(Mercer, PA July 14, 2018): Before a near-capacity crowd, Jordan Ryan scored the biggest win of his young career in the Summer Nationals at Mercer Raceway, Park. The victory was worth $3,500 to the driver from Castalia, OH, who recently took over the seat of the McClure Motorsports number 9.
Also taking wins were Josh Sliter in the Tribute to Mark Marcucci for the Modified Lites, Andy Buckley in the Open Stocks, and Levi Spinneweber in the Super 6 Late Models.
As the laps wound down in the Sprint Car feature, Jordan Ryan prayed, and he talked to Jason Johnson, and he asked others to watch over him, too. He realized when the red flag came out instead of the checkers, that he would be tested, but he had a plan. “I yanked the wing back a little more,” figuring that his car would push a little. He was concerned that the second place car of Andrew Palker could blow by him on the outside on the restart, and that he would look stupid if he did. Everything worked out for Ryan, of course. “I’ve won a couple of other ones, but nothing like this,” he exclaimed. “We needed to get the monkey off our back real bad this year, and to do it here, in this first event the Bovas, Priesters, and everybody else put on; man, it was just an awesome event and I can’t wait to come back.”
Jordan Ryan and Cody Bova had the first row for the start of the 30 lap A Main, with Trey Jacobs and Andrew Palker in the second row, and Craig Mintz and Dennis Wagner in row three. Ryan grabbed the early lead, with Bova in second, Palker third, Jacobs in fourth, and Mintz in fifth. Ryan’s lead was erased on lap two, when Tracy Hines brought his machine to a stop in turn three.
When the green light came on again, Ryan easily pulled away from Bova. He had a lead of nearly two seconds when the caution came on for Michael Bauer’s stop in turn four. Before the field could complete another lap, Gary Kreiss, Jr. flipped his mount in turn three. He was unhurt, but unable to continue in the race. When the cars were beginning to realign for the restart, Cody Bova pulled into the pits surrendering his second position. That moved Palker up a notch.
Jordan maintained his lead on the restart. Palker began moving around on the track in search of a faster line. He was unable to find one, however, and Jordan’s lead was growing again. Palker got a break when Jeremy Kornbau and Henry Malcuit tangled in turn four with nine laps complete.
The racers finally got a long green flag run going on the ensuing restart. During the twenty lap span, Jordan caught the rear of the field and started to lap the slower machines. While doing so, he continued to lead Palker, Jacobs, Harble, and Zimbardi.
As the other lead cars began to pick their way through traffic, Jacobs started to apply some pressure on Palker for second, and Adam Kekich cracked the top five.
Jacobs was coming off turn four with the checkered flag in sight when the red flag was suddenly displayed. Kekich, who had reached the fourth position, flipped in turn two. His car caught fire, but he was extracted without injury.
That set up a one lap dash for the cash. Jordan got away cleanly. Palker tried to dive into turn one to make up some ground, but there was no catching Jordan on an unobstructed track. Crossing after them was Jacobs, Harble, and Zimbardi.
Brandon Matus was sixth, followed by Jack Sodeman, Jr. Mintz, Andy Feil, and Sye Lynch completed the top ten. Lynch was the hard charger, passing fourteen cars.
Twelve cars answered the call for the Sprint Car non-qualifiers race. Vincent Daugherty led wire to wire. Darin Gallagher was a close second. Kelsey Ivy, Jared McFarland, and Kayla Green were in the top five. Eric L. Williams, Davey Jones, George Englert, John McCracken, Jr., and Bob McMillen completed the top ten.
Heat winners in the 48 car field were Dennis Wagner, Mitch Harble, Trey Jacobs, Jared Zimbardi, Andrew Palker, and Cody Bova. The B Main winner was Carl Bowser. Mike Marano, II won the C Main. The Dashes went to Jordan Ryan and Cody Bova. The fastest qualifier was Brandon Spithaer, at 14.199 seconds. He was scheduled to start in row three of the A Main, but scratched. He received a consolation prize for his troubles.
Special awards were also presented to Kekich, as the hard luck driver; George Hobaugh, Jr., for the first Sprint Car flip of the night and also for the first wreck of the night; C.J. Jones for the highest finishing 360 Sprint; and Danny Smith for the longest tow. Two lap leader bonuses were collected by Ryan Jordan. Andrew Palker and Jared Zimbardi received bonuses for their respective top five finishes.
Rod Jones got out to a substantial lead in the fifteen lapper dedicated to the former Modified Lite track champion, Mark Marcucci, who lost his life in a highway accident. The race would pay $888 to the winner.
Josh Sliter chased Jones down and passed him in turn one on lap thirteen. A caution on the final lap gave Alan Dellinger a chance to overhaul Jones as well, but he was unable to complete the pass.
Shane Pfeuffer and Jacob Bova were fourth and fifth. Positions six through ten went to Chris Robinson, Mitch Ward, R.J. Pietz, Kenny Meadows, and Matt Ward.
Heat winners for the 49 car field were Sliter, Rod Jones, Jeff Teeters, Kenny Meadows, Alan Knepper, and Alan Dellinger. The twin B Mains went to Matt Ward and Shane Webb. Sliter also topped the speed charts in qualifications, with a lap of 18.993 seconds.
Additional awards were presented to Chris Robinson as the hard Charger, Ted Williams for hard luck, R.J. Pietz for eighth place in the feature, and Rod Jones for leading lap eight.
