Dave Ely Defeats All Foes in Mercer's "Great Race" to Collect $3,000 MERCER. PA. -- It was a win that was badly needed for the West Lawn, Pa, star Dave Ely. The defending United Racing Club (URC) champion has gone through a season that has seen...
Dave Ely Defeats All Foes in Mercer's "Great Race" to Collect $3,000
MERCER. PA. -- It was a win that was badly needed for the West Lawn, Pa, star Dave Ely. The defending United Racing Club (URC) champion has gone through a season that has seen himself as well as his JMO Motorsports Team well out of any title hopes. But, some of 2004 heartbreaks were dashed with a dominating effort to beat a stellar 51 car field at the Mercer Raceway Park on Saturday night to win the first ever "Great Race" for 360 sprint cars.
The first time event at the Vicki Emig promoted facility pitted the very best from Mercer's own 360's sprint cars as well as stars from the Empire Super Sprints (ESS), the National Racing Alliance (NRA), the Patriot Sprint Group (PSG) and with Bridgeport being cancelled, several URC teams made the tow West.
For Ely, he took advantage of a front row starting spot and passed local star Jeff Banyas on lap eight and didn't look back. Several cautions put Banyas as well as other foes Scott Bonnell and Arnie Kent within striking distance to keep the fans on edge throughout.
"I have to tell you, the up front start was the key for us getting the win, I'm not going to kid you." dead-panned Ely, "Look at all the tough 360's here, I mean these deals are tough. But, with the format tonight, I timed 15th or so fastest and was lucky enough that many guys didn't come through in their heats. They inverted eight and the way everything fell I was in the front row."
But, for Ely, this has been a very tough roller coaster of a season and a win, let alone a top finish wasn't being planned on--at least not counted on. "We just had one tough year and I just wanted to get through just one race without any problems." noted Ely who missed last week's Bully Hill Nationals because of his wife going in for minor but emergency surgery. "Ever since I came back from my injury (a concussion back in late June) we just haven't been on top of our game. Tonight though, the guys found something in the car and we were fast."
Fast indeed, once disposing of Banyas in lapped traffic, Ely opened up distance on the rest of the field each time the green lights shined. Although admitting that he didn't need any of the cautions, even the final one on lap 29 which saw Banyas come in contact with a slower car putting Bonnell in second, Ely was not to be denied on this cool evening in Western Pa.
At the drop of the checkered flag it was Ely's #3 ahead of 2003 Bully Hill champion in Bonnell. Kent, who won March's 360 sprint car special at Mercer, was home for third followed by Mercer star Jamie Martin and this year's Bully Hill winner in URC's Trevor Lewis. Rounding out the top ten were the legendary Kramer Williamson who came from his 19th place starting spot, NRA point leader Mike Brecht, Jason Dolick, who leads Mercer's 360 points, Steve Leiber and fast timer on the night in Randy West.
Five cautions did try to keep Ely at bay; On lap 15, West spun in turn four, on the restart J.R. Stewart did the same in turn two. The lap 19 caution was for Ashley Parlett who spun off on turn four with fellow URC mate Josh Weller stopping on lap 22. The final caution was for Banyas.
Six heats were needed to trim the field, Dolick won the first heat with ESS star Doug Emery taking #2, PSG's teenage star Bobby Breen winning the third, ESS' Lance Yonge and Billy Krull won four and five with Stewart taking heat six. The C-Main was on by Jared Zimbardi with Williamson winning the 20 car B-Main.
Great Race Notes: The star studded 51 car field was broke down like this: 13 drivers who either run 410's or 360's at Mercer, 10 from ESS as well as PSG, 8 came from NRA with 7 holding the URC banner, Ryan Lynn who runs 305's at nearby Hesston and Mike Senecal who came from his home state of Florida --.The only flip victim of the night was Paul Kapuchuck who went over in his heat--.As usual, many stars didn't make the grid for the 30 lap A-Main, names like Dan Kaszubinski, Jamie Smith, Dwain Leiber, Rick Wilson, Chris Shuttleworth and Mike Dussel just to name a few.
Fast Time -- Randy West
Heat 1 -- Jason Dolick, Ashley Parlett, Arnie Kent.
Heat 2 -- Doug Emery, Jamie Martin, Doug Stanley.
Heat 3 -- Bobby Breen, Steve Leiber, Dave Ely.
Heat 4 -- Billy Krull, Scott Bonnell, Jeff Banyas.
Heat 5 -- Lance Yonge, Trevor Lewis, Jeff Cook.
Heat 6 -- J.R. Stewart, Mike Brecht, Randy West.
C-Main -- Jared Zimbardi, Nick Fratto.
B-Main -- Kramer Williamson, Kevin Welsh, Duffy Smith, Josh Weller, Bryan Howland, Jeff VanDusen.
Did Not Qualify - Jamie Smith, Dan Kaszubinski, Bubby Kerrick, Dwain Leiber, Mike Stelter, Jared Zimbardi, Jeff Williams, Gary Troutman, Ron Blair, Nick Fratto, Tom Quarterson, Rob Eyler, Tim Kelly, Rich Swarthout, Pup Nystrom, Ray Preston, Jr., Tim Zimbardi, Mike Senecal, Jeremy Cook, Ryan Lynn, Matt Alloway, Blake Breen, Mike Dussel, Chris Shuttleworth, Rick Wilson, Don Adamczyk, Paul Kapuchuck.
A-MAIN - ESS/NRA/PSG 360 Sprint Cars (30 laps): 1. DAVE ELY ($3,000) 2. Scott Bonnell 3. Arnie Kent 4. Jamie Martin 5. Trevor Lewis 6. Kramer Williamson 7. Mike Brecht 8. Jason Dolick 9. Steve Leiber 10. Randy West 11. Kevin Welsh 12. Duffy Smith 13. Jeff Cook 14. Bobby Breen 15. Billy Krull 16. Doug Stanley 17. J.R. Stewart 18. Jeff Banyas 19. Ashley Parlett 20. Bryan Howland 21. Josh Weller 22. Jeff VanDusen 23. Doug Emery 24. Lance Yonge.