MERCER 7.25 FULL PRESS RELEASE WITH INTERVIEWS
McGuire masters Mercer for 1st Pro stock win; Rudolph increases his 2020 win total in Big Block mods; Gomola wins emotional 305 sprint feature; Bale bags 1st career win in the Mod lites; Porterfield( Mini stocks); Gabany (FASTRAK Mods) also pick up wins
By Jim Balentine (Penn/Ohio story by Deanna Hooks)
It was a night of firsts at Michael’s Mercer raceway as 3 of the six feature winners were first timers at the historic bent egg oval!!!
Chris Mcguire in one of his infrequent visits to Michael’s Mercer Raceway came away with a dominating performance winning the Penn/Ohio pro stock feature by six seconds over Andrew Gordon garnishing his first ever win at Mercer .
McGuire and veteran Terry Wheeler led the field to green in the 20-lap event. McGuire quickly jumped out to an impressive lead with 4th-starter Gordon in 2nd and Wheeler #2W in 3rd, A caution flag would fly on lap 14 for the spinning youngster Tyler Wyant in his #24. Jeff Broniszewski would have the opportunity to contest McGuire for the lead; however, McGuire had another strong start, maintaining the top spot with Gordon in tow followed by 10th-starter Paul Davis #3, 19th-starter Jamie Barber #2020 advanced to 5th while Withers slipped back to 6th and Wheeler back to 7th. On lap 16, Barber pulled to the infield while Broniszewski exited to the pits under green giving Gordon the 2nd place position. The 3rd and final caution flag flew for a stopped Curtis Bish #29 on the front stretch turning into a red flag for the safety crew to evaluate the smoking under the hood. A single file restart gave McGuire the front row with Gordon in tow. McGuire went on to win bt 5 seconds Gordon finished in 2nd, Davis in 3rd, Withers in 4th, and Humanic in 5th.
“The car is really good I had the heat race in the bag until I hit lapped traffic..I was lucky to get in the redraw.. I started on the pole and starting position was everything. I knew the last couple restarts (Andrew) Gordon was besides me I had to get up on the wheel and I couldn’t ask for a better car tonight! This track is kind of technical to drive but thankfully we put it in front tonight” Gordon finished in 2nd, Davis in 3rd, Withers in 4th, and Humanic in 5th.
In the big block modified Feature Ransomville New York’s Erick Rudolph also picked up his first Mercer checkered defeating Dave Murdick and emerging victorious scoring a second win of the weekend after winning at thunder Mountain Friday night being one of the dominant modified drivers in the area. With a slim 9 car field John Venuto and Dave Reges brought the field to green. Dave Murdick from 4th instantly took the lead with last weeks winner Phil Vigneri moving into 2nd. Rudolph who won the previous night at Thunder Mountain would start 8th but quickly moved up to 4th until a caution on lap 6 by Rex King Sr. brought out the yellow. On the restart Rudolph would overtake fellow New Yorker Vigneri for 2nd and setting his sights on Murdick for the lead. After another caution Murdick was passed by Rudolph on the high side on lap 10 and went on for the easy victory, his first ever at Mercer. “I’m not sure if that cation came out if he (Murdick) would just ran away and hid. We had a couple timely yellows and we took advantage of them. I like it down here in west. Pa!! this tracks a little different it wasn’t too bad and was a little racey and hopefully we will be back in a few weeks.” Murdick would hold on for 2nd, Vigneri would be 3rd, Eric Gabany 4th, and Dave Reges 5th.
An emotional night for the 305 sprints as Jake Gamola last year’s track champion held off Logan McCandless to win the feature event as they honored their fellow driver Brandon Hawkins who passed away from injury sustained in a construction accident last Monday. After honoring Brandon Hawkins with the missing man formation Gamola darted instantly into the lead from the start with Logan McCandless following in second. Gamola dominated the event leading every lap , however McCandless who finished 2nd was disqualified in post race tech. Last weeks winner Chase Metheney would get 2nd Jimmy Morris 3rd, Randy Sterling 4th and Tommy Jasen 5th. Gomola said “It was emotional starting up front with the missing man, Brandon was going to be our hardest points runner and was going to be on my tail all year…(Greg)McCandless will be one to watch this year in fact all the young guys are competitive. We are going to be back on August 22nd to put on a race for Brandon and the family and try to get something big going”
The mighty Mercer mini stocks after numerous yellows and many drop outs came down to .257 seconds as Mike Porterfield held on for the win over Andy Thompson. 15 time winner Pete Blaczak and newcomer Adam Aley would lead the 22 car field to green. Last weeks feature winner Tim Callahan would start 12th while Porterfield would start 5th. Porterfield moved into 2nd at the start while Andy Thompson would move from 10th to 3rd at lap 3. the race would come ot a halt as Phil King in the 12 and Adam Aley came together bringing out the red. On the restart Porterfield would go low under Blaczak challenging for the lead with Willie Aley in tow. Porterfield would take the lead on the restart while Thompson was right on his back bumper. The 2 would battle for the lead with lapped cars in front and coming around turn 4 for the checkered Porterfield would beat Thompson by .257 of a second to take his 2nd career win! “That was a tough track to race tonight!! the track won’t always be perfect and you have to race it like it is..My car was slowing down as my temperature was going up im just glad it held on long enough for the win.” Thompson would finish 2nd Ron Haley would have his best finish in 3rd , Pete Blaczak 4th and Tyler Beehler 5th.
