posted May 27, 2001 06:37 PM
Quarterson wins Triathlon Sprint Series Opener; Crawford wins first at
Mercer in Modifieds
By Mike Leone
May 26, 2001 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mercer (PA)...It was the kickoff to American Thunder Weekend on Saturday
night at Mercer Raceway Park presented by Hunter's Truck Sales & Service.
Four new winners celebrated in the Moore's Auto Body victory lane including
Tom Quarterson-Triathlon Series Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars, Joe
Crawford-Bolland Machine Big-Block Modifieds, Rick Ryder-New Castle School
of Trades Sportsman Modifieds, and Russ Kapalin-Butterfield's Pub Stock
Tom Quarterson will go down in the history books as the first driver to win
a Triathlon Sprint Car Series event. The West Middlesex, Pa. driver won the
20-lap Luxaire Heating & Cooling event and earned an extra $500 for being
the ERACERS "Cash Chaser" and winning. "I want to thank ERACERS," said
Quarterson, who became the first ERACERS winner. "The track was tacky and
rough and I just went for it."
Jimmy Hawley blasted around Jack Sodeman, Jr. in turn four to lead the
initial lap. Hawley, who appeared to be the man to be, brought out the
initial yellow with two laps completed when his mount came to a rest with a
broken throttle linkage. Sodeman would regain the lead for the restart, but
lost it to Kent on the backstretch of the fourth circuit.
Quarterson started the event from fifth and moved into third on lap four
when he passed Jamie Smith. Heavy traffic came into play on lap seven.
Quarterson used his Mercer experience to get by Sodeman off turn three. Kent
now had a half-straightaway lead on Quarterson. Two red flags, one on lap 11
and the other on lap 15, slowed action. The first was for Ralph Spithaler,
Jr., who got upside down. The second was for Mike Kekich, who went over, and
collected Andy Priest and Gary Kriess, Jr. Everyone was okay, but done for
When racing resumed, Quarterson made the winning move passing Kent off turn
four to edge him at the start-finish line of lap 16 just before the caution
was displayed for a Todd Bauer spin. Quarterson held off Kent the rest of
the way to become the fifth different winner in five races. The win was
Quarterson's 11th of his career at Mercer, and third in a row following two
straight Sunday night wins at Sportsman's Speedway in the Powell Family's
R&R Engine Rebuilders #27.
"Arnie's a good runner," said the happy winner. "I got past him on the
bottom and I didn't know if I was past him long enough (before the yellow).
They put me in front so I just went up and took his line away in (turn)
While Quarterson and Kent battled for the win, a heated battle took place
from positions third through sixth. Scott Bonnell and Brad Ellenberger both
passed Jamie Smith for fourth and fifth on lap 16, then both disposed of
Sodeman for third and fourth on lap 19. Bonnell and Ellenberger then raced
each other hard for third with Ellenberger, who started 10th, edging
Bonnell, who started 12th. Sodeman and Smith dropped to fifth and sixth.
Completing the top 10 were Jason Jacoby, Tommy Burns, Jr., Mike Kaminski,
and Brian Woodhall. Winning the heats over the 33-car field were Hawley,
Smith, Quarterson, and Kent. Jarod Larson returned from his heat race flip
to win the B main.
Joe Crawford put on a driving clinic to win his first career Mercer win in
the 20-lap Bolland Machine Big-Block Modified Feature. "This feels great-
praise the Lord," said the jubilant Polk, Pa. driver in victory lane.
Steve Young took the early lead from the pole position as Carl Murdick and
Scott Gurdak followed in second and third. Crawford started from sixth and
used the outside to race to the front. He passed both Les Myers and Lonny
Riggs for fourth on lap four. Three laps later he drove around Gurdak for
With the laps ticking off, Crawford caught Murdick and made the pass for
runner-up on lap nine. Young had a straightaway lead built by the time
Crawford was in second. Myers, who started seventh, was now on the move. He
passed Murdick for second on lap 10, and caught back up to Crawford as the
two both ran down Young.
On lap 15, Myers got back around Crawford, and then took over the lead from
Young on lap 16 racing off the inside of turn four. Crawford blasted around
Young for second on lap 18 as it was a great three-car race. Crawford, who
crashed in the lead on the next to last lap on May 12, wasn't going to let
this one slip away. On the final turn of the last lap with traffic in the
mix, Crawford drove by Myers to win by less than one-half car-length. "I
want to thank Les for running me clean," said the winner. "If it wasn't for
the lapped traffic, I wouldn't have got him."
Crawford became the seventh different winner in eight features this season
driving his parent's-owned, Fletcher's Artic Cat/Schiffer
Excavating-sponsored #25. The event went non-stop in 6:08.65. Young's third
was his best finish of the year. Riggs was fourth over Rodney Beltz. Sixth
through tenth were Gurdak, Frank Guidace, Carl Murdick, Dean Pearson, and
Rob Curtis. Heat victors over the 21-car field were Pearson and Gurdak.
Rick Ryder won his first 20-lap New Castle School of Trades Sportsman
Modified feature. The Gibsonia, Pa. driver took the lead from Leroy Johnson,
Jr. on lap one and led all of the way for his second career win in the
Attorney Suzanne Woodings #18. The win ended a rough season for Ryder, who
recorded his first top 10 since opening night. Andy Priest came from 23rd to
second and challenged Ryder. The two made contact on lap 13, with Priest
coming to rest on lap 14. Bill Adams, who started ninth, passed Fred Sasse
on lap 14 to finish second. Last week's winner, John Buchanan, came from
12th to place third over Chanda Reitz and Ron Eperthener, Jr. in his first
start. Al Priester and Buchanan won the heats over 23-car field.
