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Hall of Fame Grows While Mike Loney Takes the Win

Hall of Fame Grows While Mike Loney Takes the Win

June 26, 2021

Nathan Aldrich and Kayla Peting

With the 2021 class set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame a strong crowd took in the action at The Penn Can Speedway. The night also honored veterans/first responders and active-duty service members with a full show minus the junior slingshots. With the season in full swing and points starting to add up, competitors will feel the pressure in the coming weeks to grow their leads or close their gaps to better position themselves for the second half of the season.

The Sunoco Race Fuels/Stafursky Paving Modifieds provided edge of your seat action as battles for the top 5 spots gave the fans door to door racing throughout the whole show. Heat one set the pace as Bud Phillips and Brad Shaffer came to the green flag. Nick Petrilak looked to Phillips inside on the first lap and the two would run door to door until Phillips dove to Schaffer’s inside. While the pair ran for the lead Kevin Hartnett and Brian Malcolm were charging forward as Hartnett next took third from Malcolm. Hartnett would get Phillips for second with three to go, setting his sights on the leader. As Malcolm advanced past Phillips for the third spot Hartnett pulled in Schaffer completing the pass on the inside as they made their way down the backstretch. Despite winning two features already in 2021 this was Hartnett’s first heat win of the year. Kenny Sparks and Mike Loney came out of turn 4 to start heat two with Loney pulling out to the early lead. Alan Rudalavage wasted no time moving forward from his starting spot moving to the outside of Sparks for second on lap 2, taking the spot on the front stretch. With Byron Worthing moving into the fourth spot on lap 5 the order would settle in with Loney getting the heat win. With the final heat ready to go Casey Plummer and Darwin Greene Sr. took the green. Greene Sr. got a good launch, but the start would be called back after a Mike Walsh spin in turn 3. Greene would launch well on the restart while Alex Stanton worked on Plummer for second. Stanton took the spot away as Greene conquered the final heat.

With the track freshly prepped the powerful modifieds rolled onto the racing surface. Sparks and Plummer led the field under the green as Plummer took the lead. Mike Loney worked quickly moving to the second spot on the opening lap as Rudalavage and Malcolm traded the eighth spot with Malcolm getting the better of the exchange. At the front Loney looked inside of Plummer while Hartnett moved into third passing Greene. The battle for the lead would have to wait as the first yellow came out on lap four when Stanton stopped at the top of turn 3. Plummer took the inside on the restart, but Loney would get the better of him, using the outside momentum to lead down the backstretch. The next lap Hartnett would challenge Plummer moving past on the inside for second. Midpack Rudalavage worked Worthing for eleventh successfully while Petrilak kept Malcolm at bay for sixth. Worthing’s night would come to an early end as he slowed at the top of turn 2. Loney took the top on the restart as Hartnett took the lead on the backstretch. Petrilak looked to Plummer’s inside for fourth before another caution slowed the field for a Walsh spin in turn 3. With 10 laps completed Hartnett led with Loney second followed by Greene, Petrilak, and Plummer.

Hartnett chose the inside on the restart, pulling a half car lead over Loney as the pair came down the backstretch. Rudalavage worked past Schaffer for ninth before trying to take the eighth spot unsuccessfully. Disaster struck for Hartnett on lap 13 as his machine slowed while coming out of turn 4 bringing out the yellow. As Hartnett headed pit side done for the night, Loney resumed the lead with Petrilak now in second and Malcolm third. Malcolm got a good restart, slipping past Petrilak for the second spot and moving to Loney’s inside for the lead. Behind the leaders Greene would drift up high falling back into sixth letting Dan Pompey past as Pompey next challenged Plummer for fourth. Plummer held on to the spot before the next caution came out with Stanton rolling to a stop in turn two and leaving on the hook. Loney would bring the field back to green with Malcolm peeking to his inside as Stanley Wilkins and Paul Rooney tangled in turn 4 bringing out the yellow. The flurry of cautions was not done yet as Sparks and Schaffer got stacked up on the restart leaving Matt Cole caught in the inside wall between turns 3 and 4. With Pompey taking over the fourth spot from Plummer the field clicked off a couple laps and drew the final yellow on lap 26 for a Bud Phillips flat left rear.

