Bring On The Rain: Jeff Strunk Tops Bloomsburg STSS Inaugural Halted By Precipitation
Written by Chris Moore
BLOOMSBURG, PA – Bring on the rain.
For the second time in his career, Bechtelsville, Pa.’s Jeff Strunk won a Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco event at a new racetrack.
Strunk’s only previous STSS triumph came more than three years ago on April 29, 2018 at Bridgeport (N.J.) Speedway’s then three-eighths mile. That was the first and only event on Bridgeport’s inner oval.
This time, the ‘Bechtelsville Bullet’ tamed Round No. 5 of the of the Hurlock Auto & Speed North Region at the three-eighths mile at Bloomsburg Fair Raceway in the rain shortened ‘Battle at Bloomsburg.’
The win pocketed Strunk $5,475 for his efforts, and bragging rights as the first-ever Modified winner at Bloomsburg after 29 of the race’s scheduled 50 laps.
Only three times in the 112-race history of the Short Track Super Series has a Modified event been shortened by rain, with Bloomsburg joining June 19, 2019 at Outlaw Speedway in Dundee, N.Y., and May 29, 2016 at Thunder Mountain Speedway in Center Lisle, N.Y.
Strunk started on the outside of the front row, with North Region co-point leader Anthony Perrego occupying the pole starting position.
At the drop of the green flag, Strunk used the outside lane to drive off turn two and beat Perrego into the third turn, claiming the early lead.
Strunk set the pace, while King Ferry, N.Y.’s Mike Mahaney and Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard worked into the top-five in the early going. Sheffield, Mass., star Andy Bachetti ran third in pursuit of the lead pair.
On lap 11, the leaders had officially caught the tail end of the field. Strunk’s scant lead shrank even more as Perrego dove underneath the Zubi’s Racing No. 88z multiple times, as Strunk tried to make the top work to get around the traffic.
While the two battled, Bachetti quickly made-up ground, preparing to challenge the top two. However, coming to complete lap 14, Jared Umbenhauer appeared to slow off the fourth turn, and was tagged by Strunk, bringing out the race’s first yellow.
On the restart, Bachetti used the inside line to his advantage, jumping underneath Perrego and stealing second away. A few short laps later, Perrego retook the second position back and set his sights on Strunk.
On lap 21, Strunk was back in slower traffic. This time, the Bechtelsville, Pa., native had some breathing room between himself and second place, and he carved his way through multiple cars.
On lap 29, rain began to fall on the backstretch, prompting series officials to throw the yellow flag.
The rain intensified, soaking the track and forcing the checkered flag to be thrown handing Strunk and his Pennsylvania-legal spec small-block-powered ride the victory.
Perrego finished runner-up, reclaiming the North Region point lead in the Brian Smith-owned No. 44. Mahaney rebounded from a tough night at Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway on July 4, finishing third in his George Huttig-owned No. 35.
The other North Region co-point leader entering the night, Sheppard grabbed the fourth position in the Hurlock Auto & Speed No. 9s. and Branchburg, N.J.’s Ryan Krachun rounded out the top-five in his family-owned No. 29.
Wind Gap, Pa.’s Frank Cozze brought his Dave Renaldo-owned No. 401 home sixth, with Frenchtown, N.J.’s Billy Pauch Jr. grabbing the seventh position. Andy Bachetti faded after being hung up on the outside, finishing eighth in the Garrity Asphalt Reclamation No. 4. Garden State driver Billy Osmun came home in ninth and Mooresville, N.C.’s Max McLaughlin rounded out the top-10 with the Norm Hansell No. 357.
Sprakers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen was the Pioneer Pole Buildings & Hartman Motor Co. Hard Charger Award recipient, climbing from 21st to finish 13th and earning an additional $400.
Heat winners, receiving $50 each from FloRacing were Bachetti, Perrego, Osmun, Mahaney and Sheppard. The consolation races went to Friesen and Mike Gular.
Forty-five STSS big-block/small-block Modifieds signed in at the gate to participate in the first-ever Modified race at Bloomsburg Fair Raceway.
Fifty-seven Crate 602 Sportsman signed in to be participate in Round No. 3 of the Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region. Unfortunately, the rains forced the cancellation of their feature event.
As a result, the full purse will be split evenly to the 27-car scheduled starting field. The standard $5,555 total payout plus $150 Hartman Motor Co. Hard Charger totaling $5,705 equals $210 per car divided evenly.
All the qualifiers will receive 50-points and the non-qualifiers will receive their regular 25-points.
Racing resumes for the STSS on Thursday, July 22 at Utica-Rome Speedway featuring the sixth event of the Hurlock Auto & Speed North Region for the Modifieds (61 laps, $6,100 to win, $1,000 for 10th & $610 to start) and the fourth Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region Crate 602 Sportsman event (25 laps, $1,561 to win, $100 to start).
