Saturday: Live Updates at NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Mother Nature has caused a bit of a delay this morning at the New York State Fairgrounds. The schedule has been pushed back, with the Pro Stock draw beginning at noon followed by the Gander Mountain 150 drivers meeting and Sportsman Modified drivers meeting.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series event and the Win & You’re In Big-Block Modified race slated for tonight at Rolling Wheels Raceway is still on schedule as the weather has almost moved out of the area.
Be sure to refresh your browser regularly to read the most up-to-date results, news and notes from Saturday at NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week…
Homan Scores Starting Spot
11:30 p.m. Chad Homan earned a starting spot in Sunday’s VP Small Engine Fuels 200 with a win at tonight’s Big-Block Modified “Win and You’re In” qualifying event at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park. For full “Win and You’re In” results, click here.
Sportsman go off tomorrow
7:25 p.m. – With darkness now descended on Syracuse, officials have announced that the NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week Sportsman Championship 30 has been postponed to tomorrow (Sunday). The race will be run after the big-block Modified Non-Qualifiers’ event.
The action now shifts over to Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, where the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series is headlining the program. The big-block Modified ‘Win & You’re In’ feature — earning its winner a starting spot in the VP Small Engine Fuels 200 — is also on the program.
7:20 p.m. – The finish of the Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150 can be seen by clicking here.
7:15 p.m. – Tim McCreadie is on the winner’s stage, celebrating wildly with his Vinnie Salerno-led 4-Star Racing team. His two-year-old son, Gavin, has come down to join him in Victory Lane, and McCreadie said he was hoping his father, 1986 VP Small Engine Fuels 200 winner Bob McCreadie, will come out to take some pictures as well.
Gander Mountain 150 Top 10: 1. Tim McCreadie, 2. Billy Dunn, 3. Tim Fuller, 4. Ronnie Johnson, 5. Mat Williamson, 6. Matt Billings, 7. Matt Sheppard, 8. Dale Planck, 9. Carey Terrance, 10. Stewart Friesen
Full finish to follow momentarily…
7 p.m. – Tim McCreadie outran fellow Watertowners Billy Dunn and Tim Fuller to finally crack Victory Lane at Syracuse. He just did a couple doughnuts on the homestretch and is about to jump out of his car — no doubt a very happy $25,000 winner.
Lap 149: Hearn’s gamble falls short
Brett Hearn slowed off turn two on lap 148 — apparently out of fuel — to hand the lead to Tim McCreadie. But as McCreadie came around to take the white flag on lap 149, a caution flag flew for Willy Decker stopped on the homestretch.
Now it’s a green-white-checkered finish — and McCreadie’s fellow Watertown, N.Y., native, Billy Dunn, is ready to challenge. Dunn had a run on McCreadie off turn four coming to the white flag, so with dusk descending on the Mile this could get interesting. Tim Fuller — another Watertown resident — sits third, followed by Ronnie Johnson and Mat Williamson.
Lap 141: Coming to restart after Decker’s departure
A caution flag for debris on lap 138 led moments later to the retirement of Billy Decker, who slowed just before the yellow flew and then pulled into the pits. He headed behind pit wall, relinquishing third place.
Hearn still leads over McCreadie, Dunn, Fuller, Ronnie Johnson, Horton, Friesen, Dale Planck, Mat Williamson, Matt Billings and Matt Sheppard.
Lap 130: Red flag
The field has been red-flagged momentarily to clean up a turn-three crash on lap 127 involving Tim Sears Jr., who slammed the outside wall after getting in a scramble in the wake of fourth-place Danny Johnson falling off the pace. Johnson slowed rounding turns one and two, and, when he inched to the inside of the backstretch, two cars banged together. Sears then lost control and hit the concrete.
Sears climbed out of his car uninjured, while Johnson has retired to the pit area.
Hearn leads McCreadie, Billy Decker, Dunn, Ronnie Johnson, Fuller, Friesen, Jimmy Horton, Mat Williamson and Matt Billings to the restart. Andy Bachetti was running ninth but pitted to change a tire before the race restarted.
Lap 111: Caution for Willy Decker
Willy Decker’s gamble to stay on the track rather than pit with the rest of the field ended as he came to stop in turn four, apparently out of fuel.
Hearn will lead the field to the restart over McCreadie, Billy Decker, Danny Johnson, Ronnie Johnson, Fuller, Dunn, Bachetti, Friesen and Larry Wight.
