posted May 05, 2002 11:11 AM
Like old times at Mercer with Smith and Kristyak victorious in Sprints and
By Mike Leone
May 4, 2002 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mercer, PA.The weather finally cooperated as Mercer Raceway Park completed
its second night of racing of 2002. Topping a field of 122 race cars were
the veterans of Jamie Smith-Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars, Tommy
Kristyak-Big-Block Modifieds, Steve Young-New Castle School of Trades
Sportsman Modifieds, and Doug Iorio-Butterfield's Pub Stock Cars. Victory
lane sponsor, Moore's Auto Body, presented bonus monies to drivers finishing
in the ninth and fifteenth places in all four features.
Jamie Smith backed up Friday night's first win at Lernerville in four years
by capturing his first Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Car feature win at
Mercer since June 17, 2000. "It's been awhile," stated the Sewickley, Pa.
driver from the victory lane. "We've had good stuff all year and have a real
good team with good guys behind us. They've been working real hard. I knew
it could all come together and it came together good. This was a great
weekend and I think things are really starting to roll."
Arne Kent took command of the event early on as he out-raced New York racer
Mike Woodring at the start. Smith, who started eleventh, quickly ascended
forward. Smith was up to fourth when he passed Massachusetts' female driver
Erin Crocker on lap three, then grabbed third from Dave Wagner with an
inside move off turn two on lap five. By lap six, Kent began to catch lapped
traffic as the front three cars began to pull away. Smith caught Woodring on
lap seven and took second when Woodring slid off the backstretch before
Wagner brought out the first caution with seven laps completed. Four more
laps clicked away when New York's Phil Mott and Ohio's Staple Nash tangled.
When racing resumed, Smith began to pressure Kent and would make the winning
move heading into turn three with an inside pass. Kent was sideways
following the pass, but gathered himself back up. The final caution was
displayed with 11 laps completed when Aaron Shaffer got upside down after
contact on the frontstretch with Pup Nystrom and Brent Covell. Gary Kriess,
Jr., who was running fifth, hit the wall and was done for the night.
The last five laps went green-to-checkered as Smith and Kent pulled away
from the pack. Kent was right on Smith, but Smith had enough to hold on for
his 21st career Mercer win in his GBG/Brunner Excavating/APS/AGIP
Oil-sponsored #5. "I heard Arnie coming out of two a couple times," said the
happy winner. "I didn't think he could pass me because I didn't have any
success getting around him up there. I was getting a pretty good bite coming
out of the infield off two so I figured I'd just use that."
Troy Preston got around Woodring on lap 18 to finish third as Woodring
dropped back to fourth. Jimmy Hawley, in just his second night behind the
wheel of the Billy Shearer-owned #25, came from nineteenth to finish fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 were Tom Quarterson, Todd Bauer, Canada's Ryan
Coniam, Brian Woodhall, and Crocker. Heat winners over the 30-car field were
Crocker, Gary Kriess, Jr., and Woodhall. Hawley won the B main.
Bauer was the highest finishing 360 Sprint Car as "The Pegasus" Series
began. The Clarion, Pa. driver earned a $150 bonus and the maximum feature
points. Coniam earned $100 for second with Crocker picking up $75 for third
and Nathan Hines was fourth for an extra $50. A total of thirteen 360s were
After taking off the last four months of racing in 2001, Tommy Kristyak
returned to the wheel and collected his first win since April 14, 2001 in
the 20-lap Big-Block Modified feature. "I'm glad to be back," exclaimed the
happy Stoneboro, Pa. racer. "After the heat race, the car got a real bad
push in it. I guess we did a little tweaking and did the right things. The
track came to the car and it was great!"
The race was a "survival" event marred by six cautions before a lap was
completed and ten cautions overall. Carl Murdick set the early pace.
