(Mercer, PA July 29, 2017): Dan Kuriger made a daring pass to take command of the Precise Racing Products 410 Sprint Car Main event at Mercer Raceway Park. Kuriger went three-wide on the frontstretch, going past leader Rod George and a lapped car on the eighth circuit. Kuriger then fought off the persistent challenges from George to score his first of the season and eighth in his career.
“I was just trying to keep my car rolling around the top and that was about the only chance I had to get Rod tonight. He’s really tough here, he’s always been tough here, so I just gave it my best shot.” Kuriger explained hat he also had a mechanical problem during the race. “We had something go wrong in the feature, it got really loud, I think we broke a header or something.” Kuriger added, “it was kinda messing me up driving, but it all worked out.”
Also taking wins were Mike Marano, II, in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprint Cars, Jimmy Holden in the Turn Toilets 358 Modifieds, Isaac Paden in the Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks, and Mark Marcucci in the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites.
It was Bicycle Race Night for the children in attendance. The promotion was made possible by Turn 4 Toilets and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. Five Bikes were given away to lucky children. All the participants received a grab bag of merchandise, along with a gift certificate redeemable at Ray’s Racing Collectibles novelty stand. The Mercer County Dairy Princess, Miss Jocelyn Snyder, was on hand to pass out milk from Dean’s Dairy for all of the children.
George and Kuriger had the front row for the start of the Precise Racing Products 410 Sprint Car A Main. Vinnie Daugherty, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Bryan Saulsbery, and Eric L. Williams were next. At the drop of the green, George opened up a lead of a couple of car lengths. Kuriger was riding the cushion, with Sodeman looking on the inside. Daugherty and Williams were fighting for position, with Saulsbery and Mike Miller looking on.
A brief caution slowed the pace two laps into the race, But George jumped ahead when the green light flashed on again. Kuriger, Sodeman, and Daugherty came next.
In just a handful of laps, the leaders were at the rear of the field, and that is when Kuriger made his bid for the lead. George went low coming off the corner and closed quickly on the slower machine. Meanwhile, Kuriger had a full head of steam and he was taking the high line. Kuriger managed to fit between the slower car and the frontstretch wall, and he entered turn one with the lead that he would not relinquish.
That is not to say that Kuriger had smooth sailing the rest of the way. Indeed, he had a scary moment as he was coming off turn four to complete lap 13. Mike Miller, who was solidly in the top ten at the time, did a 360 degree spin in front of leader Kuriger. Miller kept his car moving, and Kuriger was able to jog to the outside as he went by unscathed. And, hen there was the broken header.
The racers had a run of yellow fever for several laps, before settling down for the run to the checkers.
While Kuriger and George were fighting for the lead, Jack Sodeman saw his night come to an early end. While riding in third, Sodeman popped a right rear tire. The exploding tire damaged a radius rod, and he was unable to make repairs top resume the race. Sadie Siegel, also in the top ten, suffered a flat right rear as well. She drove to the pits and had the tire changed. A well timed caution enabled her to re-enter the race on the lead lap.
Kuriger did lead the rest of the way, but George was never more than a car length or so behind. Daugherty finished third, with Jimmy Morris fourth and Eric L. Williams fifth. Mike Miller rebounded to sixth, ahead of Davey Jones, Saulsbery, Siegel, and Michael Bauer in the borrowed 305 Sprint Car of Nevan O’Donnell.
Jack Sodeman, Jr. turned in a lap of 14.314 seconds and backed it up with a heat win. Vinnie Daugherty also prevailed in his heat.
Jimmy Holden started on the pole and led the entire twenty laps of the Turn 4 Toilets 3589 Modifieds. “The car felt good up until three to go, and I lost my rhythm,” Holden said. “I was lucky to get the job done.”
Indeed, Lonny Riggs, Holden’s main nemesis this season, came on strong in the final half of the race to earn a close second. J.R. McGinley, Kyle Fink, and Jeff Schaffer, Jr. completed the top five. Tommy Krisytak, Jeff Schaffer, Sr., Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Jason Sines, and Kyle Holden rounded out the top ten.
Kyle Fink was the fastest 358 Modified in qualifications, lapping the track in 17.395 seconds. Kyle Holden and Lonny Riggs were the best in the heat races.
Mike Marano, II led wire to wire to capture the 305 Sprint Car Main presented by Bonnell’s Rod Shop. Andy Priest got his car fixed from the heat race, and ran second the entire way. Points leader Darin Gallagher was third. Nevan O’Donnell was fourth. Darin Gallagher topped the charts in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprints, at 15.298 seconds. He was also the heat winner.
Isaac Paden earned a hard fought victory in the Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks. It was the teen’s second win of the season. His primary contender was Shane Shook, who limped across in second after a valiant battle with Paden. Bill Fuchs was in the mix as well, but he slipped too and crossed in fifth. Sliding up to third was Tyler Fulton and fourth went to Rick Feely. Sixth through tenth were Ed Haylet, Dean Speer, Caleb Hickok subbing for Tim Callahan, Harold Winner, and John McCracken, Jr.
In the Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener’s Autop Wrecking Mini Stocks, Tyler Fulton, Shane Shook, and Isaac Paden scored the heat race wins.
Mark Marcucci racked up another perfect night in the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites, setting he fastest lap in qualifications, winning his heat, and dominating the feature event. Doug Jones held on for second, after leading several laps before Marcucci took command. Joey Zambotti was third, ahead of Shane Webb and early leader Bobby Springer. Jason Johnston, Doug Stanley, A.J. Barris, Ed Murdick, and Jereme Bean completed the top ten. The second heat winner was Shane Webb.
Next week will be the Fourth Annual Paul “Putsy” Kekich Memorial. All regular divisions will be in action in this special program made possible by Sunburst Environmental and Bonnell’s Rod Shop. It will be the first of four consecutive specials to close out the regular season. Remember that the BRP Modified Tour will come in on August 12 for another round of Smackdown! action, The summer Shootout will be August 19, featuring the FAST 410 and 305 Sprints. Then, the Patriot Sprint Tour will help to close out the month.
Precise Racing Products 410 Sprint Cars: Dan Kuriger, Rod George, Vinnie Daugherty, Jimmy Morris, Eric L. WIlliams, Mike Miller, Davey Jones, Bryan Saulsbery, Sadie Siegel, Michael Bauer, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Francis Sesco, George Hobaugh, Jr., Dennis Wagner, Zach Morrow (DNS).
Turn 4 Toilets 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Lonny Riggs, J.R. McGinley, Kyle Fink, Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Tommy Krisytak, Jeff Schaffer, Sr., Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Jason Sines, Kyle Holden, Kevin Green, Ryan Riffe, Ethan Siple, Jerry Bowser.
Bonnell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprint Cars: Mike Marano, II, Andy Priest, Darin Gallagher, Nevan O’Donnell.
Ray’s Racing Collectibles/Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks: Isaac Paden, Shane Shook, Tyler Fulton, Rick Feely, Bill Fuchs, Ed Haylett, Dean Speer, Caleb Hickok, John McCracken, Jr., J.R. Shaner, Jamie Tasker, Justin Bailey, Nick Steiger, Karlee Longwell, Kyle Donnelly, Mike Porterfield, William Haylett, Tyler Young (DNS).
Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, Doug Jones, Joey Zambotti, Shane Webb, Bobby Springer, Jason Johnston, Dopug Stanley, A.J. Barris, Ed Murdick, Jereme Bean, Dusty Frantz, Jerry Haushoger, Larry Bevivino.