2020 RACING SEASON COMES TO AN END AS ROCHINSKI TAKES THE WIN AT THE BIG SHOW
October 02, 2020
As the weather grows colder one final night of Penn Can speedway action turned up the heat with a closing night seeing four divisions in action. The night’s robust pay structure had intense battles throughout the field in every division as drivers looked to close out their seasons with a Big Show win. It was a big night of racing with some familiar faces finding their way to victory lane and tempers flared for one final time in 2020.
Nick Rochinski brought home the win in the Big Show main event besting a field of 31 modified competitors. Rochinski and Nick Nye found the loud pedal for one last time in 2020 as the field thundered to green. Battling for eighth Brian Malcolm looked to Byron Worthing’s inside for the spot as Alan Rudalavage gained ground on Nye for second and Mark Goodwin went inside of Mike Nagel Sr for position, then got another passing Schaffer. The action would be slowed on lap 3 as a turn 4 tangle between Joe Eisenhower, Brad Schaffer and Tyler Stoddard bought out the first yellow. A flurry of cautions ensued as Mike Trautschold spun in turn 3, then Joe Eisenhower and Stoddard spun in turn 1, and finally Schaffer spun in turn 3. Rochinski would get the jump on the restart as the field finally clicked off a few laps with Casey Plummer looking inside Brian Malcolm for seventh, Corey Costa outside of Dan Vauter for fifth and Brett Tonkin working Nye’s outside for third. A three-wide battle for fifth between Costa, Tonkin and Vauter thrilled the crowd with Tonkin getting the best of the exchange. By lap 6 Tonkin would be challenging Nye for third as Costa and Vauter continued to fight for fifth. Worthing and Plummer settled the tenth spot with Worthing holding on until a lap 8 yellow for Nick Mady taking his machine pit side.
The restart had Rochinski staying out front as Tonkin moved into third and Costa used the lowline to pass Nye for fourth. Bailey Boyd and Mike Nagel Sr. would take their rides to the pits along with Brad Weaver and Rusty Smith following a tangle between Boyd and Mike Schane. The lap 9 restart got heated with contact between leaders Rochinski and Alan Rudalavage on the backstretch. Rudalavage looked to pass up high and Rochinski slammed the door taking away the space and sealing Rudalavage out. Rudalavage would next try Rochinski’s inside as Nye and Vauter battled for fifth with Nye holding the spot. Lap 11’s yellow for a Boyd and Goodwin spin in turn 4 gave the competitors some time to breath and get their feet back under them. Costa and Tonkin went war for third and Marshall Hurd took on Malcolm for seventh. Action slowed once again on lap 13 for a Joe Judge spin in turn 3.
The single file restart created many battles as Tonkin looked inside Rudalavage for second, Rusty Smith went inside of Butch Getz for eleventh as a long green flag run would ensue. The run was just what Rochinski needed as he opened up a half straightaway lead over Rudalavage and Tonkin. Deep in the pack Boyd passed Getz on the outside for twelfth then Costa passed them both. On lap 25, Boyd moved back in front of Costa as Rochinski began to lap cars working the highline. Slowly but surely Rudalavage would close the gap as farther back Malcolm and Vauter battled for seventh. Danny Creeden and Smith swapped tenth a few times before Costa would come to join the fun taking all three cars 3 wide. The run would end as Judge slowed in turn 2 and Creeden headed pit side with a flat. Setting up a 10-lap shootout to the finish.
Rochinski would once again check out with the top 5 staying consistent, Smith and Costa fighting for ninth while Vauter and Hurd traded for sixth. Costa would next challenge Malcolm for eighth as Nye took it inside Vauter for fourth. The last yellow setup a 6-lap shootout when Creeden and Getz hooked bumpers on the front stretch. Getz’s motor would rev as he pushed Creeden down the front stretch and into turn one. Getz would be disqualified for his actions. Rochinski would hit his marks well on the restart as Nye held on to fourth over Vauter and Costa challenged Trautschold for fifth. Trautschold would hold on to the spot as Rockinski took the checkers. Rudalavage, Tonkin, Nye, Trautschold, Vauter, Costa, Plummer, Smith, and Malcolm completed the top 10 for the Big Show main event.
With Rochinski’s podium finish in last week’s King of the Can event momentum was a key for the driver. Finishing third in a race won by good friend Stewart Friesen was the deciding factor for Rochinski to return to Penn Can this week. Rochinski gained some good knowledge last week as he said the track nearly mirrored what it was last Saturday night and his car felt particularly good working the top side. The flurries of cautions made life difficult for the driver as he tried to manage tires in the long race. Though he looked good in lapped traffic Rochinski said he had wished there were a bit more room. He would like to thank his Crew and Brother for giving him a great setup to work with and had a rocket for the feature. With a big show purse of $4,500 plus lap money for every lap he led it was a good night for the 5 team. Rochinski would also like to thank sponsors: Rochinski Enterprises, Dover Construction, Lincoln Autobody, Paragon Masonry, Davis Powdercoating, Legends Saloon, and Teo Pro Car.
