Holtgraver Crowned Champion

Sarver, PA (August 28, 2010) While it was a perfect, mild summer night, the heat was on for Danny Holtgraver and Kevin Bolland entering last night’s Fab Four Racing Championship Night presented by Armstrong One Wire.  Joe Kelley wrapped up his Budweiser Track Championship two weeks ago and Dave Hess Jr. simply had to start his National Guard Heat Race to clinch his title.  But Holtgraver and Bolland had to continue to perform at the same high level they have for the duration of the 2010 season to secure their titles.

Kevin Bolland entered last night with a comfortable lead in the Budweiser Points in the Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Modified division, but had three drivers within striking distance and standing between he and his third Track Championship.  He mathematically eliminated Defending Track Champion Jeremiah Shingledecker and Del Rougeux Jr. after National Guard Heat Races were completed.  As the Diehl Mods rolled onto the Action Track for the first feature of Championship Night, Bolland needed to finish just 17th or higher to clinch the title over longtime nemesis Brian Swartzlander.  But Bolland wasn’t resting on his laurels nor simply counting down the laps.  Instead, he was up on the wheel and heavy on the gas, as there are less possibilities of finding misfortune the more cars that are behind you! 

Polesitter Jeremiah Shingledecker took the quick lead at the drop of the green flag and led the first 21 circuits.  Bolland started seventh but quickly made his way to the front where he challenged Del Rougeux Jr. for second place on lap three.  They swapped second place several times over the next 20 laps, but a late race caution set the table for Bolland to win the Track Championship in style!  With four laps to go, Bolland took the lead from Shingledecker around the topside of turns one & two on the lap 22 restart.  Once out front, Bolland would not be caught and he scored his 51st Lernerville Speedway Modified Victory and third Modified Track Championship.

Shingledecker held on to finish second.  Brian Swartzlander saw his title hopes shredded on lap six when he rolled to a stop on the front stretch after contact with Dean Pearson shredded his left rear tire.  Swartzlander charged back through the field to finish third in the race and second in the Budweiser Point Standings.  Dave Murdick finished fourth, while J.R. McGinley ran a very strong race to finish fifth.  Carl Murdick, Mark Frankhouser, Mike Turner, Jeff Schaffer and Steve Feder rounded out the Diehl Top Ten.  Swartzlander and Murdick won National Guard Heat Races.

While entering Championship Night with a 19 point lead, 20 year old Danny Holtgraver had his work cut out for him when he drew the 49th pill and started at the tail of a loaded heat race.  He missed the transfer by one spot and started the feature 13th.  Standing between he and the historic list of Lernerville Speedway Track Champions in the Sprints were the collective five Track Championships and over 125 wins between Ed Lynch Jr. and Bob Felmlee.  Holtgraver entered the 25-lap feature, which again was loaded with talented local and regional drivers, needing to finish 11th or better to clinch the Track Championship, but Lynch started on the front row, leaving Holtgraver little room for error.

Lynch took the early lead when the green flag flew, but fourth place starter Dale Blaney was hauling the mail down the back straightaway and threw a nasty powerslide on Lynch through turns three and four, causing Lynch to get almost completely sideways in turn four.  Most drivers would have spun out or hit the wall, but Lynch squared up and got back on the gas, albeit after losing three spots to Rod George, Jimmy Seger and Brian Ellenberger.  Meanwhile, Holtgraver was patiently making his way to the front.  Lynch eventually battled his way back to second to challenge Blaney, but could not complete a pass for the lead.  It was the third win of the season for Blaney, much to the pleasure of the fine folks from Ti22 Performance, both his primary sponsor and the division sponsor of the Sprint Car division.

Lynch chased Blaney across the stripe, while Brian Ellenberger finished third. Second-generation Ohio driver Cole Duncan finished fourth ahead of newly crowned Budweiser Track Champion Danny Holtgraver.  The Ti22 Top Ten rounded out with 2009 Track Champion Rod George, Jimmy Seger, Carl Bowser, Brent Matus and Jack Sodeman Jr.  Ellenberger, Felmlee and Duncan won their respective National Guard Heat Races.

Holtgraver said from Sheetz Victory Lane last week after his first career win, that he wouldn’t worry about points and just go out and race.  He certainly lived up to the claim last night, as he started 13th and needed to only secure a top ten finish to win the title.  Instead, he got his elbows up and raced to the front of a loaded field to finish fifth and add his name to the legendary list of Lernerville Speedway Track Champions; a list that includes Hall of Famers Lou Blaney and Ralph Quarterson, as well as Brad Doty, Johnny Beaber, Jerry Matus, Craig Rankin, Mark Cassella, Jamie Smith, Jimmy Hawley, Tim Shaffer, Dale Blaney and his current competitors Ed Lynch Jr., Rod George, Bob Felmlee and Kevin Schaeffer. Holtgraver becomes the youngest driver to join this prestigious list at just 20 years old!

