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The Kittanning Comet Returns to Mercer’s Victory Lane
by Lou Long
Guidace, Bova, Moore, Spinneweber, Hickok and Myers Also Winners Mercer, PA (June 28, 2014): The Kittanning Comet, Rod George, was sighted in victory lane at Mercer Raceway Park for the first time since the opening race of the season. The 410 Sprint Car that he rode to victory in the Luxaire Heating & Cooling/McCrudden Heating & Supply sponsored event was the same machine that tumbled end over end a few weeks prior. Master craftsman Ronnie Trevis "fixed it good as new," George said. He got to celebrate with the Twin State Auto Racing Club this night.
Frankie Guidace won the one-lap dash for cash in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. Cody Bova grabbed his first career victory in the Bonnell's Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors after an opening lap crash in turn two decimated the field. Trusty Rusty Moore chalked up another win in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars. Caleb Hickok earned his third triumph of the season in the Mini Stocks presented by Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles. The Vintage Dirt Modified go went to the Reno Rocket, Les Myers.
"We had to miss a couple of weeks," George noted. "Last week was kinda iffy, but we had a good run, but this week topped it off for sure." Goerge built up such a lead that he had no idea whether anybody was racing close to him. He admitted to taking a few peeks at the scoreboard to see who was behind him. "I just kinda rode around the bottom and I figured that if somebody was coming that they were going to have to go to the top to make a run on me." Nobody got close enough to try.
George and Scott Priester had the front row for the start of the 410 feature, presented by Luxaire Heating & Cooling and McCrudden's Heating & Supply. They diced for several laps before George began to open a slight advantage. He withstood a series of cautions and a red flag in his run to the checkers.
Priester held second until late in the contest. That was when Carl Bowser snuck by him while they were mixing it up with lapped traffic.
Behind the leaders, there were several drivers making big moves from the back of the field. Jack Sodeman, Jr. and Adam Kekich were into the top five from positions 11 and 12, but the big mover was Brandon Matus, who advanced all the way from the 22nd spot!
Just after George took the checkers, Dennis Wagner spun his car before he got to the finish line. With the field bearing down on him, the caution was displayed. Because George had already crossed for the final time, the race was declared to be official, and the balance of the field was scored based upon their running order on lap 24.
That put Carl Bowser in the second spot, with Priester, Brandon Matus, and Sodeman next in line. Kekich was scored in sixth. Eric Williams, Brandon Spithaler, Andy McKisson, and A.J. Flick were running seventh through tenth. For McKisson, it was his first start of the 2014 season.
The trio of preliminaries went to Williams, Dan Kuriger, and North Carolina's Lance Moss. There was no B Main, as all cars that were able to start were given their positions.
The Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature had three leaders before the checkers fell. Lonny Riggs took the initial lead, but a caution for an incident in the second corner brought him back to the remainder of the cars. That enabled Eric Gabany to get a run at the leader, and he surged ahead as the field crossed for lap eight.
Gabany began to stretch things out as the laps clicked away. With an apparent win in sight, Gabany had to be disappointed when the caution flew with 19 laps in the books. That wiped out his commanding lead.
Frankie Guidace mustered up the power on the restart, and he led Gabany into turn one for the final time. Gabany was second, with Kyle Fink in third. Shawn Fleeger returned to the top five for the first time in several weeks. Riggs held on for fifth.
Tommy Kristyak, Matt Reeher, J.R. McGinley, Clyde Gumpp, and rookie Kyle Martell held down positions six through ten.
Guidace and Gabany prevailed in their respective heat races. There was no B Main.
Cody Bova led wire to wire in the Bonnell's Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors feature that saw a massive wreck in turn two on the opening lap. While Bova had things well under control, there was a thrilling battle for the second spot between George Hobaugh and Andy Feil. Hobaugh used lapped cars twice to maintain the advantage, but when they got to the open track with two laps remaining, he was no match for Feil.
Behind Bova, Feil and Hobaugh came Jimmy Morris, Joe McEwen, Mike Miller, Evan Kornbau, Devin Litwiler, Kotie Kirkbride, and Alex Paden.
Chris Matthews and Feil topped the qualifications. There was no B Main.
Levi Spinneweber passed Jacob Bova after the halfway mark, and raced to the win in the Rock Concrete Modified Lites. Shane Pfeuffer got back in the swing of things with a strong second place finish. Jeff Teeters had the runner-up spot, but took an excursion into the infield while trying to chase down the leader. He held on for third. Todd Canter crossed in fourth, with Bova getting fifth.
Chris Logan led the next group to the checkers. Josh Deems was seventh, a notch ahead of Don Cain. Aaron Meister and Mike Flockerzi were ninth and tenth.
