WEATHER HOLDS OFF FOR WEEKLY RACING
Nathan Aldrich and Kayla Peting
August 20, 2021
There was something for everyone as The Penn Can Speedway battled mother nature to complete their Friday night race program. Under cloudy skies and occasional sprinkles, the Modifieds, 600cc Modifieds, Street Stocks, 4 Cylinders, GRIT Sportsman as well as the GRIT Factory Stock completed their full program plus a held over Street Stock feature from June 25th.
The Stafursky Paving Sunoco Race Fuels Modifieds contested three heats with George Kostelansky, Mike Loney and Jamie Bedford all collecting heat race wins. Brad Schaffer and Bedford would bring the lightning fast Modifieds to green with Schaffer pulling ahead to the early lead as Loney pulled to Bedford’s inside for the second spot. As Nick Petrilak worked the outside fifth spot was taken from Dave Zona and deeper in the pack Brian Malcolm began his charge to the front getting past Zona for the ninth spot on the ensuing laps. Kevin Hartnett moved himself into the top 5 early on passing Mike Nagel Sr. for the fifth spot while Petrilak surrendered the sixth spot to Kostelansky after Nagel had headed pit side. With Schaffer reeling in lapped traffic on lap 6 the Mike Walsh came to a stop on the front stretch bringing out the yellow on lap 7. Schaffer elected for the inside on the restart bringing Loney alongside him to the green. Loney would get a good launch on the outside taking the lead away from Schaffer who quickly found himself embattled with Hartnett. Hartnett took the second spot away as he worked the low line setting his sights on Loney for the top spot.
In sixth Malcolm, Bedford and Kostelansky got feisty while battling three wide as Bedford came away with the spot. Malcolm would move ahead of Kostelansky for seventh then rocket ahead of Bedford, Kostelansky and Darwin Green to take the fifth spot over the following laps. At the front of the field Hartnett had reeled in Loney and made his move and captured the lead. Behind the pair, Petrilak worked the inside to take third from Schaffer. Schaffer’s night took a turn for the worse when he spun to the infield of turn 1 bringing out the second yellow on lap 13. Hartnett took the inside on the restart powering past Loney as the pair raced through turns 1 and 2. Malcolm used the restart to pass Petrilak on the inside for third as he inched ever closer to the front. Last year’s Modified champion Brett Tonkin wasn’t far behind however as he followed Malcolm through the field, working the outside of Byron Worthing for sixth, then inside of Petrilak for fourth as the pair rubbed rails on lap 16. Worthing would fend off Kostelansky for sixth before the yellow flag was drawn once again for the slowing machine of Matt Cole in turns 3 and 4. When the field came back to green Malcolm and Loney vied for second before the yellow came down once again, this time for Petrilak backwards facing the berm in turn 3. The next restart saw Chris Hunsinger Jr. slow in the top of turn 2 putting the yellow out.
With 8 laps remaining the race came back to green led by Hartnett. Tonkin used the inside groove to wrestle third away from Loney while Malcolm chased after Hartnett. With each driver looking for their fourth win of the season the laps continued to click off the board while the race for tenth heated up between Schaffer, Rooney, and Phillips. On lap 27 the three would tangle giving Malcolm one last chance at Hartnett on the single file restart. Hartnett launched well, holding Malcolm off to pick up his fourth feature win of the season as Malcolm, Tonkin, Loney, Worthing, Greene Sr, Kostelansky, Casey Plummer, Zona and Bedford rounded out the top 10. Feature winner Kevin Hartnett was grateful for the fan turnout despite the iffy weather. With the late restarts Kevin was focused on hitting his marks and firing well, as well as relieved to see some good finishes come his team’s way after a string of parts failures and rough luck. His Brad Grammes machine has been fast all season however he and his crew have been focused on winning races and not on points battles. He hopes to keep tweaking the car for a strong performance at the upcoming King of the Can Special and would like to thank Brad Grammes, Phil, Steve, Joey, Brad Grammes Construction, RPM Engines, Big Creek Concrete, High Fab Chassis, Penske Shocks and Stone Ridge Realty.
