Friday the 13th turns into a Spectacular Show
With the cooperation of Mother Nature Penn Can speedway got back underway Friday night. Drivers were itching to roll onto the track and make some noise after last week’s rainout. Track promoter Keith Beach put in hours throughout the week to make the track ready to go and it showed as the track was in excellent condition for the evenings’ line up. With the air temperature being high and limited moisture, the evening shaped up to be action packed with side-by-side racing. With roughly eighty cars in the pits and five divisions making the program everyone was ready to get under way.
Brett Tonkin went back to back in the Stafursky Paving Modifieds rolling off from the third starting spot. Alan Rudalavage and Kevin Hartnett charged out of turn four with Rudalavage claiming the early lead as Tonkin slipped under Harnett through one and two, taking the second spot down the backstretch. 2021 Track Champion Brian Malcolm took the fifth spot from Alex Stanton as he quickly worked the cars in front of him trying not to lose too much ground to the leading trio. The first yellow came on lap three as Mike Nagel Sr. broke at the top of three slowing the field. Rudalavage put Tonkin to his outside for the first restart and pulled a gap out of four, it would be the end of Rudalavage’s night however as he lost control heading into turn one and was clipped by Tonkin, Mike Nagel, Bud Phillips, George Kostelansky and Mike Loney would all get a piece of the wreck.
With Tonkin the new leader and Hartnett competing the front row the pair charged out of four, Tonkin pulling away. The gap wouldn’t last with another yellow for the spinning car of Jamie Bedford collecting Stanley Wilkins and Doug Snyder. With the yellow fever out of the way Tonkin resumed the lead and Malcolm, having drifted high on the prior restart,worked his way back into the top 3 passing Darwin Green Sr. By lap 15 Tonkin had caught the tail of the field slipping past the first car easily before encountering Nick Petrilak. A broken shock mount had been ailing Petrilak since the opening laps and limited the driver as to where he could go. After some patience looking for an opening, Tonkin cleared Petrilak with twelve laps to go and again began expanding his lead over Hartnett. The final yellow of the night had Brandon Fritsch spinning and 2021 Street Stock Champion Travis Brockner slowing out of turn 4 to set up a restart with 12 to go. Tonkin sailed away over the final laps taking the checkered flag with Hartnett, Malcolm, Stanton and Dan Vauter in tow.
Feature winner Brett Tonkin has had the best start to the season possible, with back to back wins and capturing the first points paying feature win of the season. The Stafursky Paving team took a long look at their shock program over the season and Brett is quick to give the credit to his team and crew. Tonkin stated his moment of the night came from getting the good spot in the redraw and getting under Hartnett in the opening laps. With Garth returning to the signals this week he emphasized using patience with the lapped cars in the closing stages. Brett would like to thank Jimmy Witco, Alex Tonkin, Garth, Morrison Performance, Stafursky Paving, Stafursky Auto Parts, FNCB Bank, H&K Dunmore Asphalt, and Regal Plumbing and Heating.
The 602 Crate Sportsman would see a field of 17 drivers to take the green flag for the 25-lap feature with Joe Novak and Brian Malcom on the front row. As the green would fly, Malcolm would get the jump to take the early lead. However, the field would get bunched up as Alex Konopka and Brad Weaver would spin in turn two bringing out the first caution of the night. Weaver would head pit side only to return before the green would come out. With no laps completed the field would go back to an original restart with Novak on the pole and Malcom to his outside. Malcom would gain the upper hand once again as Mike Schane and Novak battled it out for second with Mike Schane’s 197 taking the position. Mike Nagel Jr. was a man on a mission as he quickly stepped up to challenge 2021 track champion Ray Leonard for fourth. Nagel Jr. would claim the spot and quickly take the battle for third into a three wide struggle for third with Novak and Marty Goodwin. Nagel Jr. would claim the spot as the second caution of the feature came on lap 2 for Tommy Groover, Konopka and John Philips colliding in turn three and four. The night would end early for Groover as he was towed off the trac; while the other two would rejoin the field and Matt Martino also had an early night as he pulled to the infield. Malcom would take the inside as his lane of choice with Mike Schane to his outside as the field hit the restart cone. Malcom would acquire the lead once again as Nagel Jr. rapidly stepped up to challenge Mike Schane for second. Nagel Jr. would quickly gain the upper hand over Mike Schane and would begin to look to the inside of Malcolm to take the lead. The two would go door to door while the battle for fourth would rage on between Leonard and Goodwin who claimed the spot. Luck came up short for Nagel Jr. as a steady stream of smoke would come from his car as he was hunting down first place. The third caution would come on lap 6 for Nagel Jr. who pulled to the infield and tried to make his way to the pits. Weaver would also need help making his way pit side as his 1A machine needed a tow.
