Rick Laubach Continues ‘Assault’ Of Short Track Super Series Fueled By Hi-Tek, Tops Big Diamond ‘Anthracite Assault’ Tuesday For $5,540 Payday In ‘Coal Country’

By CODY MANMILLER

MINERSVILLE, PA – Rick Laubach continued his assault of the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Hi-Tek, conquering an extremely tough field at Big Diamond Speedway on Tuesday.

Laubach drew an all-important front row starting spot and glided to his second straight Short Track Super Series (STSS) victory. This, the ‘Anthracite Assault,’ was the only North/South Region combo race for the season, and points were earned for both the Pioneer Pole Buildings South Region presented by Scotty’s Speed & Diesel and the Bob Hilbert Sportswear North Region.

Laubach, 42, of Hellertown, Pa. captured the STSS South Region opener at N.J.’s Bridgeport Speedway last month providing for a fantastic start to his championship contention. On Tuesday night, he pocketed $5,540 including lap money, bonuses and the posted purse for his efforts in the 50-lap main event.

The series’ first trip to Big Diamond served as the second event in both the eight-race North Region and the five-race South Region.

The co-promotion involving BD Motorsports Media LLC and speedway owners Jake and Jasmine Smulley went off despite widespread rain north and south of the speedway, a 90 percent chance of precipitation and sprinkles during the three features. The show was spun off rapid fire as a result of the threatening weather.

“I was excited when I first heard about this series because I’ve won races at all of these tracks in the South Region,” Laubach noted in Victory Lane. “It’s a very lucrative deal with all the money.”

Laubach, in his Gary Spotts-owned No. 91, different from the car that he used to dominate the field at the Bridgeport ‘South Jersey Shootout,’ took the lead from the outset from pole-sitter Nick Nye before the first caution waved on lap six for a spinning Shawn Ward.

The real action began to develop just behind the leader as the top five reached lapped traffic. Jeff Strunk, Erick Rudolph, Stewart Friesen and Doug Manmiller scraped and clawed for spots two through five in very heavy slower traffic. Friesen’s terrific move pushed him to second from fourth just before Rudolph, Ransomville, N.Y, was sent spinning in turns one and two on lap 28. At times, the foursome made it three-wide while trying to make their way through the gaggle of slower cars ahead of them.

Trouble erupted on the ensuing restart. Manmiller, of Shoemakersville, Pa., restarting in the fourth position, spun after contact busted the rear-end of his Jason Miller-owned car, sending it sideways in front of the field. Numerous cars scrambled to avoid and sustained damage during the melee. One more tangle slowed the event, when Billy Pauch Sr. and Danny Johnson collided entering turn one when the green unfurled to draw the yellow again.

For the remainder of the distance, Friesen chased Laubach, settling for a runner-up effort after starting eighth in the Jeff Daley-owned No. 44. The Sprakers, N.Y., driver took home $3,160 for his runner-up effort.

“Hats off to Rick,” Friesen said. “He’s hot right now and he is awesome here. I needed longer runs for my right-rear tire to start taking off. We went a little harder and the cautions killed me. I’m happy to get out of PA with a second.”

Friesen leads the STSS North Region standings after winning the opener at N.Y.’s Orange County Fair Speedway April 11.

Jeff Strunk of Boyertown, Pa., drove the Zubi’s Racing No. 88 Hig Fab Chassis to a solid third-place finish.

“It feels good to be on the podium at one of these races,” Strunk said. “It was a quality field tonight for sure.”

Wheeling from 21st starting position, Anthony Perrego of Montgomery, N.Y., drove Gary Mann’s No. 55 to a fourth-place finish. The event’s biggest mover was Jamie Mills of Milford, Del., who placed fifth after starting 26th on the grid. Mills has been able to carve through traffic in both STSS South Region events run thus far.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Billy Pauch Jr. of Frenchtown, N.J, an impressive feat after having to come from the back of the pack on two occasions in John Pakenham’s big-block; Ryan Watt, Boyertown, Pa., who added another top-10 finish at STSS South Region races; 2014 STSS Champion Andy Bachetti, who took an eighth-place finish back to Sheffield, Mass., after starting 29th; Milford, Del.’s H.J. Bunting, who moved from the 19th starting spot to ninth in a rare non-Delaware start with Jake Marine’s No. 85; and Craig Hanson of Johnstown, N.Y, in his first Big Diamond appearance.

