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Holtgraver Doubles in 360 and 410 Sprints
by Lou Long
Miller, Holden, Pfeuffer and Hickok also WinMercer, PA (June 1, 2013): With over 50 Sprints crammed in the pits at Mercer Raceway Park for the first triple-header presented by Bonnell's Collision Center, Pittsburgh's Danny Holtgraver took a pair of victories. He was the surprise winner in the Patriot Sprint Tour race after starting dead last because he missed the heat races. He led wire to wire in the 410 Sprints on behalf of Luxaire Heating & Cooling and New Wilmington Motors. The third Sprint win, for the Outlaw Sprint Warriors, went to Mike Miller, who held off Smoking Joe McEwen in the final laps.
Jimmy Holden romped home with the win in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. Shane Pfeuffer scored his first win of the season against the Modified Lites, appearing for Big Daddy's Speed Center and Rock Concrete. The finale for the Mini Stocks, offered by Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles, went to Caleb Hickok.
"We had an awesome car for getting just two hot laps," Holtgraver said about his 360 Sprinter. "We just made some good moves, and it was fun out there, and we were fortunate enough to start out front in the 410 deal." Summing things up, the elated driver said, "I couldn't ask for anything more."
Because the Groves and Hunter rig broke down just outside of town, Holtgraver could not run in his heat race. He was fortunate enough to get in two quick practice laps while the Patriots ran their dash. Despite the disadvantage, he marched to the front, reaching the top ten just five laps into the race. His advance to the top five was aided by a number of cautions which bunched the field up for him. He cracked the top five on lap 8 and he got third following another restart with nine laps in the books.
Holtgraver rode in third until lap 20, while Scott Kreutter and Jared Zimbardi diced for the lead. On that lap, however, Zimbardi drifted a bit too high in turns one and two, and Holtgraver pounced. He then quickly closed on Kreutter, who led from the start.
With Kreutter catching some lapped traffic and Holtgraver closing in, the fans got ready for something explosive to happen. They were not disappointed. On lap 21, Holtgraver dove low entering turn three. Although Kreutter ran in the mioddle, he did not react quickly enough to block Holtgraver's aggressive move. Holtgraver powered through the turns, opening up a two car length advantage over Kreutter as they rounded turn four.
Holtgraver sped away from the field to canpture the popular victory, his first with the touring series. Kreutter held on for second. Zimbardi crossed in third. George Suprick climbed to fourth in the final tally. Justin Barger finished fifth, after challenging Kreutter early in the race.
Tommy Wickham, Steve Collins, Brad Knab, Adam Anderson, and Geoff Quackenbush completed the top ten.
Heat winners were Collins, Jason Scoville, and Tommy WIckham. Suprick claimed the dash prize.
In the 410 Sprint feature, sponsored by Luxaire Hating & Cooling and New WIlmington Motors, Hotgraver jumped out to the early lead. Eric Williams ran second, with Dan Kuriger and Jack Sodeman, Jr. giving chase.
Holtgraver opened up a big lead, but he had a scare on lap ten when Chris Best spun ahead of him between turns three and four, forcing the leader to take evasive action. Sodeman went to work on Kuriger after the restart, and he gained third on lap 12.
Meanwhile, Brandon Spithaler was working his way to the front. Last week's winner, albeit without the wings, was soon pressing Sodeman for third. Spithaler nipped Sodeman's rear nerf bar as they were fighting for position. Sodeman maintained control, but Spithaler was not as fortunate. His car spun wildly to the inside of turn for, hitting a ute tire and kicking up a cloud of dust. Spithaler kept the wheels spinning, hoping to pull back onto the track. However, the front end damage was too severe, and he was done for the night.
Sodeman capitalized on the ensuing restart, taking second away from WIlliams. However, he never got the opportunity to battle Holtgraver for the win.
After Holtgraver, Sodeman and WIlliams came Kuriger and Adam Kekich. Brandon Matus, Gale Ruth, Sr., Brent Matus, Scott Priester, and Bill Jones, Jr. rounded out the top ten.
Sodeman and Priester scored heat wins.
In the Bonnell's Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Mike Miller withstood several thrusts from Joe McEwen, the last threat coming in a one-lap dash to the checkers. It was Miller's second win of the weekend, the other coming at Lernerville Speedway in his Stock Car. McEwen made a bold outside move coming through turn four, but he came up a few car lengths short at the finish line.
Last week's winner, Jimmy Morris, was third, just ahead of Rob Felix and C.J. Jones. Michael Bauer, Chris Matthews and Andy Feil had a tussle for the next three positions. Jacob Lagestee and Greg Dobrosky were ninth and tenth, respectively.
The prelminaries went to McEwen and Jacob Gomola.
