Delmar, DE – Stewart Friesen fought off a slew of challenges – highway traffic included – to lead all 50 laps and win the ‘Diamond State 50’ at Delaware International Speedway as part of the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled by VP Velocita South Region.
No driver has won more STSS events than Friesen, who captured his fifth career victory and first ever triumph at the Delaware International Speedway.
From Sprakers, N.Y., Friesen, along with many others traveling south on Route 1, were slowed by an accident near Dover. The mishap forced the eventual winner to drive nine hours to Delmar, Del.
“We have an awesome team here with a lot of depth,” Friesen said. “This is an awesome race track, I wish it was a lot closer.”
Thursday’s event, a Cathell family/BD Motorsports Media LLC co-promotion, was presented by Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply of Hurlock, Md.
The defending STSS Halmar International North Region champion bolted to the lead at the drop of the initial green flag ahead of Craig Von Dohren, Jordan Watson, Anthony Perrego and Andy Bachetti.
Ryan Watt was the first to slip through the field using both the high and low groove from his seventh starting spot. Watt reached second by lap five as everyone was jostling for position all over the track.
Watt began to close slightly on Friesen before the second caution of the event for a slowing Rick Laubach halted proceedings on lap 10. Laubach was sixth in the running order.
Watson was the next to jump back into the runner-up position on the next restart ahead of Watt and Von Dohren. Watt and Von Dohren’s battle for third raged on in the form of side-by-side action while Friesen and Watson put ground between them and the rest of the field.
On the next green flag run it was Watt again powering on the outside to the second spot and began running Friesen down. The duo swept the first two positions at Pa.’s Big Diamond Speedway for the ‘Anthracite Assault’ just a week ago with the defending STSS Velocita South Region champion Watt crossing first.
After 20 laps Duane Howard, a qualifier through the consolation, had maneuvered his Norm Hansell-owned No. 357 to sixth from 22nd.
When the green flew once again Watson forced his way into second once again ahead of Von Dohren, Watt, Ryan Godown and Howard.
Disaster, once again, struck the Godown No. 901 machine. An issue with the rear forced the Ringoes, N.J. native to slow on lap 23.
When action resumed it was Von Dohren’s turn to wrestle the second position away from the host of challengers ahead of Watson, Watt, Howard, Billy Pauch Jr., David Van Horn Jr. and Brett Kressley.
Watt, still chasing on the outside, ran over the banking in turn four allowing Howard to drive by on the inside for fourth.
Before lap 30 Howard would make his move under Watson for third as Von Dohren stalked Friesen for the lead on the inside. Watt would follow past Watson for fourth.
The final caution on lap 34 tightened the field once again.
On the restart Howard jumped ahead of Von Dohren for second as Friesen raced away and the battle was on.
With Friesen on the outside, Howard preferred the inside.
With less than 10 to go, Howard made his move. They touched on the exit on turn four. Friesen was the victor of the battle, dropped to the bottom and drove away.
“I probably should have dropped to the bottom 20 laps earlier,” Friesen mentioned. “I saw photographers taking pictures and heard someone, so I figured there was rubber on the bottom and moved down.”
Howard, the Searock Fabrication & Speed Supply Hard-Charger, finished second.
“We had our hands full in the heat, but this small block shined in the feature,” Howard, of Oley, Pa., said. “I showed him the line, and he made a smart move to block and take it away from me.
“We worked hard for this finish. It’s always fun to go to places like this,” Howard said.
Von Dohren, of Oley, Pa., finished third in the Dick Biever-owned No. 14s
“We weren’t as good as we could have been,” Von Dohren said. “We were too tight, but we’ll take third.”
Watt, of Boyertown, Pa., who raced between second and fifth throughout the event, finished fourth.
Pauch Jr., of Milford, N.J., quietly rounded out the top-five aboard the John Pakenham-owned No. 18jr big-block.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Watson, of Milford, Del., who finished sixth; Van Horn Jr., the defending champion of the event, came home seventh from 16th; Perrego, of Montgomery, N.Y. finished eighth aboard the Gary Mann-owned No. 55; Kressley, of Orefield, Pa., finished ninth from 17th; Hellertown, Pa. driver Laubach rounded out the top-10 in the Gary and Lori Hermann-owned No. 7.
Heat winners were Watt, Godown, Friesen and Andy Bachetti. The consolation victory went to Howard O’Neal.
Scott Hitchens of Dagsboro, Del., earned the “big check” he always wanted in the 25-lap Crate 602 Sportsman main. Hitchens, after picking 11 in the redraw, survived the rough-and-tumble early laps of the feature event to ultimately ride in third behind race-long leader Brett Ballard and runner-up Brandon Grosso, both New Jersey invaders.
The race’s complexion changed on the 19th lap when contact between the lead pair in lapped traffic sent Ballard spinning and Grosso to the tail of the field.
Hitchens, driving the Blades Motorsports No. 65, inherited a lead he wouldn’t relinquish and the $1,000 winner’s share.
Westley Smith drove to a solid second-place finish worth $650 including a bonus from Lawn Care Services. Joseph Tracy (also a $50 bonus recipient), Devin Dodson and Dillon Steuer completed the front five.
