LIVE UPDATES 10/13: Sunday At NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week


SYRACUSE, NY – Oct. 13, 2013 – The Big Day has arrived – the grand finale of NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLI at the one-mile New York State Fairgrounds – and live updates are available by clicking the ‘Read More’ link below.


Headlining the afternoon’s action is DIRTcar big-block Modified racing’s most prestigious event, the Syracuse 200. A $50,000 top prize will go to the winner of the race, which is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.


Today’s card also includes two big-block Modified Last Chance Qualifiers plus the Pro Stock Championship 25.


Be sure to refresh your browser regularly to read the most up-to-date results, news and notes from Sunday at NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week…


Syracuse 200 results


6:05 p.m. – As the celebration continues in the pit area for Billy Dunn, officials have released the finish of the Syracuse 200. Click here for the results


What a finish


5:50 p.m. – Dunn was in sixth place when the red flag flew on lap 191. Then leader McCreadie pitted before the restart with a flat right-rear tire; Billy Decker ran out of gas on the lap-191 restart moments after Dunn passed him for fourth; second-place Brett Hearn ran out of fuel on lap 193; new second-place driver Jimmy Phelps ran dry on lap 196; and finally, on lap 197, Friesen’s engine took its final sip of fuel, handing the memorable win to the 29-year-old Dunn.


The late-race shuffling left 20-year-old Larry Wight as the runner-up, Ryan Godown in third place, Tim Hindley in fourth place and Duane Howard in fifth.


Below is Dunn’s arrival in Victory Lane….


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It’s Over: Crazy ending lands Dunn in Victory Lane


After an absolutely nuts final nine laps, Billy Dunn, who ran out of fuel leading yesterday’s 358-Modified race on the final lap, ended up in Victory Lane for his first-ever Super DIRTcar Series triumph.


Dunn’s decision to pit on lap 167 was the key to victory. He was able to run the final stages all-out without worrying about fuel — and when leader Stewart Friesen ran dry on lap 197, Dunn’s unbelievable march to the $50,000 prize was complete.


Lap 191: Field rolls off, McCreadie pits


After the caution flag blinked back on to get the field rolling, leader McCreadie pulled into the pits to change a flat right-rear tire. Friesen inherits the top spot, but he has a flat left-front tire.


Rob Bellinger, in ninth place, also rolled into the pits, out of fuel.


Friesen leads Hearn, Phelps, Decker, Dunn, Fuller, Haers, Wight, Godown, Hindley, Howard, Heffner, Lauubach, Terrance, DJ….


Lap 191: Red flag for restart tangle


As the field was coming back to the green flag several cars deep in the pack came together in turn three, including Ronnie Johnson and Andy Bachetti. Peter Britten, who has just pitted during the previous caution flag, smashed hard into Bachetti’s sideways car.


Reports from the scene say that all drivers have emerged from their cars without injury.


With the field under a red flag to clean up the scene, the remaining cars running are sitting silently in turns one and two, many wondering if they’ll be able to make it to the finish line on fuel with these extra laps.


News from the corner where the leaders are parked also indicate that second-place Friesen has a left-front tire going down so he’s very worried about sitting still for so long.


Lap 191: Another caution for Varin (correcting driver)


Before a lap could be completed on the restart Varin stopped on the inside of turn four, keeping the counter frozen.


When the caution flew,  Friesen was outside of McCreadie in turn three. He’ll have to try again on restart.


Lap 191: Caution for Varin (correcting driver)


A blown right-rear tire on Bobby Varin’s car caused him to stop in turn two, keeping the lap counter frozen. Sowle pitted and then was penalized one lap for running the red flag at the pit exit.


McCreade leads Friesen, Hearn, Phelps, Decker, Dunn, Fuller, Haers, Britten and Bellinger….Dunn is the guy on the move. He knows he can make it on fuel because he pitted late, so these extra laps with the counter frozen are of no concern to him. Can he force the issue and pass the five cars ahead of him?


