Tonkin Charges Back to Victory Lane
By Nathan Aldrich and Kayla Peting
It was an overcast night at the Penn Can speedway but don't let the cool breeze fool you, the action on the track had everyone fired up. With 6 divisions on the card including a IMCA points race, a healthy serving of side by side action was on the menu. Penn Can closed out the month of July in style, as fans began the month with fireworks in the air and ended it with fireworks on the track.
Travis Brockner and Darwin Greene Sr led the way as the Stafursky paving modifieds took the green flag. Brockner grabbed the lead as Mike Ward quickly came to a stop at the top of turn two bringing out the yellow. Greene would get the better of Brockner on the second try, carrying the outside momentum to take the lead as the pair headed for the backstretch. Brett Tonkin found the inside of Bud Phillips to nab the third spot on lap 5. Teammate Dan Vauter would follow Tonkin as Phillips tried to defend the bottom. The pair would make contact, shuffling Phillips out of the groove and letting Kevin Hartnett and Brian Malcolm slip by while Phillips recovered. Tonkin and Vauter next went after Brockner, moving the pole sitter back to sixth as Hartnett and Malcolm also went by on lap 9.
Tonkin reeled in Greene over the next two laps, with the pair racing door to door as Greene held on through lap 11. Tonkin would be too much however, becoming the leader on lap 12 with a power move out of turn four. Point leader Hartnett kept gaining over Vauter, taking away the third spot as they dashed down the front stretch. Both drivers would advance past Greene for podium spots. With half the laps completed Tonkin began to work lapped traffic, slowing his pace slightly as Hartnett began to reel him in like a fisherman after a prize haul. As they worked lap 20 Alan Rudalavage cracked the top 5 moving past Greene in as Rudalavage’s string of bad luck cleared up. Nick Petrilak worked the inside line to take ninth from Phillips as just ahead Brockner and Alex Tonkin dueled for seventh. That battle would lead to the second caution as the pair made contact in turns three and four, sending Tonkin around with a flat and collecting Mike Loney, Alex Stanton and Phllips. Hartnett struck it well on the restart, as he and Tonkin came back to the line side by side, Tonkin holding the lead by a half car length. The tide would turn one final time however, as Doug Smith ended up facing the wrong direction and set up a four lap dash to the finish. Tonkin rocketed away on the restart, never allowing Hartnett to throw the Hail Mary and taking the checkers with Vauter, Malcolm and Rudalavage completing the top 5.
Feature winner Brett Tonkin has said in the past that lapped traffic can play a major part in winning or losing a race. After hitting lapped traffic around halfway Tonkin had to make his moves carefully, while knowing there were some really fast cars behind him, chomping at the bit to take away the lead. In the closing laps Tonkin remarked he could feel Hartnett to the outside and was surprised that the top held up so strongly. With the laps winding down Brett felt he had to move up off the bottom, instead rolling the middle to break the momentum that Hartnett could hold on the top. Early on Brett spoke highly of his battle with Darwin Greene Sr. mentioning it was a clean race, in a fight for the bottom lane early on. With the feature winner stickers begging to pile up Brett would like to thank car owners Dave and BJ Stafursky, Stafursky Paving, Stafursky Auto Parts. Morrison Performance, FNCB Bank, H&K Dunmore Asphalt, and Regal Plumbing and Heating. Additionally, his brother Alex for all the work he puts into the car week after week and Jimmy Witko.
IMCA Modified fans were treated to a surprise appearance from former NASCAR driver and Lethal Chassis builder David Stremme. Jason Sullivan and Jake Maynard led the way as the field charged a little too hard into turn one. When the dust cleared 8 cars were involved with Chris Hunsinger leaving on the hook. Maynard would restart on the inside with Stremme to his outside as Stremme jumped out to the lead. Eddie Sites worked the inside of Tyler Velcher to nab the third spot, going on to battle Maynard for second. Aaron Benjamin headed pitside on lap 2 as Sites cleared Maynard for second. Brad Sites followed not far behind, taking fourth from Velcher and chasing Maynard. The inside line proved strong throughout the event as Stremme closed in on lapped traffic with five to go. Maynard and Brad Sites put on a show while racing for third, with a debris caution setting up a two lap dash to the finish. Stremme would lead the way to the checkers as Eddie Sites, Brad Sites, Maynard, and Nichols rounded out the top 5. Feature winner David Stremme couldn’t be reached for comment due to other travel obligations.
