7/29/20 Bridgeport Motorsports Park

FEATURE (100 Laps)
1. 44-Stewart Friesen [9]; 2. 91-Billy Decker [2]; 3. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [19]; 4. 4b-Andy Bachetti [24]; 5. 7m-Michael Maresca [14]; 6. 21a-Peter Britten [10]; 7. 19f-Tim Fuller [13]; 8. 49-Billy Dunn [6]; 9. 35-Mike Mahaney [3]; 10. 88-Mat Williamson [20]; 11. 111-Demetrois Drellos [11]; 12. 19m-Jessey Mueller [22]; 13. M1-Dave Marcuccilli [16]; 14. 5H-Chris Hile [5]; 15. 2-Jack Lehner [21]; 16. 32-Brandon Grosso [27]; 17. 14w-Ryan Watt [28]; 18. 3t-Tyler Dippel [18]; 19. 17-Marcus Dinkins [26]; 20. 25r-Erick Rudolph [17]; 21. 1Jr-Billy Pauch [8]; 22. 9s-Matt Sheppard [12]; 23. 26-Ryan Godown [4]; 24. 7-Rick Labach [15]; 25. 99L-Larry Wight [1]; 26. 0w-Neal Williams [7]; 27. X-Chad Phelps [25]; 28. 29k-Ryan Krachun [23]

Hard Charger Award: 4b-Andy Bachetti[+20]

Qualifying Flight-A
1. 14w-Ryan Watt, 17.14; 2. 99L-Larry Wight, 17.153; 3. 19f-Tim Fuller, 17.683; 4. 25r-Erick Rudolph, 17.688; 5. 49-Billy Dunn, 17.71; 6. T3-Tom Scheetz, 18.104; 7. X-Chad Phelps, 18.19; 8. 48T-Dave Rauscher, 18.32; 9. 35-Mike Mahaney, NT

Qualifying Flight-B
1. 44-Stewart Friesen, 17.032; 2. 26-Ryan Godown, 17.084; 3. 1Jr-Billy Pauch, 17.093; 4. 3t-Tyler Dippel, 17.24; 5. 2-Jack Lehner, 17.536; 6. 7m-Michael Maresca, 17.855; 7. 1z-Jessica Zemken, 18.054; 8. 65-Mark Pettyjohn, 18.988

Qualifying Flight-C
1. 5H-Chris Hile, 17.23; 2. 21a-Peter Britten, 17.269; 3. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 17.452; 4. 19m-Jessey Mueller, 17.556; 5. 4b-Andy Bachetti, 17.68; 6. 98H-Jimmy Phelps, 17.772; 7. 7-Rick Labach, 17.835; 8. 17-Marcus Dinkins, 18.335; 9. 6c-Josh Delea, NT

Qualifying Flight-D
1. 111-Demetrois Drellos, 17.084; 2. 0w-Neal Williams, 17.153; 3. M1-Dave Marcuccilli, 17.326; 4. 91-Billy Decker, 17.331; 5. 29k-Ryan Krachun, 17.364; 6. 88-Mat Williamson, 17.393; 7. 32-Brandon Grosso, 17.705; 8. 2a-Mike Gular, 17.716

Heat #1 – Flight (A) – Spon.-1 (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer
1. 99L-Larry Wight [2]; 2. 49-Billy Dunn [5]; 3. 35-Mike Mahaney [9]; 4. 19f-Tim Fuller [3]; 5. 25r-Erick Rudolph [4]; 6. T3-Tom Scheetz [6]; 7. X-Chad Phelps [7]; 8. 48T-Dave Rauscher [8]; 9. 14w-Ryan Watt [1]

Heat #2 – Flight (B) – Spon.-2 (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer
1. 44-Stewart Friesen [1]; 2. 1Jr-Billy Pauch [3]; 3. 26-Ryan Godown [2]; 4. 7m-Michael Maresca [6]; 5. 3t-Tyler Dippel [4]; 6. 2-Jack Lehner [5]; 7. 1z-Jessica Zemken [7]; 8. 65-Mark Pettyjohn [8]

Heat #3 – Flight (C) – Spon.-3 (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer
1. 5H-Chris Hile [1]; 2. 21a-Peter Britten [2]; 3. 9s-Matt Sheppard [3]; 4. 7-Rick Labach [7]; 5. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [6]; 6. 19m-Jessey Mueller [4]; 7. 4b-Andy Bachetti [5]; 8. 17-Marcus Dinkins [8]; 9. 6c-Josh Delea [9]

Heat #4 – Flight (D) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer
1. 111-Demetrois Drellos [1]; 2. 0w-Neal Williams [2]; 3. 91-Billy Decker [4]; 4. M1-Dave Marcuccilli [3]; 5. 88-Mat Williamson [6]; 6. 29k-Ryan Krachun [5]; 7. 32-Brandon Grosso [7]; 8. 2a-Mike Gular [8]

LCS – Last Chance Showdown (10 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer
1. 2-Jack Lehner [2]; 2. 19m-Jessey Mueller [3]; 3. 29k-Ryan Krachun [4]; 4. 4b-Andy Bachetti [7]; 5. X-Chad Phelps [5]; 6. 32-Brandon Grosso [8]; 7. 1z-Jessica Zemken [6]; 8. 14w-Ryan Watt [13]; 9. 2a-Mike Gular [12]; 10. T3-Tom Scheetz [1]; 11. 48T-Dave Rauscher [9]; 12. 17-Marcus Dinkins [11]; 13. 65-Mark Pettyjohn [10]; 14. 6c-Josh Delea [14]

 

Bridgeport Crowns Friesen ‘King of the Big Blocks’

SWEDESBORO, NJ – 28 premier Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified drivers charged into 100 laps of the unknown at the newly reconfigured high-banked, Bridgeport Motorsports Park at outset of the ‘King of the Big Blocks’ 100. 

