A Recap of the Sunshine Swing for the STSS Modifeds at All-Tech Raceway – DTD Exclusive

By MIKE MALLETT

For the first time in its history, Brett Deyo took the Short Track Super Series to Florida.  The Sunshine Swing produced some great racing with some predictable results as well as an upset in the finale.  Over 40 different drivers attempted to qualify for the three racing programs at All-Tech Raceway.

Mother Nature wasn’t too keen on three nights of racing as Thursday night’s program was washed out just after two sets of hot laps.  The rains came, stopped and then picked up before causing the racing action to be delayed by a day for a double Friday night program.

When the week was over, Stewart Friesen led all drivers with two wins, a second and the overall Sunshine Swing title. Erick Rudolph picked up the finale and the $10,000 to go with it.

Sunshine Swing by the Numbers




Total Modified Drivers Attempting to Qualify: 46
Total Heat Race Winners: 10
Total Consolation Winners: 5
Total Payout: $80,550
Highest Money Earner: Stewart Friesen $17,000

Money Won and Recap

1 Stewart Friesen – $17,000

It’s no shock that Stewart Friesen walked away from the first ever Sunshine Swing with a huge payday.  Friesen won the Thursday make-up feature that paid $5,000 on Friday before taking home the nightcap win worth $7,500.  Saturday night he pitted early for fresh tires and patiently worked his way back through the field to get to second after a late race restart.  He had the car to beat much of the week and it showed with him taking the first ever Sunshine Swing title worth an extra $500.

Contingency Awards:
Three pairs of Ray-Ban Sunglasses courtesy Design for Vision
$50 in Sunoco Fuel courtesy of Insinger Performance
$500 LKQ North Florida Champion
Set of Vahlco Elite Wheels

2 Erick Rudolph – $11,350

Everyone says a traditional big-block can’t win on the Short Track Super Series.  Don’t tell that to Erick Rudolph.  The Ransomville, N.Y., driver got better all weekend long.  His only hiccup was the first feature of the week where he finished 21st.  He won a consolation event and scored a top five on Friday night earning hard charger honors.  He then came back Saturday and put himself in the right place at the right time to win the $10,000 finale.

Contingency Awards:
$100 Ocala Restaurant Supply Hard Charger
Pair of Ray-Ban Sunglasses

3 Mat Williamson – $7,475

Behind Friesen, Mat Williamson was the most consistent driver to kick off the week.  Williamson was second in both features on Friday night.  He looked good again on Saturday night only to have a late race restart derail his hopes at a win or another podium finish.  He also won two heat races during the week.

Contingency Awards:
$100 in Sunoco Fuel courtesy of Insinger Performance
$50 from Beyea Headers Redraw Bonus
$100 Eibach Springs certificate

4 Matt Sheppard – $4,450

For most drivers, three top five finishes usually translates to a pretty good stretch of racing.  That’s not the case for Matt Sheppard. He wanted more.  Sheppard had a shot at a win in the finale, but a mistake on the restart saw him slide way up the track in turns one and two.  That opened the door for multiple drivers to get by.  He eventually finished fifth after restarting in second.  That was his worst run of the week.  He finished third and fourth in the two mains on Friday.

Contingency Awards:
$50 Behrent’s Performance Warehouse certificate

5 Anthony Perrego – $3,200

Anthony Perrego started Friday night with a top 10 finish.  He then scored his best finish of the week with a third.  The most memorable aspect of that night was his drive in the heat race.  He started near the back, worked his way to the lead, pitted for a tire and raced his way back up through to the front to win it.  He struggled on Saturday night finishing 19th.

Contingency Award:
$100 DIG Race Products certificate

6 Billy Pauch Jr. – $3,200

Billy Pauch Jr., got better all week long with his worst finish in the opening race. He finished 10th after running the consolation.  He bettered that in the second feature with a sixth-place run.  He got things really rolling in the finale to wrap up the Sunshine Swing with a top five.  He finished fourth.

Contingency Awards:
$75 Wilwood Brakes certificate
$50 Behrent’s Performance Warehouse certificate

7 Mike Gular – $3,200

Mike Gular’s week got off to a rough start when his car wouldn’t fire for the start of the Thursday night feature.  He was pushed to the pits.  In the nightcap he finished 15th.  Saturday looked to be his day as he controlled the feature event with only handful of laps to go.  He didn’t get the best of restarts allowing Rudolph and Friesen to get on by.  He wound up finishing in third for his best effort of the week.

Contingency Awards:
American Racer Tire
$50 Competition Carburetors Fast-Time

8 Larry Wight – $2,850

Larry Wight’s best shot at a win came in the Thursday feature where he battled with Friesen for the win in the 30-lap race. Wight even got by Friesen briefly for the top spot.  Friesen rallied on the next restart to retake the top spot.  Wight ended up finishing fourth.  He’d concluded with week with an 11th and a sixth for the Gary Simpson owned team.

