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Friesen Wins Eastern States 100 October 21, 2017

Friesen Wins Eastern States 100

By FRANK CATIZONE

MIDDLETOWN – Stewart Friesen has put himself in position to make a clean sweep of Modified racing action during the 56th annual Eastern States Weekend Festival at the Orange County Fair Speedway.

Friesen, the reigning Eastern States 200 champion, held off Brett Hearn and Gary Edwards Jr. Saturday to capture his second 100-lap Small Block Modified title Saturday evening as well as the first-place base pay of $15,000.

“So far, so good,’’ said Friesen, who can bring out the broom in this afternoon’s 200-lap Modified main event, which offers a whopping $35,000 to the winner. “This entire Halmar racing team has worked very hard giving me a good race car and we’ll just wait and see what happens.

“I’m very pleased with how things have gone this weekend. But there is some real good competition here and I know it’s going to be a battle tomorrow. We’ll just stick to our game plan and hope things will work out.’’

Friesen, who qualified for the event behind the sixth fastest lap in time trials, chased Hearn and Edwards during the early stages of the race. Hearn and Edwards swapped the lead back-and-forth during the first 23 laps before Edwards took command on the 24th circuit around the five-eighths mile, hard clay oval.

Friesen was able to sneak ahead of Hearn following a restart on the 25th lap and chased Edwards until Brad Horton slowed in the fourth turn to force a caution with 30 laps in the books.

Hearn returned the favor on Friesen on the 31st lap when he regained second place following a restart and then began chasing Edwards, who was beginning to build a comfortable cushion. But Edwards retired to the pits to change a right rear tire under caution after 41 laps were completed to hand first place back over to Hearn.

“We planned on coming in to change the right rear when we got the opportunity,’’ said Edwards. “I came in when the race was cautioned after the 41st lap. I didn’t have a problem with my tire, but the way everyone was getting flats, we felt it was the right thing to do.

“It was difficult coming back up through the field after we pitted, but there were so many cautions with all the flat tires. I got a left front flat two laps from the finish and it dropped me back to fifth. But this was the best showing I’ve ever had in this race.’’

Hearn, who has won this race more than anyone in Eastern States history, was now the leader again, but he had his hands full with Friesen not too far behind. Neither Hearn or Friesen pitted to change tires during the course of the race, but Friesen kept a watchful eye on his rival.

Friesen nearly snuck around Hearn while racing through the first and second turns as the race progressed, but just didn’t have enough momentum to pull off a pass. However, Friesen switched lanes on the 64th lap and dove under Hearn take gain control off the second turn.

“It was definitely a battle out there and certainly isn’t easy getting past Brett…especially at this place,’’ said Friesen. “All I had to do was make one mistake, and I know he could have returned the favor on me.’’

Last year, Friesen utilized a last-lap pass between the third and fourth turns to steal a win away from Hearn for his first Eastern States 200 title. Hearn’s car came up with a flat tire and he drifted back to third place at the finish.

But there would no chance of that as Friesen was able to stay ahead despite several more cautions periods until the end.

However, Friesen said he took a look at his tires under red flag conditions when Andy Bachetti slammed hard into the homestretch wall after making contact with Edwards on a 98th lap restart. Horton’s car came crashing into the inside jersey barrier as several cars were involved in the incident.

Bachetti, who was running fourth at the time, was transported by ambulance into the pits following the accident to be checked out.

“We didn’t have any plans on stopping for a tire change,’’ said Friesen. “In fact, I took a look back at my right rear under that red stop and knew we were just fine. But I must admit that I was worried with all of the cautions because you just don’t know what can happen.’’

Hearn settled for a second-place finish with Tommy Meier, Tim Hindley, Edwards, Craig Mitchell, J.R. Heffner, Jesse Leiby, Allison Ricci and Matt Janiak rounding out the top 10.

For additional news visit www.orangecountyfairspeedway.net

Weekly Winners 10/10/17 - 10/16/17 October 16, 2017

Weekly Winners 10/10/17 - 10/16/17

Congratulations to:

Logan Roberson - Potomac Speedway

Riley Hickman - Talladega Short Track

Rodney Sanders - I-35 Speedway

Brett Kressley - Grandview Speedway

Billy Decker - Brockville Ontario Speedway

Matt Lux - Lernerville Speedway

Jonathan Taylor - Lernerville Speedway

Tanner English - Clarksville Speedway

Paul Banghart - Tucson Speedway (pictured)

Russ King - Lernerville Speedway

Chase McCormick - Friendship Motor Speedway

Kyle Bronson - Bubba Raceway

Rex King Jr. - Lernerville Speedway

Decker Claims Fall Nationals at Brockville Ontario Speedway October 14, 2017

Decker Claims Fall Nationals at Brockville Ontario Speedway

By: Tim Baltz

Another picture perfect night at the Brockville Ontario Speedway as night number 1 of the 1000 Islands RV Fall Nationals took center stage. Billy Decker was flawless on this night as he outlasted Jimmy Phelps and points leader Matt Sheppard to claim win number 4 on the Super DirtCar Series, Dylan Evoy dominated the field for his 3rd career DirtCar Sportsman Series win, Guy Viens held off a determined Dan Older to score his first ever DirtCar Pro Stock Series triumph and Brian Comeau made it back to back wins taking the 25 lap Jole McNalty Memorial Vintage event.