Billy Cropper won the accompanying 12-lap Delaware Super Truck headliner. Cropper received $250 for his efforts.
DIAMOND NUGGETS: The move from August to May for this year’s ‘Diamond State 50’ brought a solid field of 32 big-block/small-block Modifieds to Charlie Cathell’s southern Delaware facility. The Crate 602 Sportsman field increased to 28 cars….
A strong, tailgating crowd took in the second visit of the Short Track Super Series to Delaware in 2016….
Delaware International promoter Charlie Cathell produced a racy half-mile clay surface with minimal track prep required during intermission….
The start of racing was delayed by more than an hour by a serious accident that shut down Route 1, a major Delaware artery. Many of the northern invaders were caught in a virtual standstill and barely made hot laps….
The Modified draw was held in public view during the drivers’ meeting….
The deal for Norm Hansell’s No. 357 to be driven by Duane Howard was made just days before the race. Howard drives a Hansell car at Big Diamond Speedway in Minersville, Pa., on Fridays. The open small-block used at Delaware International was being run for just the second time….
A unique gift for event winners was fresh watermelon from locally owned Givens Produce….
Drivers from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Massachusetts took part in the Modified portion of the program….
Racing resumes on the Short Track Super Series this Sunday, May 29 with the ‘Lightning on the Mountain’ presented by Waymart Building Center & Sharkey’s Fuels at Thunder Mountain Speedway in Center Lisle, N.Y. STSS Modifieds (Halmar North Region Event No. 3), STSS Open Sportsman, Street Stocks & XCel 600 Modifieds are in action.
The next Velocita South Region event takes place Tuesday, June 14 at New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway. The STSS South Region Modifieds race for $10,000 to win in addition to URC 360 Sprint Cars and Crate 602 Sportsman.
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, Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply, HyperCo, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, K&N, Race Pro Weekly, Racing Optics, Teo-Pro Car, Vahlco Wheels & Velocita
HURLOCK AUTO & SPEED SUPPLY ‘DIAMOND STATE 50’ RACE SUMMARY – DELAWARE INTERNATIONAL MAY 26, 2016
Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP Velocita South Region Event No. 4 Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): STEWART FRIESEN ($5,165), Duane Howard, Craig Von Dohren, Ryan Watt, Billy Pauch Jr., Jordan Watson, David Van Horn Jr., Anthony Perrego, Brett Kressley, Rick Laubach, Scott Van Gorder, Michael White, Clay Tatman, Kevin Sockriter, John Willman, Eric Vent, Brad Trice, Andy Bachetti, Beau Wilkins, Ryan Godown, H.J. Bunting, Jeff Strunk, Ron Roberts, Howard O’Neal, Steve Davis, Billy Pauch Sr., Shawn Ward.
Did Not Qualify: Jim Britt, Kyle Borror, Norman Short, Matt Hawkins, Brandon Watkins.
‘Lucky 7’ Lap Money Breakdown ($1,035 Total): Ryan Watt ($210); Stewart Friesen ($165); Craig Von Dohren ($140); Billy Pauch Jr. ($125); Jordan Watson ($100); Duane Howard ($100); David Van Horn Jr. ($65); Ryan Godown ($60); Anthony Perrego ($30); Rick Laubach ($20); H.J. Bunting ($20).
Allstar Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Craig Von Dohren (third) & Anthony Perrego (eighth)
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire): Anthony Perrego (eighth) & Michael White (12th)
ATL Fuel Cell Bonus ($200 Certificate): Billy Pauch Jr. (fifth)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Card): Ryan Watt (fourth) & Brett Kressley (ninth)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Bonuses ($100 Credits): Billy Pauch Jr. (fifth) & John Willman (15th)
Fast Axle Bonus ($50 Certificate): David Van Horn Jr. (seventh)
K&N Performance Product Drawing (Air Filter): Rick Laubach, Ryan Godown, & Ryan Watt
QA1 Hard Charger Bonus ($50 Credit): Duane Howard (22nd to second)
Racing Optics Bonus (Sleeve of Tearoffs): Duane Howard (second)
Searock Fabrication & Speed Supply Hard Charger ($150 Cash, $100 Product): Duane Howard (22nd to second)
Vahlco Racing Wheels Bonus (FREE Wheel): Billy Pauch Jr. (fifth)
VP Racing Fuels Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Duane Howard (second), Michael White (12th) & Jeff Strunk (22nd)
Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): SCOTT HITCHENS ($1,000), Westley Smith ($50 bonus – Lawn Care Services), Joseph Tracy ($50 Bonus – Lawn Care Services), Devin Dodson, Dillon Steuer, Jordn Justice, Dwayne Crockett, Jeremy Harrington, Adam White, Brett Ballard, Brian Hitz, Tim Trimble, Nick Alberti, Andy Hammond, Jason Rush, Fred Massey, Trevor Collins, Brandon Grosso, Jeff Marker, David Jenkins, Brandon Blades, Connor King, Matt Stangle, Matthew Peck.
Did Not Qualify: Gary Bostwick, Trey Hicks, Trent Van Vorst, Ryan Mortimer.
Story By: SSTS PR
Photo Credit: Rick Sweeten photo