Middletown, NY – Tommy Meier was credited with the victory in Saturday night’s ‘Hard Clay Open’ presented by United Pump & Tank at Orange County Fair Speedway following a disqualification post-race of apparent victor Brett Hearn.
The opener of the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP Halmar International North Region saw Hearn, the all-time leading OCFS winner, start from the outside pole in the 50-lap event, survive a lead-swapping mid-race challenge from Stewart Friesen to take the checkered first and an apparent $5,000-plus payday.
However, Hearn’s team refused a check of cubic inch in post-race technical inspection and was disqualified. Hearn forfeited the winner’s points, purse money and all lap money accrued.
The win then went to Waldwick, N.J.’s Meier, who started ninth and crossed the line in second spot. He took home $5,175 for his efforts.
Meier is credited with his first-ever STSS victory aboard the Jeff Behrent-owned No. 3.
“It made for an interesting night at Orange County,” offered Meier. “It’s obviously not the way we want to win, but our team works hard and these guys deserve it.”
The remainder of the top performers were compliant with the requests of the OCFS technical team, making the finish official.
Danny Johnson of Rochester, N.Y., finished second, with the Chris Gennarelli-owned No. 27J. Johnson opted to utilize big-block power for the event and quietly advanced from 10th starting position.
Mike Ricci of Tillson, N.Y., authored a steady drive in the Halmar International-backed No. 76. Ricci started eighth.
Andy Bachetti of Sheffield, Mass., ran inside the top-three for the race’s opening 47 laps. Bachetti then pitted with three laps remaining with a flat right-rear tire and charged through traffic following a series of late-race restarts to salvage a fourth-place result.
Danbury, Conn., second-year Modified driver L.J. Lombardo guided Bill Pascual’s No. 3 from 15th starting position to kick off the 2016 STSS North Region with a fifth-place effort.
Completing the top-10 positions were Ransomville, N.Y., driver Erick Rudolph, who recovered from a flat right-rear tire on lap 39; OCFS mainstay Gary Edwards Jr. of Wurtsboro, N.Y.; Mike Mahaney of King Ferry, N.Y., another driver who rebounded from a pit stop; Rich Ricci Jr. of New Paltz, N.Y., in the family owned No. 406R; and Billy Van Inwegen of Sparrowbush, N.Y., who was inside the top-four before having to pit to replenish the fuel load in his methanol-burning Lincoln Auto Body No. 5 small-block.
A field of 52 STSS Modifieds signed into the pit area. Heat winners were Friesen, Anthony Perrego (after Hearn DQ), Mike Ricci, Van Inwegen, Johnson and Bachetti. Consolation winners were Jackie Brown Jr., Jerry Higbie Jr. and Corey Lowitt.
The event soldiered on despite a threatening morning with rain in the area and intermittent early showers.
Sussex, N.J’s Hearn, meanwhile, did moonlight in Johnny Illanovsky’s No. 88 Crate 602 Sportsman for the open, non-points event and took a $1,000 payday which he immediately donated to charity. David Schilling, Michael Storms, R.J. Smith, Billy Eggers completed the front five. There were 46 Sportsman cars on hand for the event.
The next STSS event takes place on Sunday, April 17 at N.J.’s Bridgeport Speedway with the ‘South Jersey Shootout’ Velocita South Region Event No. 2, a 40-lap event offering $5,000 to the winner, $1,000 for 10th and $400 to take the green flag. Sportsman, Outlaw Stocks and XCel 600 Modifieds ($1,000-to-win on the inner quarter-mile).
To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP or BD Motorsports Media LLC, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com or www.bdmotorsportsmedia.com, call 845.728.2781 during business hours, e-mail [email protected], “like” Short Track Super Series on Facebook or follow @ShortTrackSS on Twitter.
