- Kayla Peting
Tonkin Claims Spot in King of the Can
Photo by: Walt Smith
By Kayla Peting
As the end of the racing season rapidly approaches, drivers raced for the shot for a guaranteed redraw spot for the King of the Can Friday for the Win and You Are In event. The show brought a few newcomers across all divisions as the biggest weekend of the year approaches. Fans would enjoy a thrilling night of racing as there were 6 divisions on the card.
The Stafursky Paving Modifieds saw a strong field of 21 modifieds with Darwin Greene Sr. and Five Mile Point regular Justin Holland would lead the field to the green. As the green dropped battles would quickly follow as Dan Vauter, Jeff Daughtry and Brett Tonkin would quickly go three wide down the front stretch and into turn 1 and 2. However, the battle would come to an end as the yellow came out for Bud Phillips and Leo Fotopoulos would spin and collide in turn 1 and 2. Unfortunately, Fotopoulos’s night would come to an early end as he was towed off the track. Phillips would join the tail of the field as the remainder of the drivers would go to an original start. Greene Sr. and Holland would once again lead the field to the green. Holland would take the early lead over Greene Sr. while Allen Barker would battle outside of Vauter for fourth but would be unable to make the move stick. Barker would try again using the highline and would be able to make his way around Vauter and Daughtry to move into third. A caution would come out after Phillips and Dan Burman would spin in turn 1. While crews hooked up Burman for a tow back to the pits, Barker had a bit of bad luck with a left rear flat and would have it fixed by the time the field would fire. Holland would take the high line with Greene Sr. for the restart, Greene Sr. would get the jump and claim the early lead. Vauter would make the low line work and make his way around Daughtry for fourth and Kevin Hartnett would follow suit and move to fifth. Jimmy Zacharias would use the low line to make his way around Alan Rudalvage to claim seventh. Hartnett would use the preferred lowline to claim fourth place over Vauter. A little ways back Zacharias and Daughtry would go door to door through one and two before Zacharias would gain the upper hand and claim sixth.
Lap 8 would see a caution as Casey Plummer, Phillips,and Stanley Wilkins would all spin and collect in turn 2. While the cars all got facing the correct way Mike Nagel Sr. would head pit side for the evening. On the restart, Greene Sr. would select the highline putting Holland to his inside. Off the green flag, Greene Sr. and Holland would go door to door down the straight away with Greene Sr. gaining the upper hand and claiming first. Tonkin would make the low line work to his advantage by making his way around Vauter and Hartnett to move into third. Zacharias would follow closely behind Tonkin and make his way into fifth passing Hartnett. Jeff Daughtry and Rudalvage would go door to door for eighth with Daughtry claiming the spot. Off of turn 3 and into 4, Rudalvage would spin bringing out the caution on lap 11. Greene Sr. had a good thing going and would select the high line once again with Holland to his inside. As the green dropped, the field would be called back due to a no start. With the field lined back up and with the start counting Greene Sr. would quickly take the lead. Tonkin would sneak to the inside of Vaughter to claim third and would step up to Holland using the same line to move into second. Hartnett, Holland, and Vauter would take each other three wide for third with Hartnett claiming the spot.
Lap 15 would see another caution as Joel Smith would come to a stop before heading pit side as well as Barker would return shortly after entering the pits. Greene Sr. would lead the field in a single file restart. Tonkin was making the low groove work all race and would use it to try and claim first but would ultimately be unsuccessful. Further back Zacharias would use the low line to maneuver his way into fifth over Holland. Rudalvage would charge past Mike Loney to claim eleventh. Tonkin would not let up against Greene Sr. and would hit his marks to move his way into first. Hartnett would follow suit and use the low line to shimmy around Greene Sr. to move into second. Vauter and Greene Sr. would battle with each other hard for third before Vauter would claim the spot. Lap 24 would see the final caution of the feature as Barker who was heading pit side would come to a stop at the top of pit road. Tonkin would lead the field in a single file restart with talented drivers right behind him. Zacharias and Holland would use the low line to pass Greene Sr. with a few laps remaining to move into fourth and fifth. Tonkin would take the checkered flag followed closely by Hartnett, Vauter, Zacharias and Holland to round out the top 5.
