The fine folks from Diehl Auto Group were on hand as the program’s weekly sponsor and they were almost treated to a career first Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Big Block Modified feature win for young gun Steve Feder. Feder took the lead from the pole at the drop of the green flag and held off future Hall of Famer Kevin Bolland for 24 laps with the best run of his career in a caution-free race. But as the leaders approached turn one on the final lap, Feder hesitated for a fraction of a second as a pair of lapped cars raced side-by-side ahead of them and Bolland pounced, taking the bottom and the lead. Feder could only chase Bolland to the checkered flag and wait to fulfill his dream of scoring that sacred career first feature win at the Action Track. For Bolland, it was his second win of the season and 55th of his Lernerville career. The win was made all the more impressive by the 200+ man hours of labor required to get the #777 ready for action after a nasty wreck with Dave Murdick at the BRP Modified Tour opener at Eriez Speedway last Sunday Night.
Feder had to settle for a career best finish of second ahead of All Time wins leader Brian Swartzlander in third, Dave Murdick in fourth and NY invader Brian Weaver in fifth. Mike Turner, Dean Pearson, Eric Gabany, Carl Murdick and Phil Evans Jr. rounded out the Diehl Top Ten. Bolland and Swartzlander claimed heat race victories.
For the second feature in a row, Defending Track Champion Jeremiah Shingledecker was claimed by the gremlins as he broke on lap 21 exiting turn four running third and rolled into the infield; officially scored with a DNF in 16th.
Victory Lane at Mercer Raceway Park (Photo: Deric Bolland)
Mercer, PA (June 25, 2011): Kevin Bolland made a daring last lap pass of leader Brian Swartzlander and went on to win the thrilling BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour race presented by All Metals Recycling of Rochester, PA.
“The traffic is always tough at Mercer, you just have to wait your turn,” Bolland said. On several occasions, the traffic thwarted Bolland’s ability to pass race leader Brian Swartzlander. However, in the final analysis, a lapped car figured prominently into his winning pass.
When the field was circulating under the final caution, Bolland said to himself, “I have 11 more laps, let’s get this project done.” At that moment, he was sitting third behind Swartzlander and Frank Guidace. Shortly after the race resumed, Bolland regained second position and he was rapidly closing on Swartzlander.
“I had to wait for the lap traffic to play in because Brian had the bottom end tied up for several laps.” Bolland explained that he kept trying the high side in turns one and two, “but every time I got a run on him, it seemed like a lapped car fell in front of me and I couldn’t capitalize again.” He kept working at it, though, and eventually he used the traffic to his advantage.
Although Swartzlander led from the start, he could not shake loose from Bolland. Bolland kept switching lines as the duo diced for the lead. When they approached heavy lapped traffic near the midpoint of the race, Bolland made his first bid for the lead. He dropped to the inside lane coming off turn two and Swartzlander remained in the middle groove. They swept past a pair of lapped cars in an astounding four-wide formation on the backstretch. Swartzlander entered turn three with the lead, as Bolland had to burp the throttle to set the car for the corner.
Bolland continued to apply the pressure until the race was slowed for its second caution. On the restart, track favorite Frank Guidace powered into second with his potent 358 Modified, and the fans were sensing that an upset could be in the making. No Approved Toilet Rental 358 Modified had ever beaten the Big Blocks at Mercer and Guidace wanted to be the first. He closed in on Swartzlander on several occasions, but he could never pull alongside the leader.
Meanwhile, Bolland regrouped and began to work on Guidace for second. Bolland went to the outside and took the position away as they raced through turns one and two on lap 21. Bolland once again took up the chase for the lead.
With the laps winding down, the leaders again found themselves in heavy lapped traffic. That gave Bolland the opportunity to challenge for the win. As the leaders came charging off turn four to take the white flag, Bolland squeezed between Swartzlander and a lapped car. At the scoring loop, Bolland had the lead by a narrow margin. The pair cleared the lapped car and they raced hard into turn one. There was contact. Swartzlander slid high, but kept moving despite suffering some damage to his car. Bolland managed to keep his car straight and pulled away for the win.
Swartzlander took the checkers in second. Eric Gabany, driving another Mercer 358, made a strong move on the outside in the final laps and climbed up to third. Guidace held on for fourth, followed by Dave Murdick.
