SMITHTON, Pa. — Audio, photo and recap by Race Chaser Online Associate Editor Kyle Magda —
The lead wasn’t the place to be for most of Friday night’s Super Cup Stock Car Series 75 at Motordrome Speedway.
At the end of the night, Mike Kurkowski barely hung on for his first career series win at the half-mile track. The Denver, N.C. native nearly lost control of his No. 1 machine coming out of Turn 2 with two laps to go, allowing Harvey Harrison and Dan Bainey to close in. It was just enough as Kurkowski ended up in Motordrome’s victory lane for the series’ return to the Smithon, Pa track for the first time since 2013.
“It was a battle, but it was a lot of fun,” Kurkowski said. “Racing with Harvey with excellent. Harvey’s a guy you can race. He’ll race you clean, so I had no problems racing with him.”
The two drivers raced side-by-side for a number of laps, as Harrison’s No. 51 car took off on restarts when Kurkowski’s car needed a few laps to get going on the tires. Kurkowski pulled away from Harrison and Bainey in the in closing laps until the 59-year-old driver had a moment with two laps to go.
“With two to go, I went down into [turn] 1 and coming into [turn] 2, the thing started slipping around,” Kurkowski said. “So, I keep getting into the gas and it keeps slipping out and slipping out. I didn’t feel nobody touching me, so I didn’t think no one was bumping me.”
“I thought I’m just going to floor this thing and ride it on the wheel if I got a flat tire. It kicked out about three times. I’d give it the gas, I’d pull it back out, but the wall was coming up pretty fast.”
Kurkowski wasn’t the only driver slipping and sliding out on the track, as Harrison wheeled his No. 51 machine in the final laps to come within a car length of the No. 1 car and opens the 2015 season with back-to-back runner-up finishes.
“I had a problem with my car being a little bit too loose, which I thought it would cool down enough to where I’d be ok,” Harrison said. “Good off on the setup, but, all-in-all it worked out. I feel like if I tightened the car up a little bit more, I would’ve had a stronger finish and wouldn’t have been all over the track.”
“I had my hands full. There’s no doubt about it.”
Harrison started the race in first after drawing the pole after qualifying as the six-fastest drivers re-drew for starting spots. Clearfied, Pa. native Dan Bainey shattered the series’ old track qualifying record at Motordrome with a time of 19.092 seconds, over three tenths faster than the previous quickest time there. Bainey drew second for the race in his No. 00 car.
The May CNB Raceway Park winner drove away from the field early in the event until he suffered a flat right-rear tire on lap 41. Bainey tried to wait for a caution to fix the tire, but became the caution nine laps later while he continued to run on three tires.
Bainey fell a lap down and got the lucky dog after Kyle Kromer spun with 20 laps to go and the mad dash to the front was on.
“It was fast,” Bainey said of the car. “We took off there. 51 got in front of us, but the DelGrosso’s Ford was fast. We led the half-way point there and started getting real loose. I came on the radio and checking just to make sure we didn’t grind a sway bar or something off and turns out we had a right-rear flat tire.”
“The one we put on was a little smaller, so I got tight, but somehow I don’t know what happened, but got real loose the last 10 laps and we had a shot at the 51 and the 1 car got sideways. It was fun. Everybody was out of tires. I wish I would’ve had something there. Third place, led the most laps, got the pole, I couldn’t be happier today.”
The last Super Cup Motordrome winner Brent Nelson finished fourth and Munice, Indiana’s Tim McLaughlin recorded a best-career finish of fifth in the No. 21 car.
Three cars failed to make the finish, including the fastest driver in Friday’s lone practice session, Brian Harrison.
2013 Super Cup Stock Car Series champion Todd Peck was originally scheduled to run the race, but makes his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut Saturday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet. Peck wasn’t the only Super Cup alumni up in New England, as Codie Rohrbaugh ran the K&N East race at Loudon Friday evening.
It is a short turnaround for Super Cup, from going from the half-mile at Motordrome to the 5/8 mile CNB Raceway Park Saturday in Clearfield, Pa. for their second visit of the season there. Dan Bainey won the 2015 season opener at CNB.
Audio with winner Mike Kurkowski
Audio with second-place finisher Harvey Harrison
Audio with third-place finisher Dan Bainey
RESULTS: Super Cup Stock Car Series; Super Cup Stock Car Series 75; Motordrome Speedway; July 17, 2015
- Mike Kurkowski
- Harvey Harrison
- Dan Bainey
- Brent Nelson
- Tim McLaughlin
- Josh Ebbert
- Kyle Kromer
- JJ Pack
- Mike Potter
- Lou Ansel
- Kevin Kromer
- Brian Harrison
- Bill Ashton