posted April 15, 2001 09:51 AM
Brian Ellenberger and Tommy Kristyak victorious in Mercer Sprint & Modified
By Mike Leone
April 14, 2001
Mercer (PA)...The 50th anniversary season since racing started at Mercer
Raceway Park kicked off Saturday night. The following drivers recorded
opening night wins: Brian Ellenberger-Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars,
Tommy Kristyak-Bolland Machine Big-Block Modifieds, Gary Smoker-New Castle
School of Trades Sportsman Modifieds, and Gary Miller, Jr.-Butterfield's Pub
Brian Ellenberger was the recipient of Jason Jacoby's misfortune on the
final lap to record his second career Mercer win in the 20-lap Luxaire
Heating & Cooling Sprint Car event. Jacoby flipped his mount on the final
lap handing the lead to Ellenberger. "I felt bad for Jason Jacoby," said the
Butler, Pa. resident in victory lane. "I knew when he entered that corner he
was going to hit that rough stuff. I had a great race car. It was a good
race track and I had a lot of fun tonight."
After drawing the number one pill, Jacoby quickly took charge of the race,
while Gary Edwards passed Ryan Coniam for second. Mike Kekich, who started
sixth, raced around Coniam for third on lap three. Jacoby had opened up a
straightaway lead by lap four over Edwards prior to catching the backmarkers
on lap five.
Ellenberger, who started 10th, also got around Coniam for fourth on lap
five. At the half-way point, Ellenberger drove by Kekich for third on the
backstretch. Ed Lynch, Jr., who started 12th, and got bogged down in nearly
an early race incident, was on the move passing Scott Bonnell and Kekich on
laps 12 and 13 for fourth using the outside lane.
While Jacoby continued to maintain his lead, Ellenberger and Lynch ran down
Edwards and took over second and third on laps 15 and 16 respectively.
Ellenberger and Lynch battled for second, while closing on Jacoby. With the
white flag waving, traffic appeared as if it was going to be the tell tale,
but Brian Woodhall stopped to bring out the caution with 19 laps completed.
When racing resumed, Jacoby went low in turn two, got into a rut, and
flipped ending a great run and a shot at his second career win. Ellenberger
then was able to keep Lynch at bay on the restart to collect his first
Mercer win since August 26, 1998 in his Hunter's Truck Sales &
Service/AGIP/Carriage City Car Wash-sponsored #20. "It was a good race,"
said Ellenberger. "I knew Lynch was breathing down my back on that last
restart, and I wanted to make sure I got him."
Lynch had to settle for second after winning the first two events of the
season at Lernerville Speedway. Kekich held off Edwards at the line for
third, while Bonnell completed the top five. Rounding out the top 10 were
Tom Quarterson, Brad Ellenberger, Rob Eyler, Arnie Kent, and Canada's
Coniam. Heats for the 26 cars went to Brad Ellenberger, Lynch, and Edwards.
"I love this place," exclaimed Stoneboro, Pa.'s Tommy Kristyak following his
win in the 20-lap Bolland Machine Big-Block Modified feature. After
contemplating to take a sabbatical from racing over the off-season, Tommy
Kristyak returned with a vengeance to lead all the way for the win.
Kristyak took the lead after drawing the number one pill, while the race was
on behind. From his fifth starting spot, Dean Pearson raced under Lou
Gentile for fourth on lap two, then disposed of Don McKnight for third prior
to a caution for Lee Miller's spin with seven laps completed. Just before
the caution, Lonny Riggs had taken the lead from Kristyak only to lose it
when the yellow came out. The caution was a tough break for Riggs, who then
lost second to Pearson on the restart.
The man on the move was New York's Ron Smoker. Smoker started 11th and
entered the battle just past the half-way point of the event. Making just
his fourth ever Mercer start, Smoker drove to the inside of Riggs for third
on lap 13 making it a three-car race with six laps to go. Les Myers then
dropped back Riggs another spot on lap 14 right before the final caution
appeared for Steve Young and Carl Murdick, who tangled.
When green replaced yellow, Smoker went to the inside of Pearson and nosed
ahead at the start-finish line for second on lap 15. Smoker caught Kristyak
and was all over the veteran for the remainder of the event, but Kristyak
was able to hold on in the #26z for his 27th career Big-Block Modified win
since the track reopened in 1994. Standing in victory lane for the first
time at Mercer since July 3, 1999, Kristyak relayed, "I want to thank Scott
Kay (new car owner) for bugging the heck out of me to do this deal,
Montgomery's for coming along and giving us the extra parts we need, Carlon
Hine for building a great engine, and my wife for letting me do this again."
Pearson was a solid third. Lou Blaney, who started 12th, passed Riggs and
Myers in the closing laps for fourth dropping Myers to fifth and Riggs to
sixth. Completing the top 10 were Rodney Beltz, Frank Guidace, Rob Kristyak,
and Carl Weatherby. Heat winners over the 29-car field were Pearson, Blaney,
and Murdick. Mike Sutton won the B main.
