Fast-Timers’ Fates Varied throughout DIRTcar OktoberFAST

$3,750 awarded for fastest laps in Time Trials over five races at DIRTcar OktoberFAST presented by DIRTVision

WEEDSPORT, NY – October 16, 2020 – All six nights of DIRTcar OktoberFAST presented by DIRTVision featured thousands of dollars of special awards put up by our excellent partners in racing. Among the most prestigious of these awards were for the first and second fastest laps in Time Trials for the Super DIRTcar Series Billy Whittaker Cars Big Blocks.

Each driver was awarded $500 for quick-time and $250 for the second-fastest lap. Speed in Time Trials is often an indicator of how the night will finish, but not always. How did the fast-timers fair at DIRTcar OktoberFAST?

OktoberFAST started at “The Great Race Place” Albany-Saratoga Speedway where it was Bart Contracting night at the races. Three-time Super DIRTcar Series champion Billy Decker hit the ground running picking up fast-time on the night, while the pride of Ransomville, NY, Erick Rudolph, went second quick.

“The Franklin Flyer” Billy Decker redrew fifth and only fell back one spot to sixth in the 60-lap Feature. Albany was one of Decker’s better races of OktoberFAST where he finished with one top-five, three top-tens, and if points had been awarded for the five shows, Decker would have finished ninth overall.

Rudolph had a similar night in terms of progress by starting twelfth and finishing eleventh. He had a solid week where he scored two top-fives and 4 top-tens out of the five completed races. If points had been officially recorded for OktoberFAST, Rudolph had the fifth most.

After an unfortunate rainout at Utica-Rome, the Series moved on to Fulton Speedway where Penske Racing Shocks carried the night’s special awards. It was all Jimmy Phelps at Fulton except for Brett “The Jet” Hearn, who topped Time Trials for the $500 bonus. Phelps wasn’t far off and timed second quick.

From there, “The Baldwinville Bandit” owned Fulton Speedway, winning the Bicknell Racing Products DIRTcar 358 Modified Series and the Super DIRTcar Series Billy Whittaker Cars Big Block Features on the same night.

Hearn redrew ninth but mechanical problems bubbled up early for the No. 20 and he scored twenty-seventh on the night.

Stewart Friesen, the five-time NAPA Super DIRT Week champion, broke through on St. Lawrence Radiology night at Can-Am Speedway. Friesen was coming off a strong night and grabbed a podium at Fulton. The $500 quick-time was by the widest margin of all quick-times during the week. Friesen followed up with a fifth-place finish at Can-Am.

Behind Friesen in Time Trials was Jimmy Phelps coming off his huge night at Fulton. Phelps did not redraw well and wound up finishing eleventh.

A whole new pair of drivers found themselves on top of Time Trials at Land of Legends Raceway. Hometown hero Justin Haers left it all on the track in Time Trials to record quick-time for his $500 bonus thanks to SuperGen Products/Champion Power Equipment. The half-mile track in Canandaigua, NY hosted the second annual Gerald Haers Memorial in 2020 so the fast-time award was special for Haers.

Despite a strong redraw, Haers battled mechanical gremlins in the Feature and finished back in the twentieth position. The second quickest driver in Time Trials was Demetrios Drellos, from Queensbury, NY. Drellos proved himself a solid qualifier last year and it showed again at Land of Legends Raceway. Drellos’ time was worth $250 from SuperGen Products/Champion Power Equipment.

The OktoberFAST finale at Weedsport Speedway was presented by Stirling Lubricants, based in Rochester, NY. It was the Matt Sheppard and Max McLaughlin show at Weedsport.

Sheppard grabbed the Stirling Lubricants Fast-Time Award while McLaughlin timed a tick behind for second quick. They tandem capped off the memorable night by swapping those positions in the 75-lap classic in which Max McLaughlin became a first-time Super DIRTcar Series winner.

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DIRTcar OktoberFAST Fast-Time Awards

Albany-Saratoga Speedway – Bart Contracting – Billy Decker

Fulton Speedway – Penske Racing Shocks – Brett Hearn

Can-Am Speedway – St. Lawrence Radiology – Stewart Friesen

Land of Legends Raceway – SuperGen Products/Champion Power Equipment – Justin Haers

Weedsport Speedway – Stirling Lubricants – Matt Sheppard

Hard Chargers Brought Excitement to DIRTcar OktoberFAST

The most exciting special award of DIRTcar OktoberFAST presented by DIRTVision was the classic Hard Charger Award. Five exceptional partners added an additional $250 bonus for the driver who advanced the most positions during the course of the Feature: The Hard Charger Award. 

