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Long Time Coming for Kostelansky’s Win

Long Time Coming for Kostelansky’s Win

June 18, 2021

Nathan Aldrich and Kayla Peting

As Mother Nature played spoiler to the first portion of the Hot Summer Night special Monday, racers and fans alike felt good to be back on track Friday night at The Penn Can Speedway. With Modifieds, Sportsman, 600cc Modifieds, Factory Stock, Street Stock and 4 cylinders on the docket, it was sure to be an exciting night. There was a sense of relief as other local tracks rained out, but we continued on as the pits filled. There were new faces and much deserved wins across all the divisions. The action was anything but lacking at the Penn Can Speedway.

The headlining SUNOCO Race Fuels and Stafursky Paving Modifieds drew a feisty competitive field this week as the battles up front excited fans. Heat racing got the action going early as Alan Rudalavage and Brian Malcolm worked their way through heat one to get past front row starter Brad Schaffer. The hard charging Malcolm would run out of laps as he tried to reel in Rudalavage to conclude the first heat. Teammates comprised the front row for heat two as Kenny Sparks and Darwin Greene Sr. set the pace. Greene would pick up the heat win with Byron Worthing and George Kostelansky rounding out the top three. The final heat came to green with Chris Hunsinger and Jamie Bedford leading the way. Nick Petrilak took the heat with Mike Loney and Kevin Hartnett following him across the line.

As the cars paced the track the crowd eagerly awaited Nick Folk’s signal to front row Kenny Sparks and Chris Hunsinger. Sparks would get the jump over Hunsinger, but it wouldn’t count as Schaffer and Loney collided and stuck together out of turn 2. The second try at the start was called back, setting up a third chance for Sparks and Hunsinger to fire out of four. The third time was the charm however as both cars launched well, drawing even through turns one and two with Hunsinger making up ground to take the lead from Sparks on the outside. The top two would quickly be joined by Kostelansky who got Sparks for second and set his sights on Hunsinger. By the completion of lap 1 Kostelansky was showing his nose to Hunsinger and took the lead working the inside of the leader’s machine as the pair came under the flag stand. Sparks could not catch a breather as Petrilak closed in to take the third spot on lap 2 and Malcolm would follow Petrilak through on the next lap. As Rudalavage chased after Malcolm the yellow would come out on lap 6 for the slowing car of Hunsinger at the top of turn 4. He would take his machine pit side as the field prepared for the restart.

Konstelansky elected for the outside on the restart, getting the launch over Petrilak before the field stacked up behind them. Five cars would tangle in turn 4 as Connor Sellars, Mike Nagel Sr, Sparks, and Nick Pecko were able to drive away. Unfortunately, the incident ended Casey Plummer’s night early as he went off on the hook. Under the yellow Greene came in for a flat left rear while the field came back to what would be a long green flag run. With Kostelansky once again taking the outside he powered away from Petrilak while Worthing attacked Malcolm for the podium spot. After vanquishing Malcolm, Worthing next set his sights on Petrilak who still held the second spot. As Worthing looked to the inside Petrilak stayed strong on the top holding off multiple attempts from Worthing. Behind the pair Rudalavage and Hartnett battled for fifth with Rudalavage maintaining the spot. Petrilak got all the motivation he needed as he reeled in Kostelansky with Worthing on his bumper. Petrilak made his move on lap 11 looking to the inside of Kostelansky as the two ran door to door for the next three laps.

Kostelansky would hold strong keeping Petrilak from completing the pass as Malcolm went after Worthing for the third spot. Worthing held him off for a short while before Malcolm wrestled the spot away and began chasing down the lead duo. With the leaders catching lapped traffic on lap 20 Sparks, Nagel and Greene were 3 wide racing for position in front of leader Kostelansky. As the leaders worked through the lapped machines rain began falling on the speedway and rapidly increased in intensity drawing the yellow and eventually red flags so the track crew could go to work soaking the moisture in. After the delay wrapped up the cars rolled out for a 5-lap shootout to the finish. It was smooth sailing for Konstelansky as he pulled ahead of the single file restart and sailed to the win unchallenged. Petrilak picked up second followed by Malcolm, Hartnett, Worthing, Rudalavage, Dan Pompey, Brian Franko, Pecko and Brandon Fritsch. Feature winner George Kostelansky chose to stay in the infield during the rain delay confident in his machine and the decisions he made before the race. The veteran driver who moved to be closer to the southern tier speedways has been racing for 49 years, getting his start in 1972. Kostelansky is running his first full time season in a few years and proved he has not slowed at all with the win. The first yellow hurt a bit as he felt he was sliding backwards but once he found his rhythm things started to pick up. With favorable track conditions both before and after the rain George could feel Petrilak waiting in the wings behind him. It was a good night for both driver and team in an older car Kostelansky has been running while he works on his new ride. The drivers who prefer Brown and Gold will be going back to that scheme for his 50th season behind the wheel and said his black car is only temporary. George would like to thank Steve Roberts, Doug’s Speed Shop and Scott George Bluestone.

