By Bill Foley
Mike Maresca captured his first Short Track Super Series victory and became the 36th different winner on the series.
However, watching this race develop was more than interesting. Early restarts saw Maresca in the middle, Larry Wight on the inside and Carson Wright way outside as the 99L appeared in front only to see the yellow.
Watching Rick Laubach and Maresca swap the lead and it became a chess match.
There was a run by Billy Pauch Jr. as he powered from 14th to second on lap 16 after an attention grabbing battle for the runner up spot with Rick Laubach (who had his best run of the week) and Erick Rudolph.
Larry seemed to be closing in on Maresca in the waning stages as he clicked tenths of seconds off each lap and with about three laps to go made what would be the last run, but it was for naught.
There was just so much to watch.
Stewart Friesen brought out an early yellow, went to the pits and returned to the speedway. He was 24th on lap three, 15th on lap nine, seventh on 25, sixth on 31 and fifth on 36.
David Schilling was “the show.” He had one Deyo’s new legal, but less expensive “Weekend Warrior” motors and won the consi. “The Thrilling” got attention as he had worked his way all the way up to fourth with three laps to go from 18th.
Matt Sheppard started 16th and was eighth at the halfway point. He settled for seventh as there were reports after that he might have suffered a broken rear end in the 9s
Mike Mahaney reportedly put a new motor in his mount and was a provisional starting in 28th. He picked up the hard charger with an eighth place finish.
Provisionals were “The Doctor” Danny Johnson, Danny Creeden and Mahaney. There were supposed to be just two, but with Creeden and Mahaney tied in points they were both added to the field.
Never, and I say never, have I seen a consi like the one that was on the track in the final qualifier of the night. Three cars qualified and the field was Tommy Rascoe, Marc Johnson, Alex Yankowski, Billy Decker, Danny Creeden, Mike Mahaney, J.R. Hurlburt and The Doctor. It was simply jaw dropping. Mahaney finished two tenths of a second behind third place Marc Johnson.
The other consi were Schilling, Jeff Taylor and Rusty Smith in a runaway. However, Peter Britten was fifth and was done for the night.
Never have I seen a draw with so many surprises. Only two drivers, Maresca and Wight, had been in previous draws. This was a night where the draw at the pit gate was pivotal. The draw for the main included heat winners Jordan Watson, Carson Wright, Rich Laubach and Maresca while the runners up were Francois Bellemere, Tim Buckwalter, L.J. Lombardo and Darren Smith. Third place runners in the draw were Jeff Strunk, 14 year old Tanner Vandoren, Matt Stangle and Wight.
In heat action Sheppard got past Mike Trautschold on the last lap for fourth.
Erick Rudolph was fourth in his heat as was Billy Pauch Jr. and Friesen was fifth in his.
It was a full moon type of night with no full moon.
Hot lap times were mighty deceiving as the track had some sloppy spots even after all the cars in the pits came out to pack.
Top ten Mod times were Darren Smith, David Schilling, Matt Sheppard, Jeff Taylor, Matt Stangle, Rick Laubach, Mike Maresca, Michael Trautscild, Peter Britten and Alex Yankowski.
Track crews reworked the surface all day in hopes that there wasn’t a repeat of the night two lockdown.
National Anthem flag cars were Francois Bellemare and Tommy Rascoe.
Demetrios Drellos skipped the action after a couple of rough nights. Told DTD, “Wasn’t having fun, decided to call it a week and spend time with the wife and son in the sunshine. We will regroup for Volusia and Cherokee.”
For the third consecutive night the Sportsman winner was disqualified. Thus far in three Sportsman features there have been four winners DQ’d. Tech is simply all over these guys.
Well, the final night is here and let’s see if there is a 37th different winner in STSS competition. Thus far the 35th was Larry Wight and the 36th was Mike Maresca. Who will 37 be?