Mercer Heats Things up in Victory Lane

Story By: Jill Frischmann
Photos by: Legacy Video & Photography

June 7 , 2008

(Newton, NC) With temperatures reaching near 100 degrees, it was a definite sign that fans would witness some hot racing action during Craftsman Night at the Races. The World's Most Famous Short Track, Hickory Motor Speedway, provided fans with hot racing action from the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The night's line-up featured the Bojangles Late Models, the Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models, the Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks, Hickory Pro 4's and the Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks. The American Red Cross also made an appearance at the track, not only raising money and create awareness for their life saving programs, but to help fans beat the heat.

The Bojangles Late Models provided racing action at is finest during the 50 lap feature event. The #10 of WynnCom Pole Sitter Andy Mercer jumped to the point when the green flag flew, leaving the #31 of Kyle Grissom and the #00 of Lucas Ransone to battle for second. Grissom was able to pull ahead and capture the position from Ransone by lap two, leaving Ransone to slowly fall back in the pack during the early portion of the event. The first caution flew on lap nine, when the #35 of Duncan Molesworth went for a spin coming out of turn four. On the restart, the #33 of James Goff and the #70 of Brit Anderson made contact going into turn two, sending both spinning. The # 21 of Brian Curry and the # 9 of Brad Kurth got together as they tried to avoid the wrecked cars, with both incidents calling for the second caution of the feature to wave.

With the drivers lined up and ready for the restart, the green flag waved. As the field was coming off of turn three, the #88 of Kurt Crosbie and the #81 of Paddy Rodenbeck made contact tearing off the left side panel of Crosbie's ride and bringing out the feature's third caution. The third time's the charm in this case, as it took the drivers three restarts to complete a lap. It was smooth sailing until lap 32, when Kurth experienced mechanical troubles bringing his car to a stop in turn four and bringing out the fourth and final caution. From the restart, the #89 of David Latour Jr. and the #42 of Todd Goble battled for third, on lap 35 Latour Jr. captured the spot making his move on Goble coming off of turn two. With ten laps to go, the top five played a desperate game of catch the leader with Mercer still in charge followed by Grissom, Latour Jr., Goble and the current NASCAR Whelen All-American Series North Carolina State and National Champion, Andy Loden (#29).

The hot action continued as the Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models took to the track for a 35 lap event. The first caution of the event flew on lap eight when the #25 of Nick Proffitt lost control and went for a spin coming out of turn four. The #63 of Josh Lowder stomped on the breaks to avoid making contact with Proffitt only to receive a tap on the back bumper from the #10 of Brian Weatherman, who wasn't able to stop as quickly as Lowder, sending Lowder for a spin as well. On lap 11, the second caution of the event came out when the #75 of Eric Evans and the #07 of Tyler Church made contact heading down the front stretch, sending Church hard into the inside barrier. The impact was so intense that it lifted the back end of Church's car into the air and knocked over the concrete barrier at the Turn One Pit Road exit. The race was red flagged to allow the Hickory Safety Crew time to put the safety barrier back in place for the remainder of the show. The cautions didn't stop there as the #05 of Jordan McGregor spun coming out of turn one and backed his car into the outside wall between turns two and three, bringing out caution number three.

On lap 17 Evans was black flagged to remove a loose right front fender, which was caused from and earlier wreck. Evans experienced mechanical troubles on his way back around, causing his car to stall up in turn four bringing out the fourth caution. From the restart the #3 of Dexter Canipe Jr. jumped back out to the front and developed a two car lead over the field by lap 20. With ten laps, to go the #17 of Kyle Mansch and the #01 of J.R. Allen made contact heading into turn one, sending both drivers for a spin into the inside wall. This incident not only brought out the fifth and final caution, but it also brought out the driver's hot tempers, as Mansch and Allen had a “heated” discussion of the cause of the spin. The caution seem to be what Canipe Jr. needed, as he appeared to be better on the short runs, but the #27 of Chris Chapman wasn't going to settle for second. With five laps to go Chapman made his move on Canipe Jr., captured the spot, and pulled away from the field. There was a hot battle for third between the #94 of Josh Wright and the #15 of Chazz Anderson, but Wright was able to hold strong. Weatherman completed the top five.

The Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks heated things up as they took to the track for a 35 lap event. The #94 of Ben Ebeling gained momentum when the green flag waved, taking the lead from WynnCom Pole Sitter Ricky Dennie Jr. (#29). Dennie Jr. seemed to be loosing track position quickly as the #6 of Dexter Canipe Jr. snagged second place on lap four. The first caution of the event flew on lap eight when the #69 of Trevor Hignutt and the #97 of Kevin Bumgarner made contact heading into two, sending both trucks spinning and to the back of the pack for the restart. A second caution came out on lap ten, when Dennie Jr. went for a spin coming out of turn one and to the back of the pack.

The restart put Canipe Jr. in the perfect spot to take the lead from Ebeling, which he managed to capture on lap 14 as the two came out of turn four. The battle for first was intense as Canipe Jr. and Ebeling went back and forth beating and banging, both trying for the top spot. The two made contact on lap 29 heading into four, sending Ebeling sideways through the corner and giving Canipe Jr. the lead. Ebeling continued to battle back and on lap 31 the two made contact coming out of four, sending both for a spin on the front stretch and bringing out the third and final caution of the event, with a trip to the back of the field. With four to go, the #69 of Trevor Hignutt had made his way thru the pack and grabbed the first place position to hold off the field for the remaining laps. Bumgarner, Boyer, Dennie Jr. and the #0 of Jody Church finish second thru fifth respectively.

