MERCER, Pa. – official release — Dale Blaney finally got the monkey off his back.
Saturday night Blaney won his first career sprint car race at Mercer Raceway Park against the UNOH All Stars Circuit of Champions. The win came on the first night of the 25th Annual Western Pennsylvania Sprint Car Championship presented by Bonnell’s Rod Shop, and was Blaney’s 12th University of Northwestern All Star Circuit of Champions win of 2014 and the 111th series win of his career.
To get the victory Blaney had to fight off multiple challenges from Jac Haudenschild.
“My brother won his first ever sprint car race over here, and dad won quite a few, so I was hoping that I was going to get one sooner or later,” Blaney said. “Dad won a lot of races her and he ran every Saturday for a long, long time. It took me a long time to learn something, I guess.
“Jac [Haudenschild] showed me the best way in three and four, he shoved it around me, and I got to run a little bit harder after that,” Blaney said of his battle with Haudenschild.
Blaney blasted out to the lead at the drop of the green, with polesitter Rod George nipping at his heels. Before George could mount a counterattack, a caution was displayed for Dennis Wagner and Francis Sesco, who go together at the top of turn one. On the restart, Haudenschild made a big move, sweeping past George for the second spot. George was then under pressure from Lee Jacobs. Brandon Spithaler and Brandon Matus were lurking close behind.
Haudenschild rode the rim to close in on the All Stars points leader and four-time champion. As the leaders closed in on some lapped cars, Haudenschild got his nose out ahead of Blaney when they crossed for lap 10. George continued in third, with Lee Jacobs close behind.
When the leaders came down the front stretch for the halfway mark, it was Blaney who had the lead by a nose. Soon thereafter, the second and last caution slowed the event. Scott Priester spun off the top of turn three.
On the restart, Blaney surged ahead of Haudenschild. Lee Jacobs rolled the outside in turns one and two to grab third away from George. He pulled Danny Holtgraver along with him, and soon the two popular drivers were fighting for position. Brandon Matus, Brandon Spithaler and Tim Shaffer were locked in a battle within the top ten.
Blaney’s car liked the clean air, and he was able to maintain a comfortable advantage over the Wild Child all the way to the finish. Jacobs was a distant third. Holtgraver did work his way past George for the fourth position. Shaffer crossed in sixth, ahead of Brandon Spithaler, Sheldon Haudenschild, Brandon Matus, and Adam Kekich.
The three heats were won by Priester, Brandon Spithaler, and Brandon Matus. There was no B Main. George scored the dash victory. The evening’s fastest qualifier was Blaney, turning a lap of 13.771.
In other action, C.J. Jones won his second straight race, and fourth of the season, in the Outlaw Sprint Warriors presented by Bonnell’s Rod Shop. After missing several events, J.R. McGinley returned to the Park and earned his second feature win of the season in the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds. The silver bullet, Randy Wyant, prevailed in the finale for the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars, operating under the Open Stock rules.