Jeremiah Shingledecker finished sixth. Rex King, Sr. crossed in seventh, snapping a two-year streak of top five finishes with the BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour. His son, Rex King, Jr., grabbed eighth. Brad Rapp climbed all of the way to ninth after starting in row eleven. Kevin Hoffman completed the top ten.
BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour: 1. Kevin Bolland (777); 2. Brian Swartzlander (83); 3. Eric Gabany (3E); 4. Frank Guidace (1G); 5. Dave Murdick (61); 6. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD); 7. Rex King, Sr. (65); 8. Rex King, Jr. (165); 9. Brad Rapp (11R); 10. Kevin Hoffman (17H); 11. Jimmy Holden (28H); 12. Tommy Kristyak (26Z); 13. John Buchanan (44B); 14. Mark Frankhouser (03); 15. Mike Turner (96); 16. Tommy Mattocks (69); 17. Shannon Whaley (44W); 18. Carl Murdick (6); 19. Shawn Fleeger (88); 20. Scott Strock (15); 21. Don Brown (71B); 22. Howard Duff (812); 23. Kyle Fink (66F); 24. Skip Moore (17M); 25. Chris Haines (35H); 26. Rod Jones (820). DNQ: Kevin Green, Rich Whitney, Brian Weaver, Dave Reges, Donny Minor. Heat wins: Swartzlander, Gabany, Bolland. B Main win: Rapp.
Bolland entered last night with a comfortable lead in the Budweiser Points in the Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Modified division, but had three drivers within striking distance and standing between he and his third Track Championship. He mathematically eliminated Defending Track Champion Jeremiah Shingledecker and Del Rougeux Jr. after National Guard Heat Races were completed. As the Diehl Mods rolled onto the Action Track for the first feature of Championship Night, Bolland needed to finish just 17th or higher to clinch the title over longtime nemesis Brian Swartzlander. But Bolland wasn’t resting on his laurels nor simply counting down the laps. Instead, he was up on the wheel and heavy on the gas, as there are less possibilities of finding misfortune the more cars that are behind you!
Polesitter Jeremiah Shingledecker took the quick lead at the drop of the green flag and led the first 21 circuits. Bolland started seventh but quickly made his way to the front where he challenged Del Rougeux Jr. for second place on lap three. They swapped second place several times over the next 20 laps, but a late race caution set the table for Bolland to win the Track Championship in style! With four laps to go, Bolland took the lead from Shingledecker around the topside of turns one & two on the lap 22 restart. Once out front, Bolland would not be caught and he scored his 51st Lernerville Speedway Modified Victory and third Modified Track Championship.
Shingledecker held on to finish second. Brian Swartzlander saw his title hopes shredded on lap six when he rolled to a stop on the front stretch after contact with Dean Pearson shredded his left rear tire. Swartzlander charged back through the field to finish third in the race and second in the Budweiser Point Standings. Dave Murdick finished fourth, while J.R. McGinley ran a very strong race to finish fifth. Carl Murdick, Mark Frankhouser, Mike Turner, Jeff Schaffer and Steve Feder rounded out the Diehl Top Ten. Swartzlander and Murdick won National Guard Heat Races.
Final Points Results:
Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Pos # Modifieds Pts 1 777 Kevin Bolland 457 2 83 Brian Swartzlander 433 3 37 Jer. Shingledecker 426 4 20D Del Rougeux Jr. 424 5 61 Dave Murdick 408 6 96 Mike Turner 331 7 8J Dean Pearson 321 8 6 Carl Murdick 285 9 45 Steve Feder 273 10 88 Shawn Fleeger 244 11 29E Erik Martin 166 12 71D Don Brown 155 13 31 Jim Weller Jr. 149 14 28 Tom Winkle 145 15 74 Kevin Green 96 16 O3 Mark Frankhouser 84 17 27R Dave Reges 66 18 11R Brad Rapp 60 19 66 J.R. McGinley 58 20 65 Rex King Sr. 57 21 35H Haines/T.S'decker 52 22 333 Ron Eperthener Jr. 49 23 165 Rex King Jr. 48 24 17M Skip Moore 40 25 75 Jeff Miller 37 26 73 Mike Miller 35 27 11B Brian Bailes 34 28 516 Gary Smoker 29 29 10 Jeff Schaffer 22 30 66F Kyle Fink 21 31 69 Tommy Mattocks 21 32 71 Randy Chronister 16