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Speed Showcase Qualifying Night Proves to Be Tricky for Competitors

By Chris Moore
PORT ROYAL, PA – Tricky.

A challenging track surface was thrown at the competitors for the Bob Hilbert
Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco on the opening night of the ‘Speed Showcase.’

Port Royal Speedway was hit with storms overnight creating a tacky track surface that had what many described as “character.”

Nevertheless, five drivers each took home $500 checks courtesy of Dirt Track Digest on Bob Hilbert Sportswear Qualifying Night for the STSS Modifieds.

Boyertown, Pa.’s Ryan Watt followed up winning the ATL Fuel Cells ‘Hot Lap Hero’ award by dominating Qualifier No. 1.

“I love racing at Port Royal,” Watt explained. “It reminds me a lot of the old five-
eighths mile at Bridgeport (N.J.) and I loved it there. I just love the big fast tracks.”

Boyertown, Pa.’s Jeff Strunk came home second, in the final Beyea Custom Headers Redraw spot. Canandaigua, N.Y.’s Alex Payne and Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Dalton Slack rounded out the qualified cars.

Qualifier No. 2 was won by Duanesburg, N.Y.’s Ronnie Johnson in an immensely impressive performance. Johnson is racing for the first time in 2024 at Port Royal.

“I’m very surprised. I didn’t know what to expect,” proclaimed Johnson. “I just
wanted to qualify for the race so I’m really happy with where we’re at.”
Sprakers, N.Y.’s Jessica Friesen came home second and locked into the redraw, while Frenchtown, N.J.’s Billy Pauch Jr. finished third from the 11 th starting spot and Pipersville, Pa.’s Danny Bouc finished in the fourth and final qualifying spot.

Ringoes, N.J.’s Ryan Godown navigated a caution plagued Qualifier No. 3 to take home the $500 check over Harleysville, Pa.’s Mike Gular.

“It’s fast but it’s challenging out there,” Godown said of the track. “We’re looking
forward to tomorrow, tonight was the hard part.”

Gular finished in the runner-up spot for the redraw, with Baldwinsville, N.Y.’s Jimmy Phelps taking home third and Oley, Pa.’s Louden Reimert racing from fourth to claim the final qualifying spot.

Elizabethtown, N.Y.’s Mike Mahaney won Qualifier No. 4, as the only driver to win despite not being the fastest in his group of Penske Racing Shocks Hot Laps.

“I think we just had to be patient… today was definitely a long day,” Mahaney
laughed. “I always love coming here though, we have a lot of good memories at
this place.”

Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard finished in second to make the redraw, while
Mooresville, N.C.’s Max McLaughlin and Ransomville, N.Y.’s Erick Rudolph were the final two cars to qualify.

‘Money’ Mat Williamson won Qualifier No. 5 in dominant fashion. The St.
Catherines, Ontario, Canada native had a five second lead prior to a yellow flag with two laps to go.

“I really liked the way the track was,” Williamson proclaimed. “The very top was
cleaned off, and it was slick to a cushion on the bottom half… we were really good on it.”

Wurtsboro, N.Y.’s Danny Creeden took home second, with Neshanic Station, N.J.’s Matt Stangle taking third and Potsdam, N.Y.’s Michael Maresca rounding out the qualified cars.

Sixty-four STSS big-block/small-block Modifieds signed for competition at the
‘Speed Showcase.’

With eighty-three STSS Crate 602 Sportsman signed in, they took part in six, 12-lap qualifiers.

David Rogers, Jax Yohn, Howie Finch, Brian Krummel, Logan Watt, and Travis Hilleach won their respective qualifiers.

Each of the six winners received $250 courtesy of Belmont’s Garage.
Luke Horning and Denis Gauvreau topped the pair of heat races for the New York based Pro Stocks.

The stage is set for the finale of the ‘Speed Showcase’ at the ‘Speed Palace.’

The STSS Modifieds and STSS Crate 602 Sportsman will each a trio of Last Chance Qualifiers to set the final starting fields for their respective main events.
The Pro Stocks will be up first for 25-laps and a $1,250 payday followed by a 50-lap affair for the STSS Crate 602 Sportsman with $4,000 allotted to the winner.

All roads lead to the main event, a 75-lap, $50,000-to-win headliners for the STSS Modifieds to complete the ‘Speed Showcase.’

For Saturday (March 16), all gates open at 11 a.m.with Penske Racing Shocks Hot Laps beginning at 2 p.m. and racing starts at 3 p.m.

Grandstand admission is $40 for Adults and $20 for Students (ages 13-18). Kids 12 and under get in FREE. Pit Admission is $50.

The entire night of racing – and every STSS event in ’24 – will be broadcast live on FloRacing (www.floracing.tv) via the annual subscription.

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

The Short Track Super Series is presented by Bob Hilbert Sportswear, FloRacing, American Racer, Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, BDR Speed, NJ Quality Drywall, River Valley Builders, Ollie’s, Penske Racing Shocks, Saint Lawrence Radiology, Capitol Custom Trailers & Coaches, Bicknell Racing Products, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Madsen Overhead Doors, Belmont’s Garage, Wegner Automotive, DIG Race Products, ATL, Dirt Draft, Swagger Factory Apparel, F.X. Caprara Car Companies, Algonkin Motel LLC, Beyea Custom Headers, Design for Vision, Sunglass Central, Dirt Track Digest TV, DKM Fabrication, EIBACH, Fastline Performance, Flach Performance Products, Henry’s Headers & Exhaust Systems, JK Signworks, JLR Technologies, Dave Prime Jr. MAC Tools, Schultz Racing Fuel Cells,
Superior Remodeling, TV 12 Racing Products, VAHLCO Wheels and Wilwood Disc

Article Credit: Chris Moore

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