posted June 02, 2002 10:43 AM
Hawley and Riggs win firsts in Sprints & Modifieds; Schaffer and Moore also
new winners at Mercer
By Mike Leone
June 1, 2002 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mercer, PA.After eight straight weeks of threatening weather to open the
2002 season, a picture-perfect day kicked off the month of June Saturday
night at Mercer Raceway Park. Four new winners celebrated in the Moore's
Auto Body victory lane including Jimmy Hawley-Luxaire Heating & Cooling
Sprint Cars, Lonny Riggs-Big-Block Modifieds, Jerry Schaffer-New Castle
School of Trades Sportsman Modifieds, and Rusty Moore-Butterfield's Pub
Stock Cars. A season-high 145 cars jammed the pit area in the four divisions
for the highest car count of the season.
It was "Lions, Tigers, & Bears" Night presented by Anderson Coach & Travel.
Lucky winners won trips to the Lion King musical in Toronto, the African
Safari Park in Cambridge, Ontario, and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Around
500 tickets to the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium were given away along with
other great giveaways for the children.
Jimmy Hawley picked up his first win since vacating the Dr. John & Debbie
Crawford #cIII, which propelled him to six straight wins to finish 2001 at
Mercer. "It seems like its been forever," said the relieved West Middlesex,
Pa. driver after winning the 20-lap Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Car
feature. "As the tires got hotter, the car kept getting better and better. I
want to congratulate my car owners Billy, Mindy, and Mike Shearer on their
first ever win."
Gary Kriess, Jr. bolted into the lead from the pole position. After motor
problems last week and a nasty flip at Lernerville Speedway on Friday night,
Kriess was hoping to turn around his bad luck. Kriess led the first six
laps, but entering lapped traffic on lap seven he got into Nathan Hines in
turn one. The accident also collected the second place car of Kevin Andrusky
as well as the front runners of Rob Eyler and Ed Lynch, Jr. Kriess and Hines
were done for the night.
When racing resumed, Arnie Kent was handed the lead with seventh-starting
Hawley up to second and eighth-starting Troy Preston in third. Kent and
Hawley opened up some ground as a two-car race developed for the lead at the
halfway mark. Hawley's winning move came on lap 12 with an inside move off
turn four. Hawley had just enough momentum off the top of turns one and two
on lap 13 to maintain the lead.
A caution for Dave Wagner and lapped traffic on lap 18 was all that slowed
Hawley from his milestone 30th career Mercer win. "We built this car today,"
said Hawley from victory lane beside the Maximum Tool & Die/Chevron
East/Young's 24-Hour Towing/Applewood Refinishing-sponsored car. "It's a new
J&J. Jack and Bonnie Elam are here from Tennessee- they're the manufacturer
of this car. We're back at home with this car. We were running a different
brand before. I think we know this thing."
On the final lap, Kent's engine blew up moving point leader Preston to
second. Defending point champion Tom Quarterson was third for his best
finish of 2002 and gave West Middlesex drivers a clean sweep of the top
three positions. Jamie Smith raced from 16th to place fourth at the checkers
as Jack Sodeman, Jr. completed the top five. Sixth through tenth were Lynch,
Gary Edwards, Eyler, Scott Bonnell, and Kent, who coasted across the line.
Heats for the season-high 37-car field were won by Andrusky, Eyler, Preston,
and Hawley. Gary McCollum won the B main.
Scott Bonnell was the highest finishing 360 Sprint Car over the 14 cars that
participated taking the ninth spot for a $150 bonus. Jason Dolick, Aaron
Shaffer, and Todd Bauer also received bonus monies for finishing second
through fourth amongst the 360s. Bauer continues to lead the points as
Gardner Competition Engines signed on Friday as the point fund sponsor.
Lonny Riggs turned around his 2002 season by winning his first 20-lap
Big-Block Modified feature of the year. "This has been a rough year getting
started for us," said the Volant, Pa. winner. "We got the new car out and we
just haven't been able to figure it out. It worked a little better tonight."
