(Mercer, PA August 20, 2016): Jack Sodeman, Jr. won the non-stop feature event for the 4 Your Car Connection 410 Sprints at Mercer Raceway Park, solidifying his points lead heading into Championship Night, which will award double points to all competitors. “You just run the same every race, try to win every race, and the points will take care of themselves,” Sodeman Said about his quest for a third track championship. “We got a pretty good shot, we just need to be consistent, and not do anything pretty dumb.”
Ohio’s Alvin Roepke won the first Summer Shootout between the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors and the Fremont Attica Sprint Tour 305 Sprints. Some seventeen F.A.S.T. racers crossed the state line to race in Pennsylvania, sixteen of them made the feature event, and three of them swept the podium spots.
Also scoring victories were Lonny Riggs (Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds), Russell Byler (Precise Racing Products Open Stock Cars, Jacob Bova (Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites), Tim Callahan (Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks), and Jordan Simmons (Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints).
Jack Sodeman, Jr. made a spectacular move on the initial green flag for the 4 Your Car Connection 410 Sprint Cars, but the maneuver was nullified for a false start by the pole man, Bryan Sebetto. “I was definitely disappointed, the first start worked out really well for us, and I figured that they weren’t going to let us get away with it again.” Sodeman was right, as Sebetto learned the lesson and was in a position to impede Sodeman’s dash to the front in the first two turns of the race. “I knew that he (Sebetto) would take the line,” Sodeman observed.
As it was, Sodeman settled into third behind Sebetto and Alex Paden, but he did not stay there for very long. Sodeman took the second spot from Paden as they entered turn three on the first lap. Sebetto held down the lead until lap five, when Sodeman moved to the inside for the advantage.
After that, Sodeman had the car on cruise control for the remaining twenty laps of the contest. “I knew when I got to lapped traffic I could be a little patient, but not too patient because those guys would be coming.” But Sodeman had no idea how big of a lead he had. Sebetto ran second the rest of the way, and was some 2.5 seconds behind the leader at the finish.
Michael Bauer got third, courtesy of a miscue by Brandon Matus in turns three and four with two laps to go. Matus got into the corner way too hot, and held on for dear life as the car got completely sideways on him. He kept the car going, and got it straightened out in turn four. On the final lap, he got into three a bit too hot again, but his slide around the top was not as dramatic. He got the car righted again, and completed the event without losing any other positions. Dan Kuriger came from mid-pack to grab fifth.
Alex Paden was sixth. Dennis Wagner, A.J. Flick, Andy McKisson, and John Garvin completed the top ten.
Heat winners were Brandon Matus and A.J. Flick.
Veteran Alvin Roepke led wire to wire to capture the first ever grudge match between the F.A.S.T. 305 Sprints and the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Roepke was thrilled about his win. “I came here as a kid, years ago, and I watched Johnny Beaber, Gus Linder, Ralph Quarterson, and Ed Lynch, and what a thrill it is to win here,” he said.
Roepke’s dash was slowed by a caution on lap three, and the remaining laps were run off without any other incidents. Roepke was pretty humble about his dominance. “It was just a lucky guess on the setup.”
He had a comfortable lead at the halfway mark, but second place runner Dan McCarron started cutting into the margin over the remaining laps. McCarron was .587 seconds behind at the end of the race. Paul Weaver completed the Ohio sweep of the top three spots.
Andy Priest was the highest finishing Mercer regular, in fourth. He had a bit of trouble early in the race, slipping back several spots due to a bobble in the second corner. He, too, was closing in on the leaders at the finish, but he needed more laps to challenge the three visitors ahead of him.
Luke Griffith, Cody Bova, John Ivy, Darin Gallagher, Dustin Drinan, and Nate Dussel held positions five through ten.
The three heats went to John Ivy, Weaver, and Priest. The B Main winner was Adam Kekich.
Lonny Riggs also went wire to wire for the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified victory, holding off points leader Jimmy Holden in a two-lap dash for the cash. Riggs was a bit concerned about his tire choice for the race. Riggs, who had the pole position, made the winning bet by setting up to run the inside, and it worked. “We went with a real soft tire on the left rear, and I was a little afraid that it wouldn’t hold up. It was starting to give up a little bit, so I went in easy and came off hard.”
Jeff Schaffer, Jr. earned a career best third, one spot ahead of his father, Jeff Sr. Richard Whitney had a top three finish slip through his fingertips, having both Schaffers pass him in the final laps.
Sid Unverzagt, Jr. led the next group to the checkers. Kevin Green, Kyle Holden, Ryan Kemery, and Jerry Bowser completed the top ten.
The preliminaries went to Jimmy Holden and Jeff Schaffer, Jr.
