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Murdick Mod Man at Mercer; Bova and Jones Get Career Firsts, Thompson, Longwell Jr. and Harju also Win
by Lou Long
Mercer, PA (August 18, 2012): Dave Murdick topped an outstanding field of 41 BRP/Hoosier Tire Modifieds at Mercer Raceway Park, taking advantage of a miscue to squeeze by leader J.R. McGinley with 27 laps completed. The event was the annual Smackdown!, which pits the touring Big Blocks against the track's own Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds.
Taking the top honors in teh Modified Lites, presented by Big Daddy's Speed Center and Rock Concrete, was first-time winner, Cody Bova. The Precise Racing Products Stock Cars went to Andy Thompson, while C.J. Jones got his first triumph in the Ti22 Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Steve Longwell, Jr. was the winner in the Mini Stocks.
The Modified Tour's handicapping system worked to the advantage of several track regulars. J.R. McGinley and Rob Curtis occupied row number one, with Klye Fink and Eric Gabany in row two. Jimmy Holden, the defending track champ, lined up in row three. Frank Guidace was in row five, with Lonny Riggs in row six.
When the green flag waived for the start of the 35 lapper, McGinley took command, followed by Curtis, Gabany and Dave Murdick. McGinley showed Curtis and all of the other big boys the fast way around the tricky oval. Despite reaching lapped traffioc on just the seventh circuit, McGinley stretched his lead. For a while, it looked as though he would take the win for the strong contingent of Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds that turned out to support the program. No Mercer regular had ever successfully defended the home turf in the annual showdown between the Big Block Tour and the potent Mercer 358 Mods.
A caution on lap 11 for New Yorker Ron Cartwright bunched the field up, but it did not bother McGinley in the least. He continued to lead the way. By the halfway mark, Murdick slipped past Curtis, and he started to reel in McGinley. Another caution on lap 19 for Ron Eperthener's frontstretch spin put Murdick beside McGinley for the restart.
A four car tangle on the very next lap slowed the pace again. Kevin Hoffman, Tommy Mattocks, Steve Feder and Jeff Schaffer were the involved cars. Only Feder was able to continue the event. None of the participants were injured.
Once again. McGinley was up to the task, but this time, Murdick stayed within close range.
While they ran out front, Joe Kubiniec was driving the best race of his Modifed Tour career. He was holding down the third spot, ahead opf top runners Brad Rapp and Brian Weaver.
On lap 26, as McGinley rounded turn four, he slid high and opened the door for Murdick. The veteran driver seized the opportunity and snuck under McGinley as they raced down the front chute. They entered turn one side by side, but Murdick powered off turn two with a lead that he would not surrender.
Murdick led the rest of the way to earn the win. McGinley crossed in second, the top Mercer runner. Kubiniec was third, Rapp in fourth, and Weaver in fifth.
Jimmy Holden and Lonny Riggs were the next Mercer regulars, in sixth and seventh. Then came the Big Blocks of Rex King, Sr., Jeremiah Shingledecker and Rob Curtis.
Heat race winners were Ron Cartwright, McGinley, Curtis and Weaver.
The twin B Mains were won by Ron Eperthener and Rex King, Sr.
The Contingeny Connection award winners were McGinley, Rapp and Weaver. Holden, Riggs and Curtis won gift certificates from Bully Dog.
Cody Bova turned in a masterful performance, leading wire to wire to take his first career win in the Modified Lites presented by Big Daddy's Speed Center and Rock Concrete.Second went to Tyler Frankenberry. Andrew Bruce, Shane Pfeuffer and Brenden Dellinger ropunded out the top five. Positions six through ten belonged to Brian Stuhldhor, Jason Johnston, Bill Stivason, Daniel Demyan and Rick Ament, subbing for Kotie Kirkbride.
Heat wins were scored by Frankenberry and Bova.
The Precise Racing Products Stocks were dominated by Andy Thompson. Points leader Rusty Moore raced his way up to second, ahead of Dan Lewis, Brandon Johnston, and Bob Schwartzmiller. Curtis J. Bish rode home in sixth. Bob McCann took seventh. Russ Byler, Matt Wagner and Jim Hooks completed the top ten. Dillon Kineston lost his top five finish when his car was light by 50 pounds after the event.
