McEwen Gets Career First in Minis; George First of Year in Sprints

Riggs, Edwards, Wheeler and Pfeuffer also Win

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Mercer, PA (July 3, 2011):  Mercer Raceway Park celebrated American Patriot Night, but no one celebrated with more gusto than Dan McEwen, a first-time winner in the Bog Dog R/C Center Mini Stocks, and Rod George, who was victorious at Mercer for the first time in more than a year. The Tugboat, Lonnie Riggs, docked in victory circle in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, Gary Edwards was quick out of the box in the ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Terry Wheeler broke Rusty Moore’s winning streak in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, and Shane Pfeuffer dashed home first in the Big Daddy’s Speed Center Modified Lites. Plus, fans young and old were awed by a Fireworks Spectacular provided by Walt’s of Mercer Plaza and Pizza Joe’s.

With the spotlight shining on the Big Dog R/C Center Mini Stocks, Dan McEwen strode to center stage. McEwen was making his first start of the year in a car owned by his brother-in-law, and he proved to be the best of a 21 car field.

McEwen jumped out to a quick lead over Mike McConnell. A caution slowed the action on lap 2. On the restart, Ed Haylett got a tremendous hole shot and he zoomed into turn one with the lead. McEwen and McConnell immediately rallied, and they were now racing three-wide through the second turn! McConnell came off the corner with the lead.

Over the next several laps, McConnell continued to hold off McEwen, but the man on the move was points leader Pete Balczcak. Blaczcak, who was handicapped to last for the start due to his recent domination of the class, charged to third in a mere five laps. His march to the front ended on lap 8 when he retired with a rare mechanical failure.

Meanwhile, McEwen mounted a counter attack on McConnell. It paid off and now McEwen was leading and McConnell was in the chase position. McEwen used lapped cars to keep him at bay in the waning laps.

McEwen passed under the checkers first, followed by McConnell and Steve Longwell, Jr. Ed Haylett hung on for fourth and Steve Longwell, Sr. rounded out the top five.

Although McEwen was surely disappointed at the time he lost the lead, in retrospect, he enjoyed the three-car battle with Haylett and McConnell. “That was fun,” he said. “I mean, that is what this division is really about, because we can run three wide no problem, we can race side-by-side.”

Finishing sixth through tenth were Troy Lehnortt, Michael Thompson, Rudy Troples, Tyler Fulton and Brian Felmlee.

Next up were the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars. Finding the Mercer victory lane for the first time in more than a year was none other than former champion Rod George. He needed a little bit of help, however, and he got it while running third on lap 17 when the leaders took each other out.

“We probably wouldn’t have won if those two cars didn’t take each other out, but that’s how it has been every week, so you never know what is going to happen here.”

As the field was thundering toward the start-finish line to complete the first lap, Cowboy Brian Steinman flipped, collecting several cars including that of the points leader, Bob Felmlee. also involved were recent winner Jack Sodeman, Jr. and Jimmy Light. Although all cars sustained heavy damage, none of the drivers were hurt.

On the second try for a start, the Wheelman, Brandon Matus, shot out to a lead, closely followed by gale Ruth, Jr., Mike Lutz and George. The fourth generation driver maintained his advantage as the laps clicked off. Lutz began hacking away at the lead as the race neared the midpoint. By lap 14, the young leader was in heavy traffic and, now, the wily veteran Lutz was starting to apply the pressure. Matus started to show some signs of inexperience, as he rode up on the inside berm in turn four on lap 16, and he drifted high entering turn one. Lutz did not get the chance to capitalize on any other errors he might make, as a caution cleared away the lapped traffic.

For the restart on lap 17, Matus took the outside line, giving Lutz the inside. Lutz powered off turn four with the lead as soon as the green flag waved. Matus did not give up, though, as he hung close to the new leader. As the pair raced through turns three and four, he ducked to the inside to try to sneak past Lutz. There was contact, and both cars spun.

