Bull doubles at Mercer Raceway Park Mercer PA - Ray Bull claimed top honors in dual features when the Ray's Yamaha 'Polaris' Victory American Racing Drivers Club Midget Series visited Mercer Raceway Park on Saturday night. The open-wheel ...
Bull doubles at Mercer Raceway Park
Mercer PA - Ray Bull claimed top honors in dual features when the Ray's Yamaha 'Polaris' Victory American Racing Drivers Club Midget Series visited Mercer Raceway Park on Saturday night. The open-wheel racing action was to the fans delight as they were treated to three-and-four wide abreast racing.
Bull jumped out to an early lead from the outside pole position in the ARDC wingless event that kicked off the night's features. The battle was on for second place when the machines of Steve Lenig, Michele Miller and polesitter Carey Becker were side-by-side at the start/finish line for the runner-up spot.
By lap 3, Lenig and Becker were overcome by Dave Shirk. Shirk would flank Michele Miller for one lap and take the second position on lap 4. The caution flew, when the No. 55 of Steve Craig got turned around in the first corner. Bunching the field back together the race was on. In mid pack, it was the cars of Ed Stimely, Steve Buckwalter and Don Trent dicing for position.
The racing was intense, Mike Miller fielding a different car was on the move. Rookie Dave Shirk was hot on the tails of his teammate Ray Bull when Mike Miller began flanking him on lap 8. As the field began to spread out, Lenig and Becker began to fade. Buckwalter and teammate Marc Dailey were on the move and battling for the fifth position with Michele Miller.
Further back, the cars of Stimely and Trent continued to race hard. Behind Trent, Kathy Kurtz and Fred Schell continued to exchange position. By lap 11, Stimely and Trent had settled in behind Buckwalter who had been holding down the fifth position. Dailey experienced a problem on his No. 7 machine and would leave the track.
As the laps continued, drivers began to cement their positions for the finish. The intense battle was behind the leader. Mike Miller held the third position and had overcome Shirk on the straight-aways. Shirk continued to throw his machine hard into the corners and reassume his spot. Miller, running the outside did not disappoint and kept charging right back.
Miller would win the spot when Shirk's car lost a piece of equipment in turn 4. The drivers would make another rotation when Shirk ran over his own debris and spun bringing out the caution on lap 19.
The drivers would take the green and checkered flag to complete the nights first feature. Bull maintained the lead, Mike Miller finished second and Steve Buckwalter passed Michele Miller for third. Stimely would cross the finish line in fifth followed by Trent and Lenig. Shirk restarted after his spin and would finish the event in ninth as the last car on the lead lap.
'This was a good start for us,' said Bull who has been plagued by 2 recent crashes. Mike Miller was pleased with second in his new entry. 'It's the crew that did this for me,' said Miller. 'There is a lot of knowledge between Jeff Kuhns, Mike T. and Steve Buckwalter. I owe them a lot of thanks,' he continued.
Finishing third Steve Buckwalter was pleased. Notably all three drivers are former micro sprint standouts from Pennsylvania. With one race in the books, it was time to add the wings and get back to the action.
Carey Becker led the field to the green flag with Steve Lenig to his outside. On the first lap of the winged feature it was Lenig pulling out front.
The racing Miller Sisters were fighting for the third position. Michele Miller had picked up four positions in one lap and was roaring to go. Also on the move was Ray Bull. Bull, who had started twelfth had found the fifth position by lap 6. Lenig began to open a lead over Becker. Tracy Miller in the double zero kept her eye on the leaders, as her sister began battle with Bull.
Both Michele Miller and Bull would advance past Tracy Miller and Becker, regulating Bull to third on lap 9.
Coming back for more was Mike Miller, Dave Shirk and Steve Buckwalter. Bull would pass Michele Miller on lap 11. Then there was one. Bull headed out to track down the leader Lenig. He would get by on the next lap. Mike Miller would also get by another machine placing himself behind his daughter Michele in fourth. He would pass Michele Miler and Lenig on lap 17, to take the runner-up position.
Behind the leaders, Shirk and Buckwalter were delivering a hard fought battle. Buckwalter would take the spot from Shirk and Lenig on lap 17, placing himself in the fourth position.
With little time left, Mike Miller picked up the pace in his chase of the leader.
As the marginal lead began to fade, the caution would fly on lap 19 when Tracy Miller came to a stop in turn 4. She would restart and join the tail end of the field. On the restart, the lapped car of Robert Goerner was between Bull and Mike Miller.
When the green flew, it was Miller to the high side around the lapped car of Goerner but Bull had begun to pull away. Miller wasn't giving it to him, and charged down the backstretch and into the turn. Bull would take the win with Miller close in tow. Michele Miller held her position to finish third.
Buckwalter would take the fourth position giving the fifth finishing spot to Shirk.
The dual victories brought Bull's all-time feature win total to 35, currently he is eighth on the all-time ARDC win list trailing Grandview feature winner Johnny Heydenreich by 1 win.
Bull gave kudos to his crew for all their hard work following a rough week. 'They got the car back in shape,' he said. Bull also gave a nod to the track. 'This is a real professional place and I credit everyone that works here,' he said.
Michele Miller went even one step further. Miller was so pleased with her finish that she let all the fans know, she wants to come back to Mercer and race again this year. 'This felt really good,' said Michele who had posted a second place finish in the winged feature in 2003.
Mike Miller was proud that Michele had ran good, but explained to the fans that passing his daughter is just a racing move. 'The family doesn't play favorites at the track,' he said, 'we come here to race.'
On another note, Mike Miller was also glad to see Kathy Kurtz back in action. Kurtz had been sidelined earlier in the season with some health problems but never missed a race. She is avid supporter of ARDC. Buckwalter was happy with his fourth place finish. 'It was hard to run down the leaders,' he continued. 'The track stayed wet, and it wasn't quite slick enough.'
The Ray's Yamaha 'Polaris' Victory American Racing Drivers Club Midget Series moves to Five Mile Point, New York on Saturday July 30. This marks a change in the times for ARDC as they revisit a facility that helped to create some great midget history. The non-wing event is sure to grab some attention.
Congratulations to long-time ARDC member and friend Ron Heddendorf on his recent appointment to the National Midget Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
ARDC Wingless feature: (1) Ray Bull, (2) Mike Miller, (3) Steve Buckwalter, (4) Michele Miller, (5) Ed Stimely Jr., (6) Don Trent, (7) Steve Lenig, (8) Fred Schell, (9) Dave Shirk, (10) Carey Becker, (11) Kathy Kurtz, (12) Steve Craig, (13) Robert Goerner, (14) Marc Dailey, (15) Tracy Miller, (16) Scott Zipp, (17) Chris Rupp
ARDC Winged feature: (1) Ray Bull, (2) Mike Miller, (3) Michele Miller, (4) Steve Buckwalter, (5) Dave Shirk, (6) Steve Lenig, (7) Steve Craig, (8) Carey Becker, (9) Don Trent, (10) Marc Dailey, (11) Scott Zipp, (12) Fred Schell, (13) Kathy Kurtz, (14) Tracy Miller, (15) Ed Stimely Jr. (16) Robert Goernor, (17) Chris Rupp