Holden, Morris, Fielding and Hickok also Score
Mercer, PA (May 24, 2014): Dustin Smith nipped local favorite Brandon Spithaler by .014 seconds to win the Buckeye Machine Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series event at Mercer Raceway Park. Smith’s win snapped at two-race streak for Spithaler at his home track. The evening’s exciting program was presented by R & F Sales.
Jimmy Holden grabbed the early lead and held control throughout the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified event. Jimmy Morris held off three-time winner Michael Bauer in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Pat Fielding claimed his first win of the season in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars. Caleb Hickok passed Tim Callahan with two rounds left for the win in the Mini Stocks presented by Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles.
“I had no clue he was there,” said the happy winner, Dustin Smith. “I saw the wheel and I said “where did he com from?'” Smith then explained “he waited to show me the nose and go for it, and that was probably the smart thing to do, but I’m just glad he came up a little short.” The win for Smith was very gratifying, as he is back in his own equipment once again. His former car owners had some business setbacks, “so, we just pulled this car out from behind the shed two months ago.”
Arnie Kent and Dustin Smith had the front row, but it was Brandon Spithaler who made the bold move on the initial start. He was beside Kent entering turn one, but a caution for Bob McMillin nullified his advantage. When the race did start, Dustin Smith was better prepared. He grabbed the lead, with Kent and Spithaler in tow.
Spithaler closed in on Dustin Smith in the middle stages of the event, but after cartwheeling through turn three a couple of times, be took a more conservative line for the next several circuits. That enabled Smith to pull away and Kent to regain second. Mike Miller, the current series points leader, then came to life and he passed defending track champion Jack Sodeman, Jr. for fourth. Miller began to battle Spithaler for third.
With five laps remaining in the contest, Spithaler went back to his aggressive line through turns three and four. Keeping all four wheels on the ground, he passed Kent and he immediately began chopping away at Smith’s considerable lead.
When the white flag flew, Spithaler was coming and he entered the third turn with a full head of steam. Smith came off the bottom of the fourth corner with a slight advantage, and Spithaler was riding the cushion. They raced side by side to the wire, and Smith was declared the winner based upon the transponder reads. It was too close to call in real time.
Spithaler was pleased with his performance, considering that he lost his brakes midway through the race. “I had the car up off the ground a couple of times, and I thought that I may have broken something. That may be when the brakes went away.” Kent confirmed Spithaler’s hypothesis. “Brandon was tough on the outside, and there wasn’t that much there, he just kept hitting it and hitting it, and I think he did lose his brakes out in the corner, I did see a big puff of steam, and he did a heck of a job without the brakes.”
Kent had a prime seat for the final showdown, as he crossed in third. Miller was fourth, and Sodeman fifth.
Tony Beaber ran sixth, with Aaron Middaugh next. Brandon Matus turned in a good performance for eighth. Andy Feil and Chad Wilson were the next two finishers.
The heat winners were Kent Spithaler, Tony Beaber, and Middaugh. The B Main victor was Feil, who was doing double duty this night. There were 29 cars on hand.
Jimmy Holden and J.R. McGinley had the front row for the start of the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, Holden jumped out to the early lead, but McGinley remained close as they circled the speedway. Gary Smoker raced in third, trailed by Frankie Guidace and Kyle Fink.
Holden reached lapped traffic and started to put cars in arrears by the time the first caution came out. That was on lap 11, when Shawn Fleeger nailed the inside guardrail between turns one and two. On the restart, Smoker launched into second, and McGinley fell back a few more spots in the running order.
Holden pulled away as the laps clicked away, but Smoker and Fink waged an intense battle for the second position. Smoker nipped him at the line for second position. McGinley recovered for fourth. Eric Gabany climbed to fifth in the final tally.
Frankie Guidace lost several spots when he had some troubles negotiating turns three and four. He held on for sixth. Steve Barr was seventh. Richard Whitney, Clyde Gumpp, and Shawn Fleeger rounded out the top ten.
Fleeger and Gabany topped the heats. There was no B Main.
In the Bonnell’s Rod Shops Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Jimmy Morris wrestled the lead away from divisional rookie George Hobaugh, Jr. on lap seven. Hobaugh hung in tough until lap 16, when Michael Bauer nipped him at the line for second, just as the caution was displayed for Mike Miller. Miller was riding in the top five at the time.
