(Mercer, PA May 27, 2017): Former ARDC Midget driver Trevor Kobylarz scored his career first Sprint Car victory with the Rick’s Truck & Equipment Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series at Mercer Raceway Park. The Birdsboro, PA native made a classic slide job in turn one following a restart to take the lead away from Justin Owen, who fought back valiantly but was never able to make a pass back for the win. The program was made possible by Bonnell’s Rod Shop.
Lonny Riggs finally pulled off the win in the Turn 4 Toilets 358 Modifieds, while Darin Gallagher chalked up his second victory in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprint Cars to stretch his lead in the championship standings. Leigh Wheeler scored in the Open Stock Cars. Ricky Weaver rolled into town to claim the nightcap for the Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks. Jordan Simmons won the Young Guns Junior Sprint feature.
“It has been about five years since I’ve raced here, since driving a Midget. It’s a fun little place to get around. I ahd a lot of fun tonight.” Kobylarz thought that his prior Midget experience on the tricky oval did not help all that much. “The sprint cars are a lot different,” he said. Kobylarz was pleased that he was able to get this win in this, his first full season in a traditional Sprint Car. “We’ve done this on and off for the last couple of years, but this is the first time that we have the resources to do the whole B.O.S.S. deal.”
Kobylarz and Owen paced the twenty car field to the green for the much anticipated B.O.S.S. tours race. Kirk Jeffires, Dustin Smith, Michael Fischesser, and Carmen Perigo, Jr. occupied the second and third rows. At the start, Kobylarz had the advantage, but Owens swooped by, bringing Jeffires and Smith along. While Owens and Kobylarz diced for the lead, Smith moved into third. Meanwhile, Brandon Spithaler charged into sixth from eighth on the grid.
A caution slowed the pace for Smith’s uncharacteristic mistake in turn three. He spun on his own while racing in third. On the ensuing restart, Kobylarz made the winning pass on the inside of turn one. Owens stayed close the rest of the way, though, and had several shots at the young Pennsylvania pilot in the final stages of the contest.
Kobylars had a slim three car length lead wiped away by a caution on lap fifteen, for a synchronized spin by Dustin Stroup and Cody Gardner in turn four. Neither driver was hurt, but they could not continue in the race.
Another caution quickly followed on lap 16, when Matt Cooley came to a halt on the frontstrectch due to a broken shock. Despite that, he did soldier on for a couple more laps before the ill effects took their toll.
The racers clicked off five laps before the next stoppage, which may have come at an opportune moment for the leader. Kobylarz was under heavy attack from Owens and Fischesser, as the three leaders had separated themselves from the rest of the pack.
Three laps later, Kirk Jeffries struck the second turn wall with great force, bringing out a red flag to check on his medical condition. Fortunately, he was not hurt, but the car did sustain major damage. At the time, Jeffires was racing in the top five. The racers were given an open red to ensure that they would have sufficient fuel to go the distance.
The final three laps were run without any interruptions. Kobylarz held his line, while Owen searched high and low for a quicker way around. He couldn’t find one, however. Fischesser followed in third. Fourth went to Steve Little, and fifth to Joey Biasi, who came on in the late stages of the race.
Gale Ruth, Jr. was the highest finishing local driver, in sixth. He came from deep in the field to garner that spot. Perigo crossed in seventh, followed by Smith coming back from the tail, Spithaler, and Aaron Middaugh.
Heat winners were Owens, Perigo, and Kobylarz. The B Main winner was Andy Feil.
In the Turn 4 Toilets 358 Modifieds, Lonny Riggs of Volant blasted into the lead from his outside front row starting position, and he never looked back. J.R. McGinley, the pole man, chased Riggs for the first eight laps before giving way to Jimmy Holden. Holden did go toe to toe with Riggs for several laps before fading in the stretch run.
Jeff Schaffer, Sr. was second, with Sid Unverzagt, Jr. third. Holden beat Richard Whitney to the finish line for fourth. J.R. McGinley was sixth, with Gerry Bowser in seventh. Tommy Kristyak was unable to start the feature, after taking a nasty spill in turn three in his heat. The veteran was unhurt, but departed the grounds soon thereafter.
The heat winner was McGinley. Holden turned in the night’s best time, at 17.079 seconds.