After making a return to victory lane it was quite the surprise for Tonkin as he was unsure if the car was going to finish. Ultimately, the car was handling the track great considering the amount of water that was on it two days prior. Tonkin credits Keith Beach for making some necessary changes between heats and features. Brett would like to thank his brother Alex for all the work he does week in and week out as well as his nephew Cole for giving him some signs. Brett would like to thank car owners Dave and BJ Stafursky, Stafursky Paving, Stafursky Auto Parts, Higfab, Morrison Performance, FNCB Bank, H&K Dunmore Asphalt, and Regal Plumbing and Heating.
The 602 Crate Sportsman had a strong field of 22 cars on tap for a great night of racing. Ray Leonard and Tommy Groover would lead the field to green and off the start it went three wide between Groover, Leonard and Brad Weaver for first. However, the battle would not get to play out as a red flag came out for a massive pile up in turn 1. Weaver, Dale Welty, Marty Goodwin, Steven Yankowski, Kolyn Schane, Alex Konopka, Mike Wilcha, Eddie Kudrako, Corey Zigler and Dusty Barton would all collect between turns 1 and 2. Once the field was sorted, Leonard and Groover would try once again to lead the field to green. Leonard would take off like a bullet to gain the early lead while farther back in the field Konopka would look to the inside of Alan Komar to move into seventh while Mike Schane would move into second over Groover. With a few laps under the drivers’ belts a caution would come for a stopped Mike Nagel Jr. in turn 3, who would unfortunately end his night early as he was towed pit side. Leonard would select the outside for the restart putting Mike Schane to his inside. Off the line Leonard would get the slight lead after battling door to door with Mike Schane. Konopka would be a man on a mission as his maneuvered his way to the field to battle door to door with Groover for third. With Konopka moving to third, that left Groover to battle with Welty for fifth. However, before the battle could truly begin, a yellow would come out on lap 6 for Barton who would spin in turn 1. Leonard would use the highline and put Schane to his inside for the restart, but it does not work out how Leonard had hoped with Schane gaining the early lead.
Towards the back of the pack Jim O’Hara would look to the outside of Alan Komar to move into tenth while Kolyn Schane looked low to move past Art Bray to move into twelfth. Konopka would try his hand at challenging Leonard by looking low but would be unable to claim the spot. Lap 13 would see a caution as Bray would come to a stop at the top of pit road. Mike Schane would lead the field in single file fashion off turn 4 and battles would quickly follow. Yankowski would try his best to move past Joe Novak to gain seventh but would be unable to as the yellow would come on lap 14 for Amanda Scholtisek who would stall out and restart to join the tail of the field. Single file restart lead by Mike Schane would allow a few drivers to make their moves as laps dwindled down. Konopka would try hard to move into second, but Leonard was holding onto it hard while Yankowski finally got the necessary momentum to move around Novak to claim seventh. Weaver would try to make his way through the front by looking to the inside of O’Hara for ninth, but a caution would make that energy fade. Lap 23 would see Scholtisek spinning in between turn 1 and two, bringing back the field to a restart with two to go. The field would go green for a lap, but the final caution of the night would come with one to go due to Novak coming to a stop at the top of turn four. Mike Schane would lead the field for one more lap to claim the victory and the guaranteed redraw spot. He was followed by Leonard, Konopka, Welty and Groover who rounded out the top five.
