For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Lou Long (412-760-9755)
Story Content Provided by Jim Dutko and Pam Baker
Mercer, Pa (August 13, 2011): Mercer Raceway Park celebrated its 60th Anniversary Saturday night, and the track paid respects to the late Debbie Oyler, but the date will long be remembered for a first, Rex King, Jr.’s first BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour victory. Joining him in victory lane were Brandon Spithaler in the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Car feature. Dillon Kineston in the Big Dog R/C Center Mini Stocks feature, and Michael Bauer picked in the ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Meanwhile, Trusty Rusty Moore continued his dominance in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars.
The BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour race was named in honor of Debbie Oyler, a former Board Member and former track employee. She passed before the 2011 season got underway.
With many of her friends and family looking on, Rex “Cooter” King, Jr. and Kevin Bolland led the 27 car starting field to the green flag for the start of the 30-lap Debbie Oyler Memorial Modified Tour event. At the drop of the green flag, Cooter King jumped into the lead with his father, Rex King, Sr., right on his rear bumper.
Coming past the start finish line, both Kings were running side by side but Cooter had just a little bit of advantage to take the lead. On lap four, the first of several caution flags waved. John Buchanan and Tommy Mattocks retired from the event with damage to their mounts.
On the restart, both Kings started side by side with Cooter chosing the outside. He was able to pull away once again and by lap eight he had a six car length advantage over his father. By lap seventeen the leaders started working lapped traffic, with Cooter maintaing his advantage.
On lap 21, it appeared as though Rex King, Sr. would lose second place, as he came into contact with a lapped car, but the caution flag waived for Shawn Fleeger instead.
Cooter once again chose the outside for the restart and he used the high side of the speedway to drive away from his father. His lead vanished once again when the red flag was displayed on lap 26 for Ron Eperthener, who had the transmission break and the parts of the driveline hit the back of his legs. He was checked out by ambulance personnel and later released from their care.
The final restart of the night found Cooter with the advantage. But now Rex King, Sr. with his hands full with Eric Gabany, who had started in the sixteenth starting position. Gabany had been carefully working his way to the front of the field and pressured King, Sr. the final four laps.
Cooter King went on to pick up the checkers, his third overall, as he claimed his first pair of wins at another area speedway. Rex King, Sr. finished second, with Eric Gabany in a close third. Fourth place went to Brian Weaver and Frank Guidace rounded out the top five.
Interestingly, Gabany and Guidace also finished in the top five earlier in the season with their Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds.
Sixth place went to Jeremiah Shingledecker, who started twenty-seventh. Seventh through tenth went to Kevin Bolland, Kevin Hoffman, Brad Rapp and Rick Hall.
Cooter King received a special award from R2C Performance for his first Modified Tour win, while Jeremiah Shingledecker picked up the Landrum Spring Racer of the Race prize.
In a twist of fate Brandon Spithaler was on his wing again this week, but this time it was because he was celebrating in victory lane for the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Car win. Unlike last week’s ordeal, this race was clean and green all the way to the finish. Spithaler completed all 25 laps in just over 7 minutes!
Joining Spithaler on the front row was Aaron Shaffer, who travels in from Illinois to compete at Mercer Raceway Park. Spithaler broke out with the lead, but the highlights of the race were supplied Carl Bowser and Rod George coming from 7th and 14th respectively.
By lap 6, Spithaler had a huge lead over Jimmy Light, with Bowser charging to third and George to seventh. George masterfully worked his way through the field and got up to third by lap 18, just behind Bowser. The two would battle back and forth for the second position but neither had enough to catch the leader.
At the finish it was Spithaler over Bowser, George, Light, and point leader Bob Felmlee. Chris Best and Bowser picked up the heat race wins.
The Big Dog R/C Center Mini Stocks were next to the very fast and racy track with enduro expert Tim Gillette and Carl Keller on the front row. It didn’t take long for former Western PA Rookie of the Year, Dillon Kineston, to take the early lead. Kineston drove off from the field to over half a track advantage by the half way point of the race. The hard charging Pete Blazczak was never going to give up with problems in the heat forcing him to start on the tail of the field.
Blazczak charged to third on lap 10 but it would be too much to catch the leader.
At the finish it was Kineston ahead of Steve Longwell, Blazczak, Mike Thompson and Ed Haylett. Kineston and Keller won the two heats.
Next to the track were the ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors for their 15 lap feature. With Chad Mathews and Mike Bauer on the front row, Bauer would break out to lead lap one. Guy Griffin was starting to charge to the front from deep in the field but suffered problems as the front wing mounts would break. Meanwhile, Dennis Wagner and Jim Morris locked themselves in a battle for the runner-up spot running side by side for 3 laps with Wagner breaking out on top.
