mercer raceway park
mercer raceway park

By Mike Leone

Mercer, PA…For the first Saturday race night since April 3 there were sunny skies, warm temperatures, and zero chance of rain at Mercer Raceway Park.

Carl Bowser wasn’t about to let this front row starting spot go to waste. For the fifth time in the past seven events, Bowser has found himself on the front row of the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Car feature, but hasn’t been able to pull off the victory. On Saturday night, Bowser finally drove to victory lane in an exciting opener to the Twin 15s holding off Ed Lynch, Jr. for the $1,000 win plus the Goodyear Tire certificate. The event went non-stop in 4:04.89.

“Fifteen laps went pretty fast…I didn’t even know the checkered came out,” admitted the Sarver, Pa. racer. “I was just trying to get around those lapped cars. I knew Ed was there and you couldn’t lift, you just had to get everything you could get. I could hear his engine and I was just trying to throw everything I could at it and I’m glad to be here. Ed is definitely the best around. You can learn so much from racing with him because you know when he’s on the track he’s going 110% so when you beat him you know you’ve done something.”

With Lynch alongside, Bowser got a great start and held the lead over Lynch through turns one and two. Rod George was able to get around Ralph Spithaler, Jr. and Jeff Taylor on opening lap for third. Jack Sodeman, Jr., who started seventh, was racing his way forward as he grabbed fourth from Sodeman on lap two.

Lynch began to close on Bowser on lap five and was right on the leader on lap six. Lapped traffic came into play on lap seven, but Bowser continued to hold on. Sodeman continued his progression to the front driving by George in lapped traffic for third on lap 10. With the laps ticking off, Lynch threw everything he could at Bowser as he was looking for his fourth straight win on the western Pa. circuit.

On the last lap, Bowser went low in turn four to try to protect the bottom and clear the lapped cars. Lynch shot high. Bowser though was able to move up in time on the frontstretch to kill Lynch’s momentum and hold on by less than a car-length for his fourth career Mercer win in his Terry Bowser Excavating/Reesman Body Shop-sponsored #10. Sodeman was third over George and 10th starting Dan Kuriger. Danny Holtgraver was sixth. Bob Felmlee came from 13th to seventh to earn the Goodyear Tire hard charger certificate. Jeff Taylor, Pete Miller III, and Spithaler completed the top 10. Todd Bauer was the last car on the lead lap and earned a Goodyear Tire certificate.

In the 15-lap Sprint Car nightcap it was Pete Miller III riding the outside rim of the speedway and going wire-to-wire for his career first win. The victory was worth $1,000 plus a Goodyear Tire certificate. Miller became the seventh different Sprint Car winner in nine events in 2010!

“First of all I just want to thank the Lord for letting me come out and do this every week,” stated the 19-year-old Port Vue, Pa. driver. “I really have to thank my mom, dad, and sister for helping me come out here every week, and my girlfriend for putting up with this. Mike Benic is my crew chief this year and does an awesome job every week. This is so special. I’m just so happy I can come out and race with these guys every week, it really means a lot to me. I never really thought I’d be here.”

An invert 10 from the first feature put Spithaler and Miller on the front row. Miller got a great start to go around Spithaler for the lead with Bob Felmlee and Dan Kuriger moving up a spot from their starting position. Felmlee took second from Spithaler on lap two. Sodeman, who started eighth, was once again coming forward like the first feature. Sodeman passed Kuriger for fourth on lap three and Spithaler for third on lap six.

Two cautions with five and six laps completed were the only two cautions of the 30 laps of feature racing. When racing resumed, Kuriger moved around Spithaler for fourth. Felmlee was able to close on Miller on lap eight, but Miller was too strong as he hit his marks and drove to victory lane in his American Recovery/The Logan Company-sponsored #3. Felmlee was second. Like the first feature, Sodeman was third, but this time earned the Goodyear Tire hard charger certificate. Holtgraver passed Kuriger on the last lap to finish fourth. Kuriger was fifth for the second straight race. Sixth through tenth were Lynch, George, Spithaler, Bowser, and Andy McKisson.

Brent Matus earned a Goodyear Tire certificate for being the last car on the lead lap. Special thanks to Goodyear Tire for offering 10 certificates for the twin feature. The four random drawing winners for drivers in competition the last three events were Lynch, Taylor, Brian Steinman, and John McCracken, Jr. Heat winners over the 24-car field were Holtgraver, Kuriger, and Arnie Kent, who was driving the Martha Dionise #15.

Luxaire Heating & Cooling (410) Sprint Cars Feature 1 (15 laps, $1,000 to-win): 1. CARL BOWSER (10) 2. Ed Lynch, Jr. (2L) 3. Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23Jr) 4. Rod George (4) 5. Dan Kuriger (08) 6. Danny Holtgraver (D4) 7. Bob Felmlee (6) 8. Jeff Taylor (17T) 9. Pete Miller III (3) 10. Ralph Spithaler, Jr. (56) 11. Andy McKisson (0) 12. Arnie Kent (Dionise 15) 13. Matt Reed (Fitzpatrick 92) 14. Chris Shuttleworth (11) 15. Todd Bauer (45) 16. Jimmy Seger (25) 17. Brandon Matus (13) 18. Brian Steinman (24s) 19. Chris Best (66) 20. Brent Matus (33) 21. Jack Helget (Taylor 71c) 22. Mike Lutz (Chappel 8)-DNS 23. Jimmy Light (23)-DNS 24. John McCracken, Jr. (79)-DNS.

Luxaire Heating & Cooling (410) Sprint Cars Feature 2 (15 laps, $1,000 to-win): 1. PETE MILLER III (3) 2. Bob Felmlee (6) 3. Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23Jr) 4. Danny Holtgraver (D4) 5. Dan Kuriger 6. Ed Lynch, Jr. (2L) 7. Rod George (4) 8. Ralph Spithaler, Jr. (56) 9. Carl Bowser (10) 10. Andy McKisson (0) 11. Arnie Kent (Dionise 15) 12. Matt Reed (Fitzpatrick 92) 13. Todd Bauer (45) 14. Jeff Taylor (17T) 15. Chris Best (66) 16. Brent Matus (33) 17. Brandon Matus (13) 18. Jack Helget (Taylor 71c) 19. Jimmy Light (23) 20. Chris Shuttleworth (11) 21. Brian Steinman (24s) 22. Jimmy Seger (25) 23. Mike Lutz (Chappel 8)-DNS 24. John McCracken, Jr. (79)-DNS.