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Kekich Ends Slump in 410 Sprints at Mercer Raceway Park
by Lou Long
Feil, Holden, Blair, Callahan, Englert, and Bish TriumphMercer, PA (June 7, 2014): Adam Kekich celebrated his twenty-first birthday in fine style, earning the win in the 410 Sprint Car feature presented by Luxaire Heating & Cooling and McCrudden's Heating & Supply. It was his third career victory in a track where two prior generations of Kekiches achieved much success.
Andy Feil launched himself from third to first in the first two corners of the Bonnell's Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors and went on to claim his second victory of the season. The victory propelled him into the points lead in this growing class. Jimmy Holden won the non-stop 20 lapper for the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. Max Blair returned to his old stomping grounds, and circled the track like he never left. He earned the win in the unsanctioned Crate Late Model main. Trooper Tim Callahan prevailed in the Mini Stock race run under the twin banners of Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles. Big George Englert would not be denied the win in the Rock Concrete Modified Lites. The Precise Racing Products Stock Cars were the finale this evening, and the laurels went to Curtis J. Bish for the second time this year.
Adam Kekich, the 410 Sprint victor, finally got the monkey off his back. "It means a lot to get this win tonight, I mean, my guys busted their butts all week long and they stuck behind me even though we got ourselves into a slump and it feels good to climb out of it and get into victory lane." By winning, he got some bragging rights over his pal, Brandon Mautus. "I thought that I may have had a pretty good lead, but I had to stay in it because I thought that Matus might be coming." Kekich was unflapped by the tree reds that punctuated the feature. "It kills your rhythm, but you have to stay focused and keep your head in it." Kekich was able to do it this night, for sure.
It took three tries to get the 410 Sprint Car feature under way for Luxaire Heating & Cooling and McCrudden Heating & Supply, with Bill Jones, Jr. spinning in turn two on the first attempt, and Rod George flipping spectacularly on the back stretch on the second. That gave polesitter Mike Miller three tries to lead the pack into turn one. He did, but Adam Kekich rolled to top to get the advantage entering turn three. Kekich was starting to open a little distance over Miller, and Dennis Wagner, when the red flag was displayed once again for a flip by Francis Sesco in the second corner. Like George, Sesco was able to walk away from the accident scene unharmed.
On the restart, third place Dennis Wagner did not get away cleanly, and the field bunched up behind him. In the scramble, Dan Kouriger got displaced, and he came to a stop on the back stretch.
The race had its third stoppage on lap 6, when Scott Priester and Jack Sodeman, Jr. got together and turned over in the third corner. they were running fifth and sixth at the time. Brent Matus managed to squeeze by on the apron, but he may have had some impact with one or both of the cars, for he immediately turned into the infield. The racers were given an open red to refuel and adjust air pressures.
The field, which was shortened to just nine cars by this point, completed the remaining laps without incident. Kekich had nearly a half track lead over his closest rival, good friend Brandon Matus. Eric Williams took third in the closing laps, after starting last in the race. Dennis Wagner crossed in fourth, with a 360 power plant under the hood. Gale Ruth, Jr. was fifth.
Gale Ruth, Sr., Charlie Cornelius, and John McCracken, Jr., were the last cars running. Mike Miller was credited with ninth, based on laps completed, and Scott Priester got tenth on that basis as well.
The preliminary events went to Brandon Matus and Priester. There was no B Main.
In the Bonnell's Rod Shops Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Andy Feil used the launching pad, that is, third starting position, to gain the inside line entering turn one, and he powered off turn two with the lead. Polesitter Mike Miller held second, ahead of Chris Matthews, Ken Rossey, and George Hobaugh. Feil rapidly pulled away as the first dozen laps were completed without incident. Hobaugh was a distant second when the yellow flag was displayed for Eric L Williams.
When racing resumed, it was Feil again leading the way, with Hobaugh, Jimmy Morris, Mike Miller, and Jason Scoville giving chase. They remained in those positions until Morris got into the loose stuff on the outside of the first turn. He hit the wall with the right rear tire, but, otherwise, the car looked to be in good shape. Morris was pushed to the pits. Although he got a few extra laps to work on the racer when Chad Matthews stopped in turn three, he was unable to return to the contest.
Andy Feil led the rest of the way to score his second win of the year. Hobaugh took a career best second place finish at the track. Chris Matthews was third, Miller in fourth, and Scoville in fifth. Scoville started 17th in the field.
Positions six through ten belonged to last week's winner, C.J. Jones, followed by Cody Bova, Mike Marano, II, Joe McEwen, and Devin Litwiler.
Heat victories were scored by Greg Dobrosky and Morris. There was no B Main.
Missing from action was the points leader, Michael Bauer, whose car was undergoing extensive repairs after crashing from his heat last week. New to the field was former champion Joe McEwen, who was piloting a car with an experimental GM 602 crate engine equipped with a four barrel carburetor.
Jimmy Holden and Frankie Guidace waged an intense battle at the start of the 358 Modified feature offered by Approved Toilet Rentals. Holden gained the advantage by lap six, and he began to pull away from his arch rival. Behind them, Shawn Fleeger, Eric Gabany, Lonny Riggs, Kyle Fink, and J.R. McGinley were swapping positions.
Fink assumed third position after a while, and he held it to the checkers, crossing a fair distance behind the leaders, Holden and Guidace. Riggs climbed to fourth, and Gabany to fifth. Fleeger held on for sixth. McGinley led Makayla Guidace to the stripe. Rookie Kyle Martell and Richard Whitney completed the top ten.