The Sleepy Hollow Turf crate sportsman contested their feature after the rain Friday night and went a distance of 25 laps. Front row Ray Leonard and Brad Weaver came out of turn 4 dead even, staying door to door all the way down the front stretch and up the backstretch. Leonard would lead at the flag stand as an early yellow came on lap one for the slowing 7JR of Ralph Mele. Leonard would get the better restart as he led Weaver into turn one. Leo McGurrin was making moves early on as he moved inside Mike Nagel Jr. for the fourth position. The early yellows continued as Alan Komar spun in turn 2 and the pack got ready for another restart. As Leonard pulled ahead on the restart Chad Sandt joined the party taking the second spot from Weaver’s inside and Nagel Jr held off challenges from McGurrin for the fourth spot. Deeper in the running order Matt Martino ran door to door with Ned Fitch for the eleventh spot as Martino moved past. Randy Brokaw found his way past Brandon Oleski for ninth while Moose Gulley held Brokaw from the eighth position. John Bush headed pit side the following lap as the field stayed green and Leonard closed in on lapped traffic.

As Leonard fought through the slower lapped cars Gulley took the eighth spot from Brokaw and Komar spun in turn four bringing out the yellow on lap 13. The single file restart came as the field had completed half the race distance and Leonard got a good start, while behind him Nagel Jr. had his hands full as McGurrin worked him for fourth. A failed U-Joint would end Nagel’s night as he pulled to the infield on lap 14 ending a top 5 run. A lap 16 yellow followed for a Komar spin in turn 2 and subsequent pileup as Oleski and Jim O’Hara tangled in turn 4. The next yellow came three laps later for debris on the back stretch as the field singled out. With three to go a big pileup brought out the last yellow with Martino, O’Hara, Eddie Kudrako, Troy Parlanti, and AJ Konopka involved. Leonard would complete the last three laps to wrap up his victory followed by Sandt, McGurrin, Brokaw, Jamie Cortazar, Oleski, O’Hara, Gulley, Konopka and Kudrako. Brad Weaver was unfortunately disqualified during post-race tech inspection.

Feature winner Ray Leonard had a good car from the time his team arrived at the track. After a strong heat performance, they only made minor suspension changes and were able to get a really good bite on the low line as his car hooked the inside well. With the early restarts showing him Weaver was right behind it was hard to build up a rhythm early on. Starting on the front row gave Ray a clear track to work with and made it easier for him to focus without having to work traffic early on. Leonard would like to thank his entire crew, wife Cheryl, Billy, Frog, Bubba and sponsors Erik Hines Trucking, Sleepy Hollow Turf, Arlo’s Tavern, A & B Tent Rental, DIG Race Products and Razderk Detailing and Tinting.

Sunoco Race Fuel Street Stock action brought the heat this week as Travis Brockner and Jon Carpenter came to the green flag. Carpenter used the outside cushion to his advantage, pulling ahead of Brockner to take the early lead. Behind the lead pair Shawn Boynton made moves, getting past Abe Romanik for third before moving in on Brockner for second. With 3 laps on the board Nick Bonham spun in turn 4 bringing out the caution. Carpenter elected for the inside on the restart and Boynton stayed right with him as the two went door to door down the backstretch. Carpenter pulled ahead with the lead as late arrival Shane Wolfe Jr. looked to the inside of Brockner for fourth. Brockner would hold the spot, moving on to unsuccessfully challenge Romanik for third. Carpenter took the win with Boynton, Romanik, Brockner, Wolfe and Bonham in tow.

Feature winner Jon Carpenter races every other weekend and had to fight hard for this one. Boynton is his brother-in-law and didn’t make it easy for him. With two to go Carpenter felt the tap to his bumper and knew his competitors were nipping at his heels. The team made the right adjustments after their heat to improve a car that was not quite where they wanted it to be. T-bone would like to thank his wife and four kids, grandparents, mom and dad, Ben Call as well as the entire Carpenter and Boynton families who help him every week. Jon would like to thank sponsors Ithaca Eagles Club, Robinson Family Jewelry, Call Daniels Trucking, Double Aught Lumber, Color Street Nails and Team Angels.

