Monday, November 23, 2020

DUANE HOWARD & BUTCH GETZ TEAM UP FOR 2021 SEASON (Brent Smith Photo) (DTD Ken Bruce Story)


Saturday’s running of the Gobbler at Georgetown Speedway put the finishing touches on the 2020 Northeast dirt Modified season. However, the silly season news continues to flourish.

The first piece of the puzzle was put into place last week after Dominick Buffalino was named the driver of the Glenn Hyneman No. 126 replacing Jeff Strunk. Today the second piece was put in place as Duane Howard was named to be the hired gun of the Butch Getz owned No. 15,S which was driven by Strunk this past season at Big Diamond Speedway.

“I talked to Duane last Sunday,” said Getz as he xplained how he got together with Howard for next season. “I wanted to do Big Diamond and one other track for Saturday and Jeff (Strunk) knew that and he was still in the No. 126.  I wanted to do two nights so I met with Duane last Sunday night ,like I said, and I told him the same thing, that I wanted to do two nights a week along with some specials and he was interested in the ride. I knew Duane wasn’t happy with the No. 357 and wanted a change.  We agreed on a deal and that’s how it went. Now, we are going to go and wins races and hopefully one or two championships.”

Getz who fielded the car for Strunk on Friday nights after the No. 126 had engine troubles early in the season also drove himself at the Penn Can Speedway. In 2021, Getz will be forgoing the driving part and will focus solely being an owner in the sport.

 

“Yeah I am done driving,” said Getz. “I got lucky last year when Glenn and Bonita (Hyneman) let him use their truck and trailer or else I would have had to quit last year, and I can’t thank them enough for that. I really wanted to run the whole season at Penn Can and with them letting Jeff use their truck and trailer I was able to run the whole year there.”

For 2021, the team will field two Bicknell chassis Modifieds, both powered by engines-built by Performance Engines by Billy the Kid. Getz is excited to get the season started with his new driver and talked about his team and how it will not lack for equipment.

“I just went up to Bicknell’s on Saturday and picked up a new 2021 chassis to go along with the one Jeff drove last year,” mentioned Getz. “I have a new Billy the Kid spec motor being built right now. I have the Billy the Kid spec motor from last year that I will take up to them to rebuild, and I also have an open 360 Billy the Kid motor sitting here that is going to get freshened for next year. I will drop both of them off in the next couple of weeks when I go up to pick up the new motor.

“We have Penske shocks on board and Dave (Reedy, Penske shock rep) will be helping us out. We should be fine, we will have the best of the best and with Duane we should be there competing for wins, titles and hopefully win a couple of big races like the Forrest Rogers, 76er or the Coalcracker. Duane is one of the best to ever race at Big Diamond and Grandview and I knew I couldn’t wait long to make the deal, or I might not have had the chance to get him.”

Getz and his crew will maintain the cars at his newly built shop at his house in Kunkletown, Pa. Howard and some of his guys will help to get the cars ready for action.

“The deal I made with Duane includes him and his crew coming up to the shop once a week to help with cars and get them ready to race,” cited Getz. “I have a good bunch of guys who will help me work on the cars and with Duane and his guys coming up once a week, we should be just fine. Obviously, if we have troubles and the car needs some extra work, they will come up and give us hand.”

After Strunk was let go by Hyneman as driver of the No. 126, most people, this writer included, thought Strunk would be just slide into the seat of the Getz Modified and that would be that after the success they had at Big Diamond in 2020. It certainly was a surprise when Howard was named as the driver.

“I told Jeff after the 76er when it was thought he was going to be fired that had I cars for him for next year,” explained Getz. “Jeff knew I wanted to race two nights a week next year and he couldn’t do that driving for Glenn. When it looked like Jeff was going to stay with Glenn, I had to start looking elsewhere.

“Tuesday night Glenn called me around 7:00pm and told me that Jeff was no longer his driver as of 2:05pm and asked me if Jeff called me to let him know. I told him no, that I hadn’t heard from Jeff and he was shocked and said that I should’ve been Jeff’s first call. Jeff did call me on Wednesday, and we met for dinner on Friday. We talked and I didn’t get the impression that Jeff was able to commit to two nights a week. The dinner just had a strange vibe, it was like it was a goodbye dinner instead of a let’s team up and kick ass dinner and that didn’t sit well with me.

