posted July 22, 2001 12:06 PM
Eyler and Doran celebrate Mercer's first 50 years with biggest career wins
in Sprints and Modifieds
By Mike Leone
July 21, 2001 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mercer (PA)...Mercer Raceway Park celebrated the first 50 years of existence
on Saturday night with the running of "The Gold Cup" 50th Anniversary Event
presented by National Cash Advance. Picking up wins were Rob Eyler-Luxaire
Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars, Tim Doran-Bolland Machine Big-Block
Modifieds, Andy Priest-New Castle School of Trades Sportsman Modifieds, and
Andy Buckley-Butterfield's Pub Stock Cars.
The largest crowd of the season witnessed over 100 retired drivers return to
enjoy the festivities as guests of Mercer Raceway Park. Those drivers were
remembered throughout the night and signed autographs at intermission. Among
those in attendance was the great Steve Ungar along with son and former
sprint car driver Rick. Emil Smolnik and Johnny Holfelder, who competed in
the 50s, were on the grounds. The first ever female competitor, Ruby Perry,
was there along with her husband and former racer Sam. Ralph Quarterson, the
all-time Mercer winner and father of current sprint point leader Tom, was
also present as well as many others. Some of the finest racing machines that
ever turned a lap at Mercer were on display and took some hot laps at
intermission. Former sprint car greats, **** Bailey and Putsy Kekich, hot
lapped Goob Schuller's and Mike Kekich's spirnt car respectively. A tent was
set up with memorabilia and racing videos played. Jim Bickel presented
flagman, Mike Hanshaw, with the track's original green and checkered flags
for use during the features.
Rob Eyler was handed his biggest career payday in the 30-lap $2,000 to-win
Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Car feature after leaders Jimmy Hawley and
Arnie Kent tangled with two laps to go. "I had a third place car tonight,
but the way it turned out we won," said the Franklin, Pa. racer. "I'm happy,
but I hate to win that way. I've lost a few that way too."
The race started with Jack Sodeman, Jr. getting upside down in turn two. He
was okay, but done for the night. When racing got underway, Kent shot into
the lead, while Jamie Smith, Hawley, and Eyler all got by John Toth III.
Heavy lapped traffic came into play on lap seven as Smith and Hawley closed
in on Kent.
Smith and Hawley battled for second, while Eyler was trying to hold off
Tommy Burns, Jr. Hawley got around Smith for second on lap 10. Eyler and
Burns traded fourth place with Eyler getting by for good on lap 11. Hawley
ran down Kent and was on the two-time winner on lap 13. Eventual winner,
Eyler, moved up to the third spot after taking the position away from Smith
at the start-finish line on lap 17. Goob Schuller slowed action with two
separate spins with 20 and 22 laps completed.
When racing resumed, Hawley put heavy pressure on Kent and made the move for
the lead in traffic in turn one on lap 28. However, just as the two were
coming down to complete that circuit, Gary Edwards and Troy Preston tangled.
Hawley then spun and collected Kent, who went on his side. Hawley and
Edwards were done for the night, but Preston and Kent would continue after
changing a tire.
When green replaced yellow for the last three laps, Eyler was able to hold
off Smith in his Bahama Breeze Tanning/Griffin Excavating-sponsored #5 for
his second win. "It's been good the last few weeks," said Eyler from victory
lane. "The fuel stop helped us a lot. If I had that car earlier we would
have been real good. The last three laps was the best the car ran."
Smith's second was his best finish since August 12 of last year. Burns was
third after starting eighth. Kenny Hardy came from 15th to finish a Mercer
best fourth in a sprint. Preston was fifth. Sixth through tenth were Mark
Spence, Kent, Toth, Mike Kekich, and Jason Jacoby. Winning the heats were
Smith, Kent, and Preston over the 23-car field.
Tim Doran swept all the top cash posted as he left the speedway with a
career best payday of $3,500. Doran started the night off winning the 30-lap
$2,000 to-win Bolland Machine Big-Block Modified feature and became the
second driver to win the ERACERS "Cash Chaser" bonus money at $500. "The car
worked perfect," said the jubilant New Castle, Pa. winner. This is the
biggest win ever and it means a lot to win tonight with all the drivers I
used to watch here."