Kristyak, who started eleventh, moved his way forward and was up to third on
lap five after he passed Rick Hall. The following lap saw Kristyak go under
Adam Siegel in turn three to take the second position. On lap eight,
Kristyak went to the inside of Murdick and came out in the lead.
Kristyak was never challenged in the remaining laps as he pulled away to win
by a straightaway at the checkers in his #26z for his 39th career Mercer
big-block win. Hall ran a strong race to place second after getting by
Murdick on lap 15 for his best big-block finish since a runner-up on July
24, 1999. Dave Murdick came all the way from eighteenth to get third after
he passed his father Carl on lap 16. Lou Gentile's six-cylinder got by Carl
Murdick on the final lap to place fourth as Carl dropped to fifth. Rounding
out the top 10 were Dean Pearson, Kenny Hardy in the Jim Rombold #7,
Jeremiah Shingledecker, Tim Doran, and Nick Ritchey. Heat victors over the
28-car field were Carl Murdick, Pearson, and Hardy. Don McKnight claimed the
Steve Young of Grove City, Pa. methodically worked his way through the pack
from the 23rd starting position to win the 20-lap New Castle School of
Trades Sportsman Modified feature. Ron Eperthener, Jr. took the lead
position on lap two after he got by Rick Hall and Kevin Latshaw. Andy Paden
was on the move from his 13th starting spot. The young driver passed Hall
for second on lap seven and set his sights on Eperthener. Paden drove around
Eperthener off turn four for the lead at the halfway mark.
Young, meanwhile, was up to third on lap 11 when he passed Hall. Four laps
later, the defending champion grabbed second from Eperthener on the
backstretch. Young then ended Paden's shot at a first career win when he
made the winning move on lap 16 racing off of turn four on the outside.
Young piloted the J.R. Greer-owned, Montgomery Truss & Panel-sponsored #11t
for his 15th career Mercer sportsman win. Paden backed up his runner-up on
opening night with another second. Chad Reitz passed Eperthener for third on
lap 17. Eperthener dropped to fourth at the finish over Rick Hall, who
recorded his second top five of the night. Jerry Schaffer and Eperthener won
the heats over the 24-car field.
The door swung open and Doug Iorio of New Castle, Pa. was handed the 15-lap
Butterfield's Pub Stock Car feature win in a wild event. Kevin Thompson,
Brian Miller, Andy Buckley, and Terry Kroner battled for the lead early on.
Miller had worked his way up from seventh to challenge for the lead on lap
seven. But under caution as the leaders were slowing with eight laps
completed, Thompson, Miller, and Buckley all got together with only Buckley
able to continue on. That was just a precursor to the wildness that was
about to happen.
Buckley, Kroner, and Greg Beach took up a fight for the lead over the next
six laps. On the 14th lap, a pack of seven cars were now in contention for
the race win. Coming off turn four with the white flag waving, Buckley and
Kroner were side-by-side. The two made contact and cars scattered all over
the track. Kroner came out of the infield with strong momentum to lead the
lap and appeared to have a great shot at a first career win as all the other
cars were gathering themselves up without bringing out the caution. But
going into turn one, Kroner pushed high and allowed Iorio to come out of
nowhere for the lead.
Iorio, who started 12th, went on for his first career Mercer win in his
Iorio Trucking/Pizza Joe's/Rick's Rocky Top Inn/Gabany's/Cement
Doctors-sponsored #48. Shaun Hooks, who started eightieth, crossed the
finish line in second for his fifteenth straight top seven finish. Buckley
rebounded for third, as Kroner held on to fourth, and Bill Hanna was fifth.
Buckley, Beach, Miller, and Gary Norman scored heat wins over the 40-car
field. William George, Sr. and Scott Peterson won the two B mains.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars: 1. JAMIE SMITH 2. Arnie Kent 3. Troy
Preston 4. Mike Woodring 5. Jimmy Hawley 6. Tom Quarterson 7. Todd Bauer 8.