With a 4-lap dash left to settle things Loney shot out of a cannon on the restart keeping Malcolm stuck on his inside. Loney crossed under the checkered flag with Malcolm, Petrilak, Pompey, Greene, Plummer, Jamie Bedford, Rudalavage, Dave Zona and Schaffer rounding out the top 10. Feature winner Mike Loney said winning always gives the most amazing feeling. As a driver “you never know when you’ll get another one” and he truly had to work for this one. With the double file restarts, he could feel Malcolm to his inside but once he found his rhythm everything smoothed out. With the restarts giving him time to think and strategize Loney stayed about a half line off the bottom, confident his car could prevent his competitors from beating him on the top. After experimenting a little with their coil setup Loney felt more comfortable making the change back to bars. Mike would like to thank Fred Jr, Jim, Bob, Tom, Joe, Paul, Main Racing Engines, Hig Fab Chassis, Doug’s Speed Shop, Sarkis J Tulaney Trucking, Lackawanna Mobil X-Ray, Mike Cuse Construction, Terry Illing & Friends Recycling and Hoffman Speed Supplies.

With the Sleepy Hollow Turf & Insinger performance Crate Sportsman ran early with AJ Konopka and Brandon Oleski coming to the green. Oleski pulled ahead but the start was called back. Try two yielded better results with the front row staying even until Oleski pulled ahead on the back stretch. Leo McGurrin took Ryan Burkett’s fourth spot away before a quick caution on lap 4 for Kyle Walsh and Stephen Walsh tangling. This would start a series of cautions for last week’s winner Ray Leonard and Moose Gulley hooking in turn 4, a collision including Leo McGurrin on the exit of two which also included Jamie Cortazar. After the string of yellows, the field would be instructed to go single file coming to green. As Mike Nagel Jr. looked inside of Konopka for second Oleski would drift high on the backstretch, his loss of momentum moving him back to third. Oleski’s next challenge would come from Brad Weaver as Weaver got a run to Oleski’s inside. As Oleski held off Weaver, Mike Schane stalked the pair waiting in fifth followed by Chad Sandt. Just as the battles heated up the yellow came out for Walsh’s stopped car in turn 4.

Back under green Randy Brokaw would wrestle sixth from Sandt meanwhile Weaver slipped inside of Oleski for the third spot. On lap 14 a flat would slow the Schane machine bringing out the yellow. Without completing a lap Gulley and Eddie Kudrako tangled in turn two and leader Konopka headed in for a tire going flat. With the flat, Mike Nagel Jr. took over the lead and brought the field to the green flag. Sandt used the inside to muscle past Oleski for third in turn 3 of lap 16 while behind them Leonard tried to get past O’Hara for sixth. Weaver had been making moves steadily since the restart and by lap 18 had caught Nagel for the lead. As the two went door to door on lap 18 Nagel continued to hold on to the top spot for the next 3 laps, staying just ahead of Weaver. Nagel’s season of poor luck continued however as a broken driveshaft slowed the car out of turn two with three laps remaining and he pulled to the infield. A yellow in the waning laps led to O’Hara and Ned Fitch spinning in turn 4 as Walsh was pushed off the track and Kudrako left on the hook. With only one lap remaining drivers and fans alike eagerly awaited the one lap shootout finale.

Weaver would dig hard on the restart, never giving Sandt an opportunity to make a move as he picked up the win with Oleski, Brokaw, Leonard, Mike Salmony, Kolyn Schane, Alan Komar, Amanda Scholtisek, and Gulley completing the top 10. Feature winner Brad Weaver honored his Father who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year and taught him to “always keep digging”. Coming off of last week’s technical DQ Weaver has been close all year but had to be patient early coming from a 9th place starting spot. The early battles against Mike Schane in the opening laps showed him what he had in the car as he moved forward. Picking one car off at a time the cautions hurt Weaver’s rhythm but helped him identify who he needed to get past next. With the laps winding down he felt his car could have beat Nagel’s but was disappointed he did not get to try. Brad would like to thank his stepson James, Uncle Ben, Cara, Steve, Craig Hall, Chuck Dimmer, Big R&J Exterminating, Quarry Rat, RC Chapman Welding, Ingram Race Engines, Bicknell Race Products and Fred’s Market.

