Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – PORT ROYAL, PA – Even though he’s still young in age, Mike Mahaney has accomplished a lot in his racing career. However, Thursday night at the Port Royal Speedway, the Kings Ferry, NY driver did something he’s never done before.
Mike Mahaney captured his first Short Track Super Series checkered flag in the ‘Speed Showcase 40’ and the $5,500 check that went along with it.
Mahaney started in the fourth spot but worked his way to the number two position almost instantly, taking the runner-up spot away from Sammy Martz by the second circuit.
It took him another 10 laps before he was able to make a power move on the outside of leader Ryan Godown coming off of the second turn to grab the lead and looked to set sail the rest of the way.
However, a caution for Tyler Dippel one lap later bunched the field up and gave Godown a shot at the leader. The Ringos, NJ driver put a slide job on Mahaney heading into turn three, but Mahaney crossed right back over to regain the point.
From that point on, even through multiple restarts, it was all Mahaney at the top of the heap as he drove his George Huttig-owned #35 to victory for the first time in his Short Track Super Series career.
“Wow, this is awesome,” Mahaney said. “There was a lot of stuff going on tonight. We didn’t know if this engine was going to last. It keeps running warm and we don’t know why. I’m hoping the gauge is off or something but it’s definitely a little warm.”
The battle for the lead with Godown was the type of battle fans love to see. Back and forth, tooth and nail type action and one even the winner liked.
“We threw a couple sliders there before the caution came out,” he said. “It was real racy tonight and Godown’s a tough guy to beat. He likes these slider tracks like Bridgeport and such but it was an exciting race from the cockpit. Hope the fans liked it and I really hope this thing lasts through the 200 laps Saturday.”
After running Super DIRT Week last week in Oswego, time was of the essence for the Adirondack Auto team to get ready for Port Royal.
“We just finished this car,” he said. “It was a lot of work this week. We only had three days after DIRT Week to get ready and I haven’t been feeling that good. There’s just been a lot of stuff going on and it’s really cool to win here.”
Mahaney was good from the moment they got the #35 out of the trailer. He finished second to Mat Williamson in the first heat which put him in the redraw. A few minor adjustments before the main event proved to be the key to success.
“This thing was great tonight,” he said. “If we could just get it to cool off it’ll be good in the $50,000-to-win race on Saturday.”
As wide as the Port Royal Speedway is, Mahaney was elated by how he was able to make the pass for the lead.
“What a cool way to win here,” he said. “The top side was so good tonight and Port Royal is an awesome race track. I’m so glad to be here.”