Afton, NY – The epitome of a “low-budget” racer, Danny Creeden appropriately won the “Working Man’s Race” of 2015.
Creeden, of Wurtsboro, N.Y., authored a stirring drive to victory in Saturday night’s Halmar International Short Track SuperNationals 8 presented by Olum’s at I-88 Speedway, becoming the eighth different victor in as many editions of the event. He earned $5,000 from the posted purse, $50 from Lias Tire/American Racer as a heat winner, $940 in lap money (including $800 from Dale and Sue Smith and R&B Construction as the Halfway Leader) and $200 from Craig Decker Forest Products for crew chief Rob Bakker.
Creeden’s cash take from the 50-lap big-block/small-block event was a hefty $6,190.
Stewart Friesen, meanwhile, drove from 26th starting position to finish sixth and earned the 2015 Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Hi-Tek Bob Hilbert Sportswear North Region title, worth $15,000. Sprakers, N.Y.’s Friesen, a four-time winner on the series this season, earned the title by 134 markers over runner-up Danny Johnson.
A strong field of 54 Modifieds attempted to qualify for the STSS 2015 finale, with 28 starting the main event.
Delaware’s Matt Jester, who picked the pole via a redraw of top qualifiers. Jester led the opening six circuits before Mitch Gibbs put his No. 2G into the lead. Gibbs, a multi-time track champion, had started from outside the front row.
Creeden’s No. 16X was moving forward from 10th starting spot. Jester’s great run ended with a right-front wheel issue on the 11th lap. At that point, Creeden arrived in the runner-up spot and began his pursuit of the lead.
Creeden was chasing down Gibbs when a yellow on lap 21 set up a pivotal double-file restart.
Gibbs elected to start from the outside lane. Creeden was able to fire off the inside and take over the lead. Once in front, Creeden inched away from Gibbs during the race’s mid-portions.
Lapped traffic became heavy during the race’s final stretch of 29 green-flag laps.
As Creeden picked through traffic, Gibbs, an emerging Mike Mahaney (from 21st on the grid), Paul Jensen, Jeff Heotzler and Friesen diced from second through sixth.
Mahaney, of King Ferry, N.Y., put his Charlie Davis-owned No. 21 into second with less than five laps remaining but had little time to chase down Creeden, who earned the fourth BD Motorsports Media LLC victory of his career. He had previously won at I-88, Accord (N.Y.) and New Egypt (N.J.) speedways.
Jensen, of Edmeston, N.Y., started sixth, faded early and recovered to finish third, with Wallkill, N.Y.’s Jeff Heotzler recovering from a mid-race skirmish to finish fourth in Mel Schrufer’s No. 2A. Gibbs, of North Norwich, N.Y., completed the front five.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively were Friesen, who had been a late arrival to the speedway after competing at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, N.Y., earlier in the day; track regular Brett Tonkin of Carbondale, Pa., who started 16th and had spun on lap four; Bobby Varin of Sharon Springs, N.Y., in the Norm Hansell-owned No. 357 after pitting mid-race; Andy Bachetti of Sheffield, Mass., who made two trips to the pits during the main; and Ryan Jordan of Dryden, N.Y., who ran as high as third in the race’s early laps.
American Racer/Lias Tire $50 heat winners were Heotzler, Jeff Strunk of Boyertown, Pa., Jester, Mike Clapperton of Sidney Center, N.Y., Chad Cook of Deposit, N.Y., and Creeden. The three consolations were topped by Anthony Perrego of Montgomery, N.Y., Mahaney and Kyle Merkel of Gilbertsville, Pa.
On Friday night, Gibbs won the 8-lap Dash for the fastest six cars in Modified practice, earning an automatic redraw position for Saturday’s feature.
By a nose, Brad Weaver of Conklin, N.Y., held off Alison Ricci to win the 25-lap GRIT American Series Crate 602 Sportsman main. Weaver, the son of area star Brian Weaver, was driving a Jamie Batzel-backed No. 1K. Ricci nearly pulled even with Weaver on the event’s final lap working the inside lane. The third-generation driver fell a wheel short of her first I-88 victory.
Josh Keesey, Pat Jordan and Dale Welty finished third through fifth, respectively, after a final-lap skirmish and tech inspection.
Will Eastman of Oneonta, N.Y., pulled off a last-lap, last turn pass of Michael Burrows to win the Saturday 20-lap XCel 600 Modified “tour” event paying $1,000 to win. Eastman drove hard to the inside of Burrows entering turn three on the final lap and was able to annex the win. Burrows, Josh Pepe, Nathan Brinker and Kyle Fallis trailed.
Quebec’s Eric Sunborg took the lead mid-race and went on to win the 20-lap Empire Lightning Sprint event with a strong 19-car field on hand. Sunborg earned $500 for his efforts by defeating Peter Dance, Ty Tilton, Rick Stone and Stephane St. Laurant.
Ray See Jr. of Patterson, N.Y., rode the outside groove to victory in an entertaining 15-lap Vintage Modified Open run on Saturday afternoon. A dozen Vintage Modifieds took part in the event, with Rob Sanford chasing See across the line.
-Short Track Super Series Press Release. Photo credit: SDS Photography
HALMAR INTERNATIONAL SHORT TRACK SUPERNATIONALS 8 PRESENTED BY OLUM’S RACE SUMMARY – OCTOBER 10, 2015
Short Track Super Series Fueled By Hi-Tek Bob Hilbert Sportswear North Region Event No. 8 Modified Feature Finish (50 Laps): DANNY CREEDEN, Mike Mahaney, Paul Jensen, Jeff Heotzler, Mitch Gibbs, Stewart Friesen, Brett Tonkin, Bobby Varin, Andy Bachetti, Ryan Jordan, Nick Rochinski, Danny Johnson, Craig Hanson, Shaun Walker, Tommy Meier, Rusty Smith, Chad Cook, Mike Clapperton, Jackie Brown Jr., Nick Nye, Jeff Strunk, Kyle Merkel, Ken Titus, Matt Jester, Jimmy Becker, Mike Ricci, Anthony Perrego, Scott Ferrier.
Did Not Qualify: Elmo Reckner, Alan Barker, Danny Tyler, Shawn Ward, Billy Van Pelt, Ray See Jr., Justin Holland, Brad Rothaupt, Jim Walsh, Doug Manmiller, Brian Malcolm, Darwin Greene, Colton Wilson, Duane Hiller, Steve Young, Jimmy Wells, J.R. Hurlburt, Colt Harris, Donnie Lawson, Brandon Walters, Rich Ricci III, Chris Ostrowsky, Kyle Rohner, Dave Rosa, Lee DeWitt, Cory Costa.