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Sodeman Wins Feature and Championship at Mercer

From Lou Long

MERCER, Penn. (August 27, 2016) — Jack Sodeman, Jr. won the final feature for the 4 Your Car Connection 410 Sprint Cars and, with it came his third track championship, and second one in a row. Last week, Sodeman said that he was going to go for the win and that he would let the points take care of themselves. Well, the points did just that, as Sodeman claimed the title simply by pulling his pill upon arrival at the speedway, as the show-up points were enough to put him over the top.

Also earning victories on Championship Night were Jimmy Holden (Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds), Jimmy Seger (Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors), William Hurrelbrink (Precise Racing Products Open Stock Cars), Mark Marcucci (Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites), Tim Callahan (Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks), and Roman Jones (Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints)

Yet, Sodeman was not satisfied with backing into the title. “That’s what you’ve got to do anytime, whether you’re in the points or not, you’ve got to go to every race and then try to win every race and do the best that you absolutely can.”

Sodeman also gave credit to his crew for a reliable mount each and every race. “We didn’t have a DNF here all year, and we only had one at Lernerville the whole year,, so that speaks volumes.” Sodeman also won the title there.

The 4 Your Car Connection Sprint Car feature began with a tribute to long-time car owner Martha Dionise. Her car was making its final start at Mercer Raceway Park, and she was given a ride in the pace truck so that she could waive to the fans. Plus, her car, driven by Arnie Kent, was allowed to pace the field. Kent pulled along side the pace truck once or twice to waive back to his car owner.

Sodeman jumped out to the early lead from his pole starting position, with Brandon Matus racing in second. Michael Bauer, A.J. Flick, and George Hobaugh, Jr. were dicing for positions.

The race went non-stop, with Sodeman having an advantage of almost six seconds over Matus. Flick moved ahead of Bauer to claim third. Dan Kuriger moved ahead in the latter laps to get the fifth position.

Hobaugh was sixth, with Arnie Kent getting seventh in the final ride for the Martha Dionise 15 at the Park. Joe McEwen, Alex Paden, and Dennis Wagner completed the top ten.

Bauer and Brent Matus prevailed in their respective preliminaries.

Jimmy Holden held serve in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, taking the win and sealing yet another track championship in the process. “We got a lot of good starting spots and capitalized on them with good race cars,” Holden said.

He started on the pole and led the entire distance, but he had Lonny Riggs lurking in his shadows the entire time. “Well, Lonny Riggs raised the bar. He really did. You know Lonny came through the last two weeks and he put sone string runs up.” Riggs did try to apply some pressure to Holden in the final few laps, but Holden was not going to be denied.

Behind Holden and Riggs came Kyle Fink, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., and Jeff Schaffer, Jr. Jeff Schaffer, Sr. led Tom Holden, Rich Whitney, Kevin Green, and Ryan Kemery to the finish line.

The heat winners were Holden and Fink.

Jimmy Seger’s controversial victory in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors was enough to put him nine markers ahead of Andy Priest for the track championship. Seger and Priest were fighting hard for the lead. With seven laps completed Priest got a big run on the outside of turns three and four. Seger’s car drifted high, but Priest would not give way. The two cars made contact, with Priest getting pinched into the concrete wall and turning over at the exit to turn four. The incident destroyed Priests’s hopes of a track title.

Seger was put to the rear of the field for his role in the altercation. “You know, I was a little bit upset about the penalty.” Seger explained what happened. “I was on the brakes and on the gas trying to get away from him.” Seger denied complicity. I talked to him in the pits, I’ve never had anybody say I wrecked them. I don’t wreck people.”

He wasted little time moving forward again. He cracked the top five on lap nine, just two laps after the penalty. He took third on lap 11 and second on lap 12. Meanwhile, Mike Miller was rolling along in the lead. When Seger took second, he was nearly a full straight behind the leader.

The question on everybody’s mind was whether Miller could get to the finish line first. With the laps counting down, Seger was chopping away at the lead. As Miller completed lap 17, he had to hear Seger’s car closing in rapidly. The two raced side by side, with Miller being the popular choice among the Mercer faithful.

But, Seger rode the rim around turns three and four, as he did in his charge from the rear, and he powered off the fourth turn to lead lap 18. Seger pulled away by a couple of car lengths, scoring the win. “I lucked out on it,” Seger said. “The leader made a mistake and I was there to beat him on it.”

Miller was second, with Gregg McCandless third. Greg Dobrosky and George Englert completed the top five. Positions six through ten went to Jeremy Kornbau, C.J. Jones, Eric L. Williams, Mike Marano, II, and Priest.

The heat winners were Priest and Marano.

