Priester Wins One for the Cowboy
Jones, Guidace, Blazak, Moore and Bova also Score
Mercer, PA (May 18, 2013): Cowboy Brian Steinman stole the show at Mercer Raceway Park when he received his motorized all-terrain wheelchair, which was built especially for him by Trac Fabrication of nearby Volant, PA. Steinman’s chair was made possible by a grant from the Steven King Foundation and the generosity of the racing community. In a show of love and support, the racers and their crews joined him on the frontstretch for the presentation during the intermission.
Scott Priester scored the victory for Martha Dionise in the 410 Sprints, sponsored by Luxaire Heating & Cooling and New Wilmington Motors. Earlier in the evening, when Priester pulled his pill for heat races, it was number 24. “I just had that feeling that we would win that one for Cowboy,” said the veteran car owner. It was her first win since 2009, when Mike Lutz took the purple and white colors to victory lane. Priester was greeted by Steinman when he came across the track to do his post-race interview. He dedicated the win to his friend.
C.J. Jones conquered the Bonnell’s Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors. Frankie Guidace topped his arch rival, Jimmy Holden, in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. Pete Blazak returned to victory lane in the Mini Stocks, which are now racing for Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. Rusty Moore benefitted from a late-race restart to pass Curtis Bish for the lead and the win in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars. The final go went to Cody Bova, who was substituting for his brother Jacob in the Modified Lites racing for Big Daddy’s Speed Center and Rock Concrete.
Jimmy Seeger jumped out to a commanding lead at the start of the 410 Sprint Car event presented by Luxaire Heating & Cooling and New Wilmington Motors. The invader’s bid for the win came to an abrupt end just five laps into the race. He spun between turns one and two and then top wing collapsed. It would not be the last wing failure of the night, however.
Eric Williams inherited the lead when Seeger spun. Williams opened up a lead of three or four car lengths over Brent Matus and Adam Kekich. Kekich claimed second on lap six, and he immediately began to close in on Williams.
Two laps later, Dan Kuriger slowed and dropped from the top five. He was unable to get his disabled car far enough off the track, forcing a caution. When the field slowed, Jack Sdoeman, Jr. limped off the track with a badly smoking engine.
On the restart, Williams rolled into turn one with the lead, but Kekich went to the cushion. He pulled even with Williams racing through turns one and two. They raced side by side into turn three, just inches apart. Kekich bobbled in the corner, allowing Williams to scoot away.
As Williams was sailing along with the lead, Scott Priester worked into second. After the taking the white flag, Williams made slight contact with a lapped car that checked up to avoid the spinning car of Chris Best. That was just enough to dislodge the front mounts for Williams’ nose wing, allowing it to peel back over the hood of his car.
On the restart, Williams took the inside line to try to protect his position. His car was no match for Priester’s machine though. Priester drove by on the outside and pulled away for the win. Interestingly, Priester’s final lap was the fastest lap of the night for the 410 Sprints.
Williams maintained second despite the useless wing. Brandon Matus advanced to third. Kekich was fourth and Rod George was right behind him. Carl Bowser, Brent Matus, Adam Anderson, Bob McMillen and Chris Best occupied positions six through ten.
The heat wins were scored by Sodeman and Seeger.
The Bonnell’s Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors took to the track immediately after the emotional presentation to Cowboy. C.J. Jones turned in a dominant performance, which was interrupted briefly for a spin by Thomas Sanders on lap 9. For Jones, it was a bit of redemption, as he was leading the way on May 4 when he crashed in turn one. “After what happened two weeks ago, it was very, very nerve wracking,” he said.
Michael Bauer, the winner on opening night, was second. Andy Feil raced home in third. He took the position just before the halfway mark when Jacob Lagestee’s car mysteriously slowed. Lagestee quickly regrouped and finished in fourth. Mike Miller got fifth in his first start in the class this season. Miller was doing double duty on this night, as he also raced a 410 Sprinter.
Defending champion Joe McEwen crossed in sixth, with Jeff Goodman, Jimmy Morris, Dalton Daniels, and Jacob Gomola completing the top ten.
The heat winners in the Warriors were Miller and Gomola. It was Gomola’s first career victory in this class.
In the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, Frankie “on the Gas” Guidace took the win over another former divisional champion, Jimmy Holden. “This is just like old times,” Guidace said. Neither he nor Holden had much success in 2012. He added, “I’m getting to old to run that many laps without a caution.” The race went nonstop.
Guidace also explained that he went too soft on his shocks, assuming that the track would get dry like it did in the heat races. However, the moisture started to rise in the surface as the race went on, and he had to search for a better line to maintain his lead. By dropping to the inside, he was able to compensate.
The start of the event was marred by a crash in turn four that collected several racers. Makayla Guidace broke the driveshaft in her car and the field bunched up behind her. Gary Smoker, who won on opening night, and Clyde Gumpp were unable to continue. Tommy Marshall, III was also involved, but he was able to restart. That was the only stoppage in the race.
