CENTER LISLE, NY – Local driver Chad Cook may have stolen the show, but it was Stewart Friesen who ended up in Victory Lane on Sunday night at Thunder Mountain Speedway.
Friesen, of Sprakers, N.Y., wheeled the Jeff Daley-backed No. 44 to his first triumph at the Center Lisle three-eighths-mile oval in a Modified, topping the MjH Oilfield Wade Decker Memorial race. Friesen pocketed $5,140 for his efforts in the 50-lap Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Hi-Tek big-block/small-block Modified main event.
Friesen won his fourth STSS Bob Hilbert Sportswear North Region event in the seventh round of the series following an extended, back-and-forth battle with Thunder Mountain regular Cook.
“Wow, what a race,” exclaimed Friesen, who leads the North Region standings into the finale at I-88 Speedway in Afton, N.Y., on Columbus Day weekend. “Chad (Cook) gave me a hell of a run there. We got jammed up in traffic and he got back around me. I needed to get some clear track.
“This is such a cool event: the trophy, the fireworks, everything about it. The atmosphere here tonight was awesome.”
Via his victory in the 10-lap Hank Decker Logging preliminary Cash Dash, Cook’s Mike Costello-owned No. 222 led the 27-car starting field to the green flag for the main. Cook paced the opening five laps of the event before Friesen drove his Teo-Pro car to the lead.
A long stretch of green-flag racing ensued following a pair of cautions on laps three and four. The lead pair approached heavy lapped traffic by the 12th tour of the oval. Cook, who had been working the extreme outside lane, reeled in Friesen.
Cook was able to sweep past Friesen to lead lap 25 at the line and collect the $500 Halfway Leader Bonus from Jim and Rhonda Scott. He held the top spot for two complete circuits before Friesen, running the low line, reclaimed his lead at the 28th circuit.
Cook kept Friesen in his sights working the slower traffic until the 39-lap stretch of green-flag racing ended on the 43rd circuit.
Two additional yellows in the final seven laps (44 and 45) gave Cook opportunities to unseat Friesen. He nearly pulled even with the leader at the two-to-go signal but couldn’t complete the pass and settled for a hard-earned runner-up effort.
Cook, of Deposit, N.Y., pocketed a mammoth $4,650 for his second-place result: $3,000 from the posted purse, $1,000 as the Cash Dash winner and $650 in lap money.
Anthony Perrego of Montgomery, N.Y., guided Gary Mann’s New York Truck Parts No. 55 to a third-place finish after running inside the top-five for the entire distance. Sheffield, Mass., driver Andy Bachetti finished fourth and Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, N.Y., piloted the Randy Chrysler-owned car to fifth after starting 16th on the grid.
Placing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Danny Creeden of Wurtsboro, N.Y., up from 10th starting position; 19th-starter Brent Wilcox of Binghamton, N.Y., who earned the Hard Charger Award, a certificate for four new Integra Shocks; track regular Colton Wilson of Dryden, N.Y., in an impressive performance with the Pat Lynch-backed No. 42; Boyertown, Pa., driver Jeff Strunk in the Zubi’s Racing No. 88; and 2015 track champion Mike Mahaney of King Ferry, N.Y., up from 21st position in the Jim Shear-owned No. 77x mount.
A Short Track Super Series season-high 55 Modifieds signed in for competition. Heat winners were Bachetti, Wilson, Tommy Meier (Waldwick, N.J.), Friesen, Cook and Perrego. The consolation victors were Wilcox, Billy Van Pelt of Westfield, Pa., and Mahaney.
Cook took the 10-lap Hank Decker Logging Cash Dash, worth $1,000, over Friesen, Perrego, Meier, Bachetti and Wilson. Heat winners transferred to Dash event, which set the first six starting positions in the feature.
Rocky Warner of Gloversville, N.Y., earned the $1,300 GRIT American Series Crate 602 Sportsman triumph. Warner drove the Jake Spraker-owned No. 1J to victory in the 25-lap event, continuing his outstanding season in Crate 602 action across the Northeast.
Warner’s earnings included a $300 Halfway Leader bonus sponsored by Jim and Rhonda Scott.
Central New York talent Dave Marcuccilli drove to a runner-up finish, followed by Thunder Mountain champion Pat Jordan (who received a free American Racer tire as the highest track regular), Nick Guerreri and Stacy Jackson, both invaders.
Jonathan Carpenter of New Milford, Pa., topped the $1,000-to-win Street Stock portion of the Wade Decker Memorial. Carpenter cleared early leader Rich Sharpsteen and held off the advances of track champion Steven Deinhardt through a caution-filled 25-lap affair. Shane Wolf Jr. completed a late charge to finish third, with Daryl Krebs and Damon Decker in tow.
Carpenter’s earnings were bolstered to $1,200 as the leader of the halfway lap, picking up $200 from Jim and Rhonda Scott.
