LIVE UPDATES 10/11: NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week
SYRACUSE, NY – Oct. 11, 2013 – A full day of NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week action is rolling at the one-mile New York State Fairgrounds, highlighted by tonight’s S-T-R Trailer Repair ‘Friday Night Lights’ qualifying program.
Eight heat races are scheduled to run tonight: triple 20s for the DIRTcar big-block Modifieds, twin 20s for the 358-Modifieds and – for the first time ever – triple 10s for the Sportsman division.
Before the evening competition, though, there will be plenty of laps turned this afternoon. In addition to practice sessions, the schedule shows time trials for Sportsman (3:05 p.m.) and DIRTcar ‘Futures’ features for the big-blocks, 358-Modifieds, Sportsman and Pro Stocks starting at 4 p.m.
For the latest updates and a variety of news and notes, click the ‘Read More’ link below. Be sure to refresh your browser regularly to see the most up-to-date information.
Hearn, Wight end night with wins
11:30 p.m. – Brett Hearn led from flag-to-flag to win the second big-block 20-lapper and Larry Wight topped the third heat to cap the S-T-R ‘Friday Night Lights’ show.
Hearn led a couple of big-name contenders — Matt Sheppard and Tim McCreadie — across the finish, while Wight slipped by Jimmy Phelps for the lead amid lapped traffic entering turn one with two laps to go in the finale.
DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Heat No. 2 Finish (20 laps): 1. Brett Hearn, 2. Matt Sheppard, 3. Tim McCreadie, 4. J.R. Heffner, 5. Billy VanInwegen, 6. Justin Haers, 7. Danny Johnson, 8. Gary Tomkins, 9. Ronnie Johnson, 10. Ryan Godown, 11. Chad Brachmann, 12. Rick Laubach, 13. Eddie Marshall, 14. Rich Scagliotta, 15. Eldon Payne, 16. Jasmin Leveillee, 17. Kevin Albert, 18. Brian Sage, 19. Mike Perrotte, 20. Aaron Jacobs, 21. Bob Sarkisian, 22. Gary Wagner, 23. Roy Bresnahan (DNS) Mat Williamson, Andrew Krause
DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Heat No. 3 Finish (20 laps): 1. Larry Wight, 2. Jimmy Phelps, 3. Tim Hindley, 4. Carey Terrance, 5. Billy Dunn, 6. Andy Bachetti, 7. Keith Flach, 8. Bobby Varin, 9. Donnie Corellis, 10. Kenny Tremont, 11. Vic Coffey, 12. Pat Ward, 13. David Hebert, 14. Brian Swarthout, 15. JaMike Sowle, 16. Darwin Greene, 17. Marcus Dinkins, 18. Yan Bussiere, 19. Mario Clair, 20. Rex King Jr. (DNS) Neal Williams, John McClelland, Wayne Jelley, John Lutes Jr.
10:25 p.m. – Stewart Friesen dominated the first 20-lap big-block Modified feature, leading all the way and easily outdistancing runner-up Rob Bellinger.
Among the casualties were Billy Decker, who dropped out midway through the race while running second, and Australian Peter Brittain, who was unable to complete a lap.
DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Heat No. 1 Finish (20 laps): 1. Stewart Friesen, 2. Rob Bellinger, 3. Matt Billings, 4. Dave Rauscher, 5. Tim Fuller, 6. Tom Sears Jr., 7. Jimmy Horton, 8. Duane Howard, 9. Alan Johnson, 10. Dominic Buffalino, 11. Jeff Rockefeller, 12. Dale Planck, 13. Willy Decker, 14. Dan Humes, 15. Henry Maier, 16. Bob McGannon, 17. Tim Currier, 18. Billy Decker, 19. Dave Allen, 20. Clement Therrien, 21. Peter Britten, 22. Vince Vitale (DNS) Brandon Sweet, Scott Flammer, Jimmy Blewett
Sportsman heats complete
9:45 p.m. – The triple 10-lap Sportsman heats — new to the Friday-night schedule this year — were won by Brett Wright of East Chatham, N.Y., Jeremy Pitts of Schaghticoke, N.Y., and Mathieu Desjardins of Sorel-Tracy, Que.