Riggs moved into the lead on the opening lap past Chanda Reitz and Nick
Ritchey. Dean Pearson passed Rodney Beltz for third on lap two and then
moved by Ritchey for second on the following lap. Beltz slowed on lap eight
bringing out the caution, which moved Tim Doran up to third. Rob Kristyak
brought out the final caution with nine laps completed.
When green replaced yellow, Tommy Kristyak went from fifth past Jerry Bickel
and Doran into third. On lap 14, Kristyak split the lapped car of Howard
Duff and Pearson for second as the three raced into turn three. By the time
Kristyak cleared Pearson, Riggs had a near straightaway lead.
Riggs had enough to hold on for his fourth career Mercer big-block win in
the Merle Black-owned, Winners Circle Automotive Machine-sponsored #58.
Kristyak was second. Jeff Schaffer, who started ninth, passed Doran on lap
14 for fourth, then took third from Pearson in turn one on the final lap.
Pearson and Doran dropped to fourth and fifth respectively. Rounding out the
top 10 were Rick Hall, Jerry Bickel, Ritchey, Brian Swartzlander, and J.R.
McGinley. Heat winners over the 31-car field were Swartzlander, Doran, and
Tommy Kristyak. Rich Ferguson won the B main.
Jerry Schaffer of Ellwood City, Pa. won his first career Sportsman Modified
feature in the 20-lap New Castle School of Trades event. Bill Adams was in
charge of the event early on. Schaffer, who started ninth, entered the
picture on lap nine when he passed Andy Paden for third. Schaffer and Steve
Young moved into second and third on lap 10 when they got by John Buchanan.
Schaffer's winning move came on the 12th circuit when he edged ahead of
Adams at the start-finish line. Young and Buchanan dropped Adams back to
fourth on lap 15. Young was all over Schaffer in the final five laps as the
C.J. Rombold-built engines were nearly identical, but Schaffer was able to
hold on ending Young's three-race win streak.
Schaffer drove his self-owned #4 sponsored by Approved Toilet Rentals,
Beachum Sandblasting, and Business Expressions to his first win since July
13, 1996 in a Six-Cylinder Modified. Young's second place finish aided his
point lead. Buchanan was a season-best third ahead of Adams and a second
straight fifth place for Al Priester. Winning the heat races over the
season-high 27-car field were Young, Andy Paden, and Adams. Brian Booher won
the B main.
After losing the lead in the closing laps last week, Rusty Moore didn't let
this week slip by as he captured his first 15-lap Butterfield's Pub Stock
Car win since 1994. Moore was able to race by Jim Miller on the start for
the lead. Kevin Thompson passed Bob Sloss and then Miller for second on lap
two. Thompson was all over Moore as the laps ticked off. Bobby Whitling came
from ninth to take third from Shaun Hooks on lap 13. Whitling caught the
front two making for a three-car race to the checkereds, but Moore had just
enough to hold on for his fifth career Mercer win in his Rich & Freed Auto
Parts/Plotts Transmissions-sponsored #17. Thompson's second was his best
finish since August 5, 2000. Whitling was third. Hooks' fourth was his 18th
straight top 10 finish. Gary Norman was fifth after starting 21st. Miller,
Doug Iorio, Whitling, and Moore were heat winners over the season-high
50-car field. Norman and Phil Kaufman won the B mains.
Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars: 1. JIMMY HAWLEY 2. Troy Preston 3.
Tom Quarterson 4. Jamie Smith 5. Jack Sodeman, Jr. 6. Ed Lynch, Jr. 7. Gary
Edwards 8. Rob Eyler 9. Scott Bonnell 10. Arnie Kent 11. Jason Dolick 12.
Gregg McCandless 13. Jeff Banyas 14. Ricky Ferkel 15. Randy Kriegisch 16.
Mary Anne Williams 17. Aaron Shaffer 18. Goob Schuller 19. Gary McCollum 20.
