(Mercer, PA July 16, 2016): Jack Sodeman, Jr. gave his father a wonderful birthday present, winning again at Mercer Raceway Park and getting his second victory of the weekend. “To be able to double up on his birthday, that’s pretty cool,” Sodeman said. But perhaps even better was the substantial boostthat he got towards that track championship. On Mid-Season Championship Night double points were awarded, so when second place driver Brandon Matus retired early, Sodeman got the edge in the 4 Your Car Connection standings. Indeed, Matus’ misfortune, coupled with a third place run, moved A.J. Flick into second in the rankings.
Also taking checkers were Jimmy Holden (Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds), Andy Priest (Bonnell’s Rod Shops Outlaw Sprint Warriors), Russ Byler (Precise Racing Products Open Stocks), MarkMarcucci (Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites), Tyler Fulton (Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks), and Roman Jones (Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints).
Sodeman had the pole for the 4 Your Car Connection main event. While he was able to open up a lead, Brandon Spithaler marched toward the front. Once Spithaler gained teh second position, he seemed to find a little more power in his mount. However, every time Spithaler made a charge on Sodeman, it seemed as though there was a lapped car in his way.
Spithaler was persistent, though, and when a lapped car took his line away in turn one, he dove to the inside. Spithaler did manage to get his nose out front momentarily, but Sodeman stayed on the cushion and pulled ahead. “I saw him, I figured he was actually going to try to give me a slide job and it was a little too slick there and that’s when i definitely knew that he was close,” Sodeman noted.
Sodeman continued to lead, but Spithaler remained close all the way to the checkers. “I knew that I had to run those last couple of laps pretty hard after I I saw him.” Sodeman explained, “I was just trying to hit my marks.”
A.J. Flick inherited the third position when Brandon Matus lost power a few laps from the finish. Scott Priester applied the pressure to him over the final few rounds, but Flick had the better of it. Gale Ruth Jr. debuited a new car, and brought it home in fifth.
Jordan Ryan, John Garvin, Brent Matus, Davey Jones, and Alex Paden had the next five rungs covered.
Dennis Wagner had a top five run come to a disappointing end when he flipped his 360 Sprint in turn two. He was unhurt.
Jimmy Morris and Flick were the winners of the evenings heat races.
Jimmy Holden had a comfortable lead in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature wiped away when the only caution was displayed with just four laps remaining. That put Kyle Fink on his flank, but Holden had the advantage on the restart. “It was really a question of what line I wanted to pick there,” Holden said. “I moved to the bottom while we were racing, but then, I thought the top might be good, too.” Holden explained why he opted for the bottom. “It’s all about the restart timing itself, you can get a little bit of a jump and what you can do is crowd the guy underneath of him and you pretty much own the line going into one and two.”
Although Holden did exactly that, he still felt that Fink could have driven by. “If he had been a little further up, he could have sealed the deal.” Nonetheless, Fink did make strong bids for the lead in turns one and two for each of the next two laps. But Holden had the short way around the track figured out this night.
Meanwhile, Lonny Riggs was lurking in the shadows of Holden and Fink. He saw the opportunity to dive to the inside of Fink in the last turn on the last lap, and he won the drag race to the finish line for second.
Tommy Kristyak and Sid Unverzagt, Jr. held forth and fifth. Frank Guidace, Jeff Schaffer, Sr., Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Erik Martin, and Kyle Holden were the enxt finishers.
Riggs and Holden were best in their respective qualifiers.
Points leader Andy Priest took maximum advantage of his pole starting spot, going wire to wire in the
Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Jimmy Seger was closing in on Priest with about seven laps to go, but Priest go to the lapped cars first, and he used them as a pick to gain some extra distance over his challenger. “I was trying to watch them when I was catching them,” Priest said of the slower cars. His timing was perfect on each occasion.
Seger did run second until the final turn of the final lap, when he detonated a motor, He limped across the line in third. Beating him to the wire was Mike Marano, II. Gregg McCandless and Jacob Gomola followed Seger across the finish line.
Last week’s winner, Greg Dobrosky, was sixth. Tyler Denochik made his first start of the season pay off with seventh. Darin Gallagher, Mike Miller, and George Englert completed the top ten.