Lap 100: Hearn on top, but T-Mac on move
Hearn might soon have company up front as McCreadie slipped by Willy Decker for second on lap 99, going low under Decker and a lapped car on the homestretch in a daring move.
Willy Decker sits third, followed by Billy Decker, Danny Johnson, Ronnie Johnson, Fuller, Bachetti, Dunn and Friesen.
L90: Hearn still leads, Decker picks up a spot
Hearn remains on top as the lap-90 is reached, comfortably pacing ahead of Willy Decker, who still must make a mandatory pit stop. McCreadie runs third, while Billy Decker sits fourth after slipping by Danny Johnson for the position on lap 88.
Billy Decker’s move to fourth came four laps after he survived near-disaster. On a lap-84 restart he tried to get by Johnson but ran out of room in turn one and slid totally sideways. Somehow, however, Decker was able to maintain control.
L76: Hearn leads field to restart
After a lap-72 caution flag for Rich Scagliotta (towed off backstretch), Brett Hearn resumed his lead over Willy Decker (the only driver who hasn’t yet pitted), Tim McCreadie, Billy Decker, Danny Johnson, Tim Fuller, Ronnie Johnson, Andy Bachetti, Stewart Friesen and Larry Wight.
Hearn is making his 27th career start in the Gander Mountain 358-Modified 150. He’s a three-time winner, last taking the checkered flag in 2007.
Lap 64: Caution for Canadian
Quebec’s Jasmin Leveillee slapped the backstretch wall and continued to limp around the track, bringing out a caution flag on lap 64. Third-place Matt Sheppard then pitted for service on lap 66.
Brett Hearn now leads Willy Decker, Tim McCreadie, Billy Decker, Danny Johnson, Tim Fuller, Ronnie Johnson, Steve Hough, Brian McDonald, Andy Bachetti, Ryan Godown, Stewart Friesen and Larry Wight.
Lap 58: Hearn leads field to restart
Rick Laubach brought out a caution flag on lap 52, prompting leader Billy Dunn to pit. That handed the top spot to Brett Hearn, who started 42nd — after the cancelation of today’s Non-Qualifiers’ Race, he got the 150’s last spot thanks to the preferred spot he earned with a victory in Thursday night’s 358-Modified Series event at Rolling Wheels — and stayed well away from the back of the pack at the ragged start.
Hearn pitted on lap six and could be looking to make it the rest of the way. There is no lap mandate for when a driver must make a mandatory stop.
Lap 50: Dunn leads after pit stops
Following a caution flag on lap 38 for Mat Williamson (flat tire), a mass of cars headed pitside on the 42nd lap, including leader Tim Fuller. Billy Decker was first off pit road, beating Danny Johnson, Tim McCreadie, Ronnie Johnson, Fuller, Andy Bachetti, Ryan Godown, Jimmy Blewett, Stewart Friesen, Wayne Jelley and others in that order.
Billy Dunn, making his first-ever Gander Mountain 150 start, stayed on the track and at lap 50 led Matt Sheppard, Brett Hearn, Marc Johnson and Brian McDonald. Of that group, only Hearn has pitted — on lap six, just before the race’s first restart. Hearn started 42nd.
Lap 28: Fuller looking good
Tim Fuller, the 2005 Gander Mountain 150 winner, has flexed some muscle early, bursting forward from the sixth starting spot to assume command. He surged around the outside of Billy Decker rounding turn one on lap 14 to move in front and is now working lapped traffic with a half-straightaway edge over Decker.
Danny Johnson sits third, followed by Ronnie Johnson and Tim McCreadie.
Opening lap crash
4:44 p.m. – The 150 went immediately to caution-flag conditions thanks to a multi-car tangle on the homestretch moments after the green flag was waved. Bobby Varin and Tony Steiner were left sitting in turn one with damaged cars and are being towed off, and Tim Hindley, who was also involved, has pitted.
Billy Decker is leading the field around the track under caution.
Below is a picture of the start shot by Alex Bruce….
Green flag on the way
4:38 p.m. – The 42-car Gander Mountain 150 field has taken a couple pace laps and just made a pass down pit road…Billy Decker and Danny Johnson will soon be leading the pack to the green flag.
Thinking of dear old Dad
4:30 p.m. – Andy Bachetti, who starts seventh in the Gander Mountain 150 behind the wheel of Steve Hough’s No. 34b, is missing someone special this week: his father Scott, who suffered a heart attack last month and was just released from the hospital on Tuesday to continue his recovery at home in Massachusetts.
