TRACK CHAMPIONS ARE CROWNED AS SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE
On a perfectly cool Friday night with over 100 plus cars sitting in the pits, excitement and anticipation filled the air. There were track championships on the line in several divisions. The night was filled with solid racing and several great competitive features as the champions looked to wrap up their titles.
The SUNOCO Race Fuels and Insinger Performance Modifieds put on an intense show to wrap up the regular season. The battle was on for former track champion Brian Malcom who was second in points going into the night trailing points leader Brett Tonkin by 124 points. Jamie Bedford and Butch Getz lead the herd of 28 roaring Modifieds to the green flag. Getz got the jump on Bedford to take the lead, however it would not last long as the caution flag came out. Joe Eisenhower, Kevin Harnett, Mike Walsh, and Duane Paxton would all collide on the backstretch. The incident resulted in Walsh and Eisenhower being taken off the track on the hook. On the restart, Bedford and Getz would be on the front row with Getz taking the lead again. Bedford would have to deal with a hard charging Byron Worthing for second. Worthing would complete the pass. As the laps kept ticking off, Worthing would have to battle with Dan Creeden for the second-place spot, but Creeden would fail to get by the 163 car. A quickly advancing Malcom was making his way through the pack after having a minor setback on the restart. Working on the outside of Tonkin, the 119 was trying to make his move into eighth place.
The second caution of the night came on lap ten with a car being stuck on pit road after trying to head in on their own. With Worthing and Getz on the front row, Getz would get the lead. Worthing worked the outside to get around Getz, but before the lap could be completed, Marshall Hurd would spin around in turn one. Getz would once again take the lead on the restart; however, the outside line had been working all night for Worthing and he used it to his advantage to take the lead. Creeden and Getz would fight for second place with Creeden gliding past Getz to get behind Worthing. Just a few places back, Malcom was battling with Bedford for the sixth position and points. Lap thirteen brought out the caution as Marshall Hurd, Brad Schaffer, Mike Loney, and Aleia Geisler got tangled in turn one. Worthing would take the lead on the restart with Getz and Creeden battling door to door for second, however before the lap could be completed, Schaffer would be turned around. A single file restart allowed Worthing to pull ahead and start making his way through lapped traffic. Disaster struck for the leader as the 163 car would slow on the low side bringing out the caution and moving Creeden to the lead.
Worthing headed to the pits with a broken torsion bar. On the single file lap 16 restart, Creeden would use the momentum from the restart to quickly extend his lead leaving the rest of the field to battle for positions. Malcom would battle on the inside with Bedford for a top five spot. Creeden would further extend his lead while Tonkin and Petrilak fought to stay on the podium. Creeden was starting to hit lapped lap traffic with ten to go and had a straight away lead until a yellow flag came out for Leah Decker stopped in turn four. After the restart Tonkin would get caught in the lose dirt and lose a few positions before battling with championship contender Malcom for fourth place. On the same lap, Nick Pecko would maneuver his way around Tonkin for the fifth-place spot. With four to go Geisler would spin out in turn four. Creeden lead the pack to the checkered flag as Getz, Petrilak, Malcom and Pecko would round out the top five.
Danny Creeden is known as the tough guy on the track, but he is known to help fellow drivers, such as lending Byron Worthing a car so he could run. “I never want to see the veterans retire early, so I try to help”, said Creeden. For the 16x ride it has been a rough season. Despite the shortened season it has seemed everything and anything still went wrong. Creeden pointed out the track was great, but it was worrisome in turn three and four since you could not see the inside wall. The 16x was adamant in his first points paying feature win. Creeden was extensive in thanking his sponsors: Hig Fab Chassis, Precision Hydraulics and Oil, and FOX to name a few.
The Penn Can Speedway 2020 Track Champion for the Modifieds is Brett Tonkin. Tonkin stated that winning here was a dream since he has been at this track his whole life watching his father run. Consistency was the main factor in the win for the 15/9 car. He made up some points in the triple 20 features and that helped him get to this point. Tonkin said, “We have been running great since Memorial Day and it just keeps continuing”. The dominant lane last night for the champion was the bottom side and he made it work enough where Brian Malcom would not gain enough points to beat him. Brett Tonkin would like to thank a few of his sponsors: Stafursky’s Auto Parts, Stafursky Paving, and Castle Key.
