Right Place, Right Time for Richie Pratt Jr in $5,000
Tri-County Race Track Feature Win
Pratt scored his first Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super
Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco win in dramatic fashion, taking
the lead at halfway after the top four drivers piled-up before
then holding off a high-flying Alex Yankowski for the Tri-County
Racetrack trophy in the Hurlock Auto and Speed ‘Return
to Racing’ 50-lap feature.
“Last night we were in the wrong place at the wrong time
on the second lap, but tonight we were in the right place,”
Pratt said. “The top four all had problems and we were
there to capitalize on it.”
Stewart Friesen picked up where he left off Thursday night,
leading the way at the start of Friday’s 50-lap feature
and leaving Richie Pratt and Tyler Dippel to battle for second.
That battle didn’t last as long as hoped, as Dippel went
around on lap five. A big pileup on the restart sent Larry Wight’s
brand new Teo Pro Car flipping in its first event, but Wight
continued on track and Friesen continued to lead.
Billy Pauch Jr. and Matt Sheppard were on the move, with Pauch
slotting into second by lap 10 and Sheppard up to fourth before
a lap 15 caution.
Friesen continued to be blisteringly quick up top, setting
the pace again on the restart. Pauch, Sheppard, and Umbenhauer
kept Friesen honest in traffic, but traffic flipped the race
on its heels at halfway.
On lap 24, Tyler Dippel ended up sideways in turn three, and
the entire top four of Friesen, Pauch, Sheppard, and Umbenhauer
all ended up in it.
“Believe it or not, when I was following Friesen, he
taught me how to drive the track a little better, and that helped
when we got out front again,” commented Pratt. “We
ran a good race, and I can’t believe we’re here.”
Pratt was now the leader, with Danny Tyler, Danny Creeden,
Erick Rudolph, and Alex Yankowski the new-look top five.
While Tyler and Creeden fought tooth-and-nail for second, Pratt
had none of it and drove away. Yankowski, Modified sophomore,
held close to the battle for second, but Pratt’s lead
continued to grow through lapped traffic.
By the time Jessica Friesen broke and drew a caution on lap
39, Pratt was up by over a straightaway.
Creeden was the big loser on the restart, dropping a couple
spots on the green. Yankowski was the big winner, slipping into
third and then disposing of Tyler for second on lap 42.
Pratt had jumped out to a two-plus second lead on the initial
green, but once in second, Yankowski closed in. By lap 47, Yankowski
was within a couple car-lengths, but both drivers were wide
open around the top.
Wight’s battered car finally gave out with three laps
left after a respectable drive back into the top ten, placing
Yankowski right on Pratt’s tail. The pair hung status-quo
on the single file restart, but a crash involving Creeden, Schilling,
and Britten drew the yellow on the final circuit.
Despite an increasing amount of smoke from his car, Pratt was
unfazed on the restart, gapping Yankowski to score the $5,00
payday at Tri-County Racetrack.
Heavy afternoon rains made an already fast track even faster,
with times barely slowing down throughout the night. The result
was a tall physical toll on the drivers and their equipment.
“I’m definitely out of shape, I’m whooped
right now,” noted Pratt. “Under those long green
flag runs I was having a hard time keeping my head up. My shield
was fogging up and everything but we made it, I have to thank
my crew because they spent all night putting this thing back
together after ending up on our side last night. I was told
I was smoking when I got out of the car, but nothing on the
gauges. We’ll take a look at that, and see if we have
to switch to the other car tomorrow.”
Yankowski is in his sophomore year of Modified racing, and
somewhere near his sophomore year of high school. The teenager
demonstrated the patience of a veteran in his march towards
the front and a runner-up finish.
“Long runs we had a good car,” said Yankowski,
“On the restarts I just wasn’t in the right spots
and that hurt us. We found a little bit of an issue after last
night, got it fixed, and we’re happy with the results.
We were good the whole race, we just needed to find a little
bit of clean air. This track is different, I’ve only been
to Fulton once and this reminds me a little bit of it, but this
is really a whole new animal.”
Friesen led the first half of the event, but was caught up
in a wreck with the other frontrunners. Unlike last night, Friesen
wasn’t able to reach the lead after the incident, but
still drove back to a podium.
“Sometimes that how it goes,” Friesen stated. “Modifieds
on this bullring are crazy. It was fun to come down here and
check out a new part of the country and get some racing in.
We’re looking forward to heading to ‘the place your
mama warned you about,’ Cherokee, another new place. Our
car is kind of in one piece, we’ll be ready.”
Tyler ended up finishing in fourth while Johnson captured his
second top five of the week by finishing in fifth.
Racing resumes tonight at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, S.C.,
with the STSS Modifieds racing 40 laps for $4,000 to win plus
STSS Crate 602 Sportsman running 35 laps for $1,500 to win and
a V-8 Run What You Brung. Dirt Track Digest TV will be live
at 7 p.m.
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled
By Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): RICHIE
PRATT JR., Alex Yankowski, Stewart Friesen, Danny Tyler, Danny
Johnson, Billy Decker, Brett Tonkin, Erick Rudolph, J.R. Hurlburt,
Allison Ricci, Peter Britten, David Schilling, Dillon Groover,
Danny Creeden, Larry Wight, Jeff Strunk, Billy Pauch Jr., Jessica
Friesen, Michael Maresca, Jared Umbenhauer, Anthony Perrego,
Matt Sheppard, Andy Bachetti, Tyler Dippel, Josh Delea, Alan
Johnson, H.J. Bunting, Tyler Siri, Danny Bouc.
Did Not Start: Billy Van Pelt
Interstate Welding Modified
1) 88 Ricky Smith
2) 37 Michael Barnett
3) 35 Dillon Daves
4) 44 Bobby Elkins
5) 03 Dante Curtis
6) 56 Jason Berrong
7) 91 Brawley Stillwell
8) 56c Colton Berrong
9) 98.5 Cooper Twiggs
DNS) 17 Jordan Rogers
1) 14 Charles Devine, Jr.
2) 21 Troy Turner
3) 1 Roger Beaver
4) 5 Carson Shields
5) 22 Mark Wright
DNS) 95 Alex Vance