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GULAR BESTS FIELD OF 77 MODIFIEDS AT OCFS, DECKER NORTH REGION CHAMP

MIDDLETOWN, NY – Second verse, better than the first.

In May, Pennsylvania small-block standout Mike Gular made his first-career start at the legendary Orange County Fair Speedway, finishing a respectable 11th On Thursday, Gular returned for the Behrent’s Performance Warehouse ‘Hard Clay Finale’ to kick off Eastern States Weekend and fared better – much better.

Gular, of Boyertown, Pa., upset a stacked field to win the Halmar International North Region finale for the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco big-block/small-block Modifieds at the five-eighths-mile facility.

For the most lucrative victory of his career, Gular and his Terry Fasnacht-owned team pocketed $10,250 – $10,000 from the posted purse, $200 as the Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader and $50 from Rock Fantasy as a heat-race winner.

Gular started from the pole, but relinquished the lead at the outset to track regular Jerry Higbie. On lap nine, he reclaimed the top spot and authored a mistake-free drive for the remainder of the race’s 50 grueling laps.

“Of all the places we went this year for the series, can you believe I won one here?” Gular exclaimed after climbing to the roof of his big-block-powered No. 2A Bicknell mount.

Sidney, N.Y.’s Billy Decker, meanwhile, drove the Jeremy Smith Racing No. 91 to a conservative ninth-place finish after starting 17th and clinched the $12,500 STSS Halmar International North Region championship. While winless on the series, Decker’s consistency led him to the ultimate prize by a margin of just two points.

Gular, the champion at his home track of Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa., showed speed in his qualifying performance. But it was Higbie – in the United Pump & Tank-sponsored No. 48 – who got the jump at the start of the main.

Gular stalked Higbie before working to his inside on the ninth tour to take over the lead.

But the challenge was far from over.

Gular not only had to conserve the rubber on his American Racer tires. He also had to stave off challenges from a number of drivers who occupied the runner-up spot during the remainder of the distance.

Higbie, Andy Bachetti, Matt Sheppard and ultimately Mat Williamson took shots at the leader.

However, it was Gular – who has attended every 2018 Short Track Super Series event in both the Halmar International North Region and Velocita-USA South Region – outrunning the field.

Gular became the 28th different winner in the 64-race history of the Short Track Super Series.

St. Catharines, Ont., native Williamson earned $5,050 as the runner-up in the Behrent’s Performance Warehouse No. 3, chasing Gular to the finish. Williamson ended the ’18 STSS North Region with back-to-back runner-up efforts.

After starting 11th, Middletown, N.Y.’s Anthony Perrego advanced to third ($4,000), filling out the podium in Brian Smith’s Superior Remodeling No. 44 small-block. Perrego fell just two points shy of earning the series championship.

Wallkill, N.Y.’s Tyler Dippel, who has been competing in NASCAR K&N East and Camping World Truck Series competition, made a rare dirt Modified start and authored an impressive drive from 21st to finish fourth, worth $2,500. Mike Mahaney of King Ferry, N.Y., advanced to fifth in the Buzz Chew Racing No. 88 ($1,800). Mahaney started 15th.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Stewart Friesen of Sprakers, N.Y., who blasted through the field to sixth in the Halmar International No. 44 after pitting for fresh tires on lap 33 ($1,500); Newburgh, N.Y.’s Higbie, who led early on ($1,400); Hard Charger Danny Creeden of Wurtsboro, N.Y., up from 30th on the grid (a series provisional) earning $200 from Land Hoe Maintenance, a $200 Beyea Custom Headers Certificate and $50 QA1 Certificate ($1,000); series champion Decker ($1,200); and track regular Craig ‘Hollywood’ Mitchell of Wappingers Falls, N.Y., who had run as high as fourth ($1,150).

A record field of 77 STSS Modifieds attempted to qualify for the ‘Hard Clay Finale’ requiring seven heat races. Winners received $50 cash from Rock Fantasy Concert Shop and $50 certificates courtesy of Beyea Custom Headers. Heat victors were Stan Frankenfield, Higbie, Sheppard, Ryan Godown, Williamson, Gular and Sam Martz.

Consolation wins went to Brian Krummel, Shane Jablonka and Mike Ricci.

A special 3-lap Last Chance Qualifier saw Allison Ricci gain the 28th starting position for the main. Drivers missing a qualified spot by one in each of the consolations took part in this event.

