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Wean, Holtgraver, Holden Win at Mercer; Career Firsts for Haylett and Wagner; Moore Again in Stocks
by Lou Long
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Lou Long (412-760-9755)
Mercer, PA (Ju;ly 30, 2011): Nick Wean scored the win in the ARDC Midget race at Mercer Raceway Park, while Danny Holtgraver prepared for his first-ever Knoxville assault with a dominating performance in the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars. Jimmy Holden registered the win in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. In a bit of irony, Ed Haylett (Big Dog R/C Center Mini Stocks) dedicated his first career win to the memory of his late son, while Dennis Wagner (ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors) did likewise with his late father, Dave. Meanwhile, Trusty Rusty Moore scored yet another win in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars.
Before the track's biggest crowd of the year, New Jersey's Nick Wean held off ARDC points leader Drew Heistand. It was Wean's first of the year and third with the club, which is the nation's oldest sanctioning body. Wean was surprised when the pace truck picked him up as the leader following a caution for Parker Evans, who had led from the start of the race. Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. was penalized for rough driving. Wean said "I didn't think that they would make that call, but when they said it on the radio, I was prettyu happy." Wean also explained that he was fighting engine problems lately and he gave credit to HG for helping him to get it turned around.
In the twenty-lap ARDC Midget feature, Parker Evans and Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. led the field to the green flag. Evans jumped ahead, with Buckwalter, Alex Bright, Steve Craig, and Nick Wean close behind. Evans led the first fourteen laps, but Buckwalter was persistent in his efforts to overtake him. Buckwalther kept switching lines, but nothing worked for him.
As the leaders entered turn three, Buckwalter made a strong inside move, but Evans did not want to surrender the lead. There was contact, and Evans spun from the lead. Buckwalther was sent to the rear for rough driving as a rewsult of the incident. That gave the lead to Nick Wean.
Wean led the field for the restart, but action was immediately halted for a flip by Keith McIntyre. He was unhurt, but the car was done for the night.
Wean again jumped out to the lead when the action resumed, but now he was getting pressure form Ryan Smith, up from thirteenth on the grid. Lurking in their shadow was current points leader, Drew Heistand, who had worked his way from fourteenth to third before the interruptions.
Wean led the way to the checkers, but Heistand moved by Smith on the backstretch to claim sewcond on lap nineteen. Heistand tried to close the gap on the final lap, but came up a few car lenghts short. Smith held on for third, followed by Shane Penny and Dusty Heistand.
Positions six through ten went to Steve Drevicki, Justin Grosz, Tim Buckwalter, Steve Bull, and Jason Rice. Local favorite Joe Butera was creditted with fifteenth.
Danny Holtgraver wants to change his nickname from Dan the Man to Mr. Outside, as he worked the cushion to perfection to grab the win in the the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars. "Andy (McKisson) was getting fast on the bottom there, on every restart, he was getting better and the top was getting worse for me." But there was just enough there for him to keep McKisson at bay.
At the start, veterans McKisson and Brent Matus paced the field. McKisson fired first, but Danny Holtgraver immediately went to the cushion in turn one and shot into the lead from his third place starting spot.
Holtgraver began to stretch his lead over McKisson, but a caution for Cowboy Brian Steinman slowed things.
The high-flying Holtgraver continued to hold his advantage over McKisson despite numerous restarts. Behind them, however, positions were changing hands with great frequency.
In the final run to the checkers, it was Holtgraver over McKisson. Carl Bowser rallied to take third, ahead of the Flying One, Bob Felmlee, and the Kittanning Comet, Rod George.
Brandon Spithaler ran a consistent race fpr the sixth spot. Eric Turkey Williams came from the last position on the start to take seventh. Brandon the Wheelman Matus claimed seventh. Chris Shuttleworth finished ninth with his 360 Sprint. Brent Matus completed the top ten.
Goodyear Tire certificates were awarded to Holtgraver as the winner, Williams as the hard charger, and Kevin Andrusky as the last car on the lead lap. Random award winners were McKisson and Shuttleworth.
Jimmy the Jet Holden soared into the lead from his pole starting spot and led the entire distance in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. Holden kept his pace, despite showing some smoke in the final laps. Holden was unsure of the nature of the problem, but speculated that it was just a loose valve cover. Or, maybe that was just a biut of wishful thinking. "The last time we had this motor in the car, we burned a piston and ity cost us about $2,000 of damage. I don't think that is what it is, but we'll check it out."
Scott Rodgers kept Holden in sight through most of the race, but he could never mount a challenge for the lead. Behind them, though, there were spiritted battles for position.
For most of the early going, it was a contest for third involving Mopar Matt Reeher, the Strattanville Charger Ky;le FInk, Frank on thge Gas Guidace and Jeff Shaffer. That ended just past the halfway mark when Fink brought out a yellow intentionally.
After the restart, Guidace charged from fifth into second and Rodgers began to fade. That enabled Ron Eperthener, Jr. to enter the fray, as he was engagaed in a struggle with Reeher, Shaffer and Gabany for positions in the top five.
Despite showing some smoke fron his racer, Holden maintained his advantage over Guidace. Reeher crossed in third, followed by Shaffer and Gabany. Eperthener led the next group across the finish line. Rodgers finished seventh and Andy Paden in eighth. Rick Hall and Kevin Green rounded out the top ten.
In the Big Dog R/C Center Mini Stocks, Ed Haylett took an emotional win. He dedicated the victory to his late son, Leland. It was not an easy one, though, as Haylett had to hold off stiff challenges from Jerry Batcher to seal the deal.
