Hearn Ends Drought With Fourth ITT-Goulds Pumps SDW Victory
Syracuse, NY – October 6, 2007 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast PR Director
“Our gear combination cost us the lead but that’s what gave us the win,” were the words from Brett Hearn as he survived a pair of rain-delays and finally won out in a game of fuel strategy to capture the 28h Annual ITT Industries-Goulds Pumps 150-lap ‘Salute to the Troops’ Mr. DIRT 358-Modified Series main event Saturday afternoon at the New York State Fairgrounds.
Hearn’s fourth career Super DIRT Week Small-Block triumph on the Syracuse Mile was his first since 1990 and worth $20,000 in the five-hour Modified marathon. He hopes to continue the streak Sunday with a sixth victory in the Rite Aid 200, a race he has not conquered since 1995 and even been unable to finish seven of the last 11 years.
“The guys on the team have been working on this car for the past three years to do exactly what it did today. I guess if you do something long enough its bound to turn out in your favor soon or later. We used a super high gear ratio which allowed the other cars to jump us on the starts, but in the long run it paid off perfectly … we lost the lead but won the race,” added Hearn, after inheriting the lead from Pat Ward with just over a mile to go to score the dramatic victory under the fairground lights Saturday night.
driver Stewart Friesen filled in relief of Chad Brachmann (2006 race
runner-up) and rallied from last to second to earn the Dasah Sprint Car
Simulator Hard Charger Award while Billy Decker settled for third as Chris
Shultz and Vic Coffey filled out the final front-five. In the customary
post-race inspection that checked the top-five finishers, Friesen and Decker
were deemed totally legal, Shultz was disqualified completely for illegal
engine heads, while pending motor issues faced both Hearn and Coffey.
Afternoon rain may have been a blessing in disguise for the historic Salt City oval as a red flag and two yellows required separate restarts before the race was eventually started under caution. Pete Bicknell was credited with being the early leader as the initial five laps were run under caution with unusually dry and dusty conditions prevailing between the turns.
The red flag unfurled on the initial circuit following a turn one pile-up while a turn four, four-car melee set back the original 38-car field on the ensuing restart. With skies quickly blackening out west and flashes of lightning visible beyond turns three and four, Hearn took over the number one spot from Bicknell on lap eight to set the early tone.
The second red flag was thrown just before 3 o’clock as heavy winds swept over and rain inundated the track surface as race teams were allowed onto pit row to seek temporary shelter. With 15 laps scored, Hearn held onto first followed by Bicknell, Ward, Tim Fuller and Coffey. And that same order remained intact when the race resumed nearly 2-1/2-hours later.
Back in action before 5:30, a number of minor incidents kept the field in check including a detonated motor suffered by Matt Sheppard on the homestretch to send his nearest competitors seeking better visibility on lap 25. The restart that followed was all that Bicknell needed as ‘Mr. Small-Block’ returned to the point for a second time on lap 30.
While the opposition never waivered in his rear-view mirror, Bicknell kept Hearn at bay as Ward, Andy Bachetti and Friesen found their way among the top-five by the midway mark. It seemed that pit strategy would become a relevant issue as a majority of the leaders had not returned behind the fence since the mandatory stoppage was enforced some 85 laps earlier. At the time, Decker appeared to be a favorite despite running 10th as he was one of the only frontrunners to take on fuel during a lap 34 pit stop.
More raindrops on lap 82 and another slowdown curtailed the action with cars remaining out for 21 consecutive laps under yellow. The green lights flashed around the speedway once again and fans began to cheer as cars picked up steam with two-thirds of the race in the record book.
The leaders reached traffic on lap 122 and Ward ducked low across the stripe to take his first lead three laps later. Bicknell returned the favor on lap 130 and as the laps clicked off the St. Catharines, Ontario speedster seemed destined to garner his sixth ITT-Goulds Pumps 358-Modified victory during the annual autumn affair. Yet just a dozen more times around the Moody Mile, Bicknell suddenly dropped back as he became the first victim of a dry fuel cell on lap 142. This set up a final dash to the checkers, yet coming out of turn four to complete lap 149 Ward’s owntank ran dry and Hearn was the first in line to collect the hardware.