Wagner set his sight on the leader and was charging hard running him down by .3 sec a lap. That was until the yellow would waive on lap 12 for the spinning Justin Whitesell. On the restart, Bauer had a clean track and took the advantage.
Bauer led the rest of the way, straight to victory lane for the second time in his young career. Rounding out the top 5 were Wagner, Adam Anderson, Morris, and Guy Griffin. Griffin picked up the heat race victory.
The Precise Racing Products Stock Cars presented the last and longest feature of the evening, as nine cautions interrupted the action. What is more, the race turned into a survival of the fittest, with only nine cars remaining at the checkers.
The first caution came out on the initial start for Travis Walsh spinning in turn one collecting Dave Ferringer. On the restart Terry Wheeler grabbed the lead, with Rusty Moore in tow. The yellow came out again on the first lap for Wil Aley, Rodney Thomes and Bryan Wagner and then, again, on lap 5 for Brandon Johnston.
At the half way point of the race it was still Wheeler over Moore and last week’s winner Russ Byler in third. After another couple of cautions which would involve Byler, Rusty Moore wrestled the lead away from Wheeler on a restart.
The final caution came out on lap 17 for Wheeler and Bob McCann, who were fighting for second place at the time. McCann was sent to the pits for rough driving.
At the finish it was Moore over Bryan Wagner, Wheeler, Gary Miller, and Wil Aley. Moore and Dan Lewis picked up the heat races over the 18 car field.
BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour: 1. Rex King, Jr. (165); 2. Rex King, Sr. (65); 3. Eric Gabany (3G); 4. Brian Weaver (1A); 5. Frank Guidace (1G); 6. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD); 7. Kevin Bolland (777); 8. Kevin Hoffman (17H); 9. Brad Rapp (11R); 10. Rick Hall (B4); 11. Chris Haines (35H); 12. Skip Moore (17M); 13. Shannon Whaley (44W); 14. Joe Kubiniec (19); 15. Mike Turner (96); 16. Mark Frankhouser (03); 17. Carl Murdick (6); 18. Shawn Fleeger (88); 19. Rick Ryder (189); 20. Ron Eperthener (333); 21. Donny Minor (22M); 22. Steve Feder (45); 23. Kevin Green (74); 24. Dave Murdick (61); 25. John Buchanan (44B); 26. Matt Reeher (711); 27. Tom Mattocks (69). DNS: Don Brown (71B).
Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars: 1. Brandon Spithaler (22S); 2. Carl Bowser (10); 3. Rod George (4); 4. Jimmy Light (23); 5. Bob Felmlee (6); 6. Aaron Shaffer (97S); 7. Chris Best (66); 8. Brian Steinman (24S); 9. Adam Kekich (5K); 10. Brandon Matus (13); 11. Ralph Spithaler (56); 12. Brent Matus (33); 13. Shawn Minor (3M); 14. Fransis Sesco (2S); 15. John McCracken (79).
Big Dog R/C Center Mini Stocks: 1. Dillon Kineston (–); 2. Steve Longwell, Sr. (—); 3. Pete Blazczak (77); 4. Mike Thompson (–); 5. Ed Haylett (8ball); 6. Troy Lehnortt (46); 7. Tim Gillette (1); 8. Wally Stearns (33); 9. Adam Bulfone (–); 10. Maria Nevin (9); 11. Joel Wisser (—); 12. Carl Keller (–); 13. Kris Anderson (–). DNS: Rudy Troples (28).
ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors: 1. Michael Bauer (35); 2. Dennis Wagner (38); 3. Adam Anderson (5B); 4. Jim Morris (–); 5. Guy Griffin (11); 6. Chad Mathews (1); 7. Justin Whitesell (17); 8. Harold Braden (9). DNS: Jacob Lagestee (72).
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: 1. Rusty Moore (17M); 2. Bryan Wagner (56); 3. Terry Wheeler (2W); 4. Gary Miller, Jr. (1M); 5. Wil Aley (–); 6. Brandon Johnson (14J); 7. Andy Thompson (–); 8. Bob McCann (33); 9. Dave Ferringer (02); 10. Curtis J. Bish (29); 11. Travis Walsh (1); 12. Russ Byler (06R); 13. Tony Spaghetti (97); 14. Ryan Moyer (–); 15. Darrin Hyde (–); 16. Rodney Thomes (—); 17. Bobby Heim (92); 18. Dan Lewis (64).