For Immediate Release
By Jim Balentine Jr and Paul Harkenrider (Patriot Sprints)
Justin Barger becomes 8th winner in 8 Patriot 360 Sprint features at Michael’s Mercer Raceway! Vigneri wins 1st in Big Block Mods, Brian Schaffer wins 1st career in FASTRAK Modifieds, Shook and Vivian Jones repeat in Minis and Mod Lites.
MERCER PA- Mother nature graced Michael’s Mercer Raceway with fantastic weather, and 3 new winners graced victory lane as Justin Barger won his 1st ever Mercer Patriot 360 Sprint feature, Brian Schaffer took his 1st career win in the Turn 4 Toilets FASTRAK Limited Modifieds, Phil Vigneri won his 1st ever Mercer Diel Ram Big Block Modified feature, while Shane Shook picked up his 10th career Mercer Ray’s Racing Collectibles/Eperthener Auto Wrecking Mini stocks, and Vivan Jones win her 5th Barris Trucking Mod Lite event.
(Patriot Sprint story by Paul Harkenrider) It has been since 2015 since Justin Barger has won a Patriot Sprint Tour A-Main but all of that changed Saturday when he led all 25 laps and held off rookie Matt Farnham and veteran, Jared Zimbardi.
“We were able to move around a lot and I think that’s what got us the win” stated Barger. “Usually when you get to lap traffic and you are the leader, you don’t really want that but we had a few chances to get a couple good laps in to pull away and we did.”
Barger started alongside Matt Farnham who was making his first ever start in a 360-sprint car after a couple starts in a Crate Sprint at Ohsweken.Barger would pull out to an early race lead but Farnham would still be in the striking distance as they encountered lap traffic early on lap five which allowed Farnham to show Barger his nose wing a couple times in the first half of the race.
The only caution that occurred in the 25-lap affair was on lap 12 with Steve Glover spun in turn two and that would restack the field.
The clean air would play in Barger’s favor on the restart as he would build an advantage once again on the restart, but that lead would be all but gone on lap 16 when he again met lap traffic and both Farnham and Zimbardi would be right there racing for top position.
Barger would continue to weave through lap traffic which would only help him because Farnham and Zimbardi would also have their own battle for that runner up spot.Farnham and Zimbardi had one last opportunity on lap 23 to challenge Barger but just could not get by the race leader. Barger would take home the win, followed by rookie Matt Farnham, Jared Zimbardi, Davie Franek and NRA competitor, Hud Horton.
In regular Mercer action Phil Vigneri from upstate New York won his first ever big block Modified feature at the track which has snakebit him in the past. Veteran Skip Moore started on the pole and quickly asserted himself as he led Phil Vigneri with Rick Regalski and last week’s winner Dave Murdick in fourth. Moore would look like he was about to win his first ever Mercer big block feature but on lap 8 he would get caught up with a lapped car and looped it in turn 2 nullifying him of that first win. Vigneri would take over the lead on the restart with Dave Murdick hot on his heels. Meanwhile behind them a torrid battle between Kyle Fink, Rex King Sr. and Rex King Jr. was taking place. Vigneri would hold off the 3 veterans for his first ever Big Block Modified win in his career after winning several 358 Modified races in upstate New York. “Moore was driving a great race and I was inching closer and I didn’t know if I would have enough time and we got to lapped traffic and unfortunately he clipped the wall but I have been on the losing end of some of those too so we’ll take it!!! I didn’t know he (Murdick) was that close!! He is so fast and we have been so close on the BRP Modified tour and I spun out while leasing the Little Guy Nationals 2 years ago so this is a little bit of redemption.”Dave Murdick would finish second, Kyle Fink third, Rex King Jr fourth, and Jimmy Holden fifth. Skip Moore and Rex King Jr. would win the heat races.
Brian Schaffer, who is part of the Schaffer family who has a rich tradition at Mercer going back to the 1970s, etched his name in the Mercer history book with his first ever feature win in the FASTRAK Limited Modifieds dominating the entire 15 lap event. Schaffer went unchallenged during the race as he pulled away from the field. Meantime Jerry Schaffer who was battling Brian Saldler, and Kyle Fink for 2nd overtook Sadler on lap 5. Fink then moved around Sadler and then former winner Garrett Krummert from his seventh starting position challenged Fink for third at the halfway point. Krummert then got around Jerry Schaffer for second with two laps remaining but was too late as Brian Schaffer won by 5.482 seconds over Krummert, uncle Jerry Schaffer, Kyle Fink and Brian Sadler. “Only a 5 second lead?? Thats all? It feels great its been a long time coming..I’ve been struggling here, and it looks like the point battle (between he and Shane Izzo) will go down to the last lap of the feature next week.” Shayne Izzo and Garrett Krummert won the heats.
Shane Shook continued his dominance of Mercer in the Mini stocks picking up his third win of the season and tenth overall after starting third in the 27 car field. Eight time winner Bill Fuchs led at the start but went yellow quickly as all time feature winner Tim Callahan and Dave Shook tangled out of turn four. Fuchs would hold off Shook until lap 6 when Shook took the lead and led the remaining distance. Fuchs ended up second, Dwayne Reddinger drove a fantastic race finishing third, Mike Porterfield fourth and Johnny Bruce Sr. fifth.
