|Posted by A.Rapp on April 14, 2016 at 10:15 PM|
Mercer, PA….For Rex King, Jr., his visits to Mercer Raceway Park for the BRP Modified Tour races have not been all that pleasant.
The 2014 Tour Champion has just one tour win at that track and he has been caught up in his fair shares of wrecks over the years. But last Saturday, he overcame an opening-lap pass by Erick Rudolph and a hard fought battle with Mercer regular Eric Gabany to score the season opening 35-lap feature win.
“I never did see that his tire was going down but it really didn’t matter for where he was running on the track, on the bottom,” King, Jr. said. “Luckily for me I found the extreme top and it was pretty rough and where it’s rough that means it is wet and when it is wet, that means you have some traction.”
Gabany took the lead on the start of the race as he won the battle going into turn 1 over King, Jr. Rex King, Jr. would keep the pressure on Gabany over the opening circuits of the race before Rudolph, who started seventh got by King Jr. in turn 3 to take over the runner-up spot on lap seven.
King, Jr. said that he has learned from his mistakes in the past at Mercer as he was the pole sitter for the race. “I wanted to try and be conservative at the start of the race,” he said. “You race hard to get up front and you get into lapped traffic and before you know it you are racing lapped cars and the guys who are racing second and third, they get you.”
The first yellow of the race came on lap eleven for a multi-car tangle in turn one as the leaders were approaching lapped traffic. “What I wanted to do was to stay with Eric Gabany in the second spot and let him be the pick-and-roll through lapped traffic and then Eric came up and he gave me a heck of a race,” King, Jr. said. “Nobody was running as high as we were in turns one and two and we had a good restart and it worked out for us.”
Gabany would maintain a slight lead on the restart but Rudolph would pass him going into turn three and be scored as the leader to start lap twelve. From there, Rudolph began to put some distance between himself and Gabany who again was under attack from King while Rudolph’s teammate, Randy Chrysler, who started outside row four, had made his way into the top five.
The second caution of the race came on lap twenty-six when Ron Cartwright, Jr. slowed abruptly on the front stretch. King, Jr. would take advantage of Rudolph’s decision to stay on the inside lane for the start as he powered past him on the outs of turn two for the lead.
The final yellow of the night came on lap thirty-three when defending champion Rex King, Sr., had a left rear tire go flat. King, Jr., held off Rudolph on the restart to go on and score the season opening win, his second career Modified Tour win at the track. Rudolph held on for second.
“From the start of the race I knew that I had a really go car and that I could get up on someone and get by them,” Rudolph said. “We were running the same line and I don’t know what happened if I ran over something with ten laps to go, the tire went completely flat. I thought about pulling it in, but we’re not sure if we are running for points yet or not. To play it on the safe side, I would have brought it in, but I had a flat left front and I tried to protect it for second as I knew I didn’t have anything for King, Jr.”
Eric Gabany finished third with Randy Chrysler fourth and Vic Coffey fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Kevin Bolland, Shannon Whaley, Garrett Krummert, Mark Flick and Michael Maresco.