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Mercer, PA
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Holden Scores Again in 358 Modifieds, Lunger Best in Crate Lates

Defending track champion Jimmy Holden scored his second win of the season in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds at Mercer Raceway Park. He used a lapped car to maximum advantage as he raced by Lonny Riggs in turns three and four on lap 17 and then he held off Riggs in a two lap run to the checkers.

Dennis Lunger cruised to the $1,500 win in the unsanctioned Crate Late Model go, while C.J. Jones prevailed in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors.

Mike Thompson led the way in the Mini Stocks, presented by Epertherner’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. Bryan Wagner topped the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, and Mark Marcucci won the nightcap for the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites.

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Holden explained his winning move on Riggs, made with the assistance of a lapped car. “It would have been close, I think we were catching him, but as far as the timing went, its tough to say (if he would have been able to make the pass).” Holden was convinced that he had the better car. “Things just went our way tonight.”

Riggs blasted out from the pole position to build a commanding lead. Young Kyle Holden, making his first start of the season, was impressive in the runner-up spot. Cousin Jimmy raced along in third, with Frankie Guidace and Kyle Fink rounding out the top five.

Jimmy Holden took second away from Kyle by lap 10, and he immediately went after Riggs. He steadily cut into the margin, and by lap 15, he was nipping on Riggs’ heels. Holden made the winning move two laps later with a little help from a lapped car.

With Jimmy Holden out front, and Riggs in second, it looked as though the racers might make it all the way to the finish without any interruption. It was not to be, however, as the cars racing in positions three, four, and five, tangled with two lapped cars in the second corner. That ended the outstanding effort of Kyle Holden. Also eliminated was Frankie Guidace, who has had nothing but bad luck so far in 2015. The other top five car involved, Kyle Fink, was able to resume the action.

Jimmy Holden selected the inside line for the restart. While Riggs raced hard into turn one, he was unable to get his nose ahead again. Holden pulled away coming off turn two and led the rest of the way. Riggs was second, but veteran Tommy Kristyak used the restart to pick up valuable points in his quest for a track championship. Rob Curtis placed fourth. Last week’s winner, J.R. McGinley was fifth.

Fink rebounded to sixth. JeffSchaffer, Jr. edged out Brian Schaffer for seventh. Sid Unversagt, Jr. was ninth, and Shayne Izzo was tenth, despite spinning in turn three on the final lap.

Rich Whitney and Frankie Guidace scored in their respective heat races. There was no B Main.

Lunger was happy to get the win, but disappointed that more of his brethren did not support the show. “We really love this place, we wish they had the Crate cars more often, but we understand that we won’t get the chances to race here if the racers will not support the show.” Lunger talked the race up the night before at another area track. “I tried to get cars, and I think we got a couple of them to come down,” he said.

Bobby Whitling set the pace in the Crate Late Model feature event, with Dennis Lunger, Matt Latta, Alan Dellinger, and Joe Long holding spots in the top five. Dellinger tangled with Russ Byler in turn two on lap four, and both competitors were out of the race.

On the restart, Whitling rode the cushion, but he got a bit too wide in turn four, and that left the middle open for Lunger. Lunger drove by, and never looked back. One brief caution did bring him back to the rest of the field, but nobody could keep up with him over the remaining laps.

At the checkers, it was Lunger ahead of Matt Latta, Whitling, Khole Wanzer, and Long. Breyton Santee was the final finisher. Byler and Dellinger were scored in seventh and eighth based on laps completed.

Russ Byler topped the preliminary for the Crate Late Models. There was no B Main.

C.J. Jones was the surprise winner in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. He was racing in fifth when an unusual set of events eliminated the first four cars on lap 14. Mark Rossey, Cody Bova, and Jeff Taylor were collected by a lapped car in turn four. Meanwhile, the leader, George Hobaugh, Jr., got together with another lapped car in turn three. That moved Jones to the front, and he delivered the win from there.

Mike Miller, Darin Gallagher, and Jake Gomola, other racers who benefited from the shuffles, were second through fourth. Bova made a daring run back through the field in the final six laps to take fifth.