The pair of heat winnes were Moore and Schwartzmiller.
Like Bova, C.J. Jones took his first career win, scoring in the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors. It took a few tries to get their race started, buit when it got going, Chris Matthews running out front. He held on for the second spot, ahead fo Rob Felix, Michael Bauer and Andy Feil. Jimmy Morris claimed sixth. Joe McEwen, Dalton Daniels, Jeffrey Goodman, Jr. and Tom Sanders were others in the top ten.
Heat winners wer Matthews and Jason Scoville, who was eliminated in a first lap crash. He was unhurt.
Matt Cwynar took the early lead, but when he slid out over the edge of the backstretch, that put Steve Longwell, Jr. in command. He held off his teammates, Joel Wisser and Steve Longwell, Sr., for the victory. Tyler Fulton was fourth, while Rudy Troples was fifth. Caleb Hickock led the next grop to the line. Leo Hanlon, Cwynar, Chase Anthony and Adam Bulfone were right behind him.
Heat winners were the Longwells, Sr. and Jr.
Added to the card was the PA Vintage Modifieds, which staged a twelve lap feature. The winner was Canadian Al Harju. Dale McCanless, Roy Rennie, Jim McDermott and K.R. Bridges were also in the top five.
BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour: Dave Murdick, J.R. McGinley, Joe Kubiniec, Brad Rapp, Brian Weaver, Jimmy Holden, Lonny Riggs, Rex King, Sr., Jeremiah Shingledecker, Rob Curtis, Eric Gabany, Randy Chrysler, Ryan Susice, Rex King, Jr., Mark Frankhousaer, Steve Feder, Mike Turner, Jeff Schaffer, Kevin Hoffman, Tom Mattocks, Ron Eperthener, Frank Guidace, Max Smoker, Ron Cartwright, Skip Moore, Kyle Fink. DNQ: Randy Kriegisch, Jeff Monoskey, Don Brown, Carl Murdick, Jeremy Paup, Shayne Izzo, Dillon Barr, Chris Haines, Tom Kristyak, Gary Smoker, Tom Glenn, Rick Ryder, Jerry Schaffer, Shawn Fleeger, Makayla Guidace.
Big Daddy's Speed Center/Rock COncrete Modified Lites: Cody Bova, Tyler Frankenberry, Andrew Bruce, Shane Pfeuffer, Brenden Dellinger, Brian Stuhldhor, Jason Johnston, Bill Stivason, Daniel Demyan, Rick Ament, Andy Heath, Roger Stivenson, Jacob Bova, Mark M. Marcucci, Darrin Gallagher, Anthony Kaszubski.
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Andy Thompson, Rusty Moore, Dan Lewis, Brandon Johnston, Bob Schwartzmiller, Curtis J. Bish, Bob McCann, Russ Byler, Matt Wagner, Jim Hooks, Charlie McMillen, Michael Tonkinson, Brent Coleman, Carl Johnston, Shane Webb, Dillon Kineston (DQ), Mike Harmon (DNS).
Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors: C.J. Jones, Chris Matthews, Rob Felix, Michael Bauer, Andy Feil, Jimmy Morris, Joe McEwen, Dalton Daniels, Jeffrey Goodman, Jr., Tom Sanders, Joe Siembida, Harold Braden, Jr., Walt Tutak, Jr., Mike Miller, Jacob Lagastee, Jason Scoville, Dennis Wagner.
Mini Stocks: Steve Longwell, Jr., Joel Wisser, Steve Longwell, Sr., Tyler Fulton, Rudy Troples, Caleb Hickock, Leo Hanlon, Matt Cwynar, Chase Anthony, Adam Bulfone, Alex Paden, Tricia Riffe, Clay Wansor, Wally Stearns (DNS).
PA Vintage Modifieds: Al Harju, Dale McCanless, Roy Rennie, Jim McDermott, K.R. Bridges, Mike Vaderwall, Rick St.Pierre, Gene Steel, Alan Byerly, Kevin Mohney, Paul Bacchus, Howard Duff (DNS).