Lap 185: Caution, laps stop counting


The scenario many drivers dreaded has come: a caution on lap 185 for debris in turn three (sheet metal in the racing groove) means that the race will go past 200 laps. Cautions no longer count; it’s all-green to the finish.


McCreadie leads Friesen, Hearn, Phelps, Decker, Fuller, Bellinger, Haers, Britten, Wight, Dunn, Godown, Flach, Ronnie Johnson, Corellis, Hindley and more….


Lap 184: Who’s gonna make it?


McCreadie is still holding on to the lead, but Friesen is stepping up the pressure. Hearn, Phelps and Decker are well behind.


The driver charging is Billy Dunn, the first guy on the track who pitted during the last caution flag. He clearly has enough fuel to make it, so he’s not holding back. He’s up to 11th.


Lap 170: Restart, then caution


The caution flag returned almost immediately after the race restarted for Jeff Rockefeller, the week’s Cinderella story, who spun in turns one and two.


We’re now closing in on the lap-175 mark, when caution-flag circuits cease to count. There’s no doubt that a lot of drivers are concerned that extra laps will be run, putting their fuel strategies in jeopardy.


McCreadie will lead the field to the green flag ahead of Friesen, Hearn, Phelps, Decker, Fuller, Bellinger, Haers, Britten, Godown, Wight, Ronnie Johnson, Corellis, Flach, Rauscher, Bachetti, Heffner, Howard, Dunn, Hindley, VanInwegen, Varin, Danny Johnson, Laubach, Terrance….


Lap 164: Finally, a caution


Vinnie Vitale spun in turn one, bringingg out a caution flag before lap 175 that teams surely were craving to help their gas mileage.


McCreadie leads Friesen, Hearn, Phelps, Bachetti, Decker (who reportedly has no brakes), Laubach, Heffner, Fuller, Dunn, Bellinger, Howard, Britten, Terrance, Haers, Hindley, Godown, Sowle, Wight, Rockefeller, VanInwegen, Ronnie Johnson, Danny Johnson….


That was until lap 167, when several cars came down pit road to top off their fuel tanks. Bachetti was the first car back on the track, followed by Heffner, Howard, Dunn, VanInwegen, Sowle, Danny Johnson, Rockefeller and Hindley. Carey Terrance also pitted and was the third car back out, but he had to return the following lap to serve a penalty for speeding on pit road. In addition, sixth-place Rick Laubach pitted on lap 169 to change a right-rear tire.


The reshuffled pack now shows McCreadie leading Friesen, Hearn, Phelps, Decker, Fuller, Bellinger, Britten, Haers, Godown, Wight, Ronnie Johnson, Corellis and then the drivers who pitted…..


Lap 160: Still clean-and-green


The green flag has been out since lap 99….what’s the long stretch doing to teams’ fuel mileage? Can they make it 115 laps to the finish — or more if a caution flies during the last 25 circuits?


McCreadie still leads Friesen and Hearn, who have all put a great distance on fourth-place Phelps. Phelps is coasting down the straightaway, trying to conserve fuel as he lets the top three race each other.


Bachetti sits fifth, followed by Horton, Decker, Laubach, Heffner, Fuller, Dunn, Bellinger, Hoard, Britten, Terrance, Haers, Hindley, Godown, Wight, Rockefeller…..


Lap 145: T-Mac leads, Tremont lap down after pitting


Leader Kenny Tremont pulled onto pit road on lap 135 under green, apparently hoping to refuel quickly and get back on the track without losing a lap. Unfortunately, he slowed his car on pit road and lost precious time before refiring; when he pulled back on the track on the backstretch, McCreadie, Friesen and Hearn — the first, second and third place drivers — had passed him, putting him a circuit down.


McCreadie, Friesen and Hearn are running in line 1-3 at lap 145….Tremont had caught them, but he pitted again under green on lap 145, effectively ending his hopes of rallying as he goes another circuit down.


