Mercer, PA (July 12, 2014): Lonny Riggs, affectionately called the “Tugboat,” docked his Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified in victory lane in round one of the Smackdown! at Mercer Raceway Park. It marked the first time in the history of the rivalry that a Mercer-legal 358 defeated the Big Blocks of the BRP Modified Tour! During the event, Riggs turned the fastest official lap for a Modified of any sort at the Park, 17.100. As Riggs circled the speedway, fireworks could be seen over the backstretch from a bicentennial display on the town square.
George Englert got his third victory of the season in the Rock Concrete Modified Lites. Jimmy
Morris inherited the lead when C.J. Jones pitted during a red flag stoppage in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Morris went on to gain his third triumph of the year. Rusty Moore did it again in the Precise Racing Products Open Stock Cars, coming from last on the grid. It was his fifth visit to victory lane at the Park.
Riggs expressed his gratitude to his fellow competitors, many of whom loaned him parts or tires so that he could compete. “I’ve got borrowed parts all over that car tonight.” He gave a particular mention to one driver who gave him a tire that made the car turn more effectively. “We didn’t have any Hoosiers, and we borrowed every tire on that car tonight, and we got the last one from Matt Reeher (because) the car wouldn’t turn, and now it sure does!” he exclaimed.
Tom Glenn took the initial lead in the 25 lap Modified affair, but his advantage was quickly nullifed by a spin of multi-time Modified Tour Champion Rex King, Jr. in turn one. On the restart, Riggs was better prepared, but Glenn still maintained the lead. Glenn was putting in one of his best performances ever in keeping the persistent Riggs at bay. Positions were up for grabs throughout the field, which was still running in very close formation.
A quick caution on lap four for a spin by young Kyle Holden slowed Glenn’s pace. While the field was circulating under the yellow, King tried to come back out. Although he was four laps down to the filed, he could have stayed out to pick up a position or two due to attrition in order to maximize his point total for the night. However, a bent left rear wheel sent him back to the pits with no additional laps completed.
On the restart. Glenn did lead the pack into turn one again. But, this time, Riggs turned down toward the inside guardrail, and he was able to power off the corner with the lead. He did get a small tap from Glenn, but it was not enough to break either car loose.
Soon thereafter, Dr. Brad Rapp moved into the second spot, and Glenn was left to battle Jeremiah Shingledecker for third. Shingledecker was also racing with a 358 powerplant under the hood, having had engine problems in the Modified Tour opener on Thursday night. Behind them, Bob Warren, Ron Cartwright, Jr., Randy Chrysler, and Rex King, Jr. were mixing things up.
As the field reached the halfway mark, Riggs still led Rapp by a comfortable margin, but there was a tremendous struggle for the third position among Shingledecker, Glenn, King, Jr., and Chrysler. Shingledecker eventually claimed the spot, bringing King Jr. with him. Glenn tried valiantly to hold off Chrysler and Kevin Hoffman, who came up to play with the fast cars.
Just as Riggs crossed for the fifteenth time, the third caution was displayed. Under Modified Tour rules, however, the lapped cars remained in position, so that put Rapp behind Riggs rather than beside him for the restart. That enabled Riggs to get away to a three car length lead when the green flag was shown.
Riggs made the next ten laps without interruption, but Rapp did close in when the leader came upon lapped traffic late in the race. Nonetheless, Riggs would not be denied this night, earning his second career win against the touring series.
Rapp edged out Shingledecker for third. Rex King, Jr. was next, and Dave Murdick climbed form eighth to fifth in that final segment of the event. Hoffman topped Chrysler for the sixth spot. Glenn turned in a creditable performance, getting eighth. Warren beat J.R. McGinley to the stripe for ninth.
There were 36 Modifieds on hand for this, the first night of Smackdown! The heat winners were Randy Chrysler, Rex King, Jr., Kyle FInk, and Rex King, Sr. Ricky Richner prevailed in the B Main.
In the Rock Concrete Modified Lites, it was Big George Englert bouncing the roof flap for the third time as he rushed beneath the checkered flag. That is his trademark way of showing his appreciation to the fans for a hard earned victory. Englert wrestled the lead away from Chris Logan in the middle stages of the race.
Mike Flockerzi, Jacob Bova, and Josh Deems, the early leader of the race, completed the top five. Jason Darocha, Don Cain, Shane Webb, Bill Stivason, and Tim Prelog were the next five finishers.
Modified Lite preliminaries went to Mike Flockerzi and Chris Logan. There was no B Main.
Jimmy Morris took advantage of the misfortune of C.J. Jones, who led form the start of the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Jones’ night came to an end when the field was under a red flag condition due to the crash of Kotie Kirkbride in turn four. The steering of her car failed, and she went hard into the concrete. Fortunately, she was unhurt. Jones’ retirement was caused by a dislodged radiator hose. That put Morris on the point for the restart, and he kept the black machine out front the rest of the way.
Cody Bova and Andy Feil surpassed Mike Miller, who was running second in the eqarly going. George Hobaugh, Jr. was challenging Miller at the end of the event, but he could not make the pass for fourth. Mike Marano, II led Ken Rossey to the line. Next came Chris Matthews, Eric L. Williams, and Joe McEwen. McEwen’s car was decked out in a new orange and white color scheme, with due attention being provided to his new engine sponsor, Pace Performance.
Twenty-two Outlaw Sprint Warriors registered for the evening, with Andy Feil, C.J. Jones, and
Chris Matthews taking the checkers in the qualifications. There was no B Main.
Trusty Rusty Moore outran the dozen Precise Racing Products Stocks, which were operating under the Open Stock rules this night. He grabbed the lead from Modified driver Chris Haines, who was filling in for Leigh Wheeler. The race was marred by several incidents.
Gary Miller, Jr. claimed the second position. William Hurrelbrink was back in action, nabbing the third spot. Next came Haines. Garrett Calvert was fifth. Brett McDonald crossed before Joe Stajnrajh, Jacob Billyk, Andy Thompson, and Pat Fielding.
Thompson and Hurrelbrink scored in the Stock Car heats. There was no B Main.
BRP Modified Tour: Lonny Riggs, Brad Rapp, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Rex King, Jr., Dave Murdick, Kevin Hoffman, Randy Chrysler, Tom Glenn, Bob Warren, J.R. McGinley, Jimmy Holden, Tommy Kristyak, Rodney Beltz, Tommy Naddocks, Steve Barr, Chris Haines, Justin Wright, Kyle Holden, Ron Cartwright, Jr., Rick Richner, Rick Regalski, Matt Reeher, Kyle Fink, Rex King, Sr.
Rock Concrete Modified Lites: George Englert, Chris Logan, Mike Flockerzi, Jacob Bova, Josh Deems, Jason Darocha, Don Cain, Shane Webb, Bill Stivason, Tim Prelog, Kevin Nicolino, Doug Jones (DNS).
Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Jimmy Morris, Cody Bova, Andy Feil, Mike Miller, George Hobaugh, Jr., Mike Marano, II, Ken Rossey, Chris Matthews, Eric L. Williams, Joe McEwen, Greg Dobrosky, Evan Kornbau, Devin Litwiler, Alex Paden, Harold Braden, Jr., Chris Matthews, C.J. Jones, Kotie Kirkbride, Jim WItzberger, Sye Lynch, Mark Rossey, Jen Matthews.
Precise Racing Products Open Stock Cars: Rusty Moore, Gary Miller, Jr., William Hurrelbrink, Garrett Calvert, Brett McDonald, Joe Stajnrajh, Jacob Billyk, Andy Thompson, Pat Fielding, Donald Buchanan, Jr., Curtis L. Bish.