“We had problems with this combination the past two years but never lost faith in it,” said Hearn, following his fifth DIRTcar 358-Modified win of the season. The Sussex, N.J. superstar increased his total to 17 at the NYS Fairgrounds with five now scored in 358-Modified main events. “The original plan was to make an early pit stop, we just never thought we’d be doing it on lap 16. Also thought about taking tires early but the way things worked out we decided not to.
“We weren’t very good on the restarts due to the gear package but that’s what gave us the good mileage. It was kind of a work in progress, with the strategy really changing as the race went on. It turned out to be a great call in the pits not to come in but obviously the other guys thought they could make it too. Their combination was different than hours and they didn’t make it. Right now I can’t be happier for our guys as all their time has finally paid off,” said Hearn, as he posed in victory lane alongside the Four Star Motorsports no. 4 Wentworth Custom Homes-Kruger-WLR Construction/TEO housing a potent Morrison powerplant.
Friesen found out only hours earlier the night before that he would be behind the wheel of the Brachmann Racing no. 3B Original Pizza Logs/Bicknell entry that was qualified on Thursday by former Syracuse Sportsman winner Chad Brachmann. With only a dozen laps of practice logged on Saturday morning, the road warrior from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario put on a memorable charge from the back of the pack to secure his best Super DIRT Week finish ever.
“What can I say about the car, its amazing .. the whole team is amazing,” began Friesen, after his bid to go from last to first fell just a few car-lengths shy at the line. “I’ve known these guys since I was young and they’ve got a great organization. And I’ve been watching Brett race and win at Syracuse since I was a little kid so finishing second to him today is a pretty big accomplishment.
“An unfortunate circumstance put us in the car but the team rebounded with a tremendous effort, making all the right calls along the way. I just kept the car smooth and straight and wound up with a great 2nd-place finish. Jack Johnson told me it would take him 12 months to learn a new car, adding ‘you young guys can adapt right away.’ After riding around so long under caution the guys told me we got enough fuel s go for it. We were looking to conserve fuel up to that point, then the last 10-15 laps run it wide open. Hated to see Pat run out of fuel at the end, it was his race to win.”
While his teammate Ward fell victim to an empty gas tank in the closing stages, Decker had the LJL Racing no. 91 Gypsum Wholesalers/Bicknell ride poised for a high finish after topping off the tank on a lap 34 pit stop. “You never know the weather here, this is Syracuse. I made a statement early in the week about those meteorologists that said no chance of rain this week and figured they were full of it,” Decker said.
“That second rain shower enabled those guys to go the distance today. And we probably waited a little too long to turn up the wick. It seemed like we packed the track for an awful long time, I wasn’t sure what that was all about. Still, We thought it was a roll of the dice out there. We really didn’t think we had a shot but you live and learn … today we ust fell two positions short,” Decker added.
Leading three times for a race-high total of 114 laps, Bicknell filled up with a splash of racing gasoline before returning one lap down to finish in 18th-place. “I guess we proved it once and for all that the fastest car doesn’t always win. We had a real strong car all race, I just don’t know where all the gas went. We’ve got probably the biggest fuel cell you can buy and we still came up a little short.”
Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Race #12 – New York State Fairgrounds, Oct. 6, 2007 28th ITT Corporation/Goulds Pumps "Salute To The Troops" 150 Event Summary
FIN STR CAR# DRIVER
1 10 4* Brett Hearn / Sussex,NJ($20,000)
2 +18 3B Stewart Friesen / Niagara-o-t-Lake,ONT
3 12 91 Billy Decker / Unadilla,NY
4 22 24 Chris Shultz / Pawling,NY
5 6 32C Vic Coffey / Leicester,NY
6 31 27J Danny Johnson / Rochester,NY
7 19 93X Craig Mitchell / Wappingers Falls,NY®
8 11 14 Rick Laubach / Quakertown,PA
9 20 76A Jack Johnson / Duanesburg,NY
10 8 12 Ric Hill / Lafayette,NJ®
11 3 19 Tim Fuller / Edwards,NY
12 7 5 J.R. Heffner / Pittsfield,MA
13 4 1X Willy Decker / Vernon,NY
14 13 22B Mike Bruno / Castleton,VT
15 27 22 Mario Clair / St-Edmond,QUE®
16 2 42P Pat Ward / Genoa,NY
17 32 4 Andy Bachetti / Sheffield,MA
18 1 