Darin Gallagher made a clean sweep of things in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprints, setting the evening’s best time at 15.239 seconds, winning his heat, and taking the feature event. It was the Butler driver’s second triumph of the season. He chased down Gregg McCandless on lap 17. McCandless, who led from lap three, did finish second. Third was the early leader, Mike Marano, II. Jeremy Kornbau was back in his machine and finished fourth, ahead of Joe Sylvester. Rookie Caitlin Chaffman was sixth.
Leigh Wheeler also made a clean sweep in the Open Stocks. After timing best at 18.507, he went on to win his heat and dominate the feature. On lap five, Wheeler overhauled Jimmy Kenneknecht, who had led from the outset of the fifteen lapper. Terry Wheeler was third, ahead of Pat Fielding and Terry Young. Charlie McMillen, Scott Byers, and Charlie Baptiste rounded out the field.
Ricky Weaver invaded Mercer Raceway Park and came away with the Mini Stock win in the race presented by Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking. He assumed the lead from Rick Feely after a couple of laps were completed. Isaac Paden came on to get the second spot. Taking third was Bill Fuchs, ahead of Tyler Fulton and Joe Campbell. Positions six through ten went to Tim Callahan, Kyle Donnelly, Justin Bailey, Nick Steiger, and William Haylett.
The heat wins belonged to Callahan, Feely, and Harold Winner.
Jordan Simmons topped Luke Mulichak in the feature event for the Young Guns Junior Sprints. The lad passed Mulichak on lap five on his way to victory. Michael Lutz was third, with Alan Rundal and Blaine Schlechty trailing. Jaren Dye was unable to starft the race. The heat win belonged to Mulichak.
Remember that the All American Spring Nationals Truck and Tractor Pull will be held at the Park on Sunday, May 28, with a Monday rain date. Gates will open at 4, with the first pull at 6. If the raindate is used, gates will open at 4, and pulling will start at 5.
Next weekend, Tony Stewart’s All Stars Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars invade Western Pennsylvania. Mercer Raceway Park will host the back end of the doubleheader. Then, on June 10, the Mid-season Championships will be held. It will also be Meet Your Heroes Nigh, so fans can mingle with their favorite drivers, get photos and autographs. June 17 will be Twin State Auto Racing Fan CLub Night, with all members in good standing being admitted for free.
B.O.S.S. Sprints: Trevor Kobylarz, Justin Owen, Michael Fischesser, Steve Little, Joey Biasi, Gale Ruth, Jr., Carmen Perigo, Dustin Smith, Brandon Spithaler, Aaron Middaugh, Paul Dues, Mike Miller, Joe Butera, Chad Wilson, Andy Feil, Kirk Jeffries, Matt Cooley, Dustin Stroup, Cody Gardner, Jeremy Kornbau. DNQ: Gale Ruth, Sr., Bob McMillen, Rick Holley, Buddy Lowther, Francis Sesco, Riley VanHise, Curtis Muhlenkemp.
Turn 4 Toilets 358 Modifieds: Lonny Riggs, Jeff Schaffer, Sr., Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Jimmy Holden, Richard Whitney, J.R. McGinley, Gerry Bowser, Tommy Kristyak (DNS).
Bonnell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprints: Darin Gallagher, Gregg McCandless, Mike Marano, II, Jeremy Kornbau, Joe Sylvester, Caitlin Chaffman.
Open Stocks: Leigh Wheeler, Jimmy Kenneknecht, Terry Wheeler, Pat Fielding, Terry Young, Charlie McMillen, Scott Byers, Charlie Baptiste.
Ray’s Racing Collectibles/Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks: Ricky Weaver, Isaac Paden, Bill Fuchs, Tyler Fulton, Joe Campbell, Tim Callahan, Kyle Donnelly, Justin Bailey, Nick Steiger, William Haylett, Mike Gelhausen, Summer Pitts, Pat Hanlon, Rick Feely, Harold Winner, Shane Shook, Jamie Tasker, Jacob Rice, Karlee Longwell, J.R. Shaner (DNS), Dillon Speer (DNS), Josh Rathbun (DNS).
Young Guns Junior Sprints: Jordan Simmons, Luke Mulichak, Michael Lutz, Alan Rundal, Blaine Schlechty, Jaren Dye (DNS).