Sunday: Live Updates At NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week
SYRACUSE, NY – Oct 7, 2012 – 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 VP Small Engine Fuels 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 the big-block Modified Non-Qualifiers’ Race plus the Sportsman-Modified Championship 30, which was postponed from Saturday, and the Pro Stock Championship 25. The Non-Qualifiers’ Race is scheduled to begin the on-track action at 11:10 a.m.
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…
5:35 p.m. – The complete order of finish for the VP Small Engine Fuels 200 is now posted here.
Historic Victory Lane
5:25 p.m. – Due to the weather, Brett Hearn and his crew are celebrating their VP Small Engine Fuels 200 triumph inside the John Hill Infield Media Center — the first time Victory Lane hasn’t been on the homestretch and/or stage.
It’s official – Brett the Jet wins
The rain hasn’t subsided and there’s more approaching from the west, so DIRTcar officials have declared the VP Small Engine Fuels 200 official with 113 laps complete, handing Brett Hearn his record sixth career victory in the event. It’s his first victory since 1995, however.
This is just the second rain-shortened event in the 41-year history of the 200. The other came exactly 20 years ago, in 1992 when Richie Tobias was declared the winner after 135 laps.
5 p.m. – Still raining on the Fairgrounds
Rain continues to fall hard enough to prevent packer trucks from hitting the track. Hearn is leading Sheppard, Phelps, Haers and Ward.
Tim Fuller was second during the caution period that led to this red flag, but, as written below, he limped into the pit-road opening in turn one with his No. 74 out of fuel as the field continued to pace around the track once more before being brought into the pits. Fuller was fueled up and drove around the track to tag the rear — and officials said he will remain at the tail-end of the lead lap because his crew serviced his (filled it with gas) outside of their assigned pit box (he was well onto pit road).
Hearn feeling good
Drivers are now out of their cars, which have been covered with tarps. The racetrack, unfortunately, is becoming increasingly wet, though the rain is certainly not pouring down.
Brett Hearn was just interviewed on the P.A. system and confirmed that he has been playing the weather card — though he definitely has a superb race car as well. He stayed on the track rather than make an early pit stop because there was light rain falling and his team was watching the scope of the precipitation on radar.
“I just told my guys, ‘This car is unbelievable,'” said Hearn, who noted that he’s been cruising around the track at about “60 perfect” of the machine’s capability. “I think we’re all gonna have to pit for fuel if they get going again, but they tell me the rain is all the way back to Buffalo. I think we’re gonna be here a while or this thing isn’t gonna get going again, which is fine for me.”
Lap 113: Track wet and slick, race red-flagged
With the track surface becoming slick from increasing precipitation, Tim Fuller slowed on the homestretch under caution and entered pit road through the turn-one opening. He stopped there, out of fuel, as the field continued to circle the track under caution. On lap 113 the entire field was brought onto pit road and now is sitting nose-to-tail and the inside wall of the track as officials have put out a red flag.
Lap 110: Gambling on weather?
Eight cars came into the pits on lap 108 to make their post-lap-100 tire change, returning to the track in this order: Godown, Coffey, Laubach, Bachetti, Tremont, Decker, Ronnie Johnson and Tim Hindley. But leader Brett Hearn remained on the track, as did the drivers following him: Fuller, Sheppard, Phelps, Haers, Ward, Danny Johnson, McCreadie, Strunk, Alan Johnson, Dunn, Bellinger, Marshall, Tomkins and Corellis (the drivers who pitted are next in line).
There’s still some sprinkles out there, and radar indicates some rain closing in.
Lap 106: Caution out as action picks up
Before Vince Vitale brought out a caution on lap 105, Billy Decker relinquished second place on lap 101 to make a green-flag pit stop. He only took fuel and stayed on the lead lap…Bobby Varin, meanwhile, pitted under green on lap 104 because he’s leaking antifreeze, apparently from running over debris about 15-20 laps ago.