Gary Smoker of Mercer, Pa. won the 20-lap New Castle School of Trades
Sportsman Modified feature to tie himself with Andy Priest at 19 for the
most all-time wins in the division. Rick Ryder led the first six laps before
the initial caution was displayed for Andy Priest, who lost the rear-end,
after coming from eleventh to second. The third place car of Bill Adams also
dropped from the event moving Allen Ferry and Smoker to second and third for
the restart. When racing resumed, Smoker took command and Ferry followed
getting around Ryder. Smoker was never seriously challenged over the
remaining laps for the win in his Kristyak's Service Plaza #401. Ferry
turned in a career best Mercer finish in second. Steve Young came from 20th
to finish third after passing Ryder for the spot on lap 19. Ryder held off
Chanda Reitz for fourth. Priest and Smoker won the heats over the 23-car
Gary Miller, Jr. drove an impressive race to score the 15-lap Butterfield's
Pub Stock Car feature win. Miller took the lead on the opening lap from
Shaun Hooks. Fellow New Castle, Pa. driver, Rusty Moore, would prove to be
Miller's only challenge of the night. Moore, who started seventh, passed
Mike Aley and Hooks for second on lap five. Lap six saw Miller and Moore
race side-by-side for the lead. But on the following lap, Miller pulled away
in his G&J Radiator/K&K Dynamics-sponsored #1 for his fifth career Mercer
win. Moore was second over 11th starting Gary Robinson, Andy Buckley, and
Lynn Hostetler. Heat victors over the 32-car field were Buckley, Hostetler,
and Robinson. Dave Ferringer won the B main.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars: 1. BRIAN ELLENBERGER 2. Ed Lynch, Jr.
3. Mike Kekich 4. Gary Edwards 5. Scott Bonnell 6. Tom Quarterson 7. Brad
Ellenberger 8. Rob Eyler 9. Arnie Kent 10. Ryan Coniam 11. Mike Lutz 12.
Andy Priest 13. Jimmy Hawley 14. Jamie Smith 15. Jason Jacoby 16. Mike
Woodring 17. Todd Bauer 18. Mike Kaminski 19. Dan Taylor 20. Ricky Ferkel
21. Brian Woodhall 22. Kevin Andrusky 23. Troy Preston 24. Gary McCollum 25.
Gary Kriess, Jr.-DNS 26. Butch Beasley-DNS.
Bolland Machine Big-Block Modifieds: 1. TOMMY KRISTYAK 2. Ron Smoker 3. Dean
Pearson 4. Lou Blaney 5. Les Myers 6. Lonny Riggs 7. Rodney Beltz 8. Frank
Guidace 9. Rob Kristyak 10. Carl Weatherby 11. Kevin Bolland 12. Don
McKnight 13. J.R. McGinley 14. Carl Murdick 15. Joe Crawford 16. Chris
Schiffer 17. Rick Hall 18. Mike Sutton 19. Lou Gentile 20. Lee Miller 21.
John Boyer 22. Steve Young 23. Mark Sevin 24. Dave Reges 25. Rob Curtis-DNS
DNQ-Rick Kress, Bob Dorman, Chad Reitz, George Davis.
New Castle School of Trades Sportsman Modifieds: 1. GARY SMOKER 2. Allen
Ferry 3. Steve Young 4. Rick Ryder 5. Chanda Reitz 6. D.J. Schrader 7. Gary
Bollinger 8. Randy Rodemoyer 9. Al Priester 10. Rick Hall 11. Leroy Johnson,
Jr. 12. Barry Bulfone 13. Jerry Schaffer 14. Joe Gibson, Jr. 15. Bill Adams
16. Greg Unrue 17. Andy Priest 18. Curt Matthews 19. Brad Watson 20. Andy
Paden 21. John Buchanan-DNS 22. Dave Cogswell-DNS 23. Zack Moran-DNS.
Butterfield's Pub Stock Cars: 1. GARY MILLER, JR. 2.Rusty Moore 3. Gary
Robinson 4. Andy Buckley 5. Lynn Hostetler 6. Greg Beach 7. Shaun Hooks 8.
Kevin Thompson 9. Rick Norco 10. Dave Ferringer 11. Mike Aley 12. Rick
Anthony 13. Bob Sloss 14. Willie Aley 15. Tony Bruno 16. Dan Lewis 17. Bob
Hays 18. Andy Thompson 19. Glenn Pupino 20. Brian Miller 21. Dan Fedorchak
22. Jim Green 23. Jeff Kravec-DNS 24. Ray Bailey, Jr.-DNS 25. Bill Schall,
Jr.-DNS DNQ-William George, Sr., Lonnie O'Brien, Bill Kirschner, Don
Greenlee, Ed Hays, Jim Miller, Erick Cwynar.
4/21 Sprints, Big-Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, & Stock Cars, plus a Demo
4/28 Sprints, Big-Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, & Stock Cars. McElwain Family
of Dealerships "Meet Your Heroes"/Stock Cars.
5/05 Sprints, Big-Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, Stock Cars, & PCTC Senior
5/12 Sprints, Big-Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, & Stock Cars. Brad Doty &
Contact: Mike Leone, 53 East Glenora Drive, Grove City, PA 16127. Office
phone 724-964-9300 and fax to 724-964-0604. Home phone/fax: 724-748-3358.
Mercer Raceway Park is located 3 miles north of I-80, exit 2. The track is
0.5 miles north of SR 258 on US 19, then 0.2 miles east on Fairgrounds Road
in Findley Township. The office number is 724-964-9300. Fax to 724-964-0604.
The race track phone number is 724-662-1310. Our web site is www.mercerracewaypark.com E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org