Russ Kapalin was a happy driver after winning his first career Mercer win in
the 15-lap Butterfield's Pub Stock Car event. The Jefferson, Ohio driver
became the sixth different stock winner in six races this season and the
first ever to win with just a spec-358 engine. Kapalin jumped into the lead
from the pole position, while the race was on behind him. Mike Aley used the
outside to pass Greg Beach for third on lap three, then Brian Miller for
second on lap six.
At the halfway mark, Kapalin had a half-straightaway lead built up. Aley
began to erase Kapalin's lead and really closed in on him on lap 12. The two
were nearly side-by-side on the final lap in traffic, but the race was
halted when Dave Ferringer got upside down. He was okay. The one-lap
shootout saw Aley take the lead momentarily in search of his first career
win, but Kapalin got on the outside coming off turn four and had enough
momentum to take the checkers first in his #R40. Last week's winner, Bobby
Whitling, passed Willie Aley on lap 12 to finish third. Willie dropped to
fourth over Gary Robinson. Claiming the heat wins over the 36-car field were
Mike Aley, Kapalin, and Miller. Kevin Thompson won the B main.
Triathlon Series Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars: 1. TOM QUARTERSON 2.
Arnie Kent 3. Brad Ellenberger 4. Scott Bonnell 5. Jack Sodeman, Jr. 6.
Jamie Smith 7. Jason Jacoby 8. Tommy Burns, Jr. 9. Mike Kaminski 10. Brian
Woodhull 11. Skip Dougherty 12. Mark Spence 13. John Toth III 14. Nathan
Hines 15. Jeff Weaver 16. Todd Bauer 17. Charlie Holben 18. Mike Kekich 19.
Gary Kriess, Jr. 20. Andy Priest 21. Ralph Spithaler, Jr. 22. Bob Whitacre
23. Jimmy Hawley 24. Jarod Larson DNQ-Sheila Rankin, Gary McCollum, Rob
Eyler, Troy Preston, Scott Priester, Gregg McCandless, Gary Rankin, Butch
Bolland Machine Big-Block Modifieds: 1. JOE CRAWFORD 2. Les Myers 3. Steve
Young 4. Lonny Riggs 5. Rodney Beltz 6. Scott Gurdak 7. Frank Guidace 8.
Carl Murdick 9. Dean Pearson 10. Rob Curtis 11. Don McKnight 12. Nick
Ritchey 13. Rick Hall 14. Rich Ferguson 15. Rick Kress 16. Red Fordyce 17.
Dave Reges 18. Carl Weatherby 19. George Davis 20. Gary Risch, Jr.-DNS 21.
New Castle School of Trades Sportsman Modifieds: 1. RICK RYDER 2. Bill Adams
3. John Buchanan 4. Chanda Reitz 5. Ron Eperthener, Jr. 6. Al Priester 7.
Steve Young 8. Dean Pearson 9. Andy Paden 10. Dave Coggswell 11. Zack Moran
12. Jerry Schaffer 13. Rick Hall 14. Fred Sasse 15. Morgan Sasse 16. Randy
Rodemoyer 17. Andy Priest 18. Gary Bollinger 19. Greg Unrue 20. Allen Ferry
21. Brad Watson 22. Curt Matthews 23. Leroy Johnson, Jr.
Butterfield's Pub Stock Cars: 1. RUSS KAPALIN 2. Mike Aley 3. Bobby Whitling
4. Willie Aley 5. Gary Robinson 6. Andy Buckley 7. Bill Hanna 8. Gary
Miller, Jr. 9. Rusty Moore 10. Jim Brunson 11. Shaun Hooks 12. Rick Anthony
13. Kevin Thompson 14. Greg Beach 15. Dave Lewis, Sr. 16. Jeff Kravec 17.
Lonnie O'Brien 18. Brian Miller 19. Rick Norco 20. Bob Hays 21. Ray Bailey,
Jr. 22. Dave Ferringer 23. Mark Felicetty 24. Dan Fedorchak 25. Lynn
Hostetler-DNS DNQ-Terry Kroner, Ron Ehrman, Earl Snyder, Robert Caszatt,
Jr., Adam Aley, Erick Cwynar, Donny Baughman, Ed Hays, Andy Thompson, Keith
Nagy, Jim Miller.
May 27 Hunter's Truck Sales & Service ATPA Grand American Spring
Nationals-Big Rig Semis, Unlimited Super Stock Tractors sponsored by
Greenhill Farms, Super Stock 4-WD Trucks, & Demo Derby. (Rain date Monday,
6/02 Sprints, Big-Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, & Stock Cars. "Summer Fun
Kickoff"-Presented by Sandcastle & Idlewild- over 150 ticket giveaways plus
an appearance by Kennywood's Garfield.
6/09 Sprint, Big-Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, & Stock Cars. Mahoning Valley
Scrappers Night-ticket giveaways, mascot, free Rawlings baseballs. All
leaguers in jersey admitted free. Participant Sponsor Appreciation Night.
Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Racing at 6:30 p.m.
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 email@example.com