CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT ENDS WITH THRILLS
Kayla Peting and Nathan Aldrich
The Penn Can speedway fought through a 2021 season that featured some of the wettest months in the Susquehanna area’s history. Mother nature refused to cooperate once again on Friday night, covering the track in a thick layer of fog that forced the shortening of the Factory Stock feature. Capping off the 2021 season Friday night division titles were on the line as racers were ready to go. The night started with 13 drivers across all divisions coming out for a moment of silence for the soldiers' lives that were lost, followed by another brief moment for a long time supporter of the track John Parks.
Brian Malcolm collected his Stafursky Paving Sunoco Race Fuels Modified championship title by securing a third place finish in the feature event. The 30 lap feature was brought to green by Matt Cole and Brad Schaffer with Cole jumping out to the early lead. It was a rough start for Schaffer as he was forced to check up off of turn 2 on the opening lap, losing ground to second place Phillips.. Kevin Hartnett began advancing through the field as he had all season moving into the top five on lap 3 as he slipped under Mike Nagel Sr. By lap 5 Hartnett had reeled in Casey Plummer and worked past to secure the fourth spot, setting his sights on Brad Schaffer for third. By lap 8 Cole had caught the tail of the field and began to work the lapped traffic while Schaffer and Hartnett ran side by side down the front stretch and into turn one for third. Hartnett took the spot away, sliding under Schaffer and beginning his pursuit of Phillips. Hartnett used the outside to power past Phillips in turns three and four, solidifying the runner up spot as Cole worked the lapped machine of Mike Loney on lap 12. Hartnett continued to close in on Cole, slipping past the lapped car of Loney on lap 13 as the pair worked down into turn one. Hartnett used the traffic to pull right up to Cole’s bumper as they neared half way.
While the leaders worked around Bill Deckelman the track cleared for Cole giving him room to race with Hartnett. While Cole protected the bottom Hartnett would show a nose while working off every corner. While the leaders battled Malcolm had begun his charge, moving up into the top 5 and racing Phillips for fourth when the lap 21 yellow slowed the field. After Darwin Greene Sr. was pushed out of turn three the top 5 consisted of Cole, Hartnett, Schaffer, Phillips and Malcolm. Cole brought the field back to green for the single file restart as Schaffer pulled out of line and fell to the back down the front straight before heading pit side. With Malcolm moving past Phillips in turn 2 and Schaffer heading pit side, Malcolm now moved into third position just one spot behind Hartnett. Hartnett would drift high on lap 26 however Malcolm could only pull alongside with Hartnett holding on to the position. As Cole took the white flag he would check into the heartbreak hotel with Hartnett sliding by in turns one and two. Hartnett would beat Cole back to the line with Malcolm, Plummer, Nick Petrilak, Phillips, Alan Rudalavage, Jamie Bedford, Chris Hunsinger Jr, and Kenny Sparks.
Feature winner Kevin Hartnett would like to wish Dawn a Happy Birthday and said the late yellow after the long green flag run meant that it was time to get back to work. With the car running into some mechanical issues late in the run Kevin was very quick to thank Brad Grammes for giving him a car that could get it done. Kevin would also like to thank Phil, Steve, Joey, Brad Grammes Construction, RPM Engines, Big Creek Concrete, High Fab Chassis, Penske Shocks and Stone Ridge Realty. He is looking forward to the King of the Can weekend. Season Champion Brian Malcolm has had a stellar run this year piling up the feature wins at rapid pace and making a run at The American Racer cup as well. In an all around excellent season Brian also leading points currently at Five Mile Point speedway. Brian said it has been a long week for his crew and thanked them for their hard work and dedication. His Troyer machine needed a 6th or better finish to take the championship and said consistency and the work put in by his crew and sponsors got him the championship this season. He took one race at a time and focused on getting good finishes every week. Brain would like to thank his daughter Magda, Troyer Race Cars, Grimm Construction, Smokin Joes, Carl Mehnel Welding, NEP Telephone, Murrey Race Engines, DIG Performance, Davis Powder Coating, his Crew, Dale and Sue Smith and Jim and Deb Edwards.