Every driver in the field rose to the occasion and fought hard for the win but only the 5-time NAPA Super DIRT Week champion, Stewart Friesen, would be crowned ‘King of the Big Blocks.’ In Victory Lane, an emotional Stewart Friesen dedicated his win to the late Danny Serrano who passed away after working all Winter to prepare the new Bridgeport Motorsports Park for race season. 

Friesen won his Heat Race to make it to the Redraw and randomly selected 9th. With 100 laps to run, there was plenty of time for the Halmar International no. 44 to make up the necessary ground.

The Gypsum Racing cars of Larry Wight and Billy Decker led the field to the green flag. The no. 99L took off and jetted out to an early lead while Ryan Godown, Chris Hile, and Mike Mahaney duked it out for the rest of the top 5.

The next 20 laps stayed green and Decker began reeling in Wight. Slowly but surely Wight started to fade. On lap 20, Wight relinquished the lead to Decker. At the same time, Friesen began making serious inroads to the top 5 passing both Mike Mahaney and Chris Hile in one fell swoop for 4th. 

Everything changed on lap 25. 

Decker, while running in the lead, suffered a flat tire and brought out the caution. Incredibly, Decker was able to fight through the field all the way back to second place. 

“I didn’t expect to be on the podium but when it blew, sometimes getting a new tire early can win you the race,” said Decker. “By the looks of Friesen’s tire [in Victory Lane], we weren’t far off.”

On the restart, Friesen jumped to 2nd and then the lead, but suddenly the caution came out for Matt Sheppard and Mike Mahaney.  Both went behind the wall before starting their charge to the front once again. 

Friesen then outdueled Wight for the lead and drove off. Wight later retired from the race due to a mechanical failure. 

At the halfway point, Friesen was leading but Matt Sheppard worked his way back up into the top 5. Sheppard finally caught up with Friesen with 12 laps to go and made the pass. Almost immediately the no. 9S slowed and brought the caution flag out. His night was over although he did receive a free Hoosier Racing Tire for redrawing position 12. 

Friesen noted the Sheppard pass: “I figured the tire was shot because we started skatin’ pretty good. The car was getting upset in the bumps off of turn 2 a little bit. I tried to guard the bottom but Matt [Sheppard] got me on the top,” said Friesen. “I don’t know what happened but Danny Serrano was looking out for me tonight.”

Then it was Billy Decker’s turn to try and take down Friesen. He threw everything he had at him. “You have to hit it just right to get a run,” said Decker. “I was close but didn’t want to lay iron on him. I was trying. I didn’t come here to finish second.” 

3rd place finisher Jimmy Phelps was very happy with the result.

“The car was a lot better than me all night. We didn’t qualify well and I don’t think it had anything to do with the car, “said Phelps. “It just took me a while to get used to this place. What a great, racy place.”

The no. 98H never went away and the Baldwinsville Bandit never gave up. 

“It took me 50-60 laps to get to the top of turns 1 and 2 and the car could drive all over in 3 and 4. But I am happy. I wasn’t sure about halfway we had climbed up to 10th and then went back to 15th. Fortunately, the attrition helped us make it back in there.”

Follow SuperDIRTcar.com for all official race updates as well as Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute info, photos, videos, and more. 

PHOTO: Quinten Young 

King of the Big Blocks 100 Feature results:

1) STEWART FRIESEN 2) Billy Decker 3) Jimmy Phelps 4) Andy Bachetti 5) Michael Maresca 6) Peter Britten 7) Tim Fuller 8) Billy Dunn 9) Mike Mahaney 10) Mat Williamson 11) Demetrios Drellos 12) Jessey Mueller 13) Dave Marcuccilli 14) Chris Hile 15) Jack Lehner 16) Brandon Grosso 17) Ryan Watt 18) Tyler Dippel 19) Marcus Dinkins 20) Erick Rudolph 21) Billy Pauch Jr. 22) Matt Sheppard 23) Ryan Godown 24) Rick Labauch 25) Larry Wight 26) Neal Williams 27) Chad Phelps 28) Ryan Krachun

Contingency sponsorship awards:

Billy Whittaker Cars $100 – Stewart Friesen

VP Racing Fuels $50 – Billy Decker

Cometic Gasket $50 – Chris Hile

Comp Cams $50 – Demetrios Drellos

Fox Racing Shocks $50 – Marcus Dinkins

ARP $50 – Peter Britten

DART $50 – Demetrios Drellos

Drydene $50 – Peter Britten

ASi Racewear $50 – Tim Fuller 

Bicknell Racing Products $100 certificate – Stewart Friesen

Comp Cams $50 certificate – Billy Decker

Hoosier Racing Tire (free tire) – Matt Sheppard

Wrisco Aluminum – Stewart Friesen

ARP $50 certificate – Chris Hile

DART $100 certificate – Billy Decker

DART $100 certificate – Marcus Dinkins

Drydene $50 – Ryan Watt

THERE AND BACK AGAIN: Big Block Modified legends Tim Fuller and Billy Pauch on finding Victory Lane outside the cockpit of a modified

CONCORD, NC — Many would agree that wheeling a Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified takes a unique driver skill set. Massively powerful, torque-heavy engines, center steer chassis, wide bodies, and dirt-kicking Hoosier Racing Tires combine to make Big Block Modifieds one of the most exciting, and challenging forms of oval racing in the world.