Another competitive field of cars featuring 44 Modifieds from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland and Massachusetts attempted to qualify for the ‘Anthracite Assault.’

Heat winners were Friesen, Johnson, Rudolph, Strunk and Pauch Jr. Consolation victors were Perrego and Tyler Dippel of Wallkill, N.Y.

Charles Fayash III of Allentown, Pa., earned an emotional $1,000 payday in the Sportsman 25-lap event, in memory of the late Andy Fayash. In a battle to the finish, Fayash fended off the challenges of Garden State rookie Brandon Grosso. On the final lap, Grosso slid wide in a bid for the lead, allowing J.R. Fulper to take second. Grosso, Steve Searock IV and Tim Fitzpatrick trailed.

Moonlighting in an XCel 600 Modified, Wallkill, N.Y.’s Tyler Dippel, a young Modified standout, scored the 20-lap, $1,000-to-win triumph with a three-wide pass two laps from the finish. Dippel ducked inside Aaron Bowes and Brian Carber to take the lead and drove Doug Borger’s ‘X’ rental car on to the win over Carber, Richie Hitzler, Bowes and Nathan Brinker.

The Short Track Super Series Fueled By Hi-Tek continues Tuesday, May 19 (rain date: May 20) with the New York Truck Parts Inc. ‘Battle of the Bullring 3’ at N.Y.’s Accord Speedway. Modifieds run 53 laps for $5,300 to win, $1,000 for 10th and $400 to start. Sportsman (Open vs. Crate 602) and Slingshots complete the three-division card. This is event No. 3 of the Bob Hilbert Sportswear North Region.

To learn more about the Short Track Super Series or BD Motorsports Media LLC, visit www.shortttracksuperseries.com or www.bdmotorsportsmedia.com, call 845.728.2781 or e-mail bdmotorsportsmedia@gmail.com. “Like” Short Track Super Series on Facebook or follow @ShortTrackSS on Twitter.

COAL NUGGETS: One of the season’s most diverse Modified fields signed in for the return of the ‘Anthracite Assault’ at Big Diamond; many of the drivers on hand had never raced at the speedway or returned after many years’ absence. The event has previously been run only once, on July 26, 2011….

Duane Howard had driven Glenn Hyneman’s No. 126 from 28th starting spot to run as high as fourth before heading to the pits on the 39th lap….

Danny Creeden was leading the fifth heat race when rear-end failure ended his night. The Wurtsboro, N.Y., native was piloting a spec head small-block No. 16X mount. Creeden received the Shiley Fabrication Hard Luck Award…

The Delaware region was well represented with Jamie Mills, H.J. Bunting III, Shawn Ward, Brad Trice, Matt Jester and Jordan Watson on hand….

The ‘Dog Pound’ race fan $250 bonus for a driver suffering misfortune went to N.Y.’s Billy Van Inwegen, whose car sustained damage on the opening lap of the first heat race….

The Short Track Super Series is presented by Hi-Tek Race Fuel, American Racer/Lias Tire, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc., Scotty’s Speed & Diesel, East Coast Speed/ECS Auto, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Allstar Performance, ATL Fuel Cells, Bicknell Racing Products, COMP Performance Group (COMP Cams, Driven Racing Oil & Quarter Master), Crane Ignition, Dirt Track Digest, Fast Axle, Fox Racing Shocks, Henry’s Stainless Steel Exhaust, Hig Fab Chassis, Hyperco, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Lineman Racing, Pilat Graphic Design, Race Pro Weekly, Racers Guide, S&D Bodyline, S&W Awards, Shiley Fabrication, Simplicity Design, Teo-Pro Car, Vahlco Wheels & VP Racing Fuel.

