FRASERVILLE, ON – No matter where they run, every racecar driver dreams of the thrill that comes with winning that first track championship. Bryan Mercer is in the thick of the battle for the NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model title at Kawartha Speedway. Heading into the most recent show on the schedule – with just 3 events remaining on the calendar – the 39 year old was just 20 points away from the top spot in the track’s headline division.
Having won the track’s most recent feature event, Mercer and his team were looking forward to tackling the 3/8th mile layout at the Fraserville oval. His #81 Sine’s Flooring/Durmach Excellence in Tooling Chevrolet Impala has been one of the most consistent machines in the highly competitive Late Model field and with trips to victory lane
during a 100 lap show and the 150 lap Summer Sizzler during the 2011 season, the crew obviously has a strong set-up for the extra distance runs.
“This is a long distance car,” said Mercer while talking to supporters after the race. “It’s easy to get into a rhythm during these shows, especially if you get a good, long run of green flag laps and have a comfortable feeling in your equipment.”
By luck of the pre-race draw for heat race starting spots, Mercer’s father and crew chief Ron selected a chip that would see him fire from 9th in the night’s second qualifying heat where he finished 4th. With a heads-up format deciding grid positions for the 100 lap feature, Bryan Mercer came to the line in 8th place for the drop of the green flag. The long stretch he was looking for lasted 25 laps and by the time the first caution was displayed, Mercer had advanced to 3rd spot.
“We were having a strong run, but the 2 cars in front of me were just a little bit better,” said Mercer. “They were able to catch the lapped cars at the perfect time and that put a little distance between us. On the restart, we closed the gap a little but eventually, the slower cars came back into play. They were running their own race and I just happened to catch them at the wrong place on the track.”
While he continued to chase down the leaders, Mercer also had the points chase in the back of his mind. The driver running 3rd in the overall standings was 2 positions behind him on the track, but the race leader had entered battle with points lead. Another yellow after 40 laps tightened the field, but Mercer continued in 3rd place until there were less than 10 laps remaining and the 2nd place car dropped off the pace.
“I don’t know if I would have caught him on my own, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to see the #99 fall out and give us another position on the track,” admitted the Port Hope, Ontario speedster. “He’d had a great run up until that point, but we need to gain every spot we can, where we can and however we can. Second place is good.
We’ll take it and move on to the next event.”
For 2012, Bryan Mercer’s #81 Kawartha Speedway NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model is supported by Sine’s Flooring, Durmach Excellence in Tooling, Creative Edge Graphics, Jim’s Pizza, Appleman Carstar Collision, APX
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From- Jim Clarke/ Clarke Motorsports Communications