There hasn’t been a caution during the race’s second half yet — an unusual occurrence, which means drivers might be using up more fuel than in past years. Will a caution come after lap 175 to really add to the drama?


Lap 118: Coffey’s tank runs dry


Vic Coffey slowed while running second and pulled in the pits under green, apparently out of fuel (or at least running on fumes). With his crew pushing him down pit road, it took him a couple laps to refire his engine.


At lap 125, Tremont has pulled out to nearly a three-quarter straightaway lead over McCreadie, who is being pressured heavily by Friesen with Hearn lurking back in fourth.


One note: if Coffey was indeed completely out of gas on lap 118, that means he went almost exactly the number of laps that the drivers who pitted on lap 85 will need to go to reach the finish — if not caution flags fly during the last 25 laps. It looks like there could be some fuel-mileage drama in the closing stages.


Lap 110: Story taking shape


With Coffey (hasn’t pitted yet) and Tremont (pitted on lap 44) clearly going to be in need of servicing, the battle for the win might be happening about three-quarters of a straightaway behind them. McCreadie, Hearn and Friesen are running together in positions 3-4-5; all three will have to go 117 laps on a tank of fuel to finish the race — provided there are caution flags during the final 25 circuits, when only green-flag circuits count.


Tremont, by the way, passed Coffey to take the lead on lap 110.


Lap 93: Fourth caution


The caution quickly returned after a lap-87 restart, this time for Dominic Buffalino’s stopped car on the inside of turn two.


Coffey and Tremont remain one-two, followed by McCreadie, Friesen (who grabbed fourth on lap 91), Bachetti, Hearn, Phelps, Decker, Horton, Heffner, Laubach, Bellinger, Fuller, Dunn, Howard, Corellis, Britten, Terrance, Hindley, Flach, VanInwegen, Ward, Marshall, Haers, Godown, Rockefeller, Ronnie Johnson and Danny Johnson (both Johnsons pitted on lap 97)…..


Lap 81: Caution for Scags


The contenders who were in danger of losing a lap were saved by the race’s third caution, which came out after Rich Scagliotta slowed between turns three and four. He was pushed behind pit wall.


As the caution flag flew, Matt Billings pulled onto the cinder track on the backstretch and was pushed into the pits. He has pitted and returned.


The caution led to a flurry of pit activity, with most of the field pulling in for servicing. Only Vic Coffey and Kenny Tremont stayed on the track — and as a result, they’re running one-two for the restart.


McCreadie was the first car off pit road, putting him in third place for the restart and in prime position to win the race if he can go the distance on fuel without letting anyone pass him. Bachetti was next out of the pits, followed by Friesen, Hearn, Phelps, Decker (who picked a bunch of spots), Horton, Laubach, Fuller and Dunn…..


The green flag returned on lap 87….


Lap 80: Contenders ahead of Friesen


With the race continuing to roll under green, Friesen is closing in on some contenders. The next drivers he will attempt to lap are (in order) Peter Britten, Rick Laubach, Kenny Tremont and Billy Decker, who sits in 28th place.


Lap 70: Settling in


A green-flag run that is nearing 30 consecutive laps has seen the field settle into a conservative approach. Friesen continues to lead Hearn, Phelps, Wight, McCreadie, Terrance, Bellinger, Heffner, Fuller and Bachetti…..


Lap 50: Quarter of the way there


At the quarter-race mark, Friesen continues to lead Hearn by about 10 car lengths in open track. Phelps remains third, followed by Wight, McCreadie, Terrance, Bellinger, Heffner, Fuller, Bachetti, Hindley, Dunn, Rockefeller, Horton and Haers.


Lap 41: Caution for Payne; trouble for Sheppard


Eldon Payne slowed on the homestretch, bringing out the race’s second caution flag.