Point leader Dean Pearson led the opening lap before Les Myers took over on
lap two passing Pearson off turn four. Doran, who started 12th, used the
same move to take second away from Pearson on lap three. Jeff Schaffer
dropped Pearson back another spot when he raced into third on lap six. By
lap 10 it was a three-car race. Five laps later, Lonny Riggs and Pearson
joined the battle to make it a five-car race.
It was lap 20 when Doran made the winning move driving by Myers off turn
four on the outside. Riggs passed Schaffer for third then got under Myers
off turn four on lap 23 for second. Riggs however didn't have anything for
Doran, who pulled away for his third win of the year all coming in the last
four events. "We rolled last week and I want to thank my brothers, who got
the car back together," said the driver of the Richard Smith
Construction/Mitchelltree Bros. Logging & Lumber-sponsored #12. "I want to
dedicate this win to my brother Pat, who I lost last year."
Schaffer got by Myers on lap 28 to finish third. Myers dropped to fourth
over Lou Blaney, who came from 20th. Completing the top 10 were Scott
Gurdak, Dave Murdick, Don McKnight, Carl Weatherby, and Pearson. Winning the
heats over the 33-car field were Schaffer, Rick Hall, and Myers. McKnight
won the B main.
Doran then completed the night by winning the $1,000 winner-take-all 10-lap
Australian Pursuit race. Doran charged through the pack and on lap nine made
the winning move again on Myers. Schaffer, Gurdak, Myers, Riggs, Blaney,
Pearson, McKnight, Josh Skarzenski, and **** Rankin completed the finishing
order. Pearson put the race together thanks to C.J. Rombold Racing Engines,
Schrader Well Drilling, Blaney Lumber, Courson Racing Engines, Bailey Racing
Products, Ray's Racing Specialties, Moore's Auto Body, and 8J Racing.
Andy Priest of New Castle, Pa. picked up his second straight win in the
25-lap New Castle School of Trades Sportsman Modified feature. Priest
started from sixth and moved into second on lap six, but hit the wall on lap
10 and had to work his way back to the front. Meanwhile, Gary Smoker led the
first 10 laps before John Buchanan edged ahead on lap 11. Priest came back
to the front passing both Al Priester and Smoker for second on lap 17.
Racing off turn two on the 24th lap, Priest made the winning move on
Buchanan and led the final two laps for the $500 win. His fifth win of the
year and 24th of his career in the sportsman division came in the Ted
Hull-owned, Bossard-Crawford Chevrolet/MPR Lumber-sponsored #41. Buchanan
held on for second. Steve Young came from 12th to finish third after passing
Priester for the spot on lap 23. Priester dropped to fourth over Bill Adams.
Smoker, D.J. Schrader, and Young won the heats over the 27-car field. Leroy
Johnson, Jr. won the B main.
Andy Buckley continued to be the Butterfield's Pub Stock Car division's only
multiple winner. The Stoneboro, Pa. point leader won his third feature in
the 20-lap $500 to-win event. Buckley and Gary Norman, who started sixth and
seventh respectively, raced to the front together. On lap four, they passed
Gary Robinson for second and third. Following the restart with four laps
completed, they both passed Bill Hanna for the top two spots. The last 15
laps saw the two put on a great race going side-by-side on laps 7-10 and
laps 16 and 17. At the checkers, Buckley had just enough to deny Norman a
first win in his Hapeman Electronics/Artic Cat-sponsored #965. Shaun Hooks
raced from twentieth to place third. Greg Beach, who started ninth, was a
Mercer best fourth over 15th starter, Bobby Whitling. Heat victors over the
40-car field were Hanna, Mike Aley, Beach, and Norman. The two B mains went
to Dave Ferringer and Ron Iorio.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars (30 laps): 1. ROB EYLER ($2,000) 2.
