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Sodeman Wins Sprint Main and Title at Mercer Raceway Park
by Lou Long
Bauer, Guidace, Moore, Cain and Fulton also Victorious
Mercer, PA (September 7, 2013): Jack Sodeman, Jr. and Eric Williams waged a titanic battle for the win and the track championship in the 410 Sprint Car division, presented by Luxaire Heating & Cooling, New Wilmington Motors, and Ralph Butch, Inc. Williams, who did lead breifly during the event, came back strong at the end, but was just a two car lengths short at the checkers. Sodeman claimed all of the accolades this night. Not to be outdone, the track's other Sprint Car division, the Bonnell's Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors, saw the track championship decided by the final race of the night. Michael Bauer won the race and sealed the deal on his first point title as well, topping his friend, Jimmy Morris.
In the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, Frankie Guidace returned to championship form, winning the final race for his class heading into the Little Guy Nationals, coming up at the speedway September 20-21.The final run for the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars saw Trusty Rusty Moore salt away the win and his third straight track championship. Tyler Fulton won the battle, but Jamey Lee had already won the war in the Mini Stocks, offered by Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles. In the finale for the Modified Lites, sponsored by Big Daddy's Speed Center and Rock Concrete, it was Matt Cain getting the win after point champion Shane Pfeuffer and Alan Knepper tangled while fighting for the win. Knepper spun, and Pfeuffer was sent to the rear for rough driving.
Williams and Sodeman started on the front row for the 410 Sprint feature by virtue of their points entering this night of racing. WIlliams had a two point advantage at the start of the night, but Sodeman's superior heat race performance, coupled with the double points, allowed the pendulum to swing in his favor before feature time.
However, he still had to finish better than Williams in the finale to displace the reigning champion. He did just that.
When the race began, Sodeman blasted out to a substantial lead. However, Williams methodically cut into the advantage. When the leaders got to lapped traffic, about five laps into the event, Williams was nipping on Sodeman's heels. Williams went to the outside to slip by Sodeman as the duo raced through lapped traffic in the fourth corner.
Williams' lead was brief, as Sodeman came storming back on the very next circuit. With Williams still riding the cushion, Sodeman dropped to the bottom coming through the fourth turn to regain the lead.
Once in front again, Sodeman pulled away from the defending track champion. Williams was not about to let his crown slip away so easily, and when Sodeman encountered lapped traffic in the final seven or eight laps, Williams was able to close in on the leader. Williams reached Sodeman's rear nerf bar with just a pair of laps remaining.
Williams made his final bid for the win, that would have sealed his second straight track championship, as he and Sodeman entered the third turn. Sodeman was in the middle and Williams went to the bottom as they quickly closed on a lapped car. The two competitors raced each other cleanly through the final two turns, and gave each other enough room. But, Sodeman was just a bit quicker off the top of turn four and he claimed the thrilling win, and, with it, his first championship at Mercer Raceway Park.
With most eyes focused on the two drivers fighting for all of the marbles, Andy McKisson drove an outstanding race to take third. Scott Priester finished fourth, with Brandon Matus in fifth.
Mike Lutz, subbing for Bob McMillin this evening, placed sixth. Chris Best, Adam Kekich, Rod George and Dennis Wagner completed the top ten. George came from last in the 24 car field, as he was unable to start his heat race.
Brandon Matus, McKisson, and Davey Jones were heat winners.
Twenty-year-old Michael Bauer rode to victory in the feature for the Bonnell's Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Although he built upon his three-point lead by winning his heat race, he still needed to race home ahead of Jimmy Morris in the feature to ensure his first track championship. He did so in fine style.
Bauer grabbed the lead at the drop of the green, Although Morris closed in on Bauer a few times, he was never able to get beside the young driver. As Bauer swept under the checkers, a flip by Mike Marano, II in turn one brought out a red flag, ensuring that Morris would finish in second, as that was his position on the white flag lap. Marano was unhurt.
Andy Feil placed third, with Joe McEwen in fourth., and Rob Felix in fifth. Next came Greg Dobrosky. George Blaney, a distant relative of the late, great Lou Blaney, came all the way from North Carolina to race in seventh this night. C.J.Jones, who spun while contending for a top three position, rallied for eighth. Eric L. WIlliams and Justin Whitesell completed the top ten. Whitesell was making his first start of the season as a substitute for Mike Miller.
Earlier in the feature event, Jason Scoville flipped wildly in turns one and two. He, too, was unscathed.
Preliminaries went to Jones and Bauer.
Frankie Guidace showed championship form in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. Although he started on the pole and led every lad, Guidace had to fend off the challengers of J.R. McGinley early in the event. Then, with just five laps top go, McGinley closed again on the leader. However, Guidace was up to the task, and came home with the win.
Behind Guidace and McGinley were Jeff Schaffer, Kyle Fink, and Lonny Riggs. Eric Gabany crossed in sixth. Gary Smoker, Shawn Fleeger, Carl Weatherby and Rich Whitney were next.