Steve Longwell, Sr. took the initial lead, but the action was incredible behind him. The Minis raced five wide down the backstretch and into turn three, with Jerr Batcher being squeezed off the edge of the speedway. Batcher kept going and that allowed teh field to stay under the green.
Pete Blazcazak ran down the leader and passed him coming off turn two on lap four. His lead was short lived, however, as his car faltered on a restart. That enabled Haylett to slide into the lead. From that point forward, Haylett had to fend off Batcher, as the younger pilot tried both high and low to pass the veteran of 23 years.
In the waning laps, Batcher faded and that turned second place over to rookie Tyler Fulton. Haylett scored the win over Fulton and Blazczak. Rudy Troples and Joel Wisser completed the top five.
Sixth through tenth went to Maria Nevin, Batcher, Anthony Shetter, Troy Lehnortt and Longwell Sr.
Next up were the ti22 Performanc3e Outlkaw Sprint Warriors. This time it was a son, Dennis Wagner, who won the race and dedicated the win to his late father, Dave. Wagner led wire to wire to take his career first.
Veterans Gary Edwards and Guy Griffin were no match for Wagner on this night. They finished over a full straightaway behind him. Dean Ruth and Justin Whitesell were fourth and fifth. Completing the field were Michael Bauer, Jim Morris and Adam Anderson.
The final feature of the night was the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars. Once again, Trusty Rusty Moore raced to the win. Moore passed early leader Bob SChwartzmiller just three laps from the finish. Moore was handicapped to the last spot on the grid due to his domination in the class.
Trailing Moore and Schwartzmiller were Russ Byler, Gary Miller and Marty Warren. Positions six through ten were earned by Jim Flaherty, Andy Thompson, Darrin Hyde, Les Myers and Mark Sanders.
ARDC Midgets: 1. Nick Wean (78); 2. 2. Drew heistand (12); 3. Ryan Smith (33); 4. Shane Penny (4); 5. Dusty Heistand (6); 6. Steve Drevicki (19); 7. Justin Grosz (99); 8. Tim Buckwalter (52); 9. Steve Bull (01); 10. Jason Rice (57); 11. Parker Evaqns (61); 12. Bruice Buckwalter, Jr. (83); 13. Shawn Jackson (2); 14. Steve Craig (55); 15. Joe Butera (3); 16. Brenden Bright (88); 17. Keith McIntyre, Jr. (8); 18. Alex Bright (77); 19. Mark Gilmore (81). Heat winners: Evans, Drew Heistand, Alex Bright.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars: 1. Danny Holtgraver (D4); 2. Andy McKisson (0); 3. Carl Bowser (10); 4. Bob Felmlee (6); 5. Rod George (4); 6. Brandon Spithaler (22S); 7. Eric Williams (7); 8. Brandon Matus (13); 9. Chris Shuttleworth (11); 10. Brent Matus (33); 11. Scott Priester (15); 12. Kevin Andrusky (7A); 13. Andy Priest (21N); 14. Dan Kuriger (08); 15. Chris Best (66); 16. Gale Ruth, Jr. (1R); 17. Adam Kekich (5k); 18. Francis Sesco (2S); 19. Dennis Wagner (38); 20. Luke Bowey (55AU); 21. Brian Steinman (24S). Heat winners: Brandon Matus, McKisson, Kekich.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: 1. Jimmy Holden (28H); 2. Frank Guidace (1G); 3. Matt Reeher (711); 4. Jeff Shaffer (14); 5. Eric Gabany (3E); 6. Ron Eperthener (333); 7. Scott Rodgers (55X); 8. Andy Paden (55); 9. Rick Hall (B2); 10. Kevin Green (74); 11. Clyde Gumpp (51); 12. Dustin Martin (29D); 13. Shawn Fleeger (88); 14. Randy Kregisch (77); 15. 66F Kyle Fink (DQ intentional yellow). DNS: Lonnie Riggs (58). Heat winners: Paden, Fink.
Big Dog R/C Center Mini Stocks: 1. Ed Haylett (8ball); 2. Tyler Fulton (409); 3. Pete Blazczak (77); 4. Rudy Troples (28); 5. Joel Wisser (15K); 6. Maria Nevin (9); 7. Jerry Batcher (7); 8. Anthony Shetter (33A); 9. Troy Lehnortt (46); 10. Steve Longwell, Sr. (16K); 11. Todd Gabriel (33G); 12. Michael Thompson (82T); 13. Steve Longwell, Jr. (17K). DNS: Brian Felmlee (57); MikeMcConnell (31); Tim Callahan (54); Chase Anthony (26). Heat winners: Haylett, Batcher.
ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors: 1. Dennis Wagner (38); 2. Gary Edwards (57); 3. Guy Griffin (11); 4. Dean Ruth (14G); 5. Justin Whitesell (17); 6. Michael Bauer (35); 7. Jim Morris (16); 8. Adam Anderson (5B). Heat winner: Griffin. Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: 1. Rusty Moore (17M); 2. Bob SChwartzmiller (28S); 3. Russ Byler (06R); 4. Gary Miller (1M); 5. Marty Warren (05); 6. Jim Flaherty (38spl.); 7. Andy Thompson (7); 8. Darrin Hyde (4); 9. Les Myers (29T); 10. Mark Sanders (32); 11. A.J. Flick (2); 12. Tony Spaghetti (97); 13. Brandon Johnston (14J); 14. Dan lewis (64); 15. Joe Kelly (100); 16. Matt Wagner (12); 17. Steve Horvath (2H). DNS: Bob McCann (33); Travis Walsh (1). Heat winners: Byler, Miller.