DIRTcar Sportsman Heat No. 1 Finish (10 laps): 1. Brett Wright, 2. Cody McPherson, 3. James Henry, 4. Justin House, 5. Ricky Quick, 6. Jessica Power, 7. Ricky Thompson, 8. Steve Bernier, 9. Robert Bublak Jr., 10. Steve Hicks, 11. Dave Marcuccilli, 12. Ryan Stabler, 13. Corey Winters, 14. Taylor Lamb, 15. Jack Gentile, 16. Jon Miller, 17. Troy Arnold (DNS) Gary Lindberg, Matt Farnham
DIRTcar Sportsman Heat No. 2 Finish (10 laps): 1. Jeremy Pitts, 2. Jenna David, 3. Dave Constantino, 4. Sammy Reakes IV, 5. Eric Giguere, 6. Martin Pelletier, 7. Matt Janiak, 8. Boyd MacTavish, 9. Chris Hulsizer, 10. Bob Reis, 11. Brent Kelsey, 12. Joey Ladouceur, 13. Robert Delormier, 14. Troy VanAllen, 15. Dan Wiesner, 16. Chris Herbison, 17. Kevin Ward (DNS) Allen Wills, Sean Letts
DIRTcar Sportsman Heat No. 3 Finish (10 laps): 1. Mathieu Desjardins, 2. Steve Barber, 3. Michael Sabia, 4. Corey Wheeler, 5. Mike Maresca, 6. Kevin Wills, 7. Rocky Warner, 8. Ryan Darcy, 9. Jimmy Spellmon, 10. Chris Daugherty, 11. Louie Jackson Jr., 12. Adam Hilton, 13. Jimmy Maier, 14. Chris Thurston, 15. Brett Martin, 16. Shane Pecore, 17. John Aumick (DQ) Brad Rouse
A new Johnson in Victory Lane
9 p.m. – Marc Johnson of Guilderland, N.Y. — no relation to former Syracuse 200-winning Johnsons Jack, Alan and Danny — inherited the lead on lap 18 when race-long pacesetter Chris Raabe slowed on the backstretch and raced on to win the second 20-lap 358-Modified heat race.
It was the first-ever NAPA Super DIRT Week victory for Johnson, who beat Canadian Mat Williamson to the finish line by 0.964 of a second. Stewart Friesen finished third, charging forward from the last starting spot (28th) after faililng to log a qualifying time on Thursday due to a blown engine.
Wayne Jelley, who finished 14th, took the final transfer position to the 358-Modified Championship 150.
DIRTcar 358-Modified Heat No. 2 Finish (20 laps): 1. Marc Johnson, 2. Mat Williamson, 3. Stewart Friesen, 4. Billy Dunn, 5. Erick Rudolph, 6. Pat Ward, 7. Kenny Tremont, 8. Willy Decker, 9. Tim Fuller, 10. Andy Bachetti, 11. Jimmy Horton, 12. Andrew Krause, 13. Jimmy Blewett, 14. Wayne Jelley, 15. Chad Brachmann, 16. Clement Therrien, 17. Tim Currier, 18. Ryan Arbuthnot, 19. Scott Flammer, 20. Tommy Flannigan, 21. Neal Williams, 22. Olden Dwyer, 23. Chris Raabe, 24. Matt Billings, 25. Chad Jeseo, 26. Jeff Rockefeller, 27. Scott Boudinot, 28. Gary Wagner (DNS) Dan Humes, Dominic Buffalino, John Lutes Jr.
Big win for Carey
8:10 p.m. – Carey Terrance outgunned front-row mate Ronnie Johnson for the lead at the start of the first 20-lap 358-Modified heat race and never looked back en route to his first-ever triumph at the Syracuse Mile.
Johnson settled for second, 1.653 seconds behind Terrance at the finish.
The race sent 12 more drivers to the 358-Modified Championship 150. Donnie Corellis, who finished 15th, took the final transfer spot.
