Mercer, PA (June 14, 2014): Ed Lynch, Jr. made a rare appearance at Mercer Raceway Park pay off on Auto Racers for Kids Night, presented by Bonnell's Collision Center. The win was worth $3,000 to Lynch, but the real beneficiaries were the disadvantaged children of Northwest Pennsylvania. The proceeds of this event went to children's charities, such as the Court Appointed Special Advocate program of Mercer County.
Eric Gabany snatched the lead from Lonny Riggs midway through the 358 Modified feature and he held control the rest of the way to garner his second win of the season. C.J. Jones led the entire distance, but he had to withstand a furious challenge from divisional rookie Cody Bova, with six laps remaining in the Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Jeff Teeters topped the Modified Lites for the second time this season. Caleb Hickok wore the nightcap for the Mini Stocks. It was his second triumph of the season.
"The clean air here at Mercer really helped out a lot," Lynch said. Every time he approached lapped traffic, it seemed as though a caution would come out, giving Lynch the open track once again. However, he had to master the numerous restarts, which posed no problems for him. "I couldn't believe that the inside took off that many times," he explained. Late in the going, though, Jack Sodeman, Jr. and Sheldon Haudenschild tried the outside line, to no avail.
Ed Lynch, Jr. and Brandon Matus paced the field for the start of the 30 lap Sprint Car A Main. While Lynch did get into turn one first, it was Matus who executed a cross-over move to get to the inside guard rail, and that gave him the preferred line coming off the second corner "The Wheelman," as he is affectionately known, powered off with the lead. However, on the second lap, Lynch made a similar move to regain the lead which he would not relinquish the rest of the way.
Matus got several other shots at Lynch on double file restarts, but Lynch was able to keep the third generation driver at bay each time. One of the stoppages took place on lap nine, when Gale Ruth, Sr. tipped over at the entry to turn four. He was unhurt, but the car could not continue.
Behind Matus and Lynch, Scott Priester, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Dennis Wagner, and Bill Jones, Jr. were dicing for positions.
Matus' contest came to an end soon after the restart with 14 laps completed. He got sideways in the second corner and collected fifth place runner Eric Williams. Both racers were finished for the night.
Matus' misfortune put Jack Sodeman, Jr. on the flank of the leader, and the fans were wondering if Sodeman could overtake Lynch and register a second win in this coveted event. He did make a bold run on the outside of turns three and four after the race resumed, but Lynch was getting the most of out of the inside groove and retained the lead.
While Sodeman gave chase, Brandon Spithaler climbed into third, followed by Haudenschild, Cole Duncan, A.J. Flick, and Adam Kekich.
Sodeman, too, would encounter difficulty. His car slowed to a stop while the field was circulating under yet another yellow. He was pushed into the pits. That moved Sheldon Haudenschild into the second spot. He, too, tried to make an outside pass on Lynch, but he could not maintain the momentum necessary to get him along side of the wily veteran.
Cole Duncan was chasing Lynch and Haudenschild while the laps were clicking away. Spithaler held the fourth position, and it looked as though Flick would grab his career first top five in a 410 Sprinter. However, Kekich got under him with one lap remaining.
Soon after Kekich took the that spot, the race had its second red flag displayed. Ralph Spithaler rode the frontstretch wall for about 30 feet beyond the flagstand, and when the car came down, it flipped. Fortunately, the car stayed in the high groove, and none of the other racers made contact with him. Spithaler was able to walk away, but he had to be disappointed, as he was likely to garner a top ten finish.
At the checkers, it was Lynch ahead of Haudenschild, who started 14th in the event. Duncan topped Brandon Spithaler and Kekich. Flick held on for sixth, matching his best effort so far in his brief open wheel career. Dan Kuriger was seventh. Priester crossed in eighth. Andy Feil was ninth in his maiden voyage in a 410 winged Sprint. Wagner completed the top ten, on this, the night of his 32nd birthday.
