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Holtgraver Dominates All Stars Go at Mercer Raceway Park
by Lou Long
Miller, Wheeler and Paden also Score WinsMercer, PA (July 6, 2013): Danny Holtgraver returned to victory lane at the Mercer Raceway Park. The win with the All Stars Circuit of Champions was his fourth of the season at the tricky oval.
Mike Miller romped to the win in the Bonnell's Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Leigh Wheeler picked up the victory in the Precise Racing Products Open Stock Cars, snapping Rusty Moore's five race skein. Alex Paden scored his third straight win in the Mini Stocks presented by Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles.
"It's nice to come home, you know, it means a lot to see friendly faces in the pits and then to win a big race at your home track," Holtgraver noted. He knew that somebody would come after him in traffic, but he wasn't sure who it would be. "I was waiting for somebody, and there he was," he said as he gestured towards second place finisher Cap Henry. Holtgraver was able to sneak by him again in traffic, and then he was able to race in clean air the rest of the way.
Henry concurred. "We just needed more traffic, he was definitely faster than us in the clean air and we were able to reel him in traffic."
Third place runner Tim Shaffer explained that his right rear tire sealed over during a red flag.
Rod George and Danny Holtgraver, two of Mercer Raceway Park's favorite drivers, paced the field for the start of the 30 lap affair. George surprised the younger pilot with a powerful move on the outside, but a caution for Adam Kekich wiped put his brief advantage. On the next attempt, Holtgraver was better prepared, and he jumped out into the lead.
Holtgraver led, with George close in second, Cap Henry riding third, Carl Bowser fourth and Cole Duncan in fifth. Henry took second away from George on lap three and he set out after Holtgraver. When Holtgraver reached the lapped traffic on lap six, that gave Henry the opportunity to close to his rear nerf bar.
Holtgraver got hung up behind a lapped car entering turn three with eight laps complete. Henry snuck by on the inside. His lead was short-lived, though, as Holtgraver used a lapped car to pin Henry as they raced off turn two.
Holtgraver maintained his advantage through the red flag on lap 12, when Duncan struck the frontstretch wall. After riding along the barrier for some distance, Duncan's mount flipped. The pilot was unhurt, but the damage was too severe for him to continue.
After the stoppage, Holtgraver sped away from Henry, Shaffer, George and Blaney. Holtgraver approached lapped traffic on lap 19, but that did not slow his pace. A caution just three laps later gave him another clean track, and he was able to pull away from Henry once again.
Holtgraver cruised to the win, his fourth at the track this season. Henry, who also won earlier this year at the Park, crossed in second. Shaffer was third. George ran fourth. Dale Blaney held off Carl Bowser in the final laps to grab fifth.
Positions seven through ten belonged to Jack Sodeman, Jr., Andy Preist, who was making his first start of the season, Andrew Palker, and Ed Lynch, Jr.
The evening's fastest qualifier for the 34 car field was Danny Holtgraver, who turned the track in 13.994 seconds. He also won the dash.
The four heat races were won by Ed Lynch, Jr., Craig Folmar, Phil Gressman, and Adam Kekich.
The B Main winner was Dale Blaney.
Jimmy Morris jumped out to the early lead in the Bonnell's Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors feature event. However, Mike Miller overtook Morris and he proceeded to open up a considerable advantage as the laps clicked away. Miller's run to victory was halted on lap 13, when teenager Jacob Gomola flipped in turn one. Gomola was able to climb from the car without assistance, but medical crews opted to transport him to a local hospital for observation.
Miller completed the last seven laps without incident. C.J. Jones gave chase, but could not get close enough to the fleet Miller to attempt a pass.
Morris held on for third, with Dalton Daniels and Andy Feil completing the top five.
Michael Bauer led the next group across the finish line. It included Chris Matthews, Skip Dougherty, Rob Felix, and Mike Murano, II. Dougherty spun wildly as he crossed the finish line due to a broken top win mounts. He was able to get his car stopped without any impact.