With the GRIT Series 602 Crate Sportsman set to contest a 25-lap feature, Mike Schane and Ray Leonard roared under the green flag. Leonard settled into the early lead as Mike Nagel Jr, Grant Hilfinger and Brian Franko made heavy contact on the backstretch. Nagel and Franko would briefly head pit side as a flurry of cautions marred the start of the feature. Lap 2 put the field under red flag for a pileup in turn 1 that included Kyle Walsh, Josh Mondak, Mike Wicha, Dale Folejewski, Ryan Burkett and Joe Buchanan. Grant Hilfinger would take second away from Mike Schane on lap four and the field would slow again as Walsh spun in turn 4. With the early bugs out of the way a long green flag run followed. Leonard took the outside for the lap 5 restart with Hilfinger right alongside him. Leonard held the lead as the field came back to speed with Brad Weaver hanging on to the fifth spot outside Nagel Jr. Jamie Cortazar took the right spot from Jim O’Hara before O’Hara wrestled it back a few laps later. Schane wasn’t done with Hilfinger however, challenging him for the second spot as the race approached its halfway point. Hillfinger would hold onto the spot, trying to close the gap on Leonard as the leader began to pick his way through lapped traffic on lap 15. As Schane and Hilfinger worked through lapped traffic the pair made contact, with Schane falling back to fourth on the ensuing lap as he battled a flat right front tire. Lap 20 had Schane heading pit side to get his tire some attention and a restart with only 5 laps remaining.
Leonard took the outside on the restart and Hilfinger looked to have made a sly move taking the lead early before Leonard countered with a slider to take it back. Weaver found momentum on the restart, passing AJ Konopka for third, then getting inside of Hilfinger for the second spot. As Konopka moved Hilfinger back to fourth the yellow flag split the air one final time, as Derek Cornish spun in turn 2. Leonard pulled away from Hilfinger on the restart to take the win as Hilfinger, Konopka, Weaver, Schane, Nagel Jr., O’Hara, Cortazar, Cornish and Franko completed the top 10. Feature winner Ray Leonard dealt with a slew of cautions and said “I wasn’t really affected by the cautions but I wanted to get some caution free laps in so I could get in a rhythm”. With Hilfinger right behind him applying pressure Ray could “see his nose each time we had a caution”. With the season points battle winding down Leonard has positioned himself well and came into the event as the point leader. Ray remarked “it would be awesome to win the points championship, if we can stay out of trouble and have some decent finishes I definitely think it will be possible”. Ray thanked Sleepy Hollow turf, Erik Hines Trucking, A & B Tent Rental, Arlo’s Tavern, Razderk Tinting and Detailing, his wife Cheryl, Billy, and Frog.
GRIT Factory Stocks returned to the speedway and became a family affair as Buck Mills Sr. and Bob Mills competed for the win through most of the race. Kevin MacDonald and Bob Mills brought the field to green with Mills jumping out to the early lead. MacDonald was passed by Tommy Groover and Buck Mills Sr. on the opening lap as the drivers urgently worked their way to the front. Josh Towner would work his way inside MacDonald for the fourth spot on lap 2 but spun out in turn 1 leading to the first yellow of the feature. Noah Seidel was pushed pit side under the yellow while Bob Mills took the inside on the restart and Groover pulled to his outside. Mills carried the lead on the restart as Charlie Gilbert looked to the inside of MacDonald for fourth. MacDonald held off Gilbert’s attempts, keeping the spot as the second yellows came out on lap 4. Groover slowed from the second spot and was stopped in turn 4 with electrical issues. With Groover being pushed off, Mills Sr. was brought to the front row to contend with his brother for the lead. Bob held the lead as the pair came back up to speed while Cyrus Homer came back through the field passing John Picchio and Carter Bixby for seventh and eighth respectively.