In the past, a number of Super DIRTcar Series drivers have made forays into racing disciplines outside of their familiar Big Block Modified seat. Two of these drivers are featured on the DIRTVision Watch Parties this week: Billy Pauch and Tim Fuller.

The legendary Billy Pauch, from Frenchtown, NJ, is one of the few drivers able to conquer both Big Block Modifieds and 410 sprint cars. Although he never followed the series full time, Pauch has accumulated 14 Super DIRTcar Series wins, which puts him twentieth overall on the all-time wins list.

Although he’s successfully raced in a wide range of premier race car divisions, Pauch noted, “Modifieds are my forte.”

(RELATED: Hear from Tim Fuller Friday at 7 pm ET on DIRTVision when he recalls his first World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series victory, and then on Saturday at 7 pm Billy Pauch joins DIRTVision to talk about his win in the 1994 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series event at the New York State Fairgrounds Moody Mile.)

Pauch was inducted into the Northeast DIRT Modified Hall of Fame in 2016.

“Modifieds are what I grew up with and it’s what I feel most comfortable in. I love Sprints, believe me, and I drove for a lot of good people in Sprint Cars. The Sprints are physical and more of a younger guy’s car,” said Pauch.

Pauch won one of the crown jewels of sprint car racing: The 1994 Supernationals at the New York State Fairgrounds mile speedway. The famous win was over the best drivers of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.

First, all the fan-favorite Frenchtown driver had to do to put the Zemco #1 Sprint Car on the front row was break a world record. So he did.

Pauch wheeled his trimmed-out sprinter around The Moody Mile, clocking in a blistering lap of 24.825 seconds which was over 144 MPH average speed around the track.

This incredible record would stand until 2015 when Paul McMahan astonishingly broke the record at Rolling Wheels Speedway, ironically on the night before the final race ever on the famed Syracuse Mile.

Teams were known for building Syracuse specials. These were purpose-built designs for maximum straight-line speed. The unique creations found throughout the pit area were a part of the draw to The Moody Mile. Pauch’s Zemco entry was one of the most sealed-off sprint cars to ever roll off a trailer.

“It was my second year going to Syracuse with Zemco. They learned and watched the other teams. They were pretty sharp on getting the car aerodynamic,” said Pauch. “The team really slicked it up. That was the key. That and Davey Brown building the motor. Those together really gave me something special for Syracuse.”

Pauch also noted, “The biggest thing you can take back to the short tracks after a win like that is confidence. That always helps a lot.”

That and the $25,000 check.

Incredibly, Pauch raced at the top echelon of both Big Block Modifieds and Sprint Cars at the same time for many years, even fielding cars at NAPA Super DIRT Week in both divisions on the same weekend. Few drivers are that adaptable.

“When you ran Sprint Cars and Modifieds at the same time, going back into the Modified was like slow motion,” Pauch said. “Things happen a couple of seconds slower on a mile racetrack. It made it easier to drive a Modified but it didn’t make it easier to drive a Sprint of course.”

The speeds and treacherous nature made passing a premium on The Mile. Pauch preferred passing in the Modifieds because “you had the addition of ‘rub rails’ which you don’t have on a Sprint Car so you could muscle your way up a bit. If you tried that in a Sprint Car you’d usually hook wheels and go for a ride. It was easier to pass with a Modified,” Pauch attested.

Over the years, The Kid never shied away from a challenge. No matter what, he always drove the highest tier race car he could get his hands on.

After winning many races on Flemington Speedway’s dirt, Pauch spent some time on the new asphalt when the track was paved in 1991.

“Flemington was my home track. I won a lot of races there. In 1991 they paved it,” noted Pauch. “We switched the dirt cars over and ran the pavement but that only lasted for a couple of years. Then they went with the Asphalt Modifieds or what I call pancake cars.”

There was one “pancake car” that Pauch really liked and that was Mario Flores’ #44 Race of Champions asphalt modified. Here he describes the famous race at Flemington:

“They called me to run the Race of Champions race at Flemington in Mario Flore’s car. I knew it was a good car and I wasn’t doing anything so I took him up on it. I went up there and got the car in the show and started forty-third. It was a tough day coming through the field. The car got tight. At around 50 to go, I was in the top 10 and I told the team I couldn’t get the car to turn so they said pit next caution. We pitted and they made an adjustment and changed the right front tire. In 50 laps I came back through and won the race!”

Pauch returned to Flemington again in a NASCAR Truck Series race and finished a career-best sixth.

Today race fans can find the hand-painted, yellow #1 Big Block Modified racing around New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but also at select Super DIRTcar Series races like this year at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals.

2005 Super DIRTcar Series champion Tim Fuller is a hero of what New York calls The North Country in upstate New York. Fuller hails from Watertown, NY, a famous haven for Big Block Modified drivers including Bob and Tim McCreadie.

Fuller has 31 Super DIRTcar Series wins, which is good enough for eighth on the all-time wins list, tying him with Jack Johnson. After winning the Series championship in 2005, Fuller was ready for a new challenge.