This event marks the first-ever STSS event at the Utica-Rome Speedway.
A complete information sheet has been posted for this event on the STSS website: https://shorttracksuperseries.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/RichieEvans61GeneralInfoSheet.pdf
To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.
The Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuel, Insinger Performance, FloRacing, 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, Penske Racing Shocks, Danny’s Pizza Pizzazz, Algonkin Motel, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, Belmont’s Garage, Superior Remodeling, Spyder High Performance Filters, Fastline Performance, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO, WELD Racing & Wilwood.
‘BATTLE AT BLOOMSBURG’ RESULTS SUMMARY – BLOOMSBURG FAIR RACEWAY JULY 14, 2021
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply North Region Event No. 5 Modified Feature Finish (29 laps, rain-shortened): JEFF STRUNK, Anthony Perrego, Mike Mahaney, Matt Sheppard, Ryan Krachun, Frank Cozze, Billy Pauch Jr., Andy Bachetti, Billy Osmun, Max McLaughlin, Danny Bouc, Mat Williamson, Stewart Friesen, Billy Decker, Cale Ross, David Schilling, Tanner Van Doren, Kyle Weiss, Erick Rudolph, Mike Gular, Tyler Dippel, Billy Van Pelt, Brian Malcolm, J.R. Hurlburt, Mike Trautschold, Jared Umbenhauer, Bobby Hackel.
Did Not Qualify: Rusty Smith, Matt Stangle, Craig Von Dohren, Ryan Godown, Danny Tyler, Brett Tonkin, Joe Judge, Duane Howard, Ryan Watt, Tom Moore Jr., Brandon Grosso, Skylar Sheriff, Mike Loney, Kailee Dimorier, Casey Plummer, Jerry Higbie, Alex Tonkin.
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificates): Billy Osmun (ninth) & Cale Ross (15th)
Autism Awareness Winner’s Award presented by Halmar ($250): Jeff Strunk
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses: Matt Sheppard (fourth) & Billy Osmun (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Billy Osmun (Redrew 10th)
Design for Vision/Sunglass Central Award (Oakley Sunglasses): Jeff Strunk (winner)
FloRacing Heat Winner Bonuses ($50): Andy Bachetti, Anthony Perrego, Billy Osmun, Mike Mahaney, Matt Sheppard
Hartman Motor Co. Hard Charger ($150): Stewart Friesen (21st to 13th)
Henry’s Exhaust System Bonus ($50 Certificate): Danny Bouc (11th)
Penske Racing Shocks Bonuses: Jeff Strunk($150 Certificate – first); Anthony Perrego($75 Certificate – second);Mike Mahaney ($50 Certificate – third); Max McLaughlin($25 Certificate – 10th)
Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc. Hard Charger Award ($250): Stewart Friesen (21st to 13th)
Spyder High Performance Filters Bonuses: Ryan Krachun (FREE Filter – fifth); Cale Ross (50-percent Certificate – 15th)
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Anthony Perrego (second); Mat Williamson (12th); Billy Van Pelt (22nd)
Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader Bonus ($200): Jeff Strunk
TKS Painting Front-Row Bonuses: Anthony Perrego (Pole – $50); Jeff Strunk (Outside Pole – $25)
Wilwood Brakes Lucky 7 Bonus ($75 Certificate): Billy Pauch Jr.(seventh)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region Event No. 3 Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Lineup (25 laps): Tyler Peet, Chad Sandt, Daniel Morgiewicz, Justin Grosso, Tommy Collins, Will Shields, Joey Bruning, Jimmy Leiby, Payton Talbot, Michael Ballestero, Ryan Grim, Tim Hartman Jr., Doug Snyder, David Crossman, Scott Maher Jr., Hunter Lapp, Zac MacDonald, Logan Watt, Sammy Martz Jr., Joe Toth, Steve Davis, Joel Smith, Dale Welty, Michael Schane, Brian Calabrese, Travis Green, Ryan Conrad.
Did Not Qualify: Steve Hicks, Doug Smith, Alan Komar, Doug Kline, Matt Brewer, Marc Benson, Dakota Kohler, Bobby Bracall, Randy Fox, Josh Bricker, Mark Longstreet, David Dickey, Corey Edelman, Daryl Dissinger, Ralph Mele, Grant Hilfiger, Mike Wilcha, Bobby Flood, Anthony Tramontana, Steve Schrader, Rick Wegner Jr., Zane Roth, Brian Blankenbiller, Aaron Weaver, Jesse Leiby, Isabella Van Orden, Stacy Jackson, Shawn McPhee, Kevin Brady, Wesley Brady
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): (XXth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($25): Tim Hartman Jr. (Redrew 12th)
Evergreen Fuels Inc. High Temperature Bonus ($85): (winner)
Fastline Performance Bonuses ($100 Certificates): (second) & (12th)
Hartman Motor Co. Hard Charger ($150):