Press Release from Danny's First Career Victory at Lernerville Seedway!

Sarver, PA (August 21, 2010) With just two weeks remaining in the 2010 Fab Four Racing season, the Budweiser Track Championship pictures became a little bit clearer last night in the Ti22 Performance DIRTcar Sprints, DIRTcar Late Models and Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Modifieds, while Joe Kelley, (already locked in as the 2010 Charapp Route 28 DIRTcar Sportsman Track Champion), won his ninth feature of the season.


The tightest race in the Budweiser Point Standings iss in the Ti22 Sprints, where Danny Holtgraver entered the evening with a narrow seven point margin.  Second in points, Ed Lynch Jr. was back from Knoxville ready to stake his claim to his fifth Budweiser Track Championship, while Bob Felmlee, Rod George and Jack Sodeman Jr. all entered the evening with championship aspirations.  A loaded field dotted with the likes of Ti22 Aces Brian Ellenberger and Dale Blaney, as well as second generation rising star Sheldon Haudenschild and travelers Jimmy Seger and Aaron Shaffer, created an interesting dynamic!



Holtgraver on the gas winning his National Guard Heat Race - Stivason Photos


Holtgraver appeared to have his first career Lernerville Feature win in the bag last week, but ended up on his side after tangling with the lapped car of Dan Kuriger, thus bringing an abrupt and disappointing end to his night.  He started last night with his seventh National Guard Heat Race Challenge win of the season, then coincidentally started seventh in the feature.  Kevin Schaeffer and Bob Felmlee paced the field to the drop of the green flag with Schaeffer taking the early lead. Schaeffer led laps one and two until a slide job in turn four by Felmlee gave him the lead.  Felmlee led the next 17 laps, but behind him, Holtgraver was on a mission!  On his way to the front, Holtgraver passed Brian Ellenberger for fourth on lap two, Eric Williams for third on lap three and later Kevin Schaeffer for second on lap seven.


Sat, Aug 7, 2010 -- "Saturday Night Live"
Written by: Mike Leone
It was a welcome relief as sunny skies and no chance of rain were present over Mercer Raceway Park on Saturday night allowing for a great night of racing to be completed. Celebrating wins in the Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic victory lane were Danny Holtgraver-Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars, Lonny Riggs & Jeff Schaffer-Approved Toilet Rentals Modifieds, Josh Double-4 Your Car Connection FASTRAK Late Models, Steve D’Apolito-Big Daddy’s Speed Center Stock Cars, Lynn Knepper-Mod Lites, and Jerry Batcher-M&D Paving Mini Stocks.

A large crowd turned out for Free New Castle Night presented by Fat Jimmys BBQ and the third annual “Racing for a Cure” American Cancer Society Benefit Night. Thousands of dollars were raised for the America Cancer Society. Modified driver Jerry Twentier, Sr. was the highest driver raising nearly $600 as he raced in support of the Visiting Nurses Association of Western PA and had approximately 50 additional individuals join the cause!

Danny Holtgraver has won Sprint Car features before at Mercer, Sharon, and Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, but none as memorable and thrilling as Saturday night’s last lap pass of World of Outlaw racer Brian Ellenberger. Holtgraver’s second Mercer win of the year and third on the circuit came in the 20-lap Luxaire Heating & Cooling feature and was worth $1,500 plus a Goodyear Tire certificate.

“Oh man that was unbelievable,” expressed the 20-year-old Pittsburgh, Pa. driver. “That was fun and that was racing right there! It couldn’t get any closer than that. To steal it on the last lap was awesome. This is the first race I haven’t won from the front row so we had to come through and pass some good cars. Just to win on the last lap is definitely the most exciting win yet!”

Eric Williams raced to the early lead with Brian Ellenberger and Dan Kuriger moving ahead of Davey Jones. Ellenberger drove up under Williams in turn four to take the lead on lap two, while Holtgraver passed Jones for fourth. Kuriger was flying as he drove around Williams for second on lap three.

A caution for spins by Brian Steinman and Bob Felmlee slowed action with three laps completed. When racing resumed, Holtgraver moved by Williams for third. Holtgraver and Kuriger ran down Ellenberger and made it a three-car race for the lead on lap six. Kuriger looked like he was going to attempt a pass on Ellenberger, but slipped off the track in turn three on lap seven allowing Holtgraver to move by for second. Kuriger again fell off the track two laps later allowing Williams back by for third.
Holtgraver was all over Ellenberger as the two ran side-by-side on lap 11 with Ellenberger holding on. Andy McKisson had passed Kuriger for fourth on lap 10 before Kuriger came to a rest with a flat tire with 13 laps completed. McKisson, who was fresh off his second Lernerville win the night prior, was fast again as he took over third from Williams on lap 15.