Fuller hooked up with Gypsum Express and John Wight to make an assault on the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series in 2007. Fuller was incredibly fast out of the box and picked up the 2007 Rookie of the Year honors.

After leaving the Gypsum team, Fuller attempted to follow the Series full-time on his own budget. Unfortunately, Fuller had a cold spell that sapped the new operation’s funds.

Fuller left the tour in 2012 and began racing his Big Block Modified more again in the Northeast, although he continued to catch select World of Outlaws races until 2015.

The Watertown, NY-driver did not leave without making a mark though. Fuller is tied for thirteenth on the all-time Fast-Time Award list. He’s tied with Clint Smith in Heat race wins. The pilot of the #19 also had the third-most Fast-Time Awards in one season with 12 in 2009.

Fuller’s last World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model win came at River Cities Speedway in 2014 after an incredible battle with fellow Watertown native and Big Block Modified hot-shoe Tim McCreadie.

Another notable driver who returned to the seat of a Big Block Modified after dabbling in other forms of motorsports is perennial NAPA Super DIRT Week contender Jimmy Horton. He was a double-threat when he rolled into tracks with both a Modified and a Sprint Car in the tri-state area and on the Super DIRTcar Series trail.

But then the high banks of Daytona International Speedway called to The Sensational One and he heeded that call.

Between 1988 and 1995, Horton scored eight ARCA Menards Series victories including five out of eight races he entered in 1990. Although Horton struggled in the upper echelons of stock car racing, he made a definitive mark on ARCA. Due to his ARCA success, he was picked to sub for an injured Darrell Waltrip in the Junior Johnson-owned car but never landed a full-time ride.

Others have gone to the big track looking for success, such as eight-time Series champion Brett Hearn and 1986 Series champion Charlie Rudolph. Hearn finished tenth in his very first NASCAR Xfinity Series start in 1985 at Dover International Speedway but was unable to replicate that success in later starts.

More Super DIRTcar Series drivers who have found success outside of the Big Blocks include Tim McCreadie, who has had a superb Dirt Late Model career; Mike McLaughlin, who found success at NASCAR’s pinnacle; and the NASCAR Truck Series’ newest star, Stewart Friesen.

All of these drivers can agree on one thing: Big Block Modifieds are irreplaceable.

PIT STOP: The View from Central New York

OSWEGO, NY – As we all wait impatiently for the start of this year’s edition of the Super DIRTcar Series, I look back to when it all started. I was just a junior in college at SUNY Oswego.

There had been various modified racing series over the years. There were Challenge Cups and there were attempts to have team races representing tracks from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Canada with three members to each team. A novel concept. 

However, none had them staying power of what has become the Super DIRTcar Series. But who are the legends, the men to beat, and the future stars of the series? Let’s start with the all-time Super DIRTcar Series Feature winners list. 

Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at Oswego Speedway, 2018 – Chris Owens photo

Top 10 All-Time Super DIRTcar Series Feature Winners List (Points and Non-Points) 

140 Brett Hearn
89 Danny Johnson
78 Matt Sheppard
70 Billy Decker
57 Alan Johnson
39 Bob McCreadie
32 Stewart Friesen
31 Jack Johnson
31 Tim Fuller
28 Jimmy Horton

The Legends

Wayne Reutimann charges down the backstretch of The Moody Mile, 1973 – Courtesy of the NAPA Super DIRT Week Program

I remember when the Schaefer Circle of Champions raced the what would become the first series shows back in 1972 at tracks like Five Mile Point, Rolling Wheels, Fonda, Flemington, Twin Valley, Orange County, Nazareth, East Windsor, Lebanon Valley, Weedsport, Merrittville and The Mile.

Chuck Ciprich all smiles at NAPA Super DIRT Week – Courtesy of the NAPA Super DIRT Week Program

Winners included the likes of Buzzie and Wayne Reutimann along with Will Cagle, Kenny Brightbill, Dick Hansen, Don Beagell, Chuck Ciprich, Stan Ploski, and Bobby Rossell. These names were always at the top of the results in the race papers. 

Kenny Brightbill in Victory Lane at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, 1979 – Courtesy of the NAPA Super DIRT Week Program

The Super DIRTcar Series has been the lone series that brought together the elite of Northeast Modified racing on a regular basis. For fans, it is treated to have so many of the legends of the tour still with us today and competing on a regular basis.

The winningest driver is Brett Hearn and although he has taken up a management role at Orange County, he hasn’t totally walked away from possibly running a Super DIRTcar Series show from time to time.

Brett Hearn and Billy Pauch talk shop, 1986 – Courtesy of the NAPA Super DIRT Week Program

Whoever would have thought that Danny Johnson, who won his first tour race in 1983, would be second in the all-time win list and still be racing when the resumption of action commences in 2020.

Danny Johnson, 2019 – Pete MacDonald photo

Youthful compared to the guys he is surrounded by in the all-time win list, Matt Sheppard is third and he’s managed to achieve that climb in just 15 years.

The other still competitive drivers in the top 10 list of all-time winners include Billy Decker, Alan Johnson, Tim Fuller, Stewart Friesen, and Jimmy Horton.

Billy Decker triumphant, 2001 – Courtesy of the NAPA Super DIRT Week Program

Alan Johnson still finds time to hit the tour while The Sensational One Jimmy Horton is usually on the roster for NAPA Super DIRT Week and when the tour hits Orange County.

