Mercer Raceway Park’s 2015 Champions were honored at the annual Awards Banquet
The Mercer Raceway Park family celebrated the 2015 season and welcomed the 2016 edition Saturday night at the Normandy Banquet Center in Hermitage, PA with its annual Awards Banquet. Taking top honors in their respective divisions were Jack Sodeman, Jr. (4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels 410 Sprint Cars), Jimmy Holden (Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds), Cody Bova (Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors), Ryan Moyer (Precise Racing Products Stock Cars), Mark Marcucci (Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites), and Mike Thompson (Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks). In addition, some special awards were presented to Jeff Schaffer, Jr. (Most Improved Driver), Darin Gallagher (Rookie of the Year), and George Hobaugh, Jr. (Walt Wimer’s Cavalcade Award for the Limited Sprint class).
4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels 410 Sprint Cars
The 2015 season saw Jack Sodeman, Jr. rebound to earn another title in the track’s headline class, the 410 Sprint Cars presented by 4 Your Car Connection and World of Wheels. Sodeman has been in the hunt year after year, but misfortune has kept him from clinching multiple championships before 2015. In his “off” seasons, he sustained season-ending injuries at other area tracks. But, he stayed healthy and on course. Finishing second was up and coming Brandon Matus, the third-generation driver. A.J. Flick took third, which was his best season ever at the storied track.Adam Kekich and Scott Priester completed the top five. Brent Matus, Dan Kriger, Michael Bauer, Eric Williams, and Gale Ruth, Jr. also obatined due recognition. These drivers, and many more, are expected to compete weekly at Mercer Raceway Park in 2016.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds
Jimmy Holden regained his championship form as well, topping Lonny Riggs by a mere 14 point margin over the 2105 season. Kyel Fink, Tommy Kristyak, and newcomer Sid Unverzagt, Jr. were also in the top five of the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. J.R. McGinley was always competitive, but he missed a show or two due to mechanical woes, thereby eliminating him from the title chase.Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Shane Izzo, and Brian Schaffer showed that there is room for the younger drivers to achieve in this competitive class, while veteran Rich Whitney claimed the tenth place honors. The 358 Mods will get their season off to a big start taking on their Big Block brothers as the Chiller Thriller will once again feature the rivalry with the BRP Modified Tour, on March 26.
Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors
Cody Bova was exciting and fast throughout the 2016 season in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors, but he had plenty of competition week in and week out. George Hobaugh, Jr. was tops in the region, but ony second at the Park in this growing class. Darin Gallagher showed his prowess in his first season in a full sized car, earning multiple feature wins that led to his special accolade. Evan Kornbau was dapper in his blue blazer and colorful bow tie, but he looks to make a bigger impression on the speedway in 2016. Mike Marano, II earned his first career victory in 2015 and that helped him to fifth in the standings. Darren Pifer, George Englert, Alex Paden, Devin Litwiler, and Kotie Kirkbride also received awards.
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars
Ryan Moyer defied the superstitions about green cars and the number 13, as he drove to a championship in the Precise Racing Products Stock Car class. Gary Miller, Jr., Curtis J. Bish, Pat Fielding, and Garrett Calvert were also in the top five. Andy Thompson, Tim Burns, Joe Stajnrajh, Dennis Clark, and Charlie Baptiste were others in the top ten.
Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites
Mark Marcucci dominated the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites, but Shane Webb, Jacob Bova, BIll Stivason, and Glenn Teeters will look to even the score in 2016. Dusty Frantz, Levin Spinneweber, DOug Jones, Jason Johnson, and Keith Smith all added to the small car attraction.
Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks
And, what else can be said about Mike Thompson? He picked up the ride in the Grossman Garage Mini Stock after the season got underway, and he was almost unstoppable after that. Tyler Fulton, Steve Longwell, Sr., Mike McConnell, and Shane Shook had good seasons, too, but they were no match for the speedy Thompson. Steve Longwel, Jr., Rudy Troples, Todd Kougher, Karlee Longwell, and Ed Haylett were other to racers in the Mini Stock division presented by Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking.
Joining the fun in 2016 will be the Junior Sprints, which made their debut during the 2015 Little Guy Nationals.
Management presented the tentative 2016 schedule, which features action on the oval starting on March 19, with an open practice session and the fun-filled Jack Frost 150 Enduro. The first of two grudge matches between the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds and the BRP Modified Tour will Take place on March 26 for the Chiller Thriller. Saturday Night Live!racing will kick off on April 2, and the points chase will begin the following week.
The merry month of May will have two Sprint Car specials. The All Stars Circuit of Champions will make their only appearance at the track on May 14. Two weeks later, the Sprints will take off their wings to compete with the Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series. The month will conclude with the first of two big truck and tractor pulls, on May 29.
The Annual Auto Racers for Kids charity race will be a Sprint Car triple header in 2016! The Patriot 360 Sprints will be added to the card for this must see event.
Other popular attractions will be on the card, including the Putsy Kekich Memorial, an invasion of the FAST 305 Sprints from western Ohio, and the season-ending 17th Annual Little Guy Nationals.
The Awards Banquet concluded with socializing, music, and dancing. Photos from the Awards Banquet will be added to our 2015 Photo Page.
Remember that you can get alerts regarding the cancellation of any racing event at Mercer Raceway Park sent directly to your smartphone or other electronic device. To register, please go to the track’s website, www. mercerracewaypark.com, click on the icon for RainedOut.com, and follow the easy steps.
About Mercer Raceway Park
Mercer Raceway Park is a 3/8-mile dirt track located minutes from both Interstate 79 and 80 just off Route 19 on Fairground Road in Mercer, Pa. Dirt track racing and quality family entertainment are presented weekly from late March through late September. Mercer Raceway Park can also be found on social media on Twitter and Facebook.