CENTER LISLE, NY – In an epic battle of ‘44’ cars, Anthony Perrego edged Stewart Friesen to win Sunday night’s ‘Lightning on the Mountain’ at Thunder Mountain Speedway.
Perrego, driving the Superior Remodeling No. 44, staved off the late advances of Friesen’s Halmar International No. 44, to score the $5,000-plus triumph in the 50-lap Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By VP big-block/small-block Modified event, round No. 2 of the Halmar International North Region.
“This team is rolling right now,” Perrego said after climbing to the roof of his Teo-Pro mount in Victory Lane before a standing-room-only crowd. “I moved up there in lapped traffic and saw Stew (Friesen) under me. I didn’t want to give it away; I knew I had to protect the bottom on the last lap.”
The win for Montgomery, N.Y.’s Perrego was his third in STSS competition, with previous victories at Georgetown (Del.) Speedway and Accord (N.Y.) Speedway on the circuit.
The Perrego/Friesen battle for victory came at the expense of Danny Creeden, who dominated more than half the event before succumbing to a flat tire.
From fourth in the 29-car starting field, Thunder Mountain’s leading winner Creeden marched to the lead by the fourth trip around the three-eighths-mile banked oval.
As Creeden set the pace, Perrego diced through traffic from his 10th starting position. By lap eight, he was third behind Creeden and Jeremy Smith.
A key pass for position occurred at the race’s halfway mark. Perrego slipped by Smith for the runner-up spot.
Six laps later, Creeden’s car slowed with its right-rear tire down, handing the lead to Perrego over Smith and eighth-starter Friesen. On lap 33, Friesen took over second and began his pursuit of Perrego.
During a 14-lap green-flag stretch that brought the event to its conclusion, Friesen gradually reeled in race-leading Perrego. With two laps remaining, Friesen swung wide at the entrance of turn one and darted to Perrego’s inside. The pair were nearly side-by-side exiting turn four to reach Gary Folk’s white flag.
Perrego shut the door on Friesen’s attempt and won the race to the checkered by less than a car-length.
Sprakers, N.Y., driver Friesen settled for second-place pay.
“It took my car a little while to come in,” he said afterward. “We had harder tires on and I needed some green-flag runs like we had at the end. I probably should have backed out on the last lap there and entered higher to get a better run.”
Andy Bachetti of Sheffield, Mass., started the event fifth but was forced to the pits on the third lap with a flat tire. Bachetti restarted at the tail and rallied to a third-place result, clearing Triangle, N.Y.’s Smith on the 49th lap. Smith finished fourth and Ryan Jordan of Dryden, N.Y., completed a steady drive from 13th to complete the front five.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Billy Decker of Sidney, N.Y., in a Jeremy Smith-owned No. 91; Jerry Higbie of Newburgh, N.Y., recovering from a lap-six incident with Steve Lowitt’s No. 48; Niagara Region driver Adam Hilton, who started 16th; Thunder Mountain and series regular Nick Nye of Groton, N.Y.; and Chris Stull of Virgil, N.Y.
A field of 45 STSS Modifieds attempted to qualify with heat wins going to Smith, Friesen, Bachetti, Nye and Creeden. Consolations were won by Hilton, Colton Wilson and Higbie.
In a down-to-the-wire 25-lap feature, Larry Mekic of Hamlin, Pa., earned his first-career victory. Mekic topped the STSS Sportsman event, worth $1,000, with a final-lap pass of Tom Collins. Entering turn three on the final lap, Mekic – who had been chasing the Crate 602-powered car of Collins – worked to Collins’ inside through turns three and four racing toward the checkered.
After trading some paint, Mekic emerged with the win, followed by Collins, Billy Spoonhower, Shayne Spoonhower and Cory Cormier.
The second edition of the Chad Sindoni Memorial 25-lap event for the Street Stock division went to teenager Damon Decker of Afton, N.Y., earning a rich $1,000 top prize in the process.
The event was run in memory of the popular Sindoni, who lost his life prematurely at age 26 in January 2016.
The win for Decker included several restarts and pressure from Lanson Albanese, who settled for second in his Station Wagon-bodied car. Butch Green in the Jack Holcomb No. 57, Gene Sharpsteen and Doug Stack Jr.
Next up for the STSS is Big Diamond Speedway in Minersville, Pa., on Tuesday, June 6 – the only combined Halmar International North and Velocita-USA South Region Modified event of the season in a 50-lap, $5,000-to-win main plus STSS Sportsman ($1,000 to win) and Roadrunners.
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.
MOUNTAIN MEMOS: An immense holiday weekend crowd took in the program, with every one of the speedway’s seats in the hillside concrete grandstand accounted for and overflow in the midway and turn-four drive-in areas….
The pit area was busy with 45 STSS Modifieds, 38 STSS Sportsman (Open and Crate 602 mixed) and 27 Street Stocks, totaling 110 race cars for a three-division show….
With rain to the south of New York’s Southern Tier, Thunder Mountain and STSS officials pressed through the program quickly, completing all heat races by 7:55 p.m. and rolling through the remainder of the program….
The 2017 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, Dirt Track Digest, Fast Axle, Fox Racing Shocks, Hig Fab, Henry’s Exhaust, HyperCo, Keizer Wheels, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, K&N, QA1, Race Pro Weekly, Racing Optics, Teo-Pro Car, Velocita & Wilwood.
‘LIGHTNING ON THE MOUNTAIN’ RACE SUMMARY – THUNDER MOUNTAIN SPEEDWAY MAY 28, 2017
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP Halmar International Round No. 2 Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): ANTHONY PERREGO, Stewart Friesen, Andy Bachetti, Jeremy Smith, Ryan Jordan, Billy Decker, Jerry Higbie, Adam Hilton, Nick Nye, Chris Stull, J.R. Hurlburt, Danny Creeden, Brian Malcolm, Tommy Meier, Matt DeLorenzo, Chad Cook, Colton Wilson, Byron Worthing, Rick Wilk, Cory Costa, Barry White, Craig Hanson, Nick Rochinski, Brian Krummel, Sam Allen, Brent Wilcox, Alan Barker, Gary Tomkins, Brad Szulewski.
Did Not Qualify: Charlie Hendrickson Jr., Steven Deinhardt, Randy Brokaw, Danny Tyler, Brett Barrett, Donnie Lawson, Tyler Siri, Mike Ward, Roy Shields, Kurt Hundeland, Brandon Martin, Dan Humes, Mike Nagel Jr., Danny Cronk, Billy Spoonhower, Stacy Jackson.
-Short Track Super Series Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos