Rick’s Racing Roundup: Local Sprint Car Racer Hawkins Killed in Work Accident

Local sprint car racer Brandon Hawkins passed away on Monday night after sustaining injuries in a work accident.

(PHOTO: Local sprint car racer Brandon Hawkins who passed away on July 20. Photo by Rick Rarer)

Hawkins, a Vandergrift resident, took home the checkered flag at Bedford Speedway on Friday. Please keep Brandon’s family in your thoughts and prayers.

Weekend Racing

The scorching temperatures didn’t slow down the local racing action over the weekend as cars and fans filled local tracks despite the heat.

After falling victim to rain a week earlier Thunder Mountain Speedway returned to action with their Grady’s Decision Night late model special where the red hot Max Blair scored yet another win, this one worth three thousand dollars over a stout field. David Scott, Doug Eck, Michael Lake, and Greg Oakes rounded out the top five.

Thunder Mountain will be back in action this Friday when the BRP Modified Tour invades featuring all of the area’s top big block modified cars and stars along with a few invaders from the north. The semi lates, pure stocks, FWD’s and Super6 late models will also be in action this Friday.

Lernerville Speedway also returned to action this past Friday after a rain out a week earlier. It was the return of Fab 4 racing. Fans were treated to some of the best action of the year as three of the four features were decided in the final turns. Tommy Beck would score his first career late model feature while John Mollick did the same in the big block modified main.

The sprint car main saw Carl Bowser go on to win after contact with three-time track champ and early leader AJ Flick. Flick would rebound for a third-place finish after spinning and losing several spots. Joey Zambotti returned to victory lane in the pro stock feature as he edged Corey McPherson for his first win of the 2020 season.

This Friday at Lernerville Fab 4 racing will take a one-week hiatus as the RUSH racing series summer showcase will take center stage. The RUSH wingless sprints, modifieds, late models, and pro stocks will all be in action.

On Saturday the wait was finally over as action returned to Michael’s Mercer Raceway for the first time in 2020. A big crowd turned out for the inaugural Ralph Quarterson Memorial featuring the 410 sprint cars and big block modifieds. Quarterson who recently passed away at the age of 80 was known as the master of Mercer and had wins in both the sprint cars and modifieds over the years.

A happy Adam Kekich after his first win of 2020. Photo by Rick Rarer.

A happy Adam Kekich after his first win of 2020. Photo by Rick Rarer.

The 33 lap sprint car feature was a thriller as Adam Kekich and Brandon Spithaler battled most of the race with Kekich coming out on top for his second consecutive Mercer win, this one worth 3,300 dollars. The Kekich and Quarterson families have raced together and been close for the last three generations so the win was an emotional one. The Quarterson family was on hand to present special plagues to the winners.

New York invader Phil Vigneri picked up his second career Mercer win by holding off Brad Rapp in the big block modifed feature. Chase Metheny scored his first career Mercer win by winning the 305 racesaver feature. Other winners Saturday night included Vivian Jones (mod lites), Sam Darby & Logan Lockhart (junior sprints), Eric Gabany (fastrak mods), and Tim Callahan (mini stocks). Mercer will feature the Penn-Ohio stock car series this Saturday along with their regular five divisions.

This past Saturday the Penn-Ohio series was in action at Hummingbird Speedway where Tim Bish scored the victory. This Saturday Hummingbird will present another five division show along with an econo mod special with lap money.

For the second week in a row Tri-City Raceway fell victim to rain Sunday. The Venango County oval will return to action this Sunday with racing at 6:00 p.m.

Kyle Larson continued his incredible run this past week by going undefeated in four races. Larson beat the World of Outlaws handily on Tuesday at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio. He then swept all three nights of All-Star racing in central Pennsylvania with a win at Williams Grove Speedway Friday, and then wins at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday and Sunday. The California driver took home over forty thousand dollars for his four wins.

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