By BRYAN CHASE
SUSQUEHANNA, PA – Kevin Hartnett, of Towanda, Pa., hasn’t exactly had the best season of his career thus far. Picking up only 1 win seems uncharacteristic for the man they call the Stalker. That all changed Friday evening as the former track champion saw some of that championship-caliber swagger return and he parked it in victory lane for the second time in 2018.
Mike Loney and Hartnett brought the SUNOCO RACING FUEL distributed by INSINGER PERFORMANCE Modifieds down to the green flag and Hartnett immediately shot out to the lead. Loney tried his best to make up the lost ground, but Hartnett decided it was best to keep his car in another zip code. And that is what Hartnett did. With a new power plant under the hood of the #88 HigFab, Hartnett blistered the field by a straight-away as lap 30 came to a close.
Dan Pompey would work his way up to 2nd after starting 5th, doing battle Loney and Joey Grammes along the way. Pompey also appeared to be much faster than weeks prior, but was unable to run down the leader. Grammes and Loney then faced off for 3rd, with Grammes eventually squeaking around Loney for the position. Butch Getz rounded out the top 5.
The modifieds have set a new Penn Can Speedway record. For the fourth week in a row, the modifieds have went caution free in their feature event. That’s a total of 120 green flag laps. Clean and green! Great racing from our Penn Can modified faithful.
Michael Schane had his hands full early with invader and Afton Motorsports Park standout, Cory Cormier, in the SUNOCO RACING FUEL distributed by INSINGER PERFORMANCE 602 Crate Sportsman feature. As the green flag fell for Schane and Cormier, the two talented wheelmen would race side-by-side for the first handful of laps, with neither driver giving an inch to the other. This was a battle many wanted to see all night long and the fans were definitely not let down!
As the race would continue, Schane secured the lead from Cormier, as the latter started to fade a bit. But the man on the move was last week’s feature winner Mike Nagel Jr. Nagel was forced to start 8th and made his presence known around the halfway point as he picked off cars left and right. Nagel made his way up to 3rd and put Cormier in his crosshairs. A battle for 2nd was now unavoidable for Cormier as Nagel clearly was the fastest car on the track and came to make a statement. Nagel drove around Cormier and from that point on, it was all loudpedal action as the Jackson, PA driver was now on the hunt to run down the race leader.
Thanks to a long stretch of green flag laps, Schane managed to distance himself from the rest of the field. Nagel would undoubtedly close the gap, but he was running out of time. Meanwhile, Tom Creed went to work on Cormier in a good battle for 3rd, but Cormier would stay the course. As the last 2 laps ticked off, Schane kept his hotrod out front to claim victory once more. Nagel, Cormier, Creed and Moose Gulley rounded out the top 5.
Josh Mudge and Dakota Anderson brought the American Racer Tire 600cc Modifieds to the green and Anderson powered out with the early advantage, driving away from Mudge. Mudge would try searching the track for a faster line, but Anderson was too fast on this evening, earning his 2nd victory of the season at Penn Can. Mudge, Chace Scutt, James Randall and Chelsie Beebe rounded out the top 5 in their 20-lap feature event.
Things got interesting in the 4-Cylinder main as Joshua Wilder was battling Mike Farris for the lead. Farris jumped out to the lead early as the green flag fell, but Wilder, who won his heat race ealier that evening, climbed his way back into contention for the number one position. As Wilder came around turn two, the motor went flat, prematurely ending his bid for his 2nd victory on the season. Farris would keep his 17z machine out front to take the checkered flag for the first time in his career. Chris Taylor, who started 5th, had his hands full and really worked to drive up to 2nd place in the end. Matt Browning, Brian Salmini and Brandon Gumaer were your top 5 respectively.
Charlie Towner showed the SUNOCO RACING FUEL distributed by INSINGER PERFORMANCE Factory Stock division the quick way around, as he jumped out to the lead early at the start over Nate Hill. Towner kept his powerful 27 out front for the duration of the event until Tommy Groover decided to crash his party and began to challenge for the number one position.
Groover threw the kitchen sink at Towner, but Towner somehow managed to keep Groover at bay lap after lap. With just a few laps to go, Groover got the run he needed on Towner. Groover would hang on to the lead, allowing him to revisit victory lane once more. Kevin Macdonald, Dusty Decker and Alecia Towner rounded out the top 5.