‘ANTHRACITE ASSSAULT’ RACE SUMMARY – MAY 5, 2015

Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc. South Region Presented By Scotty’s Speed & Diesel Race No. 2 & Bob Hilbert Sportswear North Region Race No. 2

Short Track Super Series Fueled By Hi-Tek Modified Feature Finish (50 Laps): RICK LAUBACH ($5,540), Stewart Friesen, Jeff Strunk, Anthony Perrego, Jamie Mills, Billy Pauch Jr., Ryan Watt, Andy Bachetti, H.J. Bunting III, Craig Hanson, Billy Van Pelt, David Van Horn Jr., Tommy Meier, Danny Johnson, Ryan Godown, Tyler Dippel, Billy Pauch Sr., Nick Nye, Brian Kressley, Shawn Ward, Duane Howard, Craig Von Dohren, Jordan Watson, Erick Rudolph, Doug Manmiller, Jerry Higbie Jr., Shawn Fitzpatrick, Jackie Brown Jr., Mike Sabia.

Did Not Qualify: Steve Cummings, Billy Van Inwegen, Meme DeSantis, Brett Tonkin, Neal Williams, Mike Ricci, Ryan Anderson, Tyler Siri, Matt Jester, Colt Harris, Kevin Beach, Brad Trice, Jeff Heotzler, Mike Mahaney, Danny Creeden.

‘Lucky 7’ Lap Money Breakdown ($1,265 Total): Rick Laubach ($390), Stewart Friesen ($160), Jeff Strunk ($145), Jamie Mills ($85), Erick Rudolph ($85), Doug Manmiller ($80), Billy Pauch Jr. ($60), Danny Johnson ($60), Anthony Perrego ($40), Billy Pauch Sr. ($40), Duane Howard ($40), Ryan Watt ($40), Ryan Godown ($20) & H.J. Bunting III ($20)
Allstar Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Jeff Strunk (third) & Andy Bachetti (eighth)
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire): Ryan Watt (seventh) & Ryan Godown (15th)
American Racer/Lias Tire Heat-Race Hard Chargers ($50 Each): Doug Manmiller, Jordan Watson, Erick Rudolph, Rick Laubach & Billy Pauch Sr.
ATL Fuel Cell Bonus ($100 Certificate): Jamie Mills (fifth)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Anthony Perrego (fourth) & H.J. Bunting III (ninth)
Dirt Track Digest/Ken Bruce Top PA Driver Bonus: Rick Laubach ($100)
‘Dog Pound’ Hard Luck Award ($250): Billy Van Inwegen
Fast Axle Bonus ($50 Certificate): Ryan Watt (seventh)
Hard Charger Presented By Vahlco ($100): Jamie Mills (26th to fifth)
Hi-Tek Race Fuels/VP Racing Fuels Bonuses ($50 Credits): Rick Laubach (first), Stewart Friesen (second) & Jeff Strunk (third)
Lineman Racing Bonuses ($50 Credits): H.J. Bunting III (ninth) & Billy Pauch Sr. (17th)
New Egypt Speedway Highest Finisher Bonus ($100 Cash): Billy Pauch Jr. (sixth)
Shiley Fabrications Hard Luck Award (Bumpers & Rubrails): Danny Creeden
S&W Awards Winner’s Hardware: Rick Laubach
“Tolltaker” Top Consolation Bonus ($100): Anthony Perrego (fourth)
Vahlco Wheels Bonus (FREE Wheel): Jamie Mills (fifth)

Sportsman Feature Finish (25 Laps): CHARLES FAYASH III ($1,000), J.R. Fulper, Brandon Grasso, Steve Searock IV, Tim Fitzpatrick, Mike Mammana, A.J. Gerhart, Billy Moyer Jr., Mike Lisowski, Daryl Dissinger, Scott Hitchens, Kevin Beach Jr., Brett Ballard, Charles Webber, Chad Putalavage, Joey Decker, Matthew Peck, Matt Clay, Glenn Rowan, Ed Mirochko.

Did Not Start: Corey Sechrist, Billy Wingle Jr.

XCEL 600 Modified Feature Finish (20 Laps): TYLER DIPPEL ($1,000), Brian Carber, Richie Hitzler, Aaron Bowes, Jon Pepe, Nathan Brinker, Josh Pepe, David Van Horn Jr., John Ayre, Jonathan Josko, Shawna Schibilia, Chris Eckert, Jason Dunkleberger, Jimmy Ayre, Dakota Kohler, Steve Sterner.

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