Erick Rudolph, the current points leader and defending Modified Tour champion, has been hotter than a firecracker. He has five series wins in a row. The only ones who could defeat him were Rex King, Jr., in the season opener here at Mercer Raceway Park, and Mother Nature has the other tally! Rudolph finished in the top five the first time around this season, so you know that he can find his way around the tricky oval with ease. But, Rudy will have lots of competition.
All of that success has put him 36 points ahead of King, Jr. Rex King, Sr., a perennial favorite at Mercer, is third in series points, just 54 points out of the lead. Tyler Willard is next, just one point behind the six-time series champ. Rick Regalski, Kyle Fink, Dave Murdick, J.R. McGinley, Randy Chrysler, Skip Moore, and Chris Haines are also in the top ten in series points. Fink and McGinley are regulars at Mercer, so they have a foot in both camps.
There have been twenty-six head to head Modified battles at the track, and the Big Blocks have a commanding lead on the winners' list. The roster reads like a who's who in the annals of Western PA Modified history. Rex King, Sr. and Dave Murdick lead the way with four wins apiece. The late Lou Blaney, Kevin Bolland and Rex King, Jr. each have three. Jeremiah Shingledecker, and Brian Swartzlander each have a pair of victories. Single wins belong to Alan Dellinger, Russell King, Tommy Kristyak, and Ron Smoker. Lonny Riggs has the lone win for the home team.
Jimmy Holden will be leading the charge for the Turn 4 Toilets 358 Modifieds. He is the points leader and the top winner at the track this season. However, Riggs and Fink also have multiple wins. Jeff Shaffer, Sr. has a single score, and nothing would please him more than to get a victory against the Big Blocks! Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Tommy Kristyak, Kevin Green, Jason Sines, and many others will also be on hand to defend the home turf.
Joining the Modifieds on the card will be the Bonnell's Rod Shop 305 Sprints. Darin Gallagher is closing in on his first 305 Sprint Car championship. He already has a title in the Modified Lite division to his credit. Gregg McCandless, Andy Priest, Mike Marano, II, Mike Miller, Joe Sylvester, and others will have their say in the outcome, too.
Also competing will be The Rock Concrete Supply Mod Lites. The question on everybody's mind is whether Mark Marcucci can slice into that 31point lead held by Shane Webb in the season championship. Over a dozen other racers will try to upset Marcucci, so you will want to be there to see it happen!
And, let us not forget those Mini Stocks presented by Ray's Racing Collectibles and Eperthener's Auto Wrecking. Car counts have been great and the action has been unbelievable each time they have hit the track. Bill Fuchs is on top of the heap right now, but Tim Callahan will try to make up for some of the ground that he lost when he had a self-inflicted incident with a lapped car while leading last week.
The ticket prices for this special will be as follows. Adult admission will be $17. Seniors (60+) will see all the action for $15, and students (9-15) for $7. The little ones (8 and under) will be admitted for free. The Family Pass will be sold for $35 and that will benefit two adults and up to two minors of any age. The Pit Pass will also be $35.
Gates will open at 4 p.m. The hot laps and qualifications are slated for 6:00, with heat races to follow. Arrive early to get your favorite seats!
If you cannot make it to the track this week, get read for a pair of Sprint Car specials to close out the regular season. On August 19 will be the Summer Shootout Presented By J.S. Bova Excavating, with the Ohio racers from the Fremont Attica Sprint Tour coming to unfamiliar territory. Last year it was the 305 Sprint Cars, but, this year, the 410 Sprints will also be on hand taking on the local contingents backed by Precise Racing Products (410) and Bonnell's Rod Shop (305). Then, atthe end of the month, August 26, the 360 Sprints of the Patriot Sprint Group will be back to make up for a rained out event. The Patriot Sprints will race in addition to all five of the Saturday Night Live! classes.
Remember that you can get alerts regarding the cancellation of any racing event at Mercer Raceway Park sent directly to your smartphone or other electronic device. To register, please go to the track's website, www.mercerracewaypark.com, click on the icon for RainedOut.com, and follow the easy steps.
Marketing partners of Mercer Raceway Park for 2107 include Hovis Auto & Truck Supply, Schaeffer's Specialized Lubricants, Scheidemantle Motors, Greenhill Farms Equipment, Inc., the Normandy Banquet Center of Hickory VFW Post 6166, Ritenour Equipment Center, Pizza Joe's, AMSOIL, Noga Ambulance Service, Inc., Pyrotechnico, Watson's, Inc., Big Dog Indoor Racing & Hobby, Herr's Foods, the American Cancer Society, Sunburst Environmental, and Lias Tires.
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.mercerracewaypark.com, www.twitter.com/mercerraceway, or www.facebook.com/mercerracewaypark.