All Tech Notebook: Night 1 – DTD Exclusive

By Bill Foley

It’s February and there is actual, live Modified racing.

Life is good.

The Sunshine Swing is a reality for yet another year as Brett Deyo, beginning his tenth year with the Short Track Super Series, kicked off the 2023 Modified year just 14 miles south of Lake City, Florida.

Thirty-two Modifieds and 43 Sportsman traveled well over 1,000 miles to compete. Mod numbers are down a bit, but there is still an impressive list of names in competition.

This year’s field includes Francois Bellemare, Danny Bouc, Peter Britten, Robert Bublak, Mario Clair, Corey Cormier, Danny Creeden, Chris Curtis, Steve Davis, Stewart Friesen, Mike Gular, Austin Hubbard, Danny Johnson, Marc Johnson, rick Laubach, Corbin Millar, Tim Millman, Billy Pauch Jr., Alex Payne, Erick Rudolph, David Schilling, Matt Sheppard, Darren Smith, Rusty Smith, Matt Stangle, Jeff Taylor, Tanner Van Doren, Bobby Watkins, Jordan, Larry Wight, Alex Yankowski and Jimmy Zacharias.

Anthony Tramontana lost his motor on Tuesday night and the team loaded up as they were finished for the week.

Heat action had its moments as Bob Watkins held the early lead in the first heat only to get passed by eventual winner Jordan Watson. Headed for the draw were Hubbard, Watkins and Rusty Smith.

Jeff Taylor sustained a tremendous amount of damage as he hammered the tires on the outside of turn four.

Cory Cormier made his All Tech debut notable with a win in the second heat while redraws went to Laubach, Friesen and Darren Smith. Smith passed Curtis at the line to grab the final redraw spot.

Wight, Stangle, Britten, Gular, Sheppard, Shilling and Yankowski were all in a pretty loaded third heat.

At the start Shilling went from seventh to third within a half lap and made contact with Britten between three and four. Peter’s car went airborne, bicycling, but fortunately he kept it off the wall after the contact with Schilling.  In the end Wight won, but Schilling was alongside with less than a lap to go. Sheppard and Britten joined them in the redraw.

Friesen once again did what Friesen does as he drew the pole for the 30 lap main.

The consi included the likes of Marc Johnson, the Doctor, Matt Stangle and Billy Pauch Jr and when it was over  Marc Johnson and Pauch Jr lined up at the back of the field after the Doctor won and Stangle followed.

Feature time saw Friesen, as expected, take the lead.

However, early on Hubbard rolled to a stop at the top of turn one on lap four.

Sheppard went from fourth to second on the restart while Wight was moving up from his tenth starting spot.

As the race reached the halfway point Friesen and Sheppard were approaching three wide traffic.

However, the much anticipated dicing for position never happened as Davis stopped  to bring out the yellow.

Payne, who started 13th, four himself making a move from sixth to fourth on the restart while Wight was up high and lost several spots.

With seven laps to go a stream of smoke began to come off the leader.

Sheppard must have been wide eyed as he had seen this happen to Stew in the past.

However, Friesen nursed it home to victory.

Cormier was third in the very late going, but at the end he lost several spots and settled for sixth.

Corey admitted he made a mistake on the last lap and it cost him.

Meanwhile, Marc Johnson had charged up through the field and was seventh with a lap to go before a flat tire on the final circuit sent him back to ninth.

Watson dropped out of the race and noted, “The car was just too tight and we pulled in”.

The beauty of four straight days of racing is that there is always tomorrow to recover.

That was the feeling of many drivers in the All Tech pits on Wednesday night.

So it’s on to night two.