Hearn leads Fuller, Sheppard, Phelps and Haers….
Lap 98: Some sprinkles in air
There are some sprinkles falling around the racetrack….dots of wetness are showing up on the TV cameras broadcasting the race on the Jumbotron in the infield. It isn’t hampering the racing, but with the halfway mark nearly here it appears some drivers are beginning to turn up the wick a bit…Tim Fuller just shot past Sheppard and Phelps to take fourth place. Hearn still leads Varin and Decker….
Lap 80: Different strategies this year
The change in pit-stop rules and a new late-race procedural change has certainly affected the way teams are approaching the race. Teams MUST change a right-rear tire after lap 100, and the last 25 laps of the race MUST be run under green-flag conditions, so the need for fuel conservation to make it to the finish has been eliminated.
In past years, teams might have been pitted during the just-completed caution period in order to take a stab at running 120-plus laps on a tank of fuel to reach the finish line first. But not a single contender pitted during the last caution period, and only a handful — McCreadie, Dunn, Tremont, Tomkins, Bachetti — have even come pitside so far.
Lap 75: Caution…and could weather be a factor?
As Brett Hearn continues to cruise around the track in the lead, there are some clouds building to the west. Radar indicates there could be some rain out there, so teams might be thinking about that possibility — in fact, few of the contenders have pitted so far.
A caution flew on lap 75 for Larry Wight, who stopped in turn four. He rolled into the pits and is being serviced now.
Broken driveshaft for Friesen
The report from the pit area is that a broken driveshaft proved to be Friesen’s undoing. The Canadian and his team are very dejected that their bid for three straight 200 wins fell short.
Lap 61: Caution for Vitale
With Hearn in lapped traffic holding a big lead, a caution flew for Vince Vitale’s stopped car in turn four.
Hearn holds the lead over Varin, Decker, Phelps, Fuller, Sheppard, Haers, Ward, Godown, Hindley, Ronnie Johnson, Higbie, Wight, Coffey, Strunk, Horton, McCreadie, Danny Johnson, Alan Johnson, Marshall, Dunn, Laubach, Tremont, Tomkins….Bachetti just pitted on lap 65 while running 12th….
Lap 39: Friesen’s streak is over
Stewart Friesen will not become the second driver to win three straight 200s after he stopped in turn three on lap 39, bringing out a caution flag. He was pushed into the pit area and head immediately behind pit wall, his motor not running.
Lap 31: Caution for Britten
Australian Pete Britten, the race’s outside polesitter, stopped in turn four to bring out the second caution of the race. He limped into the pit area, where his crew did some work to his front end before he returned to the track. He’s back in the pits on lap 33.
Also on lap 33, Billy Dunn, Kenny Tremont and Gary Tomkins made pit stops.
Hearn leads Varin, Decker, Phelps, Sheppard, Fuller, Haers, Friesen, Ward and Hindley.
Lap 22: First caution
Kevin Bates stopped in turn two on lap the 22nd lap, bringing out the first caution with Hearn leading Varin, Decker, Phelps, McCreadie, Sheppard, Dunn, Fuller, Wight and Tomkins.
Lap 20: Hearn working traffic
With the race still clean and green, Hearn is in the middle of lapping cars at a fast clip. He holds a solid lead over Varin, Decker, Phelps, Sheppard, McCreadie, Dunn and Fuller….
Lap 5: Hearn to lead
Hearn slipped by Decker to take the lead on the fifth lap. There appeared to be some smoke coming from the rear of Hearn’s car, so we’ll keep an eye on that.
2:55 p.m. – The 200 is underway…Billy Decker leads the first lap over Brett Hearn, Bobby Varin, Billy Dunn and Jimmy Phelps.
2:39 p.m. – The anthems have been sung and drivers are in their cars, ready to hear the command to start engines. The VP Small Engine Fuels 200 field will be pulling onto the speedway momentarily.