To receive the Hard Charger Award, a driver usually suffers a difficult start to the race night. Sometimes the team misses the setup for Time Trials when the track is heavy or slicker than expected. A poor Time Trial lap results in a poor starting position in the Heat Race. In other instances, a driver might run into mechanical or incidental trouble while in a transfer position causing them to drop out despite wielding a fast race car. 

Even seven-time Super DIRTcar Series champions have off days. Matt Sheppard struggled to get his No. 9S to handle throughout the first half of the week including Albany’s OktoberFAST kick off where he was forced to qualify through the Last Chance Showdown. 

Sheppard then started in the twenty-first position for the 60-lap Feature. From there it was hammer down for the Waterloo, NY Big Block driver. Sheppard motored up twelve positions to capture the Bart Contracting Hard Charger Award at Albany. 

Tim Sears Jr., from Clay, NY, knows his way around Fulton Speedway. Sears failed to qualify out of his Heat Race but he made it into the top three of his Last Chance Showdown after starting ninth. He proved his Fulton skills on Penske Racing Shocks night by advancing twelve positions from twenty-fifth to thirteenth. 

Demetrios Drellos was forced to use a Super DIRTcar Series provisional in order to start the 60-lap Feature at Can-Am Speedway. Drellos struggled all night until the Feature when “Double D” turned on the afterburners to pick up nine spots in the Feature for the St. Lawrence Radiology Hard Charger Award. 

Erick Rudolph, from Ransomville, NY, calls Land of Legends Raceway home on Saturday nights for the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship. Unfortunately, that home track advantage did not aid the pilot of the No. 25R until Feature time. He barely made the field out of the Heat Race, finishing fifth, which put him back in the nineteenth starting position. 

Finally, when the 60-lap Feature took the green, Rudolph was set up. He powered through fifteen rivals on his way to a fourth-place finish for the SuperGen Products/Champion Power Equipment $250 Hard Charger bonus. 

The most dramatic Hard Charger award came at the DIRTcar OktoberFAST finale at Weedsport Speedway sponsored by Stirling Lubricants. Mike Mahaney, from King Ferry, NY, had a stellar week of racing during OktoberFAST picking up podiums at all four races going into Weedsport. 

It looked like that would continue as he qualified for the redraw out of the Heat Race. Unfortunately, Mahaney was disqualified from the Heat Race results due to a shock infringement. After that, the No. 35 started scratch in the Last Chance Showdown where he drove up through the field and nearly made the show. 

Mahaney took a Series provisional to start the Feature and he was a man on a mission. He made precise moves and gambled when necessary to advance all the way to tenth place at the conclusion of the 75-lap Feature. 

DIRTcar OktoberFAST Hard Charger Awards

Albany-Saratoga Speedway –  Bart Contracting Hard Charger – Matt Sheppard +12 

Fulton SpeedwayPenske Racing Shocks Hard Charger Tim Sears +12 

Can-Am SpeedwaySt. Lawrence RadiologyDemetrios Drellos +9

Land of Legends RacewaySuperGen Products/Champion Power Equipment – Erick Rudolph +15

Weedsport SpeedwayStirling LubricantsMike Mahaney +17

MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE: McLaughlin Caps OktoberFAST with Emotional First Career Series Win

WEEDSPORT, NY – October 11, 2020 – There was a little magic in Max McLaughlin’s right foot as he peddled his Billy Whittaker Cars Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified to his first career Series win. McLaughlin’s Sweeteners Plus No. 32c flashed across the Weedsport Speedway finish line beneath Dave Farney’s double checkered flag display to win DIRTcar OktoberFAST presented by DIRTVision’s $10,000 finale.

Not only did Max McLaughlin, from Mooresville, NC, win his first Series race but he made it happen by passing a Weedsport master, Matt Sheppard, at a track that McLaughlin once called home, literally.

“I was crying with five laps to go. Thank you Sweeteners Plus, Cellular Sales, and the Coffeys for giving me this ride. Al Heinke is the reason I’m here right now,” said McLaughlin. “When I was fifteen years old my family was out of money and I didn’t know if we’d keep racing. Al Heinke gave me the opportunity to keep racing. He owns this place and I lived here! I lived here for over a year.”

At last, McLaughlin conquered Weedsport’s fabled Victory Hill.

“I’ve been trying to get a Series win here. I’ve been second to Sheppard, Friesen, Rudolph, and everybody in the book. I gotta have a record for most seconds without a win,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin and Sheppard’s fates mirrored each other throughout the week. Matt Sheppard built the car for Vic Coffey and as it happened both drivers struggled through the first half of OktoberFAST. But at Land of Legends Raceway, Sheppard broke through with a win and McLaughlin was in the hunt.

