Rain Shortened “Battle of Bloomsburg” STSS Race Goes To Strunk – DTD Exclusive

By KEN BRUCE

If any driver wants to win the first race at a new track, please don’t invite Jeff Strunk. The veteran Strunk seems to be able to adapt to new tracks very quickly as witnessed last night at the NEW Bloomsburg Fair Raceway as Strunk drove the Zubi’s Racing No. 88z to victory in the feature event shortened from 50 laps to 29 due to rain. Strunk also found victory back in 2018 when he drove the Glenn Hyneman No. 126 to victory in the first race ever race run at the Bridgeport three-eights mile oval. Strunk’s victory last night was win number 210 in his illustrious career.

“Yeah, we usually run good at first time tracks,” said a happy Strunk standing next to the winning car after the rain had stopped. “We did that a few years back at the Bridgeport on the three-eighths track and also a couple of other tracks over the years. The car was really good tonight.  We made a bunch of changes before the feature after I talked to Stewie (Stewart Friesen) after he came in from the consi and we made the right tire call as well and the car turned out really good for the feature. I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be in the heat, so we changed a bunch of stuff and it worked out for us.”

On a track that was difficult to pass on and bottom lane dominant, it was a move on the outside on the initial start that vaulted Strunk past then leader Anthony Perrego to take over the top spot and Strunk never looked back after that.

“I knew that was probably going to be my only chance,” explained Strunk. “I went into turn one, and honestly, I didn’t think it was going to stick and I was going to end up in the marbles and lose a bunch of spots but man, it stuck like glue, and I was able to get around Anthony (Perrego).  That was the move of the race for me.”




Once out in front, Strunk pulled away from Perrego until he came up to lap the tail end of the field and that’s when Perrego caught back up to him and made it very interesting as they tried to negotiate through traffic.

“I tried to move around when we came up to the first set of lapped cars, but that was no good and that’s when Anthony got up alongside of me,” mentioned Strunk. “Thank God we were able to stay ahead of him there because it would’ve been a lot of trouble to get back by him even though we were probably a little better than him. That yellow we had there let me get some clean racetrack again and the next time I came up to the lapped cars I took it easy and stayed in my line, hit my marks and just waited to see if somebody was going to try and go around me on the outside.  I didn’t think that was going to happen. That was how they were going to have to pass me because I wasn’t leaving the bottom that time. Thankfully, the yellow came out again for the rain and that was that.”

It would not be Strunk without him showing the appreciativeness of the people around him who give him the opportunity to do what he does.

“I can’t thank Dave (car owner Dave Zubikowski) for everything and obviously, I couldn’t do this without him and my guys who work so hard at the shop and at the track to get this team where it is right now. We have a good thing going now.  We are rolling, have some luck on our side, and the cars are fast.”

Strunk wasn’t even sure they were going to come to this race, but the STSS decided to give the teams running PA 358 Spec Motors a weight break and that was the key to them deciding to race, which turned out to be a great decision.

“Honestly, I didn’t know how we were going to fare tonight,” explained Strunk. “We came here with a spec motor and without the weight break I wasn’t coming.  With that it makes us somewhat competitive, we hit the nail on the head tonight, and we’re dead on.”

Strunk went on to talk about the track and the facility.

“It was kind of a one lane track tonight, but I think it has potential. The facility itself is awesome.  It is so fun to be at a place like this with the fairgrounds .  It is really cool, and to win here and get that first trophy, is super cool. I saw the trophy on the way up here and I said if we win this thing that is one for the bench for sure and it will be a great memory for years to come.”

Perrego Finishes Second and Takes North Series Point Lead

Anthony Perrego came into the night tied for the STSS North Series point lead with Matt Sheppard. Perrego had a good night going after starting fifth in his heat race with only two drivers getting a coveted redraw spot.  Perrego was not only able to work himself into the redraw, but did it with authority as won the heat over a very talented field. Perrego’s good night continued as he picked the number one position to start the night’s 50-lap feature event. 

