Shaffer Snags All Stars Win at Mercer Raceway Park; McEwen, Buckley and Blazak also Score

Mercer, PA (May 12, 2012): All that it took for UNOH All Stars Champion Tim Shaffer to score a much needed victory was a little home cooking. The veteran from Aliquippa, PA was the first of four Western Pennsylvania drivers across the finish line. The triumph was his first without his former crew chief, Brian Kemenah, with whom he shared much success.

Smokin’ Joe McEwen took the the 20 lap feature for the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors, while Andy Buckley and Pete Blazak prevailed in the Precise Racing Products Open Stocks and the Mini Stocks, respectively.

Shaffer admitted that it has been a tough year so far, but he put himself in position by earning the pole position for the race. Still, he was concerned that his run of bad luck may continue. “When you start on the pole like that, you kinda worry what’s going to happen tonight.” What happened, though, was a dominant performance by the reigning king of the UNOH All Stars Circuit of Champions.

When the green flag waived, Shaffer pulled a wheelie that ran the length of the front stretch. Nonetheless, he entered turn one with the lead. Ed Lynch, Jr., making a rare appearance, followed him into the corner and gave chase for the first third of the race. Lynch could not reel in Shaffer, who was earnestly trying to open up some breathing room.

A caution on lap 11 bunched the field up due to tangle between Rod George and Cowboy Brian Steinman in turn four. On the restart, Shaffer fired first, but another yellow quickly followed because Scott Priester hit the cone located on the front stretch.

When the green was displayed again, Shaffer would race off with a lead that he would never surrender. He completed the remainder of the race without further interruption.

Shaffer had opened up a considerable lead, but as he negotiated his way through traffic in the latter stages of the race, his lead began to dwindle. “Early on, we wanted to get some breathing room, but, then, we started moving around and started losing some time,” he said.

That allowed his protege, Danny Holtgraver, to begin to close the gap. Holtgraver had taken second from Lynch on lap 18. At the time, he was more than a straightaway behind his mentor. By the checkers, he had cut the margin to several car lengths. “I saw him,” Holtgraver said, “and when I saw the two to go, I wished it was five to go. We came on pretty strong at the end.”

Another driver who advanced in the late stages of the race was Dale Blaney. The former UNOH All Stars champ gained the final podium spot. He climbed form ninth on the grid. Blaney got behind early in the night with a sub-par qualifying time. “I shot myself in the foot qualifying, that just got us behind,” he explained.

Lynch held on for the fourth spot, crossing the finish ahead of Cap Henry.

Defending track champion Bob Felmlee was sixth. Rob Chaney, making his second start in the Rudzik 94, finished seventh. Paul McMahan, Greg Wilson and Brandon Spithaler completed the top ten. Wilson was the hard charger of the race, advancing a dozen positions.

The three heat race winners were Felmlee, McMahan, and Carl Bowser, who was an early retiree from the feature.

The B Main victory went to Steinman. Steinman had a top ten time, but spun early in his heat race and could not earn the important transfer that would have moved him up in the starting field.

The evening’s fastest time was turned in by David Gravel. He could not start the feature, however, due to a problem with his MSD box.

Joe McEwen jumped from his second place starting spot to take the lead at the start of the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warrior feature. Despite two stoppages for minor incidents, McEwen raced to an easy win.

Jimmy Morris came from fifth to second in just five laps. He could not challenge McEwen on this evening. Guy Griffin, who ran outside the top five for most of the distance, rallied for a fine third place finish. Justin Whitesell and Rob Felix rounded out the top five.

Positions six through ten went to Chris Matthews, Mike Miller, Andy Fiel, Jay Howe and C.J. Jones. It was Fiel’s first start in the winged beasts.

The heat winners were Jeff Taylor and Morris.

Andy Buckley raced to victory in the Precise Racing Products Open Stocks, but it was not easy. He came from 16th on the grid and he had to fend off the persistent challenges of Tommy Fox and Colton Gearhart.

Dave Ferringer led the way for a pair of laps, before surrendering the lead to Gearhart. Gearhart paced the field for three laps. He was overhauled by Tommy Fox. Buckley took the lead on lap 7, but Fox and Gearhart remained close for the rest of the way.

Finishing behind Buckley, Gearhart and Fox were Joe Kelley and Ferringer.

Making his first start of the season, Bobby Heim rode home in sixth. Danny Exley, Matt Wagner, Brandon Johnston and Brett McDonald were seventh through tenth.

The pair of heat races were captured by Brent Coleman and Chris Schneider.

Pete Blazak took the Mini Stock nightcap. He made his winning move on the inside of turns three
and four when he ducked under Steve Longwell, Jr. Longwell had led from lap two until lap eight.

The race was halted with 12 of the 15 laps completed. Matt Christy spun coming off turn four and was hit broadside in the driver’s door area by Wally Stearns, who had nowhere to go. When it appeared that Christy would need to be transported to a local hospital, officials made the call to end the race. Fortunately, though, Christy was up and walking after the incident and he was joking about his misfortune.

Blazak was declared the winner, followed by Longwell Jr. Trooper Tim Callahan was third. Steve Longwell, Sr. claimed fourth and Rob McElhaney took fifth.

Rudy Troples, Andrew Dutkewycz, Tyler Fulton, Joel Wisser and Chase Anthony completed the top ten.

The two heat winners were Adam Bulfone and Jerry Bratcher.

Next week, the wings come off for the 410 sprints. The B.O.S.S. sprints will invade the Park. Other local classes will be in action. Gates will open at 4 and racing will begin at 7.

