mercer raceway park
mercer raceway park

By Mike Leone

Mercer, PA…The biggest race night of 2010 to date is upon us at Mercer Raceway Park. This Saturday night, July 3 we kick-off the Independence Day weekend with the prestigious FASTRAK Summer Nationals for the 4 Your Car Connection Late Models plus double Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Car features, Big Daddy’s Speed Center Stock Cars, and the M&D Paving Mini Stocks plus a first ever appearance by Marvel’s “Iron Man”. Racing gets underway at 7 p.m.

The FASTRAK Summer Nationals will feature the Northeast Late Model Touring Series in a “National Event” with $6,000 up for grabs in the 40-lap feature. The event will mark the richest FASTRAK event in the four-year history of the Northeast! Mercer held a similar event on July 4, 2007 when Dick Barton captured the $5,000 prize.

Northeast Touring Series events typically draw car counts in the mid 30s. Already this season huge car counts of 53 and 42 have been experienced at Tyler County Speedway and McKean County Raceway. Six events have been held to date with Mike Pegher, Jr. the only repeat winner on the Tour. Other winners have included Super Late Model standouts Mike Blose and Robbie Blair along with 2008 Series and 2009 Track Champion Max Blair plus Josh Holtgraver.

Along with racers expected from Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and West Virginia, inquiries on Saturday’s events have come from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, and New Jersey. One driver expected to make the trip is a name familiar to many in the DIRT Modified world, G.R. Smith. The former New Jersey and West Virginia native now calls Charlotte, North Carolina home and has been competing in Super Late Models in recent years.

Current Mercer point leader, Kyle Zimmerman, would love to get his career first Mercer win Saturday. The Albion, Pa. driver has finished runner-up four out of six races in 2010 and has a huge point lead over Dwayne Pond.

FASTRAK Late Model racers will get one lap on the clock to determine heat race lineups. Drivers will have the ability to race into the feature redraw, which will be determined by the number of heat races contested.

The Sprint Cars have had some tremendous racing all season long. Mercer pays the highest weekly purse in the region and has attracted all of the top talent on a weekly basis. No other area tracks are running Saturday so a strong field should be present for the Twin 15 format that will pay $1,000 to-win, $125 to-start each. Ed Lynch, Jr. extended his point lead last Saturday to 21 over Bob Felmlee after his second feature win of the season as 23 cars were on hand.

The Stock Cars will battle for $300 to-win, while the Mini Stocks will chase after $150 and a full feature payoff. Steve D’Apolito of Boardman, Ohio regained the Stock Car point lead following his third win of the season coupled with Chris Haines’ first heat and feature finishes outside the top two spots. Wally Stearns, Jr. of Harrisville, Pa. is the current Mini Stock point leader in search of his first ever track championship.

Parents will be sure to want to bring the kids Saturday for a first ever appearance by Marvel’s “Iron Man” at The Park. Fresh off his new movie release, “Iron Man” will be on hand to meet and greet the kids and will bring with him special autograph cards.

“This should be a fantastic night for everyone Saturday and a wonderful way to celebrate the Fourth,” said owner Bill Altman. “We’re going to have the region’s best FASTRAK Late Models and Sprint Cars…and what a show it should be! And it’s not just the race fans as I’m sure kids will be thrilled to get their picture taken and an autograph from Iron Man. It looks like we’re finally going to get a nice Saturday and not have to worry about the weather!”

Pits open at 3:30 p.m. and grandstand at 4:30 p.m. Warm-ups begin shortly after 6 p.m. followed by Late Model qualifying and racing at 7. Adult admission is $17. The family pass for mom, dad, and up to four kids 6-15 is $38. Students 6-15 are $7. Children five and under and parking are free! Pit passes are $35.

Fans will want to take advantage of the SPEEDPASS, which will allow fans to upgrade their general admission tickets for pit passes for just $5 or $10 for the entire family around intermission time. Also as a reminder, children are permitted in the pits this year, but must be signed in and supervised by their parent or legal guardian.

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 for the latest. Go to or Mercer Raceway Park at to stay up to date.