Mercer Wins 3rd Grand Prix; Gets To Kiss The Pig; See Full Finish Order, & Chuck Corder’s Storyadmin
Hogg Heaven! Stevie Mercer Captures Third Title at Seventh Annual Sweat Hogg Grand Prix
By Chuck Corder
A first kiss is always a little awkward.
An accidental headbutt is a possibility and a mood killer, to be sure. Certainly, a meal heavy on onions and garlic doesn’t bode well for that special moment. And, what if your date was squealing as you came in close?
Stevie Mercer was faced with the latter as a reality Saturday afternoon at Five Flags Speedway. Each time Mercer tried to celebrate his third Sweat Hogg Grand Prix championship with his blind date, she let out a bone-chilling screech.
Mercer’s third attempt was the charm as “Louise” – a female pig – reluctantly accepted Mercer’s lips on her wet snout. The addition of swine in Victory Lane was one of several new wrinkles to the seventh annual Sweat Hogg, a 90-minute enduro-type race that features strictly four-cylinder, front-wheel drive vehicles.
What was not different was seeing Mercer posing for photos as the Sweat Hogg winner, topping the field of 31 cars. He won despite barrel-rolling midway through the race, ripping off the bright blue shark fin Mercer had attached to his car’s roof. Mercer pulled his No. 72 into Victory Lane missing the fin and dragging his back bumper across the asphalt of the famed half-mile oval.
“I’m gonna have to name this car ‘Flipper.’ That shark fin is looking more like a dolphin fin, I guess,” Mercer joked. “After we rolled over, I felt a bad vibration. But the car did seem to be a little faster the second half of the race.
“Honestly, I think attrition won me the race. There were a lotta good cars that fell out and I just hung in there.”
Milton’s Danny Somerset finished runner-up and Panama City’s Frank Keller rounded out the podium finishes.
“I am wore out,” Somerset said. “That’s the first time I drove a racecar in 24 years, and I enjoyed the heck outta it”
Mercer battled with Kody Cook for much of the 90 minutes. The pair swapped leads several times until Mercer got in front for good once Cook experienced mechanical troubles just 15 minutes shy of the checkered flag.
Another new feature at this year’s Sweat Hogg was a change in format. After 20 minutes, the field swapped directions on the road course, which mainly used the infield as its path. This created several spots on the course that challenged drivers because so much dirt had been slung onto the asphalt when the cars worked their ways through those serpentine turns of the racetrack.
“I had trouble getting traction down in the infield,” Mercer admitted.
Not as much trouble, though, as he did kissing Miss Louise and all her squealing splendor.
Order of Sweat Hogg FinishSweat Hogg Finishing Order