Written by Bobby Sweeney
MINERSVILLE, PA – Billy Pauch Jr. took advantage of Jimmy Horton’s battle with lapped traffic and the cushion, stealing the lead late in the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco ‘Anthracite Assault’ at Big Diamond Speedway.
The $5,250 win is Pauch’s third with the STSS, going along with victories in 2016 and 2019. The Big Diamond win marks the third track – and state – the Milford, N.J., driver has conquered with the series.
Pauch’s total payout included the $5,000 posted purse, $200 in cash plus product from Mat Mike Tools LLC and $50 as the Bill Brown & Company Heat-Race Hard Charger.
A large crowd took in the event, which features the only combined STSS Modified Velocita-USA South Region presented by Design for Vision and Sunglass Central and Halmar International North Region point event of the season.
Horton and Pauch led the field to the green for the 50-lap main event following the Beyea Custom Headers Redraw, with Horton getting the best of Pauch at the start. The early stages of the event were slowed by cautions, notably a lap three red flag for Stewart Friesen flipping, and a lap seven yellow for Matt Sheppard breaking. Following a lap 11 multi-car tangle, the race finally got a green flag feel.
Horton and Pauch separated themselves from third place Mike Gular, who was under heavy pressure from Ryan Godown. After a battle, Godown took third from Gular on lap 16, but was already three seconds behind the top two. Up front, Horton had a steady one-second lead as the race neared halfway, but traffic on the three-eighths-mile oval was soon to plague the front runners.
While Pauch initially closed in at halfway, Horton worked traffic masterfully to reestablish a comfortable gap. A bobble on lap 30 erased any comfort Horton had, but as before, Horton pulled away. With fifteen laps left, Horton looked strong and steady out front.
On lap 39, Horton hopped the cushion while working over a lapped car, and Pauch jumped at the chance. Pauch dove low while Horton struggled to regain his footing, with Pauch taking the lead.
Pauch’s Rick Holsten-owned No. 96 ran away once he got clean air, but a lap 41 yellow for third place Godown halted his pace. This put Gular back in third, and Horton was left to fend off Gular on the restart. Pauch darted away, but a final yellow on lap 46 set up a single-file restart.
Pauch went high, Horton higher, and Gular low, but all three cars were essentially matched on speed. After a flawless final laps, it was Pauch grabbing his third STSS Modified win in the 50-lap Anthracite Assault.
“I was starting to catch him a little bit, I was riding around for a while there saving my stuff,” Pauch Jr. said. “Jimmy is phenomenal, him and my dad (Billy Sr.) are the best in the business in my book, so it was awesome to see him run well and battle with him. I knew I had to get on it after Mike Mallett (from Dirt Track Digest) was telling me how hard I’ve stepped on it twice this week. There’s a lot of people here tonight, I’m glad dirt racing is continuing to thrive though all of this. I’m thankful for a lot of people, I’m just happy to be here.”
Horton was credited with 39 laps led on the evening. While second is a strong run paying $3,000, Neshanic Station, N.J.’s Horton was understandably disappointed after not leading the most important lap driving the Halmar International No. 43.
“We got a little loose at the end,” Horton stated. “We got into traffic and they were in our way some. We had to search for a way by, and we killed our tires searching. Sometimes it’s better to be second, and we have to get a little better ourselves. Even then, this is the best we’ve been in some time.”
Gular, of Boyertown, Pa., spent much of the race in fourth, but slipped into third after Godown’s issues. While Pauch and Horton ripped the top, Gular was way down low at the end of the event and nearly stole some extra spots driving the Terry Fasnacht No. 2A.
“I was hoping the top would get wide, but it didn’t get wide enough,” said Gular. “We were digging on the bottom, but we just didn’t have quite the car we needed to win. Finding the last little bit to get those wins is hard, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Wallkill, N.Y.’s Tyler Dippel drove the Bill Pascual-owned No. 3 from 15th on the grid to finish fourth and Richie Pratt Jr. of Woodbury Heights, N.J., completed the front five in the Daniel Sommeling No. 51.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Jeff Strunk of Boyertown, Pa., in the Glenn Hyneman No. 126; Andy Bachetti of Sheffield, Mass., after running inside the top-five; David Van Horn Jr. of Ringoes, N.J.; Jared Umbenhauer of Richland, Pa., driving for Rick Clay after starting 29th (dead last) on the field; and Mike Mahaney of Kings Ferry, N.Y., aboard the Olum’s No. 33.
Forty-five STSS Modifieds took part in the program.
Tim Hartman Jr. took an unexpected victory in the accompanying 25-lap STSS Crate 602 Sportsman main event. Hartman Jr. started 18th and was involved in an early race tangle. However, a number of cautions played into the Niskayuna, N.Y., driver’s hands as he advanced back through the field in a rough-and-tumble 25-lap main.