Jamie Smith 3. Tommy Burns, Jr. 4. Kenny Hardy 5. Troy Preston 6. Mark
Spence 7. Arnie Kent 8. John Toth III 9. Mike Kekich 10. Jason Jacoby 11.
Dave Wagner 12. Gary McCollum 13. Goob Schuller 14. Brian Woodhall 15. Gregg
McCandless 16. Jimmy Hawley 17. Gary Edwards 18. Nathan Hines 19. Mark
Murphy 20. Buddy Cochran 21. Butch Beasley 22. Jack Sodeman, Jr. 23. Tom
Bolland Machine Big-Block Modifieds (30 laps): 1. TIM DORAN ($2,500) 2.
Lonny Riggs 3. Jeff Schaffer 4. Les Myers 5. Lou Blaney 6. Scott Gurdak 7.
Dave Murdick 8. Don McKnight 9. Carl Weatherby 10. Dean Pearson 11. Rick
Hall 12. Rich Ferguson 13. Josh Skarzenski 14. Guy Griffin 15. Brian
Swartzlander 16. J.R. McGinley 17. Adam Siegel 18. Rodney Beltz 19. Steve
Young 20. Bob Dorman 21. Rob Curtis 22. Nick Ritchey 23. George Hobaugh 24.
Skip Moore DNQ-Randy Ferguson, John Boyer, Jr., Jimmy Faas, Rick Kress, Carl
Murdick, Dana Gearhart, Howard Duff, Dave Reges, Jeremiah Shingledecker.
New Castle School of Trades Sportsman Modifieds (25 laps): 1. ANDY PRIEST
($500) 2. John Buchanan 3. Steve Young 4. Al Priester 5. Bill Adams 6. Gary
Smoker 7. Rick Hall 8. Chanda Reitz 9. Les Myers 10. Gary Bollinger 11. Rick
Ryder 12. Greg Unrue 13. Fred Sasse 14. Randy Rodemoyer 15. Bill Baptiste
16. Morgan Sasse 17.Andy Paden 18. Brad Watson 19. Allen Ferry 20. Ben
Hamilton 21. Leroy Johnson, Jr. 22. D.J. Schrader 23. Curt Matthews 24.
Jerry Schaffer DNQ-John Jones, Dave Cogswell, Buck Buchanan.
Butterfield's Pub Stock Cars (20 laps): 1. ANDY BUCKLEY ($500) 2. Gary
Norman 3. Shaun Hooks 4. Greg Beach 5. Bobby Whitling 6. Gary Robinson 7.
Brian Miller 8. Doug Iorio 9. Terry Kroner 10. Jarrot Moore 11.Willie Aley
12. Rick Anthony 13. Dan Fedorchak 14. Dave Ferringer 15. Lynn Hostetler 16.
Bill Hanna 17. Jeff Kravec 18. Ron Iorio 19. Phil Kaufman 20. Tim Zuschlag
21. Rick Norco 22. Russ Kapalin 23. Mike Aley 24. Darrell Moody-DSQ DNQ-Mike
Work, Tim Deutsch, Corey Ruffo, Ray Bailey, Jr., Bob Hays, Butch Skiles,
Erick Cwynar, Robert Caszatt, Jr., Dean Sherbondy, Lonnie O'Brien, Don
Greenlee, Duane Grinnell, Andy Boland, Gary Miller, Jr., Brian Counselman,
7/28 Sprints, Big-Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, & Stock Cars plus July 7
Sprint Car make-up feature. 95.1 The Cat Night. Scout Night-all scouts in
uniform admitted free.
8/04 Sprints, Big-Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, & Stock Cars plus July 7
Sportsman and Stock make-up features. E.M.S. Community Sireeeen Rally
presented by Life Force Ambulance. Regional Safety Awareness Night- Meet
your local rescue squads. Fire trucks, ambulances, STAT-MEDVAC Helicopter.
8/11 Sprints, Big-Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, & Stock Cars. Dean Dairy
Products Co. Inc. Night. McElwains "Meet Your Heroes"/Sprints. Kids bike
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 firstname.lastname@example.org