Jimmy Holden took advantage of his pole position and led wire to wire in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. Although Holden had an easy go of it, the action behind him was furious. Early in the race, there was a four-car battle for second, involving Frankie Guidace, Jeff Schaffer, Kyle FInk and Lonny Riggs. They got that sorted out by the halfway mark, with Schaffer working his way to second.
After a mid-race restart, Guidace got his car cranked up on the outside, and he began to fight his way to the front again. He did get as high ans second, but Schaffer rallied to take the position away in the final rounds.
Holden, Schaffer and Guidace crossed ahead of Fink and Riggs. Shawn Fleeger and Max Smoker were the remaining drivers to complete the event.
Matt Reeher, Andy Paden and Makayla Guidace were given credit for positions eight, nine and ten. J.R. McGinley was unable to start the race in his borrowed ride, the 0 of Dan Fink.
Frankie Guidace and Holden tallied in the heats.
Shane Pfeuffer raced to the win in the Modified Lites, racing under the banners of Big Daddy's Speed Center and Rock Concrete. While Pfeuffer worked his way forward, the early laps were headed by Darin Gallagher. Mark Marcucci took over to lead the middle stages of the race. Pfeuffer was closing in on him when Marcucci's car came to a sudden stop on the frontstretch. Marcucci was unable to finish the event.
Pfeuffer ran out front the rest of the way. Gallagher finished second, with Tom Kline, Andrew Bruce and Bill Stivason next in line.
Braden Dellinger, Josh Deems, and Mike Flockerzi finished sixth through eighth. Cory Webb and Jacob Bova were scored in ninth and tenth, although they did not finish the race.
Cody Bova and Marcicci were the heat winners this night.
Caleb Hickok scored the feature win in the Mini Stocks, which were racing on behalf of Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles. Tyler Fulton lead the early stages of the event, but he retired, handing the lead over to the eventual winner.
Mike McConnell, Wally Stearns, Joel Wisser and Steve Longwell, Sr. were in the top five. Rudy Troples, Jeff Bucklew, E.J. Rarer, Josh Eakman and Adam Bulfone were next at the checkers.
Shane Smith and Alex Paden took the preliminaries.
Next weekend, Mercer Raceway Park will feature Saturday Night Live! Racing in its regular six divisions. Then, on June 15, the speedway will host the annual Auto Racers for Kids charity event, which is also presented courtesy of Bonnell's Collision Center.
Patriot Sprint Tour: Danny Holtgraver, Scott Kreutter, Jared Zimbardi, George Suprick, Justin Barger, Tommy Wickham, Steve Collins, Brad Knab, Adam Anderson, Geoff Quackenbush, Steve Hutchinson, Bruce Dewitt, Dennis Wagner, Jason Scoville, Clint Idee, Tyler Graves, Scott Just, Branden Warner, Dave Just, Dave Wickham.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling/New Wilmington Motors Sprint Cars: Danny Holtgraver, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Eric WIlliams, Dan Kuriger, Adam Kekich, Brandon Matus, Gale Ruth, Sr., Brent Matus, Scott Priester, Bill Jones, Jr., Bob McMillin, John MCCracken, Brandon Spithaler, Chrios Best, Dennis Wagner. DNS: Carl Bowser, Sheldon Haudenschild, Mike Lutz, Mike Flynn.
Bonnell's Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Mike Miller, Joe McEwen, Jimmy Morris, Rob Felix, C.J. Jones, Michael Bauer, Chris Matthews, Andy Feil, Jacob Lagestee, Greg Dobrosky, Jeff Goodman, Thomas Sanders, Dalton Daniels, Jacob Gomola, Chad Matthews.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Jeff Schaffer, Frankie Guidace, Kyle Fink, Lonny Riggs, Shawn Fleeger, Max Smoker, Matt Reeher, Andy Paden, Makayla Guidace, J.R. McGinley (DNS).
Big Daddy's Speed Center/Rock Concrete Modified Lites: Shane Pfeuffer, Darin Gallagher, Tom Kline, Andrew Bruce, Bill Stivason, Braden Dellinger, Josh Deems, Mike Flockerzi, Rob Hibbiard, Jacob Bova, Mark Marcucci, Cody Bova, Chris Loghan, Matthew Kain.
Epertehener's Auto Wrecking/Ray's Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Caleb Hickok, Mike McConnell, Wally Stearns, Joel Wisser, Steve Longwell, Sr., Rudy Troples, Jeff Bucklew, E.J. Rarer, Josh Eakman, Adam Bulfone, Tricia Riffe, Shane Shook, Tyler Fulton, Steve Longwell, Jr., Tim Callahan, Alex Paden, Pete Blazak, Leo Hanlon, Jamey Lee, Shane Smith.