“I haven’t raced without him since I was eight years old,” said Bachetti, who was running a feature at Accord (N.Y.) Speedway when his father was stricken in the pit area. “It’s definitely a bummer for me to not have him here, but now we know that he’s doing good so we’re gonna try to give him something to be happy about.”
Bachetti, who said his father will watching the NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week action on DIRTVision, is making his 18th career start in the Gander Mountain 150. He’s come close to victory, but his top finish is a third in 2000.
4:22 p.m. – Both the 358-Modifieds and Sportsman have completed hot laps, setting the stage for the start of the Gander Mountain 150. All 358-Modifieds are now parked in their stalls on pit road with crews making final preparations.
Here we go
3:45 p.m. – Hot laps for the 358-Modifieds are pulling onto the racetrack, signaling the long-awaited start of the day’s action. Sportsman-Modified practice will follow, and then the Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150 will immediately hit the track to allow for the most daylight hours possible for it to be completed.
The updated lineups for the Gander Mountain 150 and Sportsman-Modified 30 can be seen here.
Updated plan of attack
2:45 p.m. – Super DIRTcar Series director Joe Skotnicki just concluded meetings with 358-Modified and Sportsman-Modified drivers in the John Hill Infield Media Center that provided updates on today’s schedule changes.
Officials are hoping to have the track surface ready for 358-Modified and Sportsman hot laps by 3:15 p.m. Beyond that, the focus will be on completing the Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150 and the Sportsman-Modified 30 today. In the interest of time, officials informed teams that the 358-Modified Non-Qualifiers’ Race and two Sportsman-Modified Non-Qualifiers’ Races have been canceled.
The balance of the fields for the 358-Modified 150 and Sportsman-Modified 30 have been set as per the competitor handbook.
2:10 p.m. – Eddie Marshall – a veteran of nearly three decades of Syracuse big-block Modified competition – and his team usually spend Saturday afternoon of NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week practicing pit stops at their trailer in the pit area. This year they bumped up their practice time to Friday afternoon – and a good decision it was, because the pits have turned muddy today.
“We looked at the weather forecast (for Saturday) and decided it would be better to practice some pit stops (on Friday),” said Marshall. “You don’t want to practice in the mud.”
Marshall, 54, of Ridgefield, Conn., knows how important pit stops are in the VP Small Engine Fuels 200. They could be especially significant this year with teams required to change a right-rear tire after lap 100, and, in that vein, he feels very good about the talents of his right-rear tire changer, Olden Dwyer, a 17-year-old Sportsman driver at Marshall’s hometrack, Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y.
“He might be young but this is his third year changing tires for us,” Marshall said of Dwyer, the son of Capital District big-block Modified racer Ron Dwyer. “He’s athletic – he’s the point guard of his high-school basketball team – and that’s what you need to be a real good tire changer. The only better tire-changer I’ve ever had is Greg Bachetti (driver Andy Bachetti’s brother), who’s come over and changed tires for us a couple times when Andy got knocked out early. Greg is just an animal changing tires.”
Marshall, who won once and finished third in the 2012 big-block Modified points standings at Lebanon Valley, is still chasing a victory in the VP Small Engine Fuels 200. He won the old Labor Day race at Syracuse twice, but he’s never won the big-block classic in 28 career starts since his debut in 1983. His top finishes are a fourth in 1991 and fifth in 2004, but he remembers 1988 as his best shot at the checkered flag – he was leading midway through the race when he ran out of gas and had his green-flag pit stop slowed by a broken shifter linkage (he finished 10th).
“I’d love to win this race – that’s why we keep coming here,” said Marshall, who currently holds the record for most 200 starts without a win (Tommy Corellis is second with 22 starts). “I like the competition, the atmosphere of the event. We put a lot of preparation into this race and the hope is that one of these years the stars line up and we get it done.”
Marshall (pictured below watching his crew practice a pit stop yesterday) is scheduled to start 29th in tomorrow’s 200 behind the wheel of his familiar No. 98.
Lineups, check your lineups
1:25 p.m. – Want to know where your favorite driver is starting in races scheduled for today and tomorrow? Check out the lineups by clicking here.
1:10 p.m. – Track crews are now on the speedway, and increasingly sunny skies, plus some wind, are helping the run-in process. Officials said the drivers’ meeting for 358-Modifieds and Sportsman-Modifieds remains set for 2 p.m., and the aim is to have cars on the track for hot laps by 2 p.m.
