MERCER, Pa. – Three of Western Pennsylvania’s favorite sons will play for the visiting team on Saturday when Mercer Raceway Park hosts the UNOH All Stars Circuit of Champions.
Leading the way will be Dale Blaney, who tops the Ohio Region and National points standings for the touring series. Close behind him in both rankings are another champion, Tim Shaffer, and Danny Holtgraver. The home team will include Eric Williams, defending track champion and current leader points leader, as well as Scott Priester and Jack Sodeman Jr.
With many other talented drivers sure to be on hand, this will be one of the most anticipated contests of the 2013 season at the Park.
The All Stars come rolling into town following the grueling Ohio Sprint Speedweek, which featured six races at different venues over a nine-day period. Two of the programs were lost to rain. Blaney took the last leg of that series and Jac Haudenschild copped a pair of wins. Aliquippa’s Tim Shaffer emerged with the Speedweek crown even though he never graced victory lane. Surprisingly, Shaffer is still searching for his first win of the season. He would like nothing more than to crack the ice in his own backyard.
Shaffer will have plenty of competition, though. Holtgraver was spectacular in his last appearance at Mercer Raceway Park, taking a pair of victories on the same night. One came against the tough 360 Sprints of the Patriot Sprint Tour, when he started dead last, and the other came in the track’s own 410 Sprint division, presented by Luxaire Heating & Cooling and Ralph Butch, Inc.
That brought the Pittsburgh native’s win total to three on the tricky oval this season. Another All Star pilot who emerged victorious in 2013 at the Park is the exciting young Ohio driver Cap Henry.
Nationally known stars, like Justin Henderson, Greg Wilson and Danny Smith are also expected.
Defending the home turf will be Eric Williams, who won the last time out. His Mid-Season Championship tally was his first of the year and it came by just .003 seconds, surely one of the closest contests in the venerable history of the track. Second that night was Jack Sodeman Jr., while Scott Priester, Dan Kuriger and fast-closing Rod George completed the top five.
With a $5,000 check awaiting the winner, regional talents like Brian Ellenberger, Ed Lynch Jr., and Mike Lutz may also converge on Mercer.