Mercer finds his way back to Victory Lane
By: Jill Frischmann
Photos by: Legacy Video & Photography
(July 18, 2009 -- Newton, NC) Autism Speaks Night at the Races was nothing short of spectacular as the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series put on a show like no other as the #10 Bojangles Late Model driver of Andy Mercer found his way back to victory lane. The night also featured appearances by the Advance Auto Parts Limited Late Models, the Bad Boy Mower Super Trucks, the Hickory Street Stocks and the Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks. Fans in attendance had the opportunity to learn about the complexities of autism spectrum disorders and how Autism Speaks benefits those dealing with autism on any level. Three lucky fans walked away a little richer than they came as Hickory Motor Speedway along with the help of riderswholesale.com gave away $1,000 to one fan, $600 to another and $400 to a third. CILAJET joined in on the give-a-ways as well as they raffled off tickets for one CILAJET automotive sealant, with all the raffle proceeds going to benefit Autism Speaks.
The Bojangles Late Models made their way onto the track for their 50 lap feature event and the competition was tough. As the field went green it looked as if the #7 of Ashley Huffman was going to have something for Mercer, allowing him to come home with a win during the 2009 season, but Mercer had other plans in mind. Huffman started strong looking to slide under Mercer, only ten laps into the feature Mercer had shook Huffman off his tail and begun to pull away from the field. On lap 28 the #25 of David Wilson began his battle with the #43 of Jesse LeFevers fighting for the third place position. The two traded back and forth for the position until lap 33 when LeFevers fell off the pace due to a cut tire. LeFevers missed the pit road entrance and spun out in turn two as he tried to wheel the ill handling car back around the track bringing out the first and only caution of the feature. Huffman hoped the restart would put him back into position to take on Mercer and steal away the top spot, but Mercer again held him at bay.
It was a tight battle for third on lap 36 as the #6 of Cole Miktuk jumped under Wilson as the field headed out of turn four. Miktuk's run didn't last long as Wilson was quick to move back into position by lap 41. With six laps to go the #88 of Dexter Canipe Jr. joined in on the fun for the battle for third, taking things three wide down the back stretch. Only three laps remained when Canipe Jr. slid under Wilson and Miktuk coming out of turn three. The competition was intense on the final lap as the #92 of Candace Muzny got a run on Miktuk. Muzny was itching for a top five finish, as she charged alongside Miktuk the two got hung up as they cleared turn four sending Muzny for a spin down the front stretch. No caution was called as the leader had already crossed the finish line completing the race. Mercer, Huffman, Canipe Jr., Wilson and Miktuk made up the top five.
The Advance Auto Parts Limiteds made their way onto the track for their 35 lap feature event with the pole sitter, #17 of Kyle Mansch leading the pack. It didn't take Mansch long to pull away from the field leaving those in the back of the pack to battle for position. The racing was smooth as the field stretched out during the first portion of the event. The first caution waved on lap 26 when the #69 of John Hilliker spun out in turn one, slapping the outside wall. The second caution came out on lap 30 when the #45 of Kenneth Pardue got into the back of #24 of Taylor Doggett, sending Doggett for a spin in turn four. At the restart the #33 of Cory Joyce challenged Mansch, with a slingshot move looking to steal the lead. Mansch was too much for Joyce to conquer, leaving Joyce to continue running a solid second. On lap 31 a third caution came out when the #83 of David Hasson spun out in turn four. The trouble continued at the restart as the #32 of Justin Sorrow and Joyce connected coming out of turn one, collecting the #6 of Brandon Hundall and the #10 of Bryan Weatherman as the field headed out of turn two.
After several attempts at the restart Mansch was sent to the back of the pack, due to restart issues concerning the new double file restart procedure. As the field headed into turn four, during the second attempt at the restart, the #66 of Travis Byrd slid Doggett up the track sending Doggett hard into the outside wall. The rest of the field spun around to avoid the wrecked ride of Doggett bringing out the fourth and final caution. Sorrow sailed into the lead at the restart, but his run into the top spot wouldn't last long as Mansch worked his way back up front and was looking to move on by Sorrow. On lap 32 Mansch completed the pass leaving Sorrow, Hilliker, Byrd and Hasson to complete the top five.
The Bad Boy Mower Super Trucks kept the action going as they hit the track for their 35 lap race. It was a clean and smooth moving race as the one and only caution came out on lap seven due to debris on the track. Only fifteen laps into the event the #11 of pole sitter Thomas Beane and the #16 of Clint Fields had created a commanding lead over the field. The major action was between the drivers fighting to finish in the top five, as the #44 of Ron Hall drove under the #6 of Brandon Setzer taking over the third place position on lap 19. On lap 21 the #25 of Mark Johnson also found his way under Setzer moving into fourth, leaving Setzer to ride around fifth. Fifth place didn't sit well with the young Setzer as he began to challenge Johnson hoping to move back into fourth. The two traded track position back and forth and with only three laps to go Johnson clinched the spot leaving Setzer to settle for a top five finish. There were only two laps remaining when Fields jumped to the inside of Beane looking to move into the lead as the two headed out of turn four. Bean powered on to victory lane with Fields glued to his back bumper settling for second. Hall, Johnson and Setzer rounded out the top five.
