling for second. Rusty Martz can out ahead. A caution gave him the chance to start beside Wheeler.
Martz and Wheeler went toe to toe like a pair of heavyweights. Martz kept working the bottom, while Wheeler preferred to ride the cushion. Martz got the advantage on lap 19.
Martz pulled away over the last several laps. Wheeler was second, barely nosing out Brent Johnson. Mike Miller was fourth. Chris Schneider slipped back to fifth after jumping the cushion in turn two with just a couple of laps remaining.
Bob McCann recovered from a mid-race spin to take sixth. Jim Fosnaught was seventh. Early leader Hickock was eighth. Ninth was claimed by Shawn Fawcett, and tenth by Andy Thompson.
On lap 10 of the Mini Stock feature, Paul Koffler, Jr. roared by Shane Smith, who led from the second lap. Koffler opened up a huge margin over the remainder of the race. Smith was second, followed by William Blum, Troy Lehnortt, and Brian Felmlee.
Positions six through ten were Matt Cwynar, Alex Paden, Kevin Lannigan, Kris Anderson and Adam Bulfone.
In the final race of the night, a 20 lapper for the Precise Racing Products Open Stocks, Rusty Moore outdueled Curtis J. Bish for the win. Bish led from the start, but he was pressed by A.J. Flick. Flick took the lead five laps into the cintest, but his lead was short lived. His car broke heading into turn three after just one lap out front.
Bish led again until lap 11, when points champion Moore drove by. Moore led the rest of the way. Andy Buckley was a close third. Chris Withers finished fourth and Pat Fielding fifth.
Sixth through tenth were Brett McDonald, Tim Krape, Eric Reinwald, and Guy Adams.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Shayne Peirce, Kevin Hoffman, Rob Curtis, Steve Barr, Jeff Schaffer, Jerry Schaffer, Lonny Riggs, Marvin Williams, Joe Gibson, Shayne Izzo, Bill Milbert, Tom Holden, Tom Glenn, Kyle Fink, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Carl Weatherby, Rich Whitney, Ron Eperthener, Dillon Barr, Max Smoker, Frank Guidace, Kevin Green. DNS: Randy Chrysler.
Big Daddy's Speed Center/Rock Concrete STARS Modified LIte National Championship: Josh May, Kenny Meadows, Matt Hay, Derek Wagner, Rod Jones, Mark Marcucci, Mitch Ward, Braeden Dellinger, Kevin Spencer, Levi Walters, Matt Ward, Mikey Hay, Alan Knepper, Shane Pfeuffer, Chas Wolbert, Tracy Fritter, Kelvin Kohan, Kyle Eckstrom, Chris Logan, Tyler Frankenberry, Jeff Teeters, Jeff Fornash. DNS: 16, 19
Ti22 Outlaw Performance Sprint Warriors: Jimmy Morris, Chris Matthews, Michael Bauer, C.J. Jones, Andy Feil, Jeffrey Goodman, Jr., Jacob Lagastee, Tom Sanders, Joe McEwen, Justin Whitesell, Dennis Wagner, Harold Braden, Jr. DNS: Dalton Daniels, Mike Miller.
Micro Sprints: Chris Kennedy, Tim Eakin, Todd Reuser, Bob Garvey, Jr., Jacob Gomola, Al Cavoto, Will Fleming, Dave Fleming, Steve DUnmire, Jeff Haefke, Kyle Colwell, Matt Gardina, George Hobaugh, Brett Brunkenhoefer, D.J. Furney, Jeff Bacha, Kyle Holden, Brandon Hawkins, Wes Leibert, Scott Hawkins, Lee Lehnerd, Sterling Theiss, Sean McAndrews, Mike Borawiec.
Precise Racing Products Open Stock Feature One: Rusty Martz, Rusty Wheeler, Brent Johnson, Mike Miller, Chris Schneider, Bob McCann, Jim Fosnaught, Ray Hickock, Jr., Shawn Fawcett, Andy Thompson, Art Edwards, Rob Shook, Bobby Heim, John Coughlin, Randy Wyant, Shaun Hooks, Shawn Lindemuth, Jamie Duncan, Dan Smeal, Colton Gearhart, Kyle Weilacher, Bob Schwartzmiller, Jeff Sweeney, Tim Deutsch.
Mini Stocks: Paul Koffler, Jr., Shane Smith, William Blum, Troy Lehnortt, Brian Felmlee, Matt Cwynar, Alex Paden, Kevin Lannigan, Kris Anderson, Adam Bulfone, Chase Anthony, Brandon Ritchey, Chris Knight, Ken Koby, Tim Callahan, Jeff Little, 65c, Steve Settle, Shane Shook, Patricia Riffe, Wally Stearns, Jr. DNS: Tyler Fulton, Pete Blazak.
Precise Racing Products Open Stock Feature Two: Rusty Moore, Curtis J. Bish, Andy Buckley, Chris Withers, Pat Fielding, Brett McDonald, Tim Krape, Eric Reinwald, Guy Adams, Josh Seippel, Cody Bilss, Tyson Harmon, Charlie McMillen, Dave Ferringer, Joe Kelley, A.J. Flick, Mark Thompson, Paul Nelson, II, 77, 8F, Matt Keith, Bucky Buchanan, Dan McEwen, 26Jr., Chip Walsh.