By Lou Long, Modified Tour VP and PR Director, and Pam Baker, Modified Tour Secretary
Jeremiah Shingledecker, of Polk, PA, romped home with the BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour win at Mercer Raceway Park. The victory, worth $2,000, was his first of the Modified Tour season and second of his career.
The luck of the draw put Mercer regulars, Jimmy Holden and Eric Gabany, on the front row for the start of the feature event. At the drop of the green, Gabany took the lead, seeking the $1,000 Small Block bonus offered by promoter Vicki Emig. Gabany led the first two circuits before action was halted for the disabled car of Jeremy Paup in turn four.
On the restart, Jeremiah Shingledecker used the brute horsepower of his Big Block to take the lead as the field raced through turn one. He was unable to open any lead because the caution flag flew on lap three for Gary Smoker and Matt Reher, both of whom stopped on the back stretch.
The line-up for the restart showed Shingledcker on the point, followed by the Small Blocks of Gabany and Holden and the Big Block of Del Rouguex, Jr. However, the surprise was Brian Swartzlander, who advanced six spots in the early going.
A series of cautions occurred on lap four. The first was for a spin by Eric Gabany in turn four. Fortunately, the rest of the field was able to negotiate around him. During this stoppage, Jason Longwell was towed to the pit area. The second caution was for Joe Crawford, who came to a rest just off the second turn. Crawford ducked into the pits and was able to restart the event, as did Jeremy Paup. On the third try to complete the lap, a three car crash in turn four produced a red flag. The cars of Skip Moore, Rex King, Jr. and Brad Rapp took heavy damage, and were unable to continue the race. None of the drivers were injured in the melee.
Shingledecker and company finally got past lap four. During the five-lap run, Rougeux worked his way into second and Rex King, Sr. raced up to third. Holden was still hanging onto the fourth spot. Ron Cartwright caused the next caution when his engine blew up and caught fire.
The remaining 21 laps were completed without incident. With that long run, Shingledecker was able to open a full straightaway lead over Rougeux. Rex King, Sr., Kevin Hoffman and Brian Swartzlander rounded out the top five. Positions six through ten went to Dave Murdick, Frank Guidace, Dean Pearson, Joe Crawford and Tommy Mattocks.