For immediate release
By Jim Balentine
Opening night of 20th annual Little Guy Nationals at Mercer highlighted wins by Jackson Humanic-Penn/Ohio Stocks, Phil Vigneri-358 Mods, Brian Sadler-FASTRAK Mods,and Kyle Colwell-305 sprints. Other wins by Vivian Jones-Mod lites, Steve Dunmire-Micro Sprints, and Shane Shook-Mini stocks.
Friday Oct 4 2019
The 20th annual Little Guy Nationals at Mercer began on Friday night with 156 cars in seven divisions in the pit area. The show began at 6:30 and was completed at 11:56 pm.
The highlighted event of the night was the final Penn/Ohio Pro stock race of 2019 with Mercer win less Jackson Humanic and 24 time Mercer stock winner Alan Dellinger on the pole with Former winners Tim Deutsch and Shaun Hooks in the 2nd row. Dellinger raced into the lead immediately and was looking for his first little guy win since 2009, but multiple cautions slowed the event. Deutsch, Hooks and 5th starting Chris Schneider put on a torrid battle along with Humanic for 2nd swapping places numerous times. On lap 10 the 717 of Leigh Wheeler , 23 of Pat Fielding, 10 Nick Kocuba, 1R of Rod Laskey and the 15x of Jeremy Perry came together in turn 2 blocking the track. When racing resumed on the frontstretch a grinding crash between the 00 Curt Bish, 23H of Hunter Exley,1R of Laskey and the 24 of Tyler Wyant came together with Bish hitting Wyant hard against the outside wall bringing out the red. After going back to green another yellow slowed the action in turn 2 with Wheeler, James Fosnaught, Perry and Mike Van Zandt bringing out the red once again. Then the red came out again a few laps later entering turn 1 as the 1B of Jamie Barber flipped but he was ok. Under the red leader Dellinger came to a stop against the outside wall with broken parts in the rear end, ending his night. Humanic inherited the lead and went on to win his first ever Mercer win by 1.31. “the car was good all night, Alan (Dellinger) is tough he’s one of the best in the business, we finally got one!! its been a long time coming its been about a 6-8 year dry spell. We have had a lot of good runs this year and it finally came through tonight.” Hooks would finish 2nd, Deutsch 3rd, seventh starting Bobby Whitling 4th and Tim Bish 5th.
The 358 Modifieds made their first appearance of 2019 with 38 time Mercer winner Jimmy Holden on the pole with 30 time Mercer winner Lonnie Riggs alongside. Riggs immediately jumped into the lead with Holden in tow along with New York invader Phil Vigneri from 5th. Riggs was looking to capture his first little guy win since 2016 while getting into lapped traffic by lap 7 but on lap 9 Riggs broke spewing smoke into the air in turn 3, ending his night. Vigneri inherited the lead Kyle Fink was moving up through the pack and got around Holden on lap 15. Vigneri held on and went onto the win by 2.6 seconds, his 2nd Mercer win of the season after winning a big block race earlier this year. “this is amazing I am blessed to be here this car has been awesome!! anytime you have to go toe to toe with Holden and Fink you know you have to run a perfect race.” Fink was 2nd, Holden 3rd, Shannon Whaley 4th and Jeff Schaffer Sr. 5th.
The FASTRAK Modifieds 20 lapper was led to green by the 5 of Brian Sadler and 43jr of Blaze Myers. Sadler immediately jumped into the lead. 46 time winner Gary Smoker driving the Barr 15B was driving in 2nd while 2019 track champion Brian Schaffer battled Blaze Myers for 3rd. Schaffer eventually got around Smoker and was setting his sights on Sadler. Several yellows slowed the race but Sadler was not deterred from the restarts and led flag to flag for his 2nd win of 2019 holding of Brian Schaffer by .587 seconds at the end. “we had 7-8 different winners this year and with Brian and Shayne Izzo it has been an exciting year”. Schaffer settled for 2nd , Blaze Myers 3rd, Smoker was 4th and Brandon Ritchey 5th.
In the 305 Sprints 6 time 410 Sprint winner Gary Kriess Jr took off at the start looking for his first 305 win with Steve Cousins 2nd and Kyle Colwell 3rd. As the laps ticked away on lap 14 Thomas Jasen hit the water barrels outside of turn 4 laying water all across the race track causing a lengthy delay. When racing resumed, Colwell was able to get around Kreiss and went on to his 2nd win of 2019.”I got some help from the lapped cars to get around Gary but ill take it as I can get them. I called Tony Beaber during the night and talked about the set up and it came out pretty well. I told him I’d send him a text from victory lane so now I can do it” Kreiss was 2nd, Chase Metheny 3rd, Steve Cousins 4th and Rob Felix 5th.
In the Mod lite 12 lapper Mark Biskup was the early leader but 2019 track champion Vivian Jones and her brother Roman got around Biskup. Ayden Cipriano came up from the bottom to take over the lead around the 3 cars. Cipriano then had his hand full with Vivian battling back and forth for the lead but Vivian got around Cipriano and went on to her 6th win on 2019 by 2.15 seconds. “it feels great to win this (little guy nationals ) after racing here for so long!! I didn’t know what I was doing when I went to pass Ayden so I just went and did it.” Cipriano ended up in 2nd, Roman Jones 3rd, Jeff Teeters 4th and newcomer Shane McLoughlin 5th.
Kyle Donnelly in the 24D led the 12 lap 26 car Mini stock feature to green with many of the top point men starting in the middle to rear of the field making the first few laps exciting going 3 wide many times around the oval. 5 time winner Shane Shook who started 6th came up to challenge Donnelly almost immediately. Donnelly was driving the race of his career looking for his 1st Mercer checker until Shook got around him and went on for the easy win by 10 car lengths for his 11th Mercer checkered. Donnelly ended up 2nd , Willie Aley 3rd, Pete Blazcak from 13th was 4th and Joe Romanko from 8th to 5th.
Steve Dunmire started on the outside pole of the 12 lap Micro Sprint feature and made it look easy capturing his 1st Little Guy win since 2015. Lonnie McConahay came up from 14th to finsih 2nd. Noah Wirginis was 3rd, Ryan McAndrew 4th and Brian Marriott 5th.