With this being the Big Show, there was a B-main offered to those who did not make the feature. The crowd would see twelve cars enter the track for one last race at Penn Can for the year. Leading the pack to the green was Brad Weaver and Brad Schaffer, however there was a no start and caution came out. As the leaders would slow on the front stretch Shaffer, Weaver, Joe Eisenhauer, Mike Walsh, and Jeremy Williams would all entangle near the flaggers stand. After separating all the cars Weaver would be towed off while Shaffer would head off pit side on his own. The restart would see Darwin Green and Casey Plummer lead the remaining field to green. There would be two laps in the book when Walsh would stop in turn 4 as Greg Morgan would head pit side for a brief moment but would soon return. Again, Plummer and Green would lead the field as the green dropped, with Green taking the early lead. Mark Goodwin and Mike Nagel Sr. battle for forth and swapping paint while doing so. It would not last as Walsh would spin in turn 4 and Williams would head pit side. Another lap would go in the books as Morgan and Plummer would restart, but Morgan and Walsh would spin in turn 2.
With a single file restart, moves were being made quickly as Goodwin would look to the inside of Shaffer for a qualifying spot. Walsh would quickly pull to the infield, while Matt Cole and Nagel Sr. would battle for sixth and Eisenhauer and Shaffer would battle for fourth. Green would further his lead meanwhile Eisenhauer would pull to the infield. With one remaining, Cole would be stopped in turn one bringing out the yellow. The single file restart would bring out a last chance dash as Green would lead the field and take the win. Plummer, Shaffer, Goodwin, and Nagel Sr. rounding out the top five.
Steven Denhardt’s King of the Can momentum carried him to his second checkmate in as many weeks over competitor Shan Wolf Jr. Deinhardt and Doug Polhamus would bring the field to green on what would be called a no start. Try two saw Deinhardt jump out to the lead as Wolf quickly went to work on Polhamus for second. A high low switch would put Wolf into second as the drivers worked the rough track. Wolf was not done however as he began to work Deinhardt’s inside. Behind the leaders Luke Boom and Dan Force battled for fourth. Boom would take the spot as Austin Allen would attempt to get to the infield. He would end up stopped on the track however bringing out the lap 10 yellow. The lap 10 single file restart put Deinhardt out front with Wolf hot on his tail. Boom and Force again took up the fight for fourth as Polhamus settled into third. Wolf and Deinhardt would work lap after lap as Deinhardt took away Wolf’s preferred line up top. Coming through the backstretch for the final time Wolf would get under Deinhardt’s left rear but could not get the job done. Deinhardt picked up the win with Wolf, Doug Polhamus, Boom and Oliver Gage rounding out the top 5.
The first question for Deinhardt had to be if there was a sense of déjà vu as King of the Can weekend had the two drivers battling it out for the high line as well as the win. That was not the case for the winner as he said the roles were reversed this week. King of the Can night he had to chase down Wolf whereas tonight he was playing defense. I was a little concerned seeing sparks from Deinhardt’s machine in the closing laps but Deinhardt was not concerned as it was just his chosen brakes. He was not thrilled to see the lap 10 restart as he was comfortable in the lead. His car was super-fast off the corners and Deinhardt thanked his crew who work constantly and tirelessly. His back to back big wins to close out the season could not be done without them. The driver of the 73 machine would like to thank Winsor Acres, Paige Smith Logging and Excavating, Team Jackson, Smith Logging, Cook Bros. Trucking, TPH Construction, KJ Industries, Wheeler’s excavating, DIG Race Products, Wind Swept Heating Oil, and Deckelman Trucking.
Brett Gray closed out an excellent 2020 season with a Big Show triumph for the 600cc Modified Division. Coming off his King of the Can win last weekend Gray had excellent momentum coming into the night. Big names would fill the front row as Track Champion Dana Davis lined up next to the King of the Can winner. Gray got the jump on Davis as the field took the green but a quick caution for Jeff Baldwin and Nolan Smith getting tied up would lead to the field being reset. Try two would take place and Gray again got the better of Davis, this time completing a lap before a huge collision in turn 4 would trim the field. Doug Lattner would end up sideways as Ali Scutt, Tyler Smith, Stanley Matthews, Aiden Morgan, and Nolan Smith would all pile in. Multiple drivers took some hard hits, but all were okay as Morgan, Scutt and Nolan left on the hook. Just like a championship fighter the 600cc cars can take a hit.
The lap 1 restart would see Gray in the lead as Davis and Bretton Miller picked up the battle for second. The rest of the event would run green flag as the two would go door to door and swap lanes over the next few laps. Initially Davis would hold on to the spot using the low line to keep Miller at bay, but Miller would swap lines and slip by on the inside by lap 8. Lap 9 had Gray smoothly working his way through lapped traffic as Lattner and Tyler Smith fought for fifth. In the closing laps the battle would be for third as Chuck Lohmeyer reeled in Davis and Lohmeyer went to work. Unable to complete the pass on the high side a well-executed high-low switch put Lohmeyer on the inside as he worked his way past Davis the next lap. Gray took the checkers followed by Miller, Lohmeyer, Davis and Lattner.
