Johnson Does It Again: Johnson Wins Sixth Eastern States 200
MIDDLETOWN, NY – October 23, 2011 – Danny Johnson was not to be denied in the 50th edition of the Eastern States 200 at Orange County Fair Speedway. Two red-flag periods, a bevy of cautions, and nearly 140-laps of work on his right-rear Hoosier tire would not stop Johnson from claiming the $20,000 top prize.
Johnson would inherit the lead from Justin Haers on lap 136 as the driver from Phelps, NY made his mandatory pit stop. Johnson would dominate the rest of the race to pick up his second Super DIRTcar Big-Block Series win of the season.
“This car and this crew were great today,” explained Johnson, who only trails Brett Hearn (8) in Eastern States 200 victories. “We had to pass a lot of cars today but we made it work and here we are.”
Orange County Fair Speedway regular Tim Hindley would bring the car home with a stout second place finish. “Those restarts towards the end were a little rough. The track was good for most of the race, but the top wasn’t there in 3 and 4 towards the end. We had a really good car though.”
Hindley also finished second to Johnson in the 2008 Eastern States 200. “We’ll get one of these. We just need to beat Danny.”
Danny Johnson started the Eastern States 200 from sixth starting spot and ran a conservative race early. A lap-65 caution for Jerry Higbie and Peter Britten tangling saw nearly half of the field make their mandatory pit stop. Johnson came out of the pits fifth of the cars that had pitted, but pitted the very next lap, restarting the race at the tail of the field.
“The original plan was to take fuel only,” explained Johnson. “The guys checked the tire and told me there was no way it was going to last another 140 laps so we came back in for a new tire.”
Johnson immediately started working towards the front using the outside to pass cars lap after lap. Johnson had worked his way into the top-5 by lap 115 with Andy Bachetti the only driver in front of him that had made the mandatory stop.
Bachetti appeared to be Johnson’s biggest threat, and was in position to win his first Eastern States 200, but his Steve Hough-owned #34 came to an abrupt stop in turn 3 on lap 120, ending his fantastic run.
With Bachetti out of the event, Gary Tomkins proved to be a threat, as he moved up behind Johnson and began challenging him for position.
When Justin Haers finally made his pit stop on lap 136, Tomkins found himself in second place with Johnson in front. It appeared as if Tomkins was the only car able to maintain the pace set by Johnson, but a late race right rear flat negated the fine run put in by Tomkins.
Johnson went on unchallenged until a caution on lap-198 saw the field bunch up for one last chance to steal the victory from Johnson. Billy Decker would restart to the outside of Johnson, but Johnson proved too strong, as he immediately opened up his lead and went onto the win.
Tim Hindley was able to take advantage of the late-race restart and passed Billy Decker for second. Decker would finish third, with his championship rival Matt Sheppard coming home fourth. Johnny Guarino, using a DIRTcar 500 Spec big-block motor came home in fifth.
Heavy impact with the outside wall, and then with Mike Ruggerio saw S.E.F. 200 winner Stewart Friesen complain of neck pain. The safety crew was quick to the scene and cut him out of the car and placed him on a backboard. He was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released with no serious injuries. The race was red flagged.
A second red flag came out when Jimmy Phelps, while running in the top-5, was turned on a restart resulting in a pile up that blocked the track. Tim Fuller, Danny Creeden, and Tommy Sears would all have their days end in the pile up.
Brett Hearn was running in third and appeared to have a car capable of winning his unprecedented ninth Eastern States 200 when mechanical problems ended his day on lap 85.
Clinton Mills, who nearly won the 2010 Eastern States 200, was involved in a scary flip after heavy contact with the first turn wall during one of two consolation races Sunday afternoon. He walked away without injury.
The two consolation races were won by Stewart Friesen and Mike Ruggerio.
The Super DIRTcar Big-Block Series will now head to the Dirt Track at Charlotte for The World Finals November 3-5. For more information, visit SuperDIRTcarSeries.com.
