Coming into last night the last five times that Danny Holtgraver had raced at Mercer Raceway Park he found victory lane. Last night was no different as the driver of the 10H Hunter Racing sprint car made it six for six, leading wire to wire to pickup $4,000 in the Bonnell’s Rod Shop special event.
“This is a fun place to race around at,” Hoitgraver said. “I have a lot of laps here and it really suits my driving style.”
|Holtgraver in Victory Lane|
Jack Sodeman, Jr and Holtgraver brought the field to green, but as they took off Rod George around mid pack didn’t get a good start and it stacked up the field. This caused Adam Kekich to flip. Arnie Kent and Jac Haudsenchild piled up into Kekich’s car after it had landed on its lid. Everyone was ok from the wreck, but Kekich, Kent and George were done for the night. Haudenschild’s crew made repairs to his car and he was able to continue.
|Safety Crews respond to the opening lap incident involving Kekich and Kent.|
The cars got pushed off and lined up again, but once they went back to green John McCracken, Jr flipped in turn three and collected Scott Priester. Brandon Matus and CJ Jones both spun to avoid the wreck and neither car was damaged. McCracken and Priester were ok, but finished for the night.
The third time was the charm as the field took the green and raced off into turn one it was Holtgraver who got the advantage from Sodeman and shot out into the lead. Sodeman would stay within a few car lengths the first five laps of the race but as Holtgraver got into the early part of lapped traffic he would pull away while Sheldon Haudenschild challenged Sodeman for second.
Holtgraver was able to stretch his lead as far as a straightaway over the field in the mid stages of the 30 lap race. Haudenschild continued to hound Sodeman for second until a mechanical issue in the late stages of the race that forced him to go to the infield.
Sodeman would start to catch Holtgraver late, but it wasn’t enough as Holtgraver was able to cross the checkered flag about five carlenghts ahead of the 23jr sprinter.
“I think lapped traffic had a lot to do with me reel him back in,” the runner up Sodeman said. “I’m not sure what I could have done with him if I would’ve got close to him. He’s so good on the bottom here and it would’ve taken a really good run around the top to pass him.”
Jared Zimbardi finished third, followed by Lee Jacobs, who made a late race charge to fourth from his 10th starting spot and Carl Bowser after a second the previous night at Lernerville finished out the top five.
The races were delayed by a leak in turn three that caused a large puddle to build up there and a power failure that caused the lights in turns three and four to go out. The track crew was undeterred and was able to make the necessary repairs to get the races back going. This was something that Sodeman and Holtgraver were both appreciative of.
“You can’t say enough about Bill (Altman) and Frank (Benic),” Sodeman said. “I’ve never seen them not work on the track when it gets bad. They worked their tails off tonight when the easy thing to do would’ve been to reschedule this thing and be done with it. They persevered and came through it.”
Jacobs, Zimbardi and Holtgraver won the heat races and Brandon Matus won the B-Main.
For Holtgraver it was a weekend sweep of western Pennsylvania sprint car races as he was victorious at Lernerville the night before. He will look to carry the strong results into next weekend’s All-Stars at Williams Grove and Port Royal.
“We got us some momentum for us going now I think,” Holtgraver said. “We figured out some stuff this weekend. It was nice to come and race local this week.”
In the 358 modified portion of the event it was Frank Guidace who found victory lane. He was followed by the 28h of Jimmy Holden and last week’s winner Kyle Fink.
Andy Fiel bested a field of 24 305 sprint cars to score a $1,000 victory over 410 regulars Brandon Matus and Adam Kekich.
Tyler Fulton picked up the win in the mini stocks and Rusty Moore won in the stock car class.
Bonnell’s Rod Shop $4,000 Sprint Car Special Results
1. (2) 10H Danny Holtgraver, Pittsburgh, PA
2. (1) 23JR Jack Sodeman, Jr, North Jackson, OH
3. (6) 35 Jared Zimbardi, Little Valley,
4. (10) 81 Lee Jacobs, Dalton, OH
5. (3) 10 Carl Bowser, Sarver, PA
6. (6) 49 Cole Duncan, Lockbourne, OH
7. (14) 45 Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA
8. (12) 7 Eric Williams, Greenville, PA
9. (16) 33 Brent Matus, Wampum, PA
10. (19) 13 Brandon Matus, Wampum, PA
11. (17) 9W Jac Haudenschild, Wooster, OH
12. (21) 22 Brandon Spithaler, Evans City, PA
13. (7) 67 Steve Collins, Belfast, NY
14. (24) 56 Ralph Spithaler, Evans City, PA
15. (18) 25 Jimmy Seger, Morrisdale, PA
16. (8) 49H Todd Hoddick, Buffalo, NY
17. (4) 93 Sheldon Haudenschild, Wooster, OH
18. (23) 10J CJ Jones, Cortland, OH
19. (15) 38 Dennis Wagner, Pulaski, PA
. 20. (9) 8 Rod George, Kittanning, PA
21. (11) 5K Adam Kekich, Hermitage, PA
22. (13) 18 Arnie Kent, New Castle, PA
23. (20) 15 Scott Priester, Rimersburg, PA
. 24. (22) 79 John McCracken, Jr, New Castle, PA
Lap Leaders: Holtgraver (1-30)
Heat Winners: Jacobs, Zimbardi, Holtgraver
B-Main Winner: Brandon Matus