08/26/09 12:30PM Big Block Modifieds, Mercer Raceway Park, Sprint Cars, Western PA Sprint Champioship, Who Won

Mercer Announces Blockbuster Event for September 12
by Mike Leone Reprinted from Who?Won

Western PA Sprint Championship

MERCER, Pa. -- The region's most historical Sprint Car event is drawing near. The 'Western PA Sprint Championship' is returning to Mercer Raceway Park on Saturday, September 12. The event, which already also includes the FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series, has just gotten even bigger! Mercer Raceway Park is thrilled to announce that the Big-Block Modifieds, whose roots date back to the early coupe days in the 1950s, have been added making this a true blockbuster event featuring the three top classes of cars all on the same night!

'The Western PA Sprint Championship has been a long-standing traditional event at Mercer,' described 11th year owner Vicki Emig. 'Last year we decided to include a FASTRAK Late Model Touring Series event on this night, but unfortunately the show was rained out. Following on the heels of the successful Bill Emig Memorial and BRP Tour events, we decided to bring the Big-Block Modifieds back once again and include an increased purse event for our Mini Stocks. This event will now take on even more prominence featuring four divisions that have deep roots at Mercer.'

The Western PA Sprint Championship dates back to 1966 at Mercer and has seen drivers like Jan Opperman, Kenny Weld, Lynn Paxton, Bobby Allen, Ralph Quarterson, Lou Blaney, Johnny Beaber, Buddy Cochran, Ed Lynch, Jr., and Brian Ellenberger victorious'a who's who of Sprint Car racing. The 1978 event was sanctioned by the World of Outlaws and the 1981 and 1982 shows carried the All Stars sanction.

This year's event will be the richest non-sanctioned race of the season at Mercer with $2,000 on the line. The Sprint Car counts have been very strong all season long averaging nearly a full field and 75 different cars competing this season. Just last Saturday night, Carl Bowser topped a 30-car field for the $1,500 win and another strong contingent will be expected with no other regional Sprint Car races the entire weekend.

What can you say about the Big-Block Modifieds!' The ground-pounders have thrilled fans for over 50 years at The Park with racers like Ralph Quarterson, Lou Blaney, Yip Robinson, Vic George, Ed Schaffer, and many others. Today, Tommy Kristyak carries 105 wins on his resume at Mercer and will be joined by hard chargers Andy Priest and Steve Young, who have 39 and 26 Modified wins respectively. This event will again pay $1,500 for the 25-lap feature and is expected to draw in many regional Big-Block and Small-Block Modified standouts.

The Big-Block Modifieds have put on some tremendous racing in their three events this season with three different winners in Rex King, Jeremiah Shingledecker, and Del Rougeux, Jr. Car counts have been excellent with 36 and 37 at the BRP Tour events respectively and a total of 35 different competitors over the two nights the Bill Emig Memorial was scheduled.

'While the Big-Block Modifieds is the billing, I am confident that our Mercer 358 small blocks can win on any given occasion,' stated Emig. 'They have fought tooth and nail in all of the big-block events dating back to last season. In fact, they won all three heats on both the Bill Emig Memorial Nights and the B main along with capturing four of the top six spots in the feature. The size of our track is so conducive to good, hard Modified racing at its best.'

The FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series is in its third year of existence and keeps getting stronger and stronger with over 150 competing teams in the region alone. Drivers like David Scott, Mike Blose, Max Blair, Mike Pegher, Jr., Bobby Powell, Gary Knollinger, Tom Snyder, Jr., and others are some of the toughest FASTRAK competitors in the country! They'll all be at Mercer on September 12 along with a bevy of other racers as the 2009 Touring Series slate heads into the homestretch through the month of September before wrapping up three weeks later with Night 1 of the Grand Nationals right back at Mercer. Touring events this season have averaged over 30 cars with seven different winners in 11 events. The 25-lap feature will pay $1,200 to-win.

Not to be outdone, the Mini Stocks will round out this blockbuster program; and rightfully so as their history dates back into the 1970s and their rebirth at Mercer has been strong with 52 different cars competing this season. Fresh off two excellent features with a total of only two cautions and 27 cars competing last Saturday night, the purse has been upped for this event. With the recent announcement of a starting field of up to 30 cars, the 15-lap feature on the 12th will pay down 15 spots with $100 going to the victor.

'I'm so proud of our Mini Stock division,' explained Emig. 'They are fierce competitors on the track and the best of friends off the track. The camaraderie amongst the group is so evident in the Leland Haylett Memorial. They are a loyal group of racers and this will be their final tune-up before their first ever two complete shows at the Little Guy Nationals two weeks later.'

Not to be forgotten is the fact that September 12 will be the final night of points for the Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars, 4 Your Car Connection FASTRAK Late Models, and the M&D Paving Mini Stocks as it's just a little more incentive on the line in this classic Mercer Raceway Park event!

The Big-Block Modifieds will fill the void left by the open Stock Cars and Mod Lites that have big events for their divisions during the weekend. The Stock Cars will be competing in their biggest event of the season at Lernerville Speedway as part of their 'Autumotive Fest' and the Mod Lites at Merrittville Speedway in the prestigious 'Rose Webber Memorial' and also at Lernerville the night before.

'At the beginning of the season these were open dates for both of the divisions,' explained Emig. 'The Rose Webber ended up moving back a week due to the calendar change and Lernerville had to change the date of their Automotive Fest due to a conflict with their concert. Many of our racers annually compete in these events and felt it was in the best interest of all parties to release these divisions on this night. The previously scheduled Ken Carbone Memorial for the open Stock Cars will now move to the Friday night of the Little Guy Nationals. We know many of you are still awaiting news on some changes to our Little Guy Nationals and that will be released very soon.'

This blockbuster event featuring the three top divisions will remain a fan-friendly admission price of just $15 for adults and $35 for a Family Pass!

Mercer Raceway Park is a 3/8-mile dirt track located minutes from both Interstate 79 and 80 just off Route 19 on Fairground Road in Mercer, Pa. Dirt track racing and quality family entertainment are presented weekly late March through early October. The office in New Bedford, Pa. is open year-round late mornings and after 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information call the office at 724-964-9300 or the track on race day at 724-662-1310. Check out our website at www.mercerracewaypark.com for the latest. Text the word "MERCER" to 29222 for race event and special family and discounted promotions