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Victory Puts Holden Atop 358 Mod Standings Again at Mercer Raceway Park

Defending track champion JImmy Holden scored the easy win in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, at Mercer Raceway Park and, in the process, regained the points lead. Mike Marano, II earned his first career win in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors with a bold move in turn three following a lap 18 restart.

Ryan Moyer returned to victory lane for the second time in a row in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars. Mark Marcucci dominated the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites, and Michael Thompson scored again in the Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks.
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“We made some changes to the car between the heat and the feature,” said the happy 358 Modified winner, Jimmy Holden. “Some, I can talk about, some, I can’t” he added with a sly grin. What he did admit to doing was to tighten up his car. “I guess I like it tighter.” Whatever other speed secrets he was keeping to himself sure did the trick.

Kyle Fink used the pole position to gain the advantage at the start of the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. Brian Schaffer ran a steady second, ahead of Jimmy Holden, Tommy Kristyak, and Jeff Schaffer, Jr. By lap five, Holden worked his way into second, and he was chopping away at the lead Fink had built up.

Holden made his winning move inside turn one, with eight laps down. From there, he was able to stretch his advantage over Fink. Fink held second through the lap ten restart, but lost it soon thereafter to Lonny Riggs, who methodically moved ahead from deep in the pack.

Riggs started to close in on Holden but there were not enough laps remaining to allow him to catch the leader. Holden flashed across the line several car lengths ahead of Riggs. Fink held on for third. Sid Unverzagt, Jr. raced up to the fourth position. Jeff Schaffer, Jr. took fifth.

Kyle Holden led the next group across the line. Brian Schaffer was seventh. Clyde Gumpp, Kevin Green, and Shayne Izzo were next. Tommy Kristyak ran the final two laps of the race with a deflating left rear tire, and faded from the top five to eleventh.

The heat winners were Riggs and Jimmy Holden. There was no B Main. The points leader entering the event, J.R. McGinley was unable to complete a lap. Alan Reibold crashed in his maiden voyage and was unable to start the feature event. He was unhurt.

Mike Marano, II made his changes on the track, rather than in the pits, to get his first career feature win in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. After following veteran Joe McEwen for several laps, Marano switched from the outside line to the inside after the critical lap 18 restart. For Marano, it was vindication after having a rocky start to his career. “At the beginning of the second year, I got second degree burns, and I missed some races, then, I had a series of engine problems and other breakdowns,” he explained. “But, this was all worth it,” he exclaimed.

In the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors, it looked as though former track champion Joe McEwen was finally going to go to victory lane with his car powered by a GM 602 Crate Engine. He jumped out to the lead and kept top runner George Hobaugh, Jr. at bay until Hobaugh went a little high entering the first turn. Hobaugh flipped several times and his bid for the win was over. He was unhurt.

That gave Mike Marano the second position and he chased McEwen furiously. McEwen ran the low side and Marano the high side, and the fans were cheering both on. A spin by Alex Paden set up a two-lap dash for the win, and Marano was ready. Boy, was he ready.

Marano switched things up on the veteran McEwen. Instead of rolling into turn three on the high side, as he had done repeatedly before, Marano dove to the inside. He drove right through a weeping spring. The car stuck, and he came out of the corner with the lead.

Marano raced to the checkers ahead of McEwen. Andy Feil turned in a steady run for third. Mike Miller came back from a weekend of misfortune to get fourth. C.J. Jones came from deep in the pack to get fifth.

Darin Gallagher, Gary Kriess, Devin Litwiler, Terry Young, and Cody Bova were the sixth through tenth place finishers this night.

Gallagher and Young took the preliminaries. There was no B Main.

In the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites, David Innes grabbed the early lead, but Mark Marcucci wasted little time overhauling him going down the backstretch to lead lap four.Innes was trying to mount a counterattack when the caution was displayed. Despite two cracks at Marcucci on successive restarts, Innes was unable to regain the lead. However, Levi Spinnewebber was working his way forward. He took over second with twelve laps completed. He got his turn at Marcucci, But when he retired under a lap 12 caution, that gave Innes another try. Marcucci was up to the task. Innes held off Keith Smith for second. Shane Webb was fourth, and Jason Johnson rounded out the top five. Anthony Cavicchia was sixth. Vivian Jones was the last car to complete the distance. Levi Spinnewebber, Rod Jones, and Glenn Teeters were scored in eighth through tenth based on laps completed. Heat winners were Marcucci and Smith. There was no B Main.

In the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, Pat Fielding and Shawn Smith paced the field for the start. They held command at the beginning of the race, with Curt L. Bish running in the third spot. However, it was Moyer who was making the most headway in the early going. He took advantage of a restart on lap five to move into the second spot. Another restart put him on Fielding’s flank, and the rest, they say, is history. Moyer blasted ahead and he led the rest of the way. Gary Miller, Jr. had a shot at Moyer on a lap ten restart, but he could not muster up enough power to get past. At the checkers, it was Moyer, Miller, and Bish. Fielding held on for fourth. Joe Stajnrajh was fifth. Charlie Baptiste, Zach Myer, Garrett Calvert, Shawn Smith, and Andy Thompson were the remaining finishers. Smith took the heat. There was no B Main.

Michael Thompson took the lead from Steve Longwell, Jr. after a thrilling side by side battle early in the Mini Stock race presented by Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. Longwell fell back into a contest with Tyler Fulton and Tim Callahan, who was back racing his mini stock due to slow parts delivery for his Outlaw Sprint Warrior. The three swapped positions numerous times over the second half of the race. Ultimately, it was Longwell who would prevail over Callahan and Fulton for second. Steve Longwell, Sr. was fifth. Jordan Ehreneberg, Matt Pegher, Shane Shook, Tim McAnnich, and Jamie Tasker completed the top ten. The heats winners were Callahan and Fulton. There was no B Main.

Next week will be the make-up date for the Mid-Season Championships. Double points will be on the line and racers who earn the coveted transfer spots through heat racing will get to line-up for the features based upon their points standings.

Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Lonny Riggs, Kyle Fink, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Kyle Holden, Brian Schaffer, Clyde Gumpp, Kevin Green, Shayne Izzo, Tommy Kristyak, Rich Whitney, J.R. McGinley, Alan Reibold (DNS).

Bonnell’s Rod SHop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Mike Marano, II, Joe McEwen, Andy Feil, Mike Miller, C.J. Jones, Darin Gallagher, Gary Kriess, Devin Litwiler, Terry Young, Cody Bova, Darren Pifer, George Englert, Alex Paden, ZGeorge Hobaugh, Jr., Evan Kornbau.

Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, David Innis, Keith Smith, Shane Webb, Jason Johnson, Anthony Cavicchia, Vivian Jones, Levi Spinnewebber, Rod Jones, Glenn Teeters, Doug Jones, Josh Christopher, Jacob Bova (DNS), Bill Stivason (DNS).

Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Ryan Moyer, Gary Miller, Jr., Curt Bish, Pat Fielding, Joe Stajnrajh, Charlie Baptiste, Zach Myer, Garrett Calvert, Shawn Smith, Andy Thompson.

Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Michael Thompson, Steve Longwell, Jr., Tim Callahan, Tyler Fulton, Steve Longwell, Sr., Jordan Ehreneberg, Matt Pegher, Shane Shook, Tim McAnnich, Jamie Tasker, Karlee Longwell, Matthew Rubright, Rudy Troples, Todd Kougher, Ed Haylett, Mike Derr, Russ Grossman (DNS), Todd Hanlon (DNS).