(Mercer, Pa September 24, 2016): Lonny Riggs came to life after a lap 14 restart, and drove eleven more laps to victory in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified portion of the 17th Annual Little Guys Nationals at Mercer Raceway Park. It was Riggs’ fourth triumph in the season-ending classic. Trusty Rusty Moore earned his third prestigious win in the Precise Racing Products Open Stock Car segment of the Little Guys Nationals.
Other winners were Greg Dobrosky (Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors), Gary Luzier (Precise Racing Products Open Stock Car B Feature), Joshua Ferry (2 Barrel E-Mods), Ryan Fredericks (270 Micro Sprints), Mark Marcucci (Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites), and Shane Shook (Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks).
It was a bit of sweet redemption for Lonny Riggs, who was running up front in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature the previous night. In fact, Riggs led for a bit before fading at the end of the race. “I was thinking about last night, I didn’t want to run out of fuel again,” Riggs said of a late-race caution that set up a one-lap shootout. “Actually, what happened last night was the fuel pick up started floating in the tank, and we got it fixed this afternoon, and that did the trick,” Riggs clarified.
Eric Gabany and Jeff Schaffer, Sr. were the class of the field for the first half of the race. They traded positions several times, and, to make matters even more interesting, they played some mind games by switching lanes for the several restarts that dotted the affair up to the midpoint.
Eventually, Schaffer took command, but he still could not shake free of Gabany. Meanwhile, Ricky Richner worked his way into third, and he began to close in on them. Tommy Kristyak, Kyle Fink, Steve Schumacher, Lonny Riggs, and Jimmy Holden were swapping spots behind them.
Riggs got his chance to shine on lap 14. At the time, he was riding in third, behind Schaffer and Gabany. While Schaffer had the advantage on the restart, Riggs quickly passed Gabany for second. Just one lap later, he ducked under Schaffer in turns one and two, and he had the lead as they entered turn three.
“Our car was pretty good, I was just getting bunched in there, and I was just waiting for it to clear out a little bit,” Riggs explained.
He was leading Schaffer and Gabany as the laps wound down. Gabany was starting to apply some pressure to Schaffer for the second spot, but his bid for the spot ended prematurely. Gabany’s car broke on the frontstretch bringing out that final caution that made Riggs start to think about his misfortune the night before.
Riggs powered off turn four with a healthy advantage in the one-lap dash for the cash. Kyle Fink followed in his tire tracks, getting under Schaffer as they came off the corner. Schaffer held onto third. Richner, the winner of the very first Little Guys Nationals, was fourth. Jimmy Holden crossed in fifth.
Kristyak led Matt Reeher to the line for sixth. Kyle Holden, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., and Jason Sines completed the top ten.
The heat winners were Gabany, Kristyak, and Richner.
Rusty Moore once dominated the Precise Racing Products Stock Car division at Mercer Raceway Park, But that was then and this is now. For the last two seasons, Moore was an infrequent competitor, and when he did come back to his familiar stomping grounds, he just did not seem to have the right combination.
“After two years, I finally got a hold on the car,” Moore said. While other drivers seemed to struggle with the difficult daytime conditions, Moore was quite comfortable. “I’ve won a lot of races here, and I know my way around the track,” he added modestly.
Jamie Sharba took the early lead in the first feature for the Precise Racing Products Open Stock Cars, followed by Moore, Joey Zambotti, Rusty Martz, and Randy Wyant. For the first couple of circuits, Moore was looking to the inside of Sharba, and he was able to make the pass coming through the fourth turn on lap three.
Soon thereafter, however, the first caution was displayed, and that gave the lead back to Sharba momentarily. But, Moore powered off the inside of the turn on the restart and led the field heading into turn one. “Well, that’s where I like to run at,” Moore explained, “that’s where I won all of my races.”
From that point forward, He maintained an advantage of at least three to five car lengths, despite several interruptions for minor incidents on the track.
Brent Johnson moved into the second spot on lap eleven. Meanwhile, Joey Zambotti, Tim Bish, and Sharba were mixing it up for the other positions inside the top five.