Sleepy Hollow Turf and Insinger Performance action crowned Ray Leonard as this season’s champion. Jim O’Hara and Ned Fitch brought the field to green as the sportsman endured a tough time getting started. O’Hara was spun to the infield on the first try before a pileup in turn two left Eddie Kudrako sideways on the second. The third time proved to be the charm however as Fitch jumped out to the lead as Brad Weaver and Mike Nagel Jr. split around O’Hara on the exit of turn 2. As the pair raced into turn 3 side by side for second Leo McGurrin looked under Alan Komar for fifth before both went four wide inside of Michael Samony and O’Hara. When it all shook out Nagel had moved inside Fitch down the back stretch to take the lead, with Weaver third, Samony fourth and O’Hara fifth. Weaver moved inside Fitch for second the next lap but was halted by the yellow flag when Walsh spun in turn 2. Nagel elected for the inside on the restart and powered away from Fitch but wouldn’t complete a lap as Kolyn Schane and Walsh spun in turn 2. With the race moving to single file restarts Nagel once again pulled ahead as Weaver looked inside Fitch for second. Weaver would bring Samony with him as Fitch got hung out to dry, landing in the fifth spot.
McGurrin and Moose Gulley made contact on lap 8 causing a checkup that led to contact with Leonard and ended with Leonard and Mike Schane stopping in turn 4. Schane would leave on the hook while Nagel brought the field back to green. McGurrin looked to the inside of Chad Sandt on the restart but couldn’t get the spot away while Komar moved past Fitch just ahead. Brandon Oleski slowed at the top of turn two to bring out the lap 11 yellow as McGurrin and Sandt moved past Alex Konopka on the restart. Fireworks would follow as McGurrin and Fitch raced hard making contact all the way from turn 3 to turn one before McGurrin ended up spun around in turn two. McGurrin would be sent to the pits as Nagel brought the remaining field back to green and the field singled out until the checkered flag. Nagel crossed the double checkers first with Weaver, Samony, Komar, Sandt, Gulley and Leonard rounding out the finishing cars.
Feature winner Mike Nagel Jr. picked up a birthday win after holding off many attempts from Weaver. Nagel described the race as a “survival of the fittest” match with the track being phenomenal despite the many yellows that broke up his rhythm. The drivers made the best of the situation and it was better to be toward the front with the fog creeping in. Mike would like to thank his sponsors: Snake Creek Marine, Gustin Banicky Bluestone, NEP Telephone, LBD Kennels, B&E Scoops, Noble heating and plumbing, AG Welding. Sportsman Champion Ray Leonard recently picked up some new crew members for this season and wished to thank everyone who gave him great cars week in and week out. He said winning a championship was “a dream come true” and was proud to bring home the championship on a rough and tumble night. Ray thanked Sleepy Hollow Turf, Erik Hines Trucking, A & B Tent Rental, Arlo’s Tavern, Razderk Tinting and Detailing, his wife Cheryl, Billy, and Frog.
The Sunoco Race Fuels Street Stocks had some new faces this week and were brought to green by Nick Bonham and Jim Sykes with Sykes taking the early lead down the back stretch. Travis Brockner and Josh Butler took Bonham three wide for second on lap 2 as Brockner took the spot the next lap, fending off Butler on his outside. Everyone would settle in as Brockner reeled in Sykes over the next 8 laps until John McAdam came to a stop on the front stretch. Sykes would lead the way on the restart with Brockner in tow. As the laps wound down Brockner made his move as the pair raced into turn 1 with three to go. Brocker would check up, making slight contact with the left rear of Sykes and spinning the car off of turn 2. Sykes took the green flag and checked out to take the win followed by Butler and Brockner who had worked back past Bonham for third.
Feature winner Jim Sykes wasn’t worried about who was behind him, focusing only on holding his line he was confident he had the car to beat. It’s Sykes second win this season where he has led all of the laps. Jim said this one was in memory of Mike Whitenbaker. He plans on returning for the King of the Can event and would like to thank Rick, Carol, Beacon, Jaden, and Ashley. Street Stock champion Travis Brockner said his keys to success were hard work, time, consistency and being open to learning and being taught by others. A successful season included many wins and Travis has been fast at every track he has unloaded at. He would like to thank his Mom, Dad, Brother, The Bonham family, Mike, Mel’s Garage, Michael & Puerschner Construction, Grafix Unlimited, Mootz Tree Trimming, Behrents Performance Warehouse, Bilstein Shocks, Wehrs Racing Products, and Close Racing Supply. Ryan, Eric, Gram, Grandpa, John and Donna, as well as John and Kathy.