DIRTcar 358-Modified Heat No. 1 Finish (20 laps): 1. Carey Terrance, 2. Ronnie Johnson, 3. Tim McCreadie, 4. Billy Decker, 5. Tim Sears Jr., 6. Brett Hearn, 7. Larry Wight, 8. J.R. Heffner, 9. Jeff Sykes, 10. Alain Boisvert, 11. Mario Clair, 12. Dale Planck, 13. David Hebert, 14. Rick Laubach, 15. Donnie Corellis, 16. Brandon Sweet, 17. Bob McGannon, 18. Kevin Albert, 19. Yan Bussiere, 20. Jasmin Leveillee, 21. Brian McDonald, 22. Darwin Greene, 23. John McClelland, 24. Rich Scagliotta, 25. Henry Maier, 26. Brian Swarthout, 27. Aaron Jacobs (DNS) Bob Sarkisian, Ryan Godown
7:40 p.m. – The first of tonight’s eight heat races just pulled onto the Moody Mile. First up are the twin 20s for the 358-Modifieds.
6:50 p.m. – Jeff Rockefeller (big-block Modifieds), Andrew Krause (358-Modifieds), Ricky Quick (Sportsman), Mike Maresca (Sportsman) and Byron Wescott (Pro Stocks) were victorious in Friday’s series of DIRTcar ‘Futures’ feature events.
For results from the ‘Futures’ events, click here.
Teenager on the point
5:55 p.m. – Sixteen-year-old Brett Wright of East Chatham, N.Y., earned the pole position for Saturday’s DIRTcar Sportsman Championship 30 with a lap of 33.605 seconds in today’s time trials.
Chris Herbison of Mallorytown, Ont., was second-fastest at 33.619 seconds to secure the outside pole for the headline event.
Complete results from time trials can be seen by clicking here.
4:40 p.m. – Pennsylvania Modified star Duane Howard was planning all along to attend this year’s NAPA Super DIRT Week – but as a crew guy, not a driver. He’s ended up as both.
With Howard agreeing to help his friend, fellow Pennsy racer Kevin Albert, in his Syracuse assault, he went to Albert’s shop last Thursday to assist the team in making final preparations. It was at then that Howard found out that he would be competing at the Mile as Albert’s teammate.
“I got told I was racing,” quipped Howard, a huge winner for the last two decades on the Big Diamond Raceway/Grandview Speedway 358-Modified circuit. “Kevin was going to run both the big-block and small-block, but they decided it would be better for him to just concentrate on the small-block.”
This is Howard’s first NAPA Super DIRT Week appearance since 2008, when he drove to a career-best third-place finish in the Syracuse 200. He’s made six other starts in the event, all coming between 1992 and ’99.
“Right now we’re a little underpowered so we’re gonna need a perfect race car,” said Howard, who is driving a Troyer mount. “But if we can make it in the race, I think we could shoot for a top 10 if everything goes right.”
Howard also mentioned that he plans to enter the season-ending Super DIRTcar Series big-block Modified doubleheader during the World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte on Nov. 7-9 in a car fielded by Pennsylvania’s Dick Biever.
In a hole
4:10 p.m. – Veteran big-blocker Eddie Marshall is going to have to hustle if he hopes to makes his 30th career start in the Syracuse 200 this weekend.
The longtime regular at New York’s Lebanon Valley Speedway lost his primary big-block powerplant during the last set of hot laps on Thursday, leaving him unable to turn a qualifying lap. His team left the Fairgrounds at 3 p.m. yesterday and worked until nearly 11 p.m. installing a backup powerplant at engine builder Kevin Enders’s shop in Phoenix, N.Y.
Marshall, of course, badly craves a victory in the Syracuse 200. He won the old Labor Day State Fair Championship event at the Mile twice, but he holds the record for most Syracuse 200 starts without a win. The 55-year-old’s top finishes are a fourth in 1991 and fifth in 2004.
Since Marshall did not record a qualifying lap yesterday, he will start at the rear of tonight’s second big-block Triple 20.
Problems for the polesitters
3:55 p.m. – There’s a strange synergy going on between the pole position winners for the Syracuse 200 and 358-Modified 150.