Tyler Purnell topped the ten-lap non-qualifiers race for the Mod Lites. Jacob Eakin was second in the affair that was marred by a number of cautions and a red flag for Roman Jones, who was not hurt in his wild ride. Dave Innes, Ayden Cipriano, Deric Ellsworth, Joey Sisk, Tiffany WIlliams, Ted Williams, Ed Mudrick, and Steve Mix, Jr. were other top ten finishers.
Andy Buckley pulled off a turn four pass on the final lap to steal the win from former track kingpin Rusty Moore. Moore led from the start of the twenty lapper. Buckley’s win was worth $1,200. His car was in pieces in the weeks leading up to this race, as Buckley tore it down completely looking to find more speed and reliability.
Moore jumped out to an early lead over Exley, Bryan Wagner, Tim Bish, and Alan Dellinger. Bish climbed up to second just four laps into the fray. While he chased Moore, he was unable to mount a serious challenge for the lead. Exley regained second position on lap fifteen.
But, Buckley was the man on the move in the final laps of the race. he followed Exley into third, and took the second position with two to go. Buckely kept the charge going, and he closed in on Moore.
When Moore swung a little wide in turn four on the final lap, that opened up the bottom groove for Buckley. He had a full head of steam as he came off the fourth turn, and he barely beat Moore to the finish line!
Dellinger was third, followed by Tim Bish, and Curtis J. Bish. Exley held on for sixth. Bill Hurrelbrink, Jamie Sharba, Larry Kugel, and Bobby Heim rounded out the top ten.
Heat winners were Tim Bish, Wagner, and Moore. The B Main belonged to William Phillips. The fastest qualifier was Alan Dellinger, who toured the speedway in 18.195 seconds.
Curtis J. Bish was the hard charger, passing ten cars on his way to the front. Russ Coyne received a bonus for the highest placing car with a GM Crate engine.
Levi Spinneweber won the heat and the feature for te Super 6 Late Models. Frank McFeats, Jim Thompson, Ed Dunkle, Nathan Mechling, Mike Spinneweber, Curtis Stivason, and Dwight Boice completed the field.
The Williams, Bova, and Priester families, as well as the staff of Mercer Raceway Park want to than the fans and the racers for the tremendous show of support of this event.
Mercer Summer Nationals Sprint Cars: Jordan Ryan, Andrew Palker, Trey Jacobs, Mitch Harble, Jared Zimbardi, Brandon Matus, Jack Sodeman, Jr., Craig Mintz, Andy Feil, Sye Lynch, Dennis Wagner, Adam Kekich, Stewart Brubaker, Carl Bowser, Henry Malcuit, Dan Kuriger, Jeremy Kornbau, Cody Bova, Joe McEwen, Gary Kreiss, Jr., Michael Bauer, C.J. Jones, Tracy Hines, Ken Rossey, Brandon Spithaler (DNS).
Sprint Car Non-qualifiers Race: Vincent Daugherty, Darin Gallagher, Kelsey Ivy, Jared McFarland, Kayla Green, Eric L. Williams, Davey Jones, George Englert, John McCracken, Jr., Bob McMillen, J.J. Jones, Mike Lutz, Jr.
DNQ: Frankie Nervo, T.J. Michaels, George Hobaugh, Jr., Bryan Saulsbery, Arnie Kent, Larry Boyle, Danny Smith, Mike Marano, II, Don Blaney, Mark Rossey, Brent Matus.
Modified Lites: Josh Sliter, Rod Jones, Alan Dellinger, Shane Pfeuffer, Jacob Bova, Chris Robinson, Mitch Ward, R.J. Pietz, Kenny Meadows, Matt Ward, Chris Logan, Shane Webb, Bob Boano, Ted Williams, Sean Iftody, Logan Lewis, Mark Marcucci, Sr., Larry Bivivino, Nick Nash, Jason Darocha, Alan Knepper, Doug Jones, Dusty Frantz, Vivian Jones, Jeff Teeters.
Modified Lite Non-Qualifiers Race: Tyler Purnell, Jacob Eakin, Dave Innes, Ayden Cipriano, Deric Ellsworth, Joey Sisk, Tiffany WIlliams, Ted Williams, Ed Mudrick, Steve Mix, Jr., Mike Heverly, Ed Murdick, Amelia Clay, Larry Rhoads, Jason Grovey, Bobby Springer, Jordan Simmons, Mark Beveridge, Roman Jones, Brian Foley.
DNQ: Rob Meisener, Steve Mix, Mark Suchan, Taylor Suchan.
Open Stock Cars: Andy Buckley, Rusty Moore, Alan Dellinger, Tim Bish, Curtis J. Bish, Hunter Exley, Bill Hurrelbrink, Jamie Sharba, Larry Kugel, Bobby Heim, Ray Reynolds, Jamie Duncan, Pat Fielding, Jacob Billyk, Josh Seippel, Try Norman, Ryan Moyer, Charlie McMillen, Jarod Larson, Bryan Wagner, Gary Miller, Jimmy Kennekecht, Bill Phillips, Rusty Wheeler.
DNQ: Russ Coyne, Scott Byers, Steve Allison.
Super 6 Late Models: Levi Spinneweber, Frank McFeats, Jim Thompson, Ed Dunkle, Nathan Mechling, Mike Spinneweber, Curtis Stivason, Dwight Boice.