The heat winners were Canter and Teeters. There was no B Main.
Trusty Rusty Moore nailed down another win in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars. He powered by Pat Fielding midway through the contest. Bobby Heim claimed second from Fielding in the final circuits. Danny Exley brought the Tarr Motorsports car normally driven by Curtis J. Bish home in fourth, with Tim Bish in fifth. Leigh Wheeler, Brett McDonald, Ryan Moyer, Jacob Billyk, and Terry Young had the next five spots.
Moore and Moyer claimed top honors in the opening stanzas. There was no B Main.
The twin banners of Eperthener's Auto Wrecking and Ray's Racing Collectibles flew once again for Caleb Hickok. He outpaced Trooper Tim Callahan, who had a shot at the win on a restart with two laps remaining. Points leader Mike McConnell raced in third. Shane Shook, Rudy Troples, Chad Fry, Russ Grossman, Patricia Riffe, Tyler Fulton, and Steve Longwell, Sr. completed the top ten.
Scoring the heat victories were Hickok and Callahan. There was no B Main.
In the Vintage Dirt Modifieds, the Reno Rocket, Les Myers, got to an early lead, but he had to hold off a late-race charge from Kevin "Marbles" Mahoney to take the fifteen lap affair. Dave George, Jr. placed third, with Rick St. Pierer and Jim Kurpakis rounding out the top five. Allan Haryou, Gary Haupt, Allby Byerly, Roger Stivenson, and Dan Osmer were sixth through tenth.
The pair of heats went to Myers and George. There was no B Main for the classic machines.
Next weekend, Mercer Raceway Park will celebrate Independence Day with a grand fireworks display courtesy of Pizza Joe's. The racing action will be a customary Saturday Night Live! program. Veterans with I.D. and scouts in uniform will be admitted free of charge.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling/McCrudden heating & Supply 410 Sprint Cars: Rod George, Carl Bowser, Scott Priester, Brandon Matus, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Adam Kekich, Eric Williams, Brandon Spithaler, Andy McKisson, A.J. Flick, Francis Sesco, Dennis Wagner, Bill Jones, Jr., Brent Matus, Shawn Minor, Brad Howard, Bob McMillen, Charlie Cornelius, Dan Kuriger, Gale Ruth, Sr., Russ Sansosti, Lance Moss, Gale Ruth, Jr., Michael Bauer (DNS), Davey Jones (DNS).
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Frankie Guidace, Eric Gabany, Kyle Fink, Shawn Fleeger, Lonny Riggs, Tommy Kristyak, Matt Reeher, J.R. McGinley, Clyde Gumpp, Kyle Martel, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Jimmy Holden, Brian Schaffer, Shayne Izzo, Max Smoker, Makayla Guidace, Rich Whitney.
Bonnell's Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Cody Bova, Andy Feil, George Hobaugh, Jr., Jimmy Morris, Joe McEwen, Mike Miller, Evan Kornbau, Devin Litwiler, Kotie Kirkbride, Alex Paden, Harold Braden, Jr., Sye Lynch, Cody Braden, C.J. Jones, Ken Rossey, Chris Matthews, Mike Marano, II, Clay Riney, Eric L. Williams.
Rock Concrete Modified Lites: Levi Spinneweber, Shane Pfeuffer, Jeff Teeters, Todd Canter, Jacob Bova, Chris Logan, Josh Deems, Don Cain, Aaron Meister, Mike Flockerzi, Shane Webb, Jason Johnson, Cory Webb, Mark Marcucci, Bill Stivason, Preston Roach, George Englert, Chris Frank, Tim Prelog (DNS).
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Rusty Moore, Bobby Heim, Pat Fielding, Danny Exley, Tim Bish, Leigh Wheeler, Brett McDonald, Ryan Moyer, Jacob Billyk, Terry Young, Curtis L. Bish, Scott Byers, Tim Burns, Garrett Calvert, Shawn Hooks, Donald Buchanan, Jr., Bryan Schaffer, Andy Thompson.
Eperthener's Auto Wrecking/Ray's Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Caleb Hickok, Tim Callahan, Mike McConnell, Shane Shook, Rudy Troples, Chad Fry, Russ Grossman, Patricia Riffe, Tyler Fulton, Steve Longwell, Sr., Roger Wigton, Bill Ferry, Wally Stearns, Jr., Ed Haylett, Leo Hanlon, Matt Cwynar (DNS).
Vintage Dirt Modifieds: Les Myers, Kevin Mahoney, Dave George, Jr., Rick St. Pierer, Jim Kurpakis, Allan Haryou, Gary Haupt, Allby Byerly, Roger Stivenson, Dan Osmer, Dave McCandless, Randy Stivenson, Howard Duff (DNS).