The three heats went to Brandon Matus, Adam Kekich, and Brandon Spithaler. The Dash winner was A.J. FLick, and he received $300 for the effort. There was no B Main for the 24 car field. Mike Miller flipped his Sprint Car in the heat race, but he was unhurt. He did not return to 410 Sprint action for the remainder of the evening, but he did start the Outlaw Sprint Warrior feature after sitting out the heat race.
Lonny Riggs shot out to the early lead in the 358 Modified go. Eric Gabany kept pace, while J.R. McGinley, Kyle Fink, Jimmy Holden, and Shawn Fleeger fought for positions. McGinley's run ended early, as his car slowed coming off turn two just a few laps into the event.
Gabany swept past Riggs on the outside at the midway mark. Soon thereafter, the race was stopped due to a fierce three-car tangle between turns three and four that eliminated Makayla Guidace, Kyle Fink, and Matt Reeher, who was making his first start since the opening event of the season.
The racers had some difficulty getting back on track after that, but eventually things settled down, and Riggs was applying the pressure to Gabany. That lasted for just a few laps, though, as Gabany was able to widen the margin each trip around until the checkers flew.
Gabany and Riggs crossed ahead of Holden, who was in a dogfight with fourth place runner Frank Guidace over the second half of the race. Rich Whitney cracked the top five.
Brian Schaffer, newcomer Ron Kahler, Shayne Izzo, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., and Clyde Gumpp completed the top ten.
Modified preliminaries belonged to J.R. McGinley and Eric Gabany. There was no B Main.
C.J. Jones and Evan Kornbau led the way at the beginning of the Outlaw Sprint Warrior feature, but behind them, Cody Bova, George Hobaugh, Dan Demyan, Andy Feil, and Chris Matthews were mixing things up. When Feil spun to the inside of the frontstretch on lap 16, that enabled Bova to restart on Jones' tail. The first-year pilot was giving Jones fits for a couple of laps after the green was displayed, but Jones kept his head and pulled away to his second victory of the season. Curtis J. Bish took the lead with one lap remaining in the Open Stock Cars, scoring his third win of the season and second in a row.
Behind Jones and Bova came Hobaugh, Demyan and Kornbau. It was an impressive night for these four drivers, each of whom are in Sprints for less than a full season.
Chris Matthews held off Greg Dobrosky for sixth. Eric L. WIlliams, Jason Soville, and Jimmy Morris completed the top ten.
The winners of the Outlaw Sprint Warrior qualifiers were Jimmy Morris, Cody Bova, and Jason Scoville. Alex Paden rapped the frontstretch wall in his qualifier. He was unhurt, but could not start the finale.
Jeff Teeters passed Tyler Frankenberry just three laps into the Modified Lite feature event and went on for the second victory of the season at the Park. Frankenberry ad the misfortune of spinning twice, the first time taking him out of the second position. Levi Spinnwebber followed Teeters most of the way after that, but a last lap restart gave Mark Marcucci the opportunity to move him back a notch in the running order. Glenn Teeter and Mike Flockerzi were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Tim White, Don Cain, Bill Stivason, Chris Logan, and John Harvey occupied positions six through ten at the finish. Frankenberry's second spin, on the last lap, took him from contention for a top ten.
Jeff Teeters and Mark Marcucci prevailed in the Modified Lite sessions.
Leigh Wheeler wrestled the lead away from Gary Miller, Jr. on lap three, and pulled away in the Open Stock feature. However, a caution of lap nine put Miller on the front row again, and he was in the process of passing Wheeler, when Wheeler's car suddenly slowed coming through the second corner. He retired from the race one lap later.
Miller led until the field could see the white flag. That was when Curtis J. Bish slipped inside him and took the lead. Bish sailed on to victory, and Rusty Moore passed Miller on the final circuit to get the second spot. Miller held on for third. Tim Bish was fourth and Bill Phillips, Jr., fifth. Pat Fielding was sixth, just ahead of Joe Stajnrajh. Jacob Billyk, Ray Reynolds, and Garrett Calvert rounded out the top ten.
