Mercer Dominates at the World's Most Famous Short Track
By: Jill Frischmann, Hickory Motor Speedway
(Newton, NC) Dominance was a key factor during the 17 th round of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at the “World's Most Famous Short Track”, Hickory Motor Speedway. “Bojangles Night at the Races” featured appearances by the Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks, the Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks, a special 50 lap feature for the Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models and a special 100 lap feature for the Bojangles Late Models. There were dominating forces in all divisions; all were drivers who have stood above the competition during the 2008 season.
The 100 lap Bojangles Late Model feature was definitely exciting as some of the best drivers in the state came out to compete for the win. The #43 of Jess LeFevers didn't care much for his second place starting position and it didn't take long for him to move into the lead. By lap three, LeFevers had captured the position from the WynnCom Pole Sitter, #10 Andy Mercer. Knowing he had 97 laps remaining, Mercer sat back and enjoyed the ride waiting for the moment to strike and jump back in the top position.
On lap seven, the first caution came out as the #42 of Todd Goble and the #70 of Brit Andersen made contact heading into turn two. The second caution soon followed as the #54 of Kenny Brooks came to a stop between turns three and four on lap nine. 15 laps into the feature, Mercer began to make his move on LeFevers in an effort to take back the top spot. It only took Mercer three laps to get back into the lead and begin to pull away from the field, dominating yet again.
On lap 25, the third caution flew when the #17 of Rob Fuller and the #33 of James Goff made contact heading into turn four, sending Fuller spinning. The #00 of Lucas Ransone used the restart to his advantage as he made his move on LeFevers, grabbing the second place position. By lap 39, the #89 of David Latour Jr. began working on LeFevers for third; Latour Jr. jumped to low side and completed the pass on lap 40. Caution number four flew on lap 49 when the #96 of Jeremy Thomspon lost control heading out of turn two and went spinning. The #29 of Andy Loden used the restart to his advantage as he began to make his move on LeFevers for fourth. Loden shot to the outside to take over the position and completed the pass on lap 54. With 40 laps remaining, the #57 of Grant Wimbish began to battle LeFevers for fifth.
Lap 66 found the yellow flag out yet again as the #13 of Don Paige went for a spin in turn two, bringing out caution number five. After the restart, Wimbish continued to battle LeFevers for the fifth place position and was able to complete the pass on lap 73. Wimbish then began to put pressure on Loden as he tried to move into fourth. The sixth caution was brought out when Paige spun out for a second time heading into turn four. The restart wasn't kind to LeFevers as he found himself way too high between turns three and four, he then pulled off the track with engine problems. On lap 81, there was contact between Andersen and Goff, the two connected, tearing back the right quarter panel on Goff's ride, both drivers were able to hold on and no caution was called. The seventh and final caution of the event waved when Fuller spun out on the front stretch, coming to a stop just before turn one. During all the excitement Mercer was able to hold onto his lead during the final laps of the feature. “This car was AWESOME!” Mercer exclaimed during his post race interview. Mercer had Ransone, Latour Jr., Wimbish, and Loden in tow to round out the top five.
The dominator of the Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Model special 50 lap feature was no surprise, that of #3 Dexter Canipe Jr. Five laps in the feature, Canipe Jr. began his run on the WynnCom Pole Sitter, #17 Kyle Mansch. They raced side by side until lap 11 when Canipe Jr. made the pass and began to walk away from the field. The first caution flew on lap 18 when the #7 of Waylon Flynn and the #45 of Kenneth Pardue made contact heading into turn four. The two collected the #5 of Mario Hernandez, the #32 of Jeremy Harrell and the #76 of Barry Helms.
At the mid-point of the feature the #25 of Nick Profitt shot to the inside of Mansch trying to capture the second place position, meanwhile Hernandez lost control heading into turn four sending him hard into the outside wall bringing out caution number two. Profitt used the restart to try and grab second from Mansch once again, but Mansch just wasn't ready to give up the position and pulled away from Profitt. On lap 29, Pardue went for a spin down the back stretch bringing out the third caution of the feature. The fourth caution was soon to follow as the #84 of Donnie Harmon, the #75 of Eric Evans, the #11 of Tom McCurry, the #05 of Jordan McGregor, and Harrell all wad up coming off of four during the restart.