Insinger Performance and Stone Brothers automotive Sportsman entered the night with an incredibly tight points battle as Mike Schane led Jimmy Zacharias by only two points. Third place AJ Konopka was within striking distance as well facing about a 50-point deficit. Randy Brokaw and Dusty Barton brought the field to the stripe with Brokaw holding the lead in turn one. The start would not hold however as point leader Mike Schane and Brandon Loucks spun in turns 3 and 4. This set the stage for a rough night as Schane would have to start from the tail end of the field. On the restart Brokaw and Barton fought hard for the lead down the backstretch with Brokaw taking sole possession of the leading spot. Elsewhere Brett Tonkin and Ray Leonard traded sixth back and forth while Mike Schane made his way back up through the field. By the time the caution flew on lap 5 for a spinning Alan Komar, Zacharias had moved himself up to second and Schane had worked his way into the thirteenth spot.
The restart would see the order remain the same as the field made it four more circuits cleanly and be slowed again on lap 9. Brokaw would choose the outside on the restart moving Zacharias to his inside. Brokaw would be left to wonder if he made the right choice however as Zacharias got the jump on the restart before Ray Reynolds and Eddy Kudrako hooked on the front stretch. With two cautions on the same lap Zacharias would get a single file restart and a row all to himself. Zacharias would pull away on the backstretch as Tonkin sailed past Barton for third. Tonkin would continue to work the outside trying to get past Brokaw for second but could not complete the pass. A good battle took the stage as Ray Leonard moved around Barton using the high side. Right as Zacharias caught lapped traffic the field was slowed yet again on lap 14. The spin in turn 3 included Komar and saw Blaine Klinger leave on the hook. The top 6 running order: Zacharias, Brokaw, Tonkin, Leonard, Barton, and AJ Miller.
Past halfway Zacharias led the single file restart as Tonkin moved past Brokaw working the outside. Lap 17 completed a 3-lap battle for fifth, Miller passing Barton. With six laps remaining Zacharias had again caught lapped traffic and yet again saw a caution. The restart would not go well for point leader Mike Schane came to a stop in turn 3 due to a mechanical failure. The final few laps would be action packed as Leonard, Brokaw and Miller fought hard for third. A final caution on lap 22 for a Dan Soloman spin did not make much difference for Zacharias. He and Tonkin would split away as third saw Brokaw beat Miller to the line and Leonard rounded out the top 5.
Jimmy Zacharias has a great last few weeks, from becoming the second person in track history to win back to back features in a single night to winning his sportsman feature and being crowned track champion for the sportsman class. Zacharias had transitioned from pavement racing to dirt and over all he has 19 track championships, but this is his second on dirt. The 71 machine is set up exactly right for drier tracks and it showed in the recent weeks. Zacharias said, “We saved the best for last and consistency was key year-round.” Many thanks go out to his sponsors: Midstate Basement Authorities, Velocita and Trackside products as well Zacharias thanks his brother and crew.
With three competitors mathematically in contention for the Insinger performance street stock title the action did not disappoint. Tyler Yeagle entered the night with an 80-point lead over Doug Polhamus and Steve Polhamus another 23 points back for third. Doug Polhamus would start from the pole with Travis Brockner completing row 1. Polhamus would get a good start as Brockner was immediately challenged for second by Shane Wolf Jr. and Jon Carpenter. Carpenter would get by Wolf for third before the completion of lap three with Brockner maintaining second. The first caution of the event saw Damon Decker slowed in turn 4. Decker would head pit side as Polhamus and Brockner brought the field back to green. Trouble in turn one would bring the field to a halt as Brockner and Polhamus collided causing body damage to both cars. Polhamus would go pit side to remove the sheet metal before joining the tail of the field. The contact moved Carpenter and Yeagle to the top two for the single file restart. Lap 5 would see Carpenter move to the high line as Yeagle fell into second and Shawn Boynton and Shawn Stalker battled for third. Boynton would win the battle of the Shawn’s as he advanced into third and the top two checked out. Yeagle’s strong run would prove to be too much in the Championship chase for the Polhamus family to overcome. Jon Carpenter crossed the line first followed by Yeagle, Boynton, Jason Butler, and Wolf Jr.