After a long dry spell Eric Gabany is now 2 for 2 in 2020 in the FASTRAK Modifieds as he defeated another teammate Jim Bryce to take the win. Gage Priester and Jordan Ehrenberg would lead the field around to the green. Ehrenberg took the lead with Jim Bryce moving up to 2nd. After 2 yellows for spins Ehrenberg went high on lap 3 and Bryce went around to take the lead. Last weeks winner Eric Gabany who started 10th challenged Bryce throught the middle of the race and Bryce looked like he was on his way to his 1st career win, until Gabany went made a dive bomb move around a lapped car and Bryce and took the lead and went on to win his 2nd in a row in 2020. “I honesty think if we went green the whole way Jim (Bryce) would have had me but with the lapped cars and the cautions really helped tonight. Jerry (Schaffer) gives me such good equipment, starting 10th is a lot easier so you can see whats in front of you and you can take the good line around. Jordan Ehrenberg had a great run to finish 2nd, Brandon Ritchey was 3rd, Jim Bryce fell to 4th and Gage Priester was 5th.
Nathaniel Bale pulled the upset by defeating the rest of the Mod lites to pick up his 1st career checkered flag in dominating fashion. 11 mod lites took the green but with the track surface and the cars themselves many dropped out of the event. Jason Gracey and Roman Jones led the field to green as last weeks winner Vivian Jones was the first drop out of the event. Her brother Roman Jones was leading as Nathaniel Bale would take the lead going into turn 2 but then Roman hopped the cushion in turn 4 and broke going into turn 2. Bale would continue on his was to record his first career win but it wasn’t easy as Mercer veteran Shane Webb kept him in sight, but the youngster kept his composure and Bale took the win. Webb would be 2nd, Alan Atkins was 3rd, Jason Gracey 4th and Tyler Barr 5th. A happy Bale in victory lane said “with the track the way it was I ran it pretty good!!! I couldn’t get around Webb in the heat race so I was lucky to start in front of him”
Homak Penn Ohio Pro Stock Series
1- *Chris McGuire (63); 2- *Andrew Gordon (25); 3- *Paul Davis (3); 4- *Chris Withers (21W); 5- *Jackson Humanic (17); 6- *Leigh Wheeler (717); 7- *Curtis Bish Jr. (00); 8- *Terry Wheeler (2W); 9- *Joshua Seippel (84s); 10- *Jason Fosnaught (73); 11- *Hunter Exley (23HJR); 12- *Tyler Wyant (24); 13- Curtis J. Bish (29); 14- *Jeff Broniszewski (08); 15- *Jamie Barber (2020); 16- *Matt Bernard (7B); 17- *Jamie Scharba (11s); 18- *Cameron Nastasi (615); 19- *Shaun Hooks (65); 20- *Bobby Whitling (7W); 21- Troy DeZarn (21); DNS- Alan Dellinger (7s); Tim Bish (11B)
Heat winners: Andrew Gordon; Jeff Broniszewski ; Jackson Humanic
1. 4J-Jacob Gamola; 2. 31C-Chase Metheney; 3. 16-Jim Morris; 4. 00S-Randy Sterling; 5. 12G-Tommy Jasen; 6. X7-Andy Cavanagh; 7. 80JR-Kyle Colwell; 8. 97-JR Jameson; 9. 56-Steve Cousins; 10. 47-Brett Brunkenhofer; 11. 88-Greg Dobrosky; 12. 34X-DJ Cassler; 13. 34-Adam Noland; 14. (DQ) 29-logan mccandless
Heat Winners: Logan Mccandless; Randy Sterling
Dirt Big Block Modifieds
1. 25-Erick Rudolph; 2. 61-Dave Murdick; 3. 44V-Phil Vigneri III; 4. 18-Eric gabany; 5. 27R-Dave Reges; 6. 35-Steve Slater; 7. 817-John Venuto; 8. 165-Rex King Jr; 9. 65-Rex King Sr
Heat winner: Rex King Sr.
1. 23MP-Michael Porterfield; 2. 5-Andy Thompson; 3. X11-Ron Haley; 4. 77-Pete Blaczak; 5. 41-Tyler Beeler; 6. 56M-Jacob MceLAVY; 7. 64-Summer Pitts; 8. 0R-Randy Ealy; 9. 40C-Joe Campbell; 10. 0-Leonard Baker Jr; 11. 0E-Carl Ealy; 12. 36PACK-DJ McCrae; 13. 999-Adam Aley; 14. 54-Tim Callahan; 15. 27-Patrick Lane; 16. 12-Phil King; 17. 24D-Kyle Donnelly; 18. 17J-Mike Salsgiver; 19. 17-Will Aley; 20. S12-James Tasker; 21. 7X-Justin Bailey; 22. 77H-Cameron Hutchins
Heat winners: Tim Callahan ; Joe Campbell; Andy Thompson
1. 4S-Eric Gabany; 2. JD57-Jordan Ehrenberg; 3. 17-Brandon Ritchey; 4. 44-Jim Bryce; 5. 71-Gage Priester; 6. 11J-david kalb; 7. 8-Kyle Martell; 8. 41-Brian Schaffer; 9. 33G-Todd Gabriel; 10. 6PACK-DJ Schrader; 11. 113-Don Cornelius; 12. 7P-Caden Petry; 13. 11G-Nathen McDowell; 14. 404-MIchael Kristyak; 15. 24-Preston Cope
Heat winners: Eric Gabany; Preston Cope
1. 01-Nathaniel Bale; 2. 267-Shane Webb; 3. 12-Alan Atkins; 4. 17-Jason Gracey; 5. 16B-Tyler Barr; 6. 55-Jason Johnston; 7. 15-Dusty Frantz; 8. 19-Steve Haefke; 9. 82M-Roman Jones; 10. 814-Gary Boyer; 11. 20M-Vivian Jones
Heat winners: Vivian Jones; Shane Webb