Story By: BRETT DEYO / SHORT TRACK SUPER SERIES – MIDDLETOWN, NY – The new wide and racy “soft clay” of Orange County Fair Speedway suited Stewart Friesen well Thursday night.
Friesen, of Sprakers, N.Y., rode the outside rim to a $10,400 victory in the Behrent’s Performance Warehouse ‘Hard Clay Finale’ at the Legendary House of Power in the eighth and final round of the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco Halmar International North Region.
Matt Sheppard, with a fourth-place finish, clinched his first STSS Halmar International North Region title worth $12,500 for the Hurlock Auto & Speed team. Sheppard, more importantly, inched closer to the Insinger Performance-Sunoco Race Fuels ‘Grand Championship’ worth $58,500. Sheppard only needs to take the green next Saturday (Nov. 2) at Georgetown (Del.) Speedway to clinch the STSS Velocita-USA South Region title and secure the huge payday.
A new record field of 89 competitors signed in for competition on the eve of Eastern States Weekend. Through eight heat races and three consolations, the starting field was trimmed to 32 for the 50-lap main event.
Friesen, by virtue of the redraw, started 12th on the field.
Andy Bachetti, a three-time series champion, was the dominant force early on. Bachetti launched into the lead from the outside pole and accrued a seven-second lead prior to the first caution on lap nine.
Michael Storms and a rim-riding Friesen emerged to race with Bachetti. On lap 17 Bachetti and Storms collided momentarily on the frontstretch. Friesen shot the gap on the inside lane and took over a lead he would never relinquish.
Friesen drove to his 17th career STSS victory, the most of any driver.
Larry Wight, making his debut for Delaware-based car owner Gary Simpson, throttled from 26th to chase Friesen across the line. Unfortunately for Wight, the No. 12K came up light on the scales and he was disqualified.
Anthony Perrego, who started 25th in Ray Graham’s No. 18, placed second, receiving $5,000 for his efforts plus $400 from Land Hoe Maintenance as the race’s Hard Charger.
Sheffield, Mass., resident Bachetti placed third, taking home $4,000. Sheppard, who started his championship drive from 13th, finished fourth and Billy Decker of Sidney, N.Y., advanced from 18th to place fifth in the Jeremy Smith Racing No. 91. Decker ran as high as second in the event.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were 10th-starter Jimmy Horton of Neshanic Station, N.J.; Mat Williamson of St. Catharines, Ont., in the Behrent’s Performance Warehouse No. 3; Billy Pauch Jr. of Frenchtown, N.J., from 21st in the Bill Pascual No. 3; Mike Gular of Boyertown, Pa., who nursed the Terry Fasnacht No. 2A home with a broken fan; and Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, N.Y., who started 28th.
Rob Sherlock Roofing $100 heat-race winners were Horton, Mike Trautschold, Gular, Brett Hearn, Brian Gleason, Sheppard, Williamson and Jeff Heotzler.
Consolation victories went to Perrego, Wight and Bobby Varin.
Rapid Tire of Montgomery, N.Y., was the presenting sponsor of the 360 Sprint Car 25-lap main and the event was a thriller. Jordan Thomas, after trading the lead with Davie Franek, fought off the high-side advances of Billy Van Inwegen on the final lap to take the $3,000 victory.
Van Inwegen, who has vast Orange County experience in a Modified, found the extreme high line to his liking and swept past Thomas coming to starter Joe Kriss’ white flag.
The leaders raced side-by-side down the backstretch on the final lap. A slower car on the outside lane broke Van Inwegen’s momentum. Thomas won the drag race off turn four for the victory.
Van Inwegen placed second, taking home $2,000 for his efforts. Lucas Wolfe, Franek and Justin Barger completed the front five.
360 Sprint Car heat winners were Joe Kata, Wolfe and Thomas.
Racing resumes for the Short Track Super Series Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2 with the Mid-Atlantic Championship Weekend. The STSS Modified Velocita-USA South Region presented by Sunglass Central and Design for Vision South Region STSS Crate 602 Sportsman South Region championships will be decided amongst a huge weekend of racing at the Sussex County track.