Back up front, Holtgraver was trying every move possible to get around Ellenberger, but just wasn’t able to keep his momentum up to get around the leader. Ellenberger had clear race track, but with the white flag waving Jones was looming ahead. Ellenberger shot to the bottom of Jones in turns one and two, while Holtgraver powered around the top. It was three-wide off turn two with Holtgraver shooting to the middle of the track. Holtgraver had enough momentum to get to turn three first and impede Ellenberger’s run through the bottom of turn three. It was a drag race off turn four with Holtgraver’s Spinewebber’s Auto Sales/West View Motors/Ti22 Performance-sponsored #D4 edging out Ellenberger for his fourth career Mercer Sprint win and fifth overall.

“He (Ellenberger) got up there on top and got to the front quicker,” explained Holtgraver. “We worked our way through and tried to stay calm. I tried the bottom a few times. It was alright, but not as good as the top. You could run the bottom in (turns) three and four. I could get a run on him, but it was tough. I followed him and hoped he’d screw up and he kind of did there in traffic on the last lap. Davey (Jones) went in the middle and Brian went to the bottom. I was far enough behind I could run the top then I had to shoot in the middle and kind of blocked him, but that’s what you got to do. He’s been on the road for awhile and he’s gained a lot of experience and he’s a heck of a race car driver. You have to capitalize whenever you can.”



Sat, May 15, 2010 -- "Saturday Night Live"
Written by: Mike Leone
After the third rainout in four weeks, Mother Nature finally gave Mercer Raceway Park a reprieve on Saturday night as the sunshine returned allowing an excellent night of racing to be completed with four new winners including a career first. Celebrating in the Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic victory lane were Danny Holtgraver-Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint Cars, Lonny Riggs-Approved Toilet Rentals Modifieds, Tyler Dietz-4 Your Car Connection FASTRAK Late Models, Shaun Hooks-Big Daddy’s Speed Center Stock Cars, and Lee Lehnerd-M&D Paving Mini Stocks.

Three years ago Danny Holtgraver opened the 2007 season winning two of the first three Sprint Car features. Since then, Holtgraver hasn’t had much luck at the tricky 3/8-mile oval. That changed Saturday night, when the 20-year-old racer ran the race of his life holding off the best Sprint Car racers western Pennsylvania has to offer for the 20-lap victory in the Luxaire Heating & Cooling feature. Holtgraver’s third career Mercer Sprint win was worth $1,500 plus a certificate for a new Goodyear Tire.

“I saw the whole car,” described the Pittsburgh, Pa. racer when asked about Ed Lynch, Jr. all over him in the closing laps. “He was definitely good and came from somewhere in the back so I knew he was on. We got the jump on the start and took off and I just tried to run my race, take it easy, and it worked. When I saw him I stood up in the seat a little bit and started driving a little harder, but tried not to over drive it.”

The event’s only stoppage came on the opening lap when Pete Miller III tried ducking under leader Carl Bowser and spun off turn two, did a 360, and an easy flip. He was okay, but done from the event. When racing resumed, Holtgraver used the outside to power around Bowser in turn two for the lead. Sixth starting Rod George quickly moved into contention taking Chris Best for third on lap three.

Lynch, who started eighth, passed both Brandon Spithaler and Chris Best for fourth on lap three. Holtgraver continued to maintain a fairly comfortable lead over Bowser when he caught lapped traffic on lap nine, while George and Lynch began closing on Bowser. By lap 11, it was a three-car race for second with Bowser trying to hold off George and Lynch, while Holtgraver’s lead shrunk to a half-straightaway. Lynch then shot under George for third on lap 13 and used the bottom again to take second from Bowser this time in turn two on lap 15. George followed Lynch one lap later getting under Bowser in turn four for third.

The breathtaking action continued for the final three laps as Lynch got under and alongside Holtgraver. The duo ran side-by-side to the finish with Holtgraver up top and Lynch on the bottom. On the last lap, Holtgraver got a strong enough run to move to the bottom in turns three and four to block Lynch’s advances. Lynch then slung his #2L to the outside and it was a drag race to the finish with Holtgraver holding on by a half-car length. Holtgraver’s fourth career Mercer came in the West View Motors/Spinneweber’s Auto Sales/Ti22 Performance-sponsored #D4.

“I want to thank Bill (Altman) for doing on this and stepping up and paying us more money and Goodyear Tires,” stated Holtgraver. “It draws the best whenever everyone’s here. You got to beat the best to be the best, and I think we beat the best tonight. My dad has this car so hooked up. We struggled at the beginning of the year and were no good on these new Goodyear Tires, but we got them hooked up now. We changed some stuff and we’re definitely going in the right direction. We’ve been in the top five every night for the past three weeks or so.”