Mercer, PA (June 30, 2012): Mike Lutz celebrated his reunion with car owner Jim Chappel by taking the potent number 8 to Victory Lane in the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars. Lonny Riggs won the two-lap shoot-out with Jimmy Holden to capture the win in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds.
Dennis Wagner pleased all of the children in the Kids’ Club, as he took his first checkers of the season in the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Earlier in the evening, he was the meet and greet driver during their pit tour. He graciously invited all of them back to the remote Victory Lane for a photo opportunity.
Shane Pfeuffer returned to the seat of his Modified Lite and snapped the long winning streak of Mark Marcucci. Pfeuffer had been sitting out due to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.
Russ Byler edged Bob Schwartzmiller in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, while Tyler Fulton was victorious in the Mini Stocks for the first time in his young career.
The night was capped off with a spectacular fireworks display courtesy of Pizza Joe’s.
Mike Lutz was thankful, and apologetic, in his post-race interview. “First of all, I want to apologize to Mercer Raceway Park for my actions last year. What I did was wrong and I apologized to my car owner and I thank him for giving me a second chance.”
Lutz started on the pole of the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars, but he had to fight off the early challenges of recent All Stars winner Brandon Matus and the final thrust of Jack Sodeman, Jr. to garner the victory.
Brandon Matus pressed Lutz in the early stages of the race. As the laps clicked off, Lutz opened up a considerable advantage over his younger rival. When Lutz hit lapped traffic, though, Matus began to close in again.
Just as Matus was ready to make a move on the leader, he spun to the inside of turn four. Matus was the victim of some front suspension problems, and he was unable to continue in the event. That was the only stoppage in the race.
Matus’ misfortune gave Jack Sodeman, Jr. the opportunity to advance. He had worked his way into third during the long green flag run. When racing resumed, he pressed runner-up Scott Priester for position. Sodeman looked to the inside coming through turn four to grab the spot on lap 21. He then tried to chase down Lutz in the few laps remaining.
While Sodeman was closing in on the leader, Rod George also moved past Priester. Sodeman got close to Lutz on lap 23, but that simply meant that he had to pour on the coals for the final two laps.
Lutz took the emotional win, followed by Sodeman and George. Priester hung on for fourth. Adam Kekich ran fifth.
Andy McKisson, who ran in the top five for most of the distance, slipped back to sixth in the final tally. Last week’s winner, Eric Williams, climbed from twelfth to seventh. But the hard charger was next in line, Aussie Marty Perovich, who came from last to eighth. Brandon Spithaler and Brian Steinman completed the top ten.
Two heats were required for the 19 cars. The winners were Williams and George.
Goodyear tire certificates were awarded to Lutz (winner), Perovich (hard charger), Brent Matus (last car lead lap), and George and Kekich (random).
in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, Lonny Riggs won the two-lap shoot-out for the win. He out-dueled Jimmy Holden, who was battling a wounded car.
Holden took advantage of his pole starting position to grab the point. While he stretched his lead, Riggs worked into second. Holden was clipped while lapping a car, and Holden’s mount sustained damage to the right rear suspension in the process. For the remainder of the race, Holden’s right rear wheel would move forward about a foot under acceleration.
Holden’s mechanical woes gave Riggs the chance to assume command after the first caution flew. Riggs was able to power off turn four when the green flag waved. Holden held on for second and, remarkably, he was able to stay close to Riggs.
Gradually, Holden began to close in on the leader. On lap 16, Holden came off the inside of turn four with a full head of steam. He barely nipped Riggs at the start finish line. Holden would led until the next caution, which came with just two laps to go.
Once again, Riggs was able to come off the corner with the advantage. Unlike the previous restart, though, Holden did not have enough time to get back into a comfortable rhythm with his damaged car.
Riggs led Holden to the stripe. Kyle Fink, who ran a consistent race, finished third. Points leader Rob Curtis came from twelfth to fourth. Jeff Schaffer finished fifth.
Eric Gabany, Matt Reeher, J.R. McGinley, Andy Paden and Dave Cogswell held positions six through ten.
Sixteen cars signed in for the pair of heat races, which were won by Riggs and Jeff Schaffer.
In the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Dennis Wagner chased down rookie C.J. Jones to post his first win of the year. Jones had led from the outset, but Wagner worked the cushion to perfection in his run for the checkers.
Back in his familiar ride, Justin Whitesell captured third. Rob Felix was scored in fourth, with last week’s winner, Joe McEwen, rounding out the top five.
Chris Matthews, Andy Feil, Bob McMillin, Jacob Lagastee and Tom Sanders were the next five to finish the race.
The heat winners were McEwen and Felix in the 14 car field.