For the first time, 360 Sprint Cars joined the STSS Modifieds on the ‘Hard Clay Finale’ program.

In a down-to-the-wire 25-lap event, Lucas Wolfe of Mechanicsburg, Pa., held off a relentless Davie Franek to earn a $3,000 payday for his R.C. Faigle-backed Pabst Blue Ribbon team.

Wolfe started fifth and avoided a multi-car tangle in turn two on the race’s opening lap. Then, he jetted past outside-pole starter Franek to lead the second lap.

Franek was not done, however.

In the race’s final five laps, Franek powered his car to the topside and reeled in Wolfe, nearly pulling even with the leader entering turn three coming to the checkered flag. Wolfe prevailed off the fourth turn to take the win.

Franek, from nearby Wantage, N.J., placed second, followed by a rim-riding Billy Van Inwegen of Sparrowbush, N.Y., Montrose, N.Y., native turned North Carolina resident Justin Barger and Binghamton, N.Y.’s Coleman Gulick, who started 16th.

360 Sprint Car winners were Barger and Franek.

Next up for the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco is Mid-Atlantic Championship Weekend at Georgetown Speedway in Georgetown, Del., Friday-Saturday October 26-27. The Velocita-USA South Region Modified title will be decided along with the STSS Crate 602 Sportsman championship. 10 divisions of racing are planned over the two days.

To learn more about the 2018 Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail bdmotorsportsmedia@gmail.com, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.

HARD CLAY HAPPENINGS: The evening honored the career of veteran driver Rich Eurich, who has competed at OCFS since the late-1960s. Eurich signed commemorative posters in the grandstand area prior to the start of racing and spoke to the crowd before the National Anthem. He was bestowed a $1,000 guaranteed starting spot for the event as part of the recognition….

The 77-car STSS Modified field registered on Thursday night at OCFS set a new standard as the largest car count in history since the inception of the series in 2014….

The unofficial top-five in points were: Billy Decker (766), Anthony Perrego (764), Mat Williamson (758), Mike Gular (748) and Matt Sheppard (705). Of the top-five finishers, only one of the top-five was able to win a North Region series event and that was Gular on Thursday night….

The WELD Racing Wheels Hard Luck Award went to Michael Storms, who ran inside a qualifying spot in his heat race until suffering a flat tire on the final lap. Storms will receive a free WELD Racing Wheel….

All-time OCFS win leader Brett Hearn was eliminated after hot laps with water pump failure on the Madsen Motorsports No. 20….

The Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuel, Insinger Performance, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Halmar International, Allstar Performance, ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, Fast Axle, Fox Racing Shocks, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, HyperCo, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Land Hoe Maintenance, K&N, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, QA1, Race Pro Weekly, Racing Optics, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, Vahlco, Velocita, Weld & Wilwood.


BEHRENT’S PERFORMANCE WAREHOUSE HARD CLAY FINALE RESULTS SUMMARY – ORANGE COUNTY FAIR SPEEDWAY OCTOBER 18, 2018

Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Halmar International North Region Event No. 9 Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): MIKE GULAR, Mat Williamson, Anthony Perrego, Tyler Dippel, Mike Mahaney, Stewart Friesen, Jerry Higbie, Danny Creeden, Billy Decker, Craig Mitchell, Jimmy Horton, Billy Pauch Jr., Matt Sheppard, Bob McGannon, Jeremy Smith, Ryan Godown, Jackie Brown, Tyler Boniface, Andy Bachetti, Sammy Martz, Duane Howard, Brian Krummel, Billy Van Inwegen, Rich Eurich, Allison Ricci, Mike Kolka, Donnie Elliott, Mike Ricci, Stan Frankenfield, Shane Jablonka, Matt Hitchcock.

Did Not Qualify: C.G. Morey, Brett Tonkin, Rick Laubach, Ric Hill, Tommy Meier, Corey Lowitt, Steve Dodd, Nick Nye, Joe Bonetti, J.R. Hurlburt, Roger Henion Jr., Kurt Hundeland, Leo Fotopolous Jr., Yanick Mathieu, John Ferrier, Dillon Steuer, Ricky Davis, Cass Bennett, Mark Pullen, Kyle Armstrong, Chris Stevens, Ed Burgess, Gary Edwards, Sean Mandel, Marc Johnson, Jeremy Markle, Jason Kosch, Brett Haas, Austin Smith, LJ Lombardo, Anthony Falanga, Craig Hanson, Rich Eggers, Tom Hindley, Frankie Harper, Tom Foley, Michael Horton, Danny Cronk, Jessica Friesen, Joe Falanga, Jeff Heotzler, Donnie Wilson, Connor Otten, Mike Storms, Brett Hearn, Rob Rowe.

