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Riggs and Moore Top Little Guy Nationals; Weaver, Ferringer, Blazczak, and Ferringer also Win
by Lou Long
Media Contact: Lou Long (412-760-9755)Mercer, PA (September 25, 2011): Lonnie Riggs and Rusty Moore ended the season at Mercer Raceway Park on the highest notes possible. For Riggs, it was his third win in the Little Guy Nationals race for the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. For Moore, it was a relief to win his record-breaking fourteenth race of the season in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars. Paul Weaver won the ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warrior main, while the remaining full-fendered wins went to Dazve Ferringer (Precise Racing Products Stock Cars Non-Qualifiers Feature), Pete Blazczak (Big Dog R/C Center Mini Stocks), and Jace Ferringer (Strictly Stocks).
After months of frustrating mechanical breakdows, Lonnie Riggs finally seemed to have solved the problem at the right time. He finished second in the preliminary night of the Little Guy Nationals and backed it up with his third win in the final event of the year for the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds.
Riggs explained that his problems were all caused by a "ten cent part" and that his team figured out what it was about three weeks ago. That put him in a position to end the year on a high note once again. "Yeah, if you are going to have one or two wins, I'd like to get them later in the year, then you have something to go for next year."
While Riggs ran out front most of the way, he did have to fend off persistent challenges from track champion Jimmy Holden, who had worked into second spot by lap 12. A rash of minor skirmishes that slowed the pace gave Holden numerous shots at the lead on the restarts. On an occasion or two, Holden poked his nose ahead of the high-flying Riggs. However, he could never clear him completely. So, when Riggs got cranked back up, he was able to regain his advantage. Then, another yellow would set them beside one another again.
Of his stirring battle with Holden, Riggs said "I was hoping that he would fade a little bit, but he kept running me hard and clean, and that was fun racing."
In the end, though, it was Riggs' ability to get the momentum going on the outside of the speedway, while his challenger was tight coming off the corners. "I knew that as long as I had room and he had room, it was going to be fun."
Randy Chrysler, winner of Saturday night's program, raced from tenth to third before the halfway mark, but he never got to mix it up with Riggs and Holden in a battle for the lead. Indeed, in the late stages of the race, Chrysler had his hands full fighting off the outside bids of Rob Curtis.
Andy Priest, in just his second 358 Modified start of the season, finished a strong fifth.
Tom Holden, Frank Guidace, Dale Welty, Jerry Schaffer and Ron Cartwright completed the top ten.
Heats for the 27 cars went to Holden, Chrysler and Guidace. There was no B Main.
In the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, track champion Rusty Moore finally captured his fourteenth win of the season. His record-breaking effort earned him $1,500. While it appeared to all viewers that Moore had an easy run, the happy winner disagreed. "It was a tough one, boy, I was nervopus."
Moore led his best friend, Gary Miller, to the checkers, but Miller did give him one scary moment on the lap 17 restart. Moore got a bit out of shape, but Miller reacted quickly to avoid contact. Moore was able to gather it back up again and to dart away from Miller.
Ray Hickock, Jr. was not as fortunate as Moore. Hickock charged from twenty-third to third by lap 23. He was challenging Miller for second and it seemed as though he would drive by on the outside. Suddenly, Hickock's car got sideways coming off turn four and it swerved into the infield apron. While no other cars hit him, Hickock fell from the top ten. He was never able to regain his rythm, and he finished a disappointing fifteenth in the final tally.
Friday's winner, Chris Schneider, rode home in third, followed by Jeff Sweeney and Rusty Martz.
Terry Wheeler, Russ Byler, Tim Krape, Darrin Hyde, and Curt Bish rounded out the top ten.
The six heats for the 52 cars were won by Byler, G. Miller, Greg Fenno, Moore, Bish and Bobby Whitling. The three B Mains winners were Colten Garhart, Jeff Buccella, and Martz.
A second feature, paying $1,00 to win, was held for the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars that did not make the Little Guy Nationals race. Dave Ferringer chased down Rusty Wheeler and scored the victory. Shawn Hooks, Bob Shook, and Chad O'Brien completed the top five.
Positions six through ten belonged to Brandon Johnston, Ricky Steigerwald, Mike Aley, Jim Flaherty and Rodney Thoms.
In the ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors, young Jimmy Morris jumped to an early lead, but he was challenged constantly by track champion Guy Griffin. They battled wheel to wheel for nearly ten laps, with Griffin running low and Morris running high.
Their entertaining struggle was halted twice, once for a caution and the next time for a red, when Adam Anderson flipped his car in turn four. Two laps later, another red flew, this time for a flip by Andy Priest in turn one. Neither driver was injured, but their cars suffered heavy damage.