A lap 8 caution for debris brought a switch in Bob Mills strategy as he took the outside on the following restart. Gilbert moved back into seventh on lap 9 while Charlie Towner and Homer ran in front of him for fifth. Once Homer had taken the spot Gilbert moved to the outside and took sixth while Towner moved to the infield the next lap. By lap 15 Bob Mills was closing in on lapped traffic and began to feel the heat from Buck Mills. On lap 16 Buck made his move working the inside of Bob but couldn’t make the pass stick. A lap 17 yellow however, gave him another chance at a double file restart after Gilbert and Homer tangled on the backstretch. With Bob Mills taking the outside, Buck grabbed the lead on the restart and the two battled hard, until Josh Towner’s machine began smoking heavily in turn 4. After the track was cleared Buck elected for the high side, surviving a slider from Bob in the closing laps with a nifty move that put himself as the first across the line. Bob Mills, Jerry Fassett Jr, Bixby and Picchio rounded out the top 5. Feature winner Buck Mills Sr. enjoys racing against his family, though they all attest there are some additional struggles that come with it. With a car that has been fast ever since he and his son Buck Mills Jr debuted it earlier this season, Buck has had strong runs in many GRIT series races as well as at his home track of Thunder Mountain. Buck would like to thank his family and crew as well as Conley Racing Engines, Kennedy Financial Services, and Jones’ Shop.
A&E Tire and Auto Centers 600cc Modifieds were brought to green by Devan Sieben and John Dinniny with Sieben taking the early lead. As Sieben set the pace Ali Scutt ran inside Travis Rooney for the third spot that Rooney would take. Behind the pair Dana Davis looked inside Nolan Smith for the sixth spot but Smith would hold on, leaving Davis to a charging Brenton Miller in the fight for seventh. The battle for third saw Brett Gray inside of Dininny on lap 3 but Dinniny would hold on to the spot as leader Sieben began to catch lapped cars. As the bunched-up field worked through the slower traffic Davis passed Gray for fifth. A Roger Lewis spin on lap 7 brought the field back together with Sieben taking the high side on the restart. The crazy restart had Sieben, Rooney and Scutt three wide as they battled for the lead with Sieben hanging on to the top spot. Dinniny worked inside of Gray for the fourth spot with the race approaching half way. Sieben spun to the infield from the lead on lap 10, putting Scutt into the top spot as Miller and Davis battled behind her.
A flurry of yellows came in the closing laps as Jeff Baldwin spun in turn 2 on lap 14, Mollie Mroz spun in turn 4 and Travis Rooney went up in smoke on lap 16, and Davis spun in turn 2 of lap 17 after hard racing with Miller. The final yellow of the night would set up a two-lap dash to the finish for leaders Scutt and Gray, when Sieben spun in turn 4 on lap 19. Scutt would hit her marks well in the final two laps picking up her first Penn Can feature win! Gray would come home second with Jason Rhodes, Dinniny, CJ Jochum, Larry Furman, Sieben, Mroz and Doug Lattner rounding out the top 10. Feature winner Ali Scutt said the track became rougher but more fun to drive between her heat and feature and she had to keep changing lines throughout the race to find where her car felt best. The closing laps felt like a lifetime for the young driver who was intensely focused on being smooth with everything going on behind her. Ali would like to thank her Mom, Dad, Uncle Bumps, Brother, Garrett, Jordan Towner, Pop’s Automotive, CSC Construction, the Cortland Diner, DnD Striping, and TNA Welding.
The SUNOCO Race Fuel Street Stocks pulled a double feature evening to make up a feature that was missed on June 25th. The make up feature saw Jim Sykes and Nick Bonham on the front row as the green would fall. Sykes would get the early lead as point leader Travis Brockner and Oliver Gage would battle door to door for third while Gage claimed the spot. However, Brockner was not giving up so easily and attempted to go to the outside of Gage for third, but was unable to hit his mark. Gage would look to the inside of Bonham for second and would clinch the spot as Brockner would look to take away third from Bonham, but was unable to claim it as the first caution came out on lap 2 for some debris on the track. The restart would see Sykes take the inside with Gage to his outside. Sykes would take the lead once again allowing Brockner to be able to maneuver his way around Bonham to take third. Brockner would step up and challenge Gage once again on the inside for second, hitting his marks allowing him to claim the spot to chase down Sykes. Lap 6 would see Dave Stalker head pit side and not return as Brockner would inch in on Sykes to try to take the lead. Unable to claim first allowed Sykes to catch up to the tail end of the field on lap 15 and on the following lap would pass Tyler Stoddard. Sykes would get the win followed by Brockner, Gage, Bonham, Stoddard and Stalker to round out the field.
