AFTON, NY – Jeremy Smith thrilled the hometown fans on Thursday night at Afton Motorsports Park.
Smith, of Triangle, N.Y., broke into the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco win column in the ‘Afton Action 50’ at the Afton Fairgrounds track, drawing a roaring ovation upon his arrival in Victory Lane.
The win for Smith came in Round No. 4 of the series’ Halmar International North Region and was worth $5,300 – $5,000 from the posted purse, $200 as the Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader and an additional $100 as the highest-finishing NYSSCA regular in the field.
“I want to thank all the fans for supporting me,” Smith said after climbing to the roof of his No. 46. “That’s why I love racing close to home here in the Southern Tier.”
The event was postponed 24 hours from its scheduled Wednesday date due to a heavy rain system that lingered over the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast for the early portions of the week.
Smith led from start-to-finish in the 50-lap STSS Modified main after picking the pole via a redraw of top qualifiers held in front of the crowd just before the start of the feature.
Smith has been fast in weekly competition with wins at both Afton and his Saturday night home of Thunder Mountain Speedway in Center Lisle, N.Y.
With a talented series field in the pit area Thursday, Smith continued his strength.
“We were struggling on American Racer tires for a while,” Smith said. “We kept working on our program. Now we’ve been able to win the last four times we’ve been on the track.”
Smith faced early challenges from young Damon Decker, then Pennsylvania invader Rick Laubach before eighth-starting Ryan Godown, a past STSS winner at Afton, made his presence known. Godown carved through traffic to arrive in second by the 20th lap.
Smith had to survive three cautions on lap 35. His most formidable advance from Godown came on a lap-42 double-file restart. Godown worked the top of the track and nearly pulled even, but Smith surged back in front.
The final test was a yellow on lap 46, but Smith aced the single-file restart and pulled away by several car-lengths.
The win was Smith’s first in STSS competition. He becomes the series’ 25th different winner in 56 events.
Godown, of Ringoes, N.J., earned a hard-fought second in the Searock Motorsports No. 26. Anthony Perrego of Montgomery, N.Y., got shuffled back in the field early on from his sixth starting position, but rallied in the race’s second half for third in the Brian Smith-owned Superior Remodeling No. 44.
Both Jeremy Smith Racing cars earned top-five finishes as Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y., guided the JSR No. 91 to fourth, unofficially taking over the series’ North Region point lead. Track regular J.R. Hurlburt of Otego, N.Y., was impressive, rim-riding from 12th to complete the front five in the Jamie and Denise Page-owned No. 6H ‘Motel Missile’ sponsored by Algonkin Motel.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Duane Howard of Oley, Pa., in the Norm’s Save Station No. 357 after starting 19th on the grid; Mike Gular of Boyertown, Pa., who started 20th in Terry Fasnacht’s No. 2A; Jerry Higbie of Newburgh, N.Y., recovering from a late skirmish in the United Pump & Tank No. 48; Hard Charger Danny Johnson of Phelps, N.Y., who finished ninth after starting 24th in the Mike Trautschold No. 28; and Brett Tonkin of Carbondale, Pa., rebounding from a flat left-rear tire.
STSS Modified heat winners were Nick Nye, Smith and Gibbs. Howard topped the consolation.
Dale Welty of Montour Falls, N.Y., put his name in the STSS history books as the winner of the first-ever series Crate 602 Sportsman North Region event. Welty earned $1,050 as he received $50 as the highest-finishing NYSSCA member on hand.
Welty, who recently won an Open Sportsman series race at Accord (N.Y.) Speedway on July 3, led wire-to-wire in a 25-lap race that was slowed by several yellows, a red flag and some intermittent rain drops.
Welty now holds the edge in the battle for the $1,000 STSS Crate 602 Sportsman North Region championship five-race tussle.
Divisional star Tom Collins Jr. of Lansing, N.Y., drove from sixth to finish runner-up on Welty’s rear bumper at the finish. Dustin Jordan of Richford, N.Y., finished a strong third, followed by Gary Smith, who started eighth, and 15th-starter Kyle Rohner in a Superior Remodeling team car.
Crate 602 Sportsman heats went to Collins, Damon Decker, Jordan and Aaron Shelton. The consolations were split by Donnie Lawson and Hunter Lapp.
