Mercer, PA (April 6, 2014): Gregg Satterlee worked hard to earn the first victory of the 2014 NDRL Northeast Regional Late Model Series, capturing the Chiller Thriller at Mercer Raceway Park. The driver from Rochester Mills, PA worked both grooves to perfection, but it was a power move off the outside of turn four that propelled him into lead on lap 26 of the 30 lap affair.
Dennis Lunger led from wire to wire to win the non-stop unsanctioned Crate Late Model event. Rich Michael, Jr. fought off a late race charge by Joel Watson to take the opening round of the NDRL Modified Series. Chris Schneider mastered the Open Stocks.
“The track was awesome, I could put the car anywhere I wanted,” Satterlee said. “There was a little spot entering turn one, but there was plenty of room that you could go under it or outside of it,” he added. Satterlee was relieved to get the win, as it was the first race he ran in his home state this season.
In the NDRL Late Model headliner, Russell King used the cushion to grab the early lead over Tim Fuller, who was making his first start ever at the Park. King kept the New Yorker at bay for the first five laps of the race, while Dan Stone and Gregg Satterlee waged an intense battle for the third position. However, when King moved to the inside, it was Fuller who used the outside line to get a run coming off the second corner. Fuller’s momentum carried all the way through turns three and four, and he emerged with the lead on the sixth circuit. Satterlee tried a similar maneuver to get around King on the next lap, to no avail, as he slid off the edge of the back chute, losing valuable ground.
Satterlee’s miscue had no lingering effects, for a caution on lap 14 bunched the field together again. Dan Stone’s badly smoking car stopped along the back stretch while running in the fourth position. Fuller made a slow pace for the restart, trapping King behind him. That allowed Satterlee to get a run on the outside. This time, he kept all four wheels on the racing surface, and he took second away from King. Satterlee surged ahead on the outside, pulling beside Fuller in turns three and four. But Fuller kept the lead.
Fuller and Satterlee diced for several laps before the second stoppage occurred. Fuller had the point, and Satterlee took the outside line for the Delaware Double file restart. This time, Fuller used the outside line to slow Satterlee’s advance. Satterlee switched lines, too, now using the inside groove to apply pressure to Fuller for the next several laps.
The third and final caution came on lap 18. With Fuller out front, and Satterlee and King behind him, the fans got ready for a thrilling finish. Fuller dropped to the inside, and King tapped him as the field came toward the start. Fuller kept the car straight, though, and pulled away with the lead. Satterlee took a run on the outside, and began to make some headway on the leader. He made the winning move coming off turn four to complete lap 26.
Soon after surrendering the lead, Fuller’s mount began to slow. He had a flat right rear. He limped along for over a lap, hoping to nurse the car to the finish. However, he could not keep up his speed and retired from the fray.
At the checkers, Satterlee had a comfortable margin over Keith Barbara, who passed King in the final few laps. Mike Knight ran a consistent race to take fourth, just a notch ahead of Max Blair, who was making his first Super Late Model start at Mercer Raceway Park. Blair was a standout at the track in the Crate Late Model division earlier in his career.
Justin Kann, Brent Rhebergen, Greg Oakes, Jared Miley and Chad Hollenbeck completed the top ten.
Heat winners were Satterlee, King, and Fuller. There was no B Main.
Veteran Dennis Lunger powered into the lead at the drop of the green in the unsanctioned Crate Late Model go. Will Thomas, III, fought off George Kowatic and Matt Latta for the second spot. Lunger opened up a safe lead and put the car on cruise control for the rest of the 25 lapper.
Thomas held on for second, ahead of Kopwatic, Latta, and Eric Wilson. Kyle Lukon, Max Blair, Chad Wright, Damian Bidwiell, and Chad Shearer rounded out the to ten.
Heat winners were Kowatic and Lunger. There was no B Main.
In the NDRL Modifieds, Mike Kinney jumped out to the early lead, but defending series champion Steve Dixon roared around the outside of turn two to take the lead away. Dixon’s lead was short-lived. Rich Michael, Jr. slipped by just before the first and only caution of the event. Joel Watson powered past Dixon on the restart and gave chase to Michael. He almost pulled off the win, but Michael had the preferred inside line as they fought through traffic to the finish.
Behind Michael and Watson came Dixon, Brent Rhebergen, and Randy Hall. Mike Potosky, Justin Carlson, Kinney, Ken Zimmer, and Jeff Johnson were next across the stripe.
The heat winners were Rhebergen and Watson. There was no B Main.
Rusty Martz and Tim Burns battled through the early stages of the Open Stock finale. However, it was Chris Schneider who came away with the win. Schneider patiently kept close to the leaders and he picked them off to take command on lap nine. Burns and Martz wrestled for second, with Burns coming out on top. Gary Miller, Jr. and Leigh Wheeler completed the top five. Rusty Wheeler, Curt Bish, Patrick Adams, Chris Withers, and Tim Bish were the next five finishers.
Heat winners were Leigh Wheeler, Schneider and Pat Fielding. There was no B Main.
Mercer Raceway Park will return to action on Saturday, April 12, with the first Saturday Night Live! program of the 2014 racing season. Points battles will begin immediately in the six regular divisions that appear at the speedway. Jack Sodeman, Jr. will start the title defense in the 410 Sprint division, sponsored by Luxaire Heating & Cooling, Ralph Butch, Inc. , and New Wilmington Motors. Frankie Guidace in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds; Michael Bauer, in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors; Rusty Moore in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars; Jamey Lee, in the Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks; and Shane Pfeuffer in the Big Dadd’s Speed Center/Rock Concrete Modified Lites, will also be on hand to fight off the challengers.
There will be an open practice session on Wednesday, April 9, commencing at 4.
About Mercer Raceway Park: Mercer Raceway Park is a 3/8-mile dirt track located minutes from both Interstate 79 and 80 just off Route 19 on Fairground Road in Mercer, Pa. Dirt track racing and quality family entertainment are presented weekly from late March through late September. For more information, check out www.mercerracewaypark.com, www.twitter.com/mercerraceway, or www.facebook.com/mercerracewaypark.
NDRL Northeast Regional Late Model Series: Gregg Satterlee, Keith Barbara, Russell King, Mike Knight, Max Blair, Justin Kann, Brent Rhebergen, Greg Oakes, Jared Miley, Chad Hollenbeck, Andy Boozel, Billy Dickson, Bo Lockwood, Michael Oakes, Tim Fuller, Ryan Christoff, Clay Ruffo, Doug Eck, Dan Stone.
Crate Late Models: Dennis Lunger, Will Thomas, III, George Kowatic, Matt Latta, Eric Wilson, Kyle Lukon, Max Blair, Chad Wright, Damian Bidwiell, Chad Shearer, Michael Lake, Bob Pifer, T.J. Downs.
NDRL Modified Series: Rich Michael, Jr., Joel Watson, Steve Dixon, Brent Rhebergen, Randy Hall, Mike Potosky, Justin Carlson, Mike Kinney, Ken Zimmer, Jeff Johnson, Rusty Wheeler, Steven Burns, Jr., Jim Turley, John Boardman, Jim Dellinger, Mike McGee.
Open Stocks: Chris Schneider, Tim Burns, Rusty Martz, Gary Miller, Jr., Leigh Wheeler, Rusty Wheeler, Curt Bish, Patrick Adams, Chris Withers, Tim Bish, Bob Sloss, Cody Bliss, Rodney Thoms, Gary Fisher, Jason Covey, Tony Hyde, Mark Peck, Jr., Curt Bish, Randy Sprouse, Randy Wyant, Pat Fielding, Rob Bates.