(Mercer, PA July 2, 2016): Jack Sodeman, Jr. rode the tribute car to an impressive $4,000 feature win on Auto Racers for Kids Night at Mercer Raceway Park. Sodeman, who once donated all of his winnings back to the children’s charity after a winning drive, said “we’re going to give something back to the charity, for sure, but they’re not getting it all this time. We’re not having that great of a year like we had that year.”
Also earning top honors were Kyle Drum (Patriot Sprint Tour), Andy Preist (Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors), Jimmy Holden (Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds), Bobby Heim (Precise Racing Products Open Stocks, Kenny Meadows (Rock Concrete Modified Lites), Isaac Paden (Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks), and Jordan Simmons (Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints).
While some may say that Sodeman benefited from a late race caution to set up his winning move on the restart, he did not see things that way. “Either way, we had things covered.” Sodeman explained “my car was working pretty good in the inside of three and four, and the top wasn’t working so good for him (Spithaler) any more.” Spithaler confirmed that his car just got too loose as the race went on.
Brandon Spithaler jumped out to the early lead in the 4 Your Car Connection 410 Sprint Car feature. Brandon Matus raced in second, with Sodeman, Adam Kekich, and Michael Bauer in tow. Spithaler rode the rim to a sbustantial lead, and Matus also put some distance between himself and the third place car of Sodeman.
As the race continued, Spithaler encountered heavy traffic. It did begin to slow his pace, but Matus could not capitalize upon that development. He retired from contest before he could challenge for the lead. Sodeman took up the effort, and as Spithaler struggled in traffic, Sodeman began to close rapidly.
On lap 20, when Sodeman was but a few carl lengths behind the leader, a caution was displayed for Dan Kuriger, who could not clear the turn four pit gate. That put Sodeman right on Spithaler’s tail for the restart.
When the race resumed, Spithaler had a car length on Sodeman. That went away quickly, however, as Sodeman dove to the inside as they raced thriugh turns one and two. Sodeman powered off the second corner with the lead, as Spithaler slid up the track. He kept his foot on the pedal, and re-entered the track close to Sodeman. However, Sodeman had the better line now, and he was able to gain a couple of car lengths on Spithaler as they headed toward turn three.
Sodeman’s car was working to perfection in the final laps, as Spithaler seemed to lose his grip. Sodeman sailed under the checkers to get the win, with Spithaler and Kekich trailing. Jared Zimbardi was fourth. Mark Smith, driving a car with a 360 powerplant, was fifth.
Michael Bauer, Justin Barger, Dane Lorenc, George Hobaugh, Jr., and Andy McKisson rounded out the top ten.
The heat winners were Brandon Matus, Kuriger, and Jimmy Morris. Matus’ win against the other top qualifiers was good enough to earn the pole position. Zimbardi was the evening’s fastest qualifier, with a lap of 14.118 seconds.
Kyle Drum led wire to wire in the Patriot Sprint Tour feature event despite several interruptions. Drum was challenged twice on restarts, once by Dennis Wagner and once by Jared Zimbardi, but he kept his momentum up on the cushion each time, and was able to pull away. Drum, whose year started with some hard luck, followed by several missed races, has found new life in a borrowed car. “To get this opportunity, two wins in two weeks, I couldn’t be happier.”
Finishing second was his brother-in-law and car owner, Zimbardi. “It’s a one-two finish for us, it doesn’t matter if I won, or if he did. It’s all the same. Still, Zimbardi is looking to regain his winning form. After starting the year with five victories, he is in a bit of a dry spell.
Taking third was New Castle’s own Dennis Wagner. “We’ve had mostly bad luck, this is just our fourth time out, so we’re pretty happy.”
Mitch Brown raced in the top five the entire way, and was fourth at the finish. Mark Smith had advanced from seventeenth to fifth, and was challenging Brown for several laps before retiring from the contest on lap 21. That gave the position over to Dr. Steve Collins.
Joe Trenca was sixth. Paulie Colagiovanni held off C.J. Jones for seventh. Davie Franek climbed from last to ninth. Franek was supposed to start on the pole, but a flat tire sent him to the pits for a fresh right rear tire, and he was forced to start the feature in last. Scott Kreutter was tenth.
Paul Habeck took a nasty tumble in the third turn during the feature. It was nearly the same spot where Scott Just flipped in his heat race. Neither driver was injured.
The heat wins went to Kreutter, Zimbardi, and Mitch Brown. The dash went to Jake Brown. There was no B Main.
In the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Andy Preist found the outside groove to his liking.
He drove by Darin Gallagher and Devin Litwiler in the first and second turns to take the lead. Once out front, Preist was able to pull away to a comfortable advantage. “Ever since we flipped a couple of weeks ago, we’ve struggled to get going on these slippery tracks, tonight I just threw some stuff that I thought would work, and it was pretty good.” He added, “I could run wide open in one and two and to be able to do it this late in the night, it’s pretty good.”
Gallagher eventually worked past Litwiler, who held on for the third position. Mike Marano, II was fourth, and Jacob Gomola fifth. Last week’s winner, Gregg McCandless, wound up in sixth. Greg Dobrosky hled on for seventh, despite a collapsed nose win on his machine. Eric L. Williams, George Hobaugh, Jr., and Harold Braden Jr., rounded out the top ten.
Gallagher and Gomola were the victors in the qualifying rounds.
Kyle Fink and J.R. McGinley paced the start of the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature event. Fink got the early advantage, as he was working the outside groove to perfection. However, he took the inside line for the lap nine restart, and that may have been his undoing. McGinley grabbed the lead, and Fink slid back in the running order.
