namars: Mercer Raceway June 15th preview

Mercer's June 15 "Wingless - The Return/Part III" Mercer, PA. Mercer Raceway Park will once again be hosting a national event next Saturday, June 15 at the 3/8-mile clay oval. The North American Auto Racing Series, Inc. (NAMARS) and the American...

Mercer's June 15 "Wingless - The Return/Part III"

Mercer, PA. Mercer Raceway Park will once again be hosting a national event next Saturday, June 15 at the 3/8-mile clay oval. The North American Auto Racing Series, Inc. (NAMARS) and the American Racing Drivers Club, Inc. (ARDC) will once again co-sanction the biggest dirt Midget Car auto racing event in the east titled the second annual Northern States Midget Classic. Joining the wingless Midget Cars will be the wingless Sprint Cars creating an open-wheel doubleheader dubbed "Wingless- The Return/Part III". The New Castle School of Trades Sportsman Modifieds and Butterfield's Pub Stock Cars will also be on the card. Chevron East is the title sponsor of the event for the second consecutive year.

NAMARS, the largest Championship Midget Car sanctioning body in the world, and ARDC, America's oldest Championship Midget Car sanction at 63 years strong, will come together with their signature series for their only clash event of the season. The event will be a national points event for both organizations ensuring a large field of midgets.

In 2000, Mark Freeland won the inaugural midget car event, which was a stand-alone ARDC show, while Rob Chaney won the wingless sprint portion. Last season, the weather was the real story as action was delayed two and half hours by rain, then the fog rolled in cutting short the midget car feature with Tim Dietz being declared the winner, while the wingless sprint portion was fogged out.

"We're really hoping for some good weather this year," said owner Vicki Emig. "Many people said the 2000 event was the best race they saw and then the weather ruined last year's event. We know the wingless midgets and sprints can put on a great show at Mercer for the fans."

NAMARS, which is based in Speedway, Indiana, journeyed west into the Keystone State of Pennsylvania last season for the first time. The eastern Pa.-based ARDC has made their furthest trip west to Mercer the last two seasons. "We have the perfect location for this show," said Emig. "We're located right in the middle of both organizations and just a few miles from the crossroads of Interstates 79 and 80."

A rich history of Midget Car racing dates back many decades in the eastern Ohio/western Pa. area. However, in recent years a lack of midget races in the area has forced the younger fans to watch midgets on television, or travel into Indiana or central Pa. to the nearest dirt tracks for midgets.

The event will be the crown jewel on the 2002 ARDC slate and one of the premiere events on the 2002 NAMARS schedule. The Northern States Midget Classic will be a 40-lap event paying $2,000 to-win, $200 to-start.

The Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars will take off their wings for the only time in 2002. Their 30-lap feature will pay $2,000 to-win, $200 to-start as well and will be a points event. The 360 bonus monies and point system will also be in effect. Past wingless Mercer winners include Troy Preston in 1989, Jamie Smith swept a two-day show in 1996, Todd Kane won in the famous Bob Hampshire #63 in 1997, and in 2000 Rob Chaney beat Smith with a pass in turn four on the final lap.

A special autograph session has been organized by ARDC's Tammy Rae Benscoter and will take place shortly after the gates open. Confirmed drivers that will be signing autographs include defending three-time champion Ray Bull, 1997 champion Ed Stimely, Jr., 2001 rookie-of-the-year Marc Dailey, Mark Freeland, the father and son duo of Randy and Duane Mausteller, Brian Suchy, 2001 most improved driver Kathy Kurtz, Fred Schell, Scott Zipp, Gary Halteman, Walt Stearly, and rookie Scott Lawrence. Jennifer Weaver, the 2002 Ms. Motorsports, will also be on hand to sign autographs throughout the night.

Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. There will be no time trials, as heat races will begin at 7 p.m. Adult admission is just $13. Students 6-15 are $5. The family pass, which admits mom, dad, and up to four kids, is $30. Children five and under are free. The pit pass is $25. For more information call 724-964-9300 during the week and 724-662-1310 on race day. Check out www.mercerracewaypark.com for the latest. For information on NAMARS check out www.namars.com and for information on ARDC check out www.ardcmidgets.com.

Located just west of Mercer, Pa., Chevron East is a world supplier of towing equipment for the automotive industry. Chevron East manufactures car carriers, wreckers, industrial tiltbeds, and farm equipment tiltbeds. They have their trucks at Daytona, Indy, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and hundred of other raceways throughout the country. As a major employer for Mercer County, many of Chevron's employees, vendors, and their employees are major fans of auto racing. Many of their valued customers both locally and nationwide are involved in racing, either participating or towing at race tracks.

Local Chevron representative Jeff McElrath has been a strong supporter of Mercer Raceway Park dating back to his co-promotion of the facility in 1997 and 1998. McElrath not only is one of the major sponsors at the track, but also sponsors several race cars. For more information on Chevron East call 1-800-TILTBED or check out their website at www.chevroninc.com.

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Series Midget
Drivers Marc Dailey , Ray Bull