The ‘Doctor’ Danny Johnson & Car Owner Mike Payne Make $11,000-Plus “House Call” to Penn Can Speedway; Ryan Godown Marches from 26th to Second Before Overflow Crowd as Clash at the Can Purse Makes History!
(Event Press Release) SUSQUEHANNA, PA – Danny Johnson and car owner Mike Payne can list the obstacles that have kept them from Victory Lane at Penn Can Speedway in major events.
“We couldn’t seem to win a big one here,” Payne said. “A bolt that came loose in the front-end, a pinched wire, a tangle with a lapped car, it’s all happened to us.”
June 13, 2012 Video Highlights
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RoC Modified Clash at the Can Feature Highlights
Street Stocks Feature Highlights
On Wednesday night, the Johnson-Payne combination ended their run of misfortune on the Susquehanna County oval’s biggest night. Johnson, of Rochester, N.Y., stormed to victory in the Pioneer Pole Buildings-VP Racing Fuels ‘Clash at the Can’ 60-lap Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour main, earning more than $11,000 in cash, contingency awards and lap money.
“This car was awesome tonight,” surmised Johnson, who believed the victory to be his first ever at Penn Can. “I’ve got to thank Mike (Payne) for all he’s done and say thanks to everybody that put this race together. It’s one heck of a payday for us.”
The third annual ‘Clash at the Can’ was a co-promotion involving Brett Deyo and track managers Reed Miller and Al Wilcox. It offered the most lucrative winner’s share ($10,000) and total purse (more than $26,000) in the history of the speedway dating back to 1952. More than $32,000 was paid out to Modified teams counting bonuses, lap money and special awards. The event “made history, one dollar at a time.”
The ‘Clash’ was originally scheduled for Tuesday. However, an all-day rain forced the postponement to Wednesday. Despite running on a rain date, an overflow crowd jammed the facility’s hillside seating.
Johnson, of Rochester, N.Y., authored a perfect drive. Following a heat-race victory, ‘the Doctor’ picked third for the redraw. Former speedway champion Brian Weaver of Windsor, N.Y., led the opening nine laps before Johnson ducked to the inside and powered the No. 7z small-block to the top spot.
Johnson turned back two of the Penn-Jersey circuit’s most talented drivers on a number of early restarts. Legendary Billy Pauch Sr. of Frenchtown, N.J., piloting the Glenn Hyneman-backed No. 126, held the runner-up spot from laps 13-21. Then, eighth-starter Jeff Strunk pressed Norm Hansell’s No. 357 into second on lap 22.
However, the story of the race’s second half was Garden State talent Ryan Godown, who stormed through the field.
Starting from 26th on the grid via a New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway provisional, Godown found a home in the speedway’s upper groove during the race’s latter stages aboard Rick Clay’s No. 88c. The Ringoes, N.J., driver took fifth on lap 47, fourth on lap 49, third on lap 52 and second on lap 55.
Godown closed the gap significantly on Johnson but ran out of time to scored the upset victory.
“Once we got clear of the traffic, we were picking them off one at a time,” said a smiling Godown, whose previous best Penn Can effort was a fifth in 2010 while driving for Norm Hansell. “We just got there too late.”
Strunk, of Bechtelsville, Pa., finished third, followed by Pauch and Bridgeport (N.J.) Speedway regular Ryan Watt of Boyertown, Pa., who drove a consistent race for fifth in the Ron Roberts-backed No. 14w.
Placing sixth through 10th, respectively, were 28th-starter Joey Grammes of Lehighton, Pa., Larry Wight of Phoenix, N.Y., Matt Sheppard of Waterloo, N.Y., (from 20th), 25th-starting Stewart Friesen of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and Jimmy Horton of Neshanic Station, N.J.
An all-star 57-car field entered the event. Manmiller Electric heat winners, earning $50 each, were Bobby Varin of Sharon Springs, N.Y., Jimmy Davis of Ballston Spa, N.Y., Alan Rudalavage of Newton Lake, Pa., Johnson, Pauch and Weaver.
Mike Gular of Green Lane, Pa., Sheppard and Jimmy Phelps of Baldwinsville, N.Y., topped the consolations.
A wild 25-lap Trackside Products Race of Champions Street Stock main – featuring more than a half-dozen lead changes – fell to Rich Green of Newark Valley, N.Y. Green was locked in a battle with Earl Zimmer before Zimmer spun in turns one and two on the final circuit. Green earned $500.
