latemodelamerica.com - Mar 27 - Mercer Raceway Park "Thriller Chiller"
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

John Mollick - Mike Knight

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 Stivason)

15th Starter Mike Knight Tops Thrilling "Chiller Thriller" at Mercer

By Rich Berry

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 effort.

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

Chad Valone races inside of John Mollick and Greg Satterlee in some close racing before taking second in the UFO event at Mercer. (Cory Stivason)

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.

Keith Barbara - John Mollick

18th starting Keith Varbara puts #4J John Mollick back to fifth place during the later laps of the UFO Championship Series opener at Mercer. (Cory Stivason)

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.

UFO - Mercer Finish

 

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