MERCER, Pa. – Defending champion Eric “Turkey” Williams, picked the perfect time to score his first win of the season in the 410 sprint-car class at Mercer Raceway Park.
With double points on the line for the Mid-Season Championships courtesy of Sunburst Environmental Services, Inc., Williams got the maximum, taking his heat as well. That padded his slim four point margin over Scott Priester in the chase for the crown, supplied by Luxaire Heating & Cooling and Ralph Butch, Inc. for the 410 sprint cars.
Kyle Fink squeezed by points leader Frankie Guidace coming down for the white flag and held him off the rest of the way to capture the win in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. Fink was greeted in victory lane by his girlfriend, Makayla Guidace, who was sidelined while running inside the top ten.
Defending title holder, Smokin’ Joe McEwen, raced to victory in the Bonnell’s Collision Center Outlaw Sprint Warriors. It was a busy day for McEwen, who put the engine into the car before making the trip to the track. His engine builder installed the camshaft at 11 a.m. on race day.
Shane Pfeuffer, the points leader in the Modified Lites presented by Big Daddy’s Speed Center and Rock Concrete, led the entire distance. Alex Paden raced to the lead twice and held on for the win in the Mini Stocks endorsed by Eperthener’s Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles. Rusty Moore took the nightcap for the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars.
“You’d better win when you start on the pole,” a happy Williams said after the non-stop 410 Sprint Car affair.
While he did just that, the margin was a scant .003 second. Williams got a little cautious dealing with lappers, which allowed Priester to close in. Although Priester did make a run on Williams, the man who would ultimately challenge for the victory was Jack Sodeman. Jr. Sodeman powered past Priester on lap thirteen and closed rapidly on Williams. However, he saved his best for the final laps, pulling alongside Williams.
Williams jumped out to a considerable lead, with Priester running ahead of Sodeman, Adam Kekich and Dan Kuriger, who was back in action after missing a week to rebuild his heavily damaged racer.
While they ran out front, Rod George was on the march. Starting last in the field due to missing his heat, George worked his way up to sixth and was knocking on the door for a top five finish. Who knows, had there been a caution to bunch the field, we may have seen a three car battle to the checkers.
As it was, Williams prevailed in thrilling fashion. Sodeman came up just a tiny bit short at the end. Priester claimed third, ahead of Kekich and Kuriger. George settled for sixth after a strong run from the back. Gale Ruth, Jr., Chris Best, Jason Dolick and Adam Anderson completed the top 10.