Jason Scoville and Jimmy Morris won the pair of heat races for the Outlaw Sprint Warriors.
Points leader and defending champion Joe McEwen was unable to start the race due to a broken camshaft. It was the second such failure that he experienced this season.
In the Precise Racing Products Open Stock Cars, Leigh Wheeler defeated Rusty Moore. Moore came in a close second, however, after starting 22nd in the field. Moore was relegated to last on the grid because he won three consecutive points paying events.
While Wheeler led the entire distance, all eyes were on Moore, as he methodically worked his way to the front. More's march was aided by a number of cautions that bunched the filed up. Wheeler had some challengers along the way, including Dave Ferringer. However, it all came down to Moore, who gained second with just two laps remaining. While he was able to close in of Wheeler, he just ran out of time.
Behind Wheeler and Moore were Bobby Heim, Bob Schwartzmiller, Ferringer, Andy Thompson, Pat Fielding, Dillon Kinneston, Rod Laskey, and Bob Sloss.
The heat winners were Schwartzmiller and Moore.
The Mini Stocks, presented by Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles saw Alex Paden roar to his third straight victory. He passed top runners Wally Stearns and Pete Blazak.
Paden had a commanding lead at the checkers. Blazak, points leader Jamey Lee, Setarns, and Steve Longwell, Jr. were the next to cross the line. Cody Pile, Tyler Fulton, Steve Longwell, Jr., Matt Cwynar, and Evan Kornbau completed the top ten.
The heat victories went to Lee and Paden.
Next week, the FASTRAK Northeast Regional Series will return to Mercer Raceway Park. Also on the card on July 13 will be the 410 Sprints (Luxaire Heating & Cooling and Ralph Butch, Inc.), 358 Modifieds (Approved Toilet Rentals), Outlaw Sprint Warriors (Bonnell's Collision Center), Modified Lites (Big Daddy's Speed Center and Rock Concrete), and Mini Stocks (Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles). The Stock Cars (Precise Racing Products), will be given the night off.
UNOH All Stars Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars: Danny Holtgraver, Cap Henry, Tim Shaffer, Rod George, Dale Blaney, Carl Bowser, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Andy Preist, Andrew Palker, Ed Lynch, Jr., Scott Priester, Eric Williams, Brandon Matus, Dennis Wagner, AdamKekich, Phil Gressman, Sheldon Haudenschild, Brian Sebetto, Jac Haudenschild, Cole Duncan, Craig Folmar, Trey Gustin, Dan Kuriger, Brandon Spithaler.
DNQ: Dean Jacobs, Caleb Helms, Danny Mumau, Chris Best, Andy McKisson, Brent Matus, Jason Dolick, Adam Anderson, Bob McMillin, Andre Layfield.
Bonnell's Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Mike Miller, C.J. Jones, Jimmy Morris, Dalton Daniels, Andy Feil, Michael Bauer, Chris Matthews, Skip Dougherty, Rob Felix, Mike Murano, II, Kotie Kirkbride, Jason SCoville, Jacob Gomola, Jacob Lagastee, Greg Dobrosky.
Precise Racing Products Open Stock Cars: Leigh Wheeler, Rusty Moore, Bobby Heim, Bob Schwartzmiller, Dave Ferringer, Andy Thompson, Pat Fielding, Dillon Kinneston, Rod Laskey, Bob Sloss, Dsvid Baker, Charlie McMillen, Curt Bish, Ryan Moyer, Brandon Johnson, Dan McEwen, Garrett Calvert, Buck Buchanan, Dave "Brew" Baker, Kyle Reinwald, Shawn Smith (DNS).
Eperthener's Auto Wrecking/Ray's Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Alex Paden, Pete Blazak, Jamey Lee, Wally Setarns, Steve Longwell, Jr., Cody Pile, Tyler Fulton, Steve Longwell, Jr., Matt Cwynar, Evan Kornbau, Rudy Troples, Joel Wisser, Josh Eakman, Patricia Riffe, Michael Gardner, Shane Smith.