Lanson Albanese of Cortland, N.Y., followed by Ryan Stone of Hallstead, Pa., Paul Harrington of Unadilla, N.Y., and Shane Wolf of Susquehanna, Pa.
Green and Ryan Stone spit the heat races.
CLASH QUIPS: Danny Johnson’s take included $10,628 in cash (lap and purse money plus Manmiller Electric heat money), $500 worth of VP Racing Fuel from Trackside Products, guaranteed starting positions for the Outlaw 200 at Fulton (N.Y.) and Friends of Mike at New Egypt (N.J.), two FREE pit passes to Selinsgrove (Pa.) on June 19, a Racers Preferred Models “Starter Package” worth $299, custom trophy and model car, a six-foot sub from Harford Subway plus 51 cans of beer and a cooler from Beer City…
Qualifying was difficult with the RoC Modified field on hand: drivers missing the show included Tim McCreadie, Ronnie Johnson, Billy Decker, Alan Johnson, Wade Hendrickson, Dale Planck, Jerry Higbie Jr. and more….
Mimi Lazarro performed live renditions of the Canadian and American national anthems….
Fans enjoyed a long list of giveaway items including Racers Preferred Models cars ($60 each), shirts, novelties, Dorney Park discount tickets and more. A ‘beach ball bounce’ kept the large crowd buzzing during downtime….
A fireworks display dazzled the fans as the Modified field came to green….
Brian Weaver, who led the opening nine laps, saw his solid drive end on the 14th circuit with a flat tire. Young Bobby Trapper Jr. ran in the top five until suffering mechanical woes on lap 44….
Three of the top-10 finishers – Godown (second), Grammes (sixth) and Friesen (ninth) – rallied from provisional starting positions….
Fonda (N.Y.)/Utica-Rome (N.Y.) star Bobby Varin picked up the ride in the Tyler Siri No. 5* for the event. Varin won the night’s first heat race but the crew was forced to totally rebuild the car’s rear-end assembly for the feature as a result of contact. The car was finished just in time for the main and he finished 11th….
The 2012 ‘Clash at the Can’ is presented by VP Racing Fuels, Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc., G&G Towing and Scrap Recycling, Trackside Products, Manmiller Electric, American Racer/Lias Tire, Shiley Fabrication, Selinsgrove Speedway, S&D Bodyline, MTL Motorsports, Beer City, Fulton Speedway, New Egypt Speedway, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Harford Subway, S&W Awards, and Four Star Lettering.
VP RACING FUELS-PIONEER POLE BUILDINGS ‘CLASH AT THE CAN’ RACE SUMMARY – JUNE 13, 2012
Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour Feature Finish (60 laps): DANNY JOHNSON, Ryan Godown, Jeff Strunk, Billy Pauch Sr., Ryan Watt, Joey Grammes, Larry Wight, Matt Sheppard, Stewart Friesen, Jimmy Horton, Bobby Varin, Mike Gular, Rick Laubach, Jimmy Phelps, Pat Ward, Alan Rudalavage, Danny Tyler, Brett Tonkin, Justin Holland, Mike Mahaney, Neal Williams, Doug Manmiller, Kevin Bates, Darwin Greene, Jimmy Davis, Bobby Trapper Jr., Mike Colsten, Brian Weaver, Duane Howard, Tim Fuller, Kevin Albert Jr.
Did Not Qualify: Alan Johnson, Tim McCreadie, Ronnie Johnson, Billy Decker, Jerry Higbie Jr., Adam MacGeorge, Wade Hendrickson, Mike Schane, Dale Planck, Mike Nagel Jr., Alex Stanton, Dale Welty, Alex Tonkin, Ken Titus, Danny Hieber, Jim Gabriel Jr., Chris Grbac, Billy Van Pelt, Bobby Trapper Sr., Mitch Gibbs, Nick Rochinski, Brian Malcolm, Dan Pompey, Ray Bliss Jr., Shaun Walker, Tom Collins.
Race of Champions Street Stock Tour Feature Finish (25 laps): RICH GREEN, Lanson Albanese, Ryan Stone, Paul Harrington, Shane Wolf, Nick Robinson, Earl Zimmer, Jon Carpenter, Jason Butler, Mike Codington, Gene Sharpsteen, Ken Sparks Jr., John Hoover.