With the factory stock class growing stronger every week a pair of heavy hitters got things started off. Charlie Gilbert and Tommy Groover brought the field to Nick Folk’s green flag with Groover taking the lead early on. Jason Rhodes made his way to the fifth spot passing Charlie Towner on the outside in the opening laps as Mike Chilson followed. Gilbert was not going down without a fight as he got back around Groover to take the race lead. With Rhodes advancing quickly through the field he next took the third spot from Rich Sharpsteen and set out for the lead duo. He would peek to Groover’s inside for second but was unable to make the pass, switching lanes and getting by Groover on the high side the following lap. Behind Groover fourth changed hands as Charlie Towner advanced past Sharpsteen. Rhodes had by this time ran down Gilbert and made his move to take over the lead. Rhodes began to lap cars on lap 7 before a debris caution on lap 9 bunched the field back up.

Rhodes took the outside on the restart shooting out to the lead over Gilbert while Charlie Towner passed Groover for third. Towner was not done yet as he reeled in Gilbert and the two battled for the second spot. On lap 14 Alecia Towner slowed to the infield and Rhodes crossed the line first. Gilbert was next with Charlie Towner, Groover, Chilson, Sharpsteen, Matt Millard, CJ Swanson, and John Picchio. Rhodes was unfortunately disqualified following a post-race tech inspection for illegal components in the suspension. Feature winner Charlie Gilbert is a 3-time champion at The Penn Can Speedway and has a long racing career under his belt. The topside of the speedway was rolling really well for Gilbert who had a proud moment getting past Groover who he feels is fast every week. With the car feeling good after the heat Gilbert decided to forgo making changes for the feature and the decision paid off well. Early in his career Gilbert was inspired by drivers such as Jim Gabriel Sr. and Mike Colsten who helped him early on. He would like to thank his loving wife who puts up with it all as his “car owner” and the rest of his awesome crew.

The A & E Tire & Auto Service Center 600 cc Modifieds contested a GRIT series race this week drawing a strong field of 20 cars. Jared Green and Adam Mudge took the green flag as pandemonium quickly ensued and cars worked every groove of the track 4 wide at points. With TJ Smith and Devon Sieben tangling in turn two the field would try for a complete restart, having not completed a lap. Green would have a good restart as behind him Ali Scutt, Mudge and Chuck Lohmeyer battled for the second spot. As Mudge and Lohmeyer moved past Scutt Dana Davis capitalized, shooting past all 3 and moving into the second spot. Behind him Brenton Miller and Brett Gray took Mudge 3 wide for the fourth position. Gray and Miller would then duke it out for the fourth spot running side by side until Miller edged out Gray. By lap 7 Davis had reeled in race leader Green and made his move that same lap taking over the top spot. Miller would be the next car to pass Green as he had previously gotten around Lohmeyer for third, and now moved into the runner up spot. Just as Davis caught lapped traffic Larry Furman slowed in turn 3 bringing out the caution.

A flurry of cautions followed as two restarts on lap 9 and lap 10 had Green and Lohmeyer going to the back along with Nick Oropallo and Dave Brown. Brett Gray absorbed a rough hit facing backwards in turn 2 as the field dodged the spinning cars. Lohmeyer was a man on a mission following the restarts, getting five spots in a quick span. Lohmeyer got past Scutt and Green who were battling for the fifth spot to move into the top 5. Next it was taking the fourth spot from Travis Rooney, but time was quickly running out as the field completed lap 16. With Davis moving into lapped traffic, Nick Folk displayed the two to go signal. It would be smooth sailing from there as Davis took the checkered flag with Miller, Mudge, Lohmeyer, Rooney, Smith, John Dinniny, Green, Glover and Gray rounding out the top 10. Feature winner Dana Davis said that the cautions were not the most helpful, but on the restarts, he felt no immediate pressure from Miller until the last few laps. When asked how the car was feeling he said, “We took a different approach this week with set up and throughout the week we were thinking outside the box.” Davis would like to thank Ben, Mom and Dad, Kedrin, the Kithcart family, Valu auto, Southern Tier Lawn Enforcement, Independent Print Co., and Laylor Family Dental. Davis was also excited to be able to take home the win on Father’s Day weekend stating, “I couldn’t do it without my dad and his support throughout my racing career.” This win was also significant to Davis and also for the Kithcart family and Carl Kithcart Sr. who had passed away and started this whole operation when he bought the car. Davis could not be more grateful for the support from his family and the entire Kithcart family.

