Worthing Thrills as The Can Conquers Rain
Worthing Thrills as The Can Conquers Rain
July 9, 2021
By: Nathan Aldrich and Kayla Peting
The Penn Can Speedway outlasted Mother Nature Friday night as track crews worked diligently to recover from the afternoon rains. With the moisture working into the surface, the track formed up nicely for a great night of racing ahead. The Homer Ferrante Memorial was on tap as the visiting GRIT Tour drew a strong field of track regulars and invaders for the huge factory stock show.
Stafursky Paving and Sunoco Race Fuels Modified heat races started with a bang as the first heat went to Kenny Sparks over Matt Cole and George Kostelansky. Heat two brought Alan Rudalavage to the checkers first followed by Nick Petrilak as both worked their way forward from starting spots at the rear. The third and final heat went to Byron Worthing as Kevin Hartnett worked his way forward to challenge Worthing before getting loose in turns one and two on the last lap, finishing second. With heat racing action wrapped up it was time for the mighty modifieds to roll out for the 30 lap feature.
Matt Cole and Bud Phillips brought the field to green with Cole holding on to the early lead. Worthing wasted no time from his row two starting spot challenging Phillips to the inside for the second spot. After taking the spot the action moved a little bit deeper as Hartnett, Brian Malcolm and Rudalavage went three wide battling for the fourth, fifth and sixth spots. All the mayhem wouldn’t last as a lap 2 yellow slowed the field when Darwin Greene Sr, Brad Schaffer and Stanley Wilkins collided for some hard hits in turn one. When the field came back to green Cole elected to restart outside as Worthing slid him for the lead in turn one. A quick yellow followed as Paul Rooney, Mike T and Alex Stanton collided in turn two. As Stanton and Rooney headed pitside Cole would once again elect for the inside lane putting Worthing to his outside. Worthing moved past Cole using the highside momentum through turns one and two as Plummer took the fourth spot away from Phillips with Hartnett following Plummer past Phillips before vanquishing Plummer the next lap. A lap 5 yellow for debris brought Mike Nagel Sr. to the pits. Worthing elected for the outside on the restart pulling away from Cole in turn one before Cole came under fire from Hartnett who took the second spot away down the backstretch. Rudalavage worked his way into the top 5 as the leaders battled steadily making his way forward on the charge.
Lap 7 again slowed the field as Brian Franko and Brandon Fritsch collided in turn one. Worthing would elect for the inside on the restart putting Hartnett to his outside and taking the advantage on the restart, keeping Hartnett behind him through the initial corners. The yellow again came out on lap 8 for a Chris Hunsinger spin in turn four as Worthing maintained the lead on the subsequent restart. As the field stretched into a long green flag run for the rest of the event. As the leaders neared halfway lapped traffic became a factor as Hartnett closed the gap to Worthing. By lap 17 the lapped cars were 2 wide in front of Worthing and Hartnett had gotten to the back bumper. As the seas split for Worthing he looked to the inside of Chris Hunsinger, clearing the lapped car and gaining some breathing space on Hartnett. Next Worthing would slip around Alex Stanton while Harnett continued to work Hunsinger, but the gap would close quickly as Worthing worked Phillips and Hartnett cleared both Hunsinger and Stanton to close the gap to Worthing right as he cleared Phillips. Next Worthing would have to clear Stanley Wilkins as Jamie Bedford headed pitside in front of the lead duo. Worthing moved past Wilkins the same lap before catching and clearing Brian Franko with two to go. The lapped cars would be too much for Hartnett to overcome as Worthing crossed the checkers to pick up the win! Hartnett, Rudalavage, Schaffer, Petrilak, Malcolm, Cole, Plummer, Sparks and Kostelansky.
Feature winner Byron Worthing picked up his second checkered flag of the season and first apologized for sliding up on Cole on the restart. When racing for the lead you’re always trying to race your hardest and I slid up a little there by accident, the humble driver stated. The pressure was on all race for the second generation driver who could feel Hartnett right behind him but his focus never wavered from sealing off the bottom groove. While the lapped traffic kept the race interesting Worthing stated it was a bit of a double edged sword as he could use the lapped traffic to limit Hartnett’s options but also had to try to navigate the slower cars himself. His goal remained to keep a lapped car between himself and Hartnett at all times and he broke a string or recent bad luck bringing home the win. Worthing would like to thank Tracy, His parents, and crew as well as Lattner Enterprises, Morden Motors, CK Contracting, Kelsey’s, Burchies Motors, and the Glen Mary Stock Farm.