In the meantime, one of the Ohio invaders, Paul Weaver, passed Griffin for second. On the restart following the Priest flip, Morris went to the cushion again. However, Weaver was now working the inside line masterfully. He passed Morris and went on for the win, evening the score with the local racers in the first head to head match.
Moris held on for second over Griffin. D.J. Foos and Page Polyak took top five finishes for the visitors.
Joe McEwen, Bob McMillen, Andy Priest, Justin Whitesell, and Jimmy Colvin finished sixth through tenth.
Heat winners were McEwen and Weaver. There was no B main for the 16 car field.
In the Big Dog R/C Center Mini Stocks, track champion Pete Blazczak completed his sweep of the Little Guy Nationals racing for the four-cylinder front-wheel drive cars. Finishing second in the non-stop affair was Tim Callahan. Maria Nevin took a season-best third. Fourth was William Blum. Ed Haylett finished fifth.
Positions six through ten went to Troy Lehnortt, Clay Wansor, Brian Felmlee, Chase Anthony, and Tyler Fulton.
Blum was the heat winner. There was no B main for the eleven cars.
The Stirctly Stock feature went to Jace Ferringer, who also swept the weekend in his class. Chip Walsh was a distant second. Pat Fielding grabbed third, ahead of Josh Seippel, Richard Swartz and Garrett Calvert.
Walsh took the heat win. There was no B main for the six cars on hand.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: 1. Lonnie Riggs, 2. Jimmy Holden, 3. Randy Chrysler, 4. Rob Curtis, 5. Andy Priest, 6. Tom Holden, 7. Frank Guidace, 8. Dale Welty, 9. Jerry Schaffer, 10. Ron Cartwright, 11. Joe Gibson, 12. Howard Duff, 13. Clyde Gumpp, 14. Matt Reeher, 15. Rich Whitney, 16. Ron White, 17. Dave Cogswell, 18. Jeremiah Shingledecker (Brown 71B), 19. Eric Gabany, 20. Scott Rodgers, 21. Ray Bliss, 22. Dean Pearson, 23. Kevin Green, 24. Jeff Schaffer (DQ), 25. Kyle Fink (DQ). DNS: Ron Eperthener, Jeremiah Shingledecker (Shingledecker 37MD). Heat winners: J. Holden, Chrysler, Guidace.
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: 1. Rusty Moore, 2. Gary Miller, 3. Chris Schneider, 4. Jeff Sweeney, 5. Rusty Martz, 6. Terry Wheeler, 7. Russ Byler, 8. Tim Krape, 9. Darrin Hyde, 10. Curt Bish, 11. Andy Thompson, 12. Bob McCann, 13. Chris Withers, 14. Bobby Whitling, 15. Ray Hickock, Jr. 16. Matt Wagner, 17. Greg Fenno, 18. Tommy Fox, 19. Brent Coleman, 20. Paul Schreckengost, 21. Colten Garhart, 22. John Phillips, 23. Bob Sloss, 24. Jeff Bucella. Heat winners: Byler, G. Miller, Fenno, Moore, Bish and Whitling. B Main winners: Garhart, Buccella, Martz.
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars (Non-qualifiers Feature): 1. Dave Ferringer, 2. Rusty Wheeler, 3. Shawn Hooks, 4. Bob Shook, 5. Chad O'Brien, 6. Brandon Johnston, 7. Ricky Steigerwald, 8. Mike Aley, 9. Jim Flaherty, 10. Rodney Thoms, 11. Will Aley, 12. Brian Shaffer, 13. Craig Koteles, 14. Tim Burns, 15. Tony Spaghetti, 16. Jake Simmons, 17. Barry Faris. DNS: Matt Keith, Matt Lazowski, Bob Schwartzmiller.
ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors: 1. Paul Weaver, 2. Jimmy Morris, 3. Guy Griffin, 4. D.J. Foos, 5. Page Polyak, 6. Joe McEwen, 7. Bob McMillin, 8. Andy Priest, 9. Justin Whitesell, 10. Jimmy Colvin, 11. Rob Felix, 12. Adam Anderson, 13. Dennis Wagner, 14. Harold Braden, Jr., 15. Mike Miller. DNS: Jacob Lagestee. Heat winners: McEwen, Weaver.
Big Dog R/C Center Mini Stocks: 1. Pete Blazczak, 2. Tim Callahan, 3. Maria Nevin, 4. William Blum, 5. Ed Haylett, 6. Troy Lehnortt, 7. Clay Wansor, 8. Brian Felmlee, 9. Chase Anthony, 10. Tyler Fulton, 11. Carl Keller. Heat winner: William Blum.
Strictly Stocks: 1. Jace Ferringer, 2. Chip Wlash, 3. Pat Fielding, 4. Josh Seippel, 5. Richard Swartz, 6. Garrett Calvert.