The 2016 Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, VP Racing Fuel, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Halmar International, Allstar Performance, ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Bicknell Racing Products, COMP Performance Group, Dirt Track Digest, Fast Axle, Fox Racing Shocks, Hig Fab, Henry’s Exhaust, HyperCo, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, K&N, Race Pro Weekly, Racing Optics, Teo-Pro Car, Vahlco Wheels & Velocita
‘HARD CLAY OPEN’ PRESENTED BY UNITED PUMP & TANK – ORANGE COUNTY FAIR SPEEDWAY APRIL 2, 2016
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP Halmar International North Region Event No. 1 Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): TOMMY MEIER ($5,175), Danny Johnson, Mike Ricci, Andy Bachetti, L.J. Lombardo, Erick Rudolph, Gary Edwards, Mike Mahaney, Rich Ricci Jr., Billy Van Inwegen, Matt Janiak, Stewart Friesen, David Van Horn Jr., Craig Hanson, Tyler Dippel, Corey Lowitt, Ryan Darcy, Matt DeLorenzo, Randy Chrysler, Jeff Heotzler, Danny Creeden, Josh Hohenforst, Jackie Brown Jr., Robbie Green, Anthony Perrego, Rob Rowe, Jerry Higbie Jr., John Ferrier, Nick Nye.
Disqualified: Brett Hearn (refused post-race technical inspection)
Did Not Qualify: Brian Malcolm, Bob McGannon, Shawn Ward, Bobby Hentschel, Tyler McKee, Dan Vauter, Mike McKerrell, Joe Barbagallo, Kurt Hundeland, Michael Sabia, Craig Mitchell, Chris Shultz, Shea Montgomery, Rich Eurich, Jeremy Markle, Danny Cronk, Dale Welty, Steve Dodd, Chad Loiodice, Brett Tonkin, C.G. Morey, Jimmy Horton.
‘Lucky 7’ Lap Money ($1,813): Stewart Friesen ($643); Andy Bachetti ($230); David Van Horn Jr. ($228); Tommy Meier ($175); Erick Rudolph ($148); Mike Ricci ($125); Randy Chrysler ($124); Danny Johnson ($65); L.J. Lombardo ($50); Billy Van Inwegen ($25)
Allstar Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Mike Ricci (third) & Mike Mahaney (eighth)
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire): Erick Rudolph (sixth) & David Van Horn Jr. (13th)
ATL Fuel Cell Bonus ($200 Certificate): L.J. Lombardo (fifth)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Andy Bachetti (fourth) & Rich Ricci Jr. (ninth)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Bonuses ($100 Certificates): Erick Rudolph (sixth) & Corey Lowitt (16th)
East Coast Speed Bonuses: L.J. Lombardo ($200) & Matt Janiak ($100)
Fast Axle Bonus ($50 Certificate): Gary Edwards Jr. (seventh)
Grand Rental Station Hard Charger Award ($500): Craig Hanson (30th to 14th)
QA1 Hard Charger Bonus ($50 Certificate): Craig Hanson (30th to 14th)
Smokers Choice Heat Winners ($100 Each): Stewart Friesen, Anthony Perrego, Mike Ricci, Billy Van Inwegen, Danny Johnson & Andy Bachetti
Racing Optics Bonus (Sleeve of Tear-Offs): Danny Johnson (second)
Rock Fantasy Halfway Leader Bonus ($400): Stewart Friesen
Vahlco Racing Wheels Bonus (FREE Wheel): L.J. Lombardo (fifth)
VP Racing Fuels Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Andy Bachetti (fourth), Craig Hanson (14th) & Robbie Green (24th)
Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): BRETT HEARN ($1,000), David Schilling, Michael Storms, R.J. Smith, Billy Eggers, Winter Mead, Steve Eubanks, Michael Sabia, Tim Hartman, Frank Venezia, Matt Stangle, Dillon Steuer, Chris Stevens, Leo Fotopoulos, Allison Ricci, Dave Marcuccilli, Jeff Hulseapple, Nick Horton, Rafael Carson, Austin Smith, Randy Sweetman, Tyler Boniface, Tyler Treacy, Eddie Burgess.
Story by: STSS PR
Photo Credit: Speed51.com / MoJo Photos