FRIESEN MOUNTS LATE RACE CHALLENGE TO BE CROWNED KING OF THE CAN
September 26, 2020
With the second night of King of the Can racing completed, people will be talking about this night for a long time to come. New and old came together tonight as the Short Track Super Series and Mohawk Valley Vintage series ran the biggest race of the Penn Can season. Also fighting to sit on the Golden Throne and to be named King of the Can were the IMCA Modifieds and Factory stock classes. The night was anything but disappointing as we saw the drama unfold, tensions ran high, tempers flared and a plot twist ending to an action-packed night.
In a much-anticipated event, the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series fueled by SUNOCO made a night no one will soon forget. Andy Bachetti and Casey Plummer led the stacked and power packed field of 27 cars of roaring Modifieds. As the green flag danced through the air the 4 car of Bachetti jumped to an early lead as he left behind Plummer and track regular Alan Rudalavage to battle for second. Rudalavage took over the second-place spot as Stewart Friesen followed Rudalavage on the inside line and both slipped past Plummer. Plummer was also quickly passed by Matt Sheppard. Nick Rochinski would step up to challenge Rudalavage for the second-place spot as Billy Pauch Jr. would battle with Plummer for the ninth position. Rochinski would move up to second as the first caution of the night would come on lap 7 with Cory Costa and David Schilling spinning in turn 4. On the restart Bachetti and Rochinski would lead the pack with Bachetti taking the jump on the lead. However, Rudalavage saw an opportunity on the inside line to get around the 20R car of Rochinski. The move would not stick as a caution came out before a lap was completed, the 77 of Plummer had slowed on the back stretch due to a right rear flat. Bachetti took to lead off the restart leaving Rochinski to follow, right behind the leaders were Rudalavage, Friesen and Sheppard going 3 wide in a battle for the third-place spot.
Further back in the pack would see Outlaw regular and promotor Tyler Siri and the 99L of Larry Wight tussle for the ninth spot. With several battles going on up front the majority of the crowd was watching Friesen and Rudalavage battle for third. Lap nine would see a caution as another Penn Can regular Mike Loney, Josh Nobriga, and Craig Hanson would spin out in turn 4, the crowd would also see track regular Byron Worthing head pit side. Bachetti would lead off the restart while Tonkin, Rudalavage, Friesen and Sheppard would battle it out for third, with Sheppard winning the battle. Friesen started looking to the low line to get around Sheppard but before he could make a move a caution came out on lap 12. Previous track champion Brian Malcom, Plummer and Eric Leet had collided in turn four by the inside wall. Off the restart, the caution was thrown for Costa, Malcom, Pauch Jr., Plummer, Danny Creeden, Hanson, and Loney who all get tangled in turn one. With a single file restart coming in to play, Bachetti would lead with Friesen and Sheppard battling hard for third as Sheppard used the high line getting the run on Friesen to take third.
A little further back Rudalavage and Billy Decker battled it out, Decker would move into the fifth position using the inside line. Rudalavage would attempt to hold on battling with STSS regular Tyler Dipple for the sixth position, Dipple took the position from Rudalavage. Leet would head pit side with a caution coming out on lap 17 for local driver Kevin Hartnett slowing in turn four. On the restart, Bachetti and Rochinski set the front row with Bachetti, Rochinski and Sheppard taking it 3 wide for the lead, but Bachetti would quickly capitalize on his momentum vaulting him ahead to maintain the top spot. Sheppard and Rochinski were left to duke it out door to door for second. Sheppard would attempt to move into the second position when a caution came out for a slowing Rudalavage on the back stretch with a flat tire on lap 18. The restart would again see Bachetti and Rochinski on the restart with Sheppard and Rochinski again battling door to door. Rochinski’s momentum couldn’t hold Superman back this time as Sheppard took away the second spot. Behind Bachetti and Sheppard was a battle for third between Rochinski and Friesen, another battle between Wight and Mike Gular for seventh, and Alan Barker and Hanson battling for tenth. On lap 26 a caution would be thrown for Loney and Plummer spinning in the corner of turn four. The restart would see the Bachetti take off for the lead with Sheppard hot on his tail, but Rochinski would soon join the mix as he went door to door with Sheppard for again for second place spot and took it back from the driver of the 9S.
