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Mercer, PA
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Sodeman Hustles to First Win of Season at Mercer Raceway Park

Jack Sodeman, Jr. survived a seven-car wreck on the initial green flag and went on to win the feature for the 4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels 410 Sprint Cars on a busy night at Mercer Raceway Park. In addition to celebrating Christmas in July, and Herr’s Meet Your Heroes Night, there were fireworks courtesy of Pizza Joe’s. It was Sodeman’s first win of the season at the Park.

Also taking wins were Sodeman’s protege, Darin Gallagher, in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Tommy Kristyak in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, Tim Burns in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, Shane Webb in the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites, and Mike Thompson in the Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks.

Sodeman said that the opening lap skirmish may have worked to his advantage. “I think that gave me a little bit more of an incentive to do well.” He was put on the hot seat by starting towards the rear when the race resumed, but it did not take him long to get to he front. “I didn’t know exactly how it was going to turn out, but the car was really good, it hooked the bottom and we just chose everything right tonight.” Sodeman also noted that he got a boost from Lady Luck when leader Eric Williams spun while lapping another car. “The luck came our way tonight. It sucks for Turkey (Williams), he had a good car and I think we would have had a heck of a race.” Sodeman continued, “we had about eight laps left there, we might have been able to run him down and put on a show for the fans, but, unfortunately, he just got caught up in lapped traffic.”

Eric Williams was ready to take his new ride, the Jim Chappel 8 recently vacated by former track champion Rod George, to victory. He jumped out to a quick advantage over Adam Kekich, but the fast start was vacated by a seven-car wreck in the middle of the pack. The involved drivers included Sodeman, last week’s winner, Brandon Matus, his dad, Brent, Zach Morrow, John McCracken, Jr., Paul Kish, and Dennis Wagner, who toppled his Sprinter. Wagner was unhurt, but could not continue, and neither did the Matus teammates. All others were able to rejoin the fray.

Williams repeated his powerful drive off turn four to take the lead over Kekich, Sodeman, A.J. Flick, and Dan Kuriger. Williams dominated the early stages of the race. But, Sodeman took second by lap five, and he was getting quicker as the race wore on.

Nonetheless, Williams led through the first 18 laps, which were run under the green. While he was attempting to pass a lapper on the inside of turns three and four, Williams got too close to at ute tire positioned on the inside berm. Williams made contact with the tire, and did a 360, as he desperately tried to keep his car moving to avoid a yellow. Unfortunately, the car struck another tire as it came back around, and WIlliams was done for the evening.

That handed the lead over to Sodeman, with Kekich, Kuriger, and Flick in tow. Jimmy Morris and Mike Miller were batting for positions in the top five, with Michael Bauer looking on.

Sodeman completed the last seven laps without incident. Kekich began to close in in the final rounds, but he ran out of time to make a serious bid for the win. Flick rallied for at third place finish, ahead of Morris and Miller. Bauer was sixth and John McCracken, Jr. placed seventh. Kuriger and Morrow were next, based on laps completed. Williams was credited with the tenth spot, also on laps completed.

The heat winners were Flick and Bauer. There was no B Main.

In the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Darin Gallagher raced out to an early lead that he would never surrender. George Hobaugh, a frequent winner in the class, could not challenge the former Modified Lite track champion. Greg Dobrosky ran a consistent race to get third. Alex Paden closed fast to get the fourth spot. Andy Feil placed fifth.

George Englert, Darren Pifer, Cody Bova, Evan Kornbau, and Devin Litwiler rounded out the top ten.

The heat winners were Mark Rossey and Hobaugh. There was no B Main.

Tommy Kristyak led wire to wire to get his second triumph of the season in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. He withstood an early challenge from J.R. McGinley, and, although he surrendered the lead briefly to Rob Curtis following a restart, when the field came back to the scoring loop, Kristyak was back out front. Lonny Riggs climbed to second, with Kyle Fink in third. Curtis held on for fourth, one spot ahead of Jeff Schaffer, Jr.