 

Billy Decker and Ryan Arbuthnot led a field of 30 big block modifieds to the green flag with Decker taking over the lead as they headed for turn 1 over Jimmy Phelps, Ryan Arbuthnot, Matt Sheppard and Steve Bernard. The first yellow flew for Mario Clair who slid off the track in turn 4 while under the same caution a 3 car tangle occurred in turns 1 and 2. On the restart Decker remained in control with Phelps, Arbuthnot, Bernard and now Tim Fuller joining the fight as he charged to 5th from his 14th starting spot. Jimmy Phelps has been strong all year on the series and tonight he made his presence known as he shot by Decker on lap 30 to take over the lead with Decker falling to 2nd while Arbuthnot continued his great run as he completed the top 3. With a fast race track drivers were using the top lane and using it well as Phleps and Decker started to move away from the field, Matt Sheppard wanted to join the fight as he got by Arbuthnot for 3rd on lap 36 and set sail after the top 2 drivers. On lap 44 Shane Pierce spun his car in turn 4 while Mike Maresca experienced the same issue, only in turn 2. On the restart it was Decker Phelps and Sheppard going at it once again over Arbuthnot and now Pat Ward charging to 5th. As the laps wound down and the track changed Jimmy Phelps started to have some issues with the handling of his car which allowed Decker to close in. On lap 83 Billy Decker took over the top spot leaving Phelps and Sheppard to battle for 2nd. With Decker running away from the field it seemed nothing could slow him down but a caution. That’s just what happened on lap 93 as Alain Boisvert made hard contact with the turn 4 wall nearly sending his car upside down. Boisvert was unhurt but his car was heavily damaged. When the green flew Billy Decker charged away and with no challenges from anyone “The Franklin Flyer” would march to victory his 4th of the season and first since Eldora on July. 19th. Jimmy Phelps would cross in 2nd over Matt Sheppard, Ryan Arbuthnot and Danny Johnson.

For additional news visit www.brockvillespeedway.com

Sanders Scores USRA Nationals Win October 12, 2017

Sanders Scores USRA Nationals Win

After months of anticipation and preparation, the I-35 Speedway swung the doors open Thursday for night one of the 4th Annual Summit USRA Nationals.

 
From the outside of the front row, 2014 USRA Nationals winner Rodney Sanders of Happy, Texas, led all 20 laps for a $500 score while C.A. Nix, who sits second in national points, came out on top of a race-long duel with Derrick Hicks for the runner-up spot on the podium.

Stormy Scott passed a dozen of his fellow drives en route to a fourth-place finish while 2014 Out-Pace USRA B-Mod national champ Chad Clancy rounded out the top five finishers.

John Allen was sixth Minnesota’s Dustin Sorensen took seventh, Lake Ozark Speedway track champion Ryan Middaugh earned eighth-place money, Adam Kates raced from 20th to ninth and Tri-State Speedway’s 2017 track champion Trevor Latham wound up in the 10th spot.

For more news visit www.usraracing.com

Sheppard Wins Super Dirt Week October 8, 2017

Sheppard Wins Super Dirt Week

OSWEGO, NY — Oct. 8, 2017 — The Billy Whittaker Cars 200 certainly lived up to the hype. In just over two hours’ time and 200 laps, everyone in attendance at Oswego Speedway for NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week was treated to everything they could have wanted with drama, frustration, heartbreak and celebration. A classic superhero battle between Super Matt Sheppard and Batman Peter Britten brought the crowd to their feet as Sheppard made a bold move on Britten in the last lap to pick up his second NAPA Super DIRT Week victory.

Sheppard started his quest for the NAPA Super DIRT Week sweep after securing the pole on Thursday. Sheppard then visited Victory Lane in one of the Big-Block Modified Triple 30s during Camping World Friday Night Lights. On Saturday, Sheppard added one more piece to the puzzle with a 358 Modified victory in the Great Outdoors RV 150.

Finally, under a warm, sunny day, the 41-car field of Big-Block Modifieds took the Green at Oswego Speedway. The Waterloo, NY driver jumped out to an early lead and showed the way. As the race hit the quarter mark, the 5/8th-mile started to take rubber and teams began adjusting their strategies to adapt to the track conditions.

As the afternoon started to tick away, however, the weather changed, effectively changing the conditions of the racetrack and the dynamic of the Billy Whittaker Cars 200.

“The track did a 180 — all of a sudden a fresh-tire race instead of a track-position race,” said Sheppard.