The restart would see Malcom and Mike Schane once again on the front row upon the restart, as Malcom would take off and attempt to hold off the ever-present Mike Schane. Michael Samony would battle with Novak for fifth and begin hunting down Leonard for fourth. Konopka was making his way through the field after a few rough laps that landed him in the back. Konopka would battle with Novak for sixth. Samony would try his hand once again at Leonard, but unfortunately nothing would come of it. Novak was not giving up his spot to Konopka and the two would battle back and forth with Konopka claiming the spot. Mike Schane would make his move as the laps remaining dwindled down. He would look to the inside of Malcolm, but with no luck. However, the top two would soon have a challenge as they started to catch the tail end of the field. Once around the few at the back of the pack, Mike Schane and Malcolm would swap paint as they battled hard for the top spot. Mike Schane would catch a break as Malcom’s 14X would lose power steering in turn two making it difficult to maintain the lead. Mike Schane would go on to collect the win followed by Malcom, Samony, Leonard and Konopka to round out the top five.
Feature winner Mike Schane has two wins already this season in the Mark Longstreet owned Higifab ride. With his tires coming in during the late stages of the feature Mike felt he had the car to win the race and needed to gain the positioning. When Malcolm slipped up in two, he was in the perfect spot to slide in and take the spot away. The driver out of Hamlin, PA was looking to improve on his fifth-place finish last time out and felt they hit the sweet spot for his driving style. With the track slicked up and running late in the night Mike stated it was all about hitting your marks and not giving any ground. The Higfab chassis is sponsored by Drydene, Morgan’s Pub and Eatery, Enterprises Dirt Grass Now, Nunzi’s, Trackside Products,
The A&E Tire and Auto Center 600cc Modifieds drew a strong 18 car field, brought to green by Tyler Smith and Larry Furman. Smith got the holeshot on what would be called a no-start, with John Dinniny and Mollie Mroz colliding in turn 1. Smith would again get the jump on the complete restart while Dylan Robinson moved outside Furman for second. With Robinson taking the spot Josh Towner and Adam Mudge would bring their fight to Furman quickly coming up on the lapped car of Paige Straway. Disaster struck at the end of the backstretch as Towner collided with Straway and everyone else scrambled to dodge the spinning machines. Bill Johnson and Doug Newbigging would get collected but ultimately everyone would be able to continue on. Smith would elect for the inside on the restart getting the jump on Dininny while Mudge took the third spot from Robinson in turn 3. Andy Bolles and Newbigging would battle for the 11th spot on lap 8 with Newbigging maintaining the spot as a lap 9 yellow came out for a Jeremy Williams left rear flat. The ensuing restart sent Robinason to the infield as the second row went four wide on the restart, Roger Lewis spun in turn four and Dinniny went up in smoke. After a pile of restarts the field would settle down for the final five laps with Tyler Smith collecting the checkered flag, Nolan Smith in second, Mudge, Nate Oropallo and Newbigging rounding out the top 5 spots.Feature winner Tyler Smith
With 20 laps on the dockett Kevin Welch and Jason Rhodes brought the factory stocks to the green. Heavy action came early on as Charlie Gilbert moved inside CJ Swanson in turn 3 to take the fourth spot then battled Charlie Towner and Welch three wide as Towner and Gilbert both moved past Welch. Rhodes began to lap cars as early as lap three while Gilbert worked past Towner for second. Welch would spin on lap six bringing out the first yellow. The lap six restart saw Rhodes elect for the outside, getting the jump on Gilbert down the frontstretch before running door to door down the back. Gilbert would lead the lap as Charlie Towner next looked to Rhodes’ inside. Rhodes would keep the spot with Sheldon Whitman spinning in turn two, leading to the second yellow.
Rhodes was ecstatic to win the first feature of the season at Penn Can. He had a tough competitor in Charlie Gilbert. Rhodes said that on the restart where Gilbert took the lead,he realized that the inside line was the place to be. He would like to thank his sponsors: Winsor Acres, Rogue Studios, MR Graphics, Chris Ripley at Mcguire, Trackside Products, Leaf Birdsall Lawncare, Holcomb and Son Firewood, JS Electric, Cardinal Lanes and the Double D’s.