On lap 35, the #44 of Ryan Rust found turn three too tough to handle as he lost control and went spinning into turn four, bring out the fifth caution. The sixth and final caution fell during the restart as Profitt got into the #94 of Josh Wright, sending Wright for a spin. With eight laps to go, the #77 of Mark Goins made a move on Mansch for the second place position. After several attempts Goins grabbed second leaving Mansch to settle for a third place finish. The #07 of Tyler Church and Evans completed the top five. Following post-race Tech Inspection, the #77 was DQ'd for unapproved fuel, moving Mansch, Church, and Evans up a position, and Harmon into fifth spot.
The Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks didn't disappoint fans during their 35 lap race. The first caution flew during the first lap as the #7 of Joseph Boyer and the #29 of Ricky Dennie Jr. connected coming off of turn one, sending Dennie Jr. spinning to the inside of the track. The #54 of Jenn Crossman had nowhere to go as she cleared turn one and hit the back of Dennie Jr.'s stopped truck. After the green flag, the #97 of WynnCom Pole Sitter Keith Bumgarner continued to display his dominance, by gaining a five truck lead over the field by the fifth lap. On lap ten, the battle to watch was for fourth between the #59 of Rock Harris and the #09 of Scott Whittaker. Whittaker jumped to the inside to grab the position from Harris and completed the pass by lap 12.
On lap 20, the #44 of Ron Hall lost control coming out of turn four, sending his truck spinning down the front stretch, bringing out the second and final caution. With ten laps to go, Whittaker began to battle the #94 of Ben Ebeling for third. Whittaker made several attempts for the position without success. Two laps remained when Harris tucked in behind Whittaker and pushed him into third. Harris then took on Ebeling, capturing the fourth place position, leaving Ebeling to settle for fifth.
The #90 of Ronnie Sims may have led all 20 laps of the Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks event, but the #85 of Jeff “Underdog” Weisner showed how dominant his car was as he worked his way from his fourth place starting position to second within the first 5 laps of the event. At the half way mark, Weisner looked to make his move on Sims for the lead. Weisner just didn't have enough to complete the pass on Sims, allowing him to grab another win during the 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season. “That Underdog, he was comin'……it was all I could do to keep him off of me,” Sims stated in Victory Lane. The #83 of David Hasson, the #01 of Paul Wyatt and the #88 of David Towery rounded out the top five.
Join us next Saturday Night for the 18 th round of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing during the 2008 racing season. “Sig's Tire Centers and USG Night at the Races” will feature the fast paced racing action of the Bojangles Late Models, the Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models, the Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks, the Hickory Pro 4's and the Hickory Street Stocks. Grandstands open at 5 PM with qualifying immediately following. An On Track Autograph Session featuring the Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models will take place at 6 PM, with feature racing action beginning at 7 PM. Tickets for the event are only $10 for adults, $8 for teens and seniors, $5 for kids 7-12, and kids 6 and under are free. For more information please visit our website at www.hickorymotorspeedway.com or by phone at 828-464-3655. We can't wait to see you at the races!
Hickory Motor Speedway is a .363 mile asphalt track. The track held its first event in June of 1951 posting Gwyn Staley as the event winner. Hickory Motor Speedway has supported series such as the now Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. Currently the Speedway is sanctioned by NASCAR featuring the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The Speedway also hosts a wide variety of touring series that travel throughout the country.
Hickory Motor Speedway runs Saturday nights, mid-March through October. Grandstands open at 5 PM with racing beginning at 7 PM. For more information visit www.hickorymotorspeedway.com.
Bojangles Late Model 100
Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models 50
Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks 35
Red Baron Race Parts 20
WynnCom Pole Award
Bojangles Late Models: (10) Andy Mercer – 15.070 seconds
Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Model: (17) Kyle Mansch – 15.628 seconds
Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks: (97) Keith Bumgarner – 15.762 seconds
Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks: (90) Ronnie Sims