The Rabbit Grabs the Groundhog Day Derby

Joe Achzet Wins a Wild Groundhog Day Derby

February 2, 2017 – Myrtle Beach, SC….Punxsutawney Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter, but trying to predict that Joe Achzet would win the Supermodified Ultimate Pavement Racing Series, (SUPRS), 13th Annual Groundhog Day Derby wasn’t as easy.

2017 SUPRS Groundhog Day Derby VL screenshot

Joe Achzet was the happy winner of the 13th Annual Groundhog Day Derby at Myrtle Beach Speedway. (Victory Lane art by

After doing several donuts at the start-finish line, Achzet said, “The early part of that race was very scary, I just missed Carl and Nelson’s spins.”

“Hat’s off to Steve Callahan, he ran me super tough,” the winner stated. “I don’t know what happened to him, but he wasn’t giving me an inch and he was making me earn every bit of it on the track. I kept working the outside and I finally managed to sneak through.”

Racing for the first time at Myrtle Beach Speedway, using the rFactor sim racing platform for the first time in this race, and racing the Groundhog Day Derby for the first time some place other than Derry Raceway Park were just the beginnings of the unknowns for the night.

Because of the predictions by the world-famous groundhog earlier in the day, the 50 lap feature used a random draw to decide starting places for the 10 drivers in attendance. 

Who’s on First?

That put Carl Becker on the pole, but it didn’t last long as he fell to the back with computer issues only to bring out the first caution when he spun in turn one.

Nelson Rodrigues inherited the lead only to see a win in his rookie year slide away as he hit the third turn wall. It was then Steve Callahan that took over the point and he didn’t fade as quick as the first two leaders.

Holding the lead for the next 38 laps, and holding back a hard charging Achzet, Callahan looked to be on his way to joining Ray Sand, Jr. as the only other driver to have more than one Groundhog Day Derby win.

Callahan’s Calamity

With only two handfuls of laps left, Achzet got into turn one hot and clipped Callahan. Callahan fought to gain control and battled Achzet off of turn two sideways and tried to hang onto the lead.

It wasn’t to be though and as Achzet moved into the lead, Callahan struggled with all he had to keep from spinning out of the race.

Suddenly his CPR Motorsports teammate, Keith Powell, got caught up in Callahan’s slide and the two banged nerf bars, the wall, and wheels,

Somehow both miraculously got their cars righted, and they continued without a caution but not before Powell had stolen second away from Callahan.

Powell and Gangwer Happy

Powell the 2010 winner of the this race said, “I guess I helped get my teammate get straight because he was really going around. Somehow we just rode each other’s nerf bars and stayed straight.”

Bob Gangwer also slid by for the last blow to Callahan’s shot at a podium finish.

“There wasn’t a dull moment out there tonight and you really had to be on your toes or this place will bite you,” Gangwer said. “Congratulations to Joe on the win, it looked like Steve and him had a great battle on a pretty cool track.”

Achzet picked up another 10 bonus points for being the SUPRSCharger after advancing the most places from his starting spot.

Big Week Ahead

The SUPRS racers now set their sights on the Sunshine State to escape Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction and to start the five night SUPRS Florida Speedweeks beginning Monday February 6, 2017 at Orlando Speedworld.

Points will be tallied for every feature race to decide the overall Florida Speedweeks Champion after racing at five different tracks and using the SUPRS NASCAR Heat and rFactor supermodified sim racing platforms. Full details are on the schedule page of

Fans can learn more about the original and oldest online supermodified sim sanction, the Supermodified Ultimate Pavement Racing Series, when they visit

Join SUPRS active and vibrant Social Media channels by  “Liking” SUPRS on Facebook, Circling SUPRS on Google+, Following @SUPRSOnline on Twitter, and viewing SUPRS videos on YouTube.


  • 13th Annual Groundhog Day Derby
  • Race 20 of 42
  • February 2, 2017
  • SUPRS rFactor W v7.1 mod
  • Myrtle Beach Speedway
  • 50 laps

No Time Trials due to Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of 6 more weeks of winter

No Heat Races due to Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of 6 more weeks of winter

Feature 50 Laps (showing car number, driver name, hometown, sponsors, bonus, starting position, fastest lap, distance behind winner)

  1. 14-Joe Achzet; Yorkville, NY; Cottontail Designs, GraphX:  ^ | * | P9 | 14.225
  2. 41-Keith Powell; Carrollton, OH; Icings on Top, CPR Motorsports: P8 | 14.310 | +3.083
  3. 25-Bob Gangwer; Goshen, IN; RW Woodworking, Wing Side Up Enterprises: P4 | 14.378 | +3.732
  4. 55-Steve Callahan; Cuyahoga Falls, OH; Exide Battery, CPR Motorsports: *  | ** | P3 | 14.295 | +3.864
  5. 35-Rob Warren; Pulaski, NY; 1st to Finish Race Servers, Designs of Elegance: ! | P6 | 14.207 | 4.268
  6. 38-Kyle Clark; Mexico, NY; Coors’ Light, Disturbed Motorsports: P10 | 14.465 | +6.519
  7. 52-Dave Brigandi; Syracuse, NY; Brigandi Carpet & Tile, Terry: P3 | 14.865 | +2 Laps
  8. 77-Kevin Timmins; Baldwinsville, NY;, Wesley Motorsports: P7 | 14.468 | +3 Laps
  9. 7-Nelson Rodrigues; Stoneham, MA; Star Speedway: P2 | 14.334 | DNF (Black Flag-Spin Rule)
  10. 42-Carl Becker; Lansing, MI; Wholesale Diamond Exchange, Michigan Hill Gang: P1 | 17.921 | DNF (Pulled Off)

Time of Race:  20:10.071

  • Denotes Lap Led
  • ** Denotes Most Laps Led
  • ! Denotes Fastest Lap of Race
  • ^ Denotes SUPRSCharger

John Davidson

Founder of SUPRS League Director

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