In an odd coincidence, big-block polesitter Stewart Friesen didn’t run a qualifying lap with his 358-Modified due to a blown engine, and 358-Mod fast-timer Ronnie Johnson failed to complete a big-block qualifying circuit after losing his powerplant at the start of time trials.
And even more notable, both drivers brought in backup engines from New York’s Capital District.
Friesen, of course, sent two crewmen to fellow driver Jeremy Wilder’s shop near Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway yesterday to retrieve a small-block engine that Wilder’s father offered to let Friesen use for the remainder of the week. Johnson and his car owners Alton and Carol Palmer, meanwhile, had a couple team members who were leaving for Syracuse last night grab a big-block engine from the Palmers’ garage – which, incidentally, isn’t all that far from Wilder’s – and bring it along to the Mile.
Johnson and Co. put the backup big-block engine – a piece he’s used for weekly racing this season at Utica-Rome Speedway – in the team’s No. 2 this morning. They’re doing some touchup work under the hood this afternoon in preparation for some hot laps at 6 o’clock tonight.
This is the second consecutive year that Johnson’s NAPA Super DIRT Week big-block effort has started with engine woes. Last year he lost his primary engine – the same motor he hurt yesterday – on the first lap of practice.
Since neither Friesen nor Johnson logged a qualifying lap in 358-Mod and big-block time trials, respectively, both will be starting at the rear of those divisional heats.
Joe Marotta: 42 years at Syracuse
2:40 p.m. – There are plenty of fixtures at NAPA Super DIRT Week. One, of course, is announcer Joe Marotta, whose voice has been calling the races at the Moody Mile every year since DIRT Motorsports founder Glenn Donnelly began running the event in 1972.
Yes, Marotta, 71, is here at the fall classic for the 42nd consecutive year. In recognition of his dedication to the event, the central New York native was presented the inaugural Buzzie Reutimann Outstanding Contribution to NAPA Super DIRT Week Award during yesterday’s annual Media Day Luncheon in the infield press house.
Named in honor of the legendary driver who won the first two Syracuse 200s, the Reutimann award will be given annually to a person who has played a pivotal role in the success of NAPA Super DIRT Week over the years. The names of the winners will be displayed forever at the DIRTcar Modified Hall of Fame in Weedsport, N.Y.
Marotta became choked up when DIRTcar Northeast’s Jeff Hachmann handed him the award in front of the assembled media and event sponsors.
“I’ve never been at a loss for words,” said Marotta, struggling to speak like announcers rarely do. “Thank you.”
Marotta joked that he hopes the award “isn’t like getting a gold watch and then having to retire,” but the reality is that he’s far from ready to hang up his microphone. He still enjoys calling weekly DIRTcar events and especially looks forward to NAPA Super DIRT Week, which he’s been a part of for more than half his life.
Since Marotta has perfect attendance at NAPA Super DIRT Week, he was asked to come up with a quick top-five list of memories from the past 41 years. Here’s what he produced:
1 – Buzzie Reutimann winning the inaugural big-block Modified spectacular in 1972. “I remember the buzz in the air and the rain that fell all week. You could tell it was the start of something big.”
2 – Danny Johnson’s first Syracuse 200 in 1997. “I saw Danny start smoking going into turn three with about three to go. His motor finally unloaded just as he came across the finish line to finally win the race.”
3 – Kenny Tremont’s long-awaited first Syracuse 200 triumph in 1999. “Kenny and his whole family had tried for so long to win Syracuse and I was so happy to finally see them win it. I remember talking to him before the race about how long he had been trying to win it, and when I talked to him on Paster Wells’s two-way radio on his cool-down lap he said, ‘Joe, we finally did it!’”
4 – Jack Johnson’s Syracuse 200 wins in 1979 and 1984. “Both of Jumpin’ Jack’s wins really stand out for me. In the first one he was the first New Yorker to win it so that was a big deal, and in ’84 I remember letting his son Ronnie (then 10 years old) run one of my Quarter-Midgets at the track (off turn three of the Moody Mile) the night before the 200 and he won the race. I remember Ronnie was wearing Jack’s helmet – and then the next day Jack went out and won the 200.”