A very experienced Tommy Groover picked up his fourth factory stock championship crown while Jason Rhodes took home the feature win. Alecia Towner and Jerry Fassett Jr. brought the field to the green flag as Towner held the top spot working the cushion out of turn two. As Charlie Towner slipped past Fassett on the inside Rhodes and Justin Slezak followed, moving Fasset back into the fifth position. Fasset and Slezak made contact in three and four creating a scary moment for the top two in points as Groover and Charlie Gilbert split the slower car of Fassett. A checkup by Charlie Towner on the next lap would lead to he and Rhodes losing spots to Slezak and Gilbert before Towner slowed and the field came under yellow. The Towner family’s bad luck would continue as Alecia Towner’s car came to a stop on the back stretch while leading before the green flag. She would be pushed to the pits moving Slezak into the top spot. Slezak took the inside on the lap 6 restart with Gilbert as his outside dancing partner. As Slezak bolted away on the restart, Rhodes pulled to Gilbert’s inside and took the spot away as the pair exited turn 4. Groover next made his move on Gilbert, racing door to door down the front stretch and taking the spot in turn 4. Contact between Charlie Towner and Fassett would result in Fassett’s machine in the turn 2 wall and a yellow flag on lap 8.
Rhodes took the lead on the restart as Gilbert worked inside Slezak to take the second spot. Mike Chilson took third from Slezak on the next lap before Slezak came to a stop in turn 2 bringing out the final yellow. Rhodes brought the field back to green and took the checkered flag as the race was called due to poor visibility with the fog. Feature winner Jason Rhodes said it was unfortunate to not go the full distance but a trip to victory lane is always to be cherished. Rhodes is getting started in the 600cc modified division and said his most memorable races of the 2021 season were “all the ones that ended in a win”. Jason would like to thank Nick and Dakota, Mike Fox, Jack, Cardinal Lanes, Short Track Race Car Models, Moose Race Engines, JS Electric, Bodies by Scoobie, Holcomb and Son Firewood, Trackside Products, Slow Car Racing and MR Grafix. Factory Stock Campion Tommy Groover has been perfect in his racing career picking up four championships in his four full-time seasons. The key Groover says is having consistent finishes and being focused on making it to the checkered flag. He and his crew do a lot of work on the car every week including a full teardown, motor and all this season when he had a string of mechanical failures. After finding amazing success in the division Groover will move to the 600cc modifieds for next season. Tommy would like to thank Dave’s Buy Rite Auto Sales, T-Shirt Shack by Vinyl Obsession, Red Barrel Carbs, Wildside Graphics, T.J. 's Auto, Pops Automotive, Denny Decker Logging, Moose Race Engines, and “all the crazy fools that keep me going”.
The A&E Tire and Auto Center 600cc Modifieds were led by Jeff Baldwin on the pole with Travis Rooney to his outside for the 20 lap feature. Rooney would take the lead for the first lap before a caution would come out for Molly Morz, Jason Rhodes, and TJ Smith as they would collide in turn four. Morz would end her night early and head outside as did TJ Smith, but would return to continue his night. Rooney would take the inside lane with Baldwin to his outside on the restart, as the green flag waved Rooney would take the early lead while Brett Graywould look to the inside of Chuck Lohmeyer to take away second. While Gray was moving to pass Lohmeyer, his teammate Brenton Miller would head pit side on lap two. Dana Davis was on a mission as he would look to the inside of Lohmeyer for third and claim it before the caution would be brought out for J Williams spinning in turn 4. Rooney would take the inside line with Gray to his outside, Gray would quickly take control of leading the pack. Davis would quickly challenge Rooney for second using the high side to claim second and hunt down Gray. Nolan Smith would try to follow Davis in getting around Rooney, but Rooney shut the door to keep third place. Bailey Boyd would try to go to the low side on Nolan Smith to take fifth, while back a few spots fans would see R Lewis look to the high line to maneuver his way around T Shiner, but would be unable to claim eight. Boyd wasn’t giving up on his battle with Nolan Smith as the two battled door to door with Nolan keeping the spot. Gray would start catching the tail end of the field on lap 11 while Davis would look to the outside of Gray to take first. However the two would make enough contact for Davis to spin. Unfortunately, both drivers’ nights would end early as they headed pit side.