Just before the caution flag flew, fifth-place Matt Sheppard showed smoke from the rearend of his car entering turn one. On the 43rd lap he pulled his car behind pit wall, dealing his DIRTcar Modified championship hopes a major blow.


The first pit stops of the race took place during this caution period (lap 44) — all by cars in the second half of the field. Billy Decker was the first car out of the pits, followed by Ronnie Johnson, Kenny Tremont, Rick Laubach, Chad Brachmann and Peter Britten.


Friesen leads Hearn, Phelps, Wight, McCreadie, Terrance, Bellinger, Heffner, Fuller and Bachetti….


Lap 35: Friesen working traffic


Hearn and Phelps closed up right behind Friesen on lap 31, prompting Friesen to give the slower Vinnie Vitale a bump in the rear end in turn three to let him know he was looking to pass. Friesen made the pass of Vitale the following circuit, and as lap 35 went on the board he held a short edge over Hearn, with Phelps, Wight and Sheppard farther back.


Lap 21: Two cars retire


Both Tom Sears Jr. and Gary Tomkins pulled off the track in turn one, their days apparently done with mechanical trouble.


Lap 15: First caution


Friesen was working lapped traffic, which allowed Hearn to close in, but the race’s first caution flag then flew to get him clear track. Tim Hindley, who was running sixth, slowed momentarily to draw the caution and then refired; he’s will restart where he blended back into the field.


Just before the caution flag flew, Gary Tomkins limped into the pit area, his car silent. But he went to pit road and had returned to the track.


Friesen leads Hearn, Phelps, Wight, Sheppard, McCreadie, Terrance, Rockefeller, Bellinger and Heffner.


Lap 5: Stewy soaring


Stewart Friesen is already flexing his muscle, taking command on the start and holding a 10 car length edge on Brett Hearn as lap five goes in the books. Phelps runs third, followed by Sheppard and Wight.


Pace Laps: First casualty


Hebert’s crew was unable to refire their machine, forcing his crew to push the car behind pit wall just as the starting field comes by the grandstand for a four-wide pace lap.


Pace Laps: Trouble for Hebert


Quebec’s David Hebert has experienced a problem before the field even formed into the four-wide parade lap. His car rolled to a stop in four and has been pushed to the pit area, where his team is feverishly working to refire the machine. One crew member has dived inside the cockpit in an effort to find the problem.


The sound of racing


2:30 p.m. – Engines have fired and the 45-car field is now pulling onto the track for pace laps.


Moments away


2:20 p.m. – Drivers have posed for the traditional group photo on the stage and are now back at their cars strapping in for duty. After the national anthems are sung, the command to start engines will be given.


Getting ready


2 p.m. – The starting field is lined up on pit road and drivers are sitting on the inside wall awaiting their introduction to the crowd as opening ceremonies get rolling.


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Lining up


1:50 p.m. – Big-block Modified teams are now pushing their cars out of their pit stalls and into a single-file line on pit road in advance of today’s Syracuse 200. Under partly cloudy skies with comfortable temperatures in the low 70s, driver introductions on the stage will soon be starting.


There’s a slightly different wrinkle to this year’s 200. There is no mandatory pit stop this year, but caution-flag laps will not count for the last 25 laps, setting up a situation where teams will be gambling if they put in just enough fuel to make the 200-lap distance.


Yetman gets job done


1:25 p.m. – Rob Yetman regained the lead from Pete Stefanski on a lap-14 restart and marched on to win the DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship 25.


It was the first-ever NAPA Super DIRT Week victory for Yetman, whose best previous finish in the Pro Stock event was second.


Stefanski finished second, followed by Glen Forward, Francois Adam and Dave Bissonnette, who unofficially has clinched the 2013 DIRTcar Pro Stock points championship.


Pro Stock race restarting


12:55 p.m. – The DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship 25 will soon be going back green after being red-flagged for about a half-hour due to a grinding multi-car, opening-lap crash on the backstretch.