AFTON AFTERTHOUGHTS: It has been a trying season for Afton Motorsports Park with a resurfacing project during the off-season gone wrong. Silty conditions have prevailed for the first half of the season. As a result, the surface was dug and heavily watered for Thursday’s program.
All of the 29 STSS Modifieds and 37 STSS Crate 602 Sportsman on hand were needed to pack the track prior to hot laps….
Three-time STSS North Region champion Andy Bachetti was not in the feature field. Bachetti, of Sheffield, Mass., declined a provisional after a number of tangles and flat tires in his qualifying attempts….
Both Danny Creeden and Matt Sheppard were unable to finish the main; Creeden after colliding with the frontstretch wall and Sheppard after being collected in a turn-two tangle….
In the Crate 602 Sportsman main, Hunter Lapp launched over a multi-car incident in turn two. His car stood up on its nose before landing. Surprisingly, he continued with just a bent right-side rub-rail….
Racing resumes for the Short Track Super Series this Sunday, July 29 at BAPS Motor Speedway in Newberrytown, Pa., when Sunoco Race Fuels and Insinger Performance present the York County Nationals offering $10,000 to win for the Modifieds in Race No. 4 of the STSS Velocita-USA South Region. Central PA Legends Cars complete the two-division program.
To learn more about the 2018 Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.
The Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuel, Insinger Performance, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Halmar International, Allstar Performance, ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, Fast Axle, Fox Racing Shocks, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, HyperCo, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Land Hoe Maintenance, K&N, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, QA1, Race Pro Weekly, Racing Optics, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, Vahlco, Velocita, Weld & Wilwood.
‘AFTON ACTION 50’ RACE SUMMARY – AFTON MOTORSPORTS PARK JULY 25, 2018
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Halmar International North Region Modified Event No. 4 Feature Finish (50 laps): JEREMY SMITH, Ryan Godown, Anthony Perrego, Billy Decker, J.R. Hurlburt, Duane Howard, Mike Gular, Jerry Higbie, Danny Johnson, Brett Tonkin, Mike Mahaney, Darwin Greene, Rick Laubach, Nick Nye, Mitch Gibbs, Damon Decker, Craig Hanson, Matt Sheppard, Scott Ferrier, Rusty Smith, Jimmy Horton, Mat Williamson, Brian Krummel, Dan Creeden.
Did Not Qualify: Ken Titus, Andy Bachetti, Matt Roberts, Colton Wilson, Bob Stahl.
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire): Jerry Higbie (eighth) & Nick Nye (14th)
ATL Fuel Cell Bonus ($200): J.R. Hurlburt (fifth)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Billy Decker (fourth) & Danny Johnson (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Heat Winners ($50 Certificates): Nick Nye, Jeremy Smith & Mitch Gibbs
Beyea Custom Headers Hard Charger ($200 Certificate): Danny Johnson (24th to ninth)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Mike Mahaney (11th)
Land Hoe Maintenance/Speed Sport Showcase Hard Charger ($400 Cash): Danny Johnson (24th to ninth)
NYSSCA Top Representative ($100): Jeremy Smith
QA1 Hard Charger ($50 Certificate): Danny Johnson (24th to ninth)
Racing Optics Bonus (Sleeve of Tear-Offs): Anthony Perrego (third)
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Credit): Ryan Godown (second), Darwin Greene (12th) & Mat Williamson (22nd)
Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader ($200): Jeremy Smith
WELD Wheels Hard Luck Award (FREE Wheel): Brian Krummel (23rd)
Wilwood ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($50 Certificate): Mike Gular (seventh)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman North Region Event No. 1 Feature Finish (25 laps): DALE WELTY, Tommy Collins, Dustin Jordan, Gary Smith, Kyle Rohner, Pat Jordan, Ryan McCartney, Bobby Flood, Ben Bushaw, Daniel Morgiewicz, Jimmy Zacharias, Will Eastman, Corey Cormier, Aaron Shelton, Blaine Klinger, Matt Shultz, Hunter Lapp, Travis Green, Fred Christ, Charles Loiodice, Damon Decker, Jim Housworth, Kamdin Maby, A.J. Miller, Donnie Lawson, Randy Brokaw.
Did Not Qualify: Jacob Dgien, Mike Grover, Shane Henion, Connor Otten, Alex Van Pelt, Michael Murphy, Kinser Hill, Rob Loucks, Chance Spoonhower, Craig Monroe, Shayne Spoonhower.