RPW Column: Maresca “Reels In The Big One” Saturday During Short Track Super Series’ Icebreaker At Selinsgrove

Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – SELINSGROVE, PA – Michael Maresca spent most of the ’22 racing season away from the race track, while balancing life at work and doing some other things.

What things?  Maresca shared with the racing world during an interview with Doug Elkins that he had taken up professional tournament fishing.

If you know Michael Maresca, anything that he puts his mind and effort towards will be successful. Maresca returned to racing in the fall of ’22 on a limited schedule and finished the year.

In the week leading up to the Selinsgrove Speedway Short Track Super Series Icebreaker 40 was starting to advertise registered drivers Michael Maresca hit the radar as an attendee scheduled to appear. The Weaknecht Archery, Fastline Performance, Danko Construction, Penske Racing Shocks and St. Lawrence Radiology 7MM was fast right off the trailer in practice.

The Maresca Bicknell 7mm showed outstanding speed in practice and finished 2nd in his heat. In the Icebreaker 40 redraw, Michael picked the pole for the A Main and set the stage for the Icebreaker 40.

The Selinsgrove Speedway opened it’s doors under new promoter ERS Promotions, under the watchful eye of Stephanie Baker and her 2 sons, Reece and Ethan Stutts. They should be proud of the effort and show presented on Saturday. 79 Short Track Super Series Modifieds and 602 Sportsman filled the pit area to capacity.

The fan turn out was a positive one on a very windy, chilly day. The track crew worked extremely hard chasing challenging track conditions all day in difficult conditions. Kudos to all of the Selinsgrove Speedway staff and Short Track Super Series team for pulling off the Icebreaker 40.

Jordan Watson was scheduled to start P4 in the 40 Lap A Main and broke his rear end during the track run-in and was unable to start the race. Watson won his heat race and was fast all day, but has nothing to show for it. The Danny’s Pizza Pizzazz #51 team cannot simply catch a break.

Michael Maresca and Billy Pauch Jr. led the 27 car field to the green flag. Maresca darted out to the early lead with Pauch Jr., Ryan Godown, Peter Britten, Ryan Riddle, Danny Creeden and Jeff Strunk following.

On Lap 1 the yellow flag was displayed for the 1st time as AJ Potrzebowski Jr. went up in smoke in turns 1 & 2.

The field was restacked and reset for the restart. Maresca moved to the top lane on the restart pushing Pauch Jr. to the bottom. Maresca took the lead on Lap 2 before the caution lights were flashing again for Danny Bouc who had the BDR Speed Pondish 6 stopped in turn 3.

The field was reset again, Maresca using the top lane on the restart powered away to the lead again. Pauch, Britten, Godown, Strunk, Steuer, Creeden, Payne, Stangle, Riddle, and Mahaney were all in tow.

Alex Payne was on the move early in the race jumping from 12th to 8th. Jeff Strunk moving from 9th to 5th early, As the field clicked off lap 3 Strunk hit a rut in turn 3 bicycling the Keystone Racing Bicknell #126 and losing several spots. Strunk fell from 5th and 11th when this occurred.

As the race hit the 5 down mark Michael Maresca was in full control. Pauch Jr., Godown, Steuer, and Peter Britten made up the top 5.

On Lap 6, Matt Sheppard was driving through the field from his 19th starting spot. Sheppard was 15th with 6 down.

As the field clicked off lap 10, Maresca was starting to reach the back of the field and the action in the front of the pack was about to get very heated. Maresca, Pauch and Godown were nose to nose as they reached the tail of the field. Dillon Steuer and Peter Britten were 4th and 5th and were within an eye shot of those top 3.

On lap 13 disaster struck the Ryan Godown #26 as he came to a stop on the frontstretch. Godown had an eventful Icebreaker 40. In practice, Ryan was collected in an practice accident that saw the primary Godown Motorsport #26 sustain heavy front end damage.

The team unloaded the backup from the stacker trailer and with no practice at all, Ryan blasted to a strong heat race victory. Ryan was in the mix for the race lead at lap 13 before mechanical woes ended the Ryan Godown Motorsports Icebreaker 40. Billy Osmun retired the 81 during this caution.

The field was restacked with Maresca the race leader, Pauch Jr., Steuer, Britten, Stangle, Creeden, Payne, Mahaney, Strunk and Ryan Watt.

The race went back green for another lap before caution flew on lap 13 again for Dillon Steuer who slowed with the Zubi’s Racing 17z in turn 3. Matt Sheppard went pitside for left front flat tire. The Matt Sheppard Motorsports Team quickly replaced the flat tire and Superman returned to action in the 9S.

On the restart for lap 14 Ryan Krachun 29 slowed to a stop in turn.

