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Sodeman Dedicates Sprint Win to His Mother on American Cancer Society Night
by Lou Long
Fink, Smith, Jones, Johnston, C. Bova and Cohan are also Winners
Mercer, PA (July 13, 2013): Jack Sodeman, Jr. powered his 410 Sprint Car to the win in the Race for the Cure, presented at Mercer Raceway Park by the American Cancer Society. The North Jackson, OH driver dedicated the win to his mother, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
Kyle Fink worked the cushion like a master as he roared to his second straight win in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. Shane Smith won his first career feature in the Mini Stocks, sponsored by Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles. C.J. Jones won a thriller over Michael Bauer in the Bonnell's Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Dillon Kinneston was the apparent winner of the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, but he was 13 pounds too light. Consequently, the win was awarded to Brandon Johnston, his career first. Cody Bova raced to the win in the Modified Lites, running under the banners of Big Daddy's Speed Center and Rock Concrete. Kelvin Cohan copped the exhibition race for the 3/4 Late Models.
Sodeman lost the lead in traffic, but, ultimately, it was the lapped cars that put him into position to win the event. "We got tied up a little bit there in lapped traffic, and Andy (McKisson) was running a great race and he got underneath me there." Sodeman continued, "I thought that it was going to be a pretty good shootout between the top three, and then, unfortunately, they (McKisson and Carl Bowser) just got tagged up there."
Andy McKisson, who was making just his second start of the season, looked strong in the early goiong in the feature event, presented by Luxaire Heating & Cooling, New WIlmington Motors and Ralph Butch, Inc. McKisson was the first car to reach lapped traffic, which would eventually play a major role in the outcome of the race.
However, when he first encountered the slower cars, he was being chased by Gale Ruth, Jr. and Carl Bowser. Jack Sodeman, Jr. and Brandon Spithaler were some distance back, engaged in their own private contest.
Ruth used the slower cars to take the lead away from McKisson on lap six, but he former leader stormed back to regain the lead on the next circuit. They diced their way through more traffic, thrilling fans with their exploits.
By lap 11, McKisson cleared the slower cars and it appeared that he might have had the advantage in clean air. Sodeman worked his way to third and he was pressing Ruth for the runnerup spot. Sodeman then grabbed second on lap 12 and he took off after McKisson.
A caution on lap 14 for debris wiped out McKisson's advantage. Sodeman came to life after that caution and he passed McKisson just two laps after the race resumed. McKisson lost second to Bowser on lap 20, but as the leader closed on lapped traffic, things got interesting again.
Sodeman continued to lead, but McKisson regained second and he was close enough to assume the lead briefly when Sodeman bumped a slower car coming off the second turn.
When McKisson closed quickly on a pair of lappers, he tried to muscle by on the inside of one of them coming through turns three and four. Unfortunately, he got tangled up with the other machine, setting off a wild scramble.
When the dust settled, McKisson and third place runner, Bowser, were stopped, along with Brandon Matus and a pair of lapped cars. Another car, that of Francis Sesco, was also involved, and he came to a stop several yards away from the primary accident scene.
Somehow, Sodeman escaped the melee, and he was able to start the race on the point, with just three laps remaining. The running order behind him got shuffled around a bit, with Rod George, Eric WIlliams and Scott Priester among those who benefited from the misfortune of the others.
Sodeman completed the final three circuits without incident. George climbed to second, with Ruth salvaging a third. Priester came on to take fourth from WIlliams in the final two laps.
Adam Kekich, Dan Kuriger, Jason Dolick,, Chris Best and Bill Jones, Jr. completed the top ten.
Kekich and Bowser were the heat winners.
For Fink, it was an easier path to victory lane than his previous win, when he banged wheels with Frankie Guidace coming down for the white flag. "It was kinda nice, I didn't have any trouble this time," he said with a laugh. Once again, Lapped cars figured into the equation, though. Fink explained "I didn't know where (the lapped car) was going to go until I got up next to (Jeff) Schaffer, and he went to the right place." That was to the inside, the line that Schaffer preferred, and that opened up the top for FInk to drive by on the way to victory.