Pat Fielding and Gary Miller, Jr. topped the Stock Car opening events.
Caleb Hickok powered from third to first coming off turn two on lap eight of the Mini Stock final. He held the lead the rest of the way, while early leader Tyler Fulton fought off Brandon Ritchey for second.
Pete Blazak was awarded third, when Ritchey left the tech area before his car could be inspected. Chad Fry and Shane Shook were moved ahead a notch as well. Rudy Troples, Bill Ferry, Russell Grossman, Roger Wigton, and Patricia Riffe were the next finishers.
Nick Ritchey and Steve Longwell, Sr. copped the initial rounds for the Mini Stocks.
Next week, Mercer Raceway Park will present the Mid-Season Championships, with double points on the line for all divisions. It will also be Meet Your Heroes Night, courtesy of Herr's. All fans will get the opportunity to mingle with their favorite drivers on the front stretch. It is a great time to get autographs or pictures.
Auto Racers for Kids 30 Lap Sprint Car Championship: Ed Lynch, Jr., Sheldon Haudenschild, Cole Duncan, Brandon Spithaler, Adam Kekich, A.J. Flick, Dan Kuriger, Scott Priester, Andy Feil, Dennis Wagner, Brent Matus, Gale Ruth, Jr., Ralph Spithaler, Francis Sesco, John McCracken, Jr., Charlie Cornelius, Davey Jones, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Brandon Matus, Eric Williams, Bill Jones, Jr., Gale Ruth, Sr., Mike Miller (DNS), Arnie Kent (DNS).
358 Modifieds: Eric Gabany, Lonny Riggs, Jimmy Holden, Frank Guidace, Rich Whitney, Brian Schaffer, Ron Kahler, Shayne Izzo, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Clyde Gumpp, Kyle Fink, Shawn Fleeger, Matt Reeher, Makayla Guidace, J.R. McGinley, Mayx Smoker (DNS), Kevin Green (DNS).
Outlaw Sprint Warriors: C.J. Jones, Cody, Bova, George Hobaugh, Dan Demyan, Evan Kornbau, Chris Matthews, Greg Dobrosky, Eric L. WIlliams, Jason Soville, Jimmy Morris, Joe McEwen, Bob McMillin, Kotie Kirkbride, Clay Riney, Mike Marano, II, Andy Feil, Ken Rossey, Mike Miller, Chris Matthews (DNS), Adam Kekich (DNS), Alex Paden (DNS), Sye Lynch (DNS).
Modified Lites: Jeff Teeters, Mark Marcucci, Levi Spinwebber, Glenn Teeter, Mike Flockerzi, Tim White, Don Cain, Bill Stivason, Chris Logan, John Harvey, Tyler Frankenberry, Preston Roach, Ron Hixenbaugh, Jacob Bova, Shane Pfeuffer, Cory Webb, Josh Deems (DNS), Darin Gallagher (DNS), Jason Darocha (DNS).
Open Stock Cars: Curtis J. Bish, Rusty Moore, Gary Miller, Jr., Tim Bish, Bill Phillips, Jr., Pat Fielding, Joe Stajnrajh, Jacob Billyk, Ray Reynolds, Garrett Calvert, Jim Keith, Leigh Wheeler, Brad Shaffer, William Hurrelbrink, Ryan Moyer.
Mini Stocks: Caleb Hickok, Tyler Fulton, Brandon Ritchey, Pete Blazak, Chad Fry, Shane Shook, Rudy Troples, Bill Ferry, Russell Grossman, Roger Wigton, Patricia Riffe, Nick Ritchey, Matt Cwynar, Josh Seippel, Brandon Ritchey (DQ), Steve Longwell, Sr. (DNS)