Alan Johnson in chase-mode in the Last Chance Showdown at NAPA Super DIRT Week before going on to win the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 from last, 1989 – Courtesy of the NAPA Super DIRT Week Program

Tim Fuller has been running the tour on and off for years successfully. His win total would be far more substantial it not for his years following the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model tour. 

There is no doubt that within the next 10 years The Doctor, Billy, Alan, Tomkins, Fuller, and Tremont will find other things to do other than sit in the cockpit of a Modified.

Okay, so maybe The Doctor will never quit, but you never know.

The Men to Beat

Obviously, Matt Sheppard has set the bar and after four consecutive years of winning the title will continue to be the man to beat.

Matt Sheppard, 2019 – Pete MacDonald photo

Mat Williamson had the season of his life a year ago in capturing the Super DIRTcar Series title and the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at NAPA Super Dirt Week and he too is going to be around for a long time to come.

Mat Williamson, DIRTcar Nationals, 2020 – Joe Grabianowski photo

Others who will help maintain the high caliber of racing on the Series include Larry Wight and Erick Rudolph.

Erick Rudolph, DIRTcar Nationals, 2020 – Terry Page photo

Stewart Friesen also should find his way to his share of SDS shows as he too is one helps the tour maintain its luster.

I think Peter Britten and Mike Mahaney will continue to be mainstays on the tour fielding strong entries year after year. 

Peter Britten, Airborne Speedway, 2019 – Joe Grabianowski photo

Teams change goals and aspirations. For some, the thrill of running on the tour and the prestige that comes with it is a dream or their ultimate goal in racing. They try it, for maybe a year or two, and say, “Well, I did it.”  However, others are in for the long haul.

Jimmy Phelps is a driver that can get hot any minute and be a real threat on the tour.

Jimmy Phelps on the gas at Autodrome Drummond, 2019 – Joe Grabianowski photo

Betting on Futures

How does it feel predicting the future Super DIRTcar Series stars? Let me use just one word…Unpredictable.

Certainly, Demetrios Drellos made his presence known last year as a rookie and getting his first tour win as even when I talked to him in February still couldn’t believe his team actually won in the very first year.

Demetrios Drellos, Autodrome Granby, 2019 – Joe Grabianowski photo

Jack Lehner is still quite young and he has a program that might allow him to be in this thing for the long run. He’s still learning and getting his feet wet. Jack made strides last year and he is one of the Young Ones.

Jack Lehner, Weedsport Speedway, 2019 – Joe Grabianowski photo

Chris Hile, a regular in Central New York, has proven to be competitive the series races he selects to run. He is doing the tour for the first time this year and if he can adapt to some tracks he’s never seen he could be a contender. There is no reason why he couldn’t finish in the top ten in the point standings.

Chris Hile, Eldora Speedway, 2019 – Mike Mallet Photo

If anyone has followed Tim Sears Jr. they know just by watching him for one single night that this kid has talent. The team has received some assistance from John Wight over the years when they are in need, but he would be a tremendous addition to the series. He is the future of Big Block Modified racing and needs to find a ride.

There are a bunch of DIRTcar 358 drivers with the talent to make that step up if sponsors and support can be found including Davie Marcuccilli, Corey Wheeler, Kyle Dingwall, Ryan Arbuthnot, and Jordan McCready.

Corey Wheeler and Todd Root race door-to-door at Oswego Speedway, 2019 – George Smith

However, my base of operation is in Central New York so those are the drivers that stand out to me. Series talent comes from all parts of the Northeast and Canada. 

It’s difficult to see what the future might hold especially in the crazy world we are currently surviving in. When the economy eventually bounces back, the sponsors and fans will be able to remain involved and the longest Big Block Modified series in the Northeast will continue to give fans their fill of the stars of racing. 

There is no crystal ball, but in witnessing racing since the late 60’s I thoroughly understand that times change, drivers change, racing changes, but our sport and in this case the Super DIRTcar Series live on.

Billy Foley is a prolific writer for racing news website Dirt Track Digest and announcers weekly at Brewerton and Fulton Speedways.

Lightning Strikes Twice

BARBERVILLE, FL – For the second night in a row, Lightning Larry Wight was showered in confetti on the front stretch of Volusia Speedway Park at the DIRTcar Nationals presented by Bozard Ford. 

Both wins were mirrored by two other important factors: Larry Wight started on the outside pole and five-time NAPA Super DIRT Week Champion Stewart Friesen finished in his Hoosier Racing Tire tracks. The pilot of the No. 25R Erick Rudolph, from Ransomville, NY, took the final step of the podium. 

Wight, of Phoenix, NY, has now won 3 of the last 5 Super DIRTcar Series races at Volusia Speedway Park. 

“This car has just been on a rail,” said Wight. “We were fortunate enough to be able to put the same set up as we did last night. The track didn’t lay rubber or anything and we were still glued to it. We’ve got something rolling so I hope we can keep it going for the rest of the week. Hopefully, it will transfer to something up north.”

The 30-lap Feature began with Wight hard on the gas on the outside of pole-sitter Rick Laubach. Wight passed him on the opening lap with the same move he made the night before on Brett Hearn. Right now, Wight and his team have the car right where he wants it.

“The car is good enough that I don’t even have to run the cushion. It’s a wall over in 3 and 4,” noted Wight. To try and run that lap after lap without losing the nose or hurt the car is almost impossible. We were able to run about halfway below it, right on the crown where it kind of flattens off. It seemed to like it.” 