American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire): Jerry Higbie (seventh) & Jimmy Horton (11th)
ATL Fuel Cell Bonus ($200 Certificate): Mike Mahaney (fifth)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Tyler Dippel (fourth) & Billy Decker (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Hard Charger ($200 Certificate): Danny Creeden (30th to eighth)
Beyea Custom Headers Heat Winners ($50 Certificates): Stan Frankenfield, Jerry Higbie, Matt Sheppard, Ryan Godown, Mat Williamson, Mike Gular & Sam Martz.
Fast Axle Bonus ($50 Certificate): Stewart Friesen (sixth)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Jimmy Horton (11th)
Land Hoe Maintenance Hard Charger ($200): Danny Creeden (30th to eighth)
QA1 Hard Charger ($50 Certificate): Danny Creeden (30th to eighth)
Racing Optics Bonus (Sleeve of Tearoffs): Anthony Perrego (third)
Rock Fantasy Heat Winners ($50): Stan Frankenfield, Jerry Higbie, Matt Sheppard, Ryan Godown, Mat Williamson, Mike Gular & Sam Martz.
Sunoco Race Fuels Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Mat Williamson (second), Billy Pauch Jr. (12th) & Brian Krummel (12th)
Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader ($200): Mike Gular
Wilwood ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($50 Certificate): Jerry Higbie

360 Sprint Car Open Feature Finish (25 laps): LUCAS WOLFE, Davie Franek, Billy Van Inwegen, Justin Barger, Coleman Gulick, Joe Kata, Kyle Smith, Tyler Jashembowski, Thomas Radivoy, Mike Walter, Eric Jennings, Geoff Quackenbush, Bill Unglert, Floyd Billington, Scott Flammer, Matt Tanner, Scott Goodrich.

Late race pass nets Matt Hirschman $5000 Mahoning Valley Octoberfast win over impressive upstart Austin Beer

By DINO OBERTO

Noah Watts Photo

(LEHIGHTON 10-13-18) To fans of eastern Pennsylvania short track asphalt racing the names of Hirschman and Beers are synonymous when it comes to the ranks of Modified competition. For years the two iconic racing families, who both hail from Mud Lane in Northampton, have shared countless headlines, many of those coming in one-two finishes between Mahoning Valley, Dorney Park and Evergreen Speedway’s.

Tony Hirschman had gone up against numerous cars owned by the late Dale Beers. Eric Beers and Matt Hirschman took the battle to new heights over the past two decades and on Saturday night at Mahoning Valley during the annual Octoberfast the torch was passed on the next generation as 15-year old Austin Beers showed that he is ready to carry on the duel.

In the 150-lap contest M. Hirschman made his racing winning move with four laps to go over A. Beers and claimed the $5000 first place prize. It would be Hirschman’s sixth consecutive victory, 14th of 2018 and 16th at Mahoning, three of them coming in the Octoberfast.

But make no mistake all eyes were on the younger Beers who clearly was in route to a monumental victory had it not been for the late caution that dramatically changed the outcome.

While most everyone pitted at some point Beers was one of only three others, (Josh Scherer/DJ Wagner), who stayed out the entire race gambling with the same set of tires and it almost paid off. However, when Joey Jarowicz spun four laps from the end Hirschman would use that restart to make his race winning pass with an inside pass off turn two.

“That last caution won me the race otherwise Austin Beers was going to win this thing. It was an incredible run that he had. When he was leading and I was second and the race was going on I knew I was settling for runner-up – I wasn’t going to pass him,” bottom-lined Hirschman.

“I kept thinking back to my first big win I had at Evergreen (Raceway) at the King of the Green and his dad finished second to me. It was at that moment I thought that how awesome this is and how this kid is going to win this big race just like myself and his dad did in 2001.”

Hirschman has been a dominant force everywhere he has run this year and when he brought that winning momentum to Mahoning Valley, his first time at the track in two seasons, the thought was on everyone’s mind as to would his streak go on or could one of the always tough-to-beat Mahoning regulars put it to a halt.

For quite some time it seemed as though that would be the case. Pole sitter Austin Kochenash led the early going with Lou Strohl keeping in a close second. Hirschman, who started fifth, joined the front pair by lap eight and thus began a torrid three car battle.