Gary’s U-Pull It 4 cylinder action saw a strong front row of Rich Wagner and Tim Vandermark pass under the green flag with Vandermark pulling ahead for the early lead. On the second lap Josh Wilder worked the outside of Chris Yob and would take the spot, leaving Yob to contend with Jason Seymore. Up front Kenny Underwood moved to Wagner’s outside and the pair put on a show, racing door to door for a pair of laps before Underwood completed the pass for second. Underwood would chase Vandermark in the coming laps, while Dave Nixon pulled it to the infield on the eleventh circuit. With the laps winding down Brian Salmini would advance past Wilder for fourth, with Wilder then slowing on the front stretch and stopping in turn 2. With a two lap shootout in store Vandermark protected his line, holding off his challengers and collecting the feature win. Underwood, Wagner, Salmini and Mike Ferris followed to round out the top 5.
Feature winner Tim Vandermark collected a pile of winner’s stickers last year at the can and is off to a hot start again in 2022. The shoe picked up two wins in one night last week, heading to Skyline after taking the checkers at Five Mile Point Speedway. With the late caution Vandermark knew 2nd would throw everything they had at him but he was confident and ready to take the checkered flag. With a third place finish in the opener and the win tonight Vandermark is off to a great start in the points battle and is looking forward to a strong season. Tim would like to thank his Grandpa and Aunt Robin for their help and support.
Fans received a fantastic show from start to finish across all divisions. There was not a moment that did not disappoint. Drivers were anxious to get back on the track after a long off season and a week break due to weather. The fans were anxious to see the side by side racing and that was certainly delivered. This coming Friday is Community Night for Susquehanna, Lanesboro and Oakland. If a resident of any of these areas shows their drivers’ license, they will be able to get in for $5.
STAFURSKY PAVING MODIFIEDS
WINNER – 27K - BRETT TONKIN
2.) 5-Kevin Hartnett 3.) 119-Brian Malcolm 4.) Alex Stanton 5.) 27-Dan Vauter 6.) 73-Casey Plummer 7.) 52-Brian Franko 8.) 484-Travis Brockner 9.) 72-Nick Petrilak 10.) 52B-Brandon Fritsch 11.) 1-Darwin Greene Sr. 12.) 27S-Doug Snyder 13.) 57-Jamie Bedford 14.) 17-George Kostelansky 15.) 7M-Mike Nagel 16.) 23P-Bud Phillips 17.) 17D-Mike Loney 18.) 145-Alan Rudalavage
602 CRATE SPORTSMAN
WINNER – 197 - MIKE SCHANE
2.) 14X-Brian Malcolm 3.) 88S-Michael Samony 4.) 3R-Ray Leonard 5.) 14K-Alex Konopka 6.) 10K-Kolyn Schane 7.) 23JR- John Michael Phillips 8.) 70J-Joe Novak 9.) 32-Eddie Kudrako 10.) 16-Ned Fitch 11.) 26-John Bush 12.) M7-Mike Nagel Jr. 13.) 1A-Brad Weaver 14.) 44-Jim O’Hara 15.) 226-Matt Martino 16.) 7R-Tommy Groover DQ 55-Marty Goodwin
A & E TIRE AND AUTO CENTER 600 c.c. MODIFIEDS
WINNER – 80-TYLER SMITH
2.) 77X-Nolan Smith 3.) 54T-Adam Mudge 4.) 30NN-Nate Oropallo 5.) 29-Doug Newbigging 6.) 217-Larry Furman 7.) 1JR-Darwin Greene Jr 8.) 110-Roger Lewis 9.) 354-Andy Bolles 10.) 00-Jeremy Williams 11.) 67-Paige Straway 12.) 176-Mollie Mroz 13.) 12J-John Dinniny 14.) 9X-Josh Towner 15.) 3D-Dylan Robinson 16.) 167-Devan Sieben 17.) 999-Bill Johnson 18.) 17-Jeff Baldwin
WINNER - JASON RHODES
2.) 28-Charlie Gilbert 3.) 5T-Charlie Towner 4.) 77X-Alecia Towner 5.) 4MK-Sheldon Whitman 6.) 10-Kevin Welch 7.) 74-John Picchio 8.) ONE-James Sykes 9.) 47-Cayden McPherson 10.) 23B-Brad Chilson 11.) 3-CJ Swanson
GARY’S U-PULL IT 4 CYLINDERS
WINNER – 107 - TIM VANDERMARK
2.) 16-Kenny Underwood 3.) 8W-Rich Wagner 4.) 77-Brian Salmini 5.) 17-Mike Ferris 6.) 21-Scott Beach 7.) 27-Jason Seymour 8.) 24Y-Chris Yob 9.) 5-Josh Wilder 10.) 76-Dave Nixon DNS Dakota Fuller