The Homer Ferrante Memorial GRIT Tour race was brought to green by Jeremy Williams and John Picchio as Williams took the early lead and Picchio moved to the extreme high line while cars worked past. The yellows started flying early as Brad Chilson, Jason Rhodes and Bob Mills spun in turn 2. Buck Mills Sr. would come from third to challenge Williams on the next restart as Tommy Groover worked inside Charlie Towner to take away the fourth spot with Justin Slezak also trying to slip past. As Slezak, Charlie Towner and Josh Towner came 3 wide down the frontstretch racing for fifth, Groover looked inside Luke Mills before the next yellow brought it all to a halt when Mike Chilson, Michelle Romanik, and Rhodes got stacked up in turn 4. Williams took the outside for the restart holding off Mills as Groover went side by side for second until a lap 4 caution slowed the pace again.
This time Groover would be to William’s inside on the restart as the two crossed under the flag stand door to door. Charlie Gilbert moved to Slezak’s outside looking for fifth before Bob Mills took both cars 3 wide. Groover made it past Williams on lap 6 to take the lead while Bob Mills moved into the fourth spot passing Slezak and Luke Mills before Buck Mills Sr. slowed on the frontstretch heading pitside along with Charlie Gilbert, both were running in the top 5. Mills would return before the green flag fell as Groover led Williams from the outside. Mike Chilson spun in turn two on lap 11 to bring out the yellow just shy of the halfway point. Groover again held the lead from the outside on the restart as Josh Towner looked inside of Slezak for fourth. Rhodes began making his way back through the field on lap 12 as he and Mills Sr. closed in on Slezak for the sixth spot. A lap 17 flat sent Josh Towner and Bob Mills pitside while Groover pulled away from Williams, favoring the high side on the restart. Williams bobbled on the start as Gilbert, Rhodes and Mills Sr. all drove under, moving Williams to the fifth spot. A lap 19 spin by Mike Chilson reracked the field with 6 to go and ended Gilbert’s night as he and Chilson went pitside.
Groover took the highside for the final time on the restart leading the field into turn one before coming to a stop in turn one of lap 20 in what continues to be a roller coaster season for last year’s track champion. As Groover slowed to a stop Rhodes assumed the lead with Mills Sr. to his inside for the restart. Luke Mills would challenge Buck Mills Sr. going door to door behind Rhodes and bumping down the front stretch before Mills Sr. retook the spot. With the laps winding down Williams and Luke Mills made contact in turn 4 but the race stayed green as Rhodes crossed the line first followed by Buck Mills Sr, Williams, Mike Chilson, and Luke Mills. In post race tech inspection an infraction led to the disqualification of Rhodes. Feature winner Buck Mills Sr. has been racing for over 20 years and has run with pretty much all of the Penn Can regulars in that time. Mills was comfortable with his competitors as many of them travel locally with the GRIT tour. Some early contact with Williams prompted a trip to the pits and some attention to the front end from Mills’ son however it didn’t slow the night for Mills as he drove back up through the field. He would like to thank Conley Racing Engines, Kennedy Financial Services, and Jones’ Shop.
Sleepy Hollow Turf 602 Crate Sportsman ended the Friday night show with AJ Konopka and Alan Komar taking the green as Mike Nagel Jr. looked to the outside of Konopka on lap one to take away the second spot down the backstretch. The first yellow would come out on lap 2 as Jamie Cortazar lost a tire setting up a restart between Komar and Nagel. Komar elected for the outside as the two ran door to door until the next lap when Jim O’Hara spun in turn 3. Komar again elected for the outside on the restart before a big pileup halted the race on lap 3. With the involved cars of Konopka, Brandon Oleski, Leo McGurrin, Matt Martino, Ray Leonard and Burkett cleared from the surface everyone would set out on a long green flag run. Komar brought the field back to green on a single file restart as Martino rolled into the pits on lap 5. Mike Schane who was 5th after the pileup began his march forward passing Ned Fitch for fourth on the front stretch of lap 6. On lap 10 O’Hara got by Amanda Scholtisek for the sixth spot as Ray Leonard followed O’Hara past. A little dust up between Leonard and O’hara would move Leonard into the sixth spot next as McGurrin next challenged O’Hara for seventh.