The heat victories went to Seger and Priest.
Russ Byler raced to the win in the Precise Racing Products Open STock Car feature event. He methodically worked his way to the front, and then he passed Shawn Smith for the lead on lap 13. Three laps later, while running second, Smith took an excursion through the infield at turn four, That handed second over to William Hurrelbrink, who maintained it to the checkers. Smith did recover for third and Ryan Moyer held down the fourth spot. Jamie Sharba was fifth. Andy Thompson, Terry Young, Pat Fielding, Bobby Heim, and Curt Bish rounded out the top ten. Byler and Sharba took the preliminaries.
Mark Marcucci passed Doug Jones three laps into the contest for the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites. Brandon Shaw, Kurt Eckstrom, and Shane Pfeuffer battled to the wire for third through fifth. Shane Webb, Keith Smith, Kenny Meadows, Chris Robinson, and Jason Johnson completed the top ten. The heat winners were Marcucci and Pfeuffer.
Isaac Paden jumped out to the early lead in the Mini Stock feature presented by Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. But, it was Tyler Fulton who surged ahead on lap four, and he took it the rest of the way for the win. The second place car was Darrell Lawson, with Shane Shook, Kenny Lawson, and Tim Callahan rounding out the top five. The next five finishers were Paden, Pete Blazak, David Siebert, Mark Akins, and Alan Perry. The heat winners were Fulton and Paden.
In the Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints, Roman Jones made a last lap pass on his pal, Jordan Simmons. Ayden Cipriano raced home in third, with Sammy Darby getting fourth. Chase Metheny was fifth and Austin Cavanaugh in sixth. Jones also doubled up with a heat win.
Next week will be a Saturday Night Live! racing program, with bicycle races for the children. The bicycle races are presented by Approved Toilet Rentals and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. Remember, that all children must have their helmets.
4 Your Car Connection 410 Sprint Cars: Jack Sodeman, Jr., Brandon Spithaler, A.J. Flick, Scott Priester, Gale Ruth Jr., Jordan Ryan, John Garvin, Brent Matus, Davey Jones, Alex Paden, Dennis Wagner, Landon, LaLonde, Geoge Hobaugh, Jr., Gale Ruth, Sr., Brandon Matus, Miachael Bauer, Jimmy Morris, Brian Saulsbery, Adam Kekich.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Lonny Riggs, Kyle Fink, Tommy Kristyak, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Frank Guidace, Jeff Schaffer, Sr., Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Erik Martin, Kyle Holden, Ryan Kemery, Kevin Green, Jason Sines, Richard Whitney, Kevin Hoffman, Jimmy Parenti, Jr.
Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Andy Priest, Mike Marano, II, Jimmy Seger, Gregg McCandless, Jacob Gomola, Greg Dobrosky, Tyler Denochik, Darin Gallagher, Mike Miller, George Englert, Eric L. Williams, Rod Jones, Harold Braden, Jr.
Precise Racing Products Open Stocks: Russ Byler, William Hurrelbrink, Shawn Smith, Ryan Moyer, Jamie Sharba, Andy Thompson, Terry Young, Pat Fielding, Bobby Heim, Curt Bish, Gary Robinson, Terry Wheeler, Troy Norman, Mike Hudzik, Steve Allison, Dan Fedorchieck, Brad Schaffer, Scott Byers, Rick Chess.
Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, Doug Jones, Brandon Shaw, Kurt Eckstrom, Shane Pfeuffer, Shane Webb, Keith Smith, Kenny Meadows, Chris Robinson, Jason Johnson, Josh Christopher, Bill Stivason, Vivian Jones, Dusty Frantz, Joey Sisk, Kacy Campbell (DQ).
Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Tyler Fulton, Darrell Lawson, Shane Shook, Kenny Lawson, Tim Callahan, Isaac Paden, Pete Blazak, David Siebert, Mark Akins, Alan Perry, Gary Stanke, Karlee Longwell, Summer Pitts, Josh Rathbun, William Haylett, Matthew Rubright, Jacob Rice, Randall Blinn (DNS), Ed Haylett (DNS).
Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints: Roman Jones, Jordan Simmons, Ayden Cipriano, Sammy Darby, Chase Metheny, Austin Cavanaugh.