The Hickory Pro 4's certainly didn't disappoint as made their way onto the track for a 25 lap feature at the World's Most Famous Short Track. The #57 of Josh Wimbish was on fire as he began picking off cars one by one the second he came to the green. Wimbish managed to work his way up to the second place position by lap seven from his fifth place starting spot. On lap nine, Wimbish got a great run off turn two giving him the momentum to push his way into the lead, by lap 15 he had gained a five car length lead on the rest of the field.

With five laps to go it was a battle for third as the #16 of Randy Freeze and the #21 of Todd Harrington fought back and forth for the precious spot. Freeze used a low line to capture the spot, but that didn't keep Harrington from battling back. By lap 22 the two found themselves caught up as they headed into two, sending both for a spin and bringing out the first and only caution of the event. After the restart Wimbish was off again, as the battle for second heated up leaving the #99 of Matt Elledge and the # 09 of Randy Canipe to fight back and forth. With three laps to go, Elledge wiggled and got loose heading into turn two causing him to loose momentum and position to Canipe. Freeze and Harrington came back to complete the top five.

The Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks put on a show race fans will be talking about for weeks to come, as the nine car field took to the track for the 20 lap feature. The #84 of Steve Teague jumped to the point the moment the green flag waved, but soon lost his position to Wesley Sain (#98). It looked as though #82 of Jeremy Whitman was the man to beat during the first half of the event, as he worked his way into the second place position by lap seven. Things really started heating up when the # 46 of David Hasson made contact with Teague heading into four. A quick move by Teague sent him heading down pit road to avoid wrecking on the track. On lap 11, the #3 of Mickey Canipe wobbled heading into turn one but Canipe locked up the breaks to avoid spinning on the track. The first caution flew on lap 11 as NASCAR Officials noticed fluid on the track that needed to be cleaned up for the safety of the drivers.

Hasson took to the point from the restart, the second and final caution of the event flew before a full lap could be completed. The second caution was just what the #90 of Ronnie Sims needed to catch Hasson and capture the lead. The #01 of Paul Wyatt, #00 of Dwight Wyatt, and #-1 of Ronald Dale McNeil rounded out the top five.

Be sure to join us next Saturday, June 14, for the Bad Boys Mowers 150 featuring the UARA Stars Late Model touring series with a guest appearance by the INEX 600 Racing Legends Cars! Grandstands open at 4:30 PM with qualifying at 5pm, and racing action beginning at 7 PM. For more information please visit our website at or by phone at 828-464-3655. We can't wait to see you at the races!

Hickory Motor Speedway is a .363 mile asphalt track. The track held its first event in June of 1951 posting Gwyn Staley as the event winner. Hickory Motor Speedway has supported series such as the now Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. Currently the Speedway is sanctioned by NASCAR featuring the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The Speedway also hosts a wide variety of touring series that travel throughout the country.

Hickory Motor Speedway runs Saturday nights, mid-March through October. Grandstands open at 5 PM with racing beginning at 7 PM.

For more information visit



BOJANGLES' LATE MODEL STOCKS •  10 Andy Mercer P •  31 Kyle Grissom •  89 David Latour Jr. •  42 Todd Goble •  29 Andy Loden •  57 Grant Wimbish •  00 Lucas Ransone •  70 Brit Anderson •  61 Chase Austin •  88 Kurt Crosbie •  35 Duncan Molesworth •  19 Kyle Moon •  9 Brad Kurth •  81 Paddy Rodenbeck •  33 James Goff •  21 Brian Curry •  29 Tyler Church

JEWELRY EXCHANGE LIMITED LATE MODELS •  27 Chris Chapman •  3 Dexter Canipe Jr. P •  94 Josh Wright •  15 Chazz Anderson •  10 Bryan Weatherman •  05 Jordan McGregor •  32 Jeremy Harrell •  25 Nick Proffitt •  39 Lee Queen •  63 Josh Lowder •  17 Kyle Mansch •  01 JR Allen •  75 Eric Evans •  07 Tyler Church

ADVANCE AUTO PARTS SUPER TRUCKS •  69 Trevor Hignutt •  97 Kevin Bumgarner •  7 Joseph Boyer •  29 Ricky Dennie Jr. P •  0 Jody Church •  94 Ben Ebeling •  6 Dexter Canipe Jr. •  17 Tyler Taft

PRO-4'S •  57 Josh Wimbish •  99 Matt Elledge P •  09 Randy Canipe •  16 Randy Freeze •  21 Todd Harrington •  66 Scott Wallace •  17 Curtis Pardue •  07 Matt Laws

RED BARON RACE PARTS HOBBY STOCKS •  90 Ronnie Sims •  46 David Hasson •  01 Paul Wyatt •  00 Dwight Wyatt •  –1 Ronald Dale McNeil •  84 Steve Teague •  98 Wesley Sain •  3 Mickey Canipe •  82 Jeremy Whitman

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