“At that time, I knew I had to make a decision. I was leaving at 5:00am Saturday morning to go pick up the new car, I talked to a lot of people yesterday while I was driving about things and I decided Duane was the driver I wanted. I wish nothing but the best for Jeff, he is a great driver and he ran great in my car this year and I know he’s been talking to a lot of people.  I am sure he will be able to get something for next year before too long. Jeff knew what I had going on for next year and the deal should’ve been done fifteen minutes after he was fired. I feel like crap that it wasn’t, but I have to move on and now it’s time to get my stuff together for next year and go win some races with Duane.”

Duane Howard was contacted to get his thoughts on the new combination for next year and as you would think, the Oley, PA driver is ready to put 2020 behind him and excited for what’s ahead in 2021.

“Last year was probably the worst year of my career, racing wise,” explained Howard. “It was time for a change for both parties. I am really forward to driving for Butch. He has assembled quite the race team for next year and has really stepped up his program and there will be no lack of good equipment for sure.”

Howard reflected on last season and talked about how the season went in 2020.

“Both parties I think got a little stale and we never got that opportunity to race our way out of it,” said Howard. “We didn’t travel, we didn’t race anywhere different and we just got stuck in a rut running locally and we could just never climb out of that hole we were in. I didn’t want to race like that, and Norm (Hansell) and the No. 357 team didn’t want to race like that.  I think both sides were embarrassed with how we were racing. In the long run I think it was best for both parties to make a change. Norm and I won some big races together and some championships.  Norm gave me everything we needed to get the job done and this year we just didn’t get it done. I know as a driver that sometimes and you have a down year and you have to work hard to get out but this year for some reason, we just could not work our way out of it.”

It is an exciting time for Howard, and he is ready to get back to racing and show what he can do with Butch Getz and the No. 15S team.

“I’m anxious to get to racing with Billy the Kid motors again,” mentioned Howard. “Way back in the day, I first started with Billy the Kid motors when I drove for the No. 66 (Petruska 66) at Syracuse and we ran very well there. This was when Billy the Kid was breaking into the dirt series and we ran very well with them. I am really anxious to get rolling next year with the equipment Butch has put together and I wish the new season was starting tomorrow to be honest. I am not just hoping next year will be better, I know next year will be better!”

Both owner and driver seem to be very motivated as they head towards 2021 and look for this combination to be in the mix for wins and championships wherever they choose to unload next season.

 

Anthony Perrego On-Board 358 Modified at Georgetown Speedway November 21, 2020 (Branden Croll Video)

 

MIKE MARESCA (SDS Photo)


 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

DUANE HOWARD ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR 2021 SEASON

I’d like to thank Norm Hansell and the rest of the 357 team for their support over the years. We’ve been able to win many races and championships together, and I appreciate everything they have done for me. I wish them the best moving forward. 
 
I am excited to start a new chapter in my racing career with Butch Getz Motorsports. I will be piloting the 15 car with Bicknell Chassis and Billy the Kid motors, and I look forward to a very successful year with this great race team. Friday and Saturday night schedules TBD. Thank you to all of my fans for their continued support!

 

SHORT TRACK SUPER SERIES HIGHLIGHTS GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY

 

GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY STSS "THE GOBBLER" RESULTS (SDS Photo)


‘GOBBLER’ RESULTS SUMMARY – GEORGETOWN SPEEDWAY NOVEMBER 21, 2020

L&J Sheet Metal Modified Feature Finish (35 laps): STEWART FRIESEN ($6,000), Anthony Perrego, Rick Laubach, Michael Maresca, Kevin Sockriter, Danny Creeden, Billy Pauch Jr., Dom Buffalino, Richie Pratt Jr., Danny Bouc, Derrick McGrew, Tyler Siri, H.J. Bunting, Brad Roberts, Jimmy Zacharias, Trent Van Vorst, Jordan Watson, Eric Williams, Joseph Watson, John Willman.
Did Not Start: Jim Britt
“Grandma’s Gravy” Perfect Attendance Bonus ($2,000): Stewart Friesen
Ad-Art Sign Company Heat Winners ($50 each): Anthony Perrego & Stewart Friesen
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificates): Danny Bouc (10th) & Brad Roberts (14th)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Michael Maresca (fourth) & Richie Pratt Jr. (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Billy Pauch Jr. (redrew 10th)
Bill Brown & Company Heat-Race Hard Charger ($50): Billy Pauch Jr. (gained five positions)
Downstate Dirt & Deals Hard Charger ($100): Anthony Perrego (ninth to second)
EIBACH Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Danny Creeden (sixth)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Derrick McGrew Jr. (11th)
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Anthony Perrego (second) & Tyler Siri (12th)
TKS Painting Services Redraw Bonuses: (pole - $50) & (outside pole - $25)
Wilwood Brakes Bonus ($75 certificate): Billy Pauch Jr. (seventh)
 