After taking a break from racing, Jon Carpenter and his 312 ride came back with a punch. Carpenter stated that running at the speedway is one of his favorite tracks. The lap five caution gave him the help that he had needed to get to first and said, “the track is great, there was a cushion and you could pick and chose your lane.” The 312 car would like to thank his sponsors: Carpenter family, Ithica Eagles, Bella’s Pizza, the Boyden Family, Tommy Carr for a great engine and Team Angels. Track Champion Tyler Yeagle had stated “This is incredible! I feel like an accomplished racer, we have won races before, but this is the first time we won the whole big picture.” The 33 had some competition come feature time, but Yeagle knew he just had to have a clean race. The Yeagle Farms driver had pointed out “I’m my biggest critic. Did I want to bring home the feature win? Yes, but I was content bringing home second.” Yeagle would like to thank some of his sponsors such as: J&G Homes, Tioga Downs Casino, Yeagle Fab, and Chaeefe Constructions.
Factory Stocks featured the only points battle across all divisions to already be locked up coming into the night. Tommy Groover has been the definition of consistency and dominance this season collecting every feature win bar one. Holding a more than 200-point lead Groover’s goal for the night was to collect the bounty placed upon him. As Nick Stark and Alicia Towner set the pace with an intense battle quickly forming for the lead. On lap 2 Groover took Towner and Stark three wide, Stark would lose ground as Towner and Groover went door to door on lap 3. Groover would pull away with Towner settling into second, Stark and Justin Slezak running for third. The fight for third would rage on as Stark and Slezak battled over the entire rest of the race. Lap 7 would see Groover easily work his way through traffic as Towner followed his lead. With the laps dwindling Slezak would execute a perfect basketball move, using lap traffic as a pick and advancing past Stark. The yellow would fly for CJ Swanson losing a rear tire in turn 4. The order would change on the restart as Groover pulled away with Stark, Stanley Matthews, Towner, and Eaton passing Slezak who suffered a right rear flat on the final lap.
Groover has been solid all year and says that he enjoys having to work his way through the field for the win. This is his third track championship in three years and has had a bounty on him all three of those years. Winning all the features this season but one has been a great accomplishment. Groover states, “This year’s goal is to come out and win King of the Can, I really want that win”. Groover would like to thank his sponsors: Red Barrel Carbs, ZJF Welding and Fabrication, Wildside Graphic, and Donavan Custom Homes and many more.
After a strong season Dana Davis was crowned 600cc Modified Champion. Entering championship night Davis held a 35-point advantage over second place Jared Green and a 133-point advantage over third place Brett Gray. After intense heat races earlier in the night the starting lineup would group all 3 contenders together for the feature: Green started sixth, Gray seventh, and Davis ninth. Jeff Baldwin and Doug Lattner took the green door to door as Casey Plummer worked the inside to move from third to first before the completion of lap 1. Baldwin would be shuffled back quickly as he and Davis fought for fourth. The green would not last long however as a lap 1 caution saw Green spin in turn one. The point contender would have to work his way up from restarting in the back. The restart saw Plummer get the jump over Gray as Bretton Miller would challenge his teammate for second. Miller would then challenger leader Plummer to his inside as the green flag run quickly brought the two into lap traffic. Right as the action climaxed however the field was slowed as Sheldon Whitman came to a stop on the backstretch.
The Lap 9 restart gave Plummer the jump over Miller in turn one, but Miller would close in and take the lead the next lap. Plummer would not get any time for a breather however as Gray began working him for second. After making the pass Gray and Miller would dance for the lead with a result neither wanted. Contact between the teammates gave Plummer back the lead as Miller’s car caught the infield and Gray was shuffled back due to lost momentum. Things would get sticky on lap 13 as Green came to a stop on the backstretch, the mechanical failure ending the young driver’s championship hopes. The restart would not bode well for point leader Davis however as contact between his rear and Eli Akshar would cause a pileup collecting Mike Fry and Chuck Lohmeyer. Akshar receive a black flag and disqualification for the contact. The rest of the race would run clean as Nick Robinson worked the inside of Plummer for the lead. Gray would put his name into the mix gain as the tight battle between the top 3 completed the closing laps. Casey Plummer completed the win, followed by Robinson, Gray, Ali Scutt, and Lattner.