Later on in the night, fans would see Gage and Brockner lead the field to green. Brockner would take the lead, but not without a battle from Gage would look to the inside to take the first position. Meanwhile, Dusty Decker would look to the outside of Stoddard for fifth, but would be unable to claim it. The first caution of the race would come on lap 3 as Stalker would spin in turn 2. Gage would select the inside lane with Brockner to his outside for the restart. As the green would fly, Brockner would take the lead while Bonham would look inside Sykes for third, but would be unable to claim the spot as the second caution of the night would come on lap 4. Stoddard, Bonham and Stalker would all collide in turn 4, after getting everyone situated again, Brockner would select the high line with Gage to his inside. Brockner would take the lead as Stoddard would look to the inside of Stalker to claim fourth. Gage was not going down without a fight and would challenge Brockner on his inside, but would be unsuccessful in taking away the lead. Lap 17 would see Stoddard head pit side and not return. The following lap would see Stalker head pit side and end his night early. Brockner would take the checkered followed by Gage, Sykes, Stalker, and Stoddard.
Brockner would like to thank his sponsors: Michael & Puerschner Construction, Grafix Unlimited, Mootz Tree Trimming, Behrents Performance Warehouse, Bilstein Shocks, Wehrs Racing Products, and Close Racing Supply. He would also like to thank the following people: Ryan, Eric, Mom, Bonham Family, Gram, Grandpa, John and Donna, as well as John and Kathy.
Gary’s U-Pull It 4 cylinders were brought to green by Rob Sterling and Scott Beach with Beach jumping out to the early lead as Rich Wagner moved into the third spot. Andy Bolles got his momentum going early passing Tim Vandermark for sixth on lap 2. Lap 3 brought Wagner to the lead as he passed Rob Sterling in turn 4. Jeff Sterling was on the move taking fourth from Scott Furman while Josh Wilder came to a stop on the front stretch. Beach took the outside on the restart with Jeff Sterling looking inside of Wagner for the second spot. As Wagner slowed to a stop in turn 4 the yellow came out leading to a restart where Beach took the outside with Jeff Sterling to his inside. Beach led through turns 1 and 2 while Vandermark passed Rob Sterling for fourth. Vandermark wasn’t done yet however as he next took third away from Bolles on the front stretch of lap 6. Sterling would make moves while working on Beach, trying every lane but not finding the room he needed to make the pass until lap 13. As the two ran door to door down the backstretch Brian Slamini lost a tire and brought out the yellow. Beach maintained the low line through the first turn and Sterling pulled alongside him as the pair exited turn 2. Sterling would assume the lead down the backstretch and begin to pull away before a Wagner spin in turn one created a one lap shootout. With one lap remaining for Beach to make a move, Sterling launched well on the restart and made it to the line first, picking up the feature win. Beach, Vandermark, Furman, and Rob Sterling would complete the top 5 finishers. Feature winner Jeff Sterling enjoyed his battle with Scott Beach saying “it was fun, he kept me on my toes lap after lap”. While focused on getting the lead Sterling didn’t feel Vandermark behind him, instead focusing on how he could find the space to make his own move on Beach. With the closing cautions feeling like a double-edged sword Sterling was able to hit his marks and collect the victory. He would like to thank A & E Auto Crew, 4 Moving Solutions, Sagars Property Services, McCain Gas and Electric, Brewer Motorsports, Stone Brothers Automotive and Brian Salmini.
The end of the season is rapidly approaching and so is the championship for some of the drivers. The next few races are critical for drivers’ fighting for those extra points as the battle is close in some divisions. The battle will continue on August 27th which will be Oakland Food Pantry Night Sponsored by Matthews Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. If you bring 3 non perishable items you will get $3 off for the September 3rd show which happens to be Bike night. Both of these shows are a complete racing program which includes the Modifieds, Sportsman, 600cc Modifieds, Street Stock, Factory Stock and 4 Cylinders. Join us as we do our part in giving back to the community this coming Friday. As always you can keep up to date on everything happening at the track at our Facebook page: The Penn Can Speedway and on our website too!
