On Pittsburgh Circle Track Club night at Mercer Raceway Park, a pair of defending divisional champions, Eric “Turkey” WIlliams (4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels 410 Sprints) and Jimmy Holden (Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds) went to victory lane.
Also taking wins were Tim Callahan (Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks), George Hobaugh, Jr. (Bonnel’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors), Aaron Meister (Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites, and Shawn Hooks (Precise Racing Products Stock Cars).
Brandon Matus blasted out to an early lead in the 410 Sprint feature, presented by 4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels. Francis Sesco, the pole man, held second briefly, but Eric Williams and Jack Sodeman, Jr. quickly nudged him back a couple of spots in the running order. Matus could not get away from WIlliams and Sodeman as he began to work his way through traffic.
Sodeman just passed Williams moments before the race was halted on lap 12 due to an emergency in the pit area requiring the attention of the track medical crew. During that extended red, Williams gathered his thoughts. “My mind doesn’t always work too fast in these 25 lap races. I had a long time to think about it.”
On the restart, Matus and and Sodeman held their positions, However, the start was waived off when Joe Kubiniec brought his car to a stop in turn four. That gave Williams another shot at the leaders. This time, he showed that he clearly had the fastest car on the track, and the plan that he devised under the extended red worked to perfection the second time around.
“He (Sodeman) was real good on the bottom, so it was a pretty safe thing where he was going to go on the restart,” WIlliams said. He acknowledged that Sodeman had the edge the first time. “He drove away on that first restart but then we had that early caution, so I just thought we’d take it to the top and see what happens.” Williams concluded, “it stuck, and it worked, and now we’re here (in Victory Lane). Williams rode the cushion and passed both Sodeman and Matus to take the lead.
Williams pulled away over the next twelve laps for the easy win. On the final lap of the contest, Sodeman worked the inside line in turn one to take second from Matus. Rod George took fourth, ahead of Dan Kuriger. Earlier in the race, they had a spirited battle for fourth before George salted it away.
Carl Bowser finished sixth. Adam Kekich was seventh. Scott Priester slipped ahead of A.J. Flick, who made a remarkable save in turns three and four when he pulled a wheelie. Texas teen T.J. Michaels made his first appearance at the Park a memorable one with a solid tenth place run.
The preliminaries belonged to George and Brandon Matus. There was no B Main.
Jimmy “the Jet” Holden and early leader J.R. McGinley thrilled the fans with a side by side duel for the lead after a lap six restart. “Any time that you have a track like that where you can move positions and really race side by side, it’s a lot of fun,” Holden said. “We really had a good two, three lap run there side by side, and I think that’s what we come here for, and what the fans come for.” Their battle was so intense that they made slight contact fighting for the preferred line on the back stretch. “I think he wanted to come up, and I wanted to come down, I think it was about mutual, you know.” But, they gathered it up and kept on racing, much to the delight of the crowd.
J.R. McGinley and Frankie Guidace paced the field for the start of the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature event. Guidace rolled the top of turn one to take the lead, but he slid too high on the exit of the second corner, surrendering the lead to McGinley. Before McGinley could stretch his advantage, the caution was displayed for a spin by Eric Beggs in turn two.
On the restart, McGinley resumed the lead. but now Lonnie Riggs was giving chase.. Jimmy Holden was lurking in third, with Sid Unversagt, Jr., and Clyde Gumpp close behind. Kyle Fink had climbed from ninth to sixth in the early going.
Another caution on lap 5 for a four car skirmish between turns one and two shook up the running order in the top ten, as Richard Whitney, Tommy Kristyak, Shayne Izzo, and Clyde Gumpp came together.
The racers completed one more round before the third and final caution was displayed. for the disabled car of Kevin Green. During this stoppage, Riggs pulled off the track while still in the third position.
McGinley had the inside line, but Holden found some bite on the top of the track. The two ran side by side for a couple of laps before Holden took command. It was during this run that McGinley and Holden made slight contact while battling on the back chute. They both kept control of their cars, and no positions changed hands.
Holden led the rest of the way for his first win of the young season. McGinley held on for second, with Kyle Fink advancing to third. Tommy Kristyak rallied for fourth. Unversagt crossed in fifth. Tom Holden was sixth. Brian Schaffer, Shayne Izzo, Makayla Guidace, and Clyde Gumpp rounded out the top ten.
The heat winners were Shayne Izzo and Kyle Fink. There was no B Main.
In the Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks, Tim Callahan scored his second victory in his second car. With Callahan’s Outlaw Sprint Warrior sidelined indefinitely due to crash damage, he slipped behind the wheel of the car normally driven by Todd Hanlon. Callahan turned in a masterful performance to get the win.
Matt Rubright had the early lead, but Tyler Fulton chased him down. Callahan followed Fulton into second. Fulton retianed control after a restart, but Callahan grabbed the lead on the third round of the tricky oval.
