MERCER, Pa. – Lonny Riggs landed his Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified in victory lane in round one of the Smackdown! at Mercer Raceway Park Saturday night.
It marked the first time in the history of the rivalry that a Mercer-legal 358 defeated the big blocks of the BRP Modified Tour. During the event, Riggs turned the fastest official lap for a modified of any sort at Mercer, 17.100. As Riggs circled the speedway, fireworks could be seen over the backstretch from a bicentennial display on the town square
Riggs expressed his gratitude to his fellow competitors, many of whom loaned him parts or tires so that he could compete.
“I’ve got borrowed parts all over that car tonight,” Riggs said.
He gave a particular mention to one driver who gave him a tire that made the car turn more effectively.
“We didn’t have any Hoosiers, and we borrowed every tire on that car tonight, and we got the last one from Matt Reeher (because) the car wouldn’t turn, and now it sure does,” Riggs said.
Tom Glenn took the initial lead in the 25 lap Modified affair, but his advantage was quickly nullifed by a spin of multi-time Modified Tour champion Rex King Jr. in turn one. On the restart, Riggs was better prepared, but Glenn still maintained the lead. Glenn was putting in one of his best performances ever in keeping the persistent Riggs at bay. Positions were up for grabs throughout the field, which was still running in very close formation.
A quick caution on lap four for a spin by young Kyle Holden slowed Glenn’s pace. While the field was circulating under the yellow, King tried to come back out. Although he was four laps down to the filed, he could have stayed out to pick up a position or two due to attrition in order to maximize his point total for the night. However, a bent left rear wheel sent him back to the pits with no additional laps completed.