Tim Shaffer was reunited with his crew chief James Chambers for this weekend’s doubleheader at Mercer Raceway Park and it led to quick success as Shaffer was able to pick up the All-Stars feature event Sunday night.
“It was the first time he’d been with me for three months,” Shaffer said. “James has been my crew chief for six years. He was able to watch the car and work on it to make it better throughout the night. I have been by myself most of the year just picking up crew guys here and there. It is great to have someone who knows you and how you like the car.”
Shaffer and Carl Bowser led the field to green for the 30 lap main event. The driver of the 45 Grove Motorsports sprint pulled ahead on the start and Bowser tucked into second. As the field was coming around to complete lap one Bowser got a little high off of four and got almost completely sideways coming down the front stretch. As Bowser tried to correct the car he clipped the front of Dale Blaney’s car sending him spinning. Bowser got away and was able to keep his spot, but Blaney slid to a stop bringing out the yellow ,basically ending his hopes for a weekend sweep. Blaney would rebound to finish tenth.
Shaffer would get away from the field on the restart while Jac Haudenschild started to put pressure on Bowser for the runner up spot. The “Wild Child” found his way by on lap seven and would get to pull up to Shaffer’s rear bumper after a Francis Sesco spin brought out a caution on lap seven.
Shaffer and Haudenschild would battle and even swap the lead around the midpoint of the race while slowing for a couple of cautions along the way.
On a lap 14 restart eighth starting Danny Holtgraver started to make his charge. Holtgraver, who restarted fifth, quickly disposed of both Lee Jacobs and Bowser to get into third. He then pulled up on the tail tank of Jac Haudenshchild, who was just behind Shaffer as the trio entered heavy lapped traffic for the first time..
Holtgraver passed Haudenschild on lap 22 and got right in behind Shaffer. He looked poised to steal the victory, but the driver known as the”Steel City Outlaw” calmly worked his way through traffic and kept the driver of the 10h at bay. It was Shaffer’s 54th triumph with the All Star Circuit of Champions.
“When your car is working good it allows you to setup lapped cars and catch them in the right spots,” Shaffer said. “Man it just feels really good to get a win.”
Haudenschild ended up third followed by Jacobs and Bowser.
Adam Kekich, Haudenschild and Brandon Spithaler won the heats. Blaney set fast time for the second straight night and third time at Mercer this year. Andy McKisson was the hard charger as he moved from his 17th starting spot up to eighth.
Tyler Denochick may be only thirteen years old, but he drove like a seasoned sprint car racer to hold off one of the classes best drivers to win for the first time in the Outlaw Sprint Warriors division.
The Morrisdale native ran a near flawless race while Michael Bauer hounded him from start to finish. Bauer, who was driving the 58 Lockhart Motorsports sprint was there waiting to capitalize on a mistake from the youngster, but he never wavered.
He even endured a late race restart and when asked if he was nervous he just smiled and shook his head yes.
“I was so happy (when he saw the checkered flag),” Denochick said with a smile beaming on his face. “It feels pretty great.”
Denochick returns to school on Wednesday. He will have a pretty cool story to tell his friends and classmates.
Shawn Fleeger led the first ten laps of the modified main event, but trouble with a lapped car allowed Frank Guidace to take the top spot from him on lap 11. The modified veteran didn’t look back from there as he picked up another win. Jimmy Holden was second followed by Kyle Fink, Tommy Krystiak and Fleeger.
Randy Wyant and Curt Bish looked as if they would duke it out for the Penn-Ohio Stockcar main event win, but the two tangled on the white flag lap and spun in turn three. This opened the door for Shaun Fawcett who after a couple of more cautions held off Chris Schneider on the final lap and found himself with the checkered flag at the end of the night. Rusty Moore was third, Lernerville regular Rob Shook was fourth and Bobby Heim completed the top five.
Mercer Raceway Park returns to action with their Saturday Night Live program on September 6th.