MERCER, Pa. – Jack Sodeman Jr. grabbed win in the 410 sprint-car feature presented by Luxaire Heating & Cooling and McCrudden Heating & Supply Saturday night at Mercer Raceway Park.
Sodeman had to hold off a furious charge by Eric Williams in the final six laps. The victory, coupled with the failure of points leader Carl Bowser to start the event, propelled the defending champion to the top of the standings.
“It’s way too early to be worried about the points,” Sodeman quipped.
Jack Sodeman, Jr. and Scott Priester had the front row for the 410 sprint-car feature under the twin banners of Luxaire Heating & Cooling and McCrudden Heating & Supply. Sodeman took the early lead, with Priester hanging close in second. Eric Williams, Bill Jones Jr., Dan Kuriger, and Brandon Matus fought for positions in the early going.
Sodeman seemingly had the cruise control set, as he pulled away from Priester. The leaders entered lapped traffic just past the midpoint in the race, and that made things more complicated for the front runners. Priester spun in turn three and that set up a six lap dash for the cash.
Sodeman led the pack to the green, but Williams was a man on a mission. He was closing on Prieseter just before the stoppage. Now, he was chasing the leader. Williams charged around the high side of the speedway, hoping that his momentum would carry him to the lead. It was not to be, though, as Sodeman continued to roll around the bottom of the speedway.
On the final circuit, Williams threw caution to the wind. He got a big charge off turn two, but could not get along side of the leader. Sodeman entered turn three with a slight lead. Williams made another push in turn four, but came up just a few car lengths short at the finish line.
“We just got way, way too tight after the caution, so I just hit my marks, kept my head, and kept the car straight, and it worked out pretty good,” Sodeman said.
He said he knew that Williams was lurking in the final laps.
“I heard him in turn four, so I said I’d better pick it up or else he’s going to show me the way around this place,” Sodeman said.
Rod George came from twelfth to third in the final rundown. Brandon Matus was fourth, and Jones held on for fifth in his first race of the new season.
Eric Gabany scored his first Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modified feature since last Fall’s Little Guys Nationals preliminary night feature. Curtis J. Bish was declared the winner in the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars when apparent winner Leigh Wheeler came up 20 pounds light at the scales. Rod Jones raced to the win in the Rock Concrete Modified Lites. Tyler Fulton made a last-lap pass of points leader Mike McConnell to earn the checkers in the Mini Stocks offered by Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. The finale for the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors went to Michael Bauer.