Jimmy Holden was worried about his set-up at the start of the race, and as the laps clicked off, he got angry about it. “I was mad at my dad for the set-up he put on; I was mad at myself, frustrated; the wrong gear, the wrong tire, the wrong set-up; we changed everything’ finally, I just got mad and put my right foot down, I didn’t care what I had left for tires, I just had to prove a point, and what do you know, it got going.”
Holden was able to chase down McGinley. A pair of cautions put them side by side for the last two restarts. On the first, McGinley was able to pull away from Holden, who was having trouble negotiating the outside of turns one and two. However, on the second try, Holden found some bite, and he powered around McGinley.
In the final rounds, Lonny Riggs moved into second, but he had neither the time nor the speed to catch Holden. Fink rebounded to get third. McGinley was fourth and Frank Guidace had fifth.
Jeff Schaffer, Sr. took sixth, ahead of Garrett Krummert, Kevin Hoffman, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., and Paul Moyer completed the top ten.
Fink and Riggs were the heat winners.
Bobby Heim was the surprise winner of the Precise Racing Products Open Stock Car race. Heim was racing in third on the white flag lap, but the leaders, Ryan Moyer and Leigh Wheeler, tangled midway down the backstretch on the last lap. As their cars slid toward the infield, Heim saw the opportunity to slip by on the outside. Taking second was Curt Bish. Last week’s winner, Shawn Smith, finished in third. William Hurrelbrink was fourth. Wheeler was fifth. Moyer, who seemed to have victory in hand, was placed in sixth due to a rough driving penalty for the last lap incident with Wheeler. Pat Fielding did not start the event. Wheeler was the heat winner.
Kenny Meadows regained the lead after Mark Marcucci tangled with a lapped car. Meadows led the rest of the way to victory in the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites. Shane Pfeuffer passed Jacob Bova with two laps remaining to get second. Bova held off Doug Jones and Kurt Eckstrom. Marcucci came back through the field to earn sixth, ahead of Mike Flockerzi, Vivian Jones, Shane Webb, and Jason Johnson. The preliminaries belonged to Doug Jones and Mark Marcucci.
Isaac Paden swept into the lead on lap three of the Mini Stock finale presented by Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. Rick Feely took second with just two laps to go. Todd Hanlon crossed in third, but was disqualified for failing to go through post-race tech. That moved Tyler Fulton up a notch. Karleee Longwell and William Haylet was scored in fourth and fifth. Pete Blazak, Shane Shook, and Tyler Young completed the running order. Summer Pitts was unable to start the race. The heat winner was Isaac Paden.
Jordan Simmons snared his fourth consecutive feature win in the Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints. Simmons fell back to fifth on the start, and then steadily moved forward. On lap seven he took the lead away from Roman Jones. Sammy Darby led the first two rounds. The finish was Simmons, Jones, Darby, Chase Matheney, Ayden Cipriano, Maddie Bova, and Austin Cavanaugh. Simmons doubled up with a heat win as well.
July 9 will be a Saturday Night Live! program, with the exception of no 4 Your Car Connection 410 Sprints. The 410 Sprints will be back on July 16, as part of the rescheduled Mid-Season Championships. This will be the first of two Meet Your Heroes Nights Presented by Herr’s Snacks. It will also be the American Cancer Society Racing for a Cure Night and Twin State Fan Club Night.
4 Your Car Connection 410 Sprints: Jack Sodeman, Jr., Brandon Spithaler, Adam Kekich, Jared Zimbardi, Mark Smith, Michael Bauer, Justin Barger, Dane Lorenc, George Hobaugh, Jr., Andy McKisson, A.J. Flick, Scott Priester, Brent Matus, Dan Shetler, Dan Kuriger, John Garvin, Brandon Matus, Jimmy Morris, Paul Kish.
Patriot Sprint Tour: Kyle Drum, Jared Zimbardi, Dennis Wagner, Mitch Brown, Steve Collins, Joe Trenca, Paulie Colagiovanni, C.J. Jones, Davie Franek, Scott Kreutter, Jake Brown, Steve Glover, Gary Edwards, Dain Naida, Jake Muench, Daryl Ruggles, Jimmy Stitzel, Derrick Juliano, David Just, Mark Smith, Dalton Daniels, Paul Habeck, Chris Durand, George Suprick, Scott Just (DNS), Dane Lorenc (DNS).
Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Andt Preist, Darin Gallagher, Devin Litwiler, Mike Marano, II, Jacob Gomola, Gregg McCandless, Greg Dobrosky, Eric L. Williams, George Hobaugh, Jr., Harold Braden Jr., Dakota Schweikart, Cody Bova, Mike Miller.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Lonny Riggs, Kyle Fink, J.R. McGinley, Frank Guidace, Jeff Schaffer, Sr., Garrett Krummert, Kevin Hoffman, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Paul Moyer, Kyle Holden, Chad Gumpp, Kevin Greene, Jason Sines, Rich Whitney, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Tommy Kristyak.
Precise Racing Products Open Stocks: Bobby Heim, Curt Bish, Shawn Smith, William Hurrelbrink, Leigh Wheeler, Ryan Moter, Pat Fielding (DNS).
Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Kenny Meadows, Shane Pfeuffer, Jacob Bova, Doug Jones, Kurt Eckstrom, Mark Marcucci, Mike Flockerzi, Vivian Jones, Shane Webb, Jason Johnson, Dusty Frantz, Josh Christopher, Glenn Teeters, Evan Kornbau, Reece Shelton, Chris Robinson.
Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Isaac Paden, Rick Feely, Tyler Fulton, Karleee Longwell, William Haylett, Pete Blazak, Shane Shook, Tyler Young, Summer Pitts (DNS), Todd Hanlon (DQ).
Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints: Jordan Simmons, Roman Jones, Sammy Darby, Chase Matheney, Ayden Cipriano, Maddie Bova, Austin Cavanaugh.