There’s an interesting track surface shaping up for today’s 200. The track looks extremely wide entering turn one — wider than it’s ever looked. The dry, dusty marbles that are usually just off the inside lane entering turn one are not there today.
2:30 p.m. – With the completion of the introductions, it was clear which drivers the fans most have their eyes on. Not surprisingly, Brett Hearn seemed to elicit the loudest reaction — a roaring mix of boos and cheers. Two-time defending VP Small Engine Fuels 200 winner Stewart Friesen appeared to draw the second-loudest combo of boos and cheers, and next in line in that category was Danny Johnson. Tim McCreadie and Billy Decker, meanwhile, got plenty of noise, but mostly on the positive side.
2:20 p.m. – The 45 drivers in today’s VP Small Engine Fuels starting field are now walking across the stage one-by-one to be introduced to the crowd. Their cars are lined up in single-file formation on pit road, ready for the green flag of big-block Modified racing’s most prestigious event.
2:15 p.m. – The complete orders of finish for the Sportsman-Modified Championship 30 and Pro Stock Championship 25 are now posted. See the Sportsman-Modified finish by clicking here and the Pro Stock finish here.
Stefanski shines in Pro Stocks
2:05 p.m. – Western New York’s Pete Stefanski captured the Pro Stock Championship 25, becoming a two-time winner of the event. He previously topped the race in 2009.
Canadian Joey Ladouceur finished second, followed by Rocky Warner, Rock Aubin and Rob Yetman.
Rocky rolls at Syracuse
1:15 p.m. – Rocky Warner moved up to the Sportsman-Modified class this season and duplicated the NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week success he enjoyed in a Pro Stock, winning today’s Sportsman-Modified Championship 30.
The Lebanon Valley Speedway regular overtook French-Canadian Mathieu Desjardins for the lead coming to the white flag and marched on to the win. He won last year’s Pro Stock feature here.
Desjardins settled for second place, followed by Cody McPherson, Chris Herbison and Jimmy Spellman.
Where they’re starting
12:50 p.m. – Lineups for today’s VP Small Engine Fuels 200, Sportsman-Modified 30 and Pro Stock 25 can be seen by clicking here.
Bellinger takes NQ Race
12:40 p.m. – Rob Bellinger was victorious in the 15-lap big-block Modified Non-Qualifiers’ Race, beating Vince Vitale to the finish line by 3.121 seconds. Tim Currier placed third, with fourth-place Jimmy Horton, fifth-place Brian Sage and sixth-place Kevin Bates also advancing to the VP Small Engine Fuels 200.
12:35 p.m. – There’s a traffic jam in the pit area (below) as the entire starting field for the VP Small Engine Fuels 200 is filing through a pre-race tech line, marking the first time in race history that the big-block Modifieds have been checked and ratified the morning of the race.
After officials inspect each car, teams can take them back to their stalls on pit road but crews can do no work to the machines aside from changing tires and adding fuel. There is a DIRTcar official for every six cars on pit road to make sure no unapproved work is done.
Back-to-back Non-Qualifiers’ Race wrecks
11:55 a.m. – There’s been some trouble getting the 15-lap big-block Modified Non-Qualifiers’ Race going. The original start was nullified by a multi-car crash between turns one and two, and the restart was stopped by an even harder accident on the backstretch.
The first attempt at a green flag ended when a pack of cars that included Brian Murphy and Tom Sears Jr. got together between turns one and two. The restart reached the backstretch before Tony Steiner slid high, clipped the outside wall and slid back into traffic, where he was hit several times by passing cars. Two other machines tangled hard on the inside of the track; a half-dozen cars were left at the crash scene, including former 200 winners Frank Cozze and Richie Tobias.
Steiner is being tended to by safety crews at the scene.
11:45 a.m. – McCreadie’s Sweeteners Plus team members were swarming over his No. 39 big-block machine a short time ago, hustling to repair some damage the car sustained during this morning’s practice session.