“We thrashed this week. We were not very good at the beginning. Neither Matt [Sheppard] or I were running well. We worked our tails off every night.”

“I’m so thankful for everybody. This car was amazing. My idol in dirt racing growing up was Matt Sheppard and he built this race car. To pass him for the win…we’re going to celebrate tonight.”

In an already clearly emotional Victory Lane, McLaughlin dedicated his win to many important people in his life including Andy Phelps, Jimmy Phelps’ Father, who passed away earlier this year, and World of Outlaws and DIRTcar Racing’s Chris Dolack, who is on the minds of everyone in the dirt racing world.

The only car to beat Matt Sheppard was one he built. The No.9s took off from the pole position and powered his way into a healthy lead for the first half of the race. St. Catharines, ON driver Mat Williamson kept him on a short leash and traded the lead with Sheppard. Several other drivers began to close on Sheppard and Williamson like Pat Ward, Jimmy Phelps, and finally Max Mclaughlin from his seventh-place start spot.

“We weren’t that good on long runs. The car was just starting to get out from under me. I actually held on longer than I thought I would. I think we were very close. A couple of small tweaks before the Feature and we would have been sitting out in front,” Sheppard noted. “It was quite a turnaround from the beginning of the week. We’re definitely in the ballpark now.”

Jimmy Phelps too had a lot to celebrate about McLaughlin’s win having been his teammate and racing mentor before McLaughlin’s jump to the asphalt racing world.

“It was a great night. The track was really good. We didn’t have a great draw. My car felt good on the bottom. I knew I had to keep the left rear warmed up,” Phelps said. “We got ourselves up in the hunt and it was awesome to watch our buddy Max win his first Super DIRTcar Series race. I felt like we had a second-place car but we didn’t have anything for Max.

Mike Mahaney, from King Ferry, NY, was a man on a mission in the 75-lap Feature. Mahaney had an exceptional OktoberFAST, scoring podium finishes in all Billy Whittaker Cars Super DIRTcar Series Features up until Weedsport. Due to disqualification in his Heat Race, Mahaney was forced to start Last Chance Showdown where he nearly drove from last place to qualify but fell just short.

Luckily Mahaney had a Series provisional to fall back on and started on the fourteenth row of the Feature. He knuckled down and carried his No. 35 seventeen positions which awarded him the Stirling Lubricants Hard Luck Award.

Matt Sheppard put it all together in Time Trials and recorded a 15.874-second lap around Weedsport Speedway and thanks to the night’s special award sponsor, Stirling Lubricants, he added another $500 to his winnings. Max McLaughlin was second fastest, the reverse of the Feature order. It’s fair to say Sheppard and McLaughlin dominated the night’s results.

DIRTcar OktoberFAST presented by DIRTVision has concluded. The unprecedented event saw hundreds of race cars and thousands of laps all live on DIRTVision on some of the Northeast’s premier DIRTcar race tracks.

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Feature (75 Laps)

  1. 32C-Max Mclaughlin [7][$10,000]; 2. 9S-Matt Sheppard [1][$5,000]; 3. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [10][$2,500]; 4. 44-Stewart Friesen [17][$1,800]; 5. 88-Mat Williamson [2][$1,600]; 6. 99L-Larry Wight [4][$1,400]; 7. 42P-Pat Ward [3][$1,300]; 8. 20-Brett Hearn [5][$1,200]; 9. 25-Erick Rudolph [15][$1,100]; 10. 35-Mike Mahaney [27][$500]; 11. 7MM-Michael Maresca [14][$800]; 12. 5H-Chris Hile [9][$700]; 13. 21A-Peter Britten [25][$600]; 14. 28-Jordan Mccreadie [13][$575]; 15. 3-Justin Haers [26][$550]; 16. 91-Billy Decker [8][$525]; 17. 83X-Tim Sears [23][$500]; 18. 111-Demetrios Drellos [19][$500]; 19. 60-Jackson Gill [20][$500]; 20. X-Chad Phelps [11][$500]; 21. 19M-Jessey Mueller [28][$]; 22. 215-Adam Pierson [6][$500]; 23. 4-Andy Bachetti [18][$500]; 24. 2020-Tyler Trump [21][$500]; 25. 32R-Ronnie Davis [16][$500]; 26. 19-Tim Fuller [22][$500]; 27. 15-Todd Root [24][$500]; 28. 98-Rocky Warner [12][$500]

Stirling Lubricants Hard Charger Award: 35-Mike Mahaney[+17]

Full results

Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds Fulton Speedway October 8, 2020 | HIGHLIGHTS

Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds Fulton Speedway October 8, 2020 | HIGHLIGHTS

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Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds Albany Saratoga Speedway October 6, 2020 | HIGHLIGHTS

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