After 20 laps Hirschman barely shook off Strohl for second and would then latch on to the back end of Kochenash while Gene Bowers moved to third.

Still under tight conditions, Hirschman attempted an inside move for the lead on lap 30 but fell short and made contact with the leader, sending him spinning and several other scattering. He had felt the move was merited at that time as Bowers was looking to get by from the outside. In hindsight, though, he comprehended that it may have been too soon for the endeavor.

“I didn’t need to but there was a car that came up alongside me on the outside and it looked like he was going to go by us both. The 66 (Kochenash) was holding me up some and I thought ‘Well it might be time to get ahead of him with other faster cars breathing down my neck,” said Hirschman.

“I made an inside move down the front straight and I thought I was in but we don’t race with radios here and that’s kind of how it goes. It was probably not the right move at that time and what the end result was but had I just passed him I might have stayed out the whole race like Austin (Beers) did.”

Afterwards Kochenash and Hirschman both pitted while Bowers took control of the race. Scherer and Beers would swap back and forth for second. Kyle Strohl entered into the fray with 50 laps complete.

Bowers, who lost in this same race last year by a whisker to Bobby Jones, was looking for redemption and had it going nicely despite that Beers and Strohl where fixated on his rear tail.

After numerous two-wide laps with Beers second place fell to Strohl and he began an all-out run at the Bowers, successfully taking over the front spot on lap 94. On the same tour Beers followed and was runner-up. 10 laps later a caution would wave and on that re-go Beers would overtake Strohl for the lead.

Through a series of pit stops and hard charging Kochenash had worked his way back to third with 50 laps to go. Likewise Hirschman had motored back into the front five by lap 118.

At the helm Beers was showing that he was going to make it tough for anyone to try and pass him. He was very confident in his car’s handling and even disregarded a pre-race team strategy to pit around lap 100.

With the laps wearing on Beers was looking closer to becoming an upset winner as Strohl and Kochenash could only watch from second and third. Then on lap 132 the action slowed the action for a minor incident and again three laps later for a spinning car.

By then Kochenash had advanced to second and Hirschman made some fancy moves to take third. The pair would then engage a in a dogfight for second and few laps back under green and Hirschman was there.

Heading into the waning circuits it was looking more and more as though Beers was on his way to victory until that ill-fated caution waved four laps from the end.

“I was definably going to be satisfied with second, no complaints. My experience probably paid off and all I can say is what a future that kid has. Things didn’t quite work out the way I had anticipated early but you never give up,” said Hirschman.

“It’s always exciting to be here at Mahoning and it’s never over until the last lap and its fun. I’ll be back that’s for sure.”

Strohl was very fast at the end and settled for third with an impressive Scherer taking fourth over Kochenash who rounded out the top five.

“My dad wanted me to come in at lap 100 but I was second then and just decided to stay out. The car was great tonight. To be leading one of these event was very humbling against such a stout field,” noted Beers afterwards.

“I just ran my own race and if I got beat then so be it. Finishing second to a gut like Matt Hirschman – we’ll take that.”

There were 22 cars on hand with Hirschman, Beers and Kevin rex Jr., annexing heat wins.

Modified Feature Finish (150 Laps): 1. Matt Hirschman, 2. Austin Beers, 3. Kyle Strohl. 4. Josh Scherer, 5. Austin Kochenash, 6. Lou Strohl, 7. Gene Bowers, 8. DJ Wagner, 9. Ron Haring Jr., 10. John Markovic, 11. Todd Baer, 12. Don Wagner, 13. Joey Jarowicz, 14. Terry Markovic, 15. Kristy Arthofer, 16. Cody Geist, 17. Jesse

Justin Bonsignore Completes Thompson Sweep & Celebrates Championship

Caps 2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Title Run With Eighth Victory

THOMPSON, Conn. — Justin Bonsignore couldn’t have dreamt of a better way to end his championship season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Bonsignore captured his eighth win of the season in the Sunoco World Series 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, ending his title run by celebrating both a race win and a dominating championship.

The win allowed the Holtsville, New York, driver to become the fourth driver in the modern era of the Whelen Modified Tour to sweep all of the events at Thompson in the same season. Steve Park (1996), Mike Stefanik (1998) and Doug Coby (2015) are the other three to accomplish the feat.

“It’s been unreal, ever since we unloaded at Myrtle Beach, we have had a great race car at every single race track,” Bonsignore said. “To come here and to sweep the season, there are only a few select people who have done that, and it means a lot to me. It’s important.”