McCreadie’s car caught a hole the wrong way in turn three, bending some sheet metal on the right side. His crewmen had to pound out some dents, straighten some bodywork around the wheel wells and check the front suspension for any possible problems.
The prime spot
11:25 a.m. – Billy Decker’s NAPA Auto Parts-sponsored car is pictured below sitting at the head of pit road – the coveted position for today’s crucial pit stops during the VP Small Engine Fuels 200. With pit stall assignments handed out today straight from starting lineup order, the pole-sitting Decker gets the first spot toward turn one, where theoretically no one can box him in and he has only a few short feet to go to exit the pits first.
All cars already locked into the VP Small Engine Fuels 200 are now sitting in their stalls on pit road. You can feel the intensity building as crews make final adjustments to their cars, fix problems that cropped up during this morning’s hot laps and set up their pit-stop equipment.
Non-Qualifiers’ Race coming up
10:42 p.m. – The 15-lap big-block Modified Non-Qualifiers’ Race is scheduled to begin today’s competition at 11:10 a.m. Thirty-three cars are eligible to start the event, but it appears likely that perhaps a half-dozen or more of the scheduled starters will not compete due to mechanical problems/crashes earlier in the week or the fact that they entered 358-Modifieds in the big-block action for more laps.
Currently, the top-three finishers in the NQ Race will move on to the VP Small Engine Fuels 200. But that number could increase depending on how many of the guaranteed/provisional starters do not qualify.
Notable is that three former VP Small Engine Fuels 200 winners are in the field: Jimmy Horton, Frank Cozze and Richie Tobias. There is one past-champion’s provisional available.
Horton has competed here all week in Dieter Schmidt’s car, but Cozze and Tobias picked up rides this weekend. Cozze is driving his good friend Mike Perrotte’s car (he jumped in it for Friday’s heat race after Perrotte was injured that afternoon in a fall from his trailer lift) and Tobias is running Pennsylvanian Kevin Albert’s small-block today.
Perrotte, by the way, is resting in his Syracuse hotel room today. His fall into his trailer left him with a broken left wrist, a couple broken ribs and a cut on his head.
Big-Block Modified Non-Qualifiers’ Race Lineup
Row 1: Vince Vitale***/Rob Bellinger***
Row 2: Tim Currier***/Tyler Siri***
Row 3: Mario Clair/Darwin Greene
Row 4: Jimmy Horton/Mark Flach Jr.
Row 5: Jasmin Laveillee/Brian Murphy
Row 6: Brian Sage/Tony Steiner
Row 7: Tommy Flannigan/Eldon Payne
Row 8: Kevin Bates/Dan Humes
Row 9: David Papineau/Aaron Jacobs
Row 10: Greg Atkins/Jeff Rockefeller
Row 11: Frank Cozze/Marc Johnson
Row 12: Neal Williams/Marcus Dinkins
Row 13: Patrick McGrail/Tom Sears Jr.
Row 14: Clement Therrien/Patrick Dupree
Row 15: Jimmy Blewett/Roy Bresnahan
Row 16: Mat Williamson/Jason Herrington
Row 17: Richie Tobias
*** – denotes guaranteed/provisional starter for VP Small Engine Fuels 200
Ready to roll
10 a.m. – Drivers’ meetings for both the big-block Modifieds, Sportsman-Modified and Pro Stocks have been completed in the John Hill Infield Media Center, setting the stage for a non-stop day of action on the Syracuse Mile. Engines are already firing in the pit area for practice, which begins momentarily for the Pro Stock division and then moves on to big-block Modified and Sportsman-Modified sessions.
The Pro Stock drivers will have a lot on the line when they hit the track. Following the cancelation of their scheduled time trials yesterday due to weather-related time constraints, the Pro Stock hot laps will be timed and the results will determine the starting lineup of today’s Pro Stock Championship 25.