Never Give Up: Stewart Friesen Shines in ‘Diamond State 50’ with Late-Race Surge

Written by Chris Moore

DELMAR, DE – Never give up. That was the motto for Stewart Friesen on Tuesday night at Delaware International Speedway.

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.

The win was Friesen’s 28th career Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco Modified win and his first of the 2021 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, 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 position.

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.  

Savannah, N.Y.’s Sheppard settled for second, with Mahaney piloting the George Huttig No. 35 to a third-place finish, maintain his South Region point lead. Perrego recovered for fourth in the Brian Smith-owned Superior Remodeling No. 44 and Craig Von Dohren of Oley, Pa., drove from 16th to finish fifth.

Pauch Jr. placed sixth, followed by Ryan Godown of Ringoes, N.J., Mike Gular of Boyertown, Pa., Wallkill, N.Y.’s Tyler Dippel, up from 23rd position to earn the $500 Mullins Auto Brokers Hard Charger Award and Dominick Buffalino of Sayreville, N.J., 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 No. 3 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 International Speedway regular Greg Humlhanz completing the front five.

Forty Crate 602 Sportsman 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.

The Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco continues Tuesday, May 11 at New York’s Accord Speedway with the ‘Battle of the Bullring 8’ featuring the Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply Modified North Region and Precision Hydraulic & Oil Crate 602 Sportsman North Region openers.

The complete race information sheet can be found at the following link:

The Velocita-USA presented by Design for Vision and Sunglass Central Modified South Region and Belmont’s Garage Crate 602 Sportsman South Region resume Tuesday, May 25 at New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway.

To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit, e-mail, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.

The Short Track Super Series is presented by FloSports, American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Hurlock Auto & Speed, Velocita-USA, Design for Vision/Sunglass Central, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, EIBACH Springs, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, K&N, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, Belmont’s Garage, Penske Racing Shocks, Danny’s Pizza Pizzazz, Bill Brown & Company, Superior Remodeling, Taylor & Messick, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO Racing Wheels, WELD & Wilwood.


Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Modified Velocita-USA South Region Presented By Design for Vision & Sunglass Central Round No. 4 Feature Finish (50 laps): 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

Did Not Start: Brandon Watkins

Did Not Qualify: Tom Moore Jr., Kevin Sockriter, Richie Pratt Jr., James Hill, Justin Eason, Jim Britt, Bruce Hooper, Norman Short, Jordn Justice, Austin Hubbard.

Ad-Art Sign Company Heat Winners ($50 Each): Anthony Perrego, Dominick Buffalino, Matt Sheppard & Mike Mahaney
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificates):
Mike Gular (eighth) & Brandon Grosso (13th)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Anthony
Perrego (fourth) & Tyler Dippel (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): H.J. Bunting (Redrew 12th)
Bill Brown & Company Heat-Race Hard Charger ($50): Matt Sheppard (eighth to first – time 19.803)
Danny’s Pizza Pizzazz Halfway Leader Award ($100): Matt Sheppard
Design for Vision/Sunglass Central Winner’s Award (Oakley Sunglasses):  Stewart Friesen
Henry’s Exhaust System Power Position ($50 Certificate): David Schilling (11th)
Mills & Watson Family Ron Faison Memorial Winner’s Bonus ($500): Stewart Friesen
Mullins Auto Brokers Hard Charger Award ($500):
Tyler Dippel (23rd to ninth)
Penske Racing Shocks Bonuses: Stewart Friesen (winner – $150 certificate); Matt Sheppard (second – $75 certificate); Mike Mahaney (third – $50 certificate); Dominick Buffalino (10th – $25 certificate)
Ron Faison Memorial Heat-Race Bonuses ($100 Each):
Anthony Perrego, Dominick Buffalino, Matt Sheppard & Mike Mahaney
Stockley Materials Spec Bonuses ($250): John Willman (17th)
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates):
Matt Sheppard (second), Ryan Watt (12th) & Danny Hieber (22nd)
Taylor & Messick Driver Reward Bonuses ($100 each): Billy Pauch Jr. (sixth); Ryan Godown (seventh); Mike Gular (eighth); Tyler Dippel (ninth); Dominick Buffalino (10th)
Wilwood Brakes ‘Lucky 7’ Award ($75 Certificate): Ryan Godown (seventh)

Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman Belmont’s Garage South Region Round No. 3 Feature Finish (25 laps): SEAN WEISS, Mike White, Adam White, A-Jay Potrzebowski II, Greg Humlhanz, Sean Metz, Bob Lineman, Anthony Tramontana, Paul Mancini, Ryan Simmons, Brad Trice, Addison Bowman, Trent Willey, Justin Grosso, Joe Toth, Brandon Hightower, Logan Watt, J.J. Courcy, David Jenkins, Zac Weller, Grant Hilfiger, Steve Kemery, Greg Reed, Robby Dunn, John Stevenson, Bobby Watkins, Kenny Bock.

Did Not Qualify: Tyler James, Scott Kohler, Richie Walls, John Burton, Nick Sapp, Tracy Gauger, Jeff Marker, Scott Hulmes, Shon Elk, James Hill, William Adams Sr., Greg Nailor, George Richardson.

American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): Ryan Simmons (10th)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($25): Anthony Tramontana (Redrew 12th)
Mancini Custom Homes Hard Charger ($150): Ryan Simmons (25th to 10th)
Mancini Custom Homes 7th-Place Bonus ($50):
Bob Lineman Jr.
Mills & Watson Family Ron Faison Memorial Winner’s Bonus ($300):
Sean Weiss
Ron Faison Memorial Heat-Race Bonuses ($100 Each):
Grant Hilfiger, A-Jay Potrzebowski II, Adam White & Brad Trice
Taylor & Messick Driver Reward Program ($100 each): Sean Metz (sixth); Bob Lineman, Jr. (seventh); Anthony Tramontana (eighth); Paul Mancini (ninth); Ryan Simmons (10th)

Southern Delaware Vintage Modified Feature Finish (12 laps):  JAMIE EICHOLZ, D.J. Cameron, Robert Paczkowski, Dave Parsons, Kelly Putz, Maddie Jefferson (Sportsman Winner), Terry Chaney, Glenn Lyon, Chris Killen, Dave Schamp.

Did Not Start: L.J. Walbert

Mills & Watson Family Ron Faison Memorial Winners’ Bonuses ($50 Each): Jamie Eicholz (Modified) & Maddie Jefferson (Sportsman)

Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): ROBERT SMITH, Shane Clogg, Ryan Efford, David Smith, Mattie, Ronnie Holloway, Matthew Smith, Zack Phillips, Mark Townsend, Dick Beauchamp, Travis Martin.

Mills & Watson Family Ron Faison Memorial Winner’s Bonus ($100): Robert Smith