Terry Young, subbing for his niece, Kotie Kirkbride, was sixth. Mike Marano, II was seventh. Hobaugh came back to eighth without the nose wing of his machine. Ninth belonged to Chris Matthews. George Englert was tenth.

Heat winners were Cody Bova and C.J. Jones. There was no B Main.

Mike Thompson was a last minute driver change in one of the Grossman’s Garage Mini Stocks, but he made the most of the opportunity to drive the machine. He romped to the victory over Steve Longwell, Sr., Tyler Fulton, and Shane Shook. Steve Longwell, Jr. was fifth.

Ed Haylett made his return to the speedway a successful one, taking the sixth spot. Caleb Hickok, in the other Grossman car, was seventh. Rudy Troples was eighth after missing a few recent contests. Jordan Ehrenberg was ninth. Todd Kougher was unable to start the event.

Caleb Hickok was the Mini meister in the heat race. There was no B Main.

Bryan Wagner was the second substitute driver to go to victory lane this night. He was aboard the car normally driven Ryan Moyer. Wagner adapted quickly to the unfamiliar machine. He fought off an early challenge from Gary Miller, Jr. But, over the second half of the race, William Hurrelbrink was applying the pressure to Wagner.

Wagner kept his cool and drove to the win. Following Hurrelbrink to the finish was Tim Burns. Curtis J. Bish raced from twelfth to fourth. Rob Shook was fifth. Invader Jim Fosnaught was sixth. Miller took seventh. Mark Sander, Joe Stajnrajh and Leigh Wheeler completed the top ten.

Curtis J. Bish and Mark Sanders went green to checkers in their qualification runs. There was no B Main.

Mark Marcucci regained the winning ways in the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites. He was over a second ahead of Shane Pfeuffer at the finish. Bill Stivason turned in his best finish ever at the Park, a third, while early leader Shane Webb was fourth. Jacob Bova led Mike Flockerzi, Jason Johnson, and Glenn Teeters to the stripe.

Mark Marcucci loped to the win in his opening event. There was no B Main.

Next week will feature the Auto Racers for Kids charity event. Each of the Saturday Night Live! classes will race for extra cash and bragging rights. This event is made possible by Bonnell’s Collision Center. All proceeds benefit disadvantaged youth in the region. Come out early, as there will be an auction of racing memorabilia held behind the stands to help raise funds for the needy children.

Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Lonny Riggs, Tommy Kristyak, Rob Curtis, J.R. McGinley, Kyle Fink, JeffSchaffer, Jr., Brian Schaffer, Sid Unversagt, Jr., Shayne Izzo, Kevin Green, Makayla Guidace, Kyle Holden, Frank Guidace, Rich Whitney, Clyde Gumpp (DNS).
Crate Late Models: Dennis Lunger, Matt Latta, Bobby Whitling, Khole Wanzer, Joe Long, Breyton Santee, Russ Byler, Alan Dellinger.

Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: C.J. Jones, Mike Miller, Darin Gallagher, Jake Gomola, Terry Young, Mike Marano, II, George Hobaugh, Jr., Chris Matthews, George Englert, Devin Litwiler, Tim Callahan, Mark Rossey, Jeff Taylor, Darren Pifer, Andy Feil, Andrew Fescemyer, Alex Paden (DNS).

Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Minis Stocks: Mike Thompson, Steve Longwell, Sr., Tyler Fulton, Shane Shook, Steve Longwell, Jr., Ed Haylett, Caleb Hickok, Rudy Troples, Jordan Ehrenberg, Todd Kougher (DNS).

Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Bryan Wagner, William Hurrelbrink, Tim Burns, Curtis J. Bish, Rob Shook, Jim Fosnaught, Gary Miller, Jr., Mark Sanders, Joe Stajnrajh, Leigh Wheeler, Garrett Calvert, Dillon Kineston, Andy Thompson, Dennis Clark (DNS), Pat Fielding (DNS).

Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, Shane Pfeuffer, Bill Stivason, Shane Webb, Jacob Bova, Mike Flockerzi, Jason Johnson, Glenn Teeters.