SUSQUEHANNA, PA – The race – and the season – came down to the final five laps Saturday night at Penn Can Speedway.
The Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco ‘King of the Can’ and the Modified Halmar International North Region were decided at the Susquehanna County track before an overflow crowd. The series made its return to Penn Can for the first time in six years with 63 Modifieds in the pit area.
With a wild, late-race charge to the lead, Stewart Friesen of Sprakers, N.Y., not only won the STSS Modified 55-lap main, he also took the North Region title by a mere two-point edge over Mike Gular.
Friesen earned $5,595 including lap money for the victory and an additional $4,000 for the COVID-abbreviated three-race North Region championship.
The victory for Friesen came at the expense of Andy Bachetti, who led all but two laps of the event.
Bachetti, who launched off the pole following the Beyea Custom Headers redraw, led the opening 53 laps around the three-eighths-mile oval in search of his first career Penn Can victory.
While Bachetti led, Nick Rochinski, Matt Sheppard, Stewart Friesen and Billy Decker swapped positions two through five under green flag conditions and on restarts.
Two yellows inside the race’s final six laps changed the race’s complexion.
A stalled car on the inside of turn three prompted a yellow flag on lap 49 and set up the first of two pivotal restarts for the race’s outcome.
At the drop of the green from series starter Joe Kriss, Friesen surged into third and then dove to the inside of Sheppard and Bachetti who were racing side-by-side for the top spot. A paint-swapping three-wide scramble ensued down the homestretch and Friesen’s Halmar International No. 44 emerged in second.
Bachetti, riding the outside lane, held Friesen at bay through the event’s final caution on lap 52 when Larry Wight’s car stopped at the top of turn one.
Friesen, with a last-ditch drive off the bottom, executed a slide-job on Bachetti to take the lead on the 54th lap. Bachetti drove back up to Friesen but couldn’t regain the top spot.
Friesen swept under the Sunoco Race Fuels checkered flags for his second career ‘King of the Can’ victory (his first came in 2011) and second career STSS North Region title, joining the ’15 high-points honor.
Bachetti, of Sheffield, Mass., settled for a runner-up finish with a hefty payday. Bachetti collected $3,000 from the posted payout, $1,545 in lap money, $150 from Ron Ford as the highest-finishing Afton (N.Y.) Motorsports Park representative and $200 from Precision Hydraulic & Oil as the Halfway Leader for a total of $4,895!
Returning to the seat of the family owned No. 20R after suffering a concussion earlier this season, Rochinski of Dickson City, Pa., completed a final-lap pass of Sheppard to complete the podium.
Sheppard, of Savannah, N.Y., settled for a fourth-place effort and 13th-starter Mike Gular of Boyertown, Pa., advanced to fifth in Terry Fasnacht’s No. 2A. Gular’s drive left him just a pair of markers shy of his first STSS crown.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Billy Decker of Sidney, N.Y., in Jeremy Smith’s No. 91; Tyler Dippel of Wallkill, N.Y.; Danny Creeden of Wurtsboro, N.Y., who started 26th and earned the $150 Longstreet Family Hard Charger Award; 16th-starter Danny Johnson of Rochester, N.Y., driving for Siri Racing; and Craig Hanson of Johnstown, N.Y., who started 25th.
A pit-bulging 63 STSS Modifieds signed in for action at the ‘King of the Can’ with Alan Barker, Billy Pauch Jr., Bachetti, Decker, Sheppard and Friesen winning hotly contested 10-lap heat races.
Brett Tonkin, Cory Costa and Joe Judge won the trio of consolation events, 10 laps in distance.
The Penn Can ‘King of the Can’ brough the ’20 STSS Modified Halmar International Modified North Region to its conclusion. Next up is the season’s most lucrative Modified race – the ‘Speed Showcase 200’ at Pa.’s Port Royal Speedway headlined by a $53,000-to-win, 200-lap main event. Visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com under ‘Event Info’ for complete ‘Speed Showcase 200’ information.
Penn Can Speedway is located on Route 171 in Susquehanna, PA. To learn more, visit www.penncanspeedway.net or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail email@example.com, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.
The Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuel, Insinger Performance, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Halmar International, Velocita-USA, Design for Vision/Sunglass Central, Rob Sherlock Roofing, ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, EIBACH Springs, Escape RV, Fast Axle, Fox Racing Shocks, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, HyperCo, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Land Hoe Maintenance, K&N, MJK Home Maintenance, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, QA1, Racing Optics, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO, Velocita, WELD Racing & Wilwood.
‘KING OF THE CAN’ RACE SUMMARY – PENN CAN SPEEDWAY SEPTEMBER 26, 2020
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Halmar International North Region Event No. 3 Modified Feature Finish (55 laps): STEWART FRIESEN, Andy Bachetti, Nick Rochinski, Matt Sheppard, Mike Gular, Billy Decker, Tyler Dippel, Danny Creeden, Danny Johnson, Craig Hanson, David Schilling, Billy Pauch Jr., Brett Tonkin, Alan Barker, Josh Nobriga, Casey Plummer, Mike Loney, Larry Wight, Joe Judge, Tyler Siri, Alan Rudalavage, Kevin Hartnett, Cory Costa, Eric Leet, Brian Malcolm, Butch Getz, Byron Worthing.
Did Not Qualify: Scott Landers, Brad Shaffer, Joey Colsten, Richard Smith, Brad Weaver, Leo Fotopoulos, Marshall Hurd, Nick Pecko, Rick Wilk, Danny Hieber, Jacob Dgien, Michael Schane, Brayden Bills, Sam Allen, Bailey Boyd, Jerry Higbie, Sean Beardsley, Kailee Dimorier, Corey Cormier, Nick Nye, Jamie Bedford, Bobby Varin, Ken Titus, Matt Cole, Brad Knapp, Darwin Greene, Kurt Hundeland, Leo McGurrin, Aleia Geisler, Harold Humphrey, Mike Tyson, Brandon Fritsch, Alex Stanton, Corey Lowitt, Stanley Wilkins, Mike Trautschold.
Lap Money Breakdown: Andy Bachetti ($1,545) & Stewart Friesen ($40)
Afton Motorsports Park Bonuses Sponsored By Ron Ford: Andy Bachetti (2nd – $150), Danny Creeden (8th – $100) & Craig Hanson (10th – $75)
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificate): Craig Hanson (10th) & Brett Tonkin (13th)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Card): Matt Sheppard (fourth) & Danny Johnson (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Bonus ($50): Byron Worthing (redrew 12th)
Consla Stone Products/Forest Inn Masonry Hard Luck Award ($200): Corey Cormier (DNQ – engine issues)
EIBACH Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Billy Decker (sixth)
Henry’s Exhaust Systems Power Position ($50 Certificate): David Schilling (11th)
Lisa Barton 7th Penn Can Regular ($25): Butch Getz (26th)
Longstreet Family Hard Charger ($150): Danny Creeden (26th to eighth)
Precision Hydraulic & Oil Halfway Leader ($200): Andy Bachetti
Sunoco Race Fuels Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Andy Bachetti (second), Billy Pauch Jr. (12th) & Kevin Hartnett (22nd)
Wilwood Brakes Bonus ($75 Certificate): Tyler Dippel (seventh)