There was a shakeup in the running order on lap 21 when Bish’s car came to a stop on the frontstretch. At the time, he had a solid grip on third. When racing resumed, Rusty Martz started to flex some muscle, moving into the top five.
While Moore and Johnson had plenty of breathing room over the other competitors, the next few positions were changing hands. Andy Buckley came up to third in the final tally, bringing Bobby Whitling along. Martz continued in fifth. Positions six through ten went to Sharba, Bill Phillips, Bobby Heim, Terry Wheeler, and Rod Laskey.
There were four heats for the 42 cars. The winners were Martz, Moore, Bish, and Whitling.
Greg Dobrosky led wire to wire to claim the Outlaw Sprint Warrior finale presented by Bonnell’s Rod Shop. “It was pretty easy tonight, just hold it to the floor and turn,” Dobrosky noted. He got his break at the start of the race when the odds-on favorite, Adam Kekich, was put back a row for gassing it up too soon on the initial start. That moved Dobrosky to the pole, and Kekich just could not chase him down.
Dobrosky jumped out to the lead, with Tyler Denochick holding off Kekich for the second spot. They ran in that order through the first twenty laps. Kekich drove around his youger competitor in turns one and two to grab the position, but Dobrosky had an insurmountable lead by then.
Following Dobrosky, Kekich, and Denochick across the finish line were Jacob Gomola, Mike Marano, II, Gregg McCandless, and Dan Bennett. Jeremy Kornbau and Andy Priest were unable to finish the race.
Kekich was the winner of the lone preliminary event.
In the second feature for the Precise Racing Products Open Stocks, Gary Luzier took the early lead and he withstood several restarts to earn his first career win at the Park. Jim Fosnaught turned in a strong performance, coming from the last row to get second. Fosnaught would have started in fourth, but a penalty imposed for a rules infraction in his heat race sent him to the tail.
Hunter Exley grabbed the third position, followed by Jackson Humanic and Russ Byler. Positions six through ten went to Curt Bish, Andy Thompson, Dan Fedorchack, Pat Fielding, and Scott Byers. Track champion Willaim Hurrelbrink was the first racer to retire from the event.
Ryan Fredericks assumed command of the 270 Micro Sprint feature on lap four and he was never headed. Todd Reusser charged from ninth to second, but he was unable to reel in the fleet Fredericks. Dave Hawkins, Brandon Fredericks, and Wes Libert completed the top five. The next five finishers were Denny Rineheim, Brandon Hawkins, Brian Borawiec, Austin Pasqualla, and C.J. Davis. The three qualifiers went to Ryan and Brandon Fredericks and Reusser.
Mark Marcucci doubled up in the Rock Concrete Modified Lites, taking the win over Rod Jones and Shane Pfeuffer. Matt Ward earned the fourth spot, with Chris Logan in fifth. Positions six thorugh ten belonged to Zak Kimbrew, Chris Robinson, Doug Jones, Dusty Frantz, and Vivian Jones. Doug Jones and Marcucci scored in the the preliminaries.
The Mini Stocks were the final feature of the season at the Park, and they did not disappoint. Will Aley led the first four laps in the race presented by Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. Kenny Lawson took over for three laps before he was involved in an incident on the track. Shane Shook led the final eight laps, but there was plenty of competition from the Lawsons. Kenny was working the inside line late in the chase, but got crowded by Shook as they went down the back chute. He ran into the infield and tried to scoot through there to rejoin the fray in turn four. However, he struck a ute tire in the corner and that brought out a caution. Darrell and Joe Lawson took up the battle. Darrell made a daring pass on the inside of turn three on the final lap. His momentum carried him up the track, however, and that enabled Shook to turn under him as they entered turn four. Shook came off the final turn with the lead. Joe also got by Darrell, and they finished second and third. Fourth through tenth were Rick Feely, Aley, Tim Callahan, Mike Porterfield, Logan Keney, Ed Roberts, and Joe Keney. Ed Haylett, Bill Fuchs, and Logan Keney were tops in their heats.