Shortly after the halfway mark of the 200-lapper, the drama started to kick up a notch in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200. The harder tire compounds started to peel away the rubber embedded into the clay racing surface, and drivers were able to maneuver around Oswego Speedway.

“Around the lap 100 mark, many guys came in and put on 400 compound tires,” said Larry Wight. “You used to see it at Rolling Wheels Speedway where the hard tires peels the rubber off the track. Then you have to come back in and put the soft tire back on, and then you can run around again.”

The Bat signal went out and Peter Britten, who was the first to venture to the outside groove, made his way to the lead from the 25th starting spot on lap 105.

As Britten was making his way to the front, Sheppard slipped as far back as tenth.

“At that point we were kind of fading back through the field and decided our only option to try to win this thing was to wait until lap 150 to 160 to try and put fresh rubber and try to charge to the front,” said Sheppard.

And that's just what he did. Sheppard returned to the track with fresh rubber on lap 161 in the 20th position. From there, the charge was on. Ten laps later, Sheppard was up to ninth. A lap 171 Red Flag for Carey Terrance bunched the field together, a blessing for Sheppard.

As the race for the lead between Wight and Britten heated up, Sheppard worked his way into the top five.

A turning point in the entire Super DIRT Car Series Point Standings occurred when Billy Decker brought out the caution flag with 20 to go. Decker’s dreadful afternoon continued while simultaneously allowing Sheppard to be on the back bumper of the leaders.

On the ensuing restart, Sheppard continued his charge forward and waged war with 5-time and defending Billy Whittaker Cars 200 Winner, Stewart Friesen for third.

Sheppard took over third and closed in on Wight and Britten as lapped traffic became hectic. Britten was held up significantly by the lapped car of Adam Roberts allowing Wight and Sheppard to close in.

The capacity crowd at Oswego Speedway came to their feet as Wight took the lead momentarily before Britten muscled back ahead. Britten tried to maneuver around the lapped car of Kenny Tremont, and Sheppard went where Sheppard wasn’t, the outside.

“I could get around the bottom and Peter’s spotter must have been telling [Britten] and [Britten] decided he was going to protect the bottom,” added Sheppard. “I knew I probably couldn’t drive around him in Turns 3 and 4 and my only shot would be in Turns 1 and 2 and I got a pretty clean run in there and the car stuck. I got enough momentum to drive around the outside of him and cleared him on the backstretch.”

Exiting Turn 2 with the lead, Sheppard needed to hit his marks for the final two corners.

“What an unbelievable feeling getting into Turn 3. I kept telling myself, 'don’t mess this up. Let’s get this back to the checkered flag,'” said Matt Sheppard.

With nothing but daylight in front of him, Sheppard soared across the finish line getting the best of Batman, capturing his second NAPA Super DIRT Week title.

“There’s really no way to describe it but heartbreaking,” said Britten. “Congrats to Matt Sheppard. He’s an amazing driver and an amazing talent. Their whole team is fantastic obviously a deserving effort but I feel our team really would have been deserving efforts too. Ray Graham gave us everything that we needed to win. Troyer Racecars and Enders Motors; hell of a combination.”

With his 11th victory on the Super DIRTcar Series, Matt Sheppard recaptured the points lead over Billy Decker and is knocking on the door of setting a new record for most wins in a season that he previously set during the 2016 season.

For more news visit www.superdirtcarseries.com

Williamson Upsets Field at Utica-Rome October 5, 2017

Williamson Upsets Field at Utica-Rome

VERNON, NY – The DIRTcar 358-Modifieds hit the track at Utica-Rome for a pregame shootout leading into NAPA Super DIRT Week XLVI festivities. Mat Williamson meticulously wove his way through the field from his 13th starting position to claim an impressive win at Utica- Rome Speedway after 100 laps.

“20 laps into this I was ready to pull into the pits and call ‘er a night,” said Williamson. “We were running with 15th, 16th, 17th place cars. We were terrible the first 50 laps and then it was almost like we had a jet button in this thing and turned it on.”

On lap 60 of the 100-lap event, Williamson was not even a contender for the lead as he hadn’t yet appeared in the top-10. He began working through the traffic on the low side of the dirt oval quickly making up time and passing cars along the way. He passed Stewart Friesen to claim the lead on lap 89.

Friesen is the record holder of Utica- Rome’s All-Time Modified Wins, All-Time Dirt Modified Wins, and Big Block Dirt Modified Wins. Williamson also passed by the 2017 Utica-Rome track champion, Matt Sheppard who was running second at the time before he was sidelined to mechanical failures on lap 87.

“Hats off to Mat and his whole crew,” said Friesen. “They are just a bunch of great racers and I got to watch him grow up. That race was pretty neat. I was cruising along there and I knew we were in trouble when we couldn’t get the lappers out of the way quick enough. We were really, really good at the start but after that we were searching around and then it was lights out but still a good way to start the week.”

Erick Rudolph joined Friesen and Williamson to complete the podium at Utica- Rome Speedway on Tuesday evening.

For additional news visit www.uticaromespeedway.com