Five-time NAPA Super DIRT Week Champion Stewart Friesen started fifth and quickly made his way to Wight’s tail. The race ran green until lap 13 when Tuesday’s winner and former Gator Championship points leader Mat Williamson broke a left rear shock. The Buzz Chew Racing team quickly changed the broken part and sent the No. 88 back into the fray where he made his way back up to 15th.

Friesen then lined up beside Wight on the lap 13 restart. 

“Any time you have Stewie right behind you, you don’t want to see a restart. He’s phenomenal on restarts and he can usually make stuff happen. The farther I could keep him behind me the better.”

Friesen has probably had his fill of staring down Wight’s exhaust pipe, but his Halmar Racing team is adept at giving Friesen what he needs to win. 

“These guys have been working really hard,” Friesen said. “ We’ve just got nothing for ‘em there. We’re going to take the day off and go run Daytona tomorrow and think about what we are going to do to this thing for Saturday because we are lacking a couple of tenths there and it showed. We’ll put it back together and come up with something.” 

Rudolph is ready to take a couple of steps up the podium. Although the Gator Championship points standings show him in third, second place runner Stewart Friesen will be racing at Daytona International Speedway Friday, February 14 meaning Rudolph will likely overtake Friesen in points. Consistency is a huge part of Rudolph’s success. 

“We had similar speed to Friesen,” Rudolph said. “We’ve had a decent car. I’m proud of our consistency this week. We’ve got two more races here and I’m looking forward to those. The team is really driving here.” 

It was Sheppard who knocked out the quick time of the night clearing Time Trial runner up Wight by 3 tenths. After struggling mightily the past two nights, it looked like the 7-time Series champion had turned a corner. Unfortunately, there’s more work to be done as Sheppard slipped back in the field and finished seventh. 

After a tough week, Demetrios Drellos, driver of the No. 111, finally cracked the top 10. Drellos ran well in Time Trials and finished second in his Heat Race to get into the Albany-Saratoga Speedway Redraw. Drellos’ 10th-place finish is his best of the week after fighting mechanical gremlins. 

The fourth Super DIRTcar Series race of the Florida Tour at Volusia Speedway Park is Friday. If you can’t make it to the track, log in with DIRTvision and get a month-long Fast Pass to catch all the action live. 

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FEATURE (30 Laps) 1. 99L-Larry Wight [2][$3,000]; 2. 44-Stewart Friesen [5][$1,500]; 3. 25R-Erick Rudolph [4][$1,000]; 4. 7MM-Michael Maresca [3][$800]; 5. 20-Brett Hearn [7][$700]; 6. 91-Billy Decker [12][$650]; 7. 9S-Matt Sheppard [8][$600]; 8. 44P-Anthony Perrego [10][$550]; 9. 49-Billy Dunn [18][$500]; 10. 111-Demetrios Drellos [6][$450]; 11. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [11][$400]; 12. 21A-Peter Britten [19][$375]; 13. 42P-Pat Ward [14][$350]; 14. 7-Rick Laubach [1][$325]; 15. 88-Mat Williamson [15][$300]; 16. 19M-Jessey Mueller [9][$275]; 17. 30-Ronnie Johnson [22][$250]; 18. 19-Tim Fuller [21][$250]; 19. 23-Kyle Coffey [17][$250]; 20. 46-Jeremy Smith [13][$250]; 21. 83-Brian Swartzlander [20][$250]; 22. 3-Justin Haers [16][$250]; 23. 32-Jim Rasey [24][$250]; 24. 4-Andy Bachetti [25][$250]; 25. 48T-Dave Rauscher [26][$250]; 26. 1-Billy Pauch [23][$250]

Hard Charger Award: 49-Billy Dunn[+9]

FULL RESULTS HERE

Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds Volusia Speedway Park February 13th, 2020 | HIGHLIGHTS

Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds Volusia Speedway Park February 13th, 2020 | HIGHLIGHTS

Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified Feature Event Highlights from Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida on February 13th, 2020.

Wight Whistles by ‘The Jet’ at Volusia

BARBERVILLE, FL – February 12, 2020 – Brett “The Jet” Hearn started on the pole, but it was Larry Wight, from Phoenix, NY, who lit the afterburners and squeezed between the No. 20 and the front stretch wall for the victory. 

The defending DIRTcar Nationals presented by Bozard Ford champion is white-hot at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile Volusia Speedway Park. The No. 99 Gypsum Racing Big Block Modified has now graced Victory Lane at Volusia two out of the last four races at the speedway. 

As he often does, Wight found purchase on the high side. 

“That thing just came alive on the top. We were able to run that middle-to-top through 1 and 2 and right through the middle in 3 and 4,” said Wight. “It felt like the car was just glued to the track, so I just kept running that line and I didn’t see anyone showing a nose. It’s one of those deals where you’re the leader and you don’t know what line is better.”

After making the fateful pass on Hearn, Wight built a lead. A few restarts bunched up the field and Stewart Friesen drew in. 

“As soon as he showed that nose I knew it was time to go to the bottom. I knew if I could get a couple lapped cars and not have to get off the bottom, we’d be alright. I caught Jeremy Smith and I just stayed there. I knew Stewie would have to Bonzai-it to make it work.”

Wight’s DIRTcar Nationals success has come with a lot of trial and error and heartbreak. 

“We’ve always enjoyed coming down here. We’ve been really close over the past six years. There were a lot of wins we let slip out,” noted Wight. “I just think we have a better handle on the car. The crew is meshing. Brandon and Jake are just working their tails off on this thing. We finished last season on a high note and this is a great way to kick off this season.”

