Mercer, PA (May 26, 2012): Jimmy Light claimed his first career 410 winged Sprint Car victory at Mercer Raceway Park. That came in the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Car division. The “Tugboat,” Lonny Riggs, docked his Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified in victory lane.
Mark Marcucci won his third straight in the Modified Lites presented by Big Daddy’s Speed Center and Rock Concrete, while Pete Blazak regained his winning form in the Mini Stocks. Curtis J. Bish topped the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars and Justin Whitesell was victorious in the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors.
In the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint cars, the “Wheelman,” Brandon Matus, jumped into the lead and he immediately began to pull away from the field. Matus had a close call when lapping John McCracken in turn four. McCracken spun, and Matus barely avoided contact.
On the restart, Matus again opened up a considerable advantage. Jimmy Light and Carl Bowser both passed Bob Felmlee in turn two in a breathtaking maneuver. Light went low and Bowser went high to pass the defending track champ.
Light set sail after Matus, and he began to close in on the leader. Before Light could challenge for the lead, however, Matus pulled into the infield exiting the second corner. Later, it was learned that the rear end failed him.
The action was slowed on one more occasion for a minor incident. Light was ready for the restart, though, as he brought the field to to the starting cone at a very slow pace. His competitors were not ready for that tactic and he was able to open up a substantial advantage. In victory lane, Light said that the restart trick was something that he learned from his hero, Late Model star Chub Frank.
As the final laps clicked off, Light sped away from the field. Taking second was Bob Felmlee. Jack Sodeman finished third. Andy McKisson advanced eight spots to claim fourth. Scott Priester was a steady fifth.
Brian Steinman crossed in sixth. Eric Williams and Dan Kuriger were seventh and eighth, respectively. Chris Best was ninth and Brent Matus rode home in tenth.
Carl Bowser and McKisson were the heat winners for the 18 car field.
Goodyear tire awards were conferred on Light as the winner, McKisson as the hard charger, and Gale Ruth, Sr.as the last car on the lead lap. Williams and Kuriger received the random awards.
In the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature, jovial Ron Eperthener took the early lead over Rick Hall. Lonny Riggs was the man moving foreward at the start of the race, as he claimed third on lap one. He immediately began to press Eperthener for the lead.
Riggs was working the inside groove, but Eperthener held him off until the pair hit turn one on lap 5. That was when Riggs muscled past him for the first time. Riggs held control until lap 6 when the yellow flag flew for the first of two spins by Dillon Barr.
On the restart, Eperthener powered off turn four with the lead. This time, he moved down on the track, taking away Riggs’ preferred line. Undaunted, Riggs moved to the outside and he began to pressure Eperthener again. Their battle for the lead lasted for five laps.
This time, Riggs powered by Eperthener on the outside of turns one and two to lead lap 11.
Riggs maintained control despite another caution that put Eperthener up beside him. While they continued to battle for the lead, last week’s winner, Jimmy Holden, began to move ahead. He overtook Eperthener for second on lap 12. Holden tried to close in on Riggs as the laps clicked off, but was unable to catch him.
Behind Riggs and Holden was Eperthener. J.R. McGinley ran inside the top five all race long, and earned the fourth spot at the checkers. Fifth was Kyle Fink.
Sixth went to Jeff Schaffer. Rob Curtis crossed in seventh, ahead of Dave Cogswell. Matt Reeher and Dustin Martin completed the top ten.
The pair of heat wins were collected by Riggs and Curtis. There were 18 cars on hand.
Cody Bova jumped into the lead of the Modified Lite feature event presented by Big Daddy’s and Rock Concrete. Nipping on his heels was the Andrew Bruce machine. But, further back in the field, Mark Marcucci began to work his way to the front.
With Bova still on the point,. Marcucci claimed second on lap 3. A caution put them side by side for the restart.
Marcucci powered off the turn with the lead that he would never relinquish.
Marcucci’s march to the win was halted for a flip by Braden Dellinger in turn two. The young driver was unhurt, but could not continue in the race.
After the red, Cody Bova made a run for the lead but he was unable to make a move on the fast-moving Marcucci.
Third place went to Kotie Kirkbride, followed by Rick Ament and Andrew Bruce.
Positions six through ten belonged to Bill Stivason, Tyler Frankenberry, Jason Johnson, Taylor Smith and Jordie McClaine.