After winning a championship this year, Mike Schane is looking to collect a King of the Can win as well and the guaranteed redraw spot was a big help. When asked about his battle with Ray Leonard, Mike stated that Ray is good week in and week out and that it is always a fun time battling with him. He credits that getting to the front early really helped as there were several talented drivers in the field. However, he was extremely frustrated with the number of cautions that came out but stated that this was a driver’s track, and that Keith is doing a great job with the surface. Mike wants to thank his car owner Mark, who was unable to attend, but hopes he caught a lot of fish. As well as all the guys who put work into the car. Mike would like to thank his parents, the Longstreet Family and Nick Petrilak for their help and support. The Higfab chassis is sponsored by Drydene, Morgan’s Pub and Eatery, Enterprises Dirt Grass Now, Nunzi’s, and Trackside Products.
The A & E Tire and Auto Center Xcel 600cc Modifieds had a field of 11 cars Friday night and were led to the green by Nolan Smith and Brett Gray. Original pole sitter Tim Franz was unable to get the car running and would head pit side before the race began. As the green flag waved Gray would gain the early lead while farther back teammate Brenton Miller would battle with Larry Furman for sixth. Miller and Larry Furman would battle before Miller’s 29 moved to the high side to make his way into sixth. Miller would continue to be a man on a mission as he moved to the low groove to make his way around Devan Sieben to claim fifth. Jeff Baldwin would try to make the high line work to make his way around Larry Furman to move into seventh. Miller would continue storming to the front as he looked to the low side of Darwin Greene Jr. to move into fourth. Tyler Smith would try to beat out his brother Nolan Smith for second but would be unable to make the move stick.
By lap 5, race leader Gray caught up to the tail end of the field, but his momentum would slow as a caution would be thrown for a slowing Sieben along the front stretch before heading pit side. Gray would select the low side for the restart with Nolan Smith to his outside. Off the green Gray would gain the early lead while teammate Miller would look to the inside of Nolan’s 77X to try and obtain second but would fail to do so. Lap 7 would see the next caution for Nolan Smith spinning leaving Gray and Tyler Smith to take the field to the green on the restart. Right off the green, another yellow would come out for a stopped Tyler Smith in turn one, which resulted in him heading pit side. Gray had a good thing going by using the low line and would continue it on the restart with Miller to his outside. Gray would gain the early advantage, but not for long as Gray would slow and pull to the infield. While further back Larry Furman would battle with Greene Jr. for fifth but would not be able to claim the position. Tyler Smith would return on lap 11 but would unfortunately come to a stop right off pit road bringing out the caution. Miller would lead the field to green, and gain a significant lead, but would come to a slow along the backstretch. Nolan Smith would go onto to win his first ever feature followed by Baldwin, Greene Jr., Larry Furman, and Talan Oliver to round out the top 5.
Winning his first career feature Nolan certainly had to battle for it. Nolan stated that he was really nervous after being moved to the front row. When asked about how it felt to battle with his brother Tyler, Nolan said “I didn’t realize he was a lap down and got really nervous as he was trying to pass me”. Both Smith brothers are looking forward to King of the Can and with a guaranteed redraw spot makes it much more exciting. Nolan would like to thank his sponsors: Win Supply, Total HVAC, French’s Auto, DKM Auto, AJ Leto and Sons, and MT Head Racing. He would also like to thank his mom, dad, grandparents, and brother for the continuous support.
Factory Stocks would see Charlie Towner and Kyle Spoor lead the field to green. Towner would gain the early lead, but the lead would not last as Spoor would use the highline to pass and claim first. Rich Sharpsteen would battle hard with Eric Williams for third. Sharpsteen and Williams would go door to door for two laps with Sharpsteen gaining the spot. The first and only caution of the race would come on lap 12 for debris on the track. Spoor would lead the field in single file for the restart. Off the green, Towner would have to hold off Sharpsteen who would look to the inside to try and claim second. As laps counted down Mahlon Shoemaker would head pit side with a flat and would not return. Spoor would cross the line first followed by Towner, Sharpsteen, Williams and Austin Manzer.
