Story By: CHRIS MOORE / SHORT TRACK SUPER SERIES – AFTON, NY – Thirteen events, no repeat winners. For the first time in his career, Max McLaughlin claimed victory on the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco.
The Mooresville, N.C., native climbed from the 10th starting position to win the 13th edition of the Short Track SuperNationals in the 50-lap ‘Working Man’s Race’ at Afton Motorsports Park.
McLaughlin’s triumph aboard the Norm Hansell-owned No. 357 netted the group a $5,500-plus payday. ‘Mad Max’ is now the 13th different winner of the ‘Short Track SuperNationals,’ giving the race 13 different winners in 13 editions.
Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard finished in the fourth position, securing his second career STSS Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply North Region championship and the $12,000 prize to boot.
The race started with Pittsfield, Mass., resident Brett Haas and Frenchtown, N.J.’s Billy Pauch Jr. on the front row following the Beyea Custom Headers Redraw.
A lap-two tangle that included three top-10 runners, slid several drivers – including McLaughlin – up multiple positions in the early going.
When racing resumed, Haas jumped back out in front while Johnstown, N.Y.’s Bobby Varin had risen from eighth to third in his Tyler Siri-owned racecar.
At lap 13, the leaders caught lap traffic, bunching the top six together.
Varin continued making moves, sliding underneath Billy Pauch Jr. on lap 15 and turning his attention to the leader Haas.
The lead cars were reset for a lap-16 caution, and again Varin pounced on an opportunity. Haas bobbled on the restart and Varin used the outside to drive around Haas for the lead.
Haas faded back to fourth behind Pauch Jr. and Pipersville, Pa.’s Danny Bouc.
Meanwhile, Billy Jr. went on the attack on the hectic restart, getting underneath Varin for the lead as the lead pair banged wheels on lap 16 battling for the top spot.
Varin fell victim to the contact with a flat left-rear tire, bringing out the yellow on lap 19. Pauch Jr. was the leader with new challenger Alan Barker alongside on the front row. Danny Bouc and Sheppard, who came from 17th, made up the second row.
McLaughlin raced by Sheppard for fourth on the restart, before another yellow fell on lap 24, one shy of the halfway point. The restart opened the door for McLaughlin’s winning moves.
Restarting on the outside, ‘Mad Max’ went rolled around the likes of Barker, Bouc and ultimately Pauch Jr. in just three laps to lead lap 27.
Despite multiple yellows after taking the lead, McLaughlin was unphased and relatively unchallenged on his way to the victory.
Pauch Jr. raced to second in his Kid Racing No. 15 and Danny Bouc drove his family-owned No. 32 to a podium finish.
Sheppard’s fourth-place finish was good enough to secure him the North Region championship and Alan Barker rounded out the top-five.
Sheffield, Mass.’s Andy Bachetti raced to sixth in the Garrity Asphalt No. 4 with King Ferry, N.Y.’s Mike Mahaney chasing him in seventh. Mahaney was the Upstate Automotive Hard Charger worth $250 coming from 21st. East Greenbush, N.Y.’s David Schilling finished eighth in his 1-800-Got-Junk No. 20 and Varin rebounded for a ninth-place run. Wurtsboro, N.Y.’s Danny Creeden rounded out the top-10 in his RGH Construction No. 16x.
Fifty-three STSS big-block/small-block Modifieds signed in to compete in the ‘Working Man’s Race.’
Heat winners, receiving $150 each from FloRacing and Stone Ridge Discount Tire were Haas, Pauch Jr., Bouc, Barker, & Nick Nye.
Sheppard not only won the STSS North Region championship on Saturday night, ‘Super Matt’ also was the American Racer Cup Modified Match Race champion worth $2,000.
Sheppard bested Afton track champion Nick Nye in the final to claim the Match race win and add to his already profitable night.
Niskayuna, N.Y.’s Tim Hartman Jr. won the 25-lap STSS Crate 602 Sportsman feature and the Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region championship in dramatic fashion to boot.
In all, Hartman Jr. pocketed $3,000: $1,500 for the race win and $1,500 for the North Region championship, at the end of the 25-lap main event.
Hartman Jr. entered the night six markers behind South New Berlin, N.Y.’s Payton Talbot in the series standings.
The championship contenders started ninth (Hartman) and 11th (Talbot) respectively.
By the end of the race, Hartman Jr. was the winner and Talbot wound up third, and on the bumper of the runner-up, which would have given him the championship.
Hartman Jr., much like McLaughlin in the Modified feature, used the outside line to race to the lead, before switching to the bottom and setting sail with the lead and the win.
Afton Motorsports Park regular A.J. Digsby was the runner-up, the man between Talbot and the championship. Talbot finished on the podium with Dave Rosa and Michael Ballestero rounding out the top five.
The Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Racing Series completed the program with 36 cars taking part in three exhibition events.
Racing resumes October 14-16 for the Short Track Super Series at Port Royal Speedway for the second running of the ‘Speed Showcase 200’ weekend. The STSS Modifieds will race in Round No. 8 & 9 for the Velocita-USA South Region presented by Design for Vision and Sunglass Central, all leading to Saturday’s 200-lap, 50,000-to-win main event for the Modifieds. The STSS Crate 602 Sportsman will also be on hand for Round No. 7 of the Belmont’s Garage South Region in the ‘Speed Showcase 50’ presented by Ice Less LLC for $4,000-to-win.
Short Track SuperNationals Working Man’s Race Results Summary – Afton Motorsports Park October 9, 2021
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply North Region Round No. 10 Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): MAX McLAUGHLIN, Billy Pauch Jr., Danny Bouc, Matt Sheppard, Alan Barker, Andy Bachetti, Mike Mahaney, David Schilling, Bobby Varin, Danny Creeden, Shaun Walker, Brett Haas, Justin Holland, Bobby Hackel, Frank Yankowski, Dennis Clapperton, Nick Mady, Brett Tonkin, Nick Nye, Corey Costa, Craig Hanson, Jimmy Wells, Jerry Higbie, Danny Tyler, Billy Van Pelt, Mike Decker, Nick Rochinski, Allison Ricci, Eric Leet.
Did Not Qualify: J.R. Hurlburt, Scott Ferrier, Derrick McGrew Jr., Tyler Siri, Rich Ricci Jr., Cale Ross, Joe Judge, Richie Price, Brett Graham, Jimmy Becker, Dylan Scribner, Bailey Boyd, Brandon Daley, Darwin Greene, Brian Malcolm, Kailee Dimorier, John Ferrier, Brad Rothaupt, Steve Young, Kurt Hundeland, Ken Titus, Addison Bowman, James Introne, Matt Sobiech.
2021 Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply North Region Champion: Matt Sheppard ($12,000)
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): David Schilling (eighth) & Justin Holland (13th)
Autism Awareness Winner’s Bonus ($250): Max McLaughlin
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses: Matt Sheppard (fourth) & Bobby Varin (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Alan Barker (Redrew 12th)
FloRacing & Stone Ridge Discount Tire Heat-Race Winner Bonuses ($150 each): Brett Haas, Billy Pauch Jr., Danny Bouc, Alan Barker & Nick Rochinski
Last Car On The Lead Lap Bonus ($100): Bobby Hackel (14th)
Penske Racing Shocks Bonuses: Max McLaughlin (winner – $150); Billy Pauch Jr. (second – $75); Danny Bouc (third – $50); Danny Creeden (10th – $25)
Spyder High Performance Filters Bonus: Alan Barker (fifth – free filter); Frank Yankowski (15th – 50-percent off)
Sunoco Race Fuels Bonuses ($50 certificates): Billy Pauch Jr. (second), Brett Haas (12th) & Jimmy Wells (22nd)
Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader Bonus ($200): Billy Pauch Jr.
TKS Painting Service Front-Row Bonuses: Brett Haas (pole – $50); Billy Pauch Jr. (outside pole – $25)
Upstate Automotive Hard Charger Award ($250): Mike Mahaney (21st to seventh)
Wilwood Brakes Bonus ($75 certificate): Mike Mahaney (seventh)
American Racer Cup Modified One-on-One Match Races: MATT SHEPPARD ($2,000) over Nick Nye, Mike Mahaney, Danny Creeden, Tyler Siri, Billy Pauch Jr., Brett Tonkin, Brian Malcolm, Billy Van Pelt.
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region Round No. 8 Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): TIM HARTMAN JR., A.J. Digsby, Payton Talbot, Dave Rosa, Michael Ballestero, Hunter Lapp, Jeffrey Gallup, Blaine Klinger, Allan Hammond, Tyler Ward, Brandon Loucks, Brian Calabrese, Dale Welty, Allan Hodge, Daniel Morgiewicz, Gary Smith, Will Shields, Bobby Hackel, Rich Ricci III, Mike Grover, Dave Richer, Phil Recchio, Jim Rothwell, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Brice Bailey, Blake Sarpriacone, Travis Green.
Did Not Qualify: Scott McCoy, Carter Miller, Todd Buckwold, Cody Cordova, James Introne, Ray Leonard, Josh Aksar, Joseph Buchanan, Jeff Austin, Jason Feinberg, Fred Smith, Derek Cornish, John Williams, Don Bellen.
2021 Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region Champion: Tim Hartman Jr. ($1,500)
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): Blaine Klinger (eighth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($25): Bobby Hackel (Redrew 12th)
Fastline Performance Bonuses ($100 Certificates): A.J. Digsby (second) & Brian Calabrese (12th)