Mercer, PA (May 29, 2011) – Fans came out in droves last night to witness Mercer Raceway Park’s second annual Sprint Car Shootout benefiting Auto Racers for Kids Charities, and they weren’t disappointed by the show!
Thirty sprint cars were on hand to compete for the $5,000 top prize, but at the end of the night it was Brian Ellenberger who stood in victory lane. Frank Guidace also picked up a $1,000 win in the 358 Modifieds with Mike Lutz winning the Outlaw Sprint Warrior feature and Dan Bish the victor in the Mini Stock division.
The night started off well for Ellenberger, who picked up a heat race win, but he earned a seventh place starting position in the front stretch pill draw. Mike Lutz drew the pole position for the second week in a row, and looked to be the car to beat.
Lutz took the lead at the start over outside pole sitter Jason Dolick, and looked as if he would go unchallenged. A lap five caution brought the field back together, and it was Bob Felmlee who would jump into second and begin to hunt down the leader. It wasn’t long, though, before Ellenberger caught Femlee and a heated battle unfolded for second place between the two veterans.
The front of the field quickly caught lap traffic and the battle ensued with the cars darting in an out of traffic, changing lanes and splitting lap cars. On lap 15, Ellenberger got a run on Felmlee going into turns three and four and was able to snag second place from the #6 car and use his momentum to power past the leader at the halfway point.
“Those openings didn’t stay open very long and you had to make some pretty quick decisions,” Ellenberger said. “But lap traffic is what gave me the opportunity to get the lead. Sometimes it works in your favor. We made some good choices tonight and it paid off.”
Despite challenges from Felmlee on two late race restarts, Ellenberger was able take the win in the 30-lap feature and pick up a cool $5,000. In a generous gesture, Ellenberger donated $2,000 of his $5,000 winnings back to Auto Racers for Kids Charities on behalf of the ti22 Performance/Ellenberger Racing team.
“This is a great race to win,” Ellenberger said. The [Auto Racers for Kids] – it’s just a great charity and this is a great race. And what better place to have it than here at Mercer Raceway Park.”
Carl Bowser, who started in eighth position, went to work on the rest of the field in the last 15 laps, taking fourth from Dolick and passing Lutz for third. The 2009 Auto Racers for Kids Driver of the Year looked to have something for Felmlee on the final two cautions but settled for a strong third place finish over Rod George. Andy McKisson also had a great run, charging through the field from his 14th starting position to pick up fifth place.
Lutz was the winner of the $500 bonus from Stewart Financial Services for the Auto Racers for Kids Fundraising Contest. He raised $1,610 for the charity, which will go to support the Back to School Program at Community Shelter Services.
Goodyear tire certificates went to Ellenberger, McKisson (hard charger), Chris Smith (last car on the lead lap), Dan Kuriger (random) and Brandon Matus (random). Ellenberger is the fifth driver to find victory lane in five races in the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars.
Pole sitter Mike Stine opened up the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature looking very strong, taking the lead on the start over outside pole sitter Frank Guidace. But Guidace was on the hunt for his first victory of the year, and wasn’t backing down at the prospect of a $1,000 paycheck.
Guidace took the lead from Stine on lap eight, and it was Rob Curtis’s turn to work on the pole sitter. It was Curtis and Stine who put on a show as the leader hit lap traffic, battling for second position until Curtis made the final pass on Stine on lap 13. Stine, however, appeared to break with two laps to go and feel from third to eleventh position over the final circuits. Curtis would take second to Guidace over Kyle Fink, Jeff Schaffer and Jimmy Holden.
Mike Lutz repeated last week’s performance in the ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors, using momentum from a strong showing in the 410 Sprint race to collect a victory in the class. Lutz started on the pole of the feature and led every circuit of the 20-lap race. Justin Whitesell got his best finish of the season with a second place run over Dennis Wagner, Skip Daugherty and Rob Felix.
Dan Bish got his first win of the season in the Big Dog R/C Mini Stocks over Ed Haylett, Troy Lehnortt, Mike Thompson and Rudy Troples. Bish took the lead back from Tim Callahan on the final lap for the win after losing it to the #54 car on the sixth circuit.
Mercer Raceway Park will hold its third open practice on Wednesday, June 1. Pits open at 4 p.m. with practice 5 until dark. Pit passes are $20. The rain date is May 5.