Getting the worst of the incident was Ronnie Tyo of Cornwall, Ont., who slid sideways over the inside berm, slammed an angled concrete Jersey barrier positioned there to protect officials and rolled onto his roof. He squeezed out of his car and appeared shaken as safety crews arrived at the scene, but reports are that he did suffer any significant injuries.


Also involved was Mile Campbell of N. Bennington, Vt., who was part of the chain-reaction pileup away from Tyo’s flip. He was alert and talking to safety crews but was removed from the cockpit for transport to a local hospital for observation.


Syracuse 200 lineup complete


12:25 p.m. – The Syracuse 200 starting lineup will number 45 cars. In addition to the four transfers from the Last Chance Qualifiers, Super DIRTcar Series provisional spots went to Peter Britten, Rich Scagliotta and Tim Currier; Eldon Payne received the 44th starting spot for being the top qualifier from time trials who did not make the field; and Vince Vitale will start 45th thanks to capturing the ‘Win & You’re In’ big-block feature last night at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park.


In related news, Kenny Tremont, who is scheduled to start 31st in the 200, will have to drop to the rear for the green flag because he changed the motor that he used to qualify for the event. He lost oil pressure during his heat race on Friday and decided to change the powerplant for safety’s sake.


Syracuse 200 Starting Lineup:

Row 1: Stewart Friesen/Brett Hearn
Row 2: Jimmy Phelps/Jeff Rockefeller
Row 3: Matt Sheppard/Carey Terrance
Row 4: Larry Wight/Rob Bellinger
Row 5: Matt Billings/Tim McCreadie
Row 6: Tim Hindley/Dave Rauscher
Row 7: J.R. Heffner/Tim Fuller
Row 8: Billy VanInwegen/Billy Dunn
Row 9: Tom Sears Jr./Justin Haers
Row 10: Andy Bachetti/Jimmy Horton
Row 11: Danny Johnson/Keith Flach
Row 12: Duane Howard/Gary Tomkins
Row 13: Bobby Varin/Alan Johnson
Row 14: Ronnie Johnson/Donnie Corellis
Row 15: Dominic Buffalino/Ryan Godown
Row 16: Kenny Tremont/Chad Brachmann
Row 17: Vic Coffey/Dale Planck
Row 18: Rick Laubach/Pat Ward
Row 19: Eddie Marshall/Billy Decker
Row 20: JaMike Sowle/David Hebert
Row 21: Peter Britten/Rich Scagliotta
Row 22: Tim Currier/Eldon Payne
Row 23: Vinnie Vitale


Full-fender fury coming up


12 noon – The 34-car field for the DIRT Pro Stock Championship 25 is beginning to line up on pit road and will head on the track shortly. The lineup is below:


DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship 25 Lineup


Row 1: Rob Yetman/Pete Stefanski
Row 2: Glen Forward/Jocelyn Roy
Row 3: Francois Adam/Stephane Lebrun
Row 4: Byron Wescott/Roch Aubin
Row 5: Luke Horning/Dave Bissonnette
Row 6: Jay Corbin/Ghislain Valade
Row 7: P.J. Peters/Dean Charbonneau
Row 8: Nick Stone/Sid Harmer Jr.
Row 9: George Renaud/Pete Broderson
Row 10: Dave Rogers/Daniel Desnoyers
Row 11: Rich Colseanti/Jonathan Routhier
Row 12: Dan Older/Mark Effner
Row 13: Marc Lalonde/Gus Hollner
Row 14: Ronnie Tyo/Nick Hilt
Row 15: Sid Harner/Paul Engwer
Row 16: Chris Cunningham/Sean Corr
Row 17: Jean-Pierre Labelle/Mile Campbell


Decker’s in


11:45 a.m. – Billy Decker cruised to victory in the second 15-lap Last Chance Qualifier, earnning his way into the Syracuse 200 for the 27th consecutive year.