Chesapeake Paving/J.W. Brown Trucking Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): MICHAEL WHITE ($2,000), Joe Toth, James Hill, Adam White, Ryan Simmons, Joey Bruning, Ryan Conrad, Brian Lilick, Wayne Weaver, John Stevenson, Richie Walls Jr., Duane Rust, Greg Taylor, Isabella Van Orden, Jeff Marker, Nolan Openshaw, Stacy Jackson, David Jenkins, Tim White.
“Grandma’s Gravy” Perfect Attendance Bonus ($500): Michael White
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): Joey Bruning (sixth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($25): John Stevenson (eighth)
Downstate Dirt & Deals Hard Charger ($50): Duane Rust (18th to 12th)
 
RUSH Late Model Feature Finish (25 laps): KYLE HARDY ($1,500), Trevor Collins, Billy Thompson, Dana Walker, Joe Pete, Charles Shawver, Robert Smith, Joey Warren, Ben Scott, Mark Pettyjohn, David Dill, David Smith, Curtis Reed, Zac Weller, Matt Hill, William Brent James, Amanda Robinson.
2020 Georgetown Speedway Track Champion ($750): Trevor Collins
G2 Design Heat Winners ($50 each): Trevor Collins & Matt Hill
First State Mobile Dustless Blasting Hard Charger ($50): Billy Thompson (13th to third)
First State Roof & Exterior Cleaning Top Delaware Driver ($100): Trevor Collins (second)
 
Little Lincoln Feature Finish (12 laps): TODD SAMMONS, Jordan Herbert, Bunky White, Bryan Piercy, Eric Reed, Kirk Lawson, Wayne Seaton, M.J. White, Matt White, Sean Smith.
Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): ROBERT SMITH, Matthew Smith, Kyle Brasure, Jerry Hill, Dick Beauchamp, Zach Phillips, Mark Townsend, Bill Dean, Clay Vincent, Greg Nailor, Steve Shores, Brian Jones, Dale Elliott. 
 
Delmarva Charger Feature Finish (12 laps): ROBERT PACZKOWSKI, Jay Lowman, Chris Carroll, Paul Gary, Justin Dunn, Randy Merritt, Joe Waters, John Chandler, Caleb Ball, Ashley Merritt, Scott Dunn, Chris Yob, Jeremy Long, Chris Myers.
Joe Waters Racing Winner’s Bonus ($50): Robert Paczkowski

 


Friday, November 20, 2020

Hyneman Names New Driver Of The No. 126 (Ken Bruce/Dirt Track Digest)

 As the 2020 dirt modified winds down to a close with the running of this Saturday’s “Gobbler” at the Georgetown Speedway, silly season is in full stride as we head towards 2021. Today was the day the first domino fell into place. It was announced this morning on the 126 Keystone Racing Facebook page that Jeff Strunk would no longer be the driver of the Glenn Hyneman All-Fab Racing No. 126.

The combination of Jeff Strunk and Glenn Hyneman has produced 40 wins in eight years of competition (2006 to 2008 & 2016 to 2020) together. Included in those eight years were four Freedom 76 wins and multiple championships at Grandview Speedway. However, as the saying goes, all good things come to an end, so owner Glenn Hyneman decided he wanted to go in a different direction for 2021.

Picked to pilot the iconic No. 126 is veteran modified driver Dominick Buffalino out of Sayreville, NJ. Buffalino has been part of the local modified wars for many years and has racked up multiple wins at both New Egypt Speedway and Bridgeport Motorsports Park driving for different car owners.