While in victory lane, Groover and Towner shared a moment of comradery, as the two would shake hands and congratulate each other for the great race they had just put on.
The Street Stock feature saw Matt Bowman return to Penn Can piloting the Steve Polhamus machine and pull out a popular win over Doug Polhamus and Raymond Lindquist.
Mason Trautschold was declared the victor in the Jr Modifieds over Joshua Landers.
Every single car from pits made their way out for the fan appreciation segment which took place directly on the front stretch. A swarm of fans rushed down to talk to their favorite drivers, get autographs and take pictures.
There was one other surprise however. Track announcer Craig Hawley made his way over to 4-Cylinder driver Tony Hillard for an interview. The two spoke about the racing that evening and Tony’s background as this was the first time he has raced at Penn Can. But just when it seemed like their conversation had wrapped up, Hillard motioned for the microphone from Big C’s hand. Hillard then began to speak to his girlfriend Rebecca, who was standing right next to him. Soon after, the vertically gifted driver took a knee on the front stretch, reached into his driver’s suit and pulled out a little box, to which he then proposed to her. Rebecca (thankfully) said yes. Hillard then rose to his feet and the two shared an embrace sealed with a kiss which would symbolize the start of the next journey in their lives.
To Tony and Rebecca: Congratulations and thank you for allowing Penn Can to be a part of such a special moment and we wish you both the very best with your new adventure!
Next week, August 3rd, Morgan’Z Pub & Eatery (315 Green Ridge Scranton, PA) has put up an additional $200 to the modified feature winner, plus an additional $50 to the hard charger on the evening. Thank you Tony Frable for your generosity. Support those that support you and head on down to Morgan’Z for some terrific food and beverages!
For the fourth week in a row, the track has been smooth and wide, which has made for some great racing. Drivers have been very vocal and complimentary about the job track crews have been doing and many were loving the amount of bite the surface offered. For those that have stuck with us, thank you for supporting Penn Can Speedway week after week. For those that have left us or been on the fence about coming to try the track out, we can only hope to see you.
Also, Back Pack Night is coming up on August 17th and we have been working to make this event another fan favorite like it was last season. Some incredible businesses have been helping us and we would like to give a huge shout out to Sharkey’s Fuels for the back pack night donations. If anyone is interested in donating, this is what we are in need of: 1 subject notebooks, book covers, elmer glue sticks, pencils, small packs of crayons. C&K Contracting will be sponsoring the night as well. Please reach out to Joanne Mady at 570-614-2484 or send a message to the track to arrange the donations.
300CC JUNIOR SPORTSMAN
1. MASON TRAUTSCHOLD 2. Joshua Landers
AMERICAN RACER TIRE 600cc Modifieds
1. DAKOTA ANDERSON 2.Josh Mudge 3. Chace Scutt 4. James Randall 5. Chelsie Beebe 6. Doug Lattner
SUNOCO RACING FUEL distributed by INSINGER PERFORMANCE 602 CRATE SPORTSMAN
1. MIKE SCHANE 2. Mike Nagel Jr 3. Cory Cormier 4. Tom Creed 5. Moose Gulley 6. James O’Hara 7. Ray Leonard 8. Dan Burman 9. Mary Peck
SUNOCO RACING FUEL distributed by INSINGER PERFORMANCE MODIFIEDS
1.KEVIN HARTNETT 2. Dan Pompey 3. Joey Grammes 4. Mike Loney 5. Butch Getz 6. Nick Petrilak 7. Alan Rudalavage 8. Brett Tonkin 9. Brad Shaffer 10. Jamie Bedford 11. Stanley Wilkins DNS Brian Malcolm
SUNOCO RACING FUEL distributed by INSINGER PERFORMANCE STREET STOCKS
1.MATT BOWMAN 2. Doug Polhamus 3. Raymond Lindquist
1.MIKE FARRIS 2. Chris Taylor 3. Matt Browning 4. Brian Salmini 5. Brandon Gumaer 6. Anthony Hillard 7. Joshua Wilder
1.TOMMY GROOVER 2.Charlie Towner 3. Kevin McDonald 4. Dusty Decker 5. Alecia Towner 6. David Acosta 7. Nate Hill 8. Ned Fitch 9. Curtis Fassett
DNS Sheldon Whitman, Cody Fassett, Steve Simpson