Jeff Schaffer took the early lead from his pole starting spot in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature. He held control despite several interrupts for minor skirmishes. However, Frankie Guidace and Kyle Fink worked their way to the front and they applied the pressure to Schaffer after the race went green for the final time.
Guidace and Schaffer put on a side by side duel for the lead for several laps. With Schaffer on the bottom and Guidace on the top, the pair changes positions several times a lap for three circuits.
Guidace lost second to Fink as they raced down the backstretch with nine laps down. Guidace slipped out over the lip of the back chute, and Fink sped past him.
Fink chased Schaffer for the next several laps, but Schaffer was still in control. Fink was using the cushion, as Guidace did before. But, Fink's big break cam on lap 15, when the duo approached a lapped car. Fink was able to pin Schaffer behind the slower vehicle, and that gave him the opportunity to storm into the lead.
Once out front, Fink was able to stretch his lead over Schaffer. After they took the checkers, Guidace was next to do so. J.R. McGinley and Matt Reeher completed the top five.
Rich Whitney, Eric Beggs, Shawn Fleeger, Kyle Holden and Max Smoker were sixth through tenth.
The heat winners in the class were Carl Weatherby and Jimmy Holden, who was the first retiree from the feature due to a blown engine.
Steve Longwell, Sr. took the early lead in the Mini Stock feature for Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles. He never got scored as the leader, though, as he tangled with Matt Cwynar as they fought for the lead. Longwell slowed, and ran down into the infield, fading to about fifth in the process. Cwynar was not as fortunate, as his car spun off the racing surface. He was unable tor esume the action.
Alex Paden worked his way to the lead, and it appeared as though he would take his fourth win in a row. However, he was not getting away cleanly on the restarts, and he lost several position, only to claw his way back to the front. The last time that it happened, though, he gave the lead to Smith, and Paden was never able to get back to the point.
Smith captured the win, with Tyler Fulton applying considerable pressure in the final laps. Point leader Jamey Smith crossed in third. Paden rallied for fourth. Todd Gabriel took fifth.
Longwell was sixth, ahead of Shane Webb, Ed Haylett, Jerry Batcher and Josh Eakman.
Heat wins were scored by Paden and Batcher.
The Bonnell's Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors feature came down to a battle between Michael Bauer and C.J. Jones. Jones rode the cushion to the win, with Bauer nipping at his heels.
Joe McEwen jumped out to the lead, and it looked like he might do the trick again of winning after replacing the camshaft on the car. But, Michael Bauer had other ideas. The collegian chased down the dean of the Warrior class, and he took the lead away from him after a spirited battle.
Bauer began to pull away from the veteran as they ran through lapped traffic. McEwen tried to pass a couple of the slower cars coming through turn two, but he bumped wheels and spun into the wall, inflicting substantial damage.
That turned the second spot over to Jones, who kept pressing Bauer. He finally drove by, but Bauer came back on the inside. As noted, Jones took the win, with Bauer close behind. Mike Miller drove a consistent race for third. Rob Felix and Andy Feil were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Jim Morris, Greg Dobrosky, Chris Matthews, Skip Daugherty, Mike Murano, II.
The heat wins belonged to Matthews and Feil.
In the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, Bobby Hein raced out front for the first five laps, until Shawn Hooks took over. Rusty Moore worked his way into second, and he was challenging for the lead in turns three and four when he made contact with Hooks. Both cars spun, and third place runner Andy Thompson ran up over the nose of Moore's machine, which was facing the wrong direction. Moore and Hooks were finished for the night, but Thompson was able to restart.
That gave the lead to Tim Burns, who held control for three trips around. Next to lead was Kinneston, and he held it all the way to the tumultuous finish. While Kinneston took the apparent win, several cars behind him came together coming off turn four. Only three other cars managed to cross the finish line.
Kinneston's disqualification moved Johnston up to the win. Thompson was awarded second, with Burns and Hein next. Fifth was Jamie Duncan.