Dave Wagner 21. Todd Bauer 22. Gary Kriess, Jr. 23. Kevin Andrusky 24.
Nathan Hines DNQ-Chris Matthews, Brian Hartzell, Pup Nystrom, Nick
Daugherty, Brad Knab, Paul Kish, Gale Ruth, Butch Beasley, Leonard Ripper,
Jr., Paul Kapuchuck, Brian Woodhall, Mel Straley, Staple Nash.
Big-Block Modifieds: 1. LONNY RIGGS 2. Tommy Kristyak 3. Jeff Schaffer 4.
Dean Pearson 5. Tim Doran 6. Rick Hall 7. Jerry Bickel 8. Nick Ritchey 9.
Brian Swartzlander 10. J.R. McGinley 11. Bob Dorman 12. Frank Guidace 13.
Adam Siegel 14. Carl Murdick 15. Rich Ferguson 16. John Boyer, Jr. 17.
Howard Duff 18. Chanda Reitz 19. Les Myers 20. Rick Kress 21. Rob Kristyak
22. Don McKnight 23. Rodney Beltz 24. Scott Kay DNQ-Justin Broerman, Jeff
Baker, Jim Bickel, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Greg Unrue, Lee Miller, Ed
New Castle School of Trades Sportsman Modifieds: 1. JERRY SCHAFFER 2. Steve
Young 3. John Buchanan 4. Bill Adams 5. Al Priester 6. Chad Reitz 7. Rick
Hall 8. Zack Moran 9. Leroy Johnson, Jr. 10. Brian Booher 11. Dave Cogswell
12. John Confer 13. Bill Thompson 14. Morgan Sasse 15. Mike Mathieson 16.
Ron Eperthener, Jr. 17. Randy Rodemoyer 18. Andy Paden 19. Mike Gibson 20.
Steve Toth 21. Kevin Latshaw 22. Dave Shook 23. Jim Schaffer 24. Les Myers
DNQ-Fred Maxwell, Bill Baptiste, John Jones.
Butterfield's Pub Stock Cars: 1. RUSTY MOORE 2. Kevin Thompson 3. Bobby
Whitling 4. Shaun Hooks 5. Gary Norman 6. Dave Ferringer 7. Andy Buckley 8.
Doug Iorio 9. Jim Miller 10. Bob McCann 11. Terry Kroner 12. Gary Robinson
13. Rick Lanigan 14. Rick Anthony 15. Jason Johns 16. Willie Aley 17. Tim
Deutsch 18. Greg Beach 19. Brian Miller 20. Ron Iorio 21. Phil Kaufman 22.
Bob Sloss 23. Rod Laskey 24. Bill Hanna DNQ-Scott Peterson, Ed Cornell,
William George, Sr., Chuck Kerr, Skip Reseigh, Mike Aley, Todd Canter, Mike
Harmon, Gary Laurie, Ed Hays, Mark Sanders, Lester Bates, Joe Updegraff,
Duane Grinnell, Robert Caszatt, Jr., Mark Felicetty, Russ Coyne, John Iorio,
Rick Norco, Dan Fedorchak, Rich Chess, Sr., Dean Sherbondy, Gary Miller,
Jr., Scott Hooks, Dan Lewis, Don Greenlee.
June 8 Sprints, Big-Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, & Stocks. Mahoning Valley
Scrappers Night. Giveaways includes tickets to Scrapper games and Mercer
Raceway Park pennants and baseballs. Appearance by mascot "Scrappy". All
little leaguers admitted free.
June 15 "Wingless/The Return - Part III" presented by Chevron East. NAMARS
vs. ARDC Midget Car Clash ($2,000), Wingless Sprints ($2,000), Sportsman
Mods ($500), & Stock Cars ($500).
June 22 Sprints, Big-Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, & Stocks. Jr. Fan Night
featuring the Nickelodeon "Rugrats", kids bike races, and Grove City Auto
Mall "Meet Your Heroes"/Sportsman Mods.
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