From Mike Leone, Mudclodbob Photo
Mercer, PA…After snow showers the night prior, sunshine and warmer temperatures returned on Saturday allowing Mercer Raceway Park to complete the third straight event of the new season. Celebrating in the Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic victory lane were Ed Lynch, Jr.-Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars, Dustin Martin-Approved Toilet Rentals Modifieds, Max Blair-4 Your Car Connection FASTRAK Late Models, Mike Eschrich-E-Mods, and Jamey Lee-M&D Paving Mini Stocks.
Ed Lynch, Jr. avoided a spinning Charlie Holben and outdueled Carl Bowser to win the 20-lap Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Car feature. The $1,500 victory ended a Mercer winless drought that dated back to September 8, 2007 for the western Pa. legend. “We were really, really close, but gave each other room” explained the Apollo, Pa. driver when asked about his side-by-side battle with Bowser. “He was really good on the outside, but I felt like I could inch up to him as my tires were really locking down.”
After winning two of the last three Sprint Car races to end 2009, Bowser was looking to return to prominence in 2010 as he raced by New Jersey’s Jack Helget into the lead. Holben got a great start as he used the outside to pass both Lynch and Helget for second. Holben looked strong as he closed on Bowser, but on lap three got into turn four too hard. In effort to avoid running over Bowser, Holben got on the brakes, but couldn’t keep the car from spinning. Holben was able to do a 360 as somehow the entire field was able to miss him.
Lynch closed on Bowser on lap six and challenged the 23-year-old for the lead. The duo put on a great side-by-side battle on laps seven and eight as Bowser ran high and Lynch low. Bowser continued to have the momentum off the top side until Lynch finally got a strong enough run into turn three on lap eight and was able to put the classic slide job on Bowser to make the pass stick in turn four.
Russ Sansosti, who was making his season debut after practicing at the track on Wednesday, was very impressive. Sansosti passed Helget early on for fourth and somehow missed the spinning Holben to inherit third. Sansosti slowly closed on Bowser and appeared like he had a shot at overtaking the second position when the caution was displayed for Helget with 11 laps completed.
The last nine laps clicked off green-to-checkered as Lynch wasn’t challenged for his 14th career Mercer win in the Howard Concrete Pumping/Commercial Truck & Trailer/Mosites Motorsports/BP Trucking-sponsored #2L. “That was a really, really racey race track,” described Lynch. “It’s nice to see everyone come together to keep Mercer going. Vicki (Emig) tried really hard and certainly wants to keep it going. I’m glad Bill (Altman) stepped up to the plate. It’s a joy to come here and race a race track that you can have high, low, and middle to get around. It’s good for all the fans.”
Bowser was second. Sansosti was able to hold on for third easily topping his prior best finish at Mercer of ninth and was his best finish anywhere since his all-time career best second at Sharon on August 11, 2007. A great battle took place for positions four through seven as Bob Felmlee was able to edge Rod George, 12th starting Mike Lutz, and Danny Holtgraver. Jack Sodeman, Jr., Dan Kuriger, and Jason Dolick were eighth, ninth, and tenth. Heat winners were Holtgraver and George.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling (410) Sprint Cars (20 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. ED LYNCH, JR. (2L) 2. Carl Bowser (10) 3. Russ Sansosti (23s) 4. Bob Felmlee (6) 5. Rod George (4) 6. Mike Lutz (Chappel 8) 7. Danny Holtgraver (D4) 8. Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23Jr) 9. Dan Kuriger (08) 10. Jason Dolick (D12) 11. Brad Knab (38) 12. Eric Williams (7) 13. Pete Miller III (3) 14. Charlie Holben (Dionise 15) 15. Chris Shuttleworth (11) 16. Brent Matus (33) 17. Joe McEwen (Paden 11W) 18. Jack Helget (Taylor 71c) 19. Jeff Taylor (17T) 20. Brandon Matus (13).