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Local auto racing notebook: Spithaler wins third straight Mercer opener

| Thursday, May 2, 2013, 11:42 p.m.

Evans City's Brandon Spithaler likes opening night at Mercer Raceway Park. Spithaler won the Sprint Car feature on opening night for the third consecutive season. It wasn't an easy victory; Spithaler had to deal with Jack Sodeman Jr. and Scott Priester.

Sodeman was looking for his second victory of the weekend after winning at Lernerville the night before. Priester started up front while Sodeman and Spithaler worked the field. Midway through the race, Sodeman and Spithaler were pressing Priester for the lead. Spithaler dispatched Sodeman a couple laps later then set his sights on Priester.

Traffic came into play on lap-21, and Spithaler executed a move between Priester and lapped traffic then pulled away for the lead, and, eventually, the victory. Before the checkered flag flew, Spithaler had to dodge a spun car on the final turn. Priester finished second followed by Dan Kuriger in third, Sodeman in fourth and Eric Williams in fifth.

Other winners Saturday at Mercer included Gary Smoker in 358 Modifieds, Rusty Moore in Stocks, Cody Bova in Mod Lites, Michael Bauer in Sprint Warriors, and Jamey Lee in Mini Stocks.

All Star Sprints coming

The All Star Sprint Cars will be in town for a pair of shows May 10-11. The first show is at Lernerville Speedway followed by a show at Mercer Raceway Park. At the Mercer show, former Sprint Car driver Brian Steinman, who was paralyzed last season in an accident at Lernerville, will be presented with a new all-terrain wheelchair.

The new chair purchase was made possible by the Steve King Foundation and also from contributions from the racing community.

One Lap of America

The One Lap of America is celebrating its 30th year and will be in Pittsburgh for a pair of events May 10 at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, the former BeaveRun facility located 2.3 miles off Exit 13 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Technically the event does not go completely around America, but it covers a large portion of America. This year the course is east of the Mississippi River and starts Saturday in South Bend, Ind., then heads south to New Orleans with stops at Alabama International Speedway and Talladega Grand Prix Raceway.

It then heads east to Daytona International Speedway before heading north with stops at BMW's Performance Center and the Carolina Motorsports Park, both in South Carolina. Before it hits Pittsburgh, there is a stop at Virginia International Raceway.

This is a unique event that offer a chance to witness cars that are used for both racing and everyday driving. These cars will be driven 3,380 miles in seven days — and that doesn't count the time spent on the track at each stop.

Pegher takes Spring Sizzler

Mike Pegher Jr. dominated the RUSH Pro-Late Model Spring Sizzler at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, leading all 25 laps to come away with the victory. Pegher was solid during the entire event with a heat victory as well as setting the fastest time during the race (20.391 seconds).

Joe Martin finished second, Nico Dabecco was third, Josh Holtgraver was fourth and Kyle Lukon was fifth.

Other winners Saturday at PPMS included defending track champion Michael Norris in Super Late Models, Jeff Bronszewski in Late Model Sportsman, Christian Schneider in Hobby Stocks and Roman O'Neill in Young Guns.

The track will resume its regular Saturday night racing this weekend. Gates will open at 5 p.m.

Pegher's day continues

Mike Pegher followed his afternoon victory at PPMS by hauling the car north to Sharon Speedway where he swept the day's events in the RUSH Pro-Late Models. Pegher made it to Sharon in time for the pill draw and from there he worked his way through the event.

Pegher took the lead from Bobby Whitling on lap 13, pulled away from there and crossed the finish line with a 3.847-second cushion.

Other winners Saturday night at Sharon included Rex King in Big-Block Modifieds, Alan Dellinger in E-Mods, Paul Davis in Stocks, Steve Burns in Econo Mods, and Scott Gilliland in Mini Stocks. King's victory was the 43rd of his career at Sharon; he leads the division in all-time victories.

2013 Lernerville Points

Sprint Cars: 1. Jack Sodeman Jr., 40; 2. Eric Williams, 37; 3. Brandon Spithaler, 35; 4. Danny Shetler, 30; 5. Brent Matus & Dan Kuriger, tied, 29; 7. Dennis Wagner, 26; 8. Skip Daugherty, 24; 9. Jim Shuster & Bob Martin, tied, 22.

Late Models: 1. Dave Hess Jr., 39; 2. Jared Miley, 38; 3. John Garvin Jr., 33; 4. Michael Norris, 32; 5. Ron Davies, 29; 6. Alex Ferree & Davey Johnson, tied 27; 8. Dan Angelicchio, 25; 9. Bryan Force, 24; 10. Todd Bachman, 22

V-8 Modifieds: 1. Matt Williamson, 40; 2. Dave Murdick, 36; 3. Rex King Sr., 35; 4. Jim Weller & Jeremiah Shingledecker tied 32; 6. Eric Gabany & Rex King Jr. tied 28; 8. Brad Rapp, 27; 9. Steve Feder, 24; 10. J.R. McGinley, 22

Sportsman Stocks: 1. Corey McPherson, 37; 2. Bob Egley, 36; 3. Paul Schreckengost, 35; 4. A.J. Flick, 34; 5. Joe Kelley, 32; 6. Brett McDonald, 28; 7. Mark Sanders, 26; 8. Terry Young, 24; 9. Joe Anthony & Wayne Carbo tied, 23

Lernerville Speedway History Corner: Bob Egley's Sportsman Stock victory last week broke him free of an 11-victory tie with Mike Pegher Jr., Dave Bauman and Bob Lipinski. Egley, a 2008 track champion, now has 12 career Stock victories at Lernerville and is now one victory away from being tied with Greg Beach and Dave Harbaugh, both with 13.

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