Kyle Fink blasted out to the initial lead, with Holden, Guidace and J.R. McGinley close behind. Fink surrendered the lead to Holden in turn one on lap two. Guidace went by in turn two and McGinley soon followed into third. Fink settled into fourth, and held the position to the checkers.
Guidace had a bit of a scare while racing out front. He closed quickly on a lapped car and he had to check up. While Holden was able to narrow the gap, he could not take advantage of Guidace’s miscue. Holden pressed Guidace the rest of the way, but came up just a little short at the finish.
McGinley finished a solid third. Fink and Jeff Schaffer rounded out the top five. Next across the line were Andy Paden, Lonny Riggs, Shawn Fleeger, Matt Reeher and Max Smoker.
The preliminaries went to Holden and Paden.
Pete Blazak sped off to the win in the Mini Stock class, racing under the twin banners of Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. Jamey Lee padded his points lead with a fine second place run. Mike McConnell grabbed third when Tim Callahan’s car broke coming to the checkers. Adam Bulfone suffered a similar fate, but he limped across in fifth.
Sixth through tenth belonged to Tyler Fulton, Leo Hanlon, Joel Wisser, Patricia Riffe and Rudy Troples.
The qualifiers went to Shane Smith and Callahan.
The winner in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars was trusty Rusty Moore, who used a late race restart to power past leader Curtis Bish. Trailing that pair were Shawn Smith, Andy Thompson and Leigh Wheeler. Next across the line were Bob Scwartzmiller, Garrett Calvert, Brandon Johnston and Bobby Heim. Jim Keith was tenth.
Moore and Thompson were victorious in their heats.
The nightcap for the Modified Lites was offered by Big Daddy’s Speed Center and Rock Concrete. Cody Bova took the win in the car normally driven by his brother Jacob. Jacob became ill between the heats and the feature. Cody was available to substitute for him, as the engine failed in his mount. The points will be awarded to Jacob under track rules.
Shane Pfeuffer made a daring outside run on the final lap, but Bova had enough power to hold him off in the final turns. Kotie Kirkbride fought off Bill Stivason to claim third. Cory Webb and Josh Deems were fifth and sixth.
Taylor Smith was scored in seventh, ahead of Tyler Frankenberry, who detonated his motor while racing in the top five.
Frankenberry won the only heat for the class this evening.
Mercer Raceway Park will be back in action with two thrilling programs over the Memorial Day weekend. The oval will host the Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series. That’s right, the warriors without wings will invade the Park to take on the regulars, sans wings of course, from the Luxaire Heating & Cooling/New Wilmington Motors Sprint Car division. You will not want to miss this unique event. May 25 will also be the Mahoning Valley Scrappers promotional night. Come out for minor league baseball tickets and other give-aways! Then, on Sunday evening, May 26, the attention will turn to the pulling pit, as the All-American “Spring Nationals” World Championship will take place. It will be the first points event for the pullers, so all of the big names will be in to get the jump on the competition! There will be a Monday raindate for the pull.
Bonnell’s Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors: C.J. Jones, Michael Bauer, Andy Feil, Jacob Lagestee, Mike Miller, Joe McEwen, Jeff Goodman, Jimmy Morris, Dalton Daniels, Jacob Gomola, Thomas Sanders, Chad Matthews, Chris Matthews (DNS), Richard Lawson (DNS).
Approved Toilet Rentals358 Modifieds: Frankie Guidace, Jimmy Holden, J.R. McGinley, Kyle Fink, Jeff Schaffer, Andy Paden, Lonny Riggs, Shawn Fleeger, Matt Reeher Max Smoker, Tommy Marshall, III, Shayne Izzo, Makayla Guidace, Gary Smoker, Clyde Gumpp, Dillon Barr, Eric Beggs (DNS).
Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Pete Blazak, Jamey Lee, Mike McConnell, Tim Callahan, Adam Bulfone, Tyler Fulton, Leo Hanlon, Joel Wisser, Patricia Riffe, Rudy Troples, Shane Snook, Shane Smith, Wally Stearns, Josh Eakman, Matt Cwynar, Steve Longwell, Sr. (DNS), Dylan Thomas (DNS), Ed Haylett (DNS).
Precise Racing Products Stock Cars: Rusty Moore, Curtis Bish, Shawn Smith, Andy Thompson, Leigh Wheeler, Bob Schwartzmiller, Garrett Calvert, Brandon Johnston, Bobby Heim, Jim Keith, Michael Tonkinson (DNS).
Big Daddy’s Speed Center/Rock Concrete Modified Lites: Cody Bova, Shane Pfeuffer, Kotie Kirkbride, Bill Stivason, Cory Webb, Josh Deems, Taylor Smith, Tyler Frankenberry.
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.