Russell Byler moved into the lead just before the halfway mark in the Precise Racing Products Open Stocks. “I learned a lot driving the Late Model, and it really helped getting back to this, I think that I got a little smoother, not as inconsistent,” Byler explained. He got a late start to the 2016 season, waiting to sell off his Crate Late Model equipment, but, boy oh boy, he’s been fast since making his first start of the season.
Byler, who scored the easy victory, announced his plans to race a Super Late Model in 2017. “We will be even more limited with a Stock Car schedule, but it will all depend on the Late Model car,” he said. Then, he added with a laugh, “maybe they will run a few more Late Model races here next year.”
Points leader William Hurrelbrink padded his advantage by taking a second place finish, several positions ahead of his closest adversary, defending champion, Ryan Moyer. Early leader Andy Thompson was third, with Shawn Smith and Pat Fielding getting fourth and fifth. Moyer was sixth, ahead of Curt Bish, Gary Fisher, Garrett Calvert, and Bill Best.
Heat winners were Hurrrelbrink and Smith.
In the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites, Jacob Bova regained the lead after Mark Marcucci lost an engine while leading. Marcucci took the lead from Bova on lap five. Points leader Doug Jones took second with just two laps remaining in the contest, moving Jason Dye back to third. Fourth went to Jason Johnson and fifth to Shane Webb. Positions six through ten belonged to Vivian Jones, Dusty Frantz, Cody Cooper, Keith Smith, and Marcucci. The heat winners were Shane Pfeuffer and Doug Jones.
Tim Callahan led wire to wire in the Mini Stocks presented by Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. Alex Paden raced home in second, followed by the pole sitter Tyler Fulton. Alan Perry and Shane Shook completed the top five. Nick Steiger, William Haylett, Summar Pitts, Karlee Longwell, and Ed Haylett held positions six through ten. The heat victories went to Callahan and Paden.
In the Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints, Jordan Simmons got the jump on his friend, Roman Jones. Sammy Darby slipped ahead of Jones for second on lap five and held it to the finish. Jones was third. Madie Bova and Chase Metheney were next. Ayden Cipriano, Ty Lance, and Peyton Bova were next. Austin Cavanaugh did not start the event.
Next week, August 28, will be the final points race of the season, and it will count twice towards the season championship, so the racers will be fighting hard for every position! It will also be the second Meet Your Heroes Night, presented by Herr’s, the official snack food of Mercer Raceway Park. There will be no racing on Labor Day weekend.
4 Your Car Connection 410 Sprints: Jack Sodeman, Jr., Bryan Sebetto, Michael Bauer, Brandon Matus, Dan Kuriger, Alex Paden, Dennis Wagner, A.J. Flick, Andy McKisson, John Garvin, Arnie Kent, Gale Ruth, Jr., Byan Saulsbery, Brent Matus, Davey Jones, Lou Scudere, Joe McEwen, Gale Ruth, Sr.
Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors /F.A.S.T. 305 Sprints: Alvin Roepke, Dan McCarron, Paul Weaver, Andy Priest, Luke Griffith, Cody Bova, John Ivy, Darin Gallagher, Dustin Drinan, Nate Dussel, Landon LaLonde, Jimmy Seger, Adam Kekich, Matt Foos, Steve Rando, Jason Keckler, Kyle Capodice, Trevor Baker, Rick Peterson, Kelsey Ivy.
DNQ: George Englert, Evan Kornbau, Tyler Street, Mike Miller, Mike Marano, II, Gregg McCandless, Eric L. Williams.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Lonny Riggs, Jimmy Holden, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Jeff Schaffer, Sr., Richard Whitney, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Kevin Green, Kyle Holden, Ryan Kemery, Jerry Bowser, Kyle Fink (DNS), J.R. McGinley (DNS).
Precise Racing Products Open Stock Cars: Russell Byler, William Hurrelbrink, Ryan Moyer. Andy Thompson, Shawn Smith, Pat Fielding, Ryan Moyer, Curt Bish, Gary Fisher, Garrett Calvert, Bill Best, Dan Fedorchack, Brandon Welker, Tony Spaghetti, Charlie Baptiste, Steve Allison.
Rock Concrete Supply Modfified Lites: Jacob Bova, Doug Jones, Jason Dye, Jason Johnson, Shane Webb, Vivian Jones, Dusty Frantz, Cody Cooper, Keith Smith, Mark Marcucci, Shane Pfeuffer (DNS).
Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Tim Callahan, Alex Paden, Tyler Fulton, Alan Perry, Shane Shook, Nick Steiger, William Haylett, Summar Pitts, Karlee Longwell, Ed Haylett, Mike McElhaney, Justin Briley.
Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints: Jordan Simmons, Sammy Darby, Roman Jones, Madie Bova, Chase Metheney, Ayden Cipriano, Ty Lance, Peyton Bova, Austin Cavanaugh (DNS).