By JIM BALENTINE
MERCER, PA – Michaels Mercer raceway dodged the rain and completed its 1st night of racing of the 71ST season on Saturday May 14. Picking up wins were Jeremy Kornbau (305 sprints), and 2021 track champions Eric Gabany (big block mods), Brian Schaffer (FASTRAK mods) and Andy Thompson (mini stocks). The whole show was completed at 9:28 pm.
After seven years of finishing second more times than he could count, Hermitage Pa’s Jeremy Kornbau finally broke into the winner circle picking up his 1st career victory by winning the first Racesaver 305 sprint feature of 2022. It wouldn’t be easy as three time winner last season Tom Jasen would give him all he had battling back-and-forth for the lead spot. however after a red flag Kornbau took off and won easily by seven seconds over Jasen.
“It’s about time!! Everyone said my 1st was right around the corner “ said Kornbau “ I knew if I could stick it in the bottom I could hold him (Jasen)off but he looked good on the outside so I tried to keep my speed down low and it worked! I’ve been rehearsing this speech forever and here it is and I finally broke the curse !” Jasen would finish 2nd, Andy Cavanaugh 3rd, Jake Gomola 4th from 13th , and Roman Jones 5th.
In the big block modified feature last year‘s track champion Eric Gabany picked up where he left off last season with a thrilling battle with Brad Rapp to pick up the first win of 2022. Rapp and Gabany would swap the leads several times. “That was awesome!! I saw him (Rapp) on the inside many times I knew I had to go back down there..it was super racey and my arms are wore out !! That top line will come in soon and will make for great racing.” Rapp was 2nd, Rick Regalski 3rd, Mike Kinney in his 1st appearance 4th and Tom Glenn 5th.
In the FASTRAK modifieds it was all Brian Schaffer as last years track champion dominated the 20 lap event winning by 7 seconds over 2nd place to pick up his 9th career Mercer checkered. “Ed put a lot of money into the track and lights and the track crew has worked hard on it..we will get there. If I knew I had a 7 second lead I would have slowed down at the end.” A great battle for second with Gage priester taking the spot over newcomer Pat Lane and Jeff Schaffer Jr, JC Boyer finished 5th.
In the $400 to win mini stock race it came down between two of the veterans of this division with Tim Callahan and Andy Thompson battling all race long for the win. Both started Side-by-side and real number four and have their work it out for them but they quickly made their way through the field. Summer Pitts led the way and looked solid looking for her 1st ever win but was overtaken by the veterans. Callahan led with 2 laps to go but Thompson went low in the corner out of 4 and took the lead. Thompson then went low and Callahan high out of 4 and Thompson would take the thrilling victory. Callahan broke at the line but still finished 2nd, Cole Miller was 3rd, Summer Pitts 4th and John McCracken 5th. Thompson said “We rubbed one time but that car would run and I wouldn’t let him beat me. With 3 to go I said let’s go for it!! we drove a heck of a race and I hope you fans enjoyed it. I was teetering up on the cushion and it will be a great racing surface.”
Mercer will be dark Saturday, May 21st but will be back in action on May 28th with a regular show plus the 410 sprints paying $3000 to win. It will also be a military night with all military IDs admitted free to the grandstand
305 Sprints – Winged 14 Entries
1. 27K-Jeremy Kornbau; 2. 12G-Tommy Jasen; 3. X7-Andy Cavanagh; 4. 4J-Jacob Gamola; 5. 82M-Roman Jones; 6. 88-Greg Dobrosky; 7. 17S-Shane Shook; 8. H20-Michael Miller; 9. 3-John Jerich; 10. 20M-Vivian Jones; 11. 42-James Pattock; 12. 25-Jarrett Rosencrance; 13. 71-Joe Coggin; 14. 154-Shamus O’Donnell
Heat 1 1. 27K-Jeremy Kornbau Heat 2 1. 12G-Tommy Jasen
Dirt Big Block Modifieds 7 Entries
1. 18E-eric gabany; 2. 11R-Brad Rapp; 3. 96-Rick Regalski Jr; 4. 20P-Mike Kinny; 5. 83T-Tom Glenn; 6. 28H-Jimmy Holden; 7. 74-Kevin Green
Heat 1 1. 11R-Brad Rapp
Mini Stocks 21 entries
1. 5-Andy Thompson; 2. 54-Tim Callahan; 3. 00-Cole Miller; 4. 64-Summer Pitts; 5. 79-John McCraken; 6. 17J-Mike Salsgiver; 7. C4-Alex Claypoole; 8. 10S-trevn schaffer; 9. 16R-Jordan Reges; 10. 44B-Cody Blose; 11. 33-Brianna Parker; 12. 77-Braden Bice; 13. 77S-Jason Swartz; 14. 66M-Matt Miller; 15. 999-Adam Aley; 16. 029-Ben Aley; 17. S0B33-Leonard Baker Jr; 18. 38-Randy Ealy; 19. 22D-Chuck Davis; 20. 7-Carl Ealy; 21. 02-Devin Haley
Heat 1 1. 02-Devin Haley Heat 2 1. 54-Tim Callahan
Limited Modified 10 Entries
1. 41-Brian Schaffer; 2. 71-Gage Priester; 3. 12L-Patrick Lane; 4. 14-Jeff Schaffer Jr; 5. 12-JC Boyer; 6. 5C-Ayden Cipriano; 7. 7-Scott Kay; 8. 7P-Caden Petry; 9. 113-Don Cornelius; 10. (DNS) 717-Bill Adams
1. 41-Brian Schaffer;