By: Nathan Aldrich
The 2022 regular season came to a close for the Penn Can speedway as Kevin Hartnett collected the checkered flag to cap off a dominant season. With 87 cars signed into the pits and a little cooperation from Mother Nature the track looked great. Coming into the night none of the 5 division championships were guaranteed, ensuring a thrilling night of action!
Mike Nagel Sr. and Travis Brockner charged toward the green flag as Brockner moved into the top spot on the opening lap. Bud Phillips quickly moved up to the top side of Nagel to grab second with one lap complete. Kenny Hildebrandt would grab a hold of the yuke tire in turn one to bring out the early yellow. As Brockner elected for the inside, Phillips got the better launch to take away the lead. Brett Tonkin would get the short end of the stick on the next lap as he ended up facing the wrong direction in turn 4 leading to a second yellow. As Phillips once again pulled away, Brian Malcolm started to work his way forward getting past both Alex Stanton and Nagel to move into fourth. By lap 6 however, Hartnett had found the front, taking the second spot away from Brockner and setting his sights on Phillips. Doug Smith’s night would end a little earlier than he and his team had hoped when it slowed down the backstretch before exiting on the hook with 8 laps completed.
As Phillips lined up with Hartnett to his inside, the field once again took the green. The pair would run door to door for the next few laps as Phillips fought valiantly to keep the champion behind him. By lap 12 Hartnett would prove to be too much as he took the lead away and began to open up a gap, catching lapped traffic on lap 16. With only 10 laps remaining, Brandon Fritsch ended up pointing the wrong direction in turn three to bring out the final yellow of the night. As Hartnett once again pulled away from the field, the best battle on the track came for the fourth spot as Nick Petrilak Tonkin waged war. Sporting his throwback 2x to honor his brother, Nick would lose out on the spot as the checkers flew. Hartnett collected the sweep for the night, grabbing checkers on his heat, feature and the points championship. Phillips, Malcolm, Tonkin and Petrilak would go on to complete the top 5.
2022 Track Champion Kevin Hartnett is a seasoned veteran of the sport and was quick to thank the Grammes family and Brad Grammes for putting him in Victory Lane this year. With multiple checkered flags across the season, Kevin mentioned he and the crew overcame many little bumps in the road throughout the season but kept continuing to push through. With King of the Can quickly approaching Grammes will be a favorite entering the event, as he carries his Championship momentum forward. He would like to thank RPM Race Engines, Penske Shocks, Stone Ridge Realty, Big Creek Concrete, Grammes Construction, Higfab chassis, and Hartnett lettering.
The 602 Crate Sportsman came into the night with a tight points battle between Mike Schane, Ray Leonard and AJ Konopka. With all three drivers coming off strong weeks they would start toward the back of the Handicap. Evan O’Hara and Alan Komar led the way as the Sportsman brought their final performance of the point season to green. O’Hara grabbed the opening lap as an early shuffle stacked up the field around fifth. Komar would settle into second as Leonard and Konpka battled for eighth on lap 2. Leonard took the spot getting past Eddie Kurako and Kolyn Schane in the following laps. With Amanda Scholtisek around in turn 3 everyone would get a chance to regroup and repack. O’Hara elected for the inside line with Komar to his outside for the lap 7 restart. Komar got the better jump as Mike Nagel Jr. took the inside groove to grab second from O’Hara. O’Hara’s machine narrowly dodged the on coming field after making contact with Ned Fitch and Brad Weaver after the trio attempted to go three wide into turn 3, running out of real estate.
Komar switched it up, taking the inside with Nagel as his new dancing partner. As Komar pulled ahead through one and two, the pair would stay door to door the next lap. Brad Weaver would join the party out of turn two to make it three wide as Nagel bobbled up high. As it shook out Komar retook the lead out of turn 4 with Nagel falling back to forth to battle with a quickly charging Leonard. Nagel would regain his momentum as he took third from Fitch at the start finish line. At the front Weaver threw everything but the kitchen sink at Komar as the pair swapped lanes and ran door to door for the lead in a clean battle. Just as the leaders caught the lapped traffic at the tail, Kolyn Schane came to the stop on the backstretch bringing out a lap 16 yellow. Everyone would maintain the status quo until a Eddie Kudrako and Paul Conklin spin in turn 3 would set up a five lap dash to the finish. Komar would hold off Weaver in the closing laps as he took the checkers. Leonard, Fitch and Schane would round out the top 5. Schane’s top 5 run and cushion entering the night propelled the Longstreet machine to the 2022 Track Championship.
