Mercer Victorious in 100 Lap Late Model Feature
Story by:Jill Frischmann & Kristen Piercy
Hickory Motor Speedway News
(Newton, NC – April 18, 2009) It was a night of action packed racing excitement at the Worlds Most Famous Short Track, Hickory Motor Speedway. Whelen Night at the Races was an evening to remember as the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series took to the track. The night featured appearances by the Bojangles Late Models, the Advance Auto Parts Limited Late Models, the Hickory Street Stocks, the Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks and a special appearance by the Ford Focus Midgets. The Bojangles Late Models competed in the season's first 100 lap feature; it was lap after lap of intense racing action, with the #10 of Andy Mercer coming out the victor.
It didn't take long for the caution to fly during the Bojangles Late Model 100 lap feature. On lap three the #96 of Jeremy Thompson cut a tire and found his way to the outside wall of turn three. At the restart it was a battle for the lead between #43 of Jesse LeFevers and the pole sitter, the #10 of Andy Mercer. Ten laps into the event the two had a commanding lead over the field. On lap 15 the #88 of Dexter Canipe Jr. began to battle the #7 of Ashley Huffman moving back into the third place position. Huffman began to fall off of the pace as the #51 of Josh Wimbish raced his way into the fifth place position. On lap 40 a second caution flew when the #33 of James Goff and the #25 of David Wilson made contact heading into turn one.
At the mid point of the feature, Mercer was able to regain his lead over the field. On lap 54 the third caution of the event came out when the #92 of Candace Muzny went for a spin and found her ride in the turn three wall. On lap 65 the #6 of Cole Miktuk ducked under Canipe Jr. trying to take away Jr.'s third place position, but had no luck. The fourth caution of the event flew on lap 70 when Muzny spun out for a second time heading out of turn two.
LeFevers wanted to prove he was a force to be reckoned with as he moved back into the top spot, moving Mercer into second on lap 74. Miktuk and Huffman spent several laps late in the race trading spots back and forth. Miktuk made contact with Huffman on lap 79 as he squeezed Huffman into the outside wall on the backstretch, causing Huffman to lose momentum and precious track position. Miktuk's luck would run out on lap 84 as he got lose heading into turn one, sending his car for a spin into the turn one wall, bringing out caution number five.
The excitement didn't stop there, with 15 laps remaining Huffman got into the back of Canipe Jr. getting him lose and taking over his position. Only 11 laps remained when Mercer fell off the pace due to a flat tire. His car rolled to a stop heading out of turn two causing the sixth caution of the event to fly. Seven laps remained when Huffman grabbed the lead from LeFevers, but his glory didn't last long and LeFevers regained the top spot with five laps to go. On lap 98 the #36 of Neil Meredith spun out in turn four, bringing out the seventh and final caution. The restart worked to the advantage of Mercer, as he was able to steal the lead from LeFevers and pull away from the field to grab the checkers leaving LeFevers to settle for second. Huffman, the #17 of Rob Fuller and the #51 of Josh Wimbish completed the top five respectively.
The Advance Auto Parts Limited showed the fans what good racing really is, as the #17 of Kyle Mansch continued on his dominant streak, taking home the checkers for a third week in a row. The #49 of Josh Wright was able to grab and hold onto the lead for the first ten laps of the 35 lap event, but Mansch stayed tight to his bumper. By lap 15 Wright and Mansch were running side by side until lap 20 when Mansch stepped back into the lead. Wright didn't give Mansch much breathing room and stayed right on his tail. Mansch began using lap traffic as a pick to grow his lead over Wright and the remaining cars in the field. Mansch would remain victorious for a third time as he collected the checkers with Wright tailing behind him. The #33 of Cory Joyce, the #25 of Nick Proffitt and the #14 of Brandon Cox rounded out the top five.
The Hickory Street Stocks took to the track in classic fashion as they competed in their 30 lap race. The #1 of Taylor Stricklin jumped to the lead stealing the spot from the pole sitter, the #10 of Kevin Townsend. Townsend was itching to get back into the lead and on lap five he made his move and regained the top spot. The first and only caution of the event came out on lap 9 when the #15 of Waylon Flynn blew up heading into turn two. Stricklin was tight on the back end of Townsend for the restart, trying to maneuver his way back into the lead. With five laps remaining Stricklin moved back into lead, but Townsend wasn't going to settle for second and he grabbed the spot back with only three laps to go, leaving Stricklin to settle for second. The #64 of Marshall Sutton, the #25 of Jeremy Pelfrey and the #03 of Kevin Eby made up the top five.
The Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks put on a spectacular show for the fans as they hit the track for a 20 lap race. The #88 of Andrew Towery was quick to try and take the lead from the pole sitter, the #85 of Jeff Weisner. Towery spent a good portion of the beginning of the race working his way up and down the track looking for a way to grab the top spot, but Weisner was too much to conquer. The first caution of the race flew early, on lap three, when the #3 of Scott Bumgarner spun out heading into turn four. With five laps remaining Weisner and Towery hit lap traffic allowing Towery to close in on Weisner's lead. The two weaved in and out of traffic, as they headed into turn three Towery was in front of Weisner. As they headed into turn four, Towery got loose allowing Weisner to hold onto the lead, leaving Towery to settle for a second place finish. With two laps to go the #83 of William Dagenhardt spun out in turn four bringing out the second and final caution. The #01 of Paul Wyatt, the #82 of Bradley Hasson and the #-1 of Ronald Dale McNeil made up the top five.
The Ford Focus Midgets were a great addition to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Night at the Races. Turning laps speeds similar to the Bojangles Late Models, these machines were certainly amazing to watch. The field took to the track for 35 laps of fast paced racing action like no other. It didn't take long for the third place starter the #24 of Mike Sboro to step into the lead over the pole sitter, the #44 of Eric Coomes, on lap seven. Sboro's lead didn't last long, on lap eight the #2 of Jeremy Frankoski and Coomes sailed by Sboro moving them into the first and second place positions. The first and only caution of the night flew on lap nine when the #00 of Amanda Quinones spun out in turn four. At the restart Sboro flew past Coomes as he headed back to the front, searching for the lead. There wasn't enough time for Sboro to take over the top spot, leaving him to settle for second behind Frankoski. The #96 of Steven Intravaia, Coomes and the #14 of Scott Hunter finished out the top five.
Be sure to join us next Saturday night for the SS Optimist Night at the Races presented by USG. The night will feature the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series with appearances by the Bojangles Late Models, the Advance Auto Parts Limiteds, the Bad Boy Mowers Super Trucks, the Hickory Four Cylinders and the Hickory Street Stocks. Grandstands open at 5:00 PM with qualifying immediately following, an On Track Autograph Session at 6:00 PM and feature racing action beginning at 7:00 PM. Tickets are only $10 for adults, $7 for teens and seniors, $4 for kids (7-12), with kids 6 and under free! Family passes can also be purchased for $25 and include 2 adult tickets and tickets for ALL of their children under 12. Remember, if you're not here you're missing out!
Bojangles Late Model: #10 – Andy Mercer
Advance Auto Parts Limiteds: #17 – Kyle Mansch
Hickory Street Stocks:#10 – Kevin Townsend
Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks: #85 – Jeff Weisner
Ford Focus Midgets:#44 – Eric Coomes
Official Race Results:
Bojangles Late Model 100
Newton, NC. -- Hickory Motor Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series 4/18/09