Mercer, PA (August 29, 2015): It was Championship Night at Mercer Raceway Park and Jack Sodeman, Jr. sealed the deal with a win in the 410 Sprint Cars presented by 4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels. For Sodeman, it was a bit of redemption, as he inherited the lead when Brandon Matus spun after damaging the left front suspension in an excursion off the back stretch on lap 17. The week before, Sodeman had a win slip through his grasp when a broken brake caliper sent him to the pits while leading the Auto Racers for Kids event.
Cody Bova put an exclamation mark on his championship season by taking the victory in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. His closest contender, George Hobaugh, Jr., rapped the turn two wall while running second on lap 17. Lonny Riggs captured the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature, but Jimmy Holden’s second place finish was more than enough for him to repeat as champion in the class.
Tyler Fulton topped the Mini Stocks, offered by Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles, but Michael Thompson claimed the top spot in the season’s standings. Mark Marcucci maintained his domination of the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites, winning the feature and sweeping the championship as well. Curtis J. Bish took the checkers in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, but Ryan Moyer was crowned the king of the Stock Cars.
“I think it was going to be a heck of a battle,” Sodeman said of his tussle with Brandon Matus. “I feel horrible for him. His bad luck is how I actually got the (points) lead when he crashed up there in the Midseason Championships and I happened to win on that night.” While Sodeman was running second to the younger Matus, it looked as though the contest for the points title would go right down to the wire. “I was just running in second, and we were going to take it right down to the end, but I can’t say if I could have beaten him, he was really going well.”
But, Matus’ misfortune opened the door for Sodeman to walk away with another point championship. “You’re going to see a lot more championships and a lot more races won by Brandon. That kid’s going pretty good,” Sodeman observed. Then, he added with a grin, “I’m not getting any younger, so I guess it’s good that I won a championship now becasue all the young guys are going to be winning all the championships, and I’ll be in the rocking chair.”
Sodeman and Matus were separated by just 26 points entering the finale, and they got to start side by side on the front row. With double points on the line, Matus could have easily taken the title. He shot out ahead, and led the veteran Sodeman for the first 16 laps before disaster struck. Matus slid out over the edge on Mercer’s back chute, and that enabled Sodeman to drive by for the lead. Worse, Matus’ car sustained severe damage to the left front suspension. His car limped over to turn four, where it spun to a stop in the middle of the racing groove. Mike Miller had nowhere to go, and struck the disabled Matus mobile, ending the night for both drivers.
That put Sodeman on the point for the restart, with former champion Eric Williams on his tail. Turkey tried to mount a charge, but, soon after the race resumed, his front suspension was giving him fits. Williams fought to maintain control, but his night ended with a spin between turns three and four.
Sodeman and A.J. Flick lined up to do battle over the remaining laps. Sodeman was dominant, and Flick rode home wih his best career finish at the Park, second. Dan Kuriger finished a creditable third. Andy McKisson came on strong for fourth late in the race, with Scott Priester taking fifth.
Adam Kekich came from fifteenth to finish sixth. Michael Bauer, Brent Matus, Gale Ruth, Jr., and Andy Feil rounded out the top ten.
Heat winners were Kuriger and Brent Matus. There was no B Main.
Cody Bova was a man on a mission this night in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. He jumped out front at the drop of the green. He built up a substantial lead over his rival for the title, George Hobaugh, Jr. Hobaugh was able to keep divisional rookie, Darin Gallagher at bay for most of the contest. However, Hobaugh’s night ended againstthe turn two wall. His crash on lap 16 eliminated him from the championship run, and gave Gallagher the second place for the final four lap run to the checkers.
Bova led Gallagher the rest of the way. Evan Kornbau was third, with Jacob Gomola climbing through the pack to earn the fourth spot. Fifth went to last season’s Modified Lite champion, George Englert. Darren Pifer, Mike Marano, II, Devin Litwiler, Alex Paden, and Ken Rossey were the next five finishers.
The heat winners were Hobaugh and Paden. There was no B Main.
In the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified go, Jimmy Holden and Lonny Riggs paced the field as they were ready to fight for the title. Holden jumped out front, and led by a car length or two for the first six rounds. Riggs began to get some momentum going and he pulled along side of Holden. They raced side by side for more than a lap. But Riggs powered by on the inside as they came off the second turn.