I reached out to car owner Glenn Hyneman earlier tonight and he was nice enough to take the time to talk to me and let me know what was going on with his race team.

 

“Jeff (Strunk) and I have split up,” cited Hyneman. “I am not sure where Jeff is going, I have a good idea, but I am not going to say it. That is for them to say. I am going to be going with Dominick Buffalino. We really haven’t worked out a schedule, but we sat down last night and had a long meeting together and tried to work out all the details. I am a detail guy, I like to have all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed.  That’s what it made it a little bit more difficult with Jeff, he’s more of a free spirit.”

“I wish Jeff well, we had some really good years and won some nice races together, but I just wanted to go in a different direction. I think I took pretty good care of him here the last seven years and I think it was three years before that so we’ve together almost 10 years together, that’s a long time.”

Hyneman who is the owner of All-Fab Fabrication talked about wanting to slow down at work and maybe travel and attend some different races in the future.

“Bonita (Hyneman, Glenn’s wife) and I want to do a little more traveling,” explained Hyneman. “I am getting closer to retirement or at least cutting back at work to give myself some more free time. I want to do some more traveling shows, maybe some DIRTcar shows.”

Buffalino will get a jump start in his new ride this weekend as the team travels to Georgetown Speedway for the Gobbler and Hyneman is excited to see what his new driver can do.

“In meeting with Dominick and talking to him and all the text messages I got today from people who know him and such I am pretty excited to see what we can do together, mentioned Hyneman. “You know sometimes just making a change is exciting, you know what I mean? It is something different and I am not saying it’s good or bad, but it’s different and exciting and it gets your blood flowing again and that’s just how I feel. You go your way and I go my way and hopefully we’re both successful.”

 

With Strunk also being an employee at All-Fab Fabrication I asked Hyneman if that has changed at all.

“This is separate from the job,” explained Hyneman. “When I talk about Jeff, I am talking about Jeff the race car driver, not Jeff the All-Fab employee. That’s a whole different thing, he (Jeff) still works for me.”

With Strunk being an All-Fab employee and the race shop being right there, it was easy for Strunk to be at the shop to work on the cars. Buffalino who lives in Sayreville, New Jersey which is probably (at least) an hour and a half ride to the shop will not have that luxury but Hyneman says they are working on a plan to make it all work.

“I am going to send a car down to New Jersey to make it easier for him to work on it down there,” cited Hyneman. “We have four cars, so we’ll keep three here at the shop and send one down to his shop in New Jersey. We’ll probably race Bridgeport out of his shop and all the rest of shows out of my shop. As a matter of fact, I just got back from the shop after we finished getting the car ready and loaded for Saturday. I am excited to see what we can do together.”

Buffalino excited for opportunity of a lifetime

Dominick Buffalino has been around the NJ/PA modified scene for many years now.  Most years it was with equipment that just did not match up to what the big teams were running. Starting in 2021, Buffanlino will not have to worry about that as he has been hired as the new driver of the Glenn & Bonita Hyneman owned No. 126. It is an opportunity of a lifetime for Buffalino and he is aware of the pressure that comes along with being the driver of such a iconic team.

“I don’t know what to think right now,” cited a very happy Buffalino. “It’s the best opportunity I’ve ever had and it’s a lot of pressure on me, but I can honestly say they are not putting any pressure on me at least as far as tomorrow goes (The Gobbler at Georgetown). I know there will be pressure on me next year and that comes with driving for Glenn, and I understand that.”

“It feels like anytime I ever drove a race car in my life I had an excuse, someone had a better car, a better motor, better this and that or whatever it was. We won a lot of races; we beat some really good cars and if we didn’t run well, we knew why. We got beat by money and I don’t have that excuse anymore, so I have to do well and that’s where I am putting pressure on myself” cited Buffalino.

“If I can’t win in Glenn’s car, and I know you can’t do good every race, and you will have bad days here and there, but if I can’t do really well most of the time in this car than I’m not going to do well in anything.  But, at the same time I don’t see any reason we won’t do really well. I have done pretty well in cars that haven’t been anything like this before. That being said I won’t get mad at myself if we don’t set the world on fire tomorrow. Listen, I haven’t been to Georgetown in probably five years and I have never driven an open small block before or that car so it will be a lot of new and different things for me.”