The Modified Lites, presented by Big Daddy’s Speed Center and Rock Concrete, had a new winner. Shane Pfeuffer grabbed the checkers after passing early leader Bill Stivason with a few laps left in the program. Pfeuffer was aided by a caution that wiped out Stivason’s big lead.
Brian Miller also clawed his way ahead in the final few laps to take second. Mark Marcucci, who started last once again, finished third. Tom Kline, who had challenged Stivason in the early going, crossed in fourth. Stivason held on for fifth.
Cody Bova was sixth, just one spot ahead of Kotie Kirkbride. Taylor Smith was next. Daniel Demyan and Brian Kaszubski completed the top ten.
Fourteen cars were sorted into two heats, captured by Brian Woodhull and Kline.
In the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, Russ Byler nipped Bob Schwartzmiller at the finish line. Byler led the entire way in the caution-plagued event. He also survived a red flag for the violent flip by Bucky Buchanan on the opening lap.
Byler was able to keep his poise despite all of the interruptions. He almost lost the lead in turn two of the final lap, when second place man Darrin Hyde made contact. That opened the door for Schwartzmiller, but any advancement on his part would been for naught due to the final caution of the race.
In the one-lap dash for the cash, Schwartzmiller made a strong inside move to grab second and almost pull off the win. Byler had a slight margin over Schwartzmiller, just .127 seconds, at the finish.
Behind them were Hyde, Rusty Moore and Bob McCann. Moore was marching to the front when he was spun in turn four by Curtis J. Bish. Moore was sent to the tail and Bish to the pits as a result of the incident.
Brandon Johnston, Dan Lewis, Matt Wagner, Andy Thompson and Charlie McMillen claimed sixth through tenth.
The preliminaries went to Byler and Moore.
In the Mini Stocks, Tyler Fulton got his first career win after a spirited battle with Wally Stearns. Stearns had taken the lead away from his pal, Ed Haylett, several laps into the contest.
Joel Wisser was third, ahead of teammate Steve Longwell, Sr. Michael Thompson, subbing for Tim Callahan, rode home in fifth.
Rudy Troples was sixth. Haylett held on for seventh. Eric Cwynar, Chase Anthony and Leo Hanlon were eighth through tenth.
Eighteen Minis competed in a pair of heats, taken by Steve Longwell, Jr. and his father.
Next week’s program will be Saturday Night Live! racing featuring the six customary divisions. Coming up on July 14 will be the FASTRAK Northeast Regional Late Model Series.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars: Mike Lutz, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Rod George, Scott Priester, Adam Kekich, Andy McKisson, Eric Williams, Marty Perovich, Brandon Spithaler, Brian Steinman, Brent Matus, Chris Best, Todd Bauer, Pete Landram, Gale Ruth, Sr., John MCCracken, Jr., Brandon Matus. DNS: Francis Sesco, Charlie Cornelius.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Lonny Riggs, Jimmy Holden, Kyle Fink, Rob Curtis, Jeff Schaffer, Eric Gabany, Matt Reeher, J.R. McGinley, Andy Paden, Dave Cogswell, Jerry Schaffer, Ron Eperthener, Kevin Green, Shayne Izzo, Max Smoker, Rick Kress.
Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Dennis Wagner, C.J. Jones, Justin Whitesell, Rob Felix, Joe McEwen, Chris Matthews, Andy Feil, Bob McMillin, Jacob Lagastee, Tom Sanders, Joe Siembida, Harold Braden, Jr., Michael Bauer.
Big Daddy’s Speed Center/Rock Concrete Modified Lites: Shane Pfeuffer, Brian Miller, Mark Marcucci, Tom Kline, Bill Stivason, Cody Bova, Kotie Kirkbride, Taylor Smith, Daniel Demyan, Brian Kaszubski, Anthony Kaszubski, Brian Woodhall, Jacob Bova. Andrew Bruce (DNS).
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Russ Byler, Bob Schwartzmiller, Darrin Hyde, Rusty Moore, Bob McCann, Brandon Johnston, Dan Lewis, Matt Wagner, Andy Thompson, Charlie McMillen, Clyde Roberts, Curtis J. Bish, Buck Buchanan, Bob Hein. Brad Schaffer (DNS).
Mini Stocks: Tyler Fulton, Wally Stearns, Joel Wisser, Steve Longwell, Sr., Michael Thompson, Rudy Troples, Ed Haylett, Eric Cwynar, Chase Anthony, Leo Hanlon, Josh Eakman, Patricia Riffe, Adam Bulfone, Steve Longwell, Jr., Rob McElhaney, Maria Nevin, Kris Anderson. Mike McConnell (DNS).