Makin’ Tracks – STSS Could be Bull Riders; Wild Night at Outlaw – DTD Exclusive

By BILL FOLEY

The amount of testicular fortitude displayed by Short Track Super Series Modified drivers was simply awe inspiring on Wednesday night at the Outlaw Speedway/.

In fact it was simply “balls out” racing.

The STSS never ceases to amaze me with the spectacular line up that it puts on the track. This Northern Series event which was scheduled to be 50 laps in distance (yellow laps don’t count) went only 33 laps because Mother Nature perspired on the track ending it early and officially.

Stats will show Stewart Friesen started from the pole and won, but box scores don’t tell you much else..




However, before addressing the wild, crazy main-event you have to reflect back to the heats.

On a track that simply had character there were times with three or four wheels in the air, clay being flung high into the sky, drives from the back to pick up one of the two redraw spots and on only four qualifying from each of the five heats and sliding, engine roaring, not lifting moments into the turns.

As you can see it was indeed a fun night.

Northern point leader Matt Sheppard started eight in the first heat and came through the field with authority. He reached the draw behind winner Justin Wright.

Heat two saw Billy Decker who started third win over Mike Gular (who started seventh). Danny Creeden and Danny Johnson shredded right rears and that was going to be a key factor in the rest of the night.

Mat Williamson and Steve Paine sat outside and inside the front row for the third heat and this one went according to plan as they were one-two. However, Erick Rudolph started eighth and was right there for third at the end.

The next one had its moments as coming off two on the first lap Donnie Lawson got into the back end of the Mike Bowman machine, rode the wall and tore off all the right rear body work. Mike Mahaney and Friesen were simply spectacular as they raced wheel to wheel with Stew and Mike one-two and going to the draw.

The final heat of the night saw Andy Bachetti shred the right rear.  He pitted and came back for a fourth place qualifying spot. Jeremy Smith got the win, but it was a late race restart that saw Pat Ward, in the Beyea 121, take over second to get to the draw.

Drivers might not like the STSS format of draw and race your way in as there is no doubt that their machines were pretty beat up after the heats. However, the fans loved it.

Two consis took two from each with J.R. Hurlburt winning the first as Bowman went from fourth to second in the final two laps to earn a hard fought berth in the 50 lapper. Meanwhile Colton Wilson surprised in winning the second over Jim LaRock.

After a 20 minute break the Mods led off the five feature show and hit the track at 9:04 p.m.

The feature forced more than one driver to come from behind.

On the seventh lap second place Billy Decker hit “black ice” in two, did a 360, powered it up and kept going. However, fourth place Mike Gular went upstairs, but got a piece of the 91 and in came Pat Ward and Brady Fultz. Everyone went to the rear of the field.

Sheppard meanwhile started ninth and that accident put him up a few places into the top five.

The field remained bunch with a variety of yellows as Billy Van Pelt slowed, later Steve Paine (running third) spun by himself in the same spot Decker had and Kyle Coffey slowed all with tire issues.

As the field reached 20 there were Stew and a pair of Matts’ (Sheppard and Williamson) vying for the lead.

Sheppard and Williamson went to the mat as they raced side by side exchanging the runner up spot. On the front stretch you got the feeling Williamson got pinched by his opponent and tires touched. On the back stretch Williamson unloaded on the back end of the 9s.

Moments later Sheppard had a flat while running second and headed pitside.

It was time for the Sheppard comeback show and as always he put on a show climbing back up from 21st. However a jam up between three and four in the waning moments of good weather saw him go around.

While all this was going on Erick Rudolph who started 13th was missing spinning cars and simply driving his way toward the front. He got second on the 32nd lap and then as he continued to gain momentum the rains came.

Weather had threatened all night long with rain and thunderstorms approaching from the Southwest. The originally precipitation free day went to showers at 7 p.m. and thunderstorms at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. However, they missed the track. At 9:40 p.m. the luck was over and with 33 laps into the books the top six slid their way to the scales and it was official as Friesen celebrated in the rain with his team.

Pit Stops

40 STSS Mods in the pits and the featured class was joined by Crate Sportsmen, Hobby, Street Stocks and Four Cylinders…

It took one hour and 45 minutes for 16 heats and two consis…

Danny Johnson was the track provisional and came home with a solid fifth place finish after starting 28th…

Local runner Cory Costa appeared to have a part fly off the rear end of the 02 in consi action and was towed off…

Sportsman heats to Ken Hammond, Brandon Butler and Chris Fisher…

Dave Marcuccilli started at the tail of his prelim and was just three-tenths of a second behind Fisher at the line…

Hardest ride of the night by the 4R Sportsmen of Ryan Rhodes as he went off the first turn and not only scattered the foam, but bent the front end up hitting the barrier…

DNQ’s for the Mods included Greg Birosh, Timmy Hartman Jr., Brett Tonkin, Billy Paine, Donnie Lawson, Ray Bliss SR., Nick Nye, Derrick Podsaidlo, Daniel Johnson, Eric Williams, Cory Costa and Tommy Collins…

Other qualifiers who weren’t mentioned earlier were Andy Bachetti, Alan Johnson, Craig Hanson, Danny Creeden, Allison Ricci, Dillon Groover, Tyler Siri and Ryan Jordan…

DNF’s included Jordan, Fultz, Siri, Wilson, Hurlburt, Bowman, Coffey and Groover…

Always enjoy visits to Outlaw. The track has a “monster truck” which fans can ride around in during the intermission as the track prep is underway. Pretty neat…

Concessions are fairly priced and they have variety…

Sitting under the old covered grandstand I really couldn’t tell exactly when it started to rain, but indications are that sprinkles or a mist were in the air on the parade lap. Drivers did a great job considering the obstacles they faced…

Many thanks to travel partner Dave MacDonald for driving. Always fun to watch races once in a while instead of announcing them…

Dirt Track Digest well represented so check out the photo gallery and more stories will be forthcoming from not only myself, but the boss himself Mike Mallett.

As always any comments, news, information you would like to share with the fans please send along to foley395@hotmail.com