Lohmeyer would lead the field on a single file restart as the green would fly, as Nolan Smith would look to the inside of Rooney to take third, but be unable to stick it. Boyd would look outside of Nolan Smith to take away third, before the caution would come out on lap 16 for J Williams spinning in turn one. The field would get back together for the restart led by Lohmeyer, but before a lap could be completed, Doug Lattner would get sideways and collect Rhodes on the backstretch. Once the field was all together, Lohmeyer would once again lead the field to green as Boyd would quickly move to the outside of Rooney to claim second. Rooney wouldn’t give up so easily as he would slide past Boyd on the inside to take second back. The final yellow of the night would come on lap 18 as J Williams would spin in turn 2 and Rhodes would come to a stop along the back stretch. Lohmeyer would remain in the lead as the green flew, however Boyd quickly passed Rooney on the high side to take second and would use the momentum to make a last lap pass to take first from Lohmeyer. Boyd would take the checkered followed by Lohmeyer, Rooney, Smith, John Dinniny, TJ Smith, J Williams, Baldwin, Darwin Greene Jr., and Rhodes.
Feature winner Bailey Boyd took the win after making his way through the pack in the early running and collecting the top 2 spots on the last lap. Filling in for Ali Scutt, Boyd had a sensational run and got back to his roots in the 600cc modified. Boyd regularly competes in the open modifieds at Thunder Mountain speedway and would like to thank CSC Construction, The Cortland Diner, Empire Landscaping and the Scutt family.
The 2021 track champion of the 600cc Modifieds was Brenton Miller after a close battle with teammate Brett Gray. Miller was ecstatic about getting this win for himself and the Gray family. This has been a season of consistency and Brenton could not express enough the hard work that went into getting to this point. Brenton was challenged this year with drivers coming to test their limits and they pushed him to do better. “All of our hard work paid off” said Miller as the team has been in victory lane nine times throughout the season. Brenton would like to thank Gray’s Trucking, Crawn Trucking, Moose Wraps, and All Things Vinyl by Alecia. As well as, Shannon, Wade Gray, Carol Gray, Brett, and the rest of his family.
The Gary’s U-Pull It 4 cylinders were led to green by Rich Wagner on the pole with Dave Nixon on his outside for the 15 lap feature. Wagner would get the early jump as the green would fly, but would not last as Tim Vandermark would spin on the back stretch and the 4MK of Kevin Whitman would come to a stop. Wagner and Nixon would once again lead the field to green with Wagner once again claiming the early lead while back a few spots, Andy Bolles would look to the outside of Rob Sterling to claim third place. Bolles would gain ground and pass Nixon on the inside to take second and start to chase down Wagner for the lead. Josh Wilder would look to the inside of Shaun Furman to claim sixth while Dakota Fuller would make a move to the inside of Rob Serling to take fourth. Wilder would step up and challenge Nixon on the inside for fifth, but be unable to make the move stick. Vandermark would make his way through the field by going to the inside of Furman to take seventh and would go to the outside of Wilder to take sixth. Wilder wouldn’t back down as he went door to door with Vandermark down the front stretch with Vandermark’s 107 claiming the sixth position. The field would come to a stop as a red flag was brought out on lap 10 for Scott Beach making a slow roll in turn four after contact with Vandermark. Beach safely exited the car as the track crew worked to get the car removed from the track while Vandermark headed pit side.
Wagner would lead the field on a single file restart for the last five laps. Wilder would move to the inside of Rob Sterling to take away the fifth position, while Fuller and Nixon battled back and forth for the third position with Fuller claiming the spot. Bolles would hunt down Wagner as he tried to make a last lap pass on the inside of Wagner for first, but Wagner would be able to hold the track champion at bay. Wagner would take the double checkers followed by Bolles, Fuller, Nixon, Wilder, Rob Sterling, Furman, Jason Dareoch, Ricky Eggleston and Vandermark would round out the top ten. Feature winner Rich Wagner had a hard fought battle all season with technical issues and motor issues. Once out front Wagner hit his marks and held on to take the win. Rich would like to thank Steve Torzinini from NEP telephone, Missy’s Place, DJ Fox of Fox’s Heating and Plumbing, Wildside Graphix, Wolfpak Racing, Daniel Brown, his crew and Shania. 4 Cylinder Champion Andy Bolles was consistent throughout the season and thanked his crew of Josh Wilder and himself. Saying that winning the championship was “the best feeling in the world”. He has enjoyed racing at Penn Can this season saying his favorite moment came “racing against Tim Vandermark side by side for a solid 8 laps”. Andy would like to thank Jimmy Difulvio Construction, Southern Tier Auto Recycling, Brad at Damascus Service, Wildside Grafix, JR’s Automotive, Rusty’s Automotive, Mom, Dad and the Penn Can media team (thanks for not touching my car Kayla).