It was the first 600cc modified win for Plummer, a former Modified competitor. The veteran driver talked about how this one was all about “dusting the cobwebs off from running the mods”. Points Champion Davis was ecstatic that “he and his team put all the pieces together” to bring the championship home. For the championship team it is all about family as Dana thanked his mom, dad and everyone who works on the C.K. contracting team. The new champion “felt the weight taken off his shoulders” and still could not believe he was now a Champion. It was surely a memorable night for the 600cc Modified Champion team.
The four-cylinder points battle was within reach for Nick Kennedy coming into the night as he trailed point leader Josh Wilder by 40 points at the drop of the green. Brian Salmini and Andy Bolles led the field to green, but the race would quickly see Kennedy charge to the front. By the time, a lap 3 caution came out Kennedy had used the top to work his way into second place. Once the slowed car was safely off the track Bolles and Kennedy came back up to speed out of turn four. One and two would see and intense battle for the lead as Kennedy pulled a low-high switch on Bolles and Scott Miller found some room to make it a three-wide challenge for the top spot. Kennedy would come out with the lead on lap 4 and begin to pull away as Mike Ferris would challenge Bolles for second. The 9-lap green flag run would see Bolles hang on to second with Scott Miller trying to make some moves to his outside and the leaders working their way through lapped traffic.
Bolles would have the save of the night in turn 2 with the car completely sideways from contact. A lap 12 caution for David Fox Jr. going around in turn 1 erased Kennedy’s lead and brought the field together for a 3-lap shootout. A brief bit of smoke under caution from Kennedy’s car excited the crowd but would dissipate quickly. Point leader Josh Wilder would be lurking in fourth on the restart, sitting where he needed to be to keep Kennedy just out of reach of the points title. The lap 12 restart saw a good battle for third as Jeff Stirling and Mike Ferris traded lines for the last three laps. Kennedy picked up the win followed by Miller, Sterling, Ferris and Wilder. Kennedy mentioned it was a tough season as he tried to roll with the punches and had a few nights of bad luck. After back to back feature wins to close out the points season Kennedy will have momentum on his side. The driver has had a remarkably successful career at the Penn Can speedway and looks forward to defending his King of the Can title in the upcoming weeks. He thanked his Wife and sponsors Country Town Auto and Wildside graphics for their support of him throughout the season.
A thrilled Josh Wilder came into the night with a 40-point lead and knew where he had to finish from the drop of the green to take the championship. Wilder hung back from the battles for second and third keeping his car’s nose clean and getting by the cars he needed to for a top five finish. “The Doughboy” collected his first title at the speedway in his five-year race career. Consistency was the key factor for Wilder as he mentioned his only DNF of the year came in week 2. The champion summed up his title saying “COVID 2020 has been crazy but this is crazier”. He thanked sponsors Wildside Graphics, JR’s Automotive, Jimmy Diffulvis Construction, and Damasus Services.
The young drivers of the Junior division were back in action for the last regular race in the season. We would see Josh Landers and Liam Jackson lead the field of five to the green. Landers had gotten the early jump over the group and started pulling away from Jackson who was in second. Landers would see the checkers fly with Jackson not too far behind.
With the regular racing season over, we cannot help but want more racing after watching an intense point battle across some divisions. However, September 18th we have the Patriot Tour returning to the speedway. They are finishing up their B-main and A-Main from the August 28th rain out. Along with making those two races up, they are putting on another ENTIRE show!! Running beside the 360 sprints, we will have the Modifieds, 602 Crate Sportsman, Street Stocks, Factory Stocks, 600cc Modifieds, 4 Cylinders and the Junior Division. The season may be over, but Penn Can Speedway isn’t! September 25th and 26th we will see who will be crowned King of the Can over two full nights of racing. For more information on upcoming events find us on Facebook under Penn Can Speedway or at www.penncanspeedway.net.