Race Summary Eastern States 200 Orange County Fair Speedway
Pos. Car Num. Driver/Hometown, State, Laps Complete, Purse
1st 27J Danny Johnson/Rochester, NY, 205, $20,000
2nd 1H Tim Hindley/Monticello, NY, 205, $8,000
3rd 91 Billy Decker/Unadilla, NY, 205, $4,500
4th 9s Matt Sheppard/Waterloo, NY, 205, $3,500
5th 9 Johnny Guarino/Riverdale, NJ, 205, $3,000
6th 115 Kenny Tremont/Sand Lake, NY, 205, $2,000
7th 10 Richie Eurich/Warwick, NY, 205, $1,500
8th 42p Pat Ward/Genoa, NY, 205, $1,000
9th 33 John Lieto/Mt. Kisco, NY, 205, $900
10th 33 1/3 Tommy Meier/Waldrick, NJ, 205, $800
11th 4 Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY, 205, $700
12th 19 Chuck McKee/Middletown, NY, 205, $600
13th 8R Rob Bellinger/Dexter, NY, 205, $500
14th 98H Jimmy Phelps/Baldwinsville, NY, 205, $450
15th 99L Larry Wight/Phoenix, NY, 205, $400
16th 673 Gary Tomkins/Clifton Springs, NY, 205, $375
17th 8 Rich Scagliotta/Bound Brook, NJ, 205, $350
18th 74 J.R. Heffner/Pittsfield, MA, 205, $325
19th 10c Tim Currier/Auburn, NY, 205, $290
20th 4SL Bob Hentschel/Accord, NY, 199, $280, Accident
21st 3 Justin Haers/Phelps, NY, 188, $275, Accident
22nd 74 Tim Fuller/Edwards, NY, 183, $260, Accident
23rd 62s Tommy Sears/Clay, NY, 183, $260, Accident
24th 11 Danny Creeden/Middletown, NY, 183, $260, Accident
25th 53 Mike Ruggerio/Walden, NY, 181, $260, Front End
26th 79 Jeremy Markle/Port Jervis, NJ, 178, $260, Accident
27th 6x Jackie Brown/Hurley, NY, 157, $260, Suspension
28th 21m Bob McGannon/Garnerville, NY, 148, $260, Accident
29th 24 Chris Shultz/Holmes, NY, 148, $260, Accident
30th 10 Michael Storms/Wantage, NJ, 144, $260, Suspension
31st 2RJ Ronnie Johnson/Duanesberg, NY, 135, $250, Accident
32nd 7 Rick Laubach/Hellerstown, PA, 135, $250, Accident
33rd 10J Jeff Heotzler/Wallkill, NY, 135, $250, Accident
34th 34 Andy Bachetti/Sheffield, MA, 120, $250, Engine
35th 49 Billy Dunn/Watertown, NY, 99, $250, Driveshaft
36th 20 Brett Hearn/Sussex, NJ, 85, $250, Mechanical
37th OB’s Bobby Varin/Sharon Springs, NY, 72, $250 Accident
38th 97 Jerry Higbie/Slate Hill, NJ, 65, $250,Accident
39th 21a Peter Britten/Brisbane, QLD, 65, $250, Accident
40th 77x Dale Planck/Cortland, NY, 62, $250, Tire
41st 5 Jimmy Horton/Neshanic Station, NY, 57, $250, Mechanical
42nd 25 Mike Kolka/Circleville, NY, 51, $250, Mechanical
43rd 39 Dustin DeLaney/Albany, NY, 35, $250, Accident
44th 1 Stewart Friesen/Niagara-on-the-Lake, ONT, 34, $250, Accident
45th 93x Craig Mitchell/Poughkeepsie, NY, 29, $250, Driveshaft
46th 7K Kirk Horton/Eldred, NY, 24, $250, Accident
Bilstein Shocks Fast Time: Michael Storms
Half Way Bonus: Tim Hindley
Provisional Starters: Tim Currier, Tommy Sears, Rich Scagliotta, Bobby Varin
Lap Leaders: Meier 1-66, Hindley 67-85, Guarino 86-89, Hindley, 90-104, Fuller 105-123, Haers 124-135, Johnson 137-200
Did Not Qualify
OB’s Scott Flammer/West Milford, NJ
0 Dan Humes/Canaan, CT
1 Dave Werber/Brewster Heights, NY
1L Bill Lowden Jr/Bath, NY
3 Erik Holmgren/Middletown, NY
3 Bill Pascual/Mohegan Lake, NY
4B Donnie Wilson/Ramsey, NJ
17H Tom Hindley/Monticello, NY
20c Craig Hanson/Tribes Hill, NY
21 Clinton Mills/Middletown, NY
23 Billy VanInwegen/Sparrowbush, NY
27 Corey Ziegler/Mountain Home, NY
41 Jimmy Davis/Ballston Spa, NY
43 Keith Flach/Ravena, NY
43J J.C. Flach/Ravena, NY
44 Brian Krummel/Accord, NY
47 Kurt Hunderland/Middletown, NY
49 Donnie Elliott/Middletown, NY
71D Frank Doty/Middletown, NY
84 Mel Schrufer/Bloomingburg, NY
88 Steve Dodd/Middletown, NY
93c Frank Cozze/Wind Gap, PA
99 Ryan Phelps/Fulton, NY
124 Pierre DaGenais/Gatineau, QUE
213 Steve Walsh/Middletown, NY
280 Justin Holland/White Lake, NY
Super DIRTcar Series Points after the Eastern States 200 (Driver/Points/Difference)
1st 91 Billy Decker 2272 0
2nd 9s Matt Sheppard 2219 -53
3rd 98H Jimmy Phelps 2085 -186
4th 20 Brett Hearn 2064 -208
5th 27J Danny Johnson 1996 -176
6th 3 Justin Haers 1892 -380
7th 8R Rob Bellinger 1776 -496
8th 21A Peter Britten 1729 -543
9th 99L Larry Wight 1696 -576
10th 62s Tommy Sears 1696 -576
11th 8 Rich Scagliotta 1674 -598
12th 10 Tim Currier 1583 -689
13th 673 Gary Tomkins 1535 -737
14th 49 Billy Dunn 1339 -933
15th OB’s Bobby Varin 1282 -990
16th 115 Kenny Tremont 1281 -991
17th 99 Ryan Phelps 1225 -1047
18th 97 Michel Chicoine 1224 -1048
19th 74 J.R. Heffner 1213 -1059
20th 33 1/3 Tommy Meier 1208 -1064
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