With September upon us programming at the Penn Can speedway has no plans of slowing down. Next week will feature a full racing program with a draw/redraw format for starting positions. On September 18th the mayhem will turn to the annual demolition derby with King of the Can weekend following on September 24th and 25th. With visits from the Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds, and all weekly classes it’s a show that simply can’t be missed! To stay up to date on all things Penn Can related find us on Facebook at The Penn Can Speedway or online at thepenncanspeedway.com.
STAFURSKY PAVING SUNOCO RACE FUELS MODIFIEDS
WINNER – 5- KEVIN HARTNETT
2.) 24X- Matt Cole 3.) 119- Brian Malcom 4.)73-Casey Plummer 5.) 72- Nick Petrilak 6.)23p- Bud Phillips 7.)145- Alan Rudalavage 8.) 111J- Jamie Bedford 9.)15JR- Chris Hunsinger 10.) 49- Kenny Sparks 11.)17D- Mike Loney 12.) 844- Brian Franko 13.) 1- Darwin Greene Sr. 14.) 117- Alex Stanton 15.) 014-Brad Schaffer 16.) 17- George Kostelonsky 17.) 90- Bill Deckleman 18.) M7- Mike Nagel Sr.19.)54- Paul Rooney 20.) M64- Mark Goodwin 21.)14- Stanley Wilkins 22.)4B- Brandon Fritsch 23.) 713- Mike Walsh DNS 24.) 484- Eric Bonham
INSINGER PERFORMANCE SLEEPY HOLLOW TURF 602 CRATE SPORTSMAN
WINNER –7M- MIKE NAGEL JR.
2.) QR1- Brad Weaver 3.) 88S- Michael Samony 4.)88- Alan Komar 5.) 14P- Chad Sandt 6.)88A- Moose Gulley 7.) 3R- Ray Leonard 8.) 10K-Kolyn Schane 9.)13- K Walsh 10.)16- Ned Fitch 11.)14K- Alex Konopka 12.) 30+- Brandon Oleski 13.) M1- Mike Schane 14.) 32- Eddie Kudrako 15.)3F- Frank Payne 16.)- 44- Jim O’Hara 17.) 45- Jon White DNS 18.) 4J- Joe Buchanan DQ: 19.) 70J- Leo McGurrin
SUNOCO RACE FUELS STREET STOCKS
WINNER – SIX- JIM SYKES
2.) 27- Josh Butler 3.) 151- Travis Brockner 4.) 41- Nick Bonham 5.) 47- John McAdam
GRIT FACTORY STOCKS
WINNER - 57- JASON RHODES
2.) 7R- Tommy Groover 3.) 28- Charlie Gilbert 4.)28M- Mike Chilson 5.)5T- Charlie Towner 6.) 23B- Brad Chilson 7.)617- Austin Manzer 8.) 35- Justin Slezak 9.) 22-M. Romanik 10.) 74- John Picchio 11.)10- K Welch 12.)9X- Alicia Towner 13.)77C- Carter Bixby 14.) 78- Jerry Fassett Jr15.)4- Rick Glover DNS 16.
A & E TIRE AND AUTO CENTER 600 c.c. MODIFIEDS
WINNER – 108- BAILEY BOYD
2.) 5-Chuck Lohmeyer 3.)54T- Travis Rooney 4.) 77X- Nolan Smith 5.)12- John Dinniny 6.)101T- TJ Smith 7.)15- J Williams 8.) 17- Jeff Baldwin 9.)1JR- Darwin Greene Jr. 10.) 22C- Jason Rhodes 11.) 101- Doug Lattner 12.) 217- Larry Furman 13.)42- T Shiner 14.) 30NN- Nate Oropallo 15.)110- R Lewis 16.) 29- Brenton Miller 17.) 22- Molly Mroz DNS 18.)167- Devon Sieben DQ 19.)28- Brett Gray 20.) 138- Dana Davis
GARY’S U-PULL IT 4 CYLINDERS
WINNER – 8W- RICH WAGNER
2.) 354-Andy Bolles 3.) G55- Dakota Fuller 4.) 76-Dave Nixon 5.) 5-Josh Wilder 6.) 71-Rob Sterling 7.) 49Z-Shaun Furman 8.) 7E- Jason Dareoch 9.) 69 Ricky Eggleston 10.)107- Tim Vandermark 11.)21-Scott Beach12.)56-Jeff Sterling 13.) 5B-Madyson Beach14.) 4MK- Kevin Whitman