Heat winners were Cody Bova and Ament. There were fourteen cars in the field.
The Mini Stock twelve lapper went to defending champion Pete Blazak. He jumped out to the lead, but Todd Gabriel passed him on the second lap.
Gabriel pulled out to an eight car length lead, but Blazak began chopping away at it. Blazak caught back up and executed an inside move to regain the lead on lap seven.
Gabriel continued in second. Third went to last week’s winner, Jerry Batcher. Fourth was Steve Longwell, Sr. Tyler Fulton was fifth.
Sixth belonged to Rudy Troples. Ed Haylett was seventh, Joel Wisser eighth, Steve Longwell, Jr. ninth and Wally Stearns tenth.
Gabriel and Batcher were heat winners. there were 17 Minis in the pits this night.
The Precise Racing Products Stock Cars were defeated by Curtis J. Bish. Bish was finally home and back behind the wheel after several weeks of international travel for his job.
Darrin Hyde was second, one notch ahead of early leader Andy Thompson. Bobby Heim was fourth and Matt Wagner completed the top five.
Brandon Johnston, Charlie McMillen, Rusty Moore, Matt Hudzik and Brad Shaffer were sixth through tenth.
Moore and Hyde took the heats for the thirteen cars.
The Ti22 Performance Outlaw Warriors were the final feature of the night. Justin Whitesell took the early lead and withstood several restarts in the early going. Once the racers got over their rash of yellow fever, though, they were able to reel off the final eleven laps of the race without further incident.
Justin Whitesell took the win, despite a close call when passing a lapped car in turn three on the last lap. He dedicated the win to his mother, who is currently battling breast cancer.
Second was Rob Felix. Chris Matthews was third, ahead of Stock Car ace Mike Miller. Skip Dougherty took fifth.
Positions six through ten were Joe McEwen, Jim Morris, C.J. Jones, Jeff Goodman and Harold Braden, Jr.
The heat winners were Whitesell and McEwen. There were 16 cars in action tonight.
Remember that next week, the mighty Midgets of the American Racing Drivers Club come to Mercer Raceway Park for the first of two appearances. The Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprints get the week off. All other track classes will be in action, however.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprints: Jimmy Light, Bob Felmlee, Jack Sodeman, Andy McKisson, Scott Priester, Brian Steinman, Eric Williams, Dan Kuriger, Chris Best, Brent Matus, Craig Folmar, Gale Ruth, Sr., Francis Sesco, Adam Miller, John McCracken, Jr., Brandon Matus, Carl Bowser, A.J. Albrecht.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Lonny Riggs, Ron Eperthener. J.R. McGinley, Kyle Fink, Jeff Schaffer, Rob Curtis, Dave Cogswell, Matt Reeher, Dustin Martin, Kevin Green, Tom Glenn, Max Smoker, Shayne Izzo, Bob Warren, Rick Hall, Dillon Barr, Andy Paden.
Big Daddy’s Speed Center/Rock Concrete Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, Cody Bova, Kotie Kirkbride, Rick Ament, Andrew Bruce, Bill Stivason, Tyler Frankenberry, Jason Johnson, Taylor Smith, Jordie McClaine, Kyle Eckstrom, Jacob Bova, Richard Lawson, Braden Dillinger. DNS: Daniel Demyan.
Mini Stocks: Pete Blazak, Todd Gabriel, Jerry Batcher, Steve Longwell, Sr., Tyler Fulton, Rudy Troples, Ed Haylett, Joel Wisser, Steve Longwell, Jr., Wally Stearns, Maria Nevin, Patricia Riffe, Leo Hanlon, Chase Anthony, Rob McElhaney, Adam Bulfone. DNS: Matt Christy.
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Curtis J. Bish, Darrin Hyde, Andy Thompson, Bobby Heim, Matt Wagner, Brandon Johnston, Charlie McMillen, Rusty Moore, Matt Hudzik, Brad Shaffer, Travis Walsh. DNS: Buck Buchanan, Dillon Kineston.
Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Justin Whitesell, Rob Felix, Chris Matthews, Mike Miller,Skip Dougherty, Joe McEwen, Jim Morris, C.J. Jones, Jeff Goodman, Harold Braden, Jr., Bpb McMillen, Jacob Lagastee, Jay Howe, Tom Sanders, Jeffery Goodman, Jr., Joe Siembida.