ROBERSONVILLE, NC – Don’t judge a book by its cover and don’t judge a racecar by its looks.
Kenneth Mercer’s car looked like it had no business finishing on the lead lap. Mercer, 45, from Kinston, North Carolina not only finished on the lead lap but was able to steal a top-five finish in the closing laps of Saturday night’s season opening race at East Carolina Motor Speedway in Robersonville, North Carolina.
Mercer was running and older Pontiac steel body with a GM603 crate engine. Mercer qualified in the fifth position but fell back in the opening laps of the race as he played a little tire management while also fighting brake issues.
“I’ve been racing a long time,” Mercer said after the race. “It felt like we needed to try to conserve tires and brakes but I didn’t do a good job with the brakes because, about lap 50, the pedal was on the floor. So, I backed up. It was just coasting through the corner trying to throttle up like that.”
As the race continued to progress, Mercer began making his way through the field, racing his way from deep in the field up into the top-five, making a late race pass on Rusty Daniels to take over the fifth position.
“I ended up getting the throttle back about lap 65 or 70 then we started coming back through,” Mercer remarked. “We got some brakes back. Last 10, we lost them again. Overall, the car handled well and I want to thank Ronald Brown for letting me drive the car tonight.”
After the race, Mercer talked about the car and how the body was older than what some of the other competitors ran.
“It’s a quite a bit older car,” Mercer stated. “Everybody’s running the big bar soft spring, what the NASCAR boys are running. This is a conventional setup car and we’re really proud. It’s an old car, steel body, old Pontiac body. I felt like we had the car to beat there at the end. We might not have won but we could’ve got a top-three. We’ll get them next time.”
Kenneth Mercer is no stranger to victory lane. The veteran has scored wins at East Carolina Motor Speedway and at Jacksonville, North Carolina’s Coastal Plains Raceway in a Limited Late Model. His most recent win came on July 6, 2013 in Jacksonville.