Ryan Coniam 9. Brian Woodhall 10. Erin Crocker 11. Nathan Hines 12. Dave
Wagner 13. Kevin Andrusky 14. Phil Mott 15. Rob Eyler 16. Bill Coffey II 17.
Brian Hartzell 18. Butch Beasley 19. Gary Kriess, Jr. 20. Brent Covell 21.
Aaron Shaffer 22. Staple Nash 23. Pup Nystrom 24. Randy Kriegisch DNQ-Brad
Knab, Gale Ruth, Paul Kish, Eric Turrill, Gregg McCandless, Jeff Kasbee.
Big-Block Modifieds: 1. TOMMY KRISTYAK 2. Rick Hall 3. Dave Murdick 4. Lou
Gentile 5. Carl Murdick 6. Dean Pearson 7. Kenny Hardy 8. Jeremiah
Shingledecker 9. Tim Doran 10. Nick Ritchey 11. Chanda Reitz 12. Randy
Chronister 13. Ed Alcorn 14. Adam Siegel 15. J.R. McGinley 16. Rich Ferguson
17. Frank Guidace 18. Chetter Johnson 19. Scott Ripper 20. Bob Dorman 21.
Don McKnight 22. Jerry Bickel 23. Skip Moore 24. Greg Unrue 25. Rodney
Beltz-DNS DNQ-Lee Miller, Rick Kress, Jeff Baker.
New Castle School of Trades Sportsman Modifieds: 1. STEVE YOUNG 2. Andy
Paden 3. Willie Aley 4. Ron Eperthener, Jr. 5. Rick Hall 6. Randy Rodemoyer
7. Kevin Latshaw 8. Zack Moran 9. Mike Mathieson 10. Fred Sasse 11. Steve
Toth 12. John Confer 13. Fred Maxwell 14. Leroy Johnson, Jr. 15. Matt Reeher
16. Jerry Schaffer 17. Curt Matthews 18. Jim Schaffer 19. John Jones 20.
Gary Smoker 21. Les Myers 22. Bill Adams 23. Larry Turner 24. Al
Butterfield's Pub Stock Cars: 1. DOUG IORIO 2. Shaun Hooks 3. Andy Buckley
4. Terry Kroner 5. Bill Hanna 6. Bob McCann 7. Greg Beach 8. Willie Aley 9.
Scott Peterson 10. Ed Hays 11. Ron Iorio 12. Rick Anthony 13. William
George, Sr. 14. Dean Sherbondy 15. Robert Hays 16. Joe Updegraff 17. Bob
Sloss 18. Tim Zuschlag 19. Brian Miller 20. Gary Norman 21. Kevin Thompson
22. Danny Exley 23. Rick Lanigan 24. Rick Norco DNQ-Jeff Walters, Burton
Fingado, Rod Laskey, Jason Johns, Duane Grinnell, Robert Caszatt, Jr., Joe
McCorkle, Jr., Russ Coyne, Mike Harmon, Don Greenlee, Chuck Kerr, Rich
Chess, Sr., Mike Aley, Scott Hooks, Joe Lockhart, Rusty Moore.
Upcoming Events:May 11 Sprints, Big-Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, & Stocks.
"Mom's the Word" Mother's Day Celebration presented by the Volant Merchant's
Assn. * $1,500 of merchandise giveaways * Meet Your Heroes/Stocks
May 18 Bill Emig Memorial presented by Hovis Auto & Truck Supply. Triple 25s
for Big-Block Modifieds ($1,500 to-win each), 360 Sprints ($1,500 to-win),
Sportsman Modifieds ($600 to-win), & Stock Cars ($600 to-win). G&G Auto
Outlet "Gladiator Series" Demo Derby
May 25 Sprints, Big-Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, Stock Cars, & P.C.T.C.
Senior Series. Pre-event ATPA Rally with 100 ATPA event ticket giveaways.
Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Hot laps at 6 p.m. Racing at 7 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 15. 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