MERCER, PA – Rex King, Jr. continued his family’s dominance of BRP Modified Tour events held at Michaels Mercer Raceway. Amazingly, the racers from Bristolville, OH have won eleven of the twenty-eight contests held at the track. “Cooter,” as he is affectionately known, now accounts for four of those triumphs, three of them coming in the annual Chiller Thriller. While this one was run in mild weather, it still paid a cool two grand.
Patriarch Rex King, Sr. was closing in for what could have been his seventh Mod Tour victory at Mercer, but a flat tire late in the race ended the generational conflict. “He was making me nervous when I saw him on the scoreboard, when he got up to second,” the winner said. “I thought that we were going thirty laps and then when they said ‘nine to go,’ I said, ‘oh, boy, here we go.'”
While King Jr. did not have to fight off his father for the win, he did have to survive a one-lap shootout with Jimmy Holden to get the win. Holden noted, “when we went out there I knew that I had a decent car, but I didn’t think we had a winner, you know.” He added, “I just thought that I’d play it slow, keep it safe, keep all four tires on it, and it turned out way better for us than I thought it would.”
Both drivers announced that they were looking forward to racing their Big Blocks at the track weekly. “I have to give a big ‘thank you’ to Edward Michaels for getting this place back open,” King Jr. commented. “You know, this is a really cool deal, and it looks like the people like it by how many people are here tonight,” he added to a thunderous response.
Joining King Jr. in celebration this night were Garrett Krummert in the Fastrack Limited Modifieds presented by Turn Four Toilet Rentals, Jacob Gomola in the 305 Sprints offered by Hards Welding and Fabrication and River Valley Butcher Block, and Todd Hanlon in the Mini Stocks racing under the twin banners of Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking. Vivian Jones also earned her first ever career win in the Barris Trucking Modified Lites.
King Jr. wasted no time scooting out to the lead from his pole position in the thirty-five lapper that was hosted by Diehl Ram. Lonny Riggs, a track favorite, followed closely from his second starting spot. Jim Rasey, Richard Whitney, Brad Rapp, and Jimmy Holden battled for positions in the top five. Meanwhile, King Sr. began his march toward the front from eleventh on the grid.
King Sr. cracked the top five six laps into the contest, but he was still a ways back from his son, was holding Riggs at bay. Rasey and Rapp were in a tussle for the third position at the time. A caution for Whitney on lap six allowed King Sr. to join the lead group for the restart.
King Sr. gained one position on each of the next two laps. Will Thomas also joined the fun.
With King Jr. still out front, the battle was on between Riggs and King Sr. for the second position. King Sr. finally
wrestled the runnerup spot away from Riggs on lap 12. He then set his sights on the blue 165 that was out front.
Through the middle stage of the event, the Kings led Riggs, Rapp, Thomas, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Dave Murdick, Holden, Kevin Hoffman, and Garret Krummert.
A rash of yellow fever mixed things up within the top ten as the racers began the stretch run. There were no major calamities, but the race was halted briefly so that Dave Murdick could be checked out medically following his shunt in turn two. The last shuffle of positions happened on lap 28, when Riggs and Thomas tangled and King Sr. suffered his flat tire.
Those events moved Holden up to second behind King Jr., Krummert to third, Rick Regalski to fourth, and Kyle Fink to fifth. With a new shoe on his trusty mount, King Sr. lined up at the back of the field and he picked his way through in the field in the final laps.
Although there was a one-lap dash at the end, there were no changes in the top five. Kevin Hoffman and Chris Haines diced for sixth. King could Sr. reached eighth in the final tally.
The remaining finishers, all a lap in arrears, were Shawn Fleeger, John Venuto, Max Smoker, and Shawn Kozar.
The three heats for the Big Block Modifieds went to Riggs, Shingledecker, and King Sr. There was no B Main, as track owner Ed Michaels decided to allow all 28 cars to start the feature.
Jessica Kriegisch and Brandon Ritchey led the field to the start of the first Turn 4 Toilet Rentals Fastrack Limited Modified feature held at the speedway. Jordan Ehrenberg and Jason Hufnagle were in row two, with Garrett Krummert and Jacob Wolfe in row three. Kriegisch jumped out front, followed by Ritchey, Ehrenberg, and Krummert. Krummert made a powerful move on lap our to take the lead, which he would hold for the rest of the twenty lapper. Ritchey continued in second through lap 14. However, Kole Holden came on in the final five or six laps to take that spot away.
At the finish, It was Krummert, over Holden, Ritchey, Ehrenberg, and Blaze Myers. Erik Martin, Brian Schaffer, Josh Deems, Don Blaney, and Brian Sadler completed the top ten.
The trio of heats belonged to Krummert, Schaffer, and Martin. There was no B Main for the 22 cars on hand.
In the Hards Welding and Fabrication and River Valley Butcher Block 305 Sprints, Greg Dobrosky led the first twelve laps before surrendering the lead to the third place starter, Jacob Gomola for the final three rounds. Tyler Denochick, who started on the front row, ran along in third through the first nine laps. Soon thereafter, he pulled into the infield at turn four and jumped from his car, which had caught fire. Despite some scary moments, Denochick was unhurt. Vincent Dougherty came on for third. Fourth went to Robert Garvey, Jr. and fifth to Rob Felix. Josh Spices, Andy Cavanaugh, Randy Sterling, Chase Metheney, and Steve Cousins completed the top ten.