SUNOCO RACE FUELS INSINGER PERFORMANCE MODIFIEDS
WINNER – 16x – DANNY CREEDEN
2) 15G-Butch Getz 3) 72-Nick Petrilak 4) 119-Brian Malcolm 5) 42-Nick Pecko 6)9-Brett Tonkin 7)16R-Richard Smith 8) 6-Kevin Harnett 9) 22R-Randall Paxton10) 111J-Jamie Bedford 11) D9-Dennis Clapperton 12) 3J-Joe Judge 13) 58M-Marshall Hurd 14)44-Aleia Geisler 15) 014-Brad Schaffer 16)17D-Mike Loney 17) 4B- Brandon Fritsch DNF 18) 1-Darwin Green 19) 189-Leah Decker 20) 163- Byron Worthing 21) 26BK- Brad Knapp 22) 80-Duane Hiller 23)145-Alan Rudalavage 24) 17-George K. 25) 713-Mike Walsh 26) 27) 29-Leo McGurrin 28) 7M-Mike Nagel Sr.
INSINGER PERFORMANCE & STONE BROS. AUTOMOTIVE 602 CRATE SPORTSMAN
WINNER - 71 – JIMMY ZACHARIAS
2) 27K-Brett Tonkin 3) B17-Randy Brokaw 4) 14AJ-AJ Miller 5) 3R-Ray Leonard 6) 57- Dusty Barton7) 14K-Alan Konopka 8) M14-Moose Gulley 9) 3F-Frank Payne 10) 84-Mike Wilcha 11)14P-Chad Sandt 12) 61- Dave Rosa 13) 53-Steve Williams 14) 4-Dan Soloman 15) 44-Jim O’Hara 16) 32-Eddy Kudrako 17) M16-Colyn Schane 18) 30+-Brandon Oleski 19) 18- Brandon Loucks 20) 145-Jermey Warren 21) M7- Mike Nagel Jr. 22) 88-Alan Komar 23) M1-Mike Schane 24) 23T-Tyler Stoddard 25) 125-Ray Reynolds 26) 9K-Blaine Kliner 27) Unknown 28) 22X-Tommy Oleski
INSINGER PERFORMANCE STREET STOCKS
WINNER – 312 – Jon Carpenter
2)33-Tyler Yeagle 3)3L-Shawn Boyton 4)42-Jason Butler 5)81-Shane Wolf Jr 6)89A-Damon Decker 7)98P-Steve Polhamus 8)20JR-Dusty Decker 9)167-Eric Beach 10)KP1-Doug Polhamus 11)41-Frank Bonham 12) 151-Travis Brockner 13)23-Mike Stoddard DNF 14)94-Bobby Hall Jr. 15)32-Shawn Stalker 16)55S-Kyle Stark 17)00-Don Reeves 19) 20).
WINNER - 7R - TOMMY GROOVER
2)60-Nick Stark 3)22m-Stanley Matthews 4)9x-Alecia Towner 5)60E-Dylan Eaton 6)35-Justin Slezak 7)98-Lynn Highhouse 8)9&3/4-Amanda Brigham DNF 9)3-CJ Swanson
WINNER – 42 – Casey Plummer
2)8R-Nick Robinson 3)28-Brett Gray 4)Ali Scutt 5)101-Doug Lattner 6)5-Chuck Lohmeyer 7)134-Tracy Oliver 8)138-Dana Davis 9)0-Jeff Baldwin 10)99A-Ayden Morgan 11)343-Mike Frye DNF 12)911-Mike Anzelone 13)31-Justin Hall 14)35-Jared Green 15)29-Bretton Miller 16)4MK-Sheldon Whitman 17)1TJ-TJ Smith DQ 67E-Eli Akshar
WINNER - X – NICK KENNEDY
2)2-Scott Miller 3)56-Jeff Sterling 4)17Z-Mike Ferris 5)5-Josh Wilder 6)8W-Rich Wagner 7)61-Andy Bolles 8)17B-Cheyenne Bump 9)74C-Dave Nixon 10)8X-Jesse Velez DNF11)RC2-Phil Clapper 12)77-Brian Salmini 13)16-Kenny Underwood 14)7F-David Fox Jr.
WINNER – JOSH LANDERS