Unfortunately, Spoor was disqualified after failing post-race tech. The win would go to Towner. When asked about how it felt to battle with a seasoned veteran like Sharpsteen, Towner said “it was a little scary since the car wasn’t running the way it should have”. Towner was also extremely impressed with the difference in the track from heat to feature. He would like to thank Tanner Mechanical, Glover Boxer Farms, Dave’s Buy Rite Auto Sales, Wildside Graphix, T & S Tax Inc, Riverside Lanes, Red Barrel Carburetors, Rock Creek Creations, Scentsy by Lisa White, TG Racing Bodies, GMB Motorsports, and his father, mother, Megan, Zeke, Terra, and Scott.
The Gary’s U-Pull It 4 cylinders put on a spectacular show for the fans in attendance. Josh Wiler would start on the pole with Kenneth Evans III to his outside, Wilder would gain the lead off the start while battles would follow behind him. Rich Wagner would use the lowline to move into third over Jeff Sterling. While Colin Mills would hit his marks to move past Jeff Sterling to gain fourth place. Lap 1 would see a caution as there was debris on the track while Wagner would head pit side to have some loose parts removed and would rejoin at the tail of the field. Wilder would select the high side for the restart with Evans III to his inside. Wilder would claim the early lead, but it would not last long as the yellow would come back out for a slow Jeff Sterling in turns 1 and 2. Jeff would take the 56-machine pit side for a front right flat tire and would rejoin the field. Wilder and Evans III would go back to the previous laps restart. Evans III would get the early lead, but Wilder would use the momentum off the high line to take it back.
Wagner would follow the same idea as Wilder and use the high line to make his way around Brian Salmini for sixth. Meanwhile, Kenny Underwood would take a shot for second using the low side of Evans III but would be unable to claim the spot. Phil Burns would use the high line to make his move around Rob Sterling to claim seventh. Dakota Fuller would use the preferred line of the night to make his way outside Salmini for eighth. Lap 7 would see a caution as Burns would come to a stop in turn four before heading pit side. Salmini and Fuller would also head pit side under the caution. Burns and Fuller would return to the end of the field before the restart. Wilder would once again select the outside with Evans III to his inside.
Wilder would gain the early lead and Mills would step up and challenge Evans III on the low side to take second. Lap 8 would see a caution for debris on the track and Underwood would head pit side and not return. Wilder would lead the field single file for the restart and battles would follow as Jeff Sterling would step up to challenge his father Rob Sterling for fourth and would claim the spot. Mills would slow and head pit side allowing Wagner to defend second against a charging Jeff Sterling, Jeff’s 56 machine would claim second over Wagner and would begin to hunt down Wilder. Unfortunately, Wilder would begin to slow and bring out the caution on lap 12. Jeff Sterling would lead the field to the restart with Wilder rejoining the field. Off the green Wilder would use the low line to make his way around Mike Girjatowicz and Mike Morton to move into fifth. On the last lap, Burns, Wilder, and Rob Sterling would go three wide for third. Jeff Sterling would claim the win followed by Wagner, Burns, Wilder and Rob Sterling rounding out the top 5.
After a rough few races, Jeff was glad to be back in victory lane and was a major weight lifted off his shoulders. For a change of pace Jeff was thankful for the cautions as it allowed him to fix what needed to be fixed and still remain on the lead lap. When asked about the track conditions, he was extremely happy that it was better than the heats and that Keith did a great job making it more raceable. Once he claimed the lead, he felt pretty good and was really hoping the car wouldn’t break. He would like to thank: Brian Salmini, Vanteger Towing, Crew 4, Fat Cowboys, A&E Auto, 2 Core Guys, Benny Diaz, McCain Gas and Electric, Shiner & Sons, Stone Brothers and JSB Racing.
