Danny Johnson Turns Back Hearn’s Challenges To Capture DIRTcar 358-Modified Series 75 At Rolling Wheels Raceway Park
Defending Small-Block Tour Champion Grabs Points Lead With Second Victory Of Season
ELBRIDGE, NY—Oct. 6, 2011 – By Jamie Weaknecht/DIRTcar Racing P.R. (Bobby Armbruster photo) – Another chapter was added to the greatest rivalry in DIRTcar Modified racing after Danny Johnson held off Brett Hearn’s relentless challenge to capture Thursday night’s DIRTcar 358-Modified Series ‘Fast Track 75’ at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park.
Rochester, N.Y.’s Johnson drove Mike Payne’s Waste Management/Honeoye Auto Parts No. 27J past Stewart Friesen of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., for the lead on lap 40 and never relinquished the top spot, but he had to turn back a furious late-race challenge from Sussex, N.J.’s Hearn to reach Victory Lane for the second time this season on the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series.
Hearn settled for runner-up money and Friesen crossed the finish line in third. Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who also competed in Thursday evening’s World of Outlaws Late Model Series action at the Wheels, placed fourth and being unable to pass Friesen late in the distance and Chad Brachmann of Sanborn, N.Y., completed the top five.
The $4,000 triumph vaulted Johnson from third to first in the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series points standings. He ended the evening leading the championship battle by 15 points over Danny O’Brien of Kingston, Ont., who finished sixth, and 31 markers over Carey Terrance of Akwesasne, N.Y., who brought the points lead into the night but could only manage a 14th-place finish.
“Any win you get a win during Super DIRT Week is special,” said Johnson, who has been winning features during DIRTcar Racing Northeast’s biggest spectacle at the Syracuse Mile and surrounding short tracks for over two decades. “The track was fantastic tonight and we were able to get the job done.”
Thursday night’s fast-timer Billy Dunn of Watertown, N.Y., paced the 30-car starting field to the green flag and jumped into the early lead. But Friesen, the defending champion of the SEF 200 at the New York State Fairgrounds, took advantage of a lap-two restart to grab the point with a powerful outside move.
Friesen appeared to be the car to beat as he immediately distanced himself from Dunn and the rest of the field. But soon Johnson entered the picture from his seventh starting position, using the cushion to pass Dunn for third on lap 10 and then slowly reeling in Hearn as the leaders negotiated lapped traffic.
While Hearn and Johnson battled for second, Friesen had his hands full as Todd Burley of Spencerport, N.Y., and Todd Stone of Middlebury, Vt., battled for position directly in front of the leader. Friesen’s edge quickly evaporated as a result, and by lap 35 the top-three cars were racing under a blanket.
A slip by Hearn allowed Johnson to move into the second on lap 35. Shortly thereafter, on lap 40, Johnson finally was able to complete the pass of Friesen for the lead.
Hearn also passed Friesen, snatching the second spot when Friesen hopped the turn-two cushion trying to retake the lead.
From there it was a battle between DIRTcar Modified goliaths as Johnson utilized the outside groove while Hearn ran the bottom of the track. A lap-51 caution flag – the last of four slowdowns during the race – dulled Hearn’s momentum and allowed Johnson to build a healthy edge on the restart, but a few circuits Hearn’s Madsen Motorsports car came back to life and he began catching Johnson once again.
By lap 60 Hearn had run down Johnson and pulled to the inside of his longtime rival. The two drivers proceeded to run side-by-side until lap 65, when Johnson used a great run on the outside to inch ahead of Hearn and then slam the door on his challenger.
Hearn then attempted to run the outside, but he faltered just enough to let build a 10-car-length lead that he was able to carry to the checkered flag.
“It’s great racing with (Hearn),” said Johnson, who is seeking his second consecutive DIRTcar 358-Modified Series title. “We have a lot of history so people make a big deal of it when we race together – and it definitely feels good when we beat him.”
Forty-six cars entered the evening’s action.
Heat winners were Larry Welling of Lake Side, N.Y., Dunn, Mario Clair of St-Edwards, N.Y., and Hearn. The consolations were captured by Travis Braun of Jordan Station, Ont., and Frankie Caprara of Watertown, N.Y.
Just two events remain on the 2011 DIRTcar 358-Modified Series scheduled, including the prestigious Nationwide Insurance 150 on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 8) at the New York State Fairgrounds that will culminate Super DIRT Week XL activities for the small-block division.
For more information on Super DIRT Week, visit www.superdirtweekonline.com.
DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Race No. 7
Rolling Wheels Raceway – Elbridge, NY
Oct. 6, 2011
Following is the finishing order of the ‘Fast Track 75’ (finishing position, driver, hometown, laps completed, money won, reason out – if any):
1. Danny Johnson, Rochester, NY, 75, $4,000
2. Brett Hearn, Sussex, NJ, 75, $2,500
3. Stewart Friesen, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ONT, 75, $1,500
4. Tim McCreadie, Waterloo, NY, 75, $1,200
5. Chad Brachmann, Sanborn, NY, 75, $1,000
6. Danny O’Brien, Kingston, ONT, 75, $800
7. Billy Dunn, Watertown, NY, 75, $700
8. Stephane LaFrance, Casselman, QUE, 75, $600
9. Mat Williiamson, St. Catharines, ONT, 75, $550
10. Dale Planck, Cortland, NY, 75, $500
11. Roy Tarbell, Akwesasne, NY, 75, $450
12. Frankie Caprara, Watertown, NY, 75, $400
13. Mario Clair, St-Edwards, QUE, 75, $375
14. Carey Terrance, Hogansburg NY, 74, $350
15. Tim Jones, Sanborn NY, 74, $325
16. Todd Stone, Middlebury, VT, 74, $300
17. Tommy Flannigan, St. Catharines, ONT, 73, $275
18. Travis Braun, Jordan Station, ONT, 73, $250
19. David Hébert, St-Damase, QUE, 73, $250
20. Chris Raabe, Napanee, ONT, 73, $250
21. Bob Henry, Fulton, NY, 73, $250
22. Justin Wright, Piffard, NY, 56, $250 (Mechanical)
23. Todd Burley, Spencerport, NY, 52, $250 (Pulled Off)
24. Perry Francis, Akwesasne, NY, 49, $250 (Rear End)
25. Alex Tonkin, Carbondale, PA, 48, $250(Mechanical)
26. Scott Kerwin, Ransomville, NY, 38, $250 (Mechanical)
27. Chad Chevalier, Port Colborne, ONT, 37, $250 (Cramps)
28. Larry Welling, Lake Side, NY, 28, $250 (Engine)
29. Frank Cozze, Wind Gap, PA, 14, $250 (Engine)
30. Clayton Benedict, Akwesasne, NY, 0, $250 (Rear End)
Caution Flags: 4 (Laps 1, 2, 15, 51)
Lap Leaders: Dunn (1-2); Friesen (3-39); D. Johnson (40-75)
Heat No. 1 (8 laps – Top 5 Transfer): Larry Welling, Chris Raabe, Frank Cozze, Chad Chevalier, Alex Tonkin, Travis Braun, Justin Wright, Carey Terrance, Tim Currier, Dexter Stacey (DNS), Mike Ward (DNS)
Heat No. 2 (8 laps – Top 5 Transfer): Billy Dunn, Stewart Friesen, Tim McCreadie, Dale Planck, Danny O’Brien, Scott Kerwin, Chris Shultz, Jeff McGinnis, Ted Lamb, Justin Sharp, Bobby Hentschel, Don Mattison
Heat No. 3 (8 laps – Top 5 Transfer): Mario Clair, Stephane LaFrance, Tommy Flannigan, Todd Burley, Tim Jones, Perry Francis, Bob Henry, Rick Richner, David Hébert, Pierre DaGenais, Casey Swamp
Heat No. 4 (8 laps – Top 5 Transfer): Brett Hearn, Danny Johnson, Roy Tarbell, Chad Brachmann, Todd Stone, Frankie Caprara, Mat Williamson, Clayton Benedict, Randy Chrysler, Tony Steiner, Wallace Stacey, Roger Chrysler
Consolation No. 1 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Travis Braun, Perry Francis, Bob Henry, Jeff McGinnis, Rick Richner, Justin Wright, Tim Currier, Pierre DaGenais, Justin Sharp, Casey Swamp, Roger Chrysler, David Hébert, Dexter Stacey (DNS)
Consolation No. 2 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Frankie Caprara, Clayton Benedict, Scott Kerwin, Mat Williamson, Randy Chrysler, Ted Lamb, Tony Steiner, Chris Shultz, Bob Hentschel, Carey Terrance, Wallace Stacey, Don Mattison, Mike Ward (DNS)
DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Points Standings (as of Oct. 6):
1. Danny Johnson 1,723
2. Danny O’Brien 1,708 (-15)
3. Carey Terrance 1,692 (-31)
4. Mat Williamson 1,638 (-85)
5. Mario Clair 1,609 (-114)
6. David Hebert 1,581 (-142)
7. Stephane Lafrance 1,501 (-222)
8. Travis Braun 1,473 (-250)
9. Tommy Flannigan 1,443 (-280)
10. Chad Brachmann 1,326 (-397)