Quebec’s David Hebert finished second to earn the second transfer spot.


Tim Currier finished third, but he’ll move on to the 200 thanks to his Super DIRTcar Series provisional.


Second Last Chance Qualifier Finish (15 laps): 1. Billy Decker, 2. David Hebert, 3. Tim Currier, 4. Eldon Payne, 5. Brian Swarthout, 6. Mike Perrotte, 7. Bob McGannon, 8. Rex King Jr., 9. Darwin Greene, 10. Marcus Dinkins, 11. Gary Wagner


A vet & a rook


11:30 a.m. – Eddie Marshall won the first 15-lap Last Chance Qualifier, putting him in the Syracuse 200 starting field for the 30th time in his career. He holds the record for most 200 starts without a victory.


Also transferring to the 200 was young JaMike Sowle, who made a late-race pass to claim the runner-up spot. He will make his first-ever start in the 200.


Rich Scagliotta and Peter Britten finished third and fourth, respectively, and are assured starting spots in the 200 thanks to Super DIRTcar Series provisionals.


Pennsylvania’s Richie Tobias, who won the 1992 Syracuse 200, jumped in fellow Keystone State racer Kevin Albert’s car for the race and finished 12th. He was hoping to become eligible for a past-champion’s provisional, but officials announced that the spot would not be given out this year.


First Last Chance Qualifier Finish (15 laps): 1. Eddie Marshall, 2. JaMike Sowle, 3. Rich Scagliotta, 4. Peter Britten, 5. Brian Sage, 6. Jasmin Leveillee, 7. Scott Flammer, 8. Aaron Jacobs, 9. Vince Vitale, 10. Henry Maier, 11. Dan Humes, 12. Richie Tobias, 13. Roy Bresnahan


How they’ll lineup


11:15 a.m. – Pending the outcome of the twin Last Chance Qualifiers that are currently underway, here’s the lineup for today’s Syracuse 200….


Row 1: Stewart Friesen/Brett Hearn
Row 2: Jimmy Phelps/Jeff Rockefeller
Row 3: Matt Sheppard/Carey Terrance
Row 4: Larry Wight/Rob Bellinger
Row 5: Matt Billings/Tim McCreadie
Row 6: Tim Hindley/Dave Rauscher
Row 7: J.R. Heffner/Tim Fuller
Row 8: Billy VanInwegen/Billy Dunn
Row 9: Tom Sears Jr./Justin Haers
Row 10: Andy Bachetti/Jimmy Horton
Row 11: Danny Johnson/Keith Flach
Row 12: Duane Howard/Gary Tomkins
Row 13: Bobby Varin/Alan Johnson
Row 14: Ronnie Johnson/Donnie Corellis
Row 15: Dominic Buffalino/Ryan Godown
Row 16: Kenny Tremont/Chad Brachmann
Row 17: Vic Coffey/Dale Planck
Row 18: Rick Laubach/Pat Ward
Row 19:
Row 20:
Row 21:
Row 22:
Row 23: Vinnie Vitale (Rolling Wheels Sat. winner)


Small-block post-mortem


11:10 a.m. – Yesterday’s ‘Salute to the Troops’ DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship 150 left three drivers – Billy Dunn, Ronnie Johnson and Stewart Friesen – with crushing defeats.


Dunn, of course, suffered the toughest fate. The 29-year-old appeared headed to the biggest win of his young career after grabbing the lead from Johnson on lap 118 – until the final circuit, that is. His car’s engine shut off entering turn one due to a dry fuel cell and no amount of wiggling he attempted could refire it, so he could only watch helplessly as Brett Hearn sailed by to win the race for the fifth time in his career.


“What can you do?” Dunn said while standing sullenly in the pit area a couple hours after his heartbreaking 24th-place finish. “We knew it would be close (to pit on lap 24 and reach the finish on a tank of fuel), but you have to try it. To have a shot to win, you have to pit with everybody when that first caution comes out. We just fell a little short.”


