mercer raceway park
mercer raceway park

By Mike Leone

Mercer, PA…After a huge crowd turned out for last Saturday night’s race event, Mercer Raceway Park will continue 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 24 beginning at 7 p.m.

Multiple promotions will be in effect beginning with the popular $10 Family Night. Klingensmith’s Drugstore will present the third and final night of the season where mom and dad and as many kids 15 and under can attend the races for just $10! Note: Must include male AND female AND at least one child 15 or under.

Saturday is also the rescheduled Free Crawford County Night. New marketing partner Spanky’s Tobacco World will present this free night for all residents of Crawford County and accompanying children 15 and under. Adults must show a valid ID with an address showing a Crawford County city to be admitted free into the grandstands.

Finally, fans will be able to witness an up close and personal look at their favorite cars and drivers in all five divisions as part of “Meet Your Heroes” Camera & Autograph Night presented by Herr Foods. During intermission, all cars and drivers will pull onto the speedway and fans will be able to make their way onto the speedway. Prior unused Shaffer’s Auto “In the Spotlight” autograph cards will be available on a first come, first serve basis.

“There should be something for everyone Saturday,” stated first year owner Bill Altman. “I want to invite all of the residents from Crawford County out to enjoy a night as my guest Saturday night and see the tremendous racing we put on. Where else can you take your family today for a full night of entertainment for $10? I know the kids are really looking forward to Saturday’s autograph night on the speedway!”

Speaking of the racing action, Ed Lynch, Jr. did a tremendous job Saturday night representing western Pennsylvania when he turned in a fine eighth place run at Eldora Speedway in the $50,000 to-win Kings Royal Sprint Car race. Lynch though did relinquish his point lead to Bob Felmlee. A championship for Felmlee in 2010 would mean the Franklin, Pa. driver would have claimed championships in four different decades (1989, 1998, 2006, 2010?)! Felmlee currently leads two-time winner Lynch by 17 and one-time winner Danny Holtgraver by 26. There have been 8 different winners in 10 races!

The Modifieds brought out a full field of cars last Saturday night with a season high 24 on hand and it was Jeff Schaffer becoming the sixth different winner in seven races! With just a handful of point races remaining, Jimmy Holden is closing in on his first ever track championship. The Tiona driver leads Frank Guidace by 47 points.

In his first full season at Mercer, Kyle Zimmerman is well on his way to the FASTRAK Late Model crown. The Albion driver has only finished outside the top 10 once all season and that was an 11th in the National Event, which drew 39 cars on July 3. Zimmerman has a huge 71-point lead on four-time winner Max Blair, and would love to capture his first career Mercer win Saturday. Sixty different cars have competed to date in the division!

Chris Haines kept his championship hopes alive last Saturday night when he scored his second win of the season to go along with five runner-ups. Despite those stout numbers, Haines still trails five-time winner Steve D’Apolito of Boardman, Ohio by 17 points in the Stock Car race. Both racers have all but locked up the top two spots with neither ever winning a Mercer championship.

If you would have told Wally Stearns, Jr. at this stage in 2010 he’d be a three-time winner and hold a commanding 57-point lead in the Mini Stock chase, he’d have probably laughed at you. None of his fellow competitors are laughing- that’s for sure! The Harrisville, Pa. driver entered the season without a win in his career, but last Saturday night captured his season’s third with an impressive victory over Tim Callahan, who has finished runner-up three times this year and has climbed to fourth in points.

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. Students 6-15 are $5. Children five and under and parking are free! Pit passes are $25.

Coming up next Saturday, July 31 is the DIRTcar Sprint Challenge Series paying $2,000 to-win plus the first appearance by the ARDC Midget Cars in five seasons! The Modifieds, Stock Cars, and Mini Stocks will round out this much-anticipated event.

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.