MERCER – Feature wins by Rex King, Sr. and Brian Schaffer left no doubt who would would be crowned as champions in the Big Block Modifieds and Fastrak Limited Modifieds, respectively. And top-5 finishes were sufficient for Jacob Gomola (305 Sprint Cars), Vivian Jones (Modified Lites), and Joe Campbell (Mini-Stocks) to earn laurels. Getting feature wins were Greg Dobrosky (305 Sprints), Rod Jones (Modified Lites), and Johnny Bruce, Sr. (Mini Stocks).
“It was a lot of fun,” said Rex King, Sr. after sealing his 2nd track championship at Michaels Mercer Raceway. His first title came in 1995, when Big Block Mods were the highlight of the racing program.
In the Big Block Modifieds, Kyle Fink and King, Jr. led the field to the green flag for the final regular-season race. King, Sr. lined up in 3rd next to Dave Murdick. Tom Glenn and Jimmy Holden were in row 3 and Skip Moore and Bob Warren were in row 4. Row 5 belonged to J.R. McGinley and Brad Rapp. King Jr. grabbed the early lead, and it looked like he might be able to make up the 2-point deficit after the heats were finished. But his father slipped into 2nd, meaning that a such a finish would clinch the title for Senior by just 1 marker. On lap 16, King Sr. dove low entering turn No. 1 and was able to make the pass for the lead. A couple of laps later, Murdick tried to close in on King, Sr., but was unable to make a move. At the checkered flag, it was King Sr. Taking heats were King Sr. and Moore.
Brian Schaffer launched his title run from the pole position for the 20-lap Fastrak Limited Modified feature. Next to him was Eric Gabany. Brian Sadler was paired up with Shayne Izzo, who led the points in the division for most of the season. Jim Bryce and Dave Murdick were in row 3, with Steve Slater and Rick Regalski in 4. Jerry Schaffer and Erik Martin had row 5 covered. Schaffer and Gabany took off at the drop of the green.
Just past the halfway mark, Gabany worked his way past Schaffer; however, a caution just a couple of laps later for Regalski put Schaffer next to Gabany for the re-start. Shaffer got the advantage coming off turn No. 4 and he swooped into the 1st turn with a lead that he would never relinquish. Sadler also slipped past Izzo after the green came out again. Murdick clawed his way to 4th at the finish, with Izzo crossing in 5th. Heats belonged to Sadler and Izzo.
The starting line-up for the 305 Sprints was shuffled considerably by the failure of the cars to stage on time. As a result, the filed was lined up as the cars appeared on the track for the start of the feature. That unexpected development put Greg Dobrosky on the pole with Steve Cousins to his left. Chase Matheny was relegated to 3rd, while Andy Cavanaugh moved ahead to 4th. Then came Nevan and Shamus O’Donnell. Jacob Gomola fell from fourth to 7th. Adam Nolan and Kyle Colwell completed the field.
Dobrosky and Cousins bolted out to the lead. Matheny, Gomola, and Colwell fell in line behind them. Colwell worked past Gomola, but he needed more cushion that that, as a an early retirement from the heat race left him 5 points behind in the championship contest. The non-stop affair had Dobrosky getting the win
Point champion Jacob Gomola was also pleased with his consistency, noting,
“I really wasn’t running for points. I’m not very much of a points racer, but I guess we’ll take it if we can get it.”
“We blew up a motor two weeks ago and I was kinda glad that last week rained out. Actually, Kyle Colwell helped me build this one last week, so we got it together. He probably should not have helped me. But we help each other out. He’s got my rear end in the car tonight, so it’s all how it works out.”
In the Modifed Lites, Dave Innes and Roman Jones brought the field to the green flag. Mark Marcucci and Ayden Cipriano were in the 2nd row, with Jacob Eakin and Charlie Biskup in the 3rd. Rod Jones and Jeff Davis were in 4, followed by Shane Webb and Dusty Frantz were in the 5th row. Points leader Vivian Jones started in 11th. While Innes took the early advantage, Rod Jones used several cautions in the early going to move ahead. He was able to take the lead just 2 laps in, while Vivian, followed, and by lap 4 she was searching for a line to get by him. Webb continued along in 3rd, followed by Marcucci and Davis.