Once Wight established his lead it was Stewart Friesen, from Sprakers, NY, that stepped up to the plate. Late in the race, Friesen caught Wight in lapped traffic. Friesen drove the Halmar Racing No. 44 deep into turn 1 but failed to get alongside Wight. After 30 laps Friesen finished in second. 

“The track narrowed up late in the race and I wasn’t able to get a run on him,” said Friesen. 

Friesen is currently second in Gator Championship points. He also busy day at the Daytona International Speedway with 2 practice sessions in his NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series No. 52.

DIRTcar Nationals Championship points leader and defending Series champion Mat Williamson rounded out the podium. The Buzz Chew No. 88 driver from St. Catharines, ON pulled eighth in the Albany-Saratoga Speedway/The Big Show 12 Top 8 Redraw. It took five calculated moves to pick up a third-place finish. 

Williamson and his team know as well as anyone that consistency wins championships. 

“There are 3 more races in this deal. It just goes to show you how good this Buzz Chew team is. We unloaded fast and that’s because of all the hard work during the winter in the shop,” said Williamson. 

The track conditions at Volusia Speedway Park always keep the drivers guessing and hitting the right set up is key. 

“The track was a little bit slippier,” noted Williamson. “I felt our car was a little better last night than it was tonight. When you start on the pole you can get into clean air and control the race. I think we’ve got a little bit of work to do.”

It looked as though the stars were aligning for Brett Hearn when he drew the pole position in the Albany-Saratoga Speedway/Brett Hearn’s The Big Show Top 8 Redraw. 

At the start, Hearn was immediately contested by Larry Wight. The No. 99L drew alongside the Madsen Motorsports No. 20 and after a lap-long door-to-door, Wight bested the 900 plus Feature winner coming out of turn 4. He finished fourth in the 30-lap Feature.  

Hearn crossed the line second to Erick Rudolph in his Heat Race and was coming on strong before Dave Farney threw the checkered flag. It appears that ‘The Jet’ is fully armed and ready for take-off. 

The Gypsum Racing No. 91 of The Franklin Flyer Billy Decker struggled in Time Trials, which set him back in the Heat Race. Fortunately for the race fans in attendance at Volusia Speedway Park, Decker passed 9 cars to go from sixteenth to seventh making him the race’s hard charger. 

Join us tomorrow night at Volusia Speedway Park for the race three of the 2020 DIRTcar National presented by Bozark Ford. If you can’t make it to the track, log in with DIRTVision and get a month-long Fast Pass to catch all the action live. 

Stay up to date on social media by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

FEATURE (30 LAPS) – 1. 99L-Larry Wight [2][$3,000]; 2. 44-Stewart Friesen [4][$1,500]; 3. 88-Mat Williamson [8][$1,000]; 4. 20-Brett Hearn [1][$800]; 5. 49-Billy Dunn [5][$700]; 6. 25R-Erick Rudolph [6][$650]; 7. 91-Billy Decker [16][$600]; 8. 44P-Anthony Perrego [9][$550]; 9. 4-Andy Bachetti [3][$500]; 10. 21A-Peter Britten [12][$450]; 11. 1-Billy Pauch [10][$400]; 12. 30-Ronnie Johnson [14][$375]; 13. 19-Tim Fuller [19][$350]; 14. 42P-Pat Ward [21][$325]; 15. 19M-Jessey Mueller [22][$300]; 16. 111-Demetrios Drellos [17][$275]; 17. 3-Justin Haers [11][$250]; 18. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [13][$250]; 19. 9S-Matt Sheppard [15][$250]; 20. 23-Kyle Coffey [24][$250]; 21. 46-Jeremy Smith [20][$250]; 22. 83-Brian Swartzlander [18][$250]; 23. 48T-Dave Rauscher [25][$250]; 24. 7-Rick Laubach [7][$250]; 25. 7MM-Michael Maresca [23][$250]; 26. 6D-Dillon Steuer [26][$250]; KSE Hard Charger Award: 91-Billy Decker[+9]

SEE FULL RESULTS

SEE GATOR CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

Contingency awards:

VP Racing Fuels: $50 – Anthony Perrego

Drydene Performance Products: $50 – Erick Rudolph; $50 Certificate – Demetrios Drellos

ASI Racewear: $50 – Billy Decker

Bicknell Racing Products: $100 Certificate – Larry Wight

Billy Whittaker Cars: $100 – Stewart Friesen

Cometic: $50 – Ronnie Johnson

Comp Cams: $50 – Peter Britten $50 Certificate – Larry Wight 

DART: $50 – Andy Bachetti; $100 Certificate – Stewart Friesen; $100 Certificate – Matt Sheppard

