(Mercer, PA June 10, 2017): Michael Bauer, the Professor, led wire to wire for his second win of the season in the Precise Racing Products 410 Sprint Cars, and third overall, holding off the fast-closing Jack Sodeman, Jr. The twenty-five lapper was spun off in just six minutes and 43.562 seconds on Mid-Season Championship Night.
Jimmy Holden passed veteran Tommy Kristyak midway through the Turn 4 Toilets 358 Modified feature event, and went on to his fourth score of the season and 33rd of his career. Andy Priest romped to the win in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprint Cars. Taking the Mini Stock feature offered by Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking was Tim Callahan. Doug Stanley wore the nightcap for the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites.
“That was all I had for 25 laps. I just ran away from Jack (Sodeman) as fast as I could.” Bauer added, “when you see the 23 up on the board in the second place and you’re in the first place, you might as well just expect him on your tail.”
Michael Bauer had the pole position for the Mid-Season Championship tilt in the Precise Racing Products 410 Sprint Cars. He blasted out to an early lead over the Kittanning Comet, Rod George, and defending track champion and current points leader, Jack Sodeman, Jr. George Hobaugh, Jr. and Gale Ruth, Jr. also held down positions in the top five.
Bauer, who hails from Clarion, PA, wasted no time building up a commanding lead while George and Sodeman were fighting for the second spot. Sodeman grabbed the position from George on lap eight and took off after Bauer. At one point, Bauer had nearly a half track advantage, but Sodeman never gave up.
When Bauer encountered some heavy lapped traffic, Sodeman chopped the margin down considerably. However, when Bauer cleared the lappers, he began to pull away again. “Even the lapped traffic was very competitive there. I didn’t get too much courtesy there but a lapped car got me back there in one and two and I got trapped below another car. It was a white car and I thought it was Jack (Sodeman) and I said ‘aww man.’ You gotta keep charging because you know 23 is coming.”
Sodeman was indeed coming. He began to reel Bauer in again in the closing laps of the race. However, the lap counter continued to advance, and Bauer still had a margin of .644 seconds when the checkers came out.
Behind Bauer and Sodeman were George and Hobaugh. Ruth was fifth, but a lap down at the finish. Mike Miller was sixth in his first 410 start of the season. Davey Jones, Joe McEwen, Eric L. Williams, and Mike Flynn completed the top ten.
The heat winners were Bauer and George. The fastest time of the night belonged to Sodeman, who navigated the track in 14.086 seconds.
Tommy Kristyak was making his first start after destroying his racer a couple of weeks ago in a spectacular crash between turns three and four. Despite being hobbled by a knee injury, Kristyak was quick on the throttle. He led the fist ten laps before Holden was able to charge by on the only restart of the contest.
Holden was pleased with the performance of his car. “I gotta give a lot of credit to my dad, you know, we’ve been talking about this car for a few week here. You know, Kyle Fink’s been handing it to us for a couple of weeks, and he wasn’t here tonight, so we are looking forward to him coming back.”
Holden pulled away to a lead of nearly 2.7 seconds over Kristyak. Jeff Schaffer, Sr. raced up to third, with Lonny Riggs and Sid Unverzagt, Jr. completing the top five. Kyle Holden, Jason Sines, Kevin Green, Jerry Bowser, and Ryan Riffe.
Heat victories went to Jeff Schaffer, Sr. and Lonny Riggs. Collegian Kyle Holden was the evening’s fastest qualifier, at 17.329 seconds.
Andy Priest had an engine problem in the heat race, but it was all cleared up come feature time for the Bonnell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprint Cars. The New Castle driver, who was doing double duty this night, was aided by a wreck on lap eight that eliminated two top competitors. Mike Marano, II, who was running in second, spun in turn four and point leader Darin Gallagher had nowhere to go. Gallagher was fourth at the time.
Gregg McCandless was second. C.J. Jones rode home in third, with newcomer Jake Hesson in fourth and Joe Sylvester in the fifth spot. Then came Marano and Gallagher based on laps completed.
Gallagher prevailed in the only heat race for the class, while Jones had the top honors in qualifications, at 15.246 seconds.
Tim Callahan, a retired Pennsylvania State Trooper and current Mercer County Deputy Sheriff, scored his second win of the season, and fourteenth career victory in the Mini Stocks presented by Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking. Callahan swept into second place on the opening lap and took the lead just one round later. In the non-stop affair, Bill Fuchs tried to chase down Callahan in traffic, but could not accomplish the feat. “It was hard dealing with those lapped cars,” Callahan said. “You never know where they are going to go when the track is a little greasy.”
Harold Winner was third, followed by high school graduate Shane Shook, and Mike Porterfield. Tyler Fulton was sixth, ahead of Kyle Donnelly, Nick Steiger, Ed Haylett, and Justin Bailey.
The heat winners were Porterfield and Isaac Paden, who took an excursion out over the edge of turns three and four before retiring from the feature.
Bobby Singer jumped out to the early lead in the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lite feature event, which was the finale on this Mid-Season Championship Night. Just three laps in, though, Chirs Logan passed him heading toward turn three. Loagn held command until lap 13, when Doug Stanley surged ahead. Stanley led the final two rounds, making a triumphant return to Mercer Raceway Park.
Taking second was Logan. Springer held on for third. Late arriving Jason Johnston was fourth, with Shane Pfeuffer fifth in his first run of the 2017 season. Kurt Eckstrom, Shane Webb, Dusty Frantz, and Larry Bevivino completed the field.
Stanley doubled up with a heat win. Pfeuffer was the fastest car in qualifications, at 19.355, but he was unable to start his heat race.
The next two weeks will be Saturday Night Live! programs. However, there will be a twist to the one on June 17, for the Twin State Auto Racing Fan Club Night will be held at the speedway. So, all members in good standing will be admitted for free! And, then, July 1 Mercer Raceway Park will have its huge Independence Day celebration, featuring the Patriot Sprint Tour, along with the Precise Racing Products 410 Sprint Cars and the Bonnell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprints. Plus, there will be fireworks. This show will be made possible by Bonnell’s Rod Shop and Pizza Joe’s.
Precise Racing Products 410 Sprint Cars: Michael Bauer, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Rod George, George Hobaugh, Gale Ruth, Jr., Mike Miller, Davey Jones, Joe McEwen, Eric L. Williams, Mike Flynn, Mike Lutz, Sadie Siegel, Jimmy Fitzwater.
Turn 4 Toilets 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Tommy Kristyak, Jeff Schaffer, Sr., Lonny Riggs, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Kyle Holden, Jason Sines, Kevin Green, Jerry Bowser, Ryan Riffe, Ethan Siple, Andy Priest, Richard Whitney (DNS).
Bonnell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprint Cars: Andy Priest, Gregg McCandless, C.J. Jones, Jake Hesson, Joe Sylvester, Mike Marano, II, Darin Gallagher.
Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Doug Stanley, Chris Logan, Bobby Springer, Jason Johnston, Shane Pfeuffer, Kurt Eckstrom, Shane Webb, Dusty Frantz, Larry Bevivino.
Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperther’s Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks: Tim Callahan, Bill Fuchs, Harold Winner, Shane Shook, Mike Porterfield, Tyler Fulton, Kyle Donnelly, Nick Steiger, Ed Haylett, Justin Bailey, William Haylett, Karlee Longwell, Jamie Tasker, Summer Pitts, Isaac Paden, Mike Gelhausen, Josh Rathbun, J.R. Shaner (DNS).