Contingency Awards:
$50 Behrent’s Performance Warehouse certificate
$50 Henry’s Exhaust certificate
$75 Wilwood Brakes certificate

9 Billy Decker – $2,600

Unfortunately for Billy Decker, he hit his highwater mark of the week in the opening event of the Sunshine Swing.  Decker managed a top five run in the Thursday make-up.  From there he scored an eighth before concluding the week with an 11th place finish.

Contingency Awards:
$100 Eibach Springs certificate
$50 Henry’s Exhaust certificate

10 Billy Dunn – $2,450

For as fast as Billy Dunn looked all week, he deserved a better finish or two.  He left All-Tech with a pair of top 10 finishes.  Dunn opened up the swing with a sixth place and a seventh place finish in the late night 40-lap feature on Friday. His week ended with a 13th in the finale.  Dunn got a flat while leading, making for even bigger letdown.

Contingency Awards:
$100 DIG Race Products certificate
$75 Wilwood Brakes certificate

11 Brandon Grosso – $2,125

Brandon Grosso had a matching pair of ninth place finishes on the weekend.  Grosso opened the stretch and ended the stretch in the very same spot.  He sandwiched his worst finish of the week between them where he finished 14th.

Contingency Awards:
American Racer Tire
$100 Behrent’s Performance Warehouse certificate

12 Peter Britten – $1,900

Peter Britten won a heat and a pair of consolations over the weekend.  Britten just couldn’t seem to get things rolling to his liking.  Like others in the pits, he continued to work to find speed in his No. 21a.  Britten had two top tens and a disappointing 27th in the finale.

Contingency Awards:
Two American Racer Tires
$100 Eibach Springs certificate

13 Dillon Groover – $1,800

Dillon Groover turned some heads coming from the 26th starting spot in the finale to finish in the seventh position earning the hard charger award.  It was his best finish of the weekend as he mustered only an 18th and 16th in the features leading up to Saturday.   They got better at the right time.

Contingency Awards:
$200 Ocala Restaurant Supply Hard Charger
$100 DIG Race Products Certificate
$50 ERK Steering certificate

14 Andy Bachetti – $1,550

Andy Bachetti was strong in the finale and was leading when he inexplicable lost the handle on his No. 4.  He never recovered and finished 26th.  His best finish of the week was a ninth.  He opened up the action with a 13th in the make-up show.

Contingency Awards:
$50 Behrent’s Performance Warehouse certificate

15 David Schilling – $1,200

David Schilling had a promising start to the Sunshine Swing as he just missed out on a pair of top 10 finishes.  Unfortunately, things went downhill from there.  Schilling was involved in a nasty crash on the final night during the feature.  Contact with Jim Rasey sent him headlong into the wall.  He took down the fence and flipped.  He wasn’t hurt thankfully, but the car suffered significant damage.

Contingency Awards:
$100 Ocala Restaurant Supply Hard Charger
$50 Henry’s Exhaust certificate

16 Demetrios Drellos – $1,100

Demetrios Drellos had a less than stellar weekend, but honestly that coincided with how his draw went.  He started eighth and 11th in the Friday night portion of qualifying which put him behind the Eightball from the start.  He was able to make all three shows, but had to work for it.  His best finish was a 12th in the Friday night show.

Contingency Awards:
$50 in Sunoco Fuel courtesy of Insinger Performance

17 Rick Laubach – $1,000

Like Drellos, Laubach didn’t have much luck with the draw.  Laubach was looking to get out of the box strong driving for his new team, but that just didn’t happen for the Quakertown, Pa., driver.  He made all three shows, but the best he could muster was a 15th in the final night’s 50-lapper.

Contingency Awards:
$50 in Sunoco Fuel courtesy of Insinger Performance

18 Jordan Watson – $850

It was a tough weekend for Jordan Watson.  Watson best finish was 20th.  He was involved in a crash, not of his making, in the second Friday night feature forcing him to a back-up car for Saturday.  He made the redraw and started on the pole of Saturday’s main.  That was the end of his luck as struggled throughout and finished a disappointing 23rd.

19 Ryan Watt – $850

One stop, one top 10.  That’s how the week went for Ryan Watt.  Watt was on a planned family vacation to Florida.  The opportunity presented itself for Watt to drive the No. 13 normally piloted by Rick Regalski.  He made the most of the chance finishing in 10th on Saturday night.

20 Danny Johnson – $800

Danny Johnson didn’t have much go right for him during the three-day event in Florida.  The Rochester, N.Y., driver never got up to speed with his Tyler Siri owned No. 27J.  His best finish was a 21st on Saturday.