Officials’ focus remains on completing both the Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150 and Sportsman Championship 30 today.
Toby Jr. going racing?
1 p.m. – Twenty years ago Richie Tobias stood in Victory Lane after winning the rain-shortened VP Small Engine Fuels 200, joining his late father, Toby Tobias Sr., on the prestigious race’s list of victors. The Tobiases remain the only father and son to win the event.
While Tobias has started the 200 a total of 19 times, he didn’t compete last year and didn’t enter this year’s event. But he’s in the pit area today — the small-car Speedsters division he promotes is racing tonight at Paradise Speedway in Geneva, N.Y., about an hour-and-a-half west of Syracuse — and he reports that he just might take a last-minute shot at this year’s 200. He said he has an opportunity to drive fellow Pennsylvanian Kenny Albert’s 358-Modified in tomorrow’s big-block Modified Non-Qualifiers’ Race (Albert entered his car in both the small- and big-block competition) and is seriously considering the possibility.
Tobias (pictured below talking to announcer Shane Andrews) would have to start at the rear of the Non-Qualifiers’ Race because of the driver change, but he said he’s not worried about that. Even if the always-exciting driver was unable to get the machine into a transfer spot, he would be eligible for the past-champion’s provisional (45th starting spot in the 200). He wouldn’t be assured of that spot, of course, because former 200 winners Jimmy Horton and Frank Cozze are also listed as starters in the Non-Qualifiers’ Race and could claim the provisional.
12:10 p.m. – The racetrack and pit road are still wet, but some help with the drying process courtesy of Mother Nature appears to be in the offing. An ever-increasing amount of blue sky is visible, as seen in the picture below taken just minutes ago.
Officials just announced that the drivers’ meeting scheduled for 12 noon has been pushed back to 2 p.m.
11:25 a.m. – The rain has stopped and skies are brightening; in fact, to the west, clouds are breaking up and some pockets of blue sky are visible. Forecasts call for the weather to break this afternoon with periods of sun expected to help dry out the track.
Officials said the track crew plans to allow the speedway surface to drain for a short time before heading out to begin prep work. The hope is to have the speedway ready for hot laps by 3 p.m.
It has been announced that the Pro Stock draw scheduled for 12 noon has been canceled. Time trials for the division will be replaced by timed hot laps and all entered cars will be eligible to run tomorrow’s Pro Stock main event.
The events on today’s schedule include Pro Stock timed hot laps/qualifying; one last-chance race for the 358-Modifieds and two for the Sportsman-Modifieds; the Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150; and the 30-lap NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week Sportsman-Modified Championship. Officials will make every effort to complete all events as scheduled.
Gander Mountain Lineup
10:44 a.m. – Starting lineup for today’s Gander Mountain 150….
|1||*||91||Billy Decker||31.702||2||*||27J||Danny Johnson||31.889|
|3||*||76a||Ronnie Johnson||31.918||4||*||4*||Tim McCreadie||32.026|
|5||*||49d||Billy Dunn||32.057||6||*||74||Tim Fuller||32.061|
|7||34b||Andy Bachetti||8||26||Ryan Godown|
|9||6||Mat Williamson||10||76||Jimmy Blewett|
|11||44||Stewart Friesen||12||45||Wayne Jelley|
|13||323||Neal Williams||14||83x||Tim Sears Jr.|
|15||14||Jimmy Horton||16||22J||Jeremy Wilder|
|17||02||Roy Bresnahan||18||9s||Matt Sheppard|
|19||94||Tim Hindley||20||74b||Matt Billings|
|21||00||Bobby Varin||22||27||Rich Laubach|
|23||32c||Vic Coffey||24||99L||Larry Wight|
|25||8||Rich Scagliotta||26||3J||Marc Johnson|
|27||22c||Mario Clair||28||151K||Brian MacDonald|
|29||115||Kenny Tremont Jr.||30||1x||Willy Decker|
|*||Position set by Time Trials 10/05/21012|
Mother Nature tries to dampen Syracuse
10:00 a.m. – Today’s competition schedule will be delayed about three hours from the original schedule, with the Pro Stock draw slated for noon in the John Hill Infield Media Center, followed by the Gander Mountain 150 drivers meeting for 358-Modifieds and the Sportsman Modified drivers meeting.
The rain has turned into a mist, with the track crew preparing to do everything it can to get the racing surface ready for today’s action, including the Gander Mountain 150.