The Hickory Street Stocks were full of excitement as they pulled onto the asphalt for their 30 lap adventure. The #64 of Marshall Sutton was quick to pull into the lead from the outside line taking over the position from the pole sitter, the #03 of Kevin Eby. On lap three the first caution flew due to debris on the track. It was back to green flag racing and Eby was not happy traveling in second so he battled back moving into the lead on lap seven. Caution number two waved on lap 16 as the #15 of Waylon Flynn spun around heading out of turn four backing his ride into the outside wall of the front stretch. As the field continued to head out of turn four, the #4 of Shane McKee clipped the front end of Flynn, causing major front end damage to both cars.
Caution number three was soon to follow, as the #32 of Jeremy Harrell and the #00 of Ronnie Buckner collided heading out of turn one on lap 18. The red flag was brought out as the track safety crew headed out to clean the track and prepare the surface to go back racing. From the restart the #1 of Taylor Stricklin worked the outside line looking for a way to steal the lead away from Eby. The battle didn't last long as Eby began to pull away from the field. Caution number four was brought out on lap 26 when the #69 of Trey Buff wiped out heading out of turn four. The fifth and final caution waved on the restart as the #66 of Scott Wallace got hung up and spun around as the field headed into turn one. Only three laps remained and Eby kept a tight grip on the lead as he searched for his first feature win leaving Stricklin, Sutton, the #99 of Jonathan Smith and Flynn to complete the top five respectively.
The Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks wrapped up the action during Autism Speaks Night at the Races as the six car field headed onto the asphalt for their 20 lap race. It was a rough night for the #-1 of Ronald McNeil as he spun around on the first lap heading out of turn four, backing his car into the pit road entrance safety tire. McNeil was able to get his ride pointed back in the right direction before the field came back around, so no caution was brought out. McNeil soon pulled off the track and was done for the night. The #82 of Bradley Hasson moved into the lead on lap six grabbing the spot from the #90 of Ronnie Sims as the two headed out of turn three. As they proceeded around the track Sims got into the back of Hasson, sending Hasson spinning in turn three, bringing out the first caution of the race on lap seven.
Sims and Hasson started in the back of the pack as the field went back green flag racing with the #9 of Scott Bumgarner leading the way. By lap ten Hasson was back out front with Sims closing in. Only seven laps to go Sims grabbed the lead from Hasson, but on lap 14 Hasson cut under Sims sending him up the track in turn one. There were three laps to go when Hasson got into Sims as they headed into turn two, causing major damage to Sims' ride putting him out of the race. With only three cars remaining, the field restarted three wide. The #1 of James Flynn pulled into the lead with Bumgarner glued to his back bumper as they crossed the finish line leaving the #3 of Tim Reese to finish third.
Up Coming Events:
Be sure to join us next Saturday, July 25 th for the Hickory 250 as the USAR Pro Cup Series take on the World's Most Famous Short Track, Hickory Motor Speedway. Feature racing action begins at 8PM and advance tickets are on sale now. Contact Hickory Motor Speedway for more information or visit www.hickorymotorspeedway.com.
The following Saturday, August 1 st the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is back, as they hit the track for Advance Auto Parts Night at the Races. Fans can enjoy appearances by the Bojangles Late Models, the Advance Auto Parts Limiteds, the Bad Boy Mower Super Trucks, the Hickory 4 Cylinders and the Hickory Street Stocks. Grandstands open at 5PM with qualifying immediately following. An On Track Autograph Session will take place at 6PM with feature racing action beginning at 7PM.
Hickory Motor Speedway
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
UN-OFFICIAL RACE RESULTS
Pole Award Winners
Bojangles Late Models: 10 Andy Mercer 15.180 seconds
Advance Auto Parts Limiteds:17 Kyle Mansch 15.707 seconds
Bad Boy Mower Super Trucks: 11 Thomas Beane 16.131 seconds
Hickory Street Stocks: 03 Kevin Eby 17.180 seconds
Tommy Johnson's Performance Parts Warehouse Hard Charger Winners
Bojangles Late Models: 41 Grant McGhinnis
Advance Auto Parts Limiteds: 03 Russell Stillwell
Bad Boy Mower Super Trucks: 44 Ron Hall
Hickory Street Stocks: 1 Taylor Stricklin
Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks: 3 Tim Reece
STREET STOCKS 03 Kevin Eby 1 Taylor Stricklin 64 Marshall Sutton 99 Jonathon Smith 15 Waylon Flynn 66 Scott Wallace 54 Michael Harris 4 Shane McKee 69 Trey Buff 10 Chad Davis 88 Josh Burchette 00 Ronnie Buckner 32 Jeremy Harrell 89 Chris Lafferty
TRUCKS 1. 11 Thomas Beane 2. 16 Clint Fields 3. 44 Ron Hall 4. 25 Mark Johnson 5. 6 Brandon Setzer 6. 4 Ernie Harris 7. 33 Jeremy Birch 8. 0 Jody Church 9. 10 Barry Williams 10. 15 Jenn Crossman 11. 13 Cory Cavazos
LIMITEDS 1. 17 Kyle Mansch 2. 32 Justin Sorrow 3. 69 John Hilliker 4. 66 Travis Byrd 5. 83 David Hasson 6. 03 Russell Stillwell 7. 24 Taylor Doggett 8. 33 Cory Joyce 9. 10 Bryan Weatherman 10. 6 Brandon Hudnall 11. 45 Kenneth Pardue 12. 54 JR Kessler
HOBBY STOCK 1. 9 Scott Bumgarner 2. 3 Tim Reese 3. 90 Ronnie Sims 4. 82 Bradley Hasson 5. -1 Ronald McNeil 6. 1 James Flynn DQ