Mercer, PA – The UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions invaded western Pennsylvania for two days during the Independence Day weekend; kicking off a their three-race holiday swing with two nights of competition at the Mercer Raceway Park in Mercer, Pennsylvania. It was the second time in 2015 that the traveling stars made an appearance at the Mercer oval; once again bringing a top-notch roster of young and veteran talent to challenge the western Pennsylvania regulars. The UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions crowned two different winners during the Mercer Raceway Park invasion; Lee Jacobs on Fridayand Ryan Smith on Saturday.
Dalton, Ohio’s Lee Jacobs would earn the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions main event victory on Friday night, July 3rd at the Mercer Raceway Park in Mercer, Pennsylvania. For Jacobs, it was his first UNOH All Star victory of 2015 and the third of his career. Jacobs would survive four cautions and periods of heavy lapped traffic during his pursuit to the front; eventually capitalizing on Sheldon Haudenschild’s late race tire issue to earn the $3,000 victory.
“We were getting better as the race went on” said Lee Jacobs, “We were getting through the corners really well; maybe a little better than Sheldon (Haudenschild) was. Tough deal for him with his tire going flat. He was going to be tough to pass.”
Rod George and Kody Kinser would lead the 24-car field to green. George would take command of the 25-lap main event and control the first five circuits. Sheldon Haudenschild, who started sixth on the grid, would challenge George and eventually take over the top spot with six laps in the books. Haudenschild would open up his lead over Rod George and Lee Jacobs; navigating through heavy lapped traffic until the event’s first caution on lap 13 for Andrew Palker. Sheldon Haudenschild would survive the restart and keep control over George and Jacobs until a second caution would appear on lap 15 for a slowing A.J. Flick.
Sheldon Haudenschild would take the field back to green. Lee Jacobs, who started fourth in the 25-lapper, would get by Rod George after the restart and chase after Sheldon Haudenschild for three more circuits with seventh starting Chad Kemenah in tow. The evening’s first red flag would appear with 18 laps in the books involving Caleb Helms and Travis Philo; both drivers were OK.
Despite a left rear tire going flat during red flag conditions, Sheldon Haudenschild would restart on the front. The tire proved to be an issue with Jacobs and Kemenah each getting by Haudenschild following the lap 18 restart. Haudenschild’s tire would eventually let go on the front stretch with 23 laps down bringing out another caution. Lee Jacobs would restart on the point with Chad Kemenah and Rod George in tow. Jacobs would survive the remaining circuits and earn his first UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions victory of 2015.
Tim Shaffer was Friday evening’s ‘Hard Charger’ during main event competition; climbing eleven positions during his charge from fifteenth to finish fourth. Cody Darrah, who started 12th, also put on a passing display during the 25-lap feature; climbing from the outside of row six to finish fifth.
33 UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions ‘410’ sprint cars were signed in on Friday night, July 3rd at Mercer Raceway Park. The UNOH All Star roster was split into four groups of Lincoln Electric qualifying time trials with each driver qualifying against those in their respective heat race. Danny Holtgraver, Lee Jacobs, Tim Shaffer, and Cody Darrah each earned ‘fast time’ during their group qualifying sessions. ‘Downtown’ Danny Holtgraver earned the fastest time of the night overall during Lincoln Electric qualifying. Holtgraver recorded an official time of 13.556 seconds around the Mercer, 3/8 mile oval. Lee Jacobs, Cody Darrah, Tim Shaffer, and Jack Sodeman, Jr. rounded out the top-five fastest qualifiers.
Four UNOH All Star heat races were contested with the top-five finishers transferring to the main event. Brandon Matus, Caleb Helms, Sheldon Haudenschild, and Chad Kemenah each earned victories during heat race competition. Western Pennsylvania veteran Rod George earned the evening’s JE Pistons dash victory; guaranteeing the pole position for the 25-lap, $3,000-to-win main event. UNOH All Star ‘Rookie of the Year’ contender Parker Price-Miller ended all preliminary action with his B-main victory.
“This was a long time coming” said Lee Jacobs, “We’ve struggled some this year so it feels great to get a win here this weekend. My car owner has won a lot of races at Mercer Raceway Park. Adding one more to that list is really special.”
It was the ‘Kunkletown Kid’ Ryan Smith earning the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions main event victory at the Mercer Raceway Park on Saturday evening, July 4th. It was Smith’s second UNOH All Star main event victory of the 2015 season and the second of his career. The Kunkletown, Pennsylvania native rallied forward from a third starting position; holding off five-time UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions titlist Dale Blaney and former World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series ‘Rookie of the Year’ winner Cody Darrah for the $5,000 victory.