Jordan Simmons closed out the inaugural season for the Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints with a big win. He trailed point champ Roman Jones for teh first five laps before taking the lead. After this young duo came Sammy Darby, Ayden Cipriano, Tyler Allison, and Tyler Schiegel. Jones prevailed in the heat race.
The staff and management of Mercer Raceway Park wish to thank the fans and competitors for a fun-filled and entertaining 2016 racing season.
Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Lonny Riggs, Kyle Fink, Jeff Schaffer, Sr., Ricky Richner, Jimmy Holden, Tommy Kristyak, Matt Reeher, Kyle Holden, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Jason Sines, Clyde Gumpp, Ryan Kemery, Josh Deems, Eric Gabany, Jerry Bowser, Steve Schumacher, Kevin Green, Frank Guidace, J.R. McGinley, John Smith, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Jimmy Parenti, Jr., Richard Whitney, Kevin Hoffman (DNS).
Precise Racing Products Open Stock Feature One: Rusty Moore, Brent Johnson, Andy Buckley, Bobby Whitling, Rusty Martz, Jamie Sharba, Bill Phillips, Bobby Heim, Terry Wheeler, Rod Laskey, Terry Young, Barry Faris, Bob McMillen, Joey Zambotti, Tim Bish, Butch Lambert, Jamie Duncan, Curtis J. Bish, Randy Wyant, Bob Sloss.
Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Greg Dobrosky, Adam Kekich, Tyler Denochick, Jacob Gomola, Mike Marano, II, Gregg McCandless, Dan Bennett, Jeremy Kornbau, Andy Priest.
Precise Racing Products Open Stocks Feature Two: Gary Luzier, Jim Fosnaught, Hunter Exley, Jackson Humanic, Russ Byler, Curt Bish, Andy Thompson, Dan Fedorchack, Pat Fielding, Scott Byers, Ray Reynolds, Jesse Brock, Bill Best, Steve Allison, Bill Slade, Drew Koteles, Jake Simmons, Joe Stajnrajh, William Hurrelbrink, Ryan Newman (DNS), Gary Robinson (DNS), Joe Wrona (DNS).
Two Barrel E-Mods: Josh Ferry, Butch Lambert, Brandon Blackshear, Jace Ferringer, Mitcell Wright, Zach Myers, Cameron Nastasi, George Vestal, James Myers, Mike Harmon, Travis Creech, Steve Haefke, Brad Blackshear (DNS).
270 Micro Sprints: Ryan Fredericks, Todd Reusser, Dave Hawkins, Brandon Fredericks, Wes Libert, Denny Rineheim, Brandon Hawkins, Brian Borawiec, Austin Pasqualla, C.J. Davis, Lee Lehnerd, Chase Metheney, Al Cavoto, Johnny Walker, Mike Kerr, Tom Morell, Ed Holben, Scott Hawkins, Tim Eakin, Brett Brunkenhoefer, Levi Truitt, Brian Forester, Sterling Theiss, Greg Lazzara, Dustin Young (DNS).
Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, Rod Jones, Shane Pfeuffer, Matt Ward, Chris Logan, Zak Kimbrew, Chris Robinson, Doug Jones, Dusty Frantz, Vivian Jones, Travis Minor, Mitch Ward, Tyler Frankenberry, Keith Smith.
Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectible Mini Stocks, Shane Shook, Joe Lawson, Darrell Lawson, Rick Feely, Aley, Tim Callahan, Mike Porterfield, Logan Keney, Ed Roberts, Joe Keney, Kenny Lawson, Karlee Longwell, Tyler Young, Ed Haylett, Bill Fuchs, Isaac Paden, Justin Bailey, Josh Rathbun, Summer Pitts, Tyler Fulton, Jacob Rice, William Haylett, Nick Steiger.
Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints: Jordan Simmons, Roman Jones, Sammy Darby, Ayden Cipriano, Tyler Allison, Tyler Schiegel.