MERCER, Pa — Danny Holtgraver had one of the worst two weeks of his young racing career just a few weeks ago. Mechanical issues and bad racing luck had his team down.
But, when the University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions headed to Mercer Raceway Park Saturday for the 24th annual Western Pennsylvania Sprint Car Championship, the confidence returned to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania driver.
Holtgraver used lapped traffic to make a last lap pass of Andrew Palker to steal his third UNOH All Star win of the season. Holtgraver has raced at Mercer five times in 2013 and has won all five features including an All Star victory early in July.
“Boy did this team need that. After the Thunder Through the Plains and Knoxville Nationals we were all kind of beat up. This is a huge win for us,” said Holtgraver. “When we got into heavy lapped traffic Andrew had trouble getting around them and I didn’t that was the difference.”
For Palker, who recently wrapped up his second consecutive track championship at the NAPA Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio, the last lap pass was heartbreaking. He also won Friday night at Lernerville Speedway.
“Lapped traffic screwed me. One guy decided he wanted to race me. I slid him and he would slide me back. Lapped cars aren’t supposed to do that. It’s just very frustrating. I had a great car and to lose because of that…oh, well, I guess we’ll take second and try again next week,” said Palker. “I can’t thank Paul Kistler enough for the great engine.”
Current UNOH All Star national and Ohio region point leader Dale Blaney charged from his seventh starting spot to a third place finish.
Danny Holtgraver, Andrew Palker, Dale Blaney, Tim Shaffer, Cole Duncan, Lee Jacobs, Paige Polyak, Ralph Spithaler, Carl Bowser, Jack Sodeman Jr, Andy McKisson, Trey Gustin, Adam Kekich, Cap Henry, Caleb Helms, Russ Sansosti, Eric Williams, Dennis Wagner, Chris Best, Bob Howard, Brent Matus, Jim Shuster, Scott Priester, Brandon Matus.