Shayne Izzo, Kyle Holden, Kevin Green, and Terry Young were the final finishers. McGinley was awarded tenth based on laps completed.

The preliminaries belonged to Kristyak and Jimmy Holden, who was an early retiree. There was no B Main.

In the Precise Racing products Stock Cars, Tim Burns was the winner. Bobby Heim raced into second, but could not overhaul the fleet Burns machine. Andy Thompson was third. Early leader Pat Fielding held on for fourth. Garrett Calvert was fifth, despite being involved in a pair of cautions. Joe Stajnrajh crossed before Charlie Baptiste. Scott Byers was eighth, Points leader Ryan Moyer was ninth, based on laps completed, and newcomer Matt Lozowski was tenth. Gary Miller, Jr. and Moyer topped the qualifications. There was no B Main.

Shane Webb held off Jacob Bova and a hard-charging Mark Marcucci for the win in the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites. It was looking like Kenny Meadows and Marcucci would battle for the win, but Meadows spun with a little help from his friend, sending them both to the tail for the restart. Bill Stivason was fourth and Meadows came back for fifth. Dusty Frantz and Shane Pfeuffer were next. Glenn Teeter was unable to start the feature after flipping in his heat. He was unhurt. The heat winner was Marcucci. There was no B Main.

Michael Tompson copped his third Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stock feature in a row. He assumed command one lap after early leader Tyler Fulton came up lame following a lap 6 restart. Steve Longwell, Jr. led the one lap in between. Adam Reseigh crossed in second, but failed post-race tech. That moved Adam Perry up in the running order. Officially placing third was Steve Longwell, Jr. His father, Steve Sr. was fourth, and Shane Shook was fifth. Todd Kougher, Ed Haylett, Rudy Troples, Karlee Longwell, and Tyler Fulton were sixth through tenth. The heat wins went to Perry and Thompson. There was no B Main.

Next week, there will be bicycle races for the children, courtesy of Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Approved Toilet Rentals. Helmets will be required for all participants. The action on the oval will be a Saturday Night Live! racing event.

4 Your Car Connection/World of Wheels 410 Sprint Cars: Jack Sodeman, Jr., Adam Kekich, A.J. Flick, Jimmy Morris, Mike Miller, Michael Bauer, John McCracken, Jr., Dan Kuriger, Zach Morrow, Eric Williams, Gale Ruth, Jr., Paul Kish, Brent Matus, Dennis Wagner, Brandon Matus, Scott Priester (DNS).

Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Darin Gallagher, George Hobaugh, Greg Dobrosky, Alex Paden, Andy Feil, George Englert, Darren Pifer, Cody Bova, Evan Kornbau, Devin Litwiler, Brandon Matus, Joe McEwen, Mike Miller, Mark Rossey, Ken Rossey, Gary Kriess, Bobby Siegel, Kotie Kirkbride, Mike Marano, II (DNS).

Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Tommy Kristyak, Lonny Riggs, Kyle Fink, Rob Curtis, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Shayne Izzo, Kyle Holden, Kevin Green, Terry Young, J.R. McGinley, Brian Schaffer, Jimmy Holden, Rich Whitney, Sid Unverzagt, Jr.

Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Tim Burns, Bobby Heim, Andy Thompson, Pat Fielding, Garrett Calvert, Joe Stajnrajh, Charlie Baptiste. Scott Byers, Ryan Moyer, Matt Lozowski, Gary Miller, Jr., Curtis J. Bish, Chris Myers.

Rock Concrete Modified Lites: Shane Webb, Jacob Bova, Mark Marcucci, Bill Stivason Kenny Meadows, Dusty Frantz, Shane Pfeuffer, Glenn Teeter (DNS).

Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing COllectibles Mini Stocks: Michael Tompson, Adam Perry, Steve Longwell, Jr., Steve Longwell, Sr., Shane Shook, Todd Kougher, Ed Haylett, Rudy Troples, Karlee Longwell, Tyler Fulton, Mike McConnell, Adam Reseigh (DQ).