As the green flag flew, Perrego was not able to grab the lead as outside pole-sitter Jeff Strunk made a bold move going into turn one on the outside to overtake Perrego to take the top spot. The track then became very inside dominant as Perrego tried to find a way around Strunk. 

“It’s obviously not a win, but we have two seconds in a row now after finishing second at Middletown (OCFS) last Saturday night and again here tonight,” said a happy yet disappointed Perrego as the crew was loading up the No. 44. “Jeff (Strunk) got a really good initial start and that was kind of it right there. After that, everyone just crowded to the bottom and that’s how it was for the rest of the race.”

Perrego had one chance to get under Strunk as the leaders caught the tail end of the pack, but it just was not to be on this night.

“That first time there when we started to hit lapped cars, he drifted a little up the track and I stuck my nose in there and we made a little contact, but I wasn’t about to wreck a guy like that,” explained Perrego. “Overall, it was a good night and we are going good, especially with the Deyo stuff. We’ve been in contention in all of them. We had a really good heat race tonight to be able to come from fifth to win the heat and get in the draw. Now we have to go to a couple of tough tracks in Utica-Rome and Bridgeport.  Hopefully we can keep it rolling.”

Perrego went on to talk about the track and how it raced for the night.

“I thought the heat racing was pretty good, you could move around really well. It probably got a little dirty there after Sportsman cars ran it to the bottom and it started to break apart a little bit. I think when this place smooths out some it will be better.  It wasn’t really rough at all except for a couple of holes there on the backstretch which helped to make it a little dirty.”

Bloomsburg Bites

Forty-five Modifieds registered for the inaugural “Battle of Bloomsburg” with heat wins going to Andy Bachetti, Anthony Perrego, Billy Osmun, Mike Mahaney and Matt Sheppard. The two consi’s were won by Stewart Friesen and Mike Gular…

Tyler Dippel, Bobby Hackel IV and JR Hurlbert all raced in the feature event after receiving North series provisionals…

What did these name drivers all have in common? Ryan Watt, Craig Von Dohren, Ryan Godown, Matt Stangle, Danny Tyler, Jerry Higbie, Brett Tonkin, Duane Howard. The answer is that all of them loaded up and went home without qualifying. There are a lot of wins and track championships amongst those drivers, and it goes to show the talent the STSS puts on the track each race…

Danny Bouc crossed the finish in his heat race in the second position, but a call from the race officials put Bouc back to finishing third after late race contact with Brian Malcolm while battling for the last redraw spot…

Ryan Godown was driving a Stafursky Paving car as a teammate to Southern Tier driver Brett Tonkin. It was the same car that Alex Yankowski has driven to two wins this season. Unfortunately for Godown, his night didn’t go well as he was bounced around in his heat race and was a DNQ for the night…

Jared Umbenhaurer made his first start of the season aboard the Clay Racing No. 88G. Umbenhauer qualified through his heat but was a non-factor in the feature and ended up pulling off. Talking to Jared before the race, he knew he was in for a tough feature with a big-block bolted under the hood on a track that the preferred engine was a small block…

13-year-old Tanner Vandoren was a surprise entrant, and the youngster did himself well. Vandoren qualified through his heat race and stayed out of trouble during the feature to finish in the 17th spot…

Anthony Perrego (433) leads the STSS North Series points with a ten-point lead over Matt Sheppard (423). Mike Mahaney (391), Andy Bachetti (366) and Stewart Friesen (361) round out the top five…

Next up for the STSS North series is the “Richie Evans Remembered 61” at the Utica-Rome Speedway on Thursday July 22nd. The race will be a 61-lap race paying $6,100 to win in remembrance of the late great NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans…

The STSS South Series which has had an extended break due to the rainout at Big Diamond Speedway will return to action on Tuesday July 27th with the running of the “South Jersey Shootout”. It will be the first STSS race run at the new Bridgeport Motorsport Park under the direction of Doug Rose…

If you have any questions or comments. I can be reached at dirtracefan25@hotmail.com or on Twitter @dirtracefan25.