602 Crate Sportsman featured Joe Novak and Tommy Groover on the front row as Groover pulled ahead with the early lead. Novak quickly came under fire from Travis Rooney for the second spot as Mike Schane and Ray Leonard battled for eighth. Things got messy on the frontstretch as Leonard, Weaver and Konopka collided. The incident would end the night for both Weaver and Leonard. Groover took the inside on the restart, pulling ahead as Mike Schane, Mike Nagel Jr, and Kolyn Schane battled for third. Mike Schane would get the spot as Nagel settled into fourth Lap 6 brought a second pileup as Nagel, John Michael Phillips, and Alan Komar collided in turn four. Matt Martino would be sent to the rear for contact. Groover led the way from the inside on the restart as Kolyn and Mike Schane swapped the third spot. As the field strung together a handful of green flag laps, Ned Fitch took his machine pitside on lap 9. A Brad Wooster spin triggered a lap 11 yellow as Eddie Kudrako headed pitside. The next yellow came at halfway as Novak, Komar, Phillips and Jim O’Hara collided in turn four.
With the field back underway Phillips would sprint in turn three leading to another restart. Wooster would be the next to spin as the field continued to work lap 15. Things would clear up after Martino came to a stop at the top of pit road to bring out the final yellow on lap 17. Rooney would fire well, pulling away as Groover and Mike Schane battled for third until the end. Groover would capture the spot with Alex Konopka and Kolyn Schane rounding out the top 5. Feature winner Travis Rooney stayed focused on launching well and maintaining his line through the yellow fever. Travis knew he was good on the bottom with Groover’s preferred line being the top as well. With both drivers having their preferred lines, Travis said it was critical not to mess up. It’s Rooney’s second win in his first full sportsman season. He would like to thank Matt’s Diesel Service, Gordy, Carl, His parents Paul and Dawn, Shelly, Bruce, and sponsors Erik Hines Trucking, Stanton Racing, Mallery & Yannone Trucking, and Wildside Graphix.
A & E Tire and Auto Center 600cc Xcel Modifieds have put on intense shows all season and this week was no exception. Jeff Baldwin and Nolan Smith brought the field to green as the field stacked up out of turn four. With Jared Green, Nate Oropallo and Josh Towner all involved. The next try went smoother as Nolan Smith took the lead with Towner, Tyler Smith and Adam Mudge taking it three wide into turn one. Mudge and Tyler Smith dashed down the backstretch door to door as Smith took the spot away with a turn four slider. Green would challenge Mudge to the inside to take fourth, then take third from Smith on lap 4. Mudge would jump the berm on the following lap moving back to the eighth spot as they yellow came out on lap 6 for debris. Nolan would elect for the outside on the restart with Towner completing the front row. Green would join the fun as the trio went three wide for the lead into turn two. Smith would lead the lap as Green backed out. As Smith and Towner raced through turn two Smith would lose the handle up top, sliding down into Towner with both cars managing to keep it going. Green would slow to the infield on lap 10 with a myriad of troubles as Tyler Smith began to open up his lead. Towner and Oropallo began a heated battle for fourth on lap 14 as the pair swapped spots and sliders in turn 4. Oropallo would drive deep into turn three the following lap, catching Towner in the rear and sending his machine around. With Oropallo pushed off the track, Towner rejoined the tail of the field for the lap 15 restart. Mudge would look inside Tyler Smith for the lead as the yellow quickly came back out for a lost tire. With four to go Smith would hold Mudge off to collect the win with Nolan Smith, Towner and Geoffrey Sutton rounding out the top 5.
Feature winner Tyler Smith picked up his fourth win of the season and remarked that he could feel the pressure from behind on the restarts. Tyler remained focused solely on what was ahead of him however, finding the zone and racing the track instead of Mudge. After starting fourth and heading in the wrong direction on the start, Smith rallied back with a good all around finish for their team. After making some minor changes from the heat, the track came in very well from heat to feature for Smith. He would like to thank his sponsors: Win Supply, French’s Auto Parts, DKM Auto & Marine, Total HVAC, AJ Leto & Sons, JDL Enterprise and all of his family and friends.
Gary’s U-Pull It 4 cylinder action brought Chris Wesser and Dakota Fuller as Wesser grabbed the early lead. Mike Ferris took the inside of Fuller with Scott Beach in tow as the pair moved into second and third. Wesser, Ferris and Beach went three wide for the lead as Beach moved ahead putting Ferris second. Josh Wilder would be the next to challenge Fuller, using the inside to take the fourth spot. Brian Salmini and Jeff Sterling slowly marched forward passing Wesser as both moved toward the top 5. Ferris’ strong run would end on lap 9 as he headed toward the infield and beach began to lap traffic. Sterling passed point leader Tim Vandemark for the fifth spot on lap 11 with Ayden Mohr spinning on lap 13 to bring out the only caution. Vandemark headed to the infield under the yellow while Wesser took his machine outside.Wilder would look to the inside of Beach on the restart but couldn’t make it stick as Beach danced away to the flag. Salmini, Sterling and Fuller completed the top 5. Feature winner Scott Beach would like to thank Kevin Whitman, his large family, French’s Auto Parts, Don Snow Trucking, Tank’s Automotive, Casey and Bobby Jeff, and Brian Salmini.