Sprint Car driver Brian Carber of Pipersville, Pa., has been moonlighting in the XCel 600 Modified division at times this season. On Sunday, it paid off once again. Carber led from green-to-checkered in the 20-lap touring event to collect a cool $1,000 payday for his efforts. Richie Hitzler finished second, chasing Carber across the line in a Keystone State one-two sweep. Joe McCabe, Jamie Frantz and track champion Will Eastman completed the top-five.
Next up for the STSS is the Halmar International Short Track SuperNationals 8 presented by Olum’s Oct. 9-10 at I-88 Speedway in Afton, N.Y. Two complete days of racing are planned, headlined by the Championship Round of the Bob Hilbert Sportswear North Region on Saturday. A complete “Working Man’s Race” schedule is available on the series website.
To learn more about the Short Track Super Series or BD Motorsports Media LLC, visit www.shortttracksuperseries.com or www.bdmotorsportsmedia.com, call 845.728.2781 or e-mail [email protected]. “Like” Short Track Super Series on Facebook or follow @ShortTrackSS on Twitter.
THUNDER THOUGHTS: The pit area was jammed to capacity on Sunday with 146 total race cars in attendance: 55 STSS Modifieds, 37 GRIT Crate 602 Sportsman, 29 Street Stocks and 24 XCel 600 Modifieds. The event, postponed two weeks by weather from Sept. 13, drew a healthy crowd on a late September Sunday….
The win for Stewart Friesen was his first in a Modified at Thunder Mountain. He had a 360 Sprint Car victory to his credit at the track in 2014….
More than $30,000 in cash was distributed to STSS Modified competitors on Sunday, not to mention high-paying, $1,000-to-win events for the GRIT Crate 602 Sportsman, Street Stocks and XCel Modifieds, bringing the day’s total purse to nearly $40,000….
Erick Rudolph (Brighton, Ont.), Andy Bachetti (I-88) and Billy Van Pelt (Woodhull, N.Y.) arrived at Thunder Mountain following big event wins on Saturday….
Rudolph was particularly impressive using a big-block powerplant to drive from 16th to a top-five result in the Wade Decker Memorial on the tight bullring….
The Decker family went above and beyond to give the Wade Decker Memorial a true “special event” feel, including a seven-foot-tall custom trophy featuring Decker’s No. 1w Modified (Friesen called it one of the coolest trophies he had ever won), champagne, fireworks, confetti, memorial decals and more. Two of Decker’s cars – his Modified and Super Stock – were displayed in the midway area and used as pace vehicles….
Decker, a popular and successful competitor in Southern Tier racing circles, lost his life in a logging accident in December 2011. He was just 37 years old….
Members of the Decker family – sporting event apparel – enjoyed the evening from the VIP sponsor tower….
Thunder Mountain champion Mike Mahaney recovered nicely from a pair of heat-race skirmishes to earn a top-10 feature finish, taking home more than $1,000 in cash….
Despite the huge car count, the STSS Modified feature was completed minutes after 9:30 p.m. on a work night….
Sunday’s event was the 40th BD Motorsports Media LLC promotion. Ironically Pat Jordan – who facilitated the very first event back in 2006 as the former Afton Speedway promoter – was in action at the 40th race as a competitor in the Crate 602 Sportsman field….
MjH OILFIELD WADE DECKER MEMORIAL RACE SUMMARY – SEPT. 27, 2015
Short Track Super Series Fueled By Hi-Tek Bob Hilbert Sportswear North Region Event No. 7 Modified Feature Finish (50 Laps): STEWART FRIESEN ($5,140), Chad Cook, Anthony Perrego, Andy Bachetti, Erick Rudolph, Danny Creeden, Brent Wilcox, Colton Wilson, Jeff Strunk, Mike Mahaney, Tommy Meier, Jeff Heotzler, Billy Van Pelt, Nick Nye, Tyler Siri, Tim Buckwalter, Jackie Brown Jr., Ken Titus, Danny Johnson, Billy Spoonhower, Chris Stull, Ryan Jordan, Craig Hanson, Brian Malcolm, Matt Latwinski, Mike Nagel Jr., Danny Tyler.
Did Not Qualify: Eric Leet, Darwin Greene, Alan Barker, Lee DeWitt, Roy Bresnahan, John Morse, Tom Collins, Geordie Decker, Chance Spoonhower, Kurt Hundeland, Marc Goodwin, Willy Decker, Mike Clapperton, Jim LaRock, Marshall Balzer, Brandon Walters, Joe Eisenhauer, Bobby Trapper, Chris Ostrowsky, Cole Price, Nick Rochinski, Bobby Trapper Jr., Bob Hamm, Byron Worthing, Mike Decker, Bob Henry Jr., Rob Compton, Daniel Johnson.
-STSS Press Release. Photo Credit: Dave Dalessandro/RaceProWeekly