BY RYAN LEPRE
The second Modified race of the season at Penn Can Speedway was led in the early going by Kevin Hartnett. Harnett was challenged on several early race restarts by Bob Trapper. Trapper bobbled on the eighth circuit and relinquished second to Billy Thornton. Thornton chased down Hartnett by lap 12 and was about to drive by Hartnett until a caution halted action. Hartnett had been restarting on the outside but choose the inside to try to hold off the fast closing Thornton. On the restart Thornton used the high side to take the lead down the backstretch. Hartnett remained within striking distance until the last five laps when Thornton pulled away to take his 3rd Penn Can Speedway Modified victory. Hartnett placed second with Trapper nabbing third while Joey Colsten and Alan Rudalavage were fourth and fifth respectively.
THORNTON ROLLS TO VICTORY WITH NEW COMBINATION
Billy Thornton has started the season on the right foot after charging from mid pack to finish third last week the Old Forge, PA native sealed the deal on Friday night ending in victory lane. Thornton utilized a lap 14 restart to take the point from Hartnett and never looked back.
“Once we got out front I never looked back.” said Thornton “I wasn’t sure how good the top was until that restart because I was running the middle. I stayed there once I got the lead and was just telling the lapped car there not to spin out in front of me. I couldn’t do this without my Dad (Bill) he does our motors and just works on the car all winter long.”
Thornton’s No.11 ride has support from Thornton Graphix and his new venture DRPRC.com an indoor R/C dirt track in Old Forge. Thornton has found some help with his shock program over the winter and it has paid dividends in the first two events this year at the Can.
“Last year we bought this Teo Pro Car off Ryan Godown and it was good but this winter Godown sent me some shocks to use. He told me just bolt them on the car and don’t touch them. Ryan really hooked me up I have been able to just put the power down and go so far this year. Dad watched Godown in the King of the Can (a Godown win) and he was rolling right in the middle and that’s what I did tonight there seems to be a patch of bite there. I just hope my shock bill doesn’t go up now!”
HARTNETT IN SEARCH OF HORSEPOWER
Kevin Hartnett the 2011 Penn Can Champion parked his Thomas Pompei General Contracting No.88 in victory lane five times in 2012 but came up short of defending his track title. Hartnett led early but seeded control of the race to Thornton just before halfway.
“We’re down a little on power this year.” commented Hartnett “We have a good running R&R Machining motor it just lacks a bit against these open motors compared to what we had last year which blew up at the King of the Can. I didn’t feel fast even when I was out front I kept seeing somebody’s nose I figured I’d get passed. We’ll see what we can do with the motor to make it better.”
Hartnett has recently relocated to Barto, PA which is a stone’s throw from Grandview but he hopes to continue making the trip to Penn Can.
“We really like it here it’s a bit of a trip but it feels like home. We’re here because our main sponsor (Pompei) helped us out and he has a place not too far from here and is usually here watching anyways. The track was okay in kept drying out as the race went on.”
TRAPPER GRABS THIRD IN THE OLESKI NO.30+
Bob Trapper of Scranton, PA started on the pole position but ended third after struggling on the preferred upper groove in the Main powered Sacco’s Pizzeria ride.
“There’s only one way to go when you start on the pole.” said Trapper “The car is in one piece because we were racing with some good clean guys like Kevin and Billy tonight. We scratching our heads a little because some things from last week we made better and some things we made worse. We struggled running the top which was strange because even though the car wasn’t the best last week we were able to bully it around on the top.”
The elder Trapper has taken over the seat of the Tom Oleski owned No.30+ Bicknell for this season at Penn Can.
“These guys have a good race car and they really work hard on it we’re here to stay. The track has been nice it doesn’t abuse the tires. It’s tough to gauge early in the season we’ll know better once we start getting handicapped and have to work our way to the front.”
JOEY COLSTEN NOTCHES ANOTHER TOP FIVE
If early season pace is anyway to determine championship competitors Joey Colsten may be a force to reckon with for the wide open Penn Can title in the Gary’s U-Pull It No.151.
“We over adjusted it for the feature.” started Colsten “We were in the first heat and the track tricked us a bit. We just tightened the car up too much I’m happy with fourth for the way the car was pushing. Thornton ran a good race we didn’t have anything for him or Hartnett tonight. Ever since we got these Troyer cars they’ve just been so fast.”
Modified Feature: 1.Billy Thornton 2.Kevin Hartnett 3.Bob Trapper 4.Joey Colsten 5.Alan Rudalavage 6.Mike Marold Jr 7.Mike Schane 8.Mike Nagel Jr 9.Adam MacGeorge 10.Brian Malcolm 11.Alan Kellogg, 12.Dan Pompey 13.Grant Hilfiger 14.John Siedlecky 15.Mike Dougherty 16.George Kostelansky 17.Ken Titus 18.Bob Hamm 19.Steve Babicek 20.Kevin Bates 21.Mike Nagel 22.Bobby Trapper 23.Nick Rochinski, DNS, Christine Martin