With heavy lapped traffic affecting the leaders Komar collided with the rear end of Mele hurting his momentum and vaulting Nagel to the lead as the top 4 all tried to navigate a slew of lapped cars. With Schane rapidly closing on leader Nagel they crossed for two to go with the lapped machine of Oleski ahead. Nagel slipped under Oleski and cruised to the checkered flags with Schane, Chad Sandt, Komar and Leonard in tow. Nagel Jr. was impressed with how the track was after the amount of rain the area had received over the past few days, since the track was really racy and the cushion was fun to use. After starting sixth and quickly moving into second place, Mike Nagel Jr. was worried about the cautions since he had a brand new tire that needed heat. “It was a great battle with Komar, but the lapped traffic and the slight bobble of Komar gave me a little bit of breathing room” says the third generation driver. He started feeling Mike Schane coming up and was going to be a tough challenge and wanted to keep his momentum going. After a rough few weeks this win was much needed to give the team the gumption to keep pushing hard. Nagel Jr. would like to send a huge thank you out to his Pops since it was his transmission in the car. Nagel would like to thank his sponsors: Snake Creek Marine, Gustin Banicky Bluestone, NEP Telephone, LBD Kennels, B&E Scoops, Noble heating and plumbing, AG Welding.
The A&E Tire and Service Center 600cc Modifieds were gearing up to go as Darwin Greene Jr. was set to take the green flag with Doug Lattner as his dancing partner to the outside of the first row. As the green flew through the air Greene Jr. would take the early lead as the field would go 3 wide in a battle for fourth between Jared Green, John Dinniny and Adam Mudge. Green would take the fourth spot as Lattner would take the lead from Greene Jr. with Travis Rooney right behind the young driver. Green would make the move to pass Greene Jr for third as Rooney had taken over second. WIth Green’s 35 machine charging forward, Monday’s winner Brenton Miller was also a man on a mission as he passed both Greene Jr. and Mudge to claim the fourth place position. Rooney would get around Lattner to take the lead with Green close behind passing Lattner’s 101 for second. Miller was past Lattner for third when the first caution of the night came out. On lap 4 the 12 of Dinniny had come to a stop in turn four, upon the restart Rooney would take the inside lane with Green to his outside. Green would get the early jump and assume the lead, Miller and Rooney were battling door to door for second with Miller coming away with the position to chase down Green. A little ways back John Glover would pass Greene Jr. to take the tenth spot while towards the front, Brett Gray would look to the outside of Rooney to claim third. Glover would battle his way towards the front after going door to door with Devan Sieban for the ninth position, unfortunately for Sieban’s 167 ride, it got a little loose in turn two and allowed Glover to take the ninth spot. The rear of the field held many battles including Jeff Baldwin passing CJ Jochum for twelfth allowing Baldwin to set his sights on the young Greene Jr. who resided in the eleventh place position, Baldwin would take eleventh from the young driver. As the laps quickly clicked off, Green would start to close in on the rear of the field with Miller right behind him. As the race came to a close, Miller would try to go inside and outside of Green but was unable to claim the position. Green received the win followed by Miller, Gray, Rooney, Sheldon Whitman, Lattner, Ali Scutt, Glover and Seiban rounding out the top ten. Feature winner Jared Green said racing against Brett and Benton is always a race to who can get to the front first because their cars are always close in speed. It always feels awesome to race against friends, Green said and he knew he would have to go to work early coming from a tenth place starting spot. Jared was able to work the bottom well as he navigated lap traffic and was patient waiting for his lane to clear as he worked around his competitors. Jared would like to thank his Dad, Mom, Brothers and Sisters, Tony, George, Austin, Ashley, Peanut’s Painting, Gray Trucking, Trackside Products, Powderworks, ASC canopies, Hover Golfing, Engine Ice and Beardsley Sawmill.