The race went back to green with 26 to go. Michael Maresca powered into the lead once again with Pauch Jr. in chase. Peter Britten moved into 3rd, with Matt Stangle now 4th and Danny Creeden 5th. Strunk was back to 6th, Alex Payne 7th and Mike Mahaney 8th.

As the field clicked off lap 17, Matt Sheppard was cutting through the field again. Sheppard was scored 14th from the rear.

At the halfway mark of the race we found all green flag racing as Maresca continued to hold down the top spot at the front of the pack. Pauch Jr. ,Britten, Stangle, Creeden were top 5. On Lap 21 former race winner Andy Bachetti retired from the event.

On Lap 26 the caution lights flashed for Danny Bouc in the BDR Speed Pondish 6 for stopping on the frontstretch without power.

The restart order for lap 27 was Michael Maresca as your race leader, Pauch Jr. 2nd, Matt Stangle in 3rd, Alex Payne in 4th, Peter Britten in 5th.

At the 10 to go mark of the race Michael Maresca was in full race control with a half straightaway lead. Pauch Jr. was controlling the 2nd spot comfortably, Matt Stangle and Alex Payne were in 3rd and 4th, Danny Creeden was 5th, Jeff Strunk 6th, Mike Mahaney 7th, Peter Britten 8th, David Schilling 9th and Mike Gular 10th.

With 5 to go, Maresca was pulling away from the field as Pauch Jr., Stangle, Payne, Creeden made up the top 5.

At lap 36, Matt Sheppard broke into the top 10 from his run from the rear with a move past Peter Britten 21A.

Michael Maresca was unchallenged the rest of the way leading every lap in scoring the Icebreaker 40 victory worth $5000. Billy Pauch Jr. finished 2nd, Matt Stangle 3rd, Alex Payne 4th, Danny Creeden 5th, Jeff Strunk 6th, Mike Mahaney 7th, Matt Sheppard 8th, Peter Britten 9th, David Schilling 10th, Ryan Krachun 11th, Mike Gular 12th, Jimmy Horton 13th, Ryan Watt 14th, and 15th Mike Trautschold.

Maresca is the Bob Hilbert Short Track Super Series fueled by Sunoco Racing Fuels South Series Icebreaker Season Opener Winner. Selinsgrove Speedway presented Maresca with a Yeti Cooler in victory lane. Michael talked in victory lane about knocking the rust off from driving and staying focused and making sure that he was smooth and hitting his marks each lap.

After using the bottom early in the race, Michael switched to the top lane the rest of the race and stayed there for the win. Billy Pauch Jr. ran an outstanding race in 2nd and was just never close enough to mount any series challenge on Michael for the race lead.

Matt Stangle and Alex Payne with great runs on the day. Jeff Strunk keeping the Keystone Racing 126 in the top 10 all day. Matt Sheppard gets the award for passing the most cars all day as he made a run from 19th to the top 10, then pitted to change a flat and made another run from the rear to finish 8th.


Feature Finish (40 laps): MICHAEL MARESCA, Billy Pauch, Jr., Matt Stangle, Alex Payne, Danny Creeden, Jeff Strunk, Mike Mahaney, Matt Sheppard, Peter Britten, David Schilling, Ryan Krachun, Mike Gular, Jimmy Horton, Ryan Watt, Michael Trautschold, Brandon Grosso, Danny Johnson, Tyler Dippel, Ryan Riddle, Danny Bouc, Andy Bachetti, Dillon Steuer, Ryan Godown, Billy Osmun, Ajay Potrzebowski, Jr., Jordan Watson

Did Not Qualify: Bud Phillps, Cale Ross, Kevin Root, Joseph Watson, Bobby Watkins, Sammy Martz, Jr., Shawn McPhee, Rick Laubach

American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificate): Peter Britten (ninth) & Mike Gular (12th)
BDR Speed Bonus ($50 Gift Card): John Willman (20th)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Alex Payne (fourth) & Peter Britten (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Alex Payne (Redrew 12th)
Bill Brown & Company Heat-Race Hard Charger ($50): Mike Gular (ninth to fifth)
Danny’s Pizza Pizzazz Halfway Leader Award ($200): Michael Maresca
Design for Vision/Sunglass Central Bonus (Oakley Sunglasses): Michael Maresca (winner)
EIBACH Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Jeff Strunk (sixth)
FloRacing Heat Winners ($50): Ryan Godown, Jordan Watson, Peter Britten, Alex Payne
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Ryan Krachun (11th)
Penske Racing Shocks Bonuses: Michael Maresca (first – $150 certificate); Billy Pauch, Jr. (second – $75 certificate); Matt Stangle (third – $50 certificate); David Schilling (10th – $25 certificate)
Smith Site Development Hard Charger Award ($300): Matt Sheppard (19th to eighth)
Wilwood Brakes ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($100 Certificate): Mike Mahaney (seventh)

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