Dakota Fuller and Scott Beach brought the Gary’s U-Pull It 4 cylinders to the green flag with beach pulling out to the lead. Rich Wagner worked past Beach before the start was called back. Try two came after Madyson Beach had been taken pit side on the hook and once again saw Beach pulling ahead of Fuller. This time it was Andy Bolles’ turn to make a power move passing Beach for the lead as positions quickly changed hands throughout the field. Last week’s feature winner Tim Vandermark moved inside of Ken Evans for the third spot. Evans couldn’t catch a breather as Josh Wilder took him door to door in turns 3 and 4. Wilder took the spot while Vandermark gave chase to Wagner taking away the second spot. On lap 7 Evans headed pit side along with Jeremy Trurizo. With two laps to go heartbreak struck for Vandermark as he slowed on the front stretch and headed pit side, ending a top 3 run. Bolles would maintain the lead for the final restart taking the checkers followed by Wagner, Wilder, Jeff Stirling, and Dave Nixon. Andy Bolles made his way to victory lane for the first time this season and the smile on his face could not have gotten any bigger. With very few cautions, Bolles felt comfortable with his lead and would stay on the inside lane since it was the fastest. When asked about the track condition, he stated that corners were a little rough, but the straightaways were beautiful. Towards the end of race Bolles eased up on the gas to not push the car too hard and to make it last longer. Bolles would like to thank his mom, dad, Josh, and Lela. Also, his sponsors: Jimmy Difulvio Constructions, Damascus Services, Wildside Graphics, J. R’s Automotive, Russy’s Auto, and STAR.

This coming Friday will be the Hall of Fame night where some previous drivers and fans will be honored for their loyalty over the years. It is also the Glick Fire Equipment Company Night where Veterans/Active Military and First Responders with ID get $3 off grandstand admission. Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks, Factory Stocks, 600cc Modifieds and 4 cylinders will be on hand. It is sure to be an action-packed event. There will be more information coming out this coming week, be sure to like us on Facebook at The Penn Can Speedway to get all the latest information.

Gary's U Pull-It 4 cylinders

Andy Bolles, Rich Wagner, Josh Wilder, Jeff Sterling, Dave Nixon, Tim Vandermark, Jeremy Trunizo, Ken Evans, Scott Beach, Josh Hubbard, Dakota Fuller, Madyson Beach

A&E Tire & Auto Service Center 600 GRIT Series

Dana Davis, Brenton Miller, Adam Mudge, Chuck Lohmeyer, Travis Rooney, TJ Smith, John Dinniny, Jared Green, John Glover, Brett Gray, Jeff Baldwin, Ali Scutt, Zach Mills, Brian Salmini, Dave Brown, Nate Oropallo, Larry Furman, Nolan Smith, Mike Anzelone, Devan Sieben, Sheldon Whitman

Stafursky Paving Sunoco Race Fuel Modifieds

George Kostelansky, Nick Petrilak, Brian Malcolm, Kevin Hartnett, Byron Worthing, Alan Rudalavage, Dan Pompey, Brian Franko, Nick Pecko, Brandon Fritsch, Jamie Bedford, Brad Schaffer, Connor Sellars, Mike Loney, Kenny Sparks, Darwin Green SR, Bud Phillips, Mike Nagel SR, Casey Plummer, Chris Hunsinger, Stanley Wilkins, Paul Rooney, Matt Cole

Factory Stocks

Charlie Gilbert, Charlie Towner, Tommy Groover, Mike Chilson, Rich Sharpsteen, Matt Millard, CJ Swanson, John Picchio, Alecia Towner, Brad Chilson, DQ Jason Rhodes

Sleepy Hollow Turf & Insinger Performance 602 Sportsman Modifieds

Ray Leonard, Chad Sandt, Leo McGurrin, Randy Brokaw, Jamie Cortazar, Brandon Oleski, Jim O'Hara, Moose Gulley, AJ Konopka, Eddie Kudrako, Matt Martino, Ned Fitch, Alan Komar, Mike Nagel JR, Tony Parlanti, Joe Buchanan, John Bush, Ralph Mele, DQ Brad Weaver

Sunoco Racing Fuel Street Stocks

Jon Carpenter, Shawn Boyton, Abe Romanik, Travis Brockner, Shane Wolfe JR, Nick Bonham, Jimmy Sykes

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