Track Champion Mike Schane commented that once he found a rhythm with Ray they just had to stay close. In his first year driving for the Longstreet family, he felt this was some of the best equipment he has ever raced in. It has been a family affair for the Schane’s this season as Mike’s son Kolyn continues to progress in his development quickly. Mike is proud of his crew and family for all they have accomplished this season, and thanks everyone who has helped him with transporting the cars this season. Mike would like to thank Kayla, Nate and the entire Penn Can team, as well as his friends, family and sponsors: Higfab chassis, Drydene, Morgan’s Pub and Eatery, Enterprises Dirt Grass Now, Nunzi’s, and Trackside Products. Feature winner Alan Komar climbed up on the roof after picking up his first Penn Can win, being mobbed by fans for pictures afterward. While having a clean strong battle with Brad Weaver, Alan stated his focus was on sealing off the bottom and not letting anyone get under him. With some experience leading while dealing with lapped traffic, the caution resetting the field was a welcome sight. Alan would like to thank his friends and family, Amanda, Erick Hines Trucking, Sleepy Hollow Turf Equipment, A & B Tent Rental, Nate Shay Used Cars, Wildside Graphix, Team 119, and Joe’s.
A & E Tire and Auto Center 600cc Modifieds came into the night with three drivers eligible to collect the championship trophy. With Adam Mudge holding the advantage, Tyler and Nolan Smith would need strong nights to have a shot at holding the Champion’s sign. Nate Oropallo and Josh Towner brought the field to green as Darwin Greene Jr. and Adam Mudge made contact into turn 3, resulting in Greene spinning with one lap complete. Oropallo would put Towner on the outside as Brenton Miller and Brett Gray challenged Doug Baldwin and Towner in a battle for second. Towner’s fight for second came to an abrupt end as his machine went sideways down the back stretch and stopped in turn 3 with two laps complete. John Dinniny and Tori Straway would pile in as some hard hits took their toll on the backstretch. Oropallo took the inside on the restart as Miller lined up alongside. Gray would get the better of both however as he shot up the inside to challenge Oropallo for the lead off of turn 2. The pair would battle until Gray found the advantage, taking the lead with a pair of swapped sliders before halfway. Miller would follow Gray to take the second spot as Tyler Smith looped his machine around in turn 4. Baldwin would make an impressive maneuver to avoid the stopped car as 7 laps were complete. Gray took the inside as he led Miller into the first turn by a car length. With both Smith cars out of the race, Mudge locked up the point title as Gray sailed off into the sunset to collect the checkered flag. Miller, Oropallo, Baldwin and Mudge would complete the top 5.
2022 Track Champion Adam Mudge secured his first Penn Can Speedway championship with three wins on the season. It’s been a strong season for Adam and the Rooney family that helps him get to the track each week. Feature winner Brett Gray has had an up and down year but has got their Hoosier tire program on track to close out the year. With a car that was “ on rails”, Brett kept the bottom closed off to avoid teammate Miller getting underneath him. Brett would like to thank Carol and Wade Gray, his friends and family, Gray’s Trucking and Transport, Moose Wraps, All things Vinyl by Alicia, Crawn Trucking, and Northern Tier Hydro Wash.
Factory Stock action included a two way battle for the championship with Charlie Gilbert within striking distance of Jason Rhodes coming into the night. Gilbert and Charlie Towner would pick up the pace as the green came out with Rhodes making his way to the front row quickly. By lap 2 it was Gilbert and Rhodes dueling for the lead. As the pair worked down the backstretch, Rhodes grabbed the lead into turn three and would dominate the rest of the feature. While some cautions would regroup the field, no one had anything for the 2022 Track Champion as he has won nearly half of the features at Penn Can this season. Towner, Gilbert, Dominick Albanese, and Kevin Welch completed the top 5. Feature winner and track champion Jason Rhodes endured his toughest night of the season, fighting through one after another issue throughout. With a rear end loaned from Jason Beebe and after fighting through every issue, Rhodes looked as dominant as ever. Jason would like to thank the Holcomb family, Winsor Acres, Rogue Studios, MR Graphics, Chris Riley 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 cylinders were the closest point battle entering championship night. With Tim VanDemark and Brian Salmini separated by an even 50 points, a minor slip could have cost either the championship. Jason Seymour and Dakota Fuller brought the field to green as Jeff Sterling quickly charged to the front. Collin Mills,Vandemark and Josh Wilder followed Sterling to put Seymour sixth. Fuller’s run would come to an end on lap 5 as his machine slowed down on the frontstretch. Spending more time in the heartbreak hotel than any other driver in the division this season, Sterling’s car would drift high into turn one and come to a stop on the next restart from the lead. With Collin Mills and Scott Beach composing the new front row, Beach got the jump as Josh Wilder looked to the inside of Mills for second. Mike Girjatowicz would find the turn one yuke tire on lap 7, bringing out another yellow as the 4 cylinders struggled to find their momentum. With a final yellow coming for debris on lap 8, the field moved to single file restarts. Scott Beach would lead the way until breaking in turn 4 the next lap and coasting to the infield. Wilder and Mills would run door to door down the back stretch before Wilder slid up out of turn 4 to take the lead. Contact between the pair would cost Mills solme momentum as he came under attack from Rich Wagner as Wilder drove away to the checkers. Mills would finish second with Wagner, Vandemark and Salmini completing the top 5.