That gave the lead to George. He got away cleanly, but he soon had Carl Bowser lurking in his shadow. Driving a new machine and showing no ill effects of his grinding crash three weeks ago, Bowser started to close in on George, but he was unable to get close enough to challenge for the win.

George swept under the checkers for the long overdue win, followed by Bowser. Adam Bomb Kekich scored a career-best 410 Sprint finish of third. Eric Turkey Williams came from deep in the field to claim fourth. Chris Best completed the top 5.

Scott Priester was sixth. Brandon Spithaler recovered from early misfortunes to finish seventh. Gale Ruth, Jr. slipped to eighth in the closing laps and Lindsey Enscoe crossed in ninth. Brandon Matus was awarded tenth, based on laps completed.

The Goodyear tire certificates were granted to George (winner), Williams (hard charger), Enscoe (last car lead lap), Francis Sesco (random) and Ruth (random).

After taking a week off to re-group, Lonnie Riggs cruised to victory in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. The extra time allowed Riggs to solve his recurring engine woes.

Hot off his third place run against the Big Blocks. Eric Gabany moved ahead of Andy Paden at the start. Paden slipped by him, however, pulling Riggs along into second. Gabany rallied, giving the fans a great three-car battle for the lead. Paden and Gabany proved to be no match for Riggs, though, and the popular veteran began to stretch his lead.

Meanwhile, the action was fierce for other positions inside the top ten. A four-car struggle between Kyle Fink, Paden, Frank on the gas Guidace and Jimmy the Jet Holden came to an end on lap 11 when Holden’s mount came up lame on the backstretch. It was a disappointing end to a busy week for Holden, who celebrated the birth of a new daughter, Bristol, on Monday.

When the action resumed, Riggs again built up an insurmountable lead. Gabany led Fink, Paden and Guidace across the stripe.

Matt Reeher, Rick Hall, Rich Whitney and Dave Murdick finished sixth through ninth. Holden was scored in tenth, based on laps completed.

Gary Edwards made his first start in the ti22 Outlaw Sprint Warriors a memorable one, leading wire to wire. Points leader Guy Griffin worked his way into third by lap five, but could not track down the leaders. Griffin caught a break on the last lap when runner-up Jason Scoville flipped wildly in turn two. Scoville’s car landed on its wheels in a ball of flame, but he was OK. That put Griffin next to Edwards for a one-lap dash for the cash.

Edwards got the jump on Griffin and that’s the way they passed under the checkers. Skip Dougherty finished third, followed by Mike Lutz and young Michael Bauer.

Brandon Matus, subbing for Adam Anderson, tallied a sixth, with Cory Theiss the last car still operating at the finish. Scoville and Justin Whitesell were scored in eighth and ninth based on laps completed.

In the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, Terry Wheeler took the win, but he had to hold off a furious charge from points leader Rusty Moore to do it.

After two aborted starts, Dan Lewis grabbed the early lead over Gary Miller and Curtis J. Bish. A caution on lap six wiped out his big lead. On the restart, Bish made a bid for the lead, but Lewis was up to the task. Another caution slowed the pace and gave Bish another shot at the leader with one lap to go. On the restart, Lewis and Bish tangled, with Bish’s car striking the wall entering the first turn. Lewis was immediately disqualified for rough driving.

The changes at the front put Terry Wheeler and Rusty Moore at the head of the pack for a one-lap dash. Wheeler fired first and led Moore into turn one. Moore stayed close as they raced down the back chute. He dove low coming through turns three and four and pulled alongside Wheeler. Moore could not hold his line, and he spun onto the apron while Wheeler sped toward the finish line.

Behind Wheeler was Bob McAnn. Bobby Heim finished third, followed by Bob Schwartzmiller and Ryan Moyer.

Gary Miller, Marty Warren, Tony Spaghetti, Brandon Johnston and Darrin Hyde completed the top ten.

The final feature of the night was the Big Daddy’s Speed Center Modified Lites. Shane Pfeuffer patiently worked his way to the front and captured the win. over Cody Bova. Brian Miller finished third. Kotie Kirkbride and Tom Kline rounded out the top five.