David Shook, Dwayne Reddinger, and Shane Shook won the heats.
Vivian Jones, with four wins already this season in the Mod Lites completely dominated the 15 lap affair winning flag to flag and had a six second lead during the race. With multiple yellows, Jones was never deterred as she would rocket out of turn four with a huge lead on each restart and picked up her fifth Mercer win and coming closer to her first ever Mercer title. “Coming into this season we thought maybe if we had it we could win the championship and I didn’t think I could win this many” When told her brother and father finished behind her, “Even better!!…I haven’t won twenty seven times like my father but we are getting there!! Vivian’s brother Roman Jones finished a career best second, while father of the two, Rod Jones was third. Dusty Frantz and Jacob Eakin would complete the top 5. Ayden Cipriano and Rod Jones won the heats.
Next week is the scheduled last night for points as we will crown our 5 divisional champions. If the night gets rained out the following week will be the pre-scheduled rain date. Pits open at 4 PM, grandstands at 5 PM, hot laps if needed at 6:30, and racing at 7 PM. Regular admission prices will be in effect with $12 for adults and $10 for seniors (60+). Children (13 and under) will be admitted for free with a paying adult. Pit Passes are $30, seniors and children 10 and under will be $25.
A-Verdi Storage Containers Patriot Sprint Tour/ K&L Ready Mix NRA Quick Results
A Main: 1) 5-JUSTIN BARGER (1) 2) 7NY-Matt Farnham 3) 35-Jared Zimbardi 4) 28f-Davie Franek 5) 28H-Hus Horton 6) 10k-Joe Kata 7) 49D-Shawn Dancer 8) 49K-Scott Kreutter 9) 22R-Mike Koehler 10) 23-Devon Dobbie 11) 22H-Randy Hannagan 12) 10-Mitch Brown 13) 17-Jared Hortsman 14) 98-Joe Trenca 15) 79-Jordan Thomas 16) 20-Jim Shuster 17) 10J-CJ Jones 18) 67-Pete Richardson 19) 99-John Trenca 20) 76-Mallie Shuster 21) 1-10-Jake Brown 22) 14-Luke Daugherty 23) 16L-Roger Levesque 24) 121- Steve Glover
Diehl Ram Big Block Modifieds (25 Laps)
44V Phil Vigneri, 61 Dave Murdick, 66f Kyle fink, 165 Rex King Jr,28H Jimmy Holden, 66M J.R. McGinley, 65 Rex King Sr, 13 Rick Regalski, 58 Lonnie Riggs, 60 Kole Holden , 11R Brad Rapp, 74 Kevin Green, 717 Bill Adams, 55 Scott Kay, 93X Adam Brunson, 29 Garrett Krummert, 96B Bob Warren, 17m Skip Moore, 29E Eric Martin.
Turn 4 Toilets FASTRAK Limited Modifieds (15 laps)
41 Brian Schaffer, 10 Garrett Krummert, 14 Jerry Schaffer, 44 Kyle Fink, 5 Brian Sadler, 29E Eric Martin, 86 Shane Izzo, 404 Michael Kristyak, 29 Steve Slater, 33G Todd Gabriel, 71 Gage Priester
Rays racing collectibles/Eperthner auto wrecking mini stocks (12 laps)
17s Shane Shook, 10 Bill Fuchs, 211 Dwayne Reddinger, 23MP Mike Porterfield, 311 Johnny Bruce Sr, 77H Cameron Hutchins, 24D Kyle Donnelly, 00 Jason Pavlick, 36 DJ McRae, 7x Justin Bailey, 02 David coffin, 6 Mike Kelly, 77D David Hutchins, 54 Tim Callahan, 79 John McCracken, 14D Dustin Adams, 64 Summer Pitts, 0 Randy Ealy, 17J Willie Aley, 311 Johnny Bruce Sr, 101 Kason Smeltzer, 53Z Larry Blake, 421 Josh Stoner, 35 David Shook,12 Phil King, 72 Mike Mathieson-DNS, 40C Joe Campbell-DNS
Barris trucking & supply Mod Lites (15 laps)
20M Vivian Jones, 82M Roman Jones , 820 Rod Jones, 825 Dusty Frantz, 14 Jacob Eakin , 25B Bob Boano, 18 David Innes, 33 Mark Biskup , 01 Nathaniel Bale, 09 Charlie Biskup, 17M Shawn Migdol,55M Ed Mudrick, 32B Tyler Barris, 8M Mark Marcucci Sr.,5C Aiden Cipriano, 267 Shane Webb, 8H Jacob Isenhart, 17 Jason Gracey, 5B Larry Bevivino, 13 Jordan Simmons DNS.
Remember that you can get alerts regarding the cancellation of any racing event at Mercer Raceway Park sent directly to your smartphone or other electronic device. To register, please go to the track’s website, www.mercerracewaypark.com, click on the icon for RainedOut.net, and follow the easy steps.
About Michaels Mercer Raceway: Michaels Mercer Raceway is a 3/8-mile dirt track located minutes from both Interstates 79 and 80 just off Route 19 on Fairground Road in Mercer, Pa. Dirt track racing and quality family entertainment are presented weekly from late March through early October. For more information, check out www.mercerracewaypark.com.