Kevin Welch and Jason Rhodes charged out of turn four to take the green in the factory stock main event. Rhodes pulled ahead early as Charlie Towner moved into second. Charlie Gilbert and Kevin MacDonald would settle the third spot with MacDonald taking it on the outside. A Kyle Spoor spin on lap 12 would bring out the yellow flag and set up a single file restart. On the ensuing lap MacDonald and Gilbert would collide while exiting turn four with heavy damage to the door and right front of Gilbert's machine. With Gilbert unable to turn he would be taken off on the hook. Rhodes would pull away once again as Towner, MacDonald, Spoor and Welch rounded out the top 5.Feature winner Jason Rhodes has stated in the past that it’s quickly become a game of who can get to the front first. Starting from the outside pole helped in that regard this week. With good track conditions it was a bit of a long night for the factory stocks as they were the last division to take to the track this week after the sportsman. Rhodes pleasantly found there was a good bit of bite left on the surface. He would like to thank his sponsors: 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.
Penn Can will be back in action this Friday for Fan Appreciation night. The track will feature $5 Admission with no outside food or drink allowed, alcohol excluded. With the Xcel 600cc Modified tour set to make a visit to the speedway the month of August gets underway. Stay tuned to our website and facebook page to keep in the know for all things Penn Can!
Stafursky Paving Modifieds
WINNER - 27K - BRETT TONKIN
2.) 5-Kevin Hartnett 3.) 9-Dan Vauter 4.) 119-Brian Malcolm 5.) 145-Alan Rudalavage 6.) 72-Nick Petrilak 7.) 1-Darwin Greene Sr. 8.) 23P-Bud Phillips 9.) 117-Alex Stanton 10.) 484-Travis Brockner 11.) 17D-Mike Loney 12.) 27-Alex Tonkin 13.) 119X-Doug Smith 14.) 84X-Brian Franko 15.) 7M-Mike Nagel Sr. 16.) 45-Mike Ward
WINNER - 35 - DAVID STREMME
2.) 15-Eddie Sites 3.) 115-Brad Sites 4.) 69-Jake Maynard 5.) X23-Bill Nichols 6.) 39-Jason Sullivan 7.) 23-Tyler Stoddard 8.) 29-Bob Maynard 9.) 11-Tyler Velcher 10.) 5-Aaron Benjamin 11.) 93-Chris Hunsinger DNS 777-Jacob McConnel
602 Crate Sportsman
WINNER - 54T - TRAVIS ROONEY
2.) 7R-Tommy Groover 3.) 197-Mike Schane 4.) 14K-Alex Konopka 5.) 10K-Kolyn Schane 6.) 55-Marty Goodwin 7.) 7-Ralph Mele 8.) 88K-Alan Komar 9.) 88A-Amanda Scholtisek 10.) 23JR-John Michael Phillips 11.) 3D-Brett Wooster 12.) 226-Matt Martino 13.) 44-Jim O’Hara 14.) 70J-Joe Novak 15.) 32-Eddie Kudrako 16.) 16-Ned Fitch 17.) M7-Mike Nagel Jr 18.) 1A-Brad Weaver 19.) 3R-Ray Leonard12-Parker Overbaugh
A & E Tire and Auto Center 600cc Xcel Modifieds
WINNER - 80 - TYLER SMITH
2.) 54T-Adam Mudge 3.) 77X-Nolan Smith 4.) 9X-Josh Towner 5.) 5S-Geoffrey Sutton 6.) 1JR-Darwin Greene Jr. 7.) 999-Larry Furman 8.) 167-Devan Sieben 9.) 67-Tori Straway 10.) 176-Mollie Mroz 11.) Xcel-Bolday Butler 12.) 17-Jeff Baldwin 13.) 30NN-Nate Oropallo 14.) 607-Jared Green 15.) 84-Ted Mills 16.) 12J-John Dinniny
WINNER - 57ND - JASON RHODES
2.) 5T-Charlie Towner 3.) 27M-Kevin MacDonald 4.) 23S-Kyle Spoor 5.) 10-Kevin Welch 6.) 28-Charlie Gilbert 7.) 63-Aaron Fassett 8.) 7K-Brandon Gunder
GARY’S U-PULL IT 4 Cylinders
WINNER - 21 - SCOTT BEACH
2.) 5-Josh Wilder 3.) 77-Brian Salmini 4.) 56-Jeff Sterling 5.) 55G-Dakota Fuller 6.) 1M-Mike Girjatowicz 7.) 8-Jim Backowski 8.) 66-Josh Storms 9.) 22-David Benson 10.) 01-Ayden Mohr 11.) 70-Chris Wesser 12.) 107-Tim Vandemark 13.) 17-Mike Ferris 14.) 944-Jeremy Trunzo