BEHRENT’S PERFORMANCE WAREHOUSE ‘HARD CLAY FINALE’ RACE SUMMARY – OCTOBER 24, 2019
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Modified Halmar International North Region Event No. 8 Feature Finish (50 laps): STEWART FRIESEN, Anthony Perrego, Andy Bachetti, Matt Sheppard, Billy Decker, Jimmy Horton, Mat Williamson, Billy Pauch Jr., Mike Gular, Erick Rudolph, Brett Hearn, Mike Mahaney, Dan Creeden, Bobby Varin, Mike Storms, Billy Van Pelt, Brian Gleason, Craig Hanson, Daniel Morgiewicz, J.R. Hurlburt, Leo Fotopoulos Jr., David Schilling, Joe Bonetti, Rick Laubach, Jeff Strunk, Allison Ricci, Matt Stangle, Dillon Steuer, Jeff Heotzler, Michael Trautschold, Craig Mitchell, Larry Wight (DQ – Weight).
Did Not Qualify: Marc Johnson, Brian Malcolm, Bob McGannon, Billy Van Inwegen, Danny Bouc, Alex Tonkin, Roger Henion, Mike Kolka, Jerry Higbie, Ricky Wegner, Josh Delea, Alex Yankowski, Rocky Warner, Stan Frankenfield, Corey Lowitt, Tyler Boniface, Shane Jablonka, John Illanovsky, Ric Hill, Randy Green, Geoff Quackenbush, Gary Edwards, Tyler Treacy, John Redner, Jeremy Smith, Joe Barbagallo, Michael Sabia, Jim Maher, Yanick Mathieu, Peter Britten, Chris Grbac, Tim McCreadie, Tommy Collins, Chris Stevens, Justin Lalancette, Tighe Sherlock, Matt Hitchcock, Steve Dodd, Tyler Jashembowski, Joe Bruning, Terry Arnold, John Brown, Danny Tyler, Jessica Friesen, Travis Green, Troy Arnold, Christian Rumsey, Danny Carlough, Sean Mandel, Kirk Horton, Peter Carlotto, Dylan Smith, Ryan Godown, Ryan Godown Jr., Christian Eckes, Ryan Neiger, Tommy Meier.
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificate): Mike Gular (ninth) & Mike Mahaney (12th)
ATL Fuel Cells Bonus ($200 Certificate): Billy Decker (fifth)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Card): Matt Sheppard (fourth) & Mike Gular (ninth)
EIBACH Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Jimmy Horton (sixth)
Henry’s Exhaust Bonus ($50 Certificate): Brett Hearn (11th)
Land Hoe Maintenance Hard Charger ($400): Anthony Perrego (25th to second)
MJK Home Maintenance Heat-Race Hard Charger ($150): Matt Sheppard
Racing Optics Bonus (Tear-Off Sleeve): Andy Bachetti (third)
Rob Sherlock Roofing Heat Winner Bonuses ($100 each): Jimmy Horton, Mike Trautschold, Mike Gular, Brett Hearn, Brian Gleason, Matt Sheppard, Mat Williamson & Jeff Heotzler
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Anthony Perrego (second), Mike Mahaney (12th) & David Schilling (22nd)
Superior Remodeling/Evergreen Fuels Halfway Leader ($400): Stewart Friesen
WELD Wheels Hard Luck Award (FREE 5XL Wheel): Allison Ricci
Wilwood ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($50 Certificate): Mat Williamson
‘Rapid Tire 25’ 360 Sprint Car Feature Finish (25 laps): JORDAN THOMAS, Billy Van Inwegen, Lucas Wolfe, Davie Franek, Justin Barger, Joe Kata III, Mike Walter, Eric Jennings, Matt Tanner, William Glover, Larry McVay, Dallas Schott, Bob Tersillo, Zack Burd, Mark Sasso, Christian Rumsey, Ryan Stillwaggon, Scott Goodrich, Brett Wright, Thomas Radivoy.
Did Not Start: Scott Flammer