With a mid-race restart,
early race leader John Mollick (4J) gave way to eventual winner Mike Knight during the UFO Race Championship
Series opener at Mercer Raceway Park. (Cory
15th Starter Mike Knight Tops
Thrilling "Chiller Thriller" at Mercer
MERCER, Pa. - March
27. Mike Knight of Ripley, N.Y. was the winner of the "Chiller Thriller
41" at Mercer Raceway Park Saturday, opening the season for the UFO Race Championship Late Model Series.
Knight charged to the front from 15th starting position, and took the lead on lap 27 in his $2500 winning
At the drop of the green flag for the 41-lap feature, John Flinner
and Dave Murdick raced side-by-side under the green flag toturn one, but
Murdick slipped high and hit the outside wall, bringing out the initial caution period of the event
and a complete restart. The resulting damaged forced his car to be towed off, ending
his night in disappointment.
DentonBoyer moved outside of
Flinner for the next try at a start, when Flinner powered ahead to take the lead. With Flinner inside,
John Mollick moved up to
Chad Valone races inside of John Mollick
and Greg Satterlee in some close racing before taking second in the UFO event at Mercer.
challenge to Flinner’s outside, and they crossed the line with
Flinner inches ahead when lap onewas scored. Flinner again led lap two by
a nose, but powered ahead entering turn one. When Flinner’s car slid to the top of the track, Mollick cut hard to the inside and made the pass for the lead in turn two. Mollick was
the new leader on lap three over Flinner.
At that point, Boyer held third over eighth starting Gregg Satterlee,
but tenth starting Dave Hess, Jr. swept by both to go to third on lap 5.
Flinner closed within inches of Mollick in lapped traffic on lap 10, but Mollick opened up a comfortable
advantage through the traffic.
The run of green flag racing ended on lap 13, with the second caution
period of the race. Mollick chose inside of the double file restart, and nosed
ahead when racing resumed. The battle for second spot was now intense, as Hess, Satterlee, and
15th starting Knight all got by Flinner at lap 14.
The next caution came with 16 complete, and Mollick still controlled
the lead. Knight was now second, with Hess hounding the leaders every move.
Satterlee was pressing the leaders in fourth, and the race for the lead was a
war. Knight pulled inside of Mollick across the line on lap 25, but Mollick got back ahead
before the next yellow with 26 complete.
18th starting Keith Varbara
puts #4J John Mollick back to fifth place during the later laps of the UFO Championship Series opener at
On this double file restart, Knight used the outside and powered
ahead of Mollick for the lead, before yellow flashed again with 27 in. Leader
Knight chose the outside for this restart, and again led the way over Mollick, Satterlee, Hess, and 12th
starting Chad Valone. Valone passed Hess for fourth on lap 29, before the next
caution with 30 in. Knight chose outside again, and again set the pace as
Valone got to second as he, Hess, and Mollick fought for second going three-wide at onepoint.
The final caution period was with 33 laps in for Jared Miley, who was
battling to get in the top five after starting 14th. Knight raced home as the
winner, from 15th starting spot. Second went to Valone, from 12th, and
Hess was third from tenth starting position.
Keith Barbara took fourth spot on lap 38, capping his run from 18th, and
early leader Mollick came home fifth.