RACING-REFERENCE: Sunoco World Series 150 Results

Bonsignore started third, but ran just outside the top five for the first half of the race. During a caution on lap 81, he rolled the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Chevrolet to pit road and changed tires. Quick work by his team allowed him to exit the leader of the race, and he never relinquished the top spot.

“We didn’t have the best car, but the pit crew did a great job and got us out there in the end. The car was really good on the second set of tires,” Bonsignore said. “It was the same thing we did all year at Thompson. We were going to race hard because we didn’t have anything to lose today.”

RACING-REFERENCE: Justin Bonsignore’s 2018 Season

He defeated Chase Dowling by 97 points in the final championship standings, with an average finish of 3.4 and top-10 finishes in all but one event.

Jon McKennedy used a late stop for tires, and passed Ron Silk in the final turn, capping his season with a second. Silk was third, followed by Ryan Preece, who led a race-high 83 laps. Burt Myers rounded out the top five.

Doug Coby was sixth, followed by Matt Swanson, Bobby Santos III, Chris Pasteryak and Eric Goodale.

The Sunoco World Series 150 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, October 18, 7 p.m.

Bonsignore and his Kenneth Massa Motorsports team will be honored with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour top finishers arnd special award winners at the NASCAR Awards Charlotte on Friday, Dec. 7.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-Sunoco World Series 150 Results

Sunday

At Thompson International Speedway

Thompson, Conn.

Lap length: 0.625 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

  1. (3) Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150 laps, 85.638 mph.
  2. (5) Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.
  3. (9) Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT, Chevrolet, 150.
  4. (2) Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  5. (7) Burt Myers, Walnut Cove, N.C., Chevrolet, 150.
  6. (4) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  7. (15) Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.
  8. (10) Bobby Santos, III, Franklin, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.
  9. (19) Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  10. (18) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  11. (17) Anthony Nocella, Woburn, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.
  12. (8) Craig Lutz, Miller Place, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  13. (13) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  14. (1) Ronnie Williams, Ellington, Conn., Chevrolet, 149.
  15. (14) Kyle Bonsignore, Bay Shore, N.Y., Chevrolet, 149.
  16. (23) Blake Barney, Lakewood, N.J., Chevrolet, 149.
  17. (25) Sam Rameau, Westminster, Mass., Chevrolet, 149.
  18. (12) Rob Summers, Manchester, CT, Chevrolet, 149.
  19. (22) Tommy Catalano, Ontario, N.Y., Chevrolet, 148.
  20. (21) Shawn Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Chevrolet, 148.
  21. (26) Gary Putnam, Vernon, Conn., Chevrolet, 148.
  22. (24) Ken Heagy, Calverton, N.Y., Ford, 148.
  23. (16) Calvin Carroll, Newton, N.J., Chevrolet, 147.
  24. (29) Wade Cole, Hartland, Conn., Chevrolet, 147.
  25. (27) Walter Sutcliffe Jr., East Haven, Conn., Chevrolet, 143.
  26. (11) Dave Sapienza, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 132, accident.
  27. (20) Andrew Krause, Holmdel, N.J., Toyota, 131, ignition.
  28. (31) Timmy Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Ford, 93, suspension.
  29. (33) Cory Osland, East Hampton, N.Y., Chevrolet, 88, mechanical.
  30. (6) Chase Dowling, Roxbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 82, ignition.
  31. (32) Melissa Fifield, Wakefield, N.H., Chevrolet, 72, handling.
  32. (30) Dave Salzarulo, Monson, Mass., Chevrolet, 33, engine.
  33. (28) Gary McDonald, Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Chevrolet, 0, accident.

 

Race Statistics

Time of Race: 1 hour 5 minutes 41 seconds

Margin of Victory: 0.448 seconds

Fastest Qualifier: R.Williams (120.553 mph, 18.664 seconds)

Caution Flags: 6 for 28 laps.

Lead Changes: 1 among 2 drivers.

Lap Leaders: R. Preece 1-83; J. Bonsignore 84-150.

Standings: 1. J. Bonsignore, 693; 2. C. Dowling, 596; 3. D. Coby, 575; 4. T. Solomito, 545; 5. C. Lutz, 541; 6. R. Summers, 515; 7. E. Goodale, 495; 8. D. Sapienza, 477; 9. R. Williams, 461; 10. C. Pasteryak, 431.