21 Kyle Coffey – $800

Kyle Coffey opened the week by missing the first show.  He improved from there and got better in the next two events.  He finished 21st on Friday and then improved by seven spots on Saturday to finish 14th.

Contingency Award:
American Race Tire

22 Matt Stangle – $800

Matt Stangle failed to make an appearance in the first two features of the weekend.  He struggled in qualifying and just missed out on making the programs.  His sole feature event run resulted in a finish of 12th.

Contingency Award:
$50 in Sunoco Fuel courtesy of Insinger Performance

23 Kyle Weiss – $775

Consistency is the only the word to describe the week for Kyle Weiss.  Weiss finished 16th in the opener, 17th in the nightcap and then 16th again in the finale.

Contingency Awards:
$100 ERK Steering certificate

24 Danny Hieber – $750

Danny Hieber returned to the seat in Florida.  After taking nearly 10 years off from behind the wheel, the Pennsylvania driver came out strong with a 12th place finish.  He faced some obstacles the rest of the weekend finishing 25th and then 28th in the finale.

Contingency Award:
$50 in Sunoco Fuel courtesy of Insinger Performance

25 Rusty Smith – $725

Rusty Smith made two of the three features.  The team had some mechanical woes along the way. Smith, a Southern Tier regular, had his best run in the opening event where he finished 14th.  He failed to make the Saturday night feature.

Contingency Award:
American Racer Tire

26 Alex Yankowski – $725

Alex Yankowski had more downs than ups during the weekend competition.  Yankowski opened up the Sunshine Swing finishing 15th, he came back to finish 22nd after slowing on the speedway with extensive smoke billowing from his No. 84y.  He completed the weekend with an 18th place effort.

Contingency Award:
$50 in Sunoco Fuel courtesy of Insinger Performance

27 J.R. Hurlburt – $675

The ‘Heavy Foot’ made the first two races of the series on Friday night.  He finished 17th and 19th in the two features before failing to qualify Saturday evening.  His second feature on Friday ended with his No. 6H bouncing off the wall in turn four with a broken front-end after contact with another driver.  He got behind Saturday after a poor draw and couldn’t recover.

28 Billy Van Pelt – $650

Billy Van Pelt struggled all weekend long to get the car to turn.  Van Pelt reported that no matter what they did the car was very tight.  They made several adjustments and struggled to get going in the right direction.  The Woodhull Raceway champion missed the opening feature before scoring an 18th and 22nd to round out the weekend.

Contingency Award:
$50 in Sunoco Fuel courtesy of Insinger Performance

29 Jeremy Smith – $400

Jeremy Smith’s lone bright spot was he made the race in the Thursday make-up event.  From there he was a non-factor the rest of the weekend.  He just couldn’t seem to get up to speed.  He finished 19th in his sole main-event.

30 Robert Dutton – $400

Robert Dutton’s only feature start came in the 50-lap wrap-up.  Dutton finished the night in the 20th spot.

31 Darren Smith – $350

Like his dad Jeremy, Darren Smith struggled to get up to speed.  The youngster made only one feature of the weekend.  He finished 24th.

32 Scott Hitchens – $350

Scott Hitchens made the redraw on the opening night for the first feature and that would be the highlight for the Delaware driver.  Hitchens had mechanical issues sideline his Modified the rest of the weekend.  He was credited with 24th.  He attempted to qualify his Crate Sportsman with the Modifieds to no avail.

33 Jim Rasey – $300

Jim Rasey only made it for the final race due to work commitments.  The Western Pennsylvania regular made his presence known as he was strong in his heat race leading several laps before making the feature.  He was the other half of a scary crash with Schilling.  His car was beat up badly.  He finished 24th.

34 Ryan Krachun – $300

Ryan Krachun made the first show finishing 23rd in the order.  His week ended in the second round of heats as he made contact with another car causing him to slam the wall hard in turn three.  His weekend was over.

Each these drivers failed to make a feature during the Sunshine Swing.

35 Justin Haers – $150

Justin Haers was racing with a heavy heart as he competed in a car owned by Jake Marine.  Haers missed qualifying for the first feature by a whisker on Friday.  In the second round of qualifying he got together with Russ Morseman off of turn four and slammed the wall before nearly going over.  His night was done.  He tested his big-block on Saturday night.

36 Clay Tatman – $150

37 Nick Mady – $150

38 Todd Neiheiser – $150

39 Marshall Hurd – $150

40 Darwin Greene – $150

41 Scott Van Gorder – $150

42 Russ Morseman – $150

43 Tyler Siri – $150

44 Cory Riffe – $100

45 Rick Regalski – $100

46 Ryan Riffe – $50

The Short Track Super Series announced a return of the series in 2021 to the All-Tech Raceway.  More details will be released soon.