Stewart Friesen Does The Impossible, Wins Hot Summer Night From 25th Starting Spot
(Race Press Release) SUSQUEHANNA, PA – Stewart Friesen accomplished the impossible Tuesday night at Penn Can Speedway.
Added to the feature as a guaranteed starter from the July 14 Grandview (Pa.) Speedway event, Friesen romped from 25th starting spot to win the Don’s Automotive Mall ‘Hot Summer Night’ 60-lap Race of Champions Dart Dirt Modified Tour event at the Susquehanna, Pa., oval.
August 10, 2010 Video Highlights
Order the complete race night DVD at the GSP Shop or get it at the track!
RoC Dirt Modified Tour Feature Highlights
Grant Hilfiger Gets Angry
Battle for the Final Modified Feature Transfer Spot
Late Models Feature Highlights
Crate Sportsman Feature Highlights
Friesen, of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., led only the final lap, passing both race-long leader Alan Rudalavage and challenger Duane Howard on the outside to earn a $5,650 payday: $4,000 as the base winner’s share, $1,000 for the Gambler’s Challenge, $500 as the Super Summer Series co-champion and $150 as the feature’s Hard Charger.
Friesen ended in a tie with Howard, of Oley, Pa., for the two-race Plant Food Company Inc.-Reading Plastic Fabricators-G&G Used Auto Parts Super Summer Series championship. Both drivers earned $500. The Super Summer Series was a co-promotion with track management team Al Wilcox and Reed Miller along with Brett Deyo.
“There were a bunch of jingles early on,” Friesen said. “We were able to keep our nose clean and pick our way through. Whatever they did to this track since the last time we were here (June 8) was phenomenal. The track had bite, a good outside groove and was smooth all night.”
Penn Can regular Rudalavage of Newton Lake, Pa., who led laps 1-59 from the pole starting spot, settled for runner-up pay. Grandview Speedway points leader Howard drove Chad Sinon’s No. 4 from 21st starting spot to finish third, followed by sixth-starter Bobby Varin of Sharon Springs, N.Y., in Ken Saya’s No. 10 and Penn Can racer Joey Grammes of Kunkletown, Pa., who started third in a car owned by his older brother Brad.
Brian Weaver of Windsor, N.Y., drove Randy Decker’s No. 9R from 22nd to place sixth, followed by Ryan Godown of Ringoes, N.J., in Norm Hansell’s No. 357 (up from 23rd), Jeff Strunk of Bechtelsville, Pa., who started 24th, Kevin Hartnett of Troy Pa., (recovering from an early flat) and Pat Ward of Genoa, N.Y.
Friesen struggled to qualify the Tadd Parks-owned No. 1 Teo-Pro car in his heat race due to a spark-plug wire issue and missed by one spot in a consolation, using the guaranteed starting spot to start the 60-lap main.
The race’s rough-and-tumble nature allowed 16th-starter Danny Johnson, Howard and Friesen to move forward quickly. By a lap-17 fuel stop necessitated by the number of early yellow laps, Johnson sat third, behind Rudalavage and Varin. Howard was fifth with Friesen sixth.
Johnson, of Rochester, N.Y., drove Mike Payne’s No. 27J into second on lap 32, but fell off the pace with mechanical issues on the 39th circuit to draw the caution. With 20 laps remaining, Rudalavage led Varin, Howard, Grammes and Friesen. On the restart, Friesen passed Grammes, igniting a four-car battle for the top spot.
When Varin’s car pushed in the fourth turn on lap 55, Howard shot into second with Friesen following into third.
A caution on lap 57 set the tone for the spectacular finish. Howard, 47, drove to the inside of Rudalavage as the leaders raced under the stripe for lap 58. Meanwhile, Friesen was building momentum in the outside lane.
With the white flag flying from starter Gary Folk Jr., Rudalavage, Howard and Friesen raced virtually three-wide down the frontstretch. Friesen’s high-line momentum carried him to the lead on the backstretch and he led Rudalavage to the stripe by less than a car-length for his first-ever win at Penn Can and 20th overall victory of the season.
“With three or two laps to go, I saw Alan (Rudalavage) was kind of slipping a little bit,” Friesen said. “That gave Duane (Howard) the bottom. Those guys were so occupied with each other, I knew I could pick around them on the top. We ran up there earlier in the race. The top was good, but it was the long way around.
“We were able to get up there and surprise them. I’m glad it was 60 laps, not 59.”
The victory moved Friesen to the top of the RoC point chart by 15 markers over Ward.
Heat winners for the 36 cars in attendance were Bobby Trapper, Mike Colsten, Mike Decker and Rudalavage. Howard and Weaver split the consolations.
Tracy Gregory of Dalton, Pa., emerged victorious from a three-car battle to win the Puzo’s Collision 25-lap Late Model Challenge, worth $1,000. Gregory inherited the lead on lap 12 when Dan Stone, who led the first 11 laps in dominant fashion, was collected in a spin in traffic. Stone restarted from the rear and charged forward while Ben Whitaker applied pressure to Gregory.
On the final lap, Whitaker pulled even with Gregory. However, his car pushed in turn four on the final lap, allowing Gregory to win over Stone, who raced back to second, Whitaker, Steve Deinhardt and Danny Snyder trailed.
Past Woodhull (N.Y.) and Black Rock (N.Y.) champion Donnie Lawson won the Dirt Track Digest 25-lap Crate (602) Sportsman main event. Lawson won by a comfortable margin over an intense second-place battle. Mike Nagel Jr., a track regular, was second, followed by New Egypt (N.J.) runner Jim Housworth, Adam MacGeorge and Jeff Crambo.
DON’S AUTOMOTIVE MALL PENN CAN AUG. 10 HOT SUMMER NIGHT RACE SUMMARY
Race of Champions Dart Dirt Modified Tour Feature Finish, 60 laps: STEWART FRIESEN ($5,650), Alan Rudalavage, Duane Howard, Bobby Varin, Joey Grammes, Brian Weaver, Ryan Godown, Jeff Strunk, Kevin Hartnett, Pat Ward, Darwin Greene, Garth Tonkin Jr., Mike Schane, Jim Mahaney, Kirk Horton, Mike Decker, Mike Gular, Kevin Bates, Danny Johnson, Bobby Trapper, Mike Colsten, Brett Tonkin, Grant Hilfiger, Danny Creeden, Joey Colsten, Rick Laubach, Gary Tomkins.
Did Not Qualify: Kevin Hirthler, Alex Tonkin, Kevin Albert Jr., Richard Smith, Billy Van Inwegen Jr., Danny Hieber, Jeremy Markle, Danny Tyler, Dan Pompey.
Puzo’s Collision Late Model Challenge Feature Finish, 25 laps: TRACY GREGORY ($1,000), Dan Stone, Ben Whitaker, Steve Deinhardt, Dan Snyder, Chuck Schutz, Curt Tunillo Jr., John Ritter, Jim O’Hara, Randall Paxton, Kory Fleming, Danny Tyler, Jon Rohacevich.
Dirt Track Digest Crate (602) Sportsman Feature Finish, 25 laps: DONNIE LAWSON ($750), Mike Nagel Jr., Jim Housworth, Adam MacGeorge, Jeff Crambo, Kyle Rohner, Rich Green, Anthony Perrego, Alex Stanton, Ray Bliss Jr., Chris Stevens, Tommy Johnson, Bruce Evans Jr., Joey Decker III, Kyle Van Duser, Derrick McGrew.