While Riggs would stay out front the rest of the way, Holden remained close. But Riggs was flawless, and that was the way that they finished. Kyle Fink ran third the complete distance, with Tommy Kristyak doing the same in fourth spot. Fifth went to Sid Unverzagt, Jr., who was a welcome addition to this competitive division.
Jeff Schaffer, Jr. crossed in sixth, with Brian Fink in seventh. Fink was subbing for Shayne Izzo, who had a personal commitment. Brian Schaffer, Rich Whitney, and Kyle Holden were the remaining drivers in the top ten.
The preliminaries belonged to Jimmy Holden and Unverzagt. There was no B Main.
In the Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stock feature event, Tyler Fulton led wire to wire to win the non-stop race. However, the victory was not enough for him to surpass Michael Thompson, who named as the divsional champion. After hopping into that rdie serval weeks into the 2015 season, Thompson went on an extended hot streak, and climbed through the standings quickly.
Finishing behind the high flying Fulton was former champion Mike McConnell, who, like teammate Thompson, took over the seat in a Grossman’s Garage machine in recent weeks. Thompson was third, with Trooper Tim Callahan and Steve Longwell, Jr. rounding out the top five. Positions six through ten were Isaac Paden, Shane Shook, Steve Longwell, Sr., Rudy Troples, and Ed Haylett.
The heat winners were Callahan and Fulton. There was no B Main.
In the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites, Mark Marcucci was again the class of the field as he was all season long. He powered out to an early lead and held the top spot despite a couple of brief interruptions. Jacob Bova could not match the rapid pace set by Marcucci, but he was fleet enough to finish well ahead of Glenn Teeters and Bill Staivason. Shane Webb took the fifth position. Dusty Frantz and Anthony Cavicchia were the final racers to cross the line. Bova topped the qualifier. There was no B Mian.
The Precise Racing products Stock Cars wore the nightcap on Championship Night. While Ryan Moyer set the early pace, Curtis J.Bish moved ahead after a handful of laps. Moyer kept second to himself. Leigh Wheeler, Pat Fielding, and Randy Wyant ran in the top five. Gary Miller, Jr., Garrett Calvert, Charlie Baptiste, Dennis Clark, and Bobby Heim were the other competitors. Moyer won the only heat. There was no B Main.
There will be no action on the oval for the next three weekends. But, remember that USA East Regional Final Fall Nationals Truck and Tractor Pull will be held on Saturday, September 19. Then, the racers will converge for the 16th Annual Little Guy Nationals, which will feature racing in eight, count ’em, eight classes. That spectacular will be held on Friday and Saturday nights, September 25 and 26.
4 Your Car Connection/World of Wheels 410 Sprint Cars: Jack Sodeman, Jr., A.J. Flick, Dan Kuriger, Andy McKisson, Scott Priester, Adam Kekich, Michael Bauer, Brent Matus, Gale Ruth, Jr., Andy Feil, Dennis Wagner, Eric Williams, JimmY Seger, Jimmy Morris, Brandon Matus, Mike MIller, John McCracken, Jr., Brandon Spithaler (DNS).
Bonnell’s Rod SHop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Cody Bova, Darin Gallagher, Evan Kornbau, Jacob Gomola, George Englert, Darren Pifer, Mike Marano, II, Devin Litwiler, Alex Paden, Ken Rossey, Rod Jones, George Hobaugh, Jr., Bob McMillin.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Lonny Riggs, Jimmy Holden, Kyle Fink, Tommy Kristyak, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Brian Fink, Brian Schaffer, Rich Whitney, Kyle Holden, Kevin Green, Erik Martin, Jason Sines.
Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Tyler Fulton, Mike McConnell, Michael Thompson, Tim Callahan, Steve Longwell, Jr., Isaac Paden, Shane Shook, Steve Longwell, Sr., Rudy Troples, Ed Haylett, Karlee Longwell, Cameron McQuown.
Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, Jacob Bova, Glenn Teeters, Bill Staivason, Shane Webb, Dusty Frantz, Anthony Cavicchia, Doug Jones (DNS).
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Curtis J. Bish, Ryan Moyer, Leigh Wheeler, Pat Fielding, Randy Wyant, Gary Miller, Jr., Garrett Calvert, Charlie Baptiste, Dennis Clark, Bobby Heim.