Positions six through ten were Terry Kroner, Curtis J. Bish, Hooks, Moore and Charlie McMillan.
The heat winners were Tim Bish and Burns.
In the Big Daddy's Speed Center/Rock Concrete Modified Lite feature event, Cody Bova jumped out to the lead, but Shane Pfeuffer came from last to second in just one lap. Pfeuffer could advance no further, and it was Cody Bova who captured the win for the night. He dedicated the victory to his mother, who is a ten-year survivor of breast cancer.
Behind Bova and Pfeuffer were Chris Loghan, Jacob Bova, and Bill Stivason. Jordie McClaine, Matt Cain, Jason Johnston, Cory Webb and Mike Flockerzi.
Preliminaries went to Pfeuffer and Cody Bova.
The 3/4 Late Models presented an exhibition race. Kelvin Cohan was the winner, followed by Max Wilkinson, Coleman Kuhn, James A. Thompson, Jim Thompson, Adam Kekich (DNS).
Next week, the Mercer Raceway Park will host the ARDC Midgets, courtesy of McCrudden's Heating Supply and Coca Cola Bottling Co. Also on the card will be both classes of Sprints, the 358 Modifieds and the Stock Cars. The Modified Lites and the Mini Stocks will have the night off.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling/New Wilmington Motors/Ralph Butch, Inc. 410 Sprints: Jack Sodeman, Jr., Rod George, Gale Ruth, Jr., Scott Priester, Eric WIlliams, Adam Kekich, Dan Kuriger, Jason Dolick,, Chris Best, Bill Jones, Jr., John McCracken, Jr., Andy McKisson, Bob McMillin, Carl Bowser, Brandon Matus, Jim Shuster, Francis Sesco, Gale Ruth, Sr., Brent Matus, Brandon Spithaler.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Kyle Fink, Jeff Schaffer, Fankie Guidace, J.R. McGinley, Matt Reeher, Rich Whitney, Eric Beggs, Shawn Fleeger, Kyle Holden, Max Smoker, Carl Weatherby, J.R. Baker, Eric Gabany, Rick Kress, Gregory Unrue, Makayla Guidace, Jimmy Holden.
Eperthener's Auto Wrecking/Ray's Racing Collectibles MIni Stocks: Shane Smith, Tyler Fulton, Jamey Smith, Alex Paden, Todd Gabriel, Steve Longwell, Sr., Shane Webb, Ed Haylett, Jerry Batcher, Josh Eakman, Rudy Troples, Matt Cwynar, Patricia Riffe, Pete Blazak, Tim Callahan, Chad Fry, Mike Gardner, Jeff Little, Shane Shook, Wally Stearns, Caleb Hickok, Dylan Thomas, Evan Kornbau, Leo Hanlon.
Bonnell's Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors: C.J. Jones, Michael Bauer, Mike Miller, Rob Felix, Andy Feil, Jim Morris, Greg Dobrosky, Chris Matthews, Skip Daugherty, Mike Murano, II, Craig Daniels, Jacob Lagestee, Harold Braden, Kotie Kirkbride, Codey Braden, Jr., Joe McEWen, Eric L. WIlliams.
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Brandon Johnston, Andy Thompson, Tim Burns, Bobby Hein, Jamie Duncan, Terry Kroner, Curtis J. Bish, Shawn Hooks, Rusty Moore, Charlie McMillan, Garrett Calvert. DQ: Dillon Kinneston, Tim Bish. DNS: Shawn Smith.
Big Daddy's Speed Center/Rock Concrete Modified Lites: Cody Bova, Shane Pfeuffer, Chris Loghan, Jacob Bova, Bill Stivason, Jordie McClaine, Matt Cain, Jason Johnston, Cory Webb, Mike Flockerzi, Tim Prelog, Josh Santee, Dan Cain, Josh Deems.
3/4 Late Models: Kelvin Cohan was the winner, followed by Max Wilkinson, Coleman Kuhn, James A. Thompson, Jim Thompson, Adam Kekich (DNS).