Story By: PAUL HARKENRIDER / PATRIOT SPRINT TOUR – MERCER, PA – With only four full point races remaining, the quest for the A-Verdi Storage Containers Patriot Sprint Tour championship continues through the Western part of our 2019 season schedule with the tour returning to two familiar tracks, Michael’s Mercer Raceway and Eriez Speedway.
This will be the first time since 2017 the series returns to Mercer and it will be since 2016 they return to Eriez. In addition to this reappearance, it will be a challenge event with the National Racing Association (NRA) Sprint Invaders, a sprint car series primarily based in Ohio but visits facilities also in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan.
Picking up his first career Patriot Sprint Tour win last Friday at Outlaw, Joe Trenca has closed the gap on point leader Davie Franek. Only 22 points separate the two drivers heading into this weekend.
This will only be Franek’s second start at both race tracks, however a ninth place finish at Mercer and a second place finish at Eriez both back in 2016 provides a load of motivation for the New Jersey driver to get back in the win column for the first time since July 12.
Trenca on the other hand will be making his third start at each race track with uneven results between the two as he has a pair of top tens at Mercer but a 12th place finish and DNS at Eriez.
On the outside looking in for a 2019 championship is Harding, PA’s Jordan Thomas. Thomas will also be making his second career start at Mercer (10th in 2017) and his first ever attempt at Eriez. Thomas has been strong as of late, despite no wins, he has podium finishes at Woodhull, Cornwall, and Outlaw on two separate instances.
For the NRA Sprint Invaders, they also have a battle brewing for their 2019 championship between Randy Hannagan and Jared Hortsman. Only ten points separate the top two point getters going into this weekend.
A huge contributor to the series visits to Western PA tracks is Scott Bonnell and his businesses Bonnell’s Collision Center and Bonnell’s Rod Shop, both of Fairview, Pennsylvania.
Bonnell’s Collision has been Erie County’s trusted collision repair center since 1985. Light or major damage repair, Bonnell’s will get it taken care of. For more info, you can visit Bonnellscollision.com for more information.
Bonnell’s Rod Shop has been the series sponsor for the Four Laps of Fame Dash for Cash for the last two seasons. From full restoration work to media blasting and CNC Plasma cutting, they have the services to help you. Their versatile staff has extensive experience in all aspects of the automotive culture. Racing, Hot Rods, Custom Cars and Trucks of all kinds flow through the blood within all their staff. Please visit bonnellsrodshop.com.
This will be the eighth time the tour has ever visited the Mercer PA facility. There has never been a repeat winner in the seven times the series has visited as Mike Lutz, Dave Ely, Jamie Martin, Danny Holtgraver, Jared Zimbardi, Kyle Drum and most recently Scott Kreutter have once been crowned victors at the track.
Under new ownership of Dave Alexander this season, the series will be returning to Eriez in Hammett, PA for the first time since 2016. This will be the 17th visit for the tour with several drivers gracing victory lane on multiple occasions through out the years. It is also where five time PST American series champion Jared Zimbardi scored his first win back in 2007. Other PST winners include Scott Bonnell, John Schuyler, Chuck Hebing, Trevor Lewis, Bryan Howland, Bubba Broderick, Tim Kelly, George Suprick, Paige Polyak, Sammy Reakes, Justin Barger, Mark Smith and three time winner, Scott Kreutter.
This weekend will run under the PST format which is open draw for heats and passing points will determine the qualifying for the 25 lap A-Main. PST members will only be racing against PST members. For example, if the highest finishing Patriot driver finishes third, they will be scored with first place points.