The 20 lap SUNOCO Street Stock feature was led to the green by Jim Sykes on the pole with Travis Brockner to his outside. Brockner got the early lead but Sykes was not going to let Brockner take the lead so easily as Sykes’e SIX machine quickly passed Brockner for first leaving him and Shawn Boynton to battle hard for second. Boyton would look to Brockner’s inside and claim the second spot and began to hunt down Sykes. Boynton would stay on the bottom lane and pass Sykes on the inside, while Brockner and Sykes battled door to door for second. The first caution of the feature would come on lap 7 as John Carpenter’s J12 would come to a stop in turn two and his night would end with being towed back to the pit. On the restart Boynton would take the inside line putting Sykes to his outside, Boynton’s 3L would take the lead with Abe Romanik looking outside of Brockner for third. The second caution of the night would come when the SIX would spin and Romanik would get tangled up with Sykes in turn four. Boynton would take the inside lane leaving Brockner on the high side as the green would fly, Boynton would take the early lead as Romanik and Brockner would go door to door for second. With Brockner claiming second, Nick Bonham would look to the inside of Romanik to try and take away third, however Romanik held on to the position. Bonham would briefly spin in turn four, but would keep the car rolling. On lap 15 Boynton had caught the tail end of the field and was extending his lead further, while Sykes would try to take one last move to get into the top 3, but Romanik was not giving it up easily. Boynton would take the win followed by Brockner, Romanik, Sykes, Bonham, and Carpenter. After the race, Boynton was so excited to be racing with family and there is nothing like racing side by side and hard for positions. “The bottom felt good and allowed me to make up some ground from the cautions,” says Boynton. He also claims to just hit his marks and not worry about what was happening behind him. Shawn would like to thank his Dad, Grandfather, Brother, the Carpenter family, and sponsors Warren Real Estate, Eagles of Ithaca, Team Angels, Double Aught Lumber, 3CR, Beyea Headers and Wildwood.
Gary’s U-Pull It 4 cylinders were brought to green by Dakota Fuller and Dave Nixon with Fuller holding on to the early lead. Behind the leader Nixon, Jeff Stirling and Rich Wagner ran 3 wide for the second spot as Wagner took second, Stirling fell into third and Tim Vandermark came to take the fourth spot. Stirling took the lead the next lap as Wagner and Vandermark moved past Fuller shortly after, moving Fuller into the fourth spot. As Vandermark looked inside Wagner, Andy Bolles shot past Fuller and Vandermark to move himself into the third spot. Josh Wilder took the fifth spot from Fuller as Bolles and Vandermark went door to door for second. Tom Tomczyk headed pitside on lap 6 before a lap 7 debris yellow slowed the field. With everyone back under green the next yellow would come for the slowing car of Trunzo coming to a stop. The restart would end Vandermark’s night on lap 10 as he lost a tire sending the car airborne. While Wagner and Wilder ran door to door the laps wound down until heartbreak struck with two to go as leader Sterling slowed to a stop in turn one and was towed off the speedway. Wagner got a good launch on the restart winning the one lap shootout and taking home the win followed by Wilder, Scott Beach, Nixon and Bolles. In the pits, there was a lot of working going on for all the cars that suffered some broken parts, Rich Wagner had this to say “That’s not the way I wanted to win.” With all the drivers being close in the pits the competition is something to look forward to. Restarts were a challenge for the 8W while battling with Jeff Sterling , but it ultimately helped. He would like to thank his fiancee Shania, his kids, Steve Torzeir, crew and his sponsors: NEP, Missi’s Place, and Fox’s Heating and Plumbing.
A&E Auto Tire and Service Center 600cc modifieds
D Green JR
Stafursky Paving and SUNOCO Race Fuel Modifieds
M Nagle SR.
D Green SR.
Grit Series Factory Stock
B Mills SR
Sleepy Hollow 602 Sportsman
M Nagel Jr
DNS E Kudrako
Sunoco Street Stocks
Garys U Pull it 4 cylinder
DNS R Welch