That set up a four lap dash to the checkers. Morris got away cleanly, and opened up a lead of several car lengths over Bauer. Their duel was interrupted by one last caution, for Miller entering turn one. Miller was closing on on another car and had to take evasive action. The car did not cooperate, though, and he spun into the inside guardrail ending his night.
Morris led the final two laps without significant challenge from Bauer. Hobaugh rallied one last time to vie for second, but he could not take the spot away from the points leader. Behind Morris, Bauer and Hobaugh came Andy Feil and C.J. Jones.
Mike Marano, II led the next five to the finish line. Eric L. Williams, Kotie Kirkbride, Devin Litwiler, and Evan Kornbau completed the top ten.
Miller and Bauer prevailed in the heats.
Pat Fielding earned his first win of the season in the Precise Racing Products Stocks. Although he led from the start, he had to survive a one lap dash to the checkers. Leigh Wheeler held off rim-riding Rusty Moore for second. Bob Schwartzmiller was fourth, but he was under siege from William Hurrelbrink.
Bobby Hein, Curtis J. Bish, Ryan Moyer Curtis L. Bish and Dennis Clark completed the top ten.
Preliminaries went Moore and Curtis J. Bish.
Mike McConnell got away to a lead, but it did not take Tim Callahan very long to work his way to the front. The State Trooper from the Mercer Barracks withstood a couple of cautions that put Caleb Hickok beside him for the restarts. Each time, Callahan powered off the fourth turn with the advantage.
However, Hickok made an expert move to diamond off the fourth tun to grab the lead with just a pair of laps remaining. Callahan was second, with McConnell, Steve Longwell, Sr., and Tyler Blake trailing.
Jordan Ehrenberg, Ed Haylett, Shane Shook, Roger Wigton, and Russell Grossman completed the top ten.
The heat victories went to Steve Longwell, Sr. and McConnell.
Next week, the ASCS Patriot Sprint Tour rolls into the Park. Their 360 Sprints will top the card, along with the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, the Bonnell’s Rod Shops Outlaw Sprint Warriors, and Rock Concrete Modified Lites. The entire card will be presented by Bonnell’s Rod Shop.
B.O.S.S. Sprints: Dustin Smith, Brandon Spithaler, Arnie Kent, Mike Miller, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Tony Beaber, Aaron Midaugh, Brandon Matus, Andy Feil , Chad Wilson, Gale Ruth, Jr., Johnny Beaber, Michael Fischesser, Derek Hastings, Chuck Wilson, Adam Miller, Bob McMillin, Gale Ruth, Sr., Scott Hardman, Gary Rankin. DNQ: Sheila Rankin, Davey Jones, Francis Sesco, Brent Matus, John McCracken, Jr., Charlie Cornelius, Brandon Cornelius, Steve Little, Joe Butera.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Gary Smoker, Kyle Fink, J.R. McGinley, Eric Gabany, Frankie Guidace, Steve Barr, Richard Whitney, Clyde Gumpp, Shawn Fleeger, Brian Schaffer, Makayla Guidace, Kyle Martell, Shayne Izzo, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Max Smoker, Kevin Sevacko, William Schaffer, Lonny Riggs (DNS).
Bonnell’s Rod Shops Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Jimmy Morris, Michael Bauer, George Hobaugh, Jr., Andy Feil, C.J. Jones, Mike Marano, II, Eric L. Williams, Kotie Kirkbride, Devin Litwiler, Evan Kornbau, Matt Cain, Cody Braden, Mike Miller, Cody Bova, Ken Rossy, Greg Dobrosky, Chad Matthews, Clay Riney (DNS), Alex Paden (DNS), Sye Lynch (DNS).
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Pat Fielding, Leigh Wheeler, Rusty Moore, Bob Schwartzmiller, William Hurrelbrink, Bobby Hein, Curtis J. Bish, Ryan Moyer, Curtis L. Bish, Dennis Clark, Josh Eakman, Tim Bish (DNS), Garrett Calvert (DNS).
Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Caleb Hickok, Tim Callahan, Mike McConnell, Steve Longwell, Sr., Tyler Blake, Jordan Ehrenberg, Ed Haylett, Shane Shook, Roger Wigton, Russell Grossman, Matt Cwynar, Tricia Riffe, Rudy Troples, Richard Wilbert, Tyler Fulton, Pete Blazak, Chad Fry, Alan Perry (DNS).