STAFURSKY PAVING AND SUNOCO RACE FUELS MODIFIEDS
WINNER – 5 KEVIN HARTNETT
2.) 119-Brian Malcolm 3.) 9-Brett Tonkin 4.) 17D-Mike Loney 5.) 63-Byron Worthing 6.) 1-Darwin Greene Sr. 7.) 17-George Kostelonsky 8.) 73-Casey Plummer 9.) 99Z-Dave Zona 10.) 111J-Jamie Bedford 11.) 23P-Bud Phillips 12.) 014-Brad Schaffer 13.) 15JR- Chris Hunsinger 14.) 54- Paul Rooney 15.)145- Alan Rudalvage 16.) 24X- Matt Cole 17.) 4B- Brandon Fritsch 18.)713- Mike Walsh 19.)7M- Mike Nagel Sr. DNS 11-Dan Pomey DQ 72-Nick Petrilak
GRIT SERIES 602 CRATE SPORTSMAN
WINNER – 3R RAY LEONARD
2.) 78-Grant Hilfinger 3.) 14K-AJ Konopka 4.) QR1-Brad Weaver 5.) M1-Mike Schane 6.) M7-Mike Nagel Jr. 7.) 44-Jim O’Hara 8.) 121-Jamie Cortazar 9.) 219-Derek Cornish 10.) 14A-Brian Franko 11.) 13-Kyle Walsh 12.) 16-Ned Fitch 13.) 84-Mike Wilcha 14.) 32R-Dale Folejewski 15.) 627-Josh Mondak 16.) 4J-Joe Buchanan 17.) 25B-Ryan Burkett DNS 70J-Leo McGurrin
GRIT FACTORY STOCKS
WINNER - 187 BUCK MILLS SR
2.) 24-Bob Mills 3.) 78-Jerry Fassett Jr. 4.) 77C-Carter Bixby 5.) 74-John Picchio 6.) 9X-Josh Towner 7.) 28-Charlie Gilbert 8.) 5T-Charlie Towner 9.) 27M-Kevin MacDonald 10.) 617-Austin Manzer 11.) 7R-Tommy Groover 12.) 5-Noah Seidel 13.)15-Luke Mills 14.) 4-Rick Glover DQ 272-Cyrus Homer
SUNOCO RACE FUELS STREET STOCKS - Race 1
WINNER – SIX JIM SYKES
2.) 151-Travis Brockner 3.) 0J-Oliver Gage 4.) 41-Nick Bonham 5.) X/23 Tyler Stoddard 6.) 37-Dave Stalker DNS 33-Tyler Yeagle, 85-Abe Rohanik, 99K-Phil Burns, 81-Shane Wolf Jr., 20Jr.-Dusty Decker, 77-?
SUNOCO RACE FUELS STREET STOCKS - Race 2
WINNER – 151 TRAVIS BROCKNER
2.) 0J-Oliver Gage 3.) SIX-Jim Sykes 4.) 37-Dave Stalker 5.) X/23 Tyler Stoddard 6.) 41-Nate Bonham 7.) 20JR-Dusty Decker
A & E TIRE AND AUTO CENTER 600 c.c. MODIFIEDS
WINNER – 108 ALI SCUTT
2.) 28-Brett Gray 3.) 22C-Jason Rhodes 4.) 12-John Dinniny 5.) 777-CJ Jochum 6.) 217-Larry Furman 7.) 167-Devan Sieben 8.) 17-Jeff Baldwin 9.) 22-Mollie Mroz 10.) 101-Doug Lattner 11.) 29-Brenton Miller 12.) 30NN-Nate Oropallo 13.) 77X-Nolan Smith 14.) 54T-Travis Rooney 15.) 110-Roger Lewis 16.) 1JR- Darwin Greene Jr. DQ 138-Dana Davis
GARY’S U-PULL IT 4 CYLINDERS
WINNER – 56-JEFF STERLING
2.) 21-Scott Beach 3.) 107-Tim Vandermark 4.) 49Z-Scott Furman 5.) 71-Rob Sterling 6.) 354-Andy Bolles 7.) 76-Dave Nixon 8.) 8W-Rich Wagner 9.) 4MK-Brian Salmini 10.) 8-Jack Backowski 11.) G55-Dakota Fuller 12.) 5-Josh Wilder 13.) 24-Jason Colwell Sr. DNS 944-Jeremy Trurizo, 5B-Madyson Beach