Story By: STEVEN OVENS / CRSA – SUSQUEHANNA, PA – Darryl Ruggles overcame a lot to win his first ever CRSA sanctioned event at Penn Can Speedway.
It was the first time in four years that the traveling series had held an event at Gary Folk Sr.’s racetrack that ran in front of a full grandstand and full pit area.
The Super Gen Products CRSA 305 Sprints were last scheduled to race at Penn Can three times in 2017, with all events being lost to rain. Josh Flint, a Penn Can winner in 2016, was the only driver in the 20-car starting field who previously had a CRSA victory at “The Can.” A majority of the drivers in the pit area had never raced at Penn Can in a 305 or maybe only select starts in a Mini Sprint.
But for the race winner out of Hopewell, NY there was a lot more to overcome than just lack of laps around the Susquehanna, PA facility. Ruggles underwent a surgical procedure earlier in the week and had a cast placed on his right lower arm and hand- with only the thumb tip and lower half of the other four fingers exposed.
“I asked my doctor if I could race (at Penn Can) on Friday night and he said ‘absolutely not’,” noted Ruggles in Victory Lane.
“The nurse came in to form the cast to my hand and I asked her before it sets up if I could grab ahold of the chair that was in the room. She didn’t quite understand what I was doing, but I told her I needed to form it enough to be able to hold my steering wheel.”
Ruggles had help from the redraw which is typically not kind to the defending CRSA sanctioned track champion from Land of Legends Raceway. After making the redraw out of his heat race, ‘The Motorized Madman’ drew number two to start next to the driver with likely the most amount of experience at Penn Can- Thomas Radivoy.
Radivoy and Ruggles brought the field to the green flag and they would race wing-to-wing for the first two circuits with Ruggles able to nose ahead at the line each time. After a quick yellow for McDonough, NY’s Dalton Herrick whose No. 29 slowed on the track, Ruggles put a safe distance between himself and Radivoy before approaching slower traffic ahead.
2-time and defending CRSA Series Champion Jeff Trombley had his own problems to sort out in Round 2 of the 2020 schedule. Trombley was an innocent participant in a Lap 1 heat race crash that sent his No. 3a pit side with heave damage. He would start in last place, 20th starting position, and pass seven cars before the first caution on Lap 2. Trombley would get to as high as 11th place before sliding back through the pack to finish 16th.
There would only be one yellow flag in the 25-lap event, allowing Ruggles to get back out front and set his own pace and rhythm before hitting slower traffic at the halfway mark of the event. Radivoy would close the gap to two car lengths as Ruggles hit slower traffic but the crafty veteran weaved through traffic to keep putting cars between himself and Radivoy.
Behind the top two was Rotterdam, NY’s Josh Pieniazek aboard the 56 machine who started in eighth and clawed his way forward to get third place at the checkered flag. The race’s hard charger was 2016 winner Josh Flint, who picked off seven cars from the sixteenth starting spot to finish ninth.
With four laps remaining, Radivoy had once again closed the gap to nearly the tail tank of the 48jr, but that was as close as he would get. Ruggles drove away and hid in traffic over the final four circuits to claim his first CRSA victory at “The Can.”
“Thank you to all these fans that came out tonight and thank you to Penn Can for hosting us,” Ruggles added with a thunderous cheer in return from the Penn Can faithful.
The top five included Ruggles, Radivoy, Pieniazek, Andy Jacobus out of Corning, NY and Middletown, NY’s Tyler Jashembowski fifth.
Next on the schedule for the Super Gen Products CRSA 305 Sprints is a tentatively scheduled trip to Thunder Mountain Speedway on August 15, followed by a return trip to Penn Can on Friday August 21, a Saturday trip to Land of Legends Raceway on August 29 and the finale at Afton Motorsports Park on October 9.
SUPER GEN PRODUCTS CRSA 305 SPRINT TOUR @ PENN CAN SPEEDWAY OFFICIAL RESULTS- Friday July 24th, 2020:
25-Lap A-Main (20 cars): 1. 48jr DARRYL RUGGLES (1), 2. 1Q Thomas Radivoy, 3. 56 Josh Pieniazek, 4. 7 Andy Jacobus, 5. 98t Tyler Jashembowski, 6. 13t Trevor Years, 7. 48a Alysha Bay, 8. 9k Kyle Pierce, 9. 41j Josh Flint, 10. 25w Dana Wagner 11. 112 Mike Van Pelt, 12. 56v Ronnie Greek, 13. 18c Dan Craun, 14. 75 Brandyn Griffin, 15. 1HD Cory Sparks, 16. 56d Peter Dance, 17. 3a Jeff Trombley, 18. 22m Matt Priscott, 19. 17e Ethan Gray, 20. 29 Dalton Herrick DNF
Lap Leaders: Ruggles 1-25
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1HD Cory Sparks, 112 Mike Van Pelt, 13t Trevor Years, 56v Ronnie Greek, 25w Dana Wagner, 56d Peter Dance DNF, 3a Jeff Trombley DNF
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 98t Tyler Jashembowski, 48jr Darryl Ruggles, 17e Ethan Gray, 7 Andy Jacobus, 9k Kyle Pierce, 41J Josh Flint, 22m Matt Priscott
Heat 3 (8 Laps): 56 Josh Pieniazek, 1Q Thomas Radivoy, 48a Alysha Bay, 29 Dalton Herrick, 75 Brandyn Griffin, 18c Dan Craun