Steve Longwell, Jr. displaced Fulton for second late in the race. Steve Longwell, Sr., and Russ Grossman were fourth and fifth. Rubright led the next group of five across the line. Trailing him were Shane Shook, Todd Kougher, John E. Gill, and Pete Blaczak.
Callahan and Fulton led the way in their heat races. There was no B Main.
George Hobaugh parlayed the pole position into a dominating win in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. It was his second straight win in the Lockhart Motorsports 58. Taking second was Evan Kornbau, a career best finish for the young pilot. Cody Bova was third. Alex Paden registered a solid fourth place finish, with Greg Dobrosky taking fifth.
Mark Rossey, Darin Gallagher, George Englert, Ken Rossey, and Joe McEwen earned top ten finishes. C.J. Jones was the victim of circumstances. While running third, he was caught up in a spin by a lapped machine.
Tyler Denochik and Hobaugh copped the heat wins. There was no B Main.
Shane Webb led the first half of the Rock Concrete Supply Modiifed Lite feature. Shane Pfueffer, challenged midway through the race, and took the lead soon thereafter. Pfeuffer survived a couple of cautions. However, with one lap to go, the field was bunched back up by a caution, Pfeuffer was turned as he raced through turns one and two, That set off a wild scramble that collected several other cars.
Webb restarted on the point, with Aaron Meister beside him. They raced side by side for the final lap, with Meister getting the victory by a narrow margin. Mike Flockerzi was third. Keith Smith and Bill Stivason rounded out the top five.
Veronica Jones placed sixth. Jacob Bova returned to seventh after being caught up in the final caution. Mark Marcucci, Sr., Glenn Teeter, and Doug Jones were the next finishers.
The preliminaries belonged to Pfeuffer and Bova. There was no B Main.
The Precise Racing Poducts Stock Car finale was a thriller. Shawn Hooks and Tim Burns raced side by side for the final laps, with Hooks taking the win by less than a car length. Chris Schneider edged Bob Schwartzmiller for third. Bobby Heim was fifth.
Mark Sanders, Ryan Moyer, Andy Thompson, Gary Miller, Jr., and Brett McDonald had positions six through ten.
Pat Fielding and Bobby Heim topped the heats. There was no B Main.
Next week will be another Saturday Night Live! racing program. The Twin State Auto Racing Fan Club will be guests of the speedway. All club members in good standing will be admitted to the grandstands for free.
The month of May will close with two exciting Sprint a special events. The Mo Vaughn Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series rides into town with their traditional, non-wing Sprints on May 23. Then, May 30, there will be three, count ’em, three winged Sprint divisions in action. The Patriot Sprint Tour will bring in their 360 cubic inch Sprints. Also in action will be the track’s 4 Your Car Connection/World of Wheels 410 Sprints and the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. You will not want to miss that one!
4 Your Car Connection/World of Wheels 410 Sprints: Eric WIlliams, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Brandon Matus, Rod George, Dan Kuriger, Carl Bowser, Adam Kekich, Scott Priester, A.J. Flick, T.J. Michaels, Jim Morris, Michael Bauer, John McCracken, Jr., Dennis Wagner, Brent Matus, Francis Sesco, Joe Kubiniec, Davey Jones, Gale Ruth, Jr. (DNS).
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, J.R. McGinley, Kyle Fink, Tommy Kristyak, Sid Unversagt, Jr. , Tom Holden, Brian Schaffer, Shayne Izzo, Makayla Guidace, Clyde Gumpp, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Max Smoker, Eric Beggs, Chelsea Kriegisch, William Schaffer, Frank Guidace, Lonnie Riggs, Richard Whitney, Kevin Green.
Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Tim Callahan, Steve Longwell, Jr., Tyler Fulton, Steve Longwell, Sr., Russ Grossman, Matt Rubright, Shane Shook, Todd Kougher, John E. Gill, Pete Blazak, Jerry Batcher, Jordan Ehrenberg, Roger Wigton, Josh Rathbun (DNS), James Tasker (DNS).
Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: George Hobaugh, Evan Kornbau, Cody Bova, Alex Paden, Greg Dobrosky, Mark Rossey, Darin Gallagher, George Englert, Ken Rossey, and Joe McEwen, Chris Matthews, Andy Feil, Darren Pifer, Devin Litwiler, C.J. Jones, Tyler Denochik, Mike Marano, II, Kotie Kirkbride.
Rock Concrete Modified Lites: Aaron Meister, Shane Webb, Mike Flockerzi, Keith Smith, Bill Stivason, Veronica Jones, Jacob Bova, Mark Marcucci, Sr., Glenn Teeter, Doug Jones, Josh Christopher, Shane Pfeuffer, Jason Darocha, Dave Jones, Jason Johnson (DNS).
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Shawn Hooks, Tim Burns, Chris Schneider, Bob Schwartzmiller, Bobby Heim, Mark Sanders, Ryan Moyer, Andy Thompson, Gary Miller, Jr., Brett McDonald, Curtis J. Bish, Terry Wheeler, Pat Fielding, Garrett Calvert, Dillon Kineston.