As Bachetti pulled away from the group, Decker would look to the inside of Friesen to try and take fourth place and further back would be Wight and Barker fighting hard for ninth. Wight would take the ninth spot temporarily with Barker coming back to trade paint and eventually taking the position. Friesen would look to the outside of Sheppard for third while Bachetti would catch up with the tail of the field. Lap 36 would bring a caution for a car stopped on pit road after attempting to exit the racing surface. Bachetti and Rochinski would lead the field to the green with Rochinski looking to the inside of Bachetti but would fail to make a move. Sheppard would make his move instead as he slid pass Rochinski for second while Creeden and Barker would duel for tenth. With Creeden moving into tenth, a few positions ahead of him would see Danny Johnson and Wight battle for eighth while the leaders hit lapped traffic. Lap 49 would bring about a caution, as Siri was stopped in turn 3, Joe Judge would slow on the front stretch and Wight would head to the pits for a flat tire. Leading the field was Bachetti and Sheppard, but on the restart the crowd would be on their feet as Bachetti, Friesen and Sheppard went 3 wide for the lead. Sheppard quickly dropped back and was battling Rochinski for third. Bachetti and Friesen went door to door with four to go, then suddenly on the next lap Friesen looked to the inside of Bachetti to take the lead. Friesen would be announced King of the Can and STSS North Champion. Andy Bachetti, Nick Rochinski, Matt Sheppard, and Mike Gular rounded out the top five.
When asked about how he felt about his positions in the heat and feature, Friesen said “We had a great draw when we got here and a great 5th place re-draw.” Friesen also is fortunate enough to run the Gander Outdoor NASCAR Truck series, who raced Friday evening out in Las Vegas. He stated that he placed 4th out there and had not slept since Thursday. Starting in fifth, Friesen knew it was a race where he had to conserve tires. “At the start it was pretty narrow as far as lanes go, but as the night went on it started opening up” Friesen said when asked about track conditions. Bachetti had led majority of the laps and when asked about his final move he had said “I had a line on Andy and had to get moving.” Being announced as STSS North Champion came as a shock to Friesen, he was 18 points out of first and he beat Mike Gular by only two points. Friesen would like to thank Halmar International, Bart Contracting, his crew chief Tommy and Berkie.
In a special visit to the speedway the IMCA Modified appearance did not disappoint. Front row Bumps Scutt and Brad Smith brought the field to green for a rough start that involved Shawn Bruce, Tyler Stoddard, Rick Watt, and Bob Maynard spinning in turn 4. The second attempt would run smoother as Smith took the lead and would take the first two circuits as Scutt and Matt Roberts fought for second. Roberts would take the spot as Scutt lost another to Keith Lamphere took third. Lap 3 caution for Jeff Austin spinning in turn 4. Smith would hit his restart well, but Roberts would use the high side momentum down the backstretch to pass Smith and take the lead. A hiccup would send Roberts back to fourth as Scutt and Rodney Morgan slipped past while fighting for what would have been third. Scutt would take second moving Morgan to third. Before a lap 7 caution had Mark Griffin spinning.
The restart would see Morgan use the inside to take away second before a second spin for Austin and Gary Lamphere again slowed the field. Smith would get the restart jump over Morgan as Roberts and Keith Lamphere took Morgan 3 wide for second. The drivers would be slowed by a Watt and Kevin Smith collision in turn 1. On the restart AJ Hunsinger would move back to fifth after getting loose on the outside and the field would slow again by lap 14. Sonny Terry and Shawn Bruce would be the cause of that final caution as the restart saw Smith get a good jump, he would work through lapped traffic in the closing laps and used the slower cars to perfection as he fended off a challenge from Bumps Scutt who was working the high line. The loss of momentum would kill Scutt’s chances as the field crossed the line with Smith collecting the trophy followed by Morgan, Keith Lamphere, Scutt and Matt Roberts.
It was an up and down night for Smith as he climbed out of his torn-up factory stock not even 20 minutes after winning the IMCA feature. With an assorted field of IMCA drivers from tracks all over the region Smith picked up his first King of the Can win. He noted how on the restarts the bottom and middle lanes would get a really good jump but then the top would close the gap out of the corners and on to the straights. He was prepared for a very dry slick track but was pleasantly surprised to find the track still had lots of bite. Smith appreciated the good clean racing with Roberts who made it past him and the two swapped spots more than once. Smith would like to give special thanks to Shannon Oswald, his daughter, Lethal Chassis, Penske Shocks, CPT Racing, and the entire Folk family for inviting the IMCA division to Penn Can Speedway.
With the 2020 King of the Can title on the line and a hungry field of 26 cars the Factory Stock main event rolled to the starting grid. Mike Morse and Scottish Brown Jr. charged out of turn four to take the green in what would be called a no start. Shawn Sabo, and Brad Smith collided in turn 2 as Smith left on the hook and another collision followed for Stanley Mathews and Mike Chilson tangling in about the same spot. Try three would be successful as Nick Stark would take the lead over Mike Morse on the attempt. Lap 2 had Ray Lindquist and Brad Smith fighting for sixth with Lindquist taking the position. Morse would use some early lapped traffic to keep Brown behind him as Nick Stark would look inside Morse for the lead on lap 3 but would not get the job done. Morse would really start to work the bottom as the race entered the midway point with Morse, Stark, Lindquist, Buck Mills Sr, and Jeredd Dennis holding the top 5 positions.
