Mercer, PA (January 17, 2015): Mercer Raceway Park hosted the gala banquet and awards ceremony at the Normandy Banquet Center in Hermitage, PA, thus closing the books on the 2014 racing season. Points champions in the six Saturday Night Live! racing divisions were honored, along with some special recognitions being conferred. the tentative schedule was also released.
Earning his second track championship in the 410 Sprint Car division was Greenville’s Eric “Turkey” Williams. Once again, the title battle went down to the wire, with his primary competition coming from veteran Rod George. The fans were all ready to see these popular drivers duke it out on the track, but foul weather on the final night of points wiped out any hopes of having them square off mano e mano. So, Williams claimed the crown in a memorable season in which he also took his wedding vows!
Adam Kekich and Brandon Matus made big strides in their racing careers, cracking the top five in the final standings. Jack Sodeman, Jr. held on for fifth, despite missing a number of events due to an injury sustained at another area speedway.
Steady Scott Priester was sixth in the final rankings, once again driving the immaculate machine owned by the First Lady of the Park, Martha Dionise. Dan Kuriger persevered through a multitude of mechanical woes to get the seventh position. Eighth went to 410 Sprint Car rookie A.J. Flick. Brent Matus and Francis Sesco completed the top ten.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling, along with local supplier McCrudden’s Heating & Supply were the benefactors of the 410 Sprints for the 2014 season, and many years before. The staff and management at the Park thank them for their loyal support and wish them well as they embark on new endeavors. Negotiations are still underway for the 410 Sprint Car divisional sponsor for the 2015 season.
Tiona’s Jimmy “the Jet” Holden regained his championship form in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified class, edging out Kyle Fink by just four markers. An added twist to their contest was the fact that the Holden racing team allowed Fink to use a back-up car to keep his points up after Fink’s mount sustained heavy damage in a mid-season crash. Frank Guidace, Eric Gabany, and J.R. McGinley rounded out the top five.
Shawn Fleeger barely missed making the first five, after having a position in the higher echelon for most of the season. Fleeger was also recognized as the track’s Most Improved Driver, a well-deserved honor.
Lonnie Riggs placed seventh, once again being sidelined far too often before the checkers fell. One night when Riggs had it all together, though, was when he spanked the BRP Modified Tour. It was the first time in the storied rivalry that a Mercer-legal 358 successfully defended the home turf against the touring Big Block Mods.
Three younger pilots, Makayla Guidace, Shayne Izzo, and Brian Schaffer, showed the promise of things to come, getting positions eight through ten.
Ohio pilot Jimmy Morris claimed the top honors in the Outlaw Sprint Warrior division, presented by Bonnell’s Rod Shop. Morris will not defend his crown, as he plans to move up to the more powerful 410 Sprint Cars for the 2015 season. Bonnell leaves the class in good, young hands, as several of the other top ten drivers are still learning the ropes, so to speak.
Second in the running order was Andy Feil, followed by Cody Bova. Both Feil and Bova are graduates from the Modified Lites. Fast and fearless C.J. Jones was fourth, with George Hobaugh, Jr. cracking the top five in his first fling in a full-sized Sprinter.
Mike Marano, III placed sixth, followed by Evan Kornbau, who was recognized as the track’s Rookie of the Year! Eric L. Williams, Devin Litwiler, and Alex Paden completed the top ten.
“Trusty” Rusty Moore once again dominated the Stock Car class at the Park. It was his unprecedented fourth consecutive championship. The New Castle veteran made a startling announcement that he sold his car and will not come back to try for one for the thumb!
While Moore had his way in the points standings, he had plenty of competition on the track, coming from the likes of Pat Fielding, Leigh Wheeler, Curtis J. Bish, and Ryan Moyer. William Hurrelbrink, Curt Bish, Gary Miller, Jr., Bob Schwartzmiller, and Garrett Calvert were also in the top ten.
Precise Racing Products presented the Stockers in 2014, and prior seasons, and negotiations are underway to continue that relationship.
“Big” George Englert celebrated the “roof flap dance” as he sped to a number of wins in the Rock Concrete Modified Lites. Englert will be moving up to the Outlaw Sprint Warriors for the 2015 season, and we cannot wait to see how the fun-loving driver will celebrate his first success in that tough class.
Jacob Bova topped Chris Logan by just two counters for the second spot. Mike Flockerzi and Josh Deems were fourth and fifth, respectively. Despite missing a couple of programs, Mark Marcucci was sixth in the final standings. Shane Webb, Shane Pfeuffer, Cory Webb, and Don Cain also received their accolades for top ten finishes.
Mike McConnell topped the Mini Stock rankings all season long. Tyler Fulton scored an impressive victory in the non-point event, the Snowlfake 25, but could not carry over that dominance into the regular season. “Trooper” Tim Callahan was third, and we wish him well in the Outlaw Sprint Warriors in 2015. Caleb Hickok and Shane Shook were fourth and fifth.
Steve Longwell, Sr. led Patricia Riffe to the podium. Rudy Troples, Roger Wigton, and Ed Haylett were also recognized for their accomplishments .
Once again, Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles will herald the Mini Stockers.
Wayne Sheets, a long-time track official, received a special award for his years of dedicated service preparing the region’s best racing surface.
Plans are underway for another dynamic 2015 racing season. Mercer Raceway Park will return to action on March 21, with the postponed Jack Frost 150 Enduro and Snowflake 25. The Chiller Thriller will be up next, on March 28. Once again, that program will feature the full-fendered cars. ULMS Late Models will team up with unsanctioned Crate Late Models, and Open Stocks. The UEMS Modifieds will round out the card.
The month of May will have three specials for the Sprint Car gentry. The All Stars Circuit of Champions will make its first of three appearances at the Park on May 2. The exciting Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series will return on May 23 for the only non-wing show of the season. The Patriot Sprint Tour will close out the month with a 360 Sprint program on May 30.
Other big events for the Sprints will be the annual charity fete for Auto Racers for Kids, this time on June 13, and the two-day All Stars event over the July 4-5 holiday weekend. The Putsy Kekich Memorial will be held on August 8.
The oldest sanctioning body in the country, the America Racing Drivers Club, will bring the mighty Midgets back to the tricky oval, on July 11.
Smackdown! will be back, pitting the BRP Modified Tour against the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. That fun event will be held on August 15.
The Little Guy Nationals will close out the season on September 25 and 26. That race always attracts the top 358 Modified drivers, along with the region’s best in the Stock Car ranks.
Many other promotions are in the works for the 2015 season, but one new one will be Christmas in July! On the 25th, Santa will make an early stop at the Park, and all children will receive an early gift from the Jolly Old Elf.
Two Truck and Tractor pulling events will be held once again. The first action in the pulling pit will be May 24, with the final Fall Full Pull coming on September 19.
Watch the website, www. mercerracewaypark.com, for other announcements and promotions.
Remember, too, that you can get alerts regarding any postponement of racing action at Mercer Raceway Park through Rainedout.com. You can sign up for this free service by clicking on the icon at the track’s website and following the simple steps.
About Mercer Raceway Park: Mercer Raceway Park is a 3/8-mile dirt track located minutes from both Interstate 79 and 80 just off Route 19 on Fairground Road in Mercer, Pa. Dirt track racing and quality family entertainment are presented weekly from late March through late September. For more information, check out www. mercerracewaypark.com, www.twitter.com/mercerraceway, or www.facebook.com/mercerracewaypark.