Jimmy Holden won his heat, but was unable to start the feature due to a carburetor problem. Other heat winners were McGinley and Schaffer.
Rusty Moore showed everyone why he has earned three championships in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars. He marched out front the entire way, topping Curtis J. Bish, Leigh Wheeler, Bob Schwartzmiller, and Bobby Heim.Bob Sloss, Pat Fielding, Andy Thompson, Ryan Moyer, and Bucky Buchanan rounded out the top ten.
Heat wins went to Bish and Wheeler.
In the Modified Lite feature, Matt Cain was the improbable winner. Alan Knepper had raced his way to the front, but Shane Pfeuffer made contact with him as the champion tried to regain the lead. Knepper spun, and Pfeuffer went to the tail for a rough driving call. Mark Marcucci, a late arrival, came from 23rd on the grid to finish second, Darin Gallagher was third. Fourth went to Lynn Knepper, and fifth to Jason Darocha. Tyler Frankenberry, Glen Teeter, Mike Flockerzi, Bill Stivason, and Jacob Bova claimed positions six through ten.
Heat winners were Pfeuffer, Gallagher, and Alan Knepper
The Mini Stock feature, presented by Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles was interrupted for a slight rain shower, but the racing was intense just the same. Early leaders fell by the wayside, and coming home with the win was Tyler Fulton. Alex Paden came back from an early pit stop to place second. Jamey Lee finished third, which was more than enough to ensure his point championship. Shane Smith and Todd Gabriel were fourth and fifth, respectively. Matt Cwynar, Steve Longwell, Sr., Brandon Ritchey, Josh Eakman, and Peter Williams were the next five finishers.
Pete Blazak, Lee, and Gabriel prevailed in the heats.
There will be no racing on the oval next weekend. Instead, to East Regional Fall Finals Pulling event will be held on September 14. Racing in the round will finish the following weekend, September 20-21, with the 14th Annual Little Guy Nationals.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling/New Wilmington Motors/Ralph Butch, Inc. 410 Sprint Cars: Jack Sodeman, Jr., Eric Williams, Andy McKisson, Scott Priester, Brandon Matus, Mike Lutz, Chris Best, Mike Kekich, Rod George, Dennis Wagner, Adam Kekich, Brent Matus, Brad Howard, Jordan Mackison, Hunter Mackison, Bill Jones, Jr., Jim Shuster, John McCracken, Jr., Ricky Byers, Dan Kuriger, Bob Howard, Davey Jones, Mike Flynn.
Bonnell's Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Michael Bauer, Jimmy Morris, Andy Feil, Joe McEwen, Rob Felix, Greg Dobrosky. George Blaney, C.J. Jones, Eric L. WIlliams, Justin Whitesell, Mike Marano,II, Kotie Kirkbride, Chris Matthews, Ralph Engel, Jr., Jason Scoville, Bob McMillin. DNS: Cody Braden, George Frederick.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Frankie Guidace, J.R. McGinley, Jeff Schaffer, Kyle Fink, Lonny Riggs, Eric Gabany, Gary Smoker, Shawn Fleeger, Carl Weatherby, Rich Whitney, Dan Fink, Kyle Holden, Sid Unversagt, Jr., Makayla Guidace, Max Smoker, Matt Reeher, Ryan Kemery, John Buchanan, Andy Paden, Rick Kress. DNS: Jimmy Holden, Greg Unrue, Jr., Ray Aikins.
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Rusty Moore, Curtis J. Bish, Leigh Wheeler, Bob Schwartzmiller, Bobby Heim, Bob Sloss, Pat Fielding, Andy Thompson, Ryan Moyer, Bucky Buchanan, Garrett Calvert, Brandon Johnston, Michael Tonkinson, Bill Phillips, Jr., Dan Lewis. DNS: Charlie McMillen, Raymond Reynolds.
Big Daddy's Speed Center/Rock Concrete Modified Lites: Matt Cain, Mark Marcucci, Darin Gallagher, Lynn Knepper, Jason Darocha. Tyler Frankenberry, Glen Teeter, Mike Flockerzi, Bill Stivason, Jacob Bova, Shane Pfeuffer, Jordie McClaine, Josh Deems, Jason Johnston, Cory Webb, Tim Prelog, Rob Hilliard, Shane Webb, Anthony Pasquerella, Alan Knepper, Chris Logan, Cody Bova, Don Cain.
Eperthener's Auto Wrecking/Ray's Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Tyler Fulton, Alex Paden, Jamey Lee, Shane Smith, Todd Gabriel, Matt Cwynar, Steve Longwell, Sr., Brandon Ritchey, Josh Eakman, Peter Williams, Shane Shook, Joel Wisser, Alan Perry, Wally Stearns, Jr., Caleb Hickok, Ed Haylett, Don Shuler, Chad Fry, Pete Blazak, Brian Felmlee, Adam Bulfone, Steve Longwell, Jr., Paticia Riffe, Rudy Troples (DNS).