William Hurrelbrink put an exclamation mark on an outstanding season at Mercer Raceway Park in the Precise Racing Products Open Stocks. Hurrelbrink won both the feature even an his first track championship. “It was a great season for us; we were not expecting this, bit it worked out,” Hurrelbrink said. He was planning to make a run with a touring series his season, but some family obligations took precedence, and he had to change his racing plans to stay closer to home, he explained.

Hurrelbrink earned the pole for the feature event by being the points leader entering the final night of championship racing. He seized the lead at the drop of the green and he withstood a couple of early cautions that put the second place man, Ryan Moyer, on his flank. But Moyer could not take advantage on the opportunities. In fact, on the second restart, he slid too wide coming through turns one and two, and he surrendered three positions.

Andy Thompson climbed up to second, followed by Curt Bish, Moyer, and Pat Fielding. Bobby Heim raced in sixth almost the whole way. Dan Fedrochak, Charlie Baptiste, and Steve Allison were the final cars running. David Snider was awarded tenth based on his laps completed.

The pair of heats went to Fielding and Byler.

Mark Marcucci won the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lite feature event, but second was more than enough for Doug Jones to earn the track championship. Keith Smith came home in third. Glenn Teeters and Jason Dye were next. Levi Spinneweber, Kurt Eckstrom, Jason Johnson, Dusty Frantz, and Bill Stivason rounded out the top ten. The heat winners were Vivian Jones and Smith.

In the Mini Stock feature, presented by Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles, Tim Callahan took the lead on lap two and he went the rest of the way to claim the win. Point champion Tyler Fulton led one lap on his trek to second. Isaac Paden took third on lap 8 and kept it. Fourth went to Jacob Rice and fifth to Michael Thompson. Ed Haylett, Justin Bailey, Nick Steiger, Karlee Longwell, and Darrell Lawson, Jr. completed the top ten. Heat winners were Ed Haylett and Paden.

Roman Jones clinched the track championship for the Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints with the victory. Sammy Darby, who led the second and sixth laps before giving control to Jones, crossed in second. Maddie Bova had her best finish, a third, ahead of Chase Metheney and Austin Cavanaugh. Ayden Cipriano was sixth. Early leader Jordan Simmons retired early, but was given seventh based on laps completed. Simmons was the heat winner.

Remember, that there will be no racing on the oval for the next tree weekends. Racing will resume on September 24 and 24, with the 17th running of the Little Guys Nationals. However, the trucks and tractors will be pulling in the Final Fall Nationals on September 17.

4 Your Car Connection 410 Sprint Cars: Jack Sodeman, Jr., Brandon Matus, A.J. Flick, Michael Bauer, Dan Kuriger, George Hobaugh, Jr., Arnie Kent, Joe McEwen, Alex Paden, Dennis Wagner, Gale Ruth, Jr., Brent Matus, Darren Pifer, Zach Morrow, Gale Ruth, Sr., Lou Scudere, Harold Braden Sr., John Garvin.

Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds: Jimmy Holden, Lonny Riggs, Kyle Fink, Sid Unverzagt, Jr., Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Jeff Schaffer, Sr., Tom Holden, Rich Whitney, Kevin Green, Ryan Kemery, Jason
Sines, Jerry Bowser, Mike Gilliland, Jimmy Parenti, Jr.

Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors: Jimmy Seger, Mike Miller, Gregg McCandless, Greg Dobrosky, George Englert, Jeremy Kornbau, C.J. Jones, Eric L. Williams, Mike Marano, II, Andy Priest, Darin Gallagher (DNS).

Precise Racing Products Open Stock Cars: William Hurrelbrink, Andy Thompson, Curt Bish, Ryan Moyer, Pat Fielding, Bobby Heim, Dan Fedrochak, Charlie Baptiste, Steve Allison, David Snider, Russel Byler, Mike Case (DNS).

Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: MarkMarcucci, Doug Jones, Keith Smith, Glenn Teeters, Jason Dye, Levi Spinneweber, Kurt Eckstrom, Jason Johnson, Dusty Frantz, Bill Stivason, Jereme Bean, Jacob Bova, Vivian Jones, Shane Webb, Cody Cooper, Shane Pfeuffer (DNS).

Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking/Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks: Tim Callahan, Tyler Fulton, Isaac Paden, Jacob Rice, Michael Thompson, Ed Haylett, Justin Bailey, Nick Steiger, Karlee Longwell, Darrell Lawson, Jr., Pete Blazak, William Haylett, Josh Rathbun, Alan Perry, Shane Shook, Summer Pitts, Ray Seibert (DNS).

Elder Tractor Sales & Service Junior Sprints: Roman Jones, Sammy Darby, Maddie Bova, Chase Metheney, Austin Cavanaugh, Ayden Cipriano, Jordan Simmons