All Star Circuit of Champions (29 Cars)
[#]-Starting Position

Qualifying – Kistler Engines
1. 89G-David Gravel, 13.779
2. D4-Danny Holtgraver, 13.857
3. 3-Pete Miller III, 13.927
4. 94-Rob Chaney, 13.934
5. 24-Brian Steinman, 13.996
6. 83-Tim Shaffer, 14.005
7. 7-Eric Williams, 14.006
8. 2L-Ed Lynch Jr., 14.064
9. O8-Dan Kuriger, 14.083
10. 54-Cap Henry, 14.096
11. 2-Dale Blaney, 14.125
12. 22-Brandon Spithaler, 14.139
13. 15-Scott Priester, 14.164
14. 45-Paul McMahan, 14.220
15. 23-Jimmy Light, 14.276
16. 8-Bob Felmlee, 14.299
17. O-Lee Jacobs, 14.370
18. 10-Carl Bowser, 14.425
19. CIII-Rod George, 14.426
20. 4-Danny Smith, 14.474
21. W20-Greg Wilson, 14.498
22. 30-Daryl Stimeling, 14.502
23. 13-Brandon Matus, 14.557
24. 5K-Adam Kekich, 14.637
25. 12-Jared Ridge, 14.724
26. 49-Bob Howard, 14.768
27. 81-Craig Folmar, 14.779
28. 66-Chris Best, 15.027
29. 33-Brent Matus, 15.240

Heat 1 – Kears Speed Shop (8 Laps – Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 8-Bob Felmlee[1]
2. 54-Cap Henry[3]
3. 15-Scott Priester[2]
4. 89G-David Gravel[6]
5. 94-Rob Chaney[5]
6. CIII-Rod George[7]
7. 7-Eric Williams[4]
8. 30-Daryl Stimeling[8]
9. 66-Chris Best[10]
10. 12-Jared Ridge[9]

Heat 2 – All Pro Aluminum Heads (8 Laps – Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 45-Paul McMahan[2]
2. O-Lee Jacobs[1]
3. 2-Dale Blaney[3]
4. 2L-Ed Lynch Jr.[4]
5. 4-Danny Smith[7]
6. D4-Danny Holtgraver[6]
7. 13-Brandon Matus[8]
8. 49-Bob Howard[9]
9. 24-Brian Steinman[5]
10. 33-Brent Matus[10]

Heat 3 – Dragon Race Fuel (8 Laps – Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 10-Carl Bowser[1]
2. 83-Tim Shaffer[5]
3. O8-Dan Kuriger[4]
4. 23-Jimmy Light[2]
5. 22-Brandon Spithaler[3]
6. 3-Pete Miller III[6]
7. 5K-Adam Kekich[8]
8. W20-Greg Wilson[7]
9. 81-Craig Folmar[9]

Dash – Outerwears Performance Products (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 6 starting positions of A-feature
1. 83-Tim Shaffer[3]
2. 94-Rob Chaney[2]
3. 2L-Ed Lynch Jr.[4]
4. D4-Danny Holtgraver[6]
5. 3-Pete Miller III[1]
6. 89G-David Gravel[5]

B-Main – MSD Ignition (12 Laps – Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 24-Brian Steinman[1]
2. W20-Greg Wilson[3]
3. 7-Eric Williams[2]
4. 5K-Adam Kekich[6]
5. 49-Bob Howard[8]
6. 66-Chris Best[10]
7. 13-Brandon Matus[5]
8. 12-Jared Ridge[7]
9. 81-Craig Folmar[9]
10. 33-Brent Matus[11]

A-Main – University of Northwestern Ohio (30 Laps)
1. 83-Tim Shaffer[1]
2. D4-Danny Holtgraver[4]
3. 2-Dale Blaney[9]
4. 2L-Ed Lynch Jr.[3]
5. 54-Cap Henry[8]
6. 8-Bob Felmlee[16]
7. 94-Rob Chaney[2]
8. 45-Paul McMahan[14]
9. W20-Greg Wilson[21]
10. 22-Brandon Spithaler[10]
11. 23-Jimmy Light[15]
12. 4-Danny Smith[20]
13. 3-Pete Miller III[5]
14. O-Lee Jacobs[17]
15. 15-Scott Priester[13]
16. 7-Eric Williams[12]
17. 5K-Adam Kekich[22]
18. 66-Chris Best[24]
19. O8-Dan Kuriger[7]
20. CIII-Rod George[19]
21. 24-Brian Steinman[11]
22. 49-Bob Howard[23]
23. 10-Carl Bowser[18]
24. 89G-David Gravel[6]
Hard Charger: W20-Greg Wilson[+12]

Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Joe McEwen, Jimmy Morris, Guy Griffin, Justin Whitesell, Rob Felix, Chris Matthews, Mike Miller, Andy Fiel, Jay Howe, C.J. Jones, Joe Siembida, Jeff Taylor, Jacob Lagastee, Harold Braden, Jr., Bob McMillin, Dalton Daniels, Dave Wagner, Tom Sanders (DNS).

Precise Racing Products Open Stocks: Andy Buckley, Colton Gearhart, Tommy Fox, Joe Kelley, Dave Ferringer, Bobby Heim, Danny Exley, Matt Wagner, Brandon Johnston, Brett McDonald, Travis Walsh, Rusty Martz, Bob McCann, Brent Coleman, Russ Byler, Rusty Moore, Duane Grinnell. DNS: Chris Schneider, Dan Lewis, Carl Johnston.Mini Stocks: Pete Blazak, Steve Longwell, Jr., Tim Callahan, Steve Longwell, Sr., Rob McElhaney, Rudy Troples, Andrew Dutkewycz, Tyler Fulton, Joel Wisser, Chase Anthony, Wally Stearns, Matt Christy, Clay Wansor, Adam Bulfone. DNS: Jerry Bratcher, Mike McConnell, Ed Haylett.