I asked Buffalino how the dynamic of him working with the team along with the distance between where he lives in New Jersey and the shop will play into how they will work together.

“It’s a two-hour ride for me and I’ve been there the last two nights,” explained Buffalino. “I didn’t get home each night until about 1am and then had to be a work a 7am this morning. We worked out a deal, so I don’t have to go there that much. They will maintain most of the cars there and I will maintain one here at my shop” mentioned Buffalino.  “Going in, I assumed the worst, that, Glenn would tell me how many nights I need to be there, but it is not like that at all. Glenn said right from the start that he wants to make it as easy as possible on both of us and he knows that if I have to drive to his shop three nights a week that by April I’ll be burnt out and hate racing and not want to do it anymore. The way it’s working out is that he told me I would never have to wash a car there because Glenn and Bonita will do that.  They’ll also strip it and put in the garage for me.  I hope to be there one night with another crew guy to do all the maintenance.  Ray (Carroll) takes care of all the motors so I won’t have to do anything with them so one night should be enough to get everything done so the car is ready for the next race. Now obviously I will have to wash and maintain the car we have at my shop but that’s okay, I am used to doing that anyways.”

Buffalino talked about how this deal all came together and how surprised he was when Hyneman told him about the phone calls and texts he received from his peers when the word started to get out about the new driver/owner combo.

“I’ve been talking to Ray Carroll for years, one of my crew guys knew Ray from when he used to work with Kenny Brightbill back in the day,” said Buffalino. “So, the last few years I got to talking to Ray more and more and he knows my situation and what I have. It was 2018 and I was driving for John Packenham at New Egypt and they (Ray Carroll & Glenn Hyneman) called me and said they wanted to help me and they were trying to put something together at the end of 2017 when I drove for Pat (Michaels) but I had already made a deal to drive for Packenham in 2018. I was already driving for John and committed when Ray called me and said that him and Glenn wanted to help me.

“Someone in New York was selling a complete small block team, car, motor, trailer and some spare parts and they said they wanted to buy me all that stuff, have it delivered to my shop and lettered up like Glenn’s cars. They said I would drive for them, keep everything here and they would pay and I thought about it for awhile and said that I had shook John Packenham’s hand and had committed to driving for him for the season and I just can’t up and leave after John spent the money and did things just for me. I just couldn’t do it so I didn’t do it.  There were other times where they called and offered things but I was already committed to other owners and I just couldn’t do it so when this came about again, I just couldn’t turn it down.”

“ I know this is turning out to be a long story but, they called last Wednesday before Susquehanna (BAPS Speedway) and offered to buy my tires for the race knowing I had used up every tire I had at Bridgeport. At first, I said no, that I had the car stripped and that I was done for the year. Then they said we want you to run our body and we’ll give you anything you need to go so then I said I can’t really turn this down and I did it. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out to well, but we did it and finished 11th,. But it really meant something to me when he asked me to run his body on my car because now, I am representing him and that was big to me. Then when Jeff (Strunk) was let go as the driver they called, and I went there this past Wednesday and talked to Glenn and we made a deal for next season. I was pretty surprised last night when Glenn told me about all the phone calls and texts, he received from different people telling him he made a good choice. It really makes you feel good when you hear people like Randy Williamson and Jimmy Horton reached out to Glenn about me. That’s pretty cool.”

Buffalino also knows that Jeff Strunk is a very popular driver and has many fans. Replacing a driver that popular will come with repercussions and Buffalino wants to set the record straight that he wasn’t behind the letting go of Strunk.

“I know there is a lot of hard feelings out there, explained Buffalino. “Jeff drove for them for a long time and the crew guys that were even with Glenn were very tight with Jeff and now they’re gone. It’s a mess and I am sure everyone is mad at me now too but if I wasn’t driving for Glenn next year it would be somebody else. I think everyone is probably more upset than mad, but it wasn’t me. Glenn is a businessman and if he wants to make a change, he is going to make a change. I understand I won’t drive for Glenn forever and I know that’s just how it is. I just don’t want anyone thinking that I was working on getting Jeff out because that’s not the case at all.”

JEFF STRUNK WILL NO LONGER PILOT THE HYNEMAN 126 FOR THE 2021 SEASON (Poppa Pepper's Photo)