DELMAR, Del. – Never give up was the motto for Stewart Friesen on Tuesday night at Delaware Int’l Speedway with the Short Track Super Series.
Despite spending much of the race well behind the leader, Friesen continued his recent hot streak by rallying late to steal his second consecutive Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply Diamond State 50, worth $5,500.
It was his third dirt modified victory in the past five days, following a sweep of the Super DIRTcar Series doubleheader weekend at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
The win was Friesen’s 28th career Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series fueled By Sunoco modified win and his first of the season on the Velocita-USA South Region presented by Design for Vision and Sunglass Central.
Friesen received $5,000 from the posted payout and an additional $500 in memory of Ron Faison, courtesy of the Watson and Mills family.
“We went with a harder tire and it took my car longer to get going,” Friesen said after exiting his Halmar International-backed No. 44, equipped with a big-block powerplant. “Anthony (Perrego) and I fired at about the same time and I could see we were both running down Matt (Sheppard, the race-long leader).”
It was Sheppard who outgunned Perrego from his outside pole starting position to take the lead at the outset of the 50-lap main event. Friesen, meanwhile, began his quest from ninth position.
A pair of cautions in the first even laps allowed Billy Pauch Jr. to drive Rick Holsten’s No. 96 into second, while South Region point leader Mike Mahaney raced into the top-five.
Just as the leaders entered lap traffic, Brandon Grosso slowed to bring out the yellow on lap 21. The top-three remained Sheppard, Pauch Jr., and Perrego, but it was Friesen who had climbed to fourth and appeared to be getting quicker.
When racing resumed, the top four remained unchanged until lap 29, when Perrego took away the runner-up spot from a fading Pauch. Just four laps later, Friesen did the same, reaching third place.
Perrego and Friesen wasted no time reeling in Sheppard as he entered lap traffic. On the 38th tour of the Cathell family’s half-mile oval, Perrego pulled up to Sheppard’s back bumper.
A caution, however, changed the race’s complexion.
The restart was the deciding factor. Sheppard appeared to be a sitting duck, with the “44’s” of Perrego and Friesen surrounding him when starter Joe Kriss unfurled the green flag.
Perrego entered turns one and two up on the high side, looking to gain momentum off the banked turn. Instead, both Friesen and Pauch Jr. drove beneath Perrego, shuffling the Middletown, N.Y., driver back to fifth.
Friesen inherited the runner-up position and began stalking Sheppard’s No. 9s.
On lap 43, Friesen got the opportunity he was looking for. Sheppard left a lane on the bottom and the Sprakers, N.Y., driver pounced.
Friesen took command and drove off to his third career Diamond State 50 victory.
Sheppard settled for second, with Mahaney piloting the George Huttig No. 35 to a third-place finish, maintaining his South Region point lead.
Perrego recovered for fourth in the Brian Smith-owned Superior Remodeling No. 44 and Craig Von Dohren drove from 16th to finish fifth.
Pauch Jr. placed sixth, followed by Ryan Godown, Mike Gular, 23rd-starting Tyler Dippel and Dominick Buffalino, driving the Glenn Hyneman-owned No. 126.
STSS Modified heat winners, earning $150 each from Ad-Art Sign Company and Hall’s Construction in memory of Ron Faison, were Perrego, Buffalino, Sheppard and Mahaney. Brandon Watkins and Andy Bachetti topped the consolations.
Thirty-seven modifieds took part in the program.
Gilbertsville, Pa.’s Sean Weiss earned his first career STSS victory in the Crate 602 Sportsman 25-lap feature event, round three of the Belmont’s Garage South Region.
Weiss started from the pole but lost the lead on the initial green flag to Delaware’s Michael White. An opening lap yellow negated that start and Weiss got a second chance.
It was all he needed.
Weiss went wire-to-wire for the $1,800 win ($1,500 from the purse and $300 from the Watson and Mills family in memory of Ron Faison), with White stalking him in second throughout the entirety of the race.
Adam White, Michael’s son, raced from his eighth starting position to third.
Crate 602 Sportsman South Region point leader A-Jay Potrzebowski II towed down from Horseheads, N.Y., and came home fourth, while Delaware Int’l Speedway regular Greg Humlhanz completed the front five.
Forty Crate 602 Sportsman cars signed in for competition. Heat winners, receiving $100 in memory of Ron Faison from Hall’s Construction, were Grant Hilfiger, Potrzebowski, Adam White and Brad Trice. Justin Grosso and Logan Watt split the consolations.
Stewart Friesen, Matt Sheppard, Mike Mahaney, Anthony Perrego, Craig Von Dohren, Billy Pauch Jr., Ryan Godown, Mike Gular, Tyler Dippel, Dominick Buffalino, David Schilling, Ryan Watt, Brandon Grosso, Andy Bachetti, Joseph Watson, H.J. Bunting, John Willman, Brandon Hightower, Ryan Riddle, Carson Wright, Jordan Watson, Danny Hieber, Brad Trice, Frank Cozze, Matt Stangle, Michael Maresca.