“We caught some breaks there early tonight in the heat race” said Ryan Smith, “We ended up timing pretty well and that put us in a good position. This car was good out of the box tonight. The track really came to us there after they worked on it before our feature. My guys work really hard and they stay on it. Things have been going pretty good for this team and here we are now back in victory lane.”
Lee Jacobs and Parker Price-Miller took the 24-car field to green on Saturday night. Jacobs would take control on the opening lap but would eventually surrender the top spot to UNOH All Star ‘Rookie of the Year’ contender Parker Price-Miller on lap two. Price-Miller stayed in control until the event’s first caution with nine laps in the books. In the mean time, Ryan Smith, who started third, also worked his way around Lee Jacobs while racing in traffic. The caution was for Travis Philo who spun in turn two.
Price-Miller would lead Ryan Smith and Lee Jacobs back to green. The youngster out of Kokomo, Indiana would maintain the top spot until Pennsylvania native Ryan Smith worked his way around Price-Miller on lap 15. Smith, Price-Miller and Dale Blaney, who in the mean time moved into third around Lee Jacobs, raced through heavy lapped traffic until a second caution on lap 23. The caution was for Parker Price-Miller who brushed the front stretch wall while running inside the top three. Ryan Smith would lead the field back to green and hang on for the final seven circuits to win at Mercer Raceway Park. Current UNOH All Star point leader Dale Blaney would finish second, followed by Cody Darrah who started ninth. Greg Wilson and Lee Jacobs rounded out the top five.
The Saturday night ‘Hard Charger’ award went to Sheldon Haudenschild. Haudenschild rallied eleven positions to finish eighth after starting on the inside of row number 20.
There were 34 UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions sprint cars signed in on Saturday evening, July 4th at Mercer Raceway Park. The 34 car roster was split into four qualifying groups with Caleb Helms, Andrew Palker, Cody Darrah, and Sheldon Haudenschild each earning the fastest qualifying time during their respective time trial sessions. Caleb Helms earned the fastest time of night overall during Lincoln Electric qualifying; recording an official time of 13.728 seconds. Dale Blaney, Greg Wilson, Parker Price-Miller, and Andy McKisson each earned victories during heat race competition. McKisson would not participate in the rest of the evening’s program due to motor problems. Lee Jacobs earned the JE Pistons dash victory; solidifying the pole position for the evening’s 30-lap, $5,000-to-win main event. Former UNOH All Star champion Tim Shaffer ended all preliminary action with a victory during the evening’s B-main.
The UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions will conclude their three-race Independence Day weekend swing on Sunday night, July 5th at the Millstream Speedway in Findlay, Ohio. The UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions last visited the semi-banked half-mile oval on Sunday evening, June 20th, 2010 with eventual five-time series champion Dale Blaney earning the main event win. Millstream Speedway has been closed for three seasons, but has since been restored and will open their gates officially on Sunday, July 5th. The Findlay oval has attempted to re-open on a few occasions already in 2015, but has been forced to cancel during each attempt due to inclement weather.
The Sunday, July 5th program is set to begin with their ‘Infield Fan Fare’ beginning at 1 o’clock. Hot laps will hit the track at approximately six, with racing following at seven. For more information, please visit the official online home of Millstream Speedway at www.millstreamspeedway.net.
For full text results from each of the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions programs at Mercer Raceway Park, please visit the UNOH All Star schedule page at www.allstarsprint.com/schedule
About the All Star Circuit of Champions:
All Star Enterprises, LLC, wholly owned by Tony Stewart, d/b/a the All Star Circuit of Champions, is a winged sprint car series. The All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series is one of the oldest traveling 410 sprint car organizations and is a staple of grassroots, open-wheel racing. Formed in 1970 by Bud Miller, the series has largely been considered the first ‘outlaw’ Sprint Car organization of the modern era. After a 10 year stint as owner of the All Stars, Miller passed control of the series to Bert Emick in 1980; a reign that would continue through 2002. Guy Webb then purchased the series from Emick in the summer of 2002 and served as the series President for the next 12 years. Motorsports entrepreneur Tony Stewart agreed to terms with Guy Webb to become the sole owner of the original winged sprint car tour in January of 2015. The 2015 schedule includes 54 events in Ohio (29), Pennsylvania (14), Florida (5), Michigan (3), Indiana (1), New York (1) and Wisconsin (1).
Those seeking additional information regarding the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions should visit the official online home at www.allstarsprint.com. Updates and breaking news for the All Stars will be posted regularly on the official Twitter account of the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions:https://twitter.com/ASCoC
Story: All Star PR – Photo: Paul Arch