MERCER MAKES UP IN MEMORIAL AT MOBILE By Jeremy Troiano
SLM Veteran Wins Race, Bradberry The New Track Champ
Eddie Mercer will contend that on this past Friday night, he could have / should have won the fourth Blizzard Series event of the 2006 season. After grabbing the pole and leading early at Five Flags Speedway, Mercer came back to find himself running second to friend Scott Carlson late in the event. Mercer appeared to be just a bit faster in the corners than Carlson.
With just over 30 laps to go, Mercer got into the back of Carlson, spinning him out. Blizzard Series officials conferred and penalized Mercer by sending him to the back of the longest line for rough driving. With just about 25 laps to go, Mercer had no chance at getting back to the front and winning.
So Saturday night in the Lee Fields Memorial at Mobile International Speedway, Mercer wanted to make up for missing out on Victory Lane on Friday night. And after the performance he put on at Mobile, Mercer might want to get mad before he visits any track.
Mercer grabbed the pole, led all but one lap and took home the $4,000 pay day and the prestigious Lee Fields
All night long, there was no one that was even in the same class as Eddie Mercer (#72) (51 Photos)
Memorial trophy as the Miller Lite Super Late Model Series wrapped up the season at the southern Alabama track.
“It is a good way to come back from some disappointment last night,” said Mercer. “I talked to the Race Director from last night (former ASA National Tour Race Director Dan Spence) and said to him ‘I know I touched Scott, but if you would have been in my seat, you might have seen it differently.’ There wasn’t even a mark on either of our cars. I asked him why he put me to the rear and he said that is the way he say it. I told him that when Freddie (Query) ran over me at the Snowball Derby a few years ago, no one saw it that way. I told him it was no big deal and I’d get over it and that I’d be over here in Mobile and racing tonight.”
Racing is what they call it. But Mercer really just put a whipping on the rest of the field. The only time Mercer lost the lead was coming off of a mid-race restart when Richard Fincher jumped to his outside and crossed the line ahead of “Fast Eddie” by a little more than a nose.
After that, Mercer regained the lead and it was smooth sailing.
“We had an awesome racecar,” added Mercer. “We sat on the pole pretty easy, led a bunch of laps and won the race. There isn’t much more you can ask for there.
“It feels great to be back winning races after taking some time off. This is a track I grew up at. My dad was an official here years ago. I used to race Ricky Crawford here all the time. I know he was here tonight, so that was cool. I’ve just always loved coming over here.
“We actually rolled out of the trailer really good. We worked on the car this morning and had it ready to go. All we did was make about two or three adjustments here at the track and she came right in. I haven’t raced here this year, so I didn’t know what the track was going to do come race time.
Former Mobile track champion Dale Little was the only driver near the end of the night to look like he had anything for Mercer. Off one of the late restarts, Little stayed with Mercer for a couple of laps, but Eddie eventually pulled away.
Multiple and lengthy cautions in the first half of the event didn’t help Little’s chances to getting to Mercer, but the Satsuma, AL-native didn’t think it would have made a difference either way.
“We had a good car, it just took us a little while to work our way up there to Eddie,” said Little. “The car was a little tight and there was some oil dry on the track, which made it tough. We could pace the same as Eddie could, so it was really just tit-for-tat. Whoever was in front was going to be the guy that was going to win the race.
“I don’t think the cautions hurt us too much. The oil dry made it slick and that was the toughest thing. I noticed that the #9 car (Richard Fincher) tried to make the outside work and he lost. Eddie had a good car and kept us where we needed to be. We’ll take the second. I will help us kick start the late part of the season.”
The other story line of the night focused on the #78 of Charlie Bradberry and the #30 of Dave Mader III. The two drivers were tied for the points lead with the Super Late Models heading into the evening. With third-place already mathematically eliminated, it came down to which ever driver finished higher.
Coming into Saturday night, Bradberry had won two of his four starts at Mobile this year. In the two other races that he hasn’t won at Mobile this year, Bradberry was in contention. In the first event of the year at the track, Bradberry cut a tire while leading late in the event and wound up seventh. In the middle portion of the season, Bradberry lost the lead on the last corner of the last lap when he got pinched off by a lapped car during a side-by-side battle with another driver.
Unfortunately, a great side-by-side battle never materialized between the two. Mader fell out of the event after an early accident and Bradberry struggled with his #78, coming home 10th. However, the 10th was good enough for the championship.
“I am the track champion and that is something to hang my hat on and a great thing to add to your resume,” said Bradberry. “This isn’t the way I want to win a championship, though. I’d have rather have battled it out with (Dave) Mader than won it that way. You want to win championships on the track, not off of bad luck.
“We had a great year here and can’t take anything away from that. We had a chance to win or won every race here this year up to this point. This last one didn’t show what we did here all year. I wanted to win the race and the championship to put punctuation on the year. I guess it just didn’t happen, though. At least we can say we are track champions.”
Ken McFarland and Donald Long each rebounded from early race spins to finish third and fourth respectively, while Nathan Davis came home fifth.
Eddie Mercer made it look rather easy on Saturday night at Mobile.