2022 Track Champion Tim Vandemark said it felt good to win the Championship as his family has rebounded from their crash in hotlaps earlier in the season. Once he could see everyone was getting dicey around him, it became about being patient to keep the car clean and stay within the point buffer he carried over Salmini. To come back and claim the Championship after their bad luck this season is extra rewarding for Vandemark who is on his 13th season racing. Tim would like to thank his Grandpa, Aunt Robin and family. Feature winner Josh Wilder made it to Victory Lane for the second time this season, finding quick success in his new ride. The Doughboy found the outside to his liking and will be back to chase a King of the Can title. Though it got a little dicey with Mills at the end, Wilder wanted to get the win on Championship night. Josh would like to thank his entire family, Andy Bolles, and the Bolles family for lending him their garage. He would also like to thank sponsors: Terps Towing, Mallery & Yannone Trucking, Wildside Graphix, Damascus Service, George Shields Inc, and Jimmy Difulvio Construction.
With our season wrapping up, next week’s racing action will include a King of the Can qualifier for all weekly divisions, with a guaranteed redraw spot on the line. That will lead up to the biggest event on the speedway calendar as September 16th welcomes the 602 Crate Sportsman, Factory Stocks, Mike Petrilak Memorial for the Street Stocks, Modified match races and SCDRA 4 Cylinders. September 17th will feature the mighty modifieds, CRSA Sprint Cars, Xcell 600cc Modified Tour and the NYPENN IMCA Series.
Stafursky Paving Modifieds
2022 PENN CAN SPEEDWAY CHAMPION: 5 - KEVIN HARTNETT
WINNER - 5 - KEVIN HARTNETT
2.) 23P-Bud Phillips 3.) 119-Brian Malcolm 4.) 27K-Brett Tonkin 5.) 72-Nick Petrilak 6.) 484-Travis Brockner 7.) 117-Alex Stanton 8.) 145-Alan Rudalavage 9.) 1-Darwin Greene Sr. 10.) 27V-Dan Vauter 11.) 14-Stanley Wilkins 12.) 111J-Jamie Bedford 13.) 84Y-Brian Franko 14.) 52B-Brandon Fritsch 15.) 17D-Mike Loney 16.) 7M-Mike Nagel Sr. 17.) 119X-Doug Smith 18.) 181-Kenny Hildebrandt 19.) 73-Casey Plummer
602 Crate Sportsman
2022 PENN CAN SPEEDWAY CHAMPION: 197 - MIKE SCHANE
WINNER - 88 - ALAN KOMAR
2.) 1A–Brad Weaver 3.) 3R Ray Leoanrd 4.) 16-Ned Fitch 5.) 197-Mike Schane 6.) 88S-Michael Samony 7.) 14K-AJ konopka 8.) 55-Marty Goodwin 9.) 3DL-Dave LeyShon 10.) 23JR-John Michael Phillips 11.) 226-Matt Martino 12.) 70J-Joe Novak 13.) 6X-Joe Wilgus 14.) 44-Jim O’Hara 15.) 32-Eddie Kudrako 16.) 88A-Amanda Scholtisek 17.) 111J-Jamie Bedford 18.) 13-Dave Conklin 19.) 57-Dusty Barton 20.) M7-Mike Nagel Jr. 21.) 10K-Kolyn Schane 22.) 27-Corey Ziegler 23.) 7-Ralph Mele
A & E Tire and Auto Center 600cc Xcel Modifieds
2022 PENN CAN SPEEDWAY CHAMPION: 54T - ADAM MUDGE
WINNER - 28 - BRETT GRAY
2.) 29-Brenton Miller 3.) 999-Nate Oropallo 4.) 17-Jeff Baldwin 5.) 54T-Adam Mudge 6.) 217-Larry Furman 7.) 00-Jeremy Williams 8.) 9X-Josh Wilder 9.) 167-Devan Sieben 10.) 99-? 11.) 77X-Nolan Smith 12.) 80-Tyler Smith 13.) 67-Tori Straway 14.) 12J-John Dinniny 15.) 1JR-Darwin Greene Jr. DNS 29-Doug Newbigging
2022 PENN CAN SPEEDWAY CHAMPION: 57ND - JASON RHODES
WINNER - 57ND - JASON RHODES
2.) 5T-Charlie Towner 3.) 28-Charlie Gilbert 4.) 72A-Dominick Albanese 5.) 10K-Kevin Welch 6.) 23S-Kyle Spoor 7.) 7K-Brandon Gumaer 8.) 69ER-Billy Shoemaker DNS 03-Jason Beebe 83T-Rich Sharpsteen
Gary’s U-Pull IT 4 Cylinders
2022 PENN CAN SPEEDWAY CHAMPION: 107 - TIM VANDEMARK
WINNER - 5 - JOSH WILDER
2.) 71M-Collin Mills 3.) 7F-Rich Wagner 4.) 107-Tim Vandemark 5.) 77-Brian Salmini 6.) 21MJ-Mike Jenks 7.) 27-Jason Seymour 8.) 71-Rob Sterling 9.) 21-Scott Beach 10.) M1-Mike Girjatowicz 11.) G55-Dakota Fuller 12.) 66-Josh Storms 13.) 56-Jeff Sterling