Utilizing a high-side run with two circuits remaining, Hartman Jr. swept past race-long leader Michael White coming to steal the $1,553 top prize including the Evergreen Fuels Inc. ‘Low Temperature’ Bonus.
Delaware native White was searching for his first-career STSS victory and had led the race from the outset, ultimately settling for second. Joe Toth, who made a go-for-broke topside charge on the final restart, Sammy Martz Jr. and Danny Buccasfusca completed the front five.
The event served as race No. 3 of the STSS Crate 602 Sportsman South Region point battle. Thirty-six Crate 602 Sportsman signed in for action.
The next scheduled event for the STSS is Wednesday, July 1 at N.Y.’s Fonda Speedway featuring both the STSS Modifieds and STSS Crate 602 Sportsman of the Halmar International North Region.
Big Diamond Speedway is a three-eighths-mile clay oval located in Minersville, Pa., just miles from Pottsville. The facility offers free parking, state-of-the-art concession areas and restrooms and not a “bad seat” in the house, with hillside grandstands overlooking the on-track action. The speedway GPS address is 392 Forest Lane Pottsville, PA 17901. The official website is www.bigdspeedway.net.
To learn more about the 2020 Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail email@example.com, 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, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Halmar International, Velocita-USA, Design for Vision/Sunglass Central, Evergreen Fuels Inc., ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, EIBACH Springs, Fast Axle, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, HyperCo, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Land Hoe Maintenance, K&N, MJK Home Maintenance, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, QA1, Racing Optics, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO, Velocita, WELD Racing & Wilwood.
ANTHRACITE ASSAULT RACE SUMMARY – BIG DIAMOND SPEEDWAY JUNE 16, 2020
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Modified North-South Combination Event Feature Finish (50 laps): BILLY PAUCH JR., Jimmy Horton, Mike Gular, Tyler Dippel, Richie Pratt Jr., Jeff Strunk, Andy Bachetti, David Van Horn Jr., Jared Umbenhauer, Mike Mahaney, Larry Wight, Mat Williamson, Danny Creeden, Allison Ricci, Craig Hanson, Ryan Watt, Danny Bouc, Shawn Fitzpatrick, Billy Van Pelt, Alex Yankowski, Ryan Godown, Rick Laubach, Jordan Watson, Erick Rudolph, Danny Tyler, Matt Sheppard, Anthony Perrego, Stewart Friesen, Brett Kressley.
Did Not Qualify: Brett Tonkin, Nick Rochinski, Ricky Davis III, Alex Tonkin, Josh Delea, Billy Lasko, Jim Bobbitt Jr., Frank Yankowski, Joe Judge, Danny Hieber, Kailee Dimorier, Skylar Sherriff, Brandon Grosso, Duane Howard, Nick Mady, Craig Von Dohren.
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificates): David Van Horn Jr. (eighth) & Allison Ricci (14th)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Tyler Dippel (fourth) & Jared Umbenhauer (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Richie Pratt Jr. (Redrew 10th)
Bill Brown & Co. Heat-Race Hard Charger ($50): Billy Pauch Jr. (7th to 2nd)
EIBACH Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Jeff Strunk (sixth)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Larry Wight (11th)
Mat Mike Tools LLC Winner’s Bonus ($200 plus Product): Billy Pauch Jr.
On-Track Automotive Ironman Award ($100): Allison Ricci (14th)
Precision Hydraulic & Oil Halfway Leader ($200): Jimmy Horton
Racing Optics Bonus (Tear-Off Sleeve): Mike Gular (third)
Smith Site Development Hard Charger ($250): Jared Umbenhauer (29th to ninth)
Wilwood Brakes ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($75 Certificate): Andy Bachetti (seventh)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman South Region Event No. 3 Feature Finish (25 laps): TIM HARTMAN JR., Michael White, Joe Toth, Sammy Martz Jr., Danny Buccasfusca, Dakota Kohler, Scott Hitchens, Anthony Tramontana, Adam White, Jim Housworth, Justin Grosso, Tanner Van Doren, James Hill, Samantha Muller, Daniel Morgiewicz, Ryan Anderson, Ryan Conrad, D.J. Hunt, Eric McKinney, Ryan Godown Jr., Brad Roberts, David Crossman, Daryl Dissinger, Tom Moore Jr., Sean Weiss, David Dickey.
Did Not Qualify: Ted Reynolds, Kris Ney, Joey Vaccaro, Tom Princiotta, Donnie Lawson, Cody Manmiller, Bobby Flood, Joel Smith, Ryan Graver, Cole Youse.
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): Anthony Tramontana (eighth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($25): Ryan Anderson (12th)
Evergreen Fuels Inc. Low Temperature Bonus ($53): Tim Hartman Jr.