Steve Callahan Has No Challengers on Way to Third Billy Vukovich III Classic
February 28, 2017 – Mesa Marin, CA…Steve Callahan of Cuyahoga Falls, OH became just the second driver is Supermodified Ultimate Pavement Racing Series, (SUPRS), history to become a three-time winner of the prestigious Billy Vukovich III Classic presented by Supermodified Scorecard at Mesa Marin Raceway on Tuesday, crossing the finish line without any other competitor in sight.
In a season that has been anything but normal for the SUPRS veteran, Callahan was ecstatic to join John Davidson as a three-time Vukovich Classic winner.
“This feels awesome,” exclaimed the winner. “I gotta say though I got pretty lucky tonight with Joe having connection problems. I got off to a great start and got behind Joe and my plan was to stay close to him and try to draft away from the pack.”
As Callahan said, Achzet dropped connection on lap seven and from there the CPR Motorsports racer was able to conserve his car for the 93 laps that were left. “When Joe dropped out, I said OK, all right here we go and I just tried to keep the car clean.”
By lap 14 Callahan had begun the race long cycle of weaving past lapped cars and save for a couple of close calls, even that seemed to go his way. “Thanks to the lapped cars, once they knew I was there, they moved over but there was one time that was a little close and I had to get on the binders when a car came off the wall.”
“It’s a tough, long race, and it definitely wasn’t easy, I’m just real happy to get back to victory lane on a night like this that means so much. Thanks to everyone for coming out, I hope they all had fun,” concluded the winner.
Bob Gangwer finished second but was unavailable for comment after the race due to tornado warnings in the area.
Big Battle for Backus
Coming home in third place, Derrick Backus, was somewhat surprised and was certainly winded after being in the thick of the action the entire race and especially at the end of the 100 lap show.
“I’m exhausted. that was the hardest races I’ve ever had to run,” declared Backus. “Me and Keith ran together probably 90% of the race. I had damage from an earlier incident when a car came of the wall and it was a real handful.”
Backus continued to work Powell over and finally got by in turn two on lap 96. Then, as he ran a car length behind third place racer Carl Becker, he saw his shot for a podium appear right before his eyes.
Coming off of turn four Becker pushed high and as the trio of Becker, Backus and Powell came to the stripe to complete lap 98, Becker scrubbed the wall setting up a three-wide battle down the front stretch for the podium.
Backus used Becker as a pick and Powell shot high to try to get by Becker. As the racers drove out of turn two, Backus had moved to third, Powell was fourth and Becker dropped to fifth.
“I got him, (Powell), pinned behind Carl at the end and just got under him,” explained Backus. “That was a lot of fun, Keith was really clean and Carl had a really good car.
“Congratulations to Steve he sure deserves it. I love running with him, I always have and it’s good to see him get a win. I’ll take this one, even though a couple of guys dropped out, I still had to earn this one.”
Callahan Guaranteed as Points Battle Tightens Back Up
The race win makes Callahan a SUPRS Guaranteed Starter for the 13th Annual Summit Classic 125 in April. His last feature win was in November when he won the Hickory Hustle and claimed the 2017 North Carolina Swing.
Current points leader Rob Warren had connection issues all night long and was unable to start the feature. This coupled with the fact that his closest competitor in the SUPRS Gold Crest Wing Championship XIII Joe Achzet also dropped out has played right into Keith Powell who sits third overall.
With his fourth place finish, Powell stays within striking distance of his first SUPRS Gold Crest Wing Championship and is just 127 points out of first and 58 behind Joe Achzet. Yet Achzet could easily steal the lead from Warren before the end of March as he is only 69 points behind so the Championship is still very much up in the air.
Heading Back East
Making the run back across the country, the SUPRS racers get ready for a three-race swing through Pennsylvania March 6-9. This year for the first time, SUPRS Keystone Nationals featuring the 13th Annual Randy Witkum Memorial 125 includes a 25 lap rFactor race at the one mile Nazareth Speedway along with the familiar RT 93 Raceway and the always popular Jennerstown Speedway.
Practice starts each night at 8:00pm and the stopwatch starts ticking at 8:30pm for Time Trials. Racing begins at 9:00pm.
Learn more about the Supermodified Ultimate Pavement Racing Series by visiting www.SUPRS.net, “Liking” SUPRS on Facebook, Circling SUPRS on Google+, Following @SUPRSOnline on Twitter, and Viewing SUPRS videos on YouTube.
- 13th Annual Billy Vukovich III Classic
- Race 29 of 42
- February 28, 2017
- SUPRS NASCAR Heat W v6 mod
- Mesa Marin Raceway
- 100 Laps
Supermodified Time Trials (showing car number, driver name, hometown, sponsors, lap 1, lap 2-best lap underlined; Fast Four eligible for Fast Car Dash, Elite 8 locked into feature)
- 55-Steve Callahan; Cuyahoga Falls, OH; Exide Battery, CPR Motorsports: 14.340, 14.198
- 25-Bob Gangwer; Goshen, IN; Wing Side Up Enterprises, RW Woodworking: 14.253, 14.304
- 14-Joe Achzet; Yorkville, NY; Cottontail Designs, GraphX: 14.255, 14.280
- 42-Carl Becker; Lansing, MI; Wholesale Diamond Exchange, Michigan Hill Gang: 14.327, 14.279
- 61-Derrick Backus; Mexico, NY; Jose’ Cuervo Tequila, Disturbed Motorsports: 14.410, 14.304
- 35-Rob Warren; Pulaski, NY; 1st to Finish Race Servers, Designs of Elegance: 14.318, 14.335
- 41-Keith Powell; Carrollton, OH; Icings on Top, CPR Motorsports: 14.577, 14.336
- 9-Domenic Gioia; Oswego, NY; Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, Team Domination Motorsports: 14.781, 14.356
- 15-Joey Callahan; Cuyahoga Falls, OH; Racing for a Cure, CPR Motorsports: 14.602, 14.507
- 38-Kyle Clark; Mexico, NY; Coors’ Light, Disturbed Motorsports: 14.652, 14.509
- 52-Dave Brigandi; Syracuse, NY; Brigandi Carpet and Tile, Terry: 14.796, 14.634
- 7-Nelson Rodrigues; Stoneham, MA; Star Speedway: 14.810, 15.268
Supermodified Fast Car Dash 5 Laps (showing car number, driver name)
- 42-Carl Becker
- 14-Joe Achzet
- 25-Bob Gangwer
- 55-Steve Callahan
Supermodified Feature 75 Laps (showing car number, driver name, bonus, starting place, fastest lap, distance behind winner)
- 55-Steve Callahan: * | ** | P4 | 1
- 25-Bob Gangwer: P7 | 1 | +2.76
- 61-Derrick Backus: P7 | 14.xxx | +5.833
- 41-Keith Powell: P5 | 14.xxx | +6.089
- 42-Carl Becker: ! | P1 | 14.177 | +12.705
- 9-Domenic Gioia P6 | 14 | +2 Laps
- 52-Dave Brigandi: P10 | 14.xxx | +3 Laps
- 7-Nelson Rodrigues: P11 | 14.xxx | +5 Laps
- 38-Kyle Clark: P9 | 14.xxx | DNF (Pulled Off)
- 15-Joey Callahan: P8 | 14.xxx | DNF (Crash)
- 14-Joe Achzet: P2 | 14.xxx | DNF (Dropped Connection)
- 35-Rob Warren: DNS (Connection Issues)
Time of Race: 25:33.499
- * Denotes Lap Led
- ** Denotes Most Laps Led
- ! Denotes Fastest Lap of Race