Fox Racing Shox:  $50 – Mat Williamson

Wrisco: $200 Certificate – Larry Wight

02/12/20 – Volusia Speedway Park

FEATURE (30 Laps) – 1. 99L-Larry Wight [2][$3,000]; 2. 44-Stewart Friesen [4][$1,500]; 3. 88-Mat Williamson [8][$1,000]; 4. 20-Brett Hearn [1][$800]; 5. 49-Billy Dunn [5][$700]; 6. 25R-Erick Rudolph [6][$650]; 7. 91-Billy Decker [16][$600]; 8. 44P-Anthony Perrego [9][$550]; 9. 4-Andy Bachetti [3][$500]; 10. 21A-Peter Britten [12][$450]; 11. 1-Billy Pauch [10][$400]; 12. 30-Ronnie Johnson [14][$375]; 13. 19-Tim Fuller [19][$350]; 14. 42P-Pat Ward [21][$325]; 15. 19M-Jessey Mueller [22][$300]; 16. 111-Demetrios Drellos [17][$275]; 17. 3-Justin Haers [11][$250]; 18. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [13][$250]; 19. 9S-Matt Sheppard [15][$250]; 20. 23-Kyle Coffey [24][$250]; 21. 46-Jeremy Smith [20][$250]; 22. 83-Brian Swartzlander [18][$250]; 23. 48T-Dave Rauscher [25][$250]; 24. 7-Rick Laubach [7][$250]; 25. 7MM-Michael Maresca [23][$250]; 26. 6D-Dillon Steuer [26][$250]; KSE Hard Charger Award: 91-Billy Decker[+9]

Qualifying Flight-A – 1. 88-Mat Williamson, 17.932; 2. 49-Billy Dunn, 18.202; 3. 30m-JoJo Watson, 18.331; 4. 98H-Jimmy Phelps, 18.351; 5. 44P-Anthony Perrego, 18.362; 6. 111-Demetrios Drellos, 18.571; 7. 48T-Dave Rauscher, 18.599; 8. 13-Rick Regalski, 18.752; 9. 5-Matthew Stangle, 19.444

Qualifying Flight-B – 1. 44-Stewart Friesen, 17.606; 2. 99L-Larry Wight, 17.921; 3. 1-Billy Pauch, 17.976; 4. 30-Ronnie Johnson, 17.987; 5. 83-Brian Swartzlander, 18.074; 6. 8-Rich Scagliotta, 18.182; 7. 23-Kyle Coffey, 18.394; 8. 19m-Jessey Mueller, 18.481

Qualifying Flight-C – 1. 25r-Erick Rudolph, 18.127; 2. 20-Brett Hearn, 18.179; 3. 9S-Matt Sheppard, 18.197; 4. 19-Tim Fuller, 18.218; 5. 3-Justin Haers, 18.233; 6. 32-Jim Rasey, 18.27; 7. 98T-Tyler Thompson, 18.517; 8. 6D-Dillon Steuer, 19.109; 9. 44R-Russell Morseman, NT

Qualifying Flight-D – 1. 4-Andy Bachetti, 17.842; 2. 7-Rick Laubach, 18.02; 3. 91-Billy Decker, 18.16; 4. 21a-Peter Britten, 18.199; 5. 42P-Pat Ward, 18.214; 6. 46-Jeremy Smith, 18.355; 7. 7MM-Michael Maresca, 18.368; 8. 1g-Darwin Green, 19.107

Heat #1 – Flight (A) – (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer – 1. 88-Mat Williamson [1]; 2. 49-Billy Dunn [2]; 3. 44P-Anthony Perrego [5]; 4. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [4]; 5. 111-Demetrios Drellos [6]; 6. 5-Matthew Stangle [9]; 7. 30M-JoJo Watson [3]; 8. 48T-Dave Rauscher [7]; 9. 13-Rick Regalski [8]

Heat #2 – Flight (B) – (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer – 1. 44-Stewart Friesen [1]; 2. 99L-Larry Wight [2]; 3. 1-Billy Pauch [3]; 4. 30-Ronnie Johnson [4]; 5. 83-Brian Swartzlander [5]; 6. 19M-Jessey Mueller [8]; 7. 23-Kyle Coffey [7]; 8. 8-Rich Scagliotta [6]

Heat #3 – Flight (C) – (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer – 1. 25R-Erick Rudolph [1]; 2. 20-Brett Hearn [2]; 3. 3-Justin Haers [5]; 4. 9S-Matt Sheppard [3]; 5. 19-Tim Fuller [4]; 6. 6D-Dillon Steuer [8]; 7. 32-Jim Rasey [6]; 8. 44R-Russell Morseman [9]; 9. 98T-Tyler Thompson [7]

Heat #4 – Flight (D) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer – 1. 7-Rick Laubach [2]; 2. 4-Andy Bachetti [1]; 3. 21A-Peter Britten [4]; 4. 91-Billy Decker [3]; 5. 46-Jeremy Smith [6]; 6. 42P-Pat Ward [5]; 7. 7MM-Michael Maresca [7]; 8. 1G-Darwin Green [8]

Last Chance Showdowns (10 Laps) – Top 4 Transfer – 1. 42P-Pat Ward [4][$]; 2. 19M-Jessey Mueller [2][$]; 3. 7MM-Michael Maresca [8][$]; 4. 23-Kyle Coffey [6][$]; 5. 6D-Dillon Steuer [3][$]; 6. 32-Jim Rasey [7][$75]; 7. 48T-Dave Rauscher [9][$]; 8. 8-Rich Scagliotta [10][$75]; 9. 13-Rick Regalski [13][$75]; 10. 1G-Darwin Green [12][$75]; 11. 44R-Russell Morseman [11][$75]; 12. 5-Matthew Stangle [1][$75]; 13. 30M-JoJo Watson [5][$75]; 14. 98T-Tyler Thompson [14][$75]

Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds Volusia Speedway Park February 12th, 2020 | HIGHLIGHTS

Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds Volusia Speedway Park February 12th, 2020 | HIGHLIGHTS

Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified Feature Event Highlights from Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida on February 12th, 2020.