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MERCER RACEWAY PARK CROWNS 2013 CHAMPIONS AND ANNOUNCES AMBITIOUS 2014 SCHEDULE
by Lou Long
Mercer, PA (February 2, 2014): The extended family of Mercer Raceway Park gathered at the Normandy Banquet Center to celebrate the 2013 racing season and to welcome in the new racing year. Taking top honors on the night were a pair of Sprint Car racers, as Jack Sodeman, Jr. and Michael Bauer added prestigious awards to their speedway accolades.
Sodeman, of North Jackson, OH, was the top dog in the 410 Sprint division, which is sponspored by Luxaire Heating & Cooling, Ralph Butch, Inc., and New Wilmington Motors. In addition to receiving the champion's mantle, Sodeman got the coveted Cavalcade Award for being the best 410 Sprint Car driver in the entire region. Sodeman garnered the track title on the last night of point racing, as he barely outdistanced the prior champion, Eric Williams. Both drivers are expected back to battle it out for the 2014 championship.
Bauer, the Clarion, PA college student, earned his first track championship in the Bonnell's Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Bauer picked up even more hardware than Sodeman for his accomplishments. Bauer was recognized by the speedway as the most improved driver. He, too, received a Cavalcade Award for being the outstanding Limited Sprint racer in the region. While Bauer plans to defend his title, he made no bones about his desire to move up to the more powerful 410 Sprints.
Once again, one of Mercer's favorite sons, Frankie Guidace, was the champion in the 358 Modified class, promoted by long-time benefactor, Approved Toilet Rentals. Guidace rebounded from a miserable 2012 season to reclaim the title. Joining him in the limelight was his daughter, Makayla, who was honored as the track's rookie of the year! Both of them will be back in action when the green flag drops for Saturday Night Live! action in April.
"The third time is the charm," Rusty Moore was saying as he claimed yet another title in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars. Moore, of New Castle, drove his immaculate stocker to numerous victories in the highly competitive class.
Shane Pfeuffer, of Rochester, PA, was another first-time champion. He topped the Modified Lite class, which is co-sponsored by Big Daddy's Speed Center and Rock Concrete. Pfeuffer, who was expected to move up to the Outlaw Sprint Warriors, surprised all by saying that he will vie for another track championship in the Modified Lites.
Jamey Lee, of Fairmont City, PA, also scored his first championship in the Mini Stock division. He ran ahead of the pack all season long, but he will face some stiff competition in the 2014 season, if the Snowflake 25 is any indication. Tyler Fulton copped that victory last month, lapping the entire field! These racers fly the colors of Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles.
Track Manager Frank Benic, a recent inductee into the Twin State Auto Racing Club's Hall of Fame, proudly announced that all of the track's divisional sponsors will be back for another go-round. Several of the track's regular benefactors will also be back to sponsor individual race nights or other events to be held at the speedway, he added.
The draft of the 2014 racing schedule was presented on this night as well. Please note that the schedule is still tentative and that changes may be made as the season approaches. However, the following special events are confirmed dates.
The season opener will take place on Saturday, March 29, when the annual Chiller Thriller will take place. The event will feature the NDRL Northeast division's premier classes, the Super Late Models and E-Mods. Joining in the fun will be the Crate Late Models. Fans will not want to miss this event, as it will be the only time that the Late Models will converge at the speedway.
The All Stars Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars will make three appearances at the tricky oval in 2014. the first round will be on Saturday, May 10. They will return for a doubleheader weekend on August 23-24.
Other Sprint Car specials on the docket include the BOSS non-wing Sprints on May 24, the Patriot Sprint Tour 360 Sprints on May 31, the Auto Racers for Kids charity program on June 14, and the Putsy Kekich Memorial on August 9.
Modified fans will want to circle July 12 and 13, as the ground-pounding Big Blocks of the BRP Hoosier Tire Modified Tour will host its first-ever two-day program at the Speedway. That's right, Smackdown! will now be two complete rounds of action as the track's 358 Modified stars will try to defend the turf against the invaders. Will this be the year for the Mercer regulars to claim the bragging rights? And, once again, the 358 Modifieds will have the spotlight on the track's final weekend of action, the annual Little Guy Nationals, which will be held September 26-27.
Please check the track's website, www.mercerraceway park for the complete schedule and other announcements.
Remember that the speedway will continue to report the status of all racing programs by using RainedOut.com. Just a few clicks from the track's website will get you registered for this free service.
About Mercer Raceway Park: Mercer Raceway Park is a 3/8-mile dirt track located minutes from both Interstate 79 and 80 just off Route 19 on Fairground Road in Mercer, Pa. Dirt track racing and quality family entertainment are presented weekly from late March through late September. For more information, check out www.