From Mike Leone
Mercer, PA…After big special race events the last two weeks, Mercer Raceway Park will return with its traditional “Saturday Night Live” racing program of Luxaire Heating & Cooling 410 Sprint Cars, Approved Toilet Rentals Modifieds, 4 Your Car Connection FASTRAK Late Models, Big Daddy’s Speed Center Stock Cars, and the M&D Paving Mini Stocks this Saturday night, July 17 beginning at 7 p.m. The night will end with the third annual “KABOOM 100” Enduro. It’s Dean Dairy Corp. Night.
Mercer Raceway Park invites all Buckeyes to cross the border and enjoy a free night of racing! All Ohio residents and accompanying children 15 and under will be admitted into the grandstands at no charge by simply showing a valid ID with an Ohio address.
Not only will Ohio residents enjoy a free night, but the rescheduled Free Venango County Night will also take place. Originally scheduled for June 5, the night fell victim to rain during the stretch of five rainouts in seven race nights. Spanky’s Tobacco World will present this annual night, which admits all Venango County residents and accompanying children 15 and under into the grandstands at no charge by simply showing a valid ID with an address in Venango County.
The Enduros have become a popular attraction the last three years at The Park with the “Jack Frost 150” in January and the “KABOOM 100” in July. This year’s “KABOOM 100” will take place following the completion of racing action with $1,000 going to the winner and paying down five spots. Tim Gillette of Linesville, Pa. will look to make it a perfect three-for-three in the event as he rolls off from the fifth starting position Saturday. Gillette also won the 2009 “Jack Frost 150” as he’s won three of the five Enduros held. Drivers can enter the Enduro on Saturday without being pre-entered.
“I’m really looking forward to Saturday night,” stated first year owner Bill Altman. “It’ll be good to get back to our regular racing and I hope all the fans from Ohio and Venango County come an enjoy this big race night free of charge. Not only are they going to see five great divisions including Sprints, Modifieds, and Late Models, but add in the 100-lap Enduro and it’s going to be quite a night.”
Strong fields of Sprint Cars and top-notch racers have been present the past two events with 23 and 24 cars respectively. Mercer is the highest paying regional track offering $1,500 to-win, $225 to-start plus five Goodyear Tire certificates. Two-time winner Ed Lynch, Jr. maintains a 24-point lead over one-time winner Bob Felmlee. Lynch’s point lead may evaporate Saturday as Lynch is expected to represent the region at the $50,000 to-win Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway. There have been seven different winners in nine races as only Lynch and Mike Lutz have been able to repeat.
The Modified car count has been on the upswing this year as the last night they competed on June 26, a 20-car field was present with the area’s best 358 small blocks. A total of 34 different cars have competed this year, and atop the standings is Jimmy Holden. The Tiona, Pa. driver has one win and has built up a 19-point lead over three-time champion Frank Guidace in search of his first championship. Only Lonny Riggs has been able to repeat, as there have been five different winners in six races.
It’s been a dream season to date for Kyle Zimmerman in the FASTRAK Late Models. The Albion, Pa. driver has four runner-up finishes to go along with a fifth, sixth, and an 11th as he currently leads the points in his first season racing at Mercer. His worst finish was nothing to sneeze at though as it came in the $6,000 to-win “Summer Nationals” against a 39-car field on July 3. With a couple other special races in the region, Saturday could be another great opportunity for a new winner as earlier this season Dwayne Pond (first career Late Model win), Tyler Dietz (career first win), and Brian Booher (first win in two years) all collected victories.
Slowly but surely, the Stock Car division continues to rise. The last time the Stocks raced on July 3, 14 cars were on hand, which was a two-year high since the rebirth of the division. Already this season, 21 different cars have competed. Steve D’Apolito continues to be the man to beat. The Boardman, Ohio driver has already matched last year’s five-win total and has a 23-point lead over one-time winner Chris Haines in search of his first ever Mercer championship.
The competitiveness of the Mini Stocks is second to none. In 11 races thus far in 2010, there have been an amazing nine different winners as only point leader Wally Stearns, Jr. and Lee Lehnerd have been able to repeat. Stearns of Harrisville, Pa. has opened up a commanding 43-point lead over Pete Blazczak as he inches closer to his first track championship. A total of 49 different cars have competed in 2010! The Mini Stocks now offer a full field purse with $100 to-win, $25 to-start.
Saturday’s four Shaffer’s Auto Service & Towing “In the Spotlight” drivers are Sprint Car ace Arnie Kent, Modified point leader Jimmy Holden, former Stock Car & Little Guy Nationals champion Shaun Hooks, and sophomore improving FASTRAK Late Model racer Rusty Cade. The first 300 fans will receive a custom, color autograph card of these four racers. Fans will be able to meet these racers and see their cars in the midway from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m.
Pits open at 3:30 p.m. and grandstand at 4:30 p.m. Warm-ups begin at 6:15 and the first green flag at 7. Adult admission for all others is $12. The family pass for mom, dad, and up to four kids 6-15 is $25. Students 6-15 are $5. Children five and under and parking are free! Pit passes are $25.
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 late March through early October. The office in New Bedford, Pa. is open year-round late mornings and after 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information call the office at 724-964-9300 or the track on race day at 724-662-1310. Check out our website at www.mercerracewaypark.com for the latest. Go to www.twitter.com/mercerraceway or Mercer Raceway Park at www.facebook.com/mercerracewaypark to stay up to date.