Johnson also felt the sting of disappointment after the 150. Two problems – the loss of two-way radio communication with his spotter and crew and a cut left-front tire – combined to snatch away what could have been the biggest triumph ever for the 39-year-old son of two-time Syracuse 200 winner Jumpin’ Jack Johnson.


After R.J. led the race’s first 23 laps and was the first car back on the track after pitting on lap 24, he lost radio communication with his team around lap 40 because his earpiece came out of his ear. He navigated his way cleanly around the treacherous Moody Mile without his spotter’s assistance well enough to land in the lead on lap 98 after Friesen dropped out, but not having an extra set of eyes might have cost him when Dunn moved in to challenge.


On lap 118, as Johnson followed a lapped car into turn three, he was surprised by Dunn’s move to the inside. Before Johnson could react Dunn was ahead and passing contact cut Johnson’s left-front tire, forcing him to pull off three circuits later.


There was unmistakable dejection among Johnson and his close-knit team, which is fielded by the personable husband-and-wife combination of Alton and Carol Palmer. But as is the style of the classy team, they accepted the loss with grace.


“We’re not mad at anybody,” said Carol Palmer, “just sad for Ronnie. We care so much for him – I mean, he calls me ‘Mama Carol’ and we are so close. He has so much pressure on him being Jack’s son, and he did such a great job, especially being on his own (without a radio) for so long.”


Friesen, meanwhile, might have had the race’s dominant car. After his spectacular rally just to make the race with a third-place finish in a Friday-night heat – because a blown motor on Thursday prevented him from making a time-trial lap, he started last in the prelim using a motor borrowed from Capital District racer Jeremy Wilder – Friesen flexed some serious muscle in the 150. Following his lap-24 pit stop, he passed Johnson for position (third place) on lap 59 and found himself sitting pretty in the lead when Erick Rudolph pitted on lap 74.


But as Friesen cruised out front on lap 97, his car’s driveline failed. His hopes of becoming the ninth driver to win both the Syracuse 200 and 358-Modified 150 were dashed.


“We had a great car,” said Friesen. “I just have to thank Kelly and Jeremy Wilder for letting me use their engine. If it wasn’t for them, we would’ve been done on Thursday.”



Uncharted territory


11 a.m. – Billy Decker has never experienced a NAPA Super DIRT Week quite like this one.


The four-time Syracuse 200 champion finds himself sitting here on Sunday morning not with his car on pit road being prepared for the big race, but readying to head out on the track to attempt to qualify for the 200. Decker lost a motor while running second in a heat race on Friday night, putting him a Last Chance Qualifier on Sunday for what he believes is the first time in his career.


“It took some effort, but we managed to get in one,” quipped Decker, who has started every Syracuse 200 since 1987 (26 consecutive races). “I honestly can’t remember ever having to run the Non-Qualifiers’ Race.”


Indeed, Decker has become virtually a perennial up-front qualifier for the 200, turning the week’s fastest qualifying lap seven times (he sat on the pole position the last two years) and winning a heat race 11 times.


Decker is fortunate in one respect. He’s not eligible for a Super DIRTcar Series provisional because he didn’t run the full tour this year, but he did earn Syracuse 200 ‘preferred starter’ status by winning Tuesday night’s SDS event at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park. The perk that comes with that: Decker moves to the front of a Last Chance Qualifier (he starts outside pole in this morning’s second 15-lapper) rather than facing the tough task of taking the green flag deep in the field because he dropped out of Friday’s heat.


Moments away


10:55 a.m. – With DIRTcar Pro Stock practice close to its conclusion, the first of this morning’s two 15-lap big-block Last Chance Qualifiers will be rolling onto the track shortly. At least two cars will qualify from each of the two races, depending on how many drivers holding provisional stating spots earn transfer spots.


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