The A & E Tire and Auto Centers 600cc Modifieds fought fiercely early and often as tempers flared during heat racing. With the 600s contesting the first feature race of the night Jeff Baldwin and Larry Furman charged out of turn 4 coming under the green flag. The Gray’s Trucking cars of Brenton Miller and Brett Gray came forward quickly with Brenton leading the first lap after starting fourth. Dana Davis stayed right with the pair however hot on Gray’s tail in the third spot. On lap 4 Baldwin pulled to the infield as Darwin Greene Jr. appeared to be off pace from the rest of the field. Miller was quickly catching lap traffic on lap 6 when Travis Rooney took the fourth spot from Sheldon Whitman. As the leader worked lapped traffic Gray took the chance to show his speed reeling in Miller as the two went side by side. Mollie Mroz took her machine pit side and Darwin Greene Jr was assisted from the turn two infield. With the yellow slowing the field at the halfway point the restart led to another yellow as Davis looked inside of Gray for second in turns one and two before losing control for a single car spin. Davis recovered quickly passing 6 cars in about as many laps as Miller went on to win ahead of Gray. Davis completed the podium while Rooney, and Whitman completed the top 5. Feature winner Brenton Miller has had a fast car all year winning at every track his team pulls to and picking up his fourth win at Penn Can this season. It was a special win for Miller coming on his father’s birthday who would have been 60. The current point leader, Miller’s biggest challenges this season have often come from teammate Gray. Starting sixth in the main event Miller did not have a plan to start the race, saying “sometimes the holes just open for you, and you have to take them”. When Gray showed Miller that he could hang with him on the bottom on lap 10 Miller knew he would have to close that groove off the rest of the race. Brenton would like to thank the Gray Family, Gray’s trucking, Crawn Trucking, All Things Vinyl by Alicia, and everyone who helps their race team.

Factory Stock feature events were cut short by one lap due to technical difficulties at the speedway that ended the race night. Brad Chilson and Rich Sharpsteen roared to the line to take the green; Sharpsteen took the lead as Jerry Fasset Jr. spun in turn four. Jason Rhodes and Sharpsteen would come back to the green twice as the first restart was called back. Rhodes took the lead after running side by side with Sharpsteen down the front stretch but would be slowed again by a yellow for the spinning machine of Alecia Towner in turn 2. Sharpsteen headed to the pits with a flat under the yellow and restarted from the rear of the field. With Kevin MacDonald now on the front row with Rhodes the field returned to the green. Rhodes sprinted away while Tommy Groover passed Joel Edsell for fourth. On lap 5 Alecia Towner would take the fifth spot from Edsell as Rhodes closed in on lapped traffic. With the race progressing quickly Groover passed Chilson for third and the laps wound down. When the race was called Rhodes picked up the win with MacDonald, Groover, Alecia Towner and Brad Chilson rounding out the top 5. Feature winner Jason Rhodes has only been driving the car for three weeks and recovered well after receiving a disqualification last weekend for a technical infraction. After starting sixth Rhodes made his way into the top 2 before the first lap was complete seeing the lanes, he needed open up early. After running well in his heat race Rhodes found the topside to his liking and was just focused on driving. Rhodes said “when you’re in the mindset you don’t feel the pressure. You just focus on the drive.” 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.

The Gary’s U Pull It 4 Cylinders found a familiar face in victory lane as Tim Vandermark picked up his third win. Dakota Fuller and Josh Wilder took the green flag. After enduring a rough start, the race got going on the fourth try with Wilder bringing the cars to green and Andy Bolles in second. Bolles and Wilder took it side by side on the first lap before both slid up in turns 3 and 4. Vandermark took advantage, hugging the inside wall and taking the lead. With Madyson Beach slowing on the backstretch the yellow again came out with one lap complete. Vandermark pulled ahead with the single file restart as the field stretched out on a long green flag run. Rich Wagner began coming through the field before heading pit side while Jeremy Trurzo made it a little longer, pulling to the infield on lap 9. With two to go Dave Nixon would lose a tire setting up a shootout to end the race. Bolles would give Vandermark his best shot in the closing laps, drawing even and even making contact on the last lap but Vandermark took the checkered flag with Wilder, and Mike Ferris completing a sweep for the Neons. Feature winner Tim Vandermark won the War of Attrition with only four cars crossing the finish line. The early cautions made for a long race and the pressure from Bolles kept him on edge. Vandermark “could pull him down the front stretch but could feel him in the corners”. After hub issues sidelined him early last week Vandermark was happy with the changes he made to help how the car handled in turns three and four. Tim would like to thank his grandfather and everyone who supports their racing efforts.

With an exciting night of racing on hand and warmer nights continuing, the rest of the season is sure to be every bit as exciting as last night. With the points battle in full swing drivers are sure to be driving hard and hitting their marks to obtain the best possible position for points. Next Friday's racing will be a full show with the Junior division making a return to the speedway. There is a possibility that schedule changes may be happening soon so be sure to follow us on Facebook at The Penn Can Speedway for any news and events that could be happening soon.

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