Gomola and Cousins topped their respective heats. There was no B Main for the eleven cars that signed in.
Teenager Vivian Jones charged form fourth to second on the opening lap of the Barris Trucking Modified Lite feature. She grabbed the lead on lap three and held off challenges from Shane Webb, Rod Jones (her father), Cole Petrelle, and Webb again over the course of the remaining twelve laps. Ayden Cipriano came from sixteenth to third, followed by Dusty Frantz, and Anthony Gillespie. Roman Jones, Ted Williams, Jacob Eakin, Jacob Isenhart, and Tyler Purnell rounded out the top ten.
There were three preliminaries for the 22 cars. Wins belonged to Petrelle, Rod Jones, and Williams. There was no B Main.
Todd Hanlon raced to victory in the Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks. Pete Blazczak took advantage of a late race restart to grab the second position. The late arriving 69er was third. David Coffin was fourth, and Di McRae was fifth. Positions six through ten went to Tom Unrue, Mike Kelly, Summer Pitts, Cameron Hutchens, and Karlee Longwell.
The heat victories went to Zech Frantz, Curtis Mohney, and the 69er.
Michaels Mercer Raceway will return to action on April 27, with a full five-division program starting at 7 p.m. The grand opening will be the first night of points racing for the Diehl Ram Big Block Modifieds, the Turn 4 Toilet Rentals Fastrack Limited Modifieds, the Hards Welding and Fabrication/River Valley Butcher Block 305 Sprints, the Barris Trucking Modified Lites, and the Ray’s Racing Collectibles/Eperthener Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks.
Remember that you can get alerts regarding the cancellation of any racing event at Mercer Raceway Park sent directly to your smartphone or other electronic device. To register, please go to the track’s website, www.mercerracewaypark.com, click on the icon for RainedOut.com, and follow the easy steps.
About Michaels Mercer Raceway: Michaels Mercer Raceway is a 3/8-mile dirt track located minutes from both Interstates 79 and 80 just off Route 19 on Fairground Road in Mercer, Pa. Dirt track racing and quality family entertainment are presented weekly from late March through early October. For more information, check out www.mercerracewaypark.com.
BRP Modified Tour presented by Diehl Ram: Rex King, Jr., Jimmy Holden, Garrett Krummert, Rick Regalski, Kyle Fink, Kevin Hoffman, Chris Haines, Rex King, Sr., Shawn Fleeger, John Venuto, Max Smoker, Shawn Kozar, Lonny Riggs, Will Thomas, Brad Rapp, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Dave Murdick, J.R. McGinley, Richard Whitney, Jordan Eck, Jim Rasey, Kevin Green, Tom Glenn, Steve Barr, Bob Warren, Erik Martin, Skip Moore, Tom Mattocks (DNS).
Turn 4 Toilet Rentals Fastrack Limited Modifieds: Garrett Krummert, Kole Holden, Brandon Ritchey, Jordan Ehrenberg, Blaze Myers. Erik Martin, Brian Schaffer, Josh Deems, Don Blaney, Brian Sadler, David Kalb, Jr., Cameron Nastasi, Jason Hufnagel, Jessica Kriegisch, Justin Halicki, Steve Slater, Dillon Barr, Gage Priester, Tom Urey, Jacob Wolfe, Chad Gumpp, Clayton Deems.
Hards Welding and Fabrication/River Valley Butcher Block 305 Sprints: Jacob Gomola, Greg Dobrosky, Vincent Dougherty, Robert Garvey, Jr., Rob Felix, Josh Spices, Andy Cavanaugh, Randy Sterling, Chase Metheney, Steve Cousins, Tyler Denochick.
Barris Trucking Modified Lites: Vivian Jones, Shane Webb, Ayden Cipriano, Dusty Frantz, Anthony Gillespie, Roman Jones, Ted Williams, Jacob Eakin, Jacob Eisenhart, Tyler Purnell, Amelia Clay, Justin Gracey, Cole Petrelle, Jordan Simmons, Logan Lewis, Rod Jones, Terry Ohl, Eric Marsh, Mark Marcucci, Todd Canter (DNS), Jason Darocha (DNS), Nathaniel Bale (DNS).
Ray’s Racing Collectibles and Eperthener Auto Wrecking Mini Stocks: Todd Hanlon, Petre Blazczak, the 69er, David Coffin, Di McRae, Tom Unrue, Mike Kelly, Summer Pitts, Cameron Hutchens, Karlee Longwell, Johnny Bruce, Cory Price, Mike Porterfield, Don Hittle, DeWayne Redinger, Patrick Crawford, Shane Shook, Kyle Donnelly, Curtis Mohney, Tim Callahan, Fred Delwert, Ray Reynolds, Zack Frantz (DNS), Levi Baker (DNS), Joseph Romanko (DNS).