Race winner Brett Gray has been fast all season and flew away with the win in this one. Coming off last week’s King of the Can victory the second-generation driver did not know just how big of a lead he had tonight. Working the rough track just meant he had to find the smooth spots and the car had great speed. When asked about the feeling of having a teammate behind you Gray said, “it takes some of the worry off”. Lapped traffic did not seem to be a problem for Gray and as they saw the striped flag, they “moved out of my way pretty good”. The driver was empathetic for the cars involved in the pileups. Gray would like to than the Folk family, flaggers, track officials and all Penn Can staff for doing an excellent job throughout the year and crating a fun place to race. He would like to thank his Dad whose idea it was to put him in the car and got everything started and sponsors: Moose Wraps, Gray Trucking, the Green family, and All Things Vinyl by Alicia.
Scott Miller’s long drive home should be a little more enjoyable this week as the 4-cylinder driver went to Victory Lane for the first time this year at the Penn Can Speedway. The Albrightsville, PA driver makes the hour and a half trip north every week to compete at the speedway and picked up his second win of the season Friday night, it was his first Victory Lane, however. Josh Wilder and Kevin Whitman led the field to green with the two going door to door through turns 1 and 2. Whitman would take the lead down the backstretch before Rich Wagner came to challenge Whitman for the lead. The attempted would be short lived as Wagner lost momentum which dropped him to third where he came under fire from Don Doster. A Doster spin in turn 4 had him pit side for a flat and a restart front row of Miller and Whitman. Miller would get the jump before a same lap caution for Wagner coming to a stop in turn 2. Wagner would head pit side as Doster returned for the lap 4 restart.
Miller and Whitman would go door to door as Jeff Stirling and Wilder fought behind them. The top 4 cars would fit under a blanket as Wilder took away third and Miller continued to work Whitman for the lead. As Doster headed to the infield Miller decided the high line was not going to get him past Whitman. Out of turn 3 and 4, Miller went for the high low switch and began working Whitman’s inside. In the ensuing laps Miller would take away the lead. Jeff Stirling would catch Whitman and the two would fight for second. Right behind them, Wagner and Wilder battled for fourth as Wagner used the inside to take the spot away. Sterling would move into second as in the waning laps Wagner and Whitman both pulled to the infield. Miller would cross the line first, then Sterling, Wilder, JT Havens, and Dillon Hartman. Hartman won the one lap reverse 4-cylinder dash for cash.
Miller is a one-man show doing all the prep work on his car himself. Starting from the sixth position he said the events of the race happened very quickly. As he made his way through the field the cautions helped, and he quickly ended up on the front row for a restart. After working Whitman on the high side for a couple of laps he knew he needed to use the low line to get past. Miller does all of his work himself as he is the only crew member for the 2 machine, and he is his own sponsor.
WINNER – 20R- NICK ROCHINSKI
2) 145-Alan Rudalavage 3) 9-Brett Tonkin 4) 6NN- Nick Nye 5) 28- Mike Trautschold 6) 02- Corey Costa 7) 75- Dan Vauter 8) 42-Nick Pecko 9) 34-Rusty Smith 10) 119-Brian Malcolm 11) 16X- Danny Creeden 12) 58M-Marshall Hurd 13) 163B- Bailey Boyd 14) 111J-Jamie Bedford 15) 3J-Joe Judge 16) 7M-Mike Nagel Sr. 17) 63- Byron Worthing 18) 58M-Marshall Hurd 19) 1-Darwin Green 20) 72- Mike Schane 21) 014-Brad Schaffer 22)M20- Nick Mady 23) 23- Tyler Stoddard 24) 47- Joe Eisenhower 25) 77- Casey Plummer DQ 26) 15G-Butch Getz
WINNER- 26BK- BRAD KNAPP
2)21- Greg Morgan 3)24X- Matt Cole 4)713- Mike Walsh 5)544J- Jeremey Williams 6)1A- Brad Weaver
WINNER- 73- STEVEN DEINHART
2)81- Shane Wolf Jr. 3)98P- Doug Polhamus 4) 00- Luke Boom 5)0J- Oliver Gage 6)36F-Dan Force 7)23-Lenny Miller DNF 8)36AA- Austin Allen 9) 32- Shawn Stalker 10) KP1-Steve Polhamus
WINNER – 28-BRETT GREY
2) 29-Bretton Miller 3) 5-Chuck Lohmeyer 4)138- Dana Davis 5) 101- Doug Lattner 6) 80- Tyler Smith 7) 0-Jeff Baldwin 8) 911- Mike Anzelone DNF 9) 108- Ali Scutt 10) 77X- Nolan Smith 11) 99A- Ayden Morgan 12) 22m- Stanley Matthews 13)133-Larry Furman
WINNER- 2- SCOTT MILLER
2) 56- Jeff Sterling 3) 5- Josh Wilder 4)72- JT Havens 5) 28-Dillion Hartman DNF 6) 8X- Steven Evans 7) 8W- Rich Wagner 8) 2K- Kevin Whitman 9) 61- Don Poster 10) 77- Brian Salmini