Kenneth Mercer Steals Top-Five Finish at East Carolina

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.

kennethmercer“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.


Daytona and the decline of journalism ethics

Tonight on “Race Central with Andy and Genna”, we will be discussing the Tom Bowles incident at Daytona International Speedway.  The incident raises several questions about the ethics of journalism and a clash between interactive media and traditional media.  Because of time constraints, we are going to jump right in to it on the program tonight leaving only a couple of seconds to summarize the events.

The incident surfaced first on Thursday, February 17, 2011 when an “established” member of the motorsports media was rumored to be cheering for underdog Regan Smith in the closing stages of the first Gatorade Duel (the qualifying races that set the field for the Daytona 500).  On Sunday, February 20, 2011, rookie Trevor Bayne won his first Daytona 500 in his first race at stock car racing’s most hallowed ground. Veteran reporters say there were several cheers in the press box and in the infield media center.  One of those cheers came from veteran reporter, freelance journalist Tom Bowles of Frontstretch.com (who also worked) for Sports Illustrated. Continue reading

ARCA, NASCAR, Uncategorized

Special Report: Daytona and the decline in journalism ethics

Tomorrow night, we will have a special edition of Race Central discussing the Tom Bowles situation at Daytona.

We will be joined by David Shuster, Emmy winning journalist who was on the frontlines of MSNBC’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and has anchored and guest-anchored several MSNBC television programs.  Shuster has been outspoken recently about the lack of journalism ethics at news operations and cable networks that call themselves news operations.  The show will be streamed live on BlogTalkRadio.com.

Because of the strict format for tomorrow’s program, we will not be accepting guest callers.  If you have questions for David Shuster or questions regarding the topic at hand, email them to ammarquis@live.com or send me a tweet on Twitter (@amarquis32 or @employedwinner) and we will try to get them answered.


Race Central Live

Thursday Night, I am going to experiment with online radio using BlogTalkRadio and, if successful, it will be the birth of Race Central Live.

Don’t expect anything spectacular, tomorrow night’s broadcast is experimental.  But we (hopefully a few people decide to call in) will discuss Daytona Speedweeks and big changes in NASCAR and ARCA this season.

The show link is: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ammarquis — the show starts at 11pm and runs for 30 minutes.

There is call in information but if you do plan to call in, please email me at ammarquis@live.com first.

Late Models

Old Dominion Speedway releases 2011 schedule

Old Dominion Speedway released it’s 2011 schedule earlier with the return of two big events.

The Youth For Tomorrow benefit race will return once again in 2011, scheduled for July 23rd.  The event got national attention in 2010 with an all-star turnout and a capacity crowd.  However, rain at the Truck race in Gateway canceled a lot of drivers’ appearances at the 3/8 mile oval in Manassas.

The other big event that will return after being run last year is the Legends Reunion late model race.

The Big One will be run on September 17th, and the opening date at Old Dominion Speedway is set for April 9th.


Changes at ARCA

The 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule looks very different from past years.  For one, there are considerably fewer races in this year’s ARCA Racing Series tour.  I have been told more races could be added to the ARCA Racing Series tour, but right now it stands at 19 races.

The ARCA Racing Series will not return to Rockingham in 2011, a track that has been a staple on the schedule since 2008 when Andy Hillenburg bought the historic oval.  Despite two successful events, Mansfield was also dropped from the 2011 schedule.  Texas was also dropped from the schedule as a result of Texas’ Spring NASCAR date becoming a night race.  The very unsuccessful event at Palm Beach International Raceway was also not on the schedule.

Three new venues have been added.  ARCA will return to Winchester Speedway on June 25th in a 200 lap race at the world’s fastest half-mile.  On July 28th, the series will visit O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis for the first time as part of Kroger Speedfest, a three day long festival of speed at the Clermont short track featuring USAC and NASCAR’s lower-tier divisions leading up to one of NASCAR’s biggest races, the Brickyard 400.  ARCA will also visit Madison International Speedway in Wisconsin on August 26th, an inaugural race date.

The Series will start at Daytona in February and end in Toledo in October.  The full schedule is avaliable on ARCARacing.com.  Ten races will be televised live or same-day on SPEED, the nine companion events and Toledo.

The other significant change is that RE/MAX has ended its partnership with ARCA.  This is only the first proverbial shoe to drop, as most ARCA sponsors’ contracts end in 2011 and insiders worry there may be a mass exodus.  Menards is signed on as the presenting sponsor in its third year of its partnership with the ARCA Racing Series.