Racing continues this Friday and Saturday at the Penn Can Speedway. That is right it is the highly anticipated King of the Can Weekend. Friday will be: $1,500 to win Sportsman, $750 to win 4 Cylinders, Mike Petrilak Memorial Street Stocks for $2,222 to win, $500 to win Modified Match Races with the winner a guaranteed starting spot for Saturdat and the Ray Ayers Memorial Factory Stocks $1,000 to win. The excitement continues on Saturday for the: $6,767.67 to win Modified race, CRSA Sprints, $1,000 to win Sportsman Topless: American Racer vs. Hoosiers, NY-PENN IMCA, and the Xcel 600cc tour. Be sure to stay up to date with all that is happening at The Can by following us on Facebook at The Penn Can Speedway or our website thepenncanspeedway.com.
Stafursky Paving Modifieds
WINNER - 27K - BRETT TONKIN
2.) 5-Kevin Hartnett 3.) 9-Dan Vauter 4.) 71-Jimmy Zacharias 5.) 280-Justin Holland 6.) 119-Brian Malcolm 7.) 1G-Darwin Greene Sr. 8.) 22J2-Jeff Daughtry 9.) 145-Alan Rudalavage 10.) 72-Nick Petrilak 11.) 17D-Mike Loney 12.) 119X-Doug Smith 13.) 73-Casey Plummer 14.) 14-Stanley Wilkins 15.) 77-Allen Barker 16.) 6NN-Nick Nye 17.) 555X-Joel Smith 18.) 23P-Bud Phillips 19.) 7M-Mike Nagel Sr. 20.) 57- Dan Burman 21.) 555-Leo Fotopoulos
602 Crate Sportsman
WINNER - 197 - Mike Schane
2.) 3R-Ray Leonard 3.) 14K-AJ Konopka 4.) 123-Dale Welty 5.) 7R-Tommy Groover 6.) 33Y-Steven Yankowski 7.) 7-Ralph Mele 8.) 44-Jim O'Hara 9.) 1A-Brad Weaver 10.)88K-Alan Komar 11.) 10K-Kolyn Schane 12.) 57-Dusty Barton 13.) 32-Eddie Kudrako 14.) 27Z-Corey Zigler 15.) 3D-Brett Wooster 16.) 88A-Amanda Scholtisek 17.) 70J-Joe Novak 18.) 14B-Art Bray 19.) 55-Marty Goodwin 20.) M7-Mike Nagel Jr. 21.) 555-Mckenzie Smith 22.) 84-Mike Wilcha
WINNER - 89 - DAMIEN DECKER
2.) 14A-Brian Rhodes 3.) 89K-Kurt Decker 4.) 33-Leonard Kobbe 5.) 33K-Lenny Kobbe II 6.) 23S-Brett Spoor 7.) 00-Jason Rhodes
A & E Tire and Auto Center 600cc Modifieds
WINNER - 77X - NOLAN SMITH
2.) 17-Jeff Baldwin 3.) 1JR-Darwin Greene Jr. 4.) 217-Larry Furman 5.) R2-Talan Oliver 6.) 67-Lee Hugaboom 7.) 29-Brenton Miller 8.) 176-Nicole Furman 9.) 80-Tyler Smith 10.) 28-Brett Gray 11.) 167 Devan Sieben DNS 999-Tim Frantz
Gary's U-Pull It 4 Cylinders
WINNER - 56 - JEFF STERLING
2.) 7F-Rich Wagner 3.) 8-Phil Burns 4.) 5-Josh Wilder 5.) 71-Rob Sterling 6.) 321-Mike Morton 7.) G55-Dakota Fuller 8.) M1-Mike Girjatowicz 9.) 71M-Collin Mills 10.) 66-Josh Storms 11.) 9D5-Kenneth Evans III 12.) 16-Kenny Underwood 13.) 77-Brian Salmini
WINNER - 5T - CHARLIE TOWNER
2.) 83T-Rich Sharpsteen 3.) 18X-Eric Williams 4.) 617-Austin Manzer 5.) 69ER-Mahlon Shoemaker DQ 23S-Kyle Spoor