By NATHAN ALDRICH
SUSQUEHANNA, PA – An action packed Stafursky Paving Modified feature saw Dan Vauter collect his first win of the season at Penn Can Speedway. Alan Rudalavage and Mike Nagel Sr darted under the green flag with Rudalavage surging out to the early lead while Travis Brockner, Darwin Greene Sr., and Brian Malcom went three wide off the jump for fourth. Greene got the spot while just ahead of him Nick Petrilak rocketed past Nagel on the outside. Vauter was quickly moving through the field however, moving from eight to fourth and past Brian Malcolm by lap 3. Rudalavage had pulled out to a full straightaway lead by the time of a lap 5 caution for Art Bray that regrouped the field.
Rudalavage elected for the outside on the restart and powered away from Greene down the frontstretch. Vauter took his chance to move into third getting past Petrilak on the restart, with teammate Brett Tonkin and Malcolm following to put Petrilak back to fifth. With seven laps in the books Petrilak battled back on the outside getting past Malcolm and Tonkin as he ripped the cushion all the way back to Hartnett but couldn’t recover third. A three wide battle for ninth between Casey Plummer, Brian Franko and Dan Burman ended on lap ten when Greene spun in turn four bringing out the yellow as Franko headed pitside. Rudalavage took the outside once again with Vauter as his dancing partner for the second restart. While the lead duo ran nose to tail Hartnett and Malcolm dueled for fourth. Petrilak joined the battle the next lap, scooting around both to take the fourth spot with Alex Stanton following him past Hartnett. Petrilak’s stellar run would come to a bit of a speed bump however when his car slowed out of turn four and rolled down the frontstretch, bringing out the third yellow on lap fourteen.
Rudalavage got the jump from the high side on the restart but Vauter hung on into turns one and two. As the pair came down the backstretch Vauter took the lead, crossing the line to lead the halfway point as he and Rudalavage ran nose to tail. Hartnett would make contact with Malcolm taking the third spot in a heated exchange between the pair before Petrilak came to another stop, with a resulting lap 17 yellow. Vauter brought the field back to green as the single file restart had Rudalavage second, Hartnett third, Malcolm fourth and Stanton rounding out the top five. Rudalavage got to Vauter’s inside as the pair worked turn four but couldn’t get the pass completed. The final caution would come on lap twenty as Travis Brockner got spun around in turn one and Stanton’s car gave out a plume of smoke coming to a stop. Tonkin would take his machine pitside under the yellow and return for the green.
With a ten lap shootout all that remained Rudalavage and Vauter would duel fiercely until the end. Rudalavage worked the inside on lap 22 with Vauter hanging onto the spot as Hartnett tried to get second away from Rudalavage on the inside. Alan’s line would hold, gaining momentum on Vauter and completing a daring slide job as the pair exited turn four with three laps to go. As the pair ran down the frontstretch Vauter wouldn’t let rudalavage get away, looking to his inside as the pair made heavy contact on the backstretch. The final challenge for Vauter would be clearing a lapped car that was working the bottom as he captured his first win of the season with Rudalavage, Hartnett, Malcolm and Bud Phillips rounding out the top five.
The Stafursky team has been strong at Penn Can this season with both Vauter and Tonkin having visited victory lane in five races contested. Vauter has been competing in the teams’ backup car and visited victory lane in his primary car’s first race. Dan stated he knew he had a great car from the initial start that would let him run any lane, so he was able to navigate traffic easier. With a bent steering wheel early on in the event the cautions gave him time to regroup and reduce the gaps. With the car feeling great as soon as they rolled off the trailer he and his crew decided not to make any changes throughout the night. Dan would like to thank his Crew and Family, as well as sponsors: Cougar Auto, Stafursky Paving, Stafursky Auto, Bicknell Race Products, FCR Racing, RLE, Virbitsky Masonry, Hartnett Lettering, and Billy the Kid Engines.