Sixth through tenth were Taylor Smith, Jacob Bova, early leader Andy Feil, Brian Kaszubinski and Brian Woodhull.

Join us next week for another exciting night of Saturday Night Live! racing

Big Dog R/C Center Mini Stocks:  1.  Dan McEwen (44M); 2. Mike McConnell (31); 3. Steve Longwell, jr. (17K); 4. Ed Haylett (8 ball); 5. Steve Longwell, Sr. (16K); 6. Troy Lehnortt (46); 7. Michael thompson (82T); 8. Rudy Troples (28); 9. Tyler Fulton (409); 10. Brian Felmlee (57); 11. Jooel Wisser (15K); 12. Randy beatty (27); 13. Ryan Beatty (16); 14. Maria Nevin (9); 15. Chase Anthony (26); 16. Pete Blaczcak (77); 17. Clay Wansor (197); 18. Kris Anderson (3D); 19. Anthony Shetter (33A).  DNS:  Wally Stearns (33), Todd Gabriel (33G). Heat winners: Longwell Sr., McConnell, Blaczcak.

Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars:   1. Rod George (4); 2. Carl Bowser (10); 3. Adam kekic (5K); 4. Eric Williams (7); 5. Chris Best (66); 6. Scott Priester (15); 7. Brandon Spithaler (22S); 8. Gale Ruth, Jr. (1R); 9. Lindsey Enscoe (96); 10. Brandon Matus (13); 11. Mike Lutz (8); 12. Francis Sesco (2S); 13. John McCracken (79); 14. Shawn Minor (3M); 15. Brent Matus (33); 16. Bob Felmlee (6); 17. Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23Jr.); 18. Jimmy Light (23); 19. Brian Steinman (24S); 20. Dan Kuriger (08); 21, A.J. Albrecht (7X).  Heat winners:  George, Sodeman, Kekich.

Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds:  1.  Lonnie Riggs (58); 2. Eric Gabany (3E); 3. Kyle Fink (66F); 4. Andy Paden (55); 5. Frank Guidace (1G); 6. Matt reeher (711); 7. Rick Hall (B2); 8. Rich Whitney (19W); 9. Dave Murdick (77); 10. Jimmy Holden (28H); Eric Martin (29D).  DNS: Don Brown (71B). Heat winners:  Gabany, Guidace.

ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors:  1. Gary Edwards (57); 2. Guy Griffin (11); 3. Skip Dougherty (14G); 4. Mike Lutz (86); 5. Michael Bauer (35); 6. Brandin Matus (5B); 7. Cory Theiss (30); 8. Jason Scoville (8D); 9. Justin Whitesell (17).  DNS:  Harold Braden, Jr. (9), Jacob Lagestee (72), Steve Lucas (99X).  Heat winners:  Lutz, Griffin.

Precise Racing Products Stock Cars:  1.  Terry Wheeler (2W); 2. Bob McAnn (33); 3. Bobby Heim (92); 4. Bob Schwartzmiller (28S); 5. Ryan Moyer (13X); 6. Gary Miller (1M); 7. Maraty Warren (05); 8. Tony Spaghetti (97); 9. Brandon Johnston (14J); 10. Darrin Hyde (4); 11. Rusty Moore (17M); 12. Curtis J. Bish (29T); 13. Jamie Scharba (00S); 14. Andy Thompson (7); 15. Joe Kelly (100); 16. Russ Byler (06R).  DNS:  Brian Wagner (56).  DQ:  Dan lewis (64).  heat winners:  Lewis, Wheeler.

Big Daddy’s Speed Center Modified Lites:  1.  Shane Pfeuffer (717); 2. Cody Bova (20B); 3. Brian Miller (726); 4. Kotie Kirkbride (97N); 5. Tom Kline (68); 6. Taylor Smith (23TT); 7. Jacob Bova (28J); 8. Andy Feil (08); 9. Brian Kaszubinski (5); 10. Brian Woodhull (13M); 12. Andrew Bruce (70×7); 13. Mark Marcucci (8M).