Mercer, PA – Erick Rudolph ran his unbeaten string to six consecutive wins on the tough BRP Modified Tour. He gained a measure of redemption by winning on the only track on the Mod Tour’s schedule that he had not conquered.
Also taking wins were points leader Darin Gallagher in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprint Cars, Shane Shook in the Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks, and Mark Marcucci in the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites.
The 35 lap contest between the BRP Big Blocks and the Turn 4 Toilets 358 Modifieds had Rex King, Jr. and Rudolph on the front row, Chris Haines and Randy Chrysler in the second, and Garrett Krummert and Kevin Hoffman in the third. Jimmy Holden, the track’s points leader lined up in seventh, with Jeremiah Shingledecker on his flank.
Rex King, Jr. got the edge of Rudolph heading toward turn one on the initial start, but a spin by Tyler Willard nullified his effort. When he green came out for real, Rudolph seized control, with King Jr., Chrysler, Haines, and Rex King, Sr. close behind. While Rudolph led the way, the racer making moves was King, Sr. He was fourth by lap five, and third on lap six. But, his drive to the front ended on lap seven, when his car came to a halt.
On the restart, Rudolph and King Jr. were now leading Shingledecker, who had followed King Sr. to the top five. The action was stopped on lap eight when seven cars got together in turn four. Involved were Jason Sines, Travis Walsh, Kyle Fink, Rodney Beltz, Steve Barr, Shawn Kozar, and Shannon Whaley. All of them were able to continue.
When things got going again, Mercer favorite Lonny Riggs was starting to flex some muscle. He was into he fourth spot by lap ten, and he was looking for more. By the halfway mark, he was into third, and the fans were starting to wonder if Riggs could pull off the upset again. You see, he is the only 358 Modified driver to have won a Modified Tour race on his home track.
Minor incidents on laps 18 and 19 slowed the pace again. But the final sixteen laps were completed without further interruption.
Rudolph and King Jr. continued to lead, but things were changing behind them. Shingledecker passed Riggs for third on lap 28. Meanwhile, Garrett Krummert, a former regular at the speedway, showed that he still knew the quick way around the tricky oval. He began picking off cars, reaching fifth with five laps to go. He made one more pass, for fourth before the checkers flew.
At the finish, it was Rudolph 3.881 seconds ahead of King Jr., Shingledecker, Krummert, and Riggs. Chrysler and Haines were next. Fink came back from that lap eight melee to get eighth. Willard also came up through the field for ninth. J.R. McGinley was tenth. Holden was twelfth.
Heat victories went to Dave Murdick, Haines, Rudolph, and King Jr. Prevailing in the B Main was Rod Laskey.
In the Bonell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprint Cars, Darin Gallagher started on the pole and led the entire distance to get back into victory lane. Gregg McCandless started second, and held that position until the only restart, which occurred with four laps in the books. Andy Priest got by when the race resumed and he chased Gallagher the rest of the way home. McCandless held on for third, ahead of Mike Marano, II and Mike Miller.
Rookie Caitlin Chaffman was sixth, ahead of Nevan O’Donnell, Logan McCandless (who was making his first start in the class), Shamus O’Donnell, and Ron Hamlin.
Preliminaries went to Marano and Priest, while Gallagher set the fast time, touring the track in 15.632 seconds.
Eleven Mini Stocks went to the post under the twin banners of Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking, with Shane Shook taking the win. He came from third on the grid to do it. Fifth place starter Tim Callahan was second, with Ed Haylett driving Tyler Fulton’s machine to third. Points leader Bill Fuchs was fourth and Karlee Longwell came across in fifth, after starting from the pole position. Kyle Donnelly, Justin Bailey, William Haylett, Summer Pitts, and Isaac Paden completed the top ten.
Heat winners were Fuchs and Callahan.
The final race of the evening was for the Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites. Newcomer Brandon Shaw and Joey Zambotti paced the field, but when all was said and done, it was Mark Marcucci standing tall in victory lane. The win pulled him to within six points in the championship contest, with two races remaining in the regular season. Ken Meadows took second, with Shane Webb in third, Shaw in fourth, and Chris Robinson in fifth. Keith Smith, Zambotti, Glenn Teeters, Cale Petrelle, and Jason Johnston rounded out the top ten.
Meadows and Robinson were victors in the heat races. Marcucci was fastest in qualifications at 18.733 seconds.
Next week will be the Summer Shootout. Coming across the Ohio border will be the racers from the Fremont Attica Sprint Tour. The 410s will take on the track’s regular Precise Racing Products 410 Sprint stars, while the 305s will compete against the Bonnell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprint Cars. Also on tap will be the Turn 4 Toliets 358 Modifieds, the Rock Concrete Supply Mod Lites, the Ray’s Racing Collectibles/Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks, and the Young Gun Junior Sprints. Regular season racing will end on August 26, when the Patriot Sprint Tour will bring in the 360 sprints. The entireSaturday Night Live! cast will also be on hand, as this will decide the season championships.
BRP Modified Tour vs. Turn 4 Toilets 358 Modifieds: Erick Rudolph, Rex King Jr., Jeremiah Shingledecker, Garrett Krummert, Lonny Riggs, Randy Chrysler, Chris Haines, Kyle Fink, Tyler Willard, J.R. McGinley, Rick Regalski, Jimmy Holden, Tommy Mattocks, Rod Laskey, Rodney Beltz, Shannon Whaley, Mark Frankhouser, Kevin Green, Steve Barr, Randy Chronister, Shawn Kozar, Travis Walsh, Jason Sines, Kevin Hoffman, Rex King, Sr., Dave Murdick (DNS). DNQ: Jerry Bowser, Tom Glenn, Tommy Kristyak.
Bonnell’s Rod Shop 305 Sprint Cars: Darin Gallagher, Andy Priest, Gregg McCandless, Mike Marano, II, Mike Miller, Caitlin Chaffman, Nevan O’Donnell, Logan McCandless, Shamus O’Donnell, Ron Hamlin.
Rock Concrete Supply Modified Lites: Mark Marcucci, Ken Meadows, Shane Webb, Brandon Shaw, Chris Robinson, Keith Smith, Joey Zambotti, Glenn Teeters, Cale Petrelle, Jason Johnston, Dusty Frantz, Ed Murdick, Bobby Springer.
Ray’s Racing Collectibles/Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks: Shane Shook, Tim Callahan, Ed Haylett, Bill Fuchs, Karlee Longwell, Kyle Donnelly, Justin Bailey, William Haylett, Summer Pitts, Isaac Paden, Robert Caszalt, III, Mike Porterfield (DNS).