(Mercer, PA June 22): Mercer Raceway Park presented a spectacular night of racing on June 18, topped off with a thirty lap feature for the United Late Model Series, won by Russell King over Max Blair. Well, one week later, the Late Models have moved on and the 4 Your Car Connection 410 Sprint Cars are back as the headline act, along with the other six divisions that make up the Saturday Night Live! program at the speedway. Plus, there will be the annual fireworks display, provided by Pizza Joe’s, the supplier of those delicious personal pizzas sold in the track’s concession stands. That also means that Saturday, June 25, will be Patriots Night, so all current or former military with I.D. will be admitted for free, as will all Scouts in uniform!
There have been no changes at the top of the standings for the 4 Your Car Connection 410 Sprints, those mean looking open-wheeled machines equipped with big wings over head to help deliver 900 horsepower to the track. So third-generation driver Brandon Matus will enter the June 25 event 19 counters ahead of Jack Sodeman, Jr. in the quest for the season championship. Michael Bauer and Scott Priester are tied for third in the standings. Former champion, Eric Williams, is sidelined indefinitely due to the lingering effects from a crash at another area speedway, so he will surrender fifth spot. Most likely to climb past him in the rankings will be A.J. Flick, Davey Jones, Brent Matus, Alex Paden, and newcomer John Garvin, Jr. These racers and more will be seeking those precious points in order to position themselves for a prime starting spot for the Midseason Championships, which were postponed to July 16 due to inclement weather.
Jimmy Holden’s perfect season has come to an end in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. He had won every heat and feature race he entered until a mechanical problem sent him to the pits while running up from last week. His misfortune allowed Kyle Fink to close to within a single point heading into this weekend’s racing. Fink has had three second place finishes and a third to his credit so far, so he could be on the verge of getting that elusive first win! Popular veteran Tommy Kristyak led for a while on Saturday, and he will be looking to improve upon his showing as well. Last week’s winner, J.R. McGinley, is making his move up the standings, but he still has a ways to go to crack into the top five.
Andy Preist is back on top of the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. He now has a pair of victories and a thirty point lead over his closest competitor, George Hobaugh, Jr. C.J. Jones, who unexpectedly took a weekend off, is expected back, and now he has some catching up to do. He slipped to fifth, behind Mike Marano, II and Eric L. Williams. Also expected will be Jacob Gomola, who, like Jones, has a win to his credit in 2016. Gregg McCandless, Darin Gallagher, Vince Daugherty, Cody Bova, and Mike Miller are just a few of the other runners who will challenge for a win. These cars look just like the 4 Your car Connection 410 Sprints, but they are powered by more economical engines. While they do have less horesepower, they offer just as much excitement on the tricky Mercer oval.
William Hurrelbrink picked up his second win of the season in the Precise Racing Products Open Stocks, with a daring turn three pass on the last lap of the June 18 race. Then, he backed it up with a dominating win Sunday at another area speedway. So, he will be the odds-on favorite for another triumph. Pat Fielding and Ryan Moyer are within shooting distance of Hurrelbrink, so the positions could change with the next feature finish. The Stock Cars are highly modified production cars that give the racers a chance to demonstrate their mechanical wizardry as well as their driving prowess.
Doug Jones still finds himself at the head of the class in the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites. Shane Webb is just 24 markers behind, and teenager Jacob Bova hold down third. Former title holder Shane Pfeuffer missed last week’s event due to work commitments, so he will need a strong run to get back in championship contention. But, Kurt Eckstrom and teenager Vivian Jones will try to keep the former kingpin behind them! And, don’t count out Mark Marcucci who won for the first time in 2016 last week.
Tyler Fulton’s lead in the Mini Stock class has dwindled, allowing young Isaac Paden to close within two points in the battle for the crown presented by Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. Todd Hanlon, who was nearly unbeatable in the early going, has fallen to third, but he could get back in the mix with a solid finish this week. This class has a pair of ladies racing, Karlee Longwell and Summer Pitts, and they are not afraid to mix it up with the boys!
A pair of wins has thrust young Jordan Simmons into the lead of the Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints. He overhauled Chase Metheney, winner of the opening event for 2016. Ayden Cipriano, Roman Jones, Alivia Bish, Sam Darby, Austin Cavanaugh, and Maddie Bova will be looking for their chance to shine.
The youngsters will go to the post first, at 5:30, along with the Mini Stocks, and Modified Lites. The power four will move to the speedway at 7, with the Stocks, 358 Modifieds, and both Sprint Car classes in action.
The Pit gates will open at 3:00 and the the spectator gates at 4.
Regular event ticket pricing will apply. Adult admission will be $13, seniors (60+) $11, and students (9-15) $5. The children (8 and under) will be free. The Family Pass is just $28, and that will apply for two adults and up to four minors of any age. Pit Passes will be $30.
Circle July 2 on your racing calendars, as that will be the annual Auto Racers for Kids charity event. New for 2016, this popular program will add the Patriot Sprint Tour to the show, giving fans three classes of Sprint Cars racing in one night! Along with all of those Sprint Cars will be the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites, the Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini stocks and the Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints.
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.
Marketing partners of Mercer Raceway Park include Hovis Auto & Truck Supply, Mercer Hardware, Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants, Scheidemantle Motors, Greenhill Farms Equipment, Inc., the Normandy Banquet Center of Hickory VFW Post 6166, Flynn’s Tire & Auto Service, Pizza Joe’s, Sharon Auto Wrecking, Inc., AMSOIL, Noga Ambulance Service, Inc., Pyrotechnico, Watson’s, Inc., Big Dog Indoor Racing & Hobby, Ritenour Equipment Co., Herr’s Foods, the American Cancer Society, Sunburst Environmental, and Lias Tires.
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. For more information, check out www. mercerracewaypark.com, www.twitter.com/mercerraceway, or www.facebook.com/mercerracewaypark.