Reutimann, Balough join today’s superstars to help kick off ‘Racing’s Biggest Party’
From the inaugural winner in 1972 to the most recent driver to take the checkered flag, NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week celebrated 50 years of history on Thursday by honoring past champions of the event.
After each former winner — from 1972 winner Buzzie Reutimann to 2021 winner Mat Williamson — was introduced to the crowd, 13 of those superstars raced against each other in a 25-lap special event showcasing the event’s legends.
With Reutimann giving the call to start their engines and four-time winner Gary Balough pacing the field in his iconic #112 “Batmobile” it was a night all in attendance will remember.
Stewart Friesen, the last driver to win the on Syracuse’s Moody Mile at the New York State Fairgounds and the first driver to win after Super DIRT Week shifted to Oswego Speedway, took advantage of a four-car invert following Time Trials and jumped out to lead the pack.
Two-time Super Dirt Week Champion Matt Sheppard wanted some of the action and was hot on Friesen’s heels by Lap 2 after passing Billy Dunn.
The Super DIRTcar Series standouts remained out in front of the field with Sheppard challenging Friesen in the corners of the 5/8-mile dirt-covered Steel Palace. Ultimately, Friesen held off the hard-charging Waterloo, NY driver to win.
“It was fun, it was just an honor to be a part of that,” said Friesen, of Sprakers, NY. “A lot of great car owners and sponsors I’ve driven for led to that. It was really cool to be out there with all those guys and to win it was even more special.”
Billy Dunn, the 2013 Super Dirt Week champion, found a rhythm after being passed by Sheppard and managed to drive a solid race to round out the podium.
“We haven’t done a whole lot of Big Block racing lately,” Dunn said. “We were really comfortable. I was really surprised at our Time Trial lap. We really didn’t have enough to hang with Matt and Stew [Friesen], but it was a really good run.”
Two-time defending Super DIRT Week champion Mat Williamson finished fourth and Larry Wight finished in fifth.
Friday the Big Block Modified action will continue with the Billy Whittaker Cars and Trux 200 Time Trials, where the top-six finishers will be locked into Sunday’s championship race. It will be followed by three 25-lap Qualifying Heats.
Past Champions Race Results (25 Laps): 1. 44-Stewart Friesen; 2. 9S-Matt Sheppard; 3. 49-Billy Dunn; 4. 88-Mat Williamson; 5. 99L-Larry Wight; 6. 19-Tim Fuller; 7. 43-Jimmy Horton; 8. 115-Kenny Tremont Jr; 9. 91-Billy Decker; 10. 39-Vic Coffey; 11. 20-Brett Hearn; 12. 17-Richie Tobias Jr; 13. 27J-Danny Johnson; 14. (DNS) 19B-Kenny Brightbill