At the checkered, Rod topped Vivian in the battle of the Jones. Webb was 3rd. Soon after the checkered flag fell, there was a massive pile-up at the entry to turn 1 that involved Jacob Isenhart, Jason Gracey, Ed Mudrick, Nathaniel Bale, and Innes. Innes turned over in the melee, but none of the drivers were hurt.
Race winner Rod Jones was the proud father of the new track champion in the Modified Lite Division. Speaking of Vivian’s accomplishment, he said, “That’s probably the best thing that’s happened. She had a phenomenal year. ... I couldn’t be happier.” Vivian, a West Middlesex High product who became the first female champion in the history of the speedway, admitted, “It’s pretty surreal. I don’t have any words.”
Heat winners were Vivian and Rod Jones, and Frantz.
Shane Shook shot from 2nd to 1st on the opening lap of the Mini-Stocks finale. Johnny Bruce came up to 2nd from row 2, along with his dancing partner, Joe Campbell. Dewayne Redinger and Jason Pavlick followed, with pole-sitter David Coffin holding down the 6th spot. Shook had a commanding lead with nine laps completed when he suddenly drove off the track at the turn 3 exit. That turned the lead over to Bruce, with Campbell in 2nd.
Bill Fuchs came alive in the final 5 laps to get 3rd. Joe Romanko was fourth, with Phil King next. Mike McConnell crossed in 6th, but a penalty was imposed that dropped him out of the top 10. That moved Randy Ealy, Redinger, Mike Porterfield, D.J. McRae, and Justin Bailey up a notch. Preliminaries belonged to Bruce, Ealy, and Romanko. King won the B Main.
Notes: There will be no racing at the speedway over the Labor Day weekend; however, an extra race has been added to the schedule on Sept. 7, featuring the Big Block Modifeds and 410 Sprints. Other classes in action that night will be the Fastrak Limited Modifieds, Mod Lites, and Mini-Stocks. Barring any other schedule changes, the final racing action will take place during the first weekend in October when the annual Little Guys Nationals will be presented.
• Big Block Modifieds––Rex King, Sr., Dave Murdick, Rex King, Jr., Jimmy Holden, Kyle Fink, Brad Rapp, J.R. McGinley, Skip Moore, Rick Regalski, Tom Glenn, Kevin Hoffman, Bob Warren, Lonnie Riggs, Erik Martin, Kevin Green, Kyle Holden, Bill Adams.
• Fastrack Limited Modifieds––Brian Schaffer, Eric Gabany, Brian Sadler, Dave Murdick, Shayne Izzo, Steve Slater, Brandon Ritchey, Jim Bryce, Jerry Schaffer, Blaze Myers, Michael Kristyak, Josh Hinchberger, Gage Priester, Rick Regalski, Todd Gabriel, Will Schaffer, Erik Martin, Tom Urey.
• 305 Sprints––Greg Dobrosky, Steve Cousins, Kyle Colwell, Jacob Gomola, Chase Matheny, Andy Cavanaugh, Nevan O’Donnell, Shamus O’Donnell, Adam Nolan.
• Modifed Lites––Rod Jones, Vivian Jones, Shane Webb, Jeff Davis, Mark Marcucci, Dusty Frantz, Roman Jones, Jacob Eakin, Robby Barris, Ayden Cipriano, Jacob Isenhart, Jason Gracey, Dave Innes, Ed Mudrick, Nathaniel Bale, Charlie Biskup, Larry Bevivino, Mark Biskup, Michael Heverly, Jeff Teeters, Rob Boano.
• Mini-Stocks––Johnny Bruce, Sr., Joe Campbell, Bill Fuchs, Joe Romanko, Phil King, Randy Ealy, Redinger, Mike Porterfield, D.J. McRae, Justin Bailey, Pete Blaczak, Mike Kelly, Davis Coffin, Larry Blake, Mike McConnell, Kyle Donnelly, John McCracken, Summer Pitts, Chad Brandt, Nicholas McFadden, Jamie Tasker, Shane Shook, Jason Pavlick, Trevin Schaffer (DNS). DNQ: Will Aley, Dustin Adams, Tim Callahan, Josh Stoler, Cameron Hutchins, Patrick Miller.