5 – Bob McCreadie’s only Syracuse 200 victory in 1986. “I’ll never forget what I said after Bob won that one. Chevrolet was a big sponsor back then and then slogan was ‘The Heartbeat of America,’ and when Bob won I said, ‘He’s certainly been the Heartbeat of the Modified World.’”
Cars, cars, cars
2 p.m. – There are a total of 57 Sportsman and 32 Pro Stocks entered for competition this weekend, pushing this weekend’s total car count among four divisions to the neighborhood of 200.
Updated entry lists for the four classes can be seen by clicking here.
Building toward a big night
1:45 p.m. – With Sportsman and Pro Stock drivers now getting their first practice laps of NAPA Super DIRT Week on the Moody Mile, aniticipation continues to build for tonight’s S-T-R Trailer Repair ‘Friday Night Lights’ program featuring eight heat races.
The lineups for the three 10-lap Sportsman heats will be determined shortly by time trials, but the big-block Modified and 358-Modified 20-lappers are already set. The lineups are below.
The first 10 non-qualified drivers across the finish line in each big-block heat and the first 12 non-qualified drivers to finish the 358-Modified prelims will transfer to their respective headline events.
Big-Block Modified Heat No. 1 Lineup
|8||62s||Tom Sears Jr.||31.764|
Big-Block Modified Heat No. 2 Lineup
Big-Block Modified Heat No. 3 Lineup
|10||115||Kenny Tremont Jr.||31.944|
|19||165||Rex King Jr.||32.942|
|22||959||John Lutes Jr.||33.94|
|358-Modified Heat No. 1 Lineup||358-Modified Heat No. 2 Lineup|
|No.||Name||Best Tm||No.||Name||Best Tm|
|76a||Ronnie Johnson||31.754||01||Chris Raabe||32.236|
|66x||Carey Terrance||32.289||3J||Mark Johnson||32.328|
|99L||Larry Wight||32.349||1x||Willy Decker||32.464|
|4*||Tim McCreadie||32.476||6m||Mat Williamson||32.532|
|83x||Tim Sears Jr.||32.563||49d||Billy Dunn||32.597|
|20h||Brett Hearn||32.604||25||Erick Rudolph||32.634|
|91||Billy Decker||32.658||27||Andrew Krause||32.770|
|4J||Jeff Sykes||32.784||42P||Pat Ward||32.803|
|74J||J.R. Heffner||32.843||115||Kenny Tremont Jr.||32.854|
|1H||David Hebert||32.887||76||Jimmy Blewett||32.896|
|73||Alain Boisvert||32.931||323||Neal Williams||32.959|
|22c||Mario Clair||32.988||74||Matt Billings||33.016|
|24s||Brandon Sweet||33.059||5||Jimmy Horton||33.074|
|7z||Dale Planck||33.091||74F||Tim Fuller||33.115|
|21||Yan Bussiere||33.139||39T||Clement Therrien||33.183|
|57||Donnie Corellis||33.195||3b||Chad Brachmann||33.196|
|3a||Kevin Albert||33.207||66||Scott Flammer||33.215|
|21m||Bob McGannon||33.254||45||Wayne Jelley||33.264|
|151||Brian McDonald||33.333||816||Jeff Rockefeller||33.394|
|1||Darwin Greene||33.402||10c||Tim Currier||33.447|
|4k||Jasmin Leveillee||33.520||25C||Chad Jeseo||33.553|
|27L||Rick Laubach||33.624||34b||Andy Bachetti||33.639|
|44||John McClelland||33.651||72||Tommy Flannigan||33.651|
|8||Rich Scagliotta||33.817||R70||Ryan Arbuthnot||33.970|
|3m||Henry Maier||34.009||959||John Lutes Jr.||34.137|
|14s||Brian Swarthout||34.482||88J||Olden Dwyer||34.625|
|16||Aaron Jacobs||35.890||3BX||Scott Boudinot||38.961|
|747||Ryan Godown||-.—||0||Dan Humes||-.—|
|47||Bob Sarkisian||-.—||51m||Dominic Buffalino||-.—|