Josh Towner would slow on the backstretch concluding what has been a good season for the 9x car and setting up a lap 12 restart. A good battle for ninth had Justin Slezak and Kevin MacDonald in a dogfight for ninth as Slezak looked right at home on the high line. Farther ahead Buck Mills Sr took second away from Lindquist and the field was slowed for a lap 14 yellow. The spin between Dylan Eaton and Sabo would not draw a yellow as track champion Tommy Groover looked inside of Slezak for seventh. Lindquist and Mills Sr. battled hard for second as Morse began to gain ground on his lead. Eaton and Mike Chilson would make contact bringing out the lap 16 yellow. The restart action saw Groover and Buck Mills Jr. fighting for seventh. The final caution of the night had Dennis spinning in turn 4 and Morse checking out on the two to go single file restart to collect the win. Mills Sr. Stark, Lindquist and Groover rounded out your top 5.
Mike Morse is no stranger to post race interviews as he has 26 feature wins with his current car. Morse was surprised to find the track still had bite with the Factory Stocks running at the end of the night. It was an incredible night for Morse as his first Penn Can win being a King of the Can title. Morse had many people to thank including Butch, Donnie, Austin, Ryan, Michael, Earl, Roger, Ron and sponsors Graves Trucking, Seeley Engines, Beebe’s Farm, Beyea Headers, MR Grafix, Stryker Fabrication, and Zimmer and Son Logging and Firewood.
The Seward Rice Memorial for Mohawk Valley Vintage Modifieds saw some good racing in the Modified division as winner John Flach parked his 22 machine in Victory Lane. With only 2 laps remaining in their 15-lap main event the late model division lead changed hands as race winner Curtis Crandon’s 7 passed the 28 on the inside. It was a great night of racing and a unique experience for race fans to reminisce over the older body styles and the memories they have of the legends who ran them.
With each King of the Can announced and after a thrilling show, we all at the Penn Can Speedway would like to thank all of those involved. Brett Deyo and the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series put on an amazing show in front of a standing room only capacity crowd. There were several moments were the crowd was on their feet and some moments that had us all holding our breath. Each division certainly did not disappoint when it came to battling for position. It was a great racing weekend with events fans will talk about for years to come. We would like to thank all of our sponsors for their continued support and all lap and finishing position sponsors for their efforts. Your help and support make King of the Can weekend possible. The roar of Penn Can speedway’s feature division will be heard one final time in 2020 as we will be back racing on Friday, October 3rd for the last race of the season. It will be a 45 lap Modified Race with $4,500 to win and $400 to take the green.
BOB HILBERT SPORTSWEAR SHORT TRACK SUPER SERIES FUELED BY SUNOCO
WINNER – 44F- STEWART FRIESEN
2) 4- Andy Bachetti 3) 20R- Nick Rochinski 4)9S- Matt Sheppard 5) 2A- Mike Gular 6) 91- Billy Decker 7) 1- Billy Dipple 8) 16X- Danny Creeden 9) 27J- Danny Johnson 10) 20C- Craig Hanson 11) 20S- David Schilling 12) 15- Billy Pauch Jr. 13) 9-Brett Tonkin 14) 77- Alan Barker 15) 22- Josh Nobriga 16) 77C- Casey Plummer 17) 17D-Mike Loney 18) 99L- Larry Wight 19) 3J-Joe Judge 20) 5*- Tyler Siri 21) 145-Alan Rudalavage 22) 133-Kevin Harnett 23) 02- Corey Costa 24) 22R-Randall Paxton 25) 119-Brian Malcolm 26) 15G-Butch Getz 27) 163W- Byron Worthing
WINNER- 76-BRAD SMITH
2)89-Rodney Morgan 3)98K-Keith Lamphere 4)108-Bumps Scutt 5)33-Matt Roberts 6)69-Jake Maynard 7)14L-Logan Terry 8)15M-Ray McClure 9)11K-Mark Griffin 10)33A-AJ Hunsinger 11)93-Joe Novak 12)83-Gary Lamphere 13)7*-Shawn Bruce 14)14S-Sonny Terry 15)115-Brad Sites 16)14H-Tyler Stoddard 17)777-Oliver Gage 18)99-Rick Watt 19)10A-Jeff Austin 20)68-Rich McNeil DNS 15-Ed Sites
WINNER- 21-MIKE MORSE
2)15-Buck Mills Sr. 3)60-Nick Stark 4)22L-Ray Lindquist 5)7R-Tommy Groover 6)35-Justin Slezak 7)27M-Kevin MacDonald 8)425-Mike Spencer 9)89-Ryan Brockner 10)21J-Tim Parker 11)42-Greg Young 12)87-Scott Brown 13)87J-Josh Dumas 14)121-Jeredd Dennis 15)187-Buck Mills Jr. 16)22M-Stanley Mathews 17)60E-Dylan Eaton 18)77-Scottish Brown Jr. 19)58-Wayne Taylor 20)21BW-Brent Williams DNF 129-Shawn Sabo, 28-Mike Chilson, 11-Nate Hill, 9X-Josh Towner, 27BS-Brad Smith