The USA-EAST Championship Tractor and Truck Pull Series comes to Mercer Raceway Park for the All American Spring Nationals World Championship Pulling Event today, where fans can see some of the top pulling vehicles in the sport! The Big Rig Semis, Smoker Series Tractors, Modified 4×4 Trucks, and 2.6 Street Licensed Diesel 4×4 Trucks will try out the newly-built pulling track at Mercer Raceway Park as they compete for top honors. The rain date is scheduled for Monday, May 30.
Next week, the Saturday Night Live program will be back in action with six rousing divisions of racing! Mercer Raceway Park will also host the Pittsburgh Circle Track Club with free grandstand admission for all members. Join us for another night of family fun!
Luxaire Heating & Cooling 410 Sprint Cars (30 laps): 1. BRIAN ELLENBERGER (ti22) 2. Bob Felmlee (6) 3. Carl Bowser (10) 4. Rod George (4G) 5. Andy McKisson (0x) 6. Jimmy Light (23) 7. Mike Lutz (8) 8. Ralph Spithaler (56) 9. Broc Martin (83) 10. Jason Dolick (D12) 11. Dan Kuriger (08) 12. Brent Matus (33) 13. Adam Kekich (5K) 14. Gale Ruth, Jr. (1R) 15. Chris Smith (52) 16. A.J. Albrecht (7x) 17. Brandon Matus (13) 18. Brian Steinman (24s) 19. Eric Williams (7) 20. Jamie Myers (1) 21. Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23JR) 22. Andre Layfield (21) 23. Kevin Schaeffer (9) 24. Bob Howard (49); DNQ – John McCracken, Jr. (79), Jac Haudenschild (6m), Sheldon Haudenschild (93), Chris Myers (25), John McCracken, Sr. (63), Brandon Spithaler (22s); Heat Race Winners: A.J. Albrecht, Eric Williams, Brian Ellenberger; ti22 Performance Dash Winner: Dan Kuriger; B-Main Winner: Andre Layfield
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds (20 laps): 1. FRANK GUIDACE (1G) 2. Rob Curtis (88R) 3. Kyle Fink (66F) 4. Jeff Schaffer (14) 5. Jimmy Holden (28H) 6. Eric Gabany (3e) 7. Ron Eperthener (333) 8. Lonny Riggs (58) 9. Rick Hall (B2) 10. Kevin Green (74) 11. Mike Stine (7s) 12. Matt Reeher (711) 13. Dustin Martin (29D) 14. Rich Whitney (19w) 15. J.R. McGinley (66) 16. Ryan Hall (B4) – DNS 17. Andy Paden (55) – DNS; Heat Race Winners: Jeff Schaffer, Rob Curtis
ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors (20 laps): 1. MIKE LUTZ (86) 2. Justin Whitesell (17) 3. Dennis Wagner (38) 4. Skip Daugherty (27) 5. Rob Felix (21) 6. Mike Bauer (35) 7. Jim Morris (16) 8. Jake Lagestee (72) 9. Harold Braden, Jr. (9) 10. Cory Theiss (30) 11. Guy Griffin (11); Heat Race Winners: Mike Lutz, Mike Bauer
Big Dog R/C Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. DAN BISH (4X) 2. Ed Haylett (8-ball) 3. Troy Lehnortt (46) 4. Mike Thompson (82T) 5. Rudy Troples (28) 6. Steve Longwell, Sr. (16K) 7. Joel Wisser (15K) 8. Chase Anthony (26) 9. Tim Callahan (54) 10. Mike McConnell (31) 11. Pete Blazczak (77) 12. Ryan Kemmer (81) 13. Todd Gabriel (33G) 14. Carl Keller (98) 15. Clay Wansor (197) – DNS; Heat Race Winners: Tim Callahan, Dan Bish
5/29: USA-EAST Championship Tractor and Truck Pull Series with Big Rig Semis, Smoker Series Tractors, Modified 4×4 Trucks, and 2.6 Street Licensed Diesel 4×4 Trucks. Racing at 6:30pm. Rain Date: Monday, May 30 at 5:00pm.
6/4: Saturday Night Live with 410 Sprints, 358 Modifieds, Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Mod Lites, Stock Cars, Mini Stocks. Pittsburgh Circle Track Club Night. Pits and grandstands open at 4:00pm. Hot Laps at 6:15pm. Racing at 7:00pm.