Riggs and Holden prevailed in the opening rounds. There was no B Main.
Max Blair dominated the unsanctioned Crate Late Model feature. He took the lead away from Bob Pifer on an early restart. Alan Dellinger ran a steady race to get second. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. had the edge on Bobby Whitling, a former Stock Car maven at the Park. Derek Frank was the fifth place finisher.
Pifer placed sixth, based on laps completed. Mike Anderson was next. Dennis Lunger, Chad Shearer, Roger Vance, and Matt Latta completed the field.
Latta and Lunger copped the heats. There was no B Main.
Tim Callahan sped away from the field in the Mini Stocks, offered by Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles. A late race caution allowed Mike McConnell to close to his rear bumper, but Callahan was up to the challenge. Tyler Fulton earned the third spot, just ahead of Shane Shook. Patricia Riffe was fifth.
Pete Blazak fell back to sixth, after mixing it up with the leaders in the early going. David Seibert, Matt Cwynar, Russ Grossman, and Bill Ferry were the balance of the top ten.
Fulton and Todd Gabriel led the way in their respective heats.
On the opening lap of the Rock Concrete Modified Lite feature event, Chad Shearer took a violent flip in the third turn. Shearer was transported to a local hospital as a precautionary measure.
When racing did get started, big George Englert surged ahead of Jacob Bova and defending champion Shane Pfeuffer. Englert's lead was wiped away, though, by a caution for a minor skirmish. On the restart, Englert began to pull away from Pfeuffer, and Chris Frank, who moved into third. Last week's winner, Chris Logan was hounding him. Bova slipped back to fifth with an engine sounding in distress.
George Englert had the race well in hand until a caution on jap 11 put Pfeuffer beside him for the restart. Englert got away with the lead, but he bobbled going down the back stretch, allowing Pfeuffer to pull to his inside. Just when it looked like Englert would surrender the lead, a caution came out, giving him the advantage for the restart. Englert pulled ahead when the green was displayed, and Logan drove past Pfeuffer for second.
Englert pulled away from Logan and Pfeuffer in the final two rounds. Fourth went to Darin Gallagher, with Chris Frank in fifth. Mike Flockerzi, Josh Deems, Jacob Bova, Jason Johnson, and Tim Prelog were the next five across the finish line.
The qualification rounds belonged to Shearer and Englert. There was no B Main.
In the nightcap for the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, Curtis J. Bish led wire to wire, topping Rusty Moore by more than four seconds. Leigh Wheeler outpaced Pat Fielding and William Hurrelbrink. Curtis L. Bish was sixth, ahead of Dennis Clark, Josh Eakman, Travis Norman, and Joe Stajnrajh.
Moore was tops in the heat race. There was no B Mian.
Next week, Mercer Raceway Park will host the annual Auto Racers for Kids charity event. The program will be presented by Scott Bonnell and Bonnell's Rod Shop. There will be no points awarded for any division in action that week, and there will be no handicapping in effect. The following week, the track will host the Mid-season Championships.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling/McCrudden Heating & Supply 410 Sprints: Adam Kekich, Brandon Matus, Eric Williams, Dennis Wagner, Gale Ruth, Jr., Gale Ruth, Sr., Charlie Cornelius, John McCracken, Jr., Mike Miller, Scott Priester, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Brent Matus, Dan Kuriger, Francis Sesco, A.J. Flick, Bill Jones, Jr., Rod George.
Bonnell's Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Andy Feil, George Hobaugh, Chris Matthews, Mike Miller, Jason Scoville, C.J. Jones, Cody Bova, Mike Marano, II, Joe McEwen, Devin Litwiler, Kotie Kirkbride, Cody Braden, Evan Kornbau, Chad Matthews, Jimmy Morris, GregDobrosky, Ken Rossey, Eric L. WIlliams, Sye Lynch, Alex Paden.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Frankie Guidace, Kyle Fink, Lonny Riggs, Eric Gabany, Shawn Fleeger, J.R. McGinley, Makayla Guidace, Kyle Martell, Richard Whitney, Shayne Izzo, Marty Kristyak.
Crate Late Models: Max Blair, Alan Dellinger, Bruce Hordusky, Jr., Bobby Whitling, Derek Frank, Bob Pifer, Mike Anderson, Dennis Lunger, Chad Shearer, Roger Vance, Matt Latta.
Eperthener's Auto Wrecking/Ray's Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Tim Callahan, Mike McConnell, Tyler Fulton, Shane Shook, Patricia Riffe, Pete Blazak, David Seibert, Matt Cwynar, Russ Grossman, Bill Ferry, Peter Williams, Roger Wigton, Todd Gabriel, Leo Hanlon, Caleb Hickok.
Rock Concrete Modified Lites: George Englert, Chris Logan, Shane Pfeuffer, Darin Gallagher, Chris Frank, Mike Flockerzi, Josh Deems, Jacob Bova, Jason Johnson, Tim Prelog, Cory Webb, Preston Roach, Don Cain, Don Cain, Mark Marcucci, Jason Darocha, Chad Shearer, Shane Webb (DNS).
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Curtis J. Bish, Rusty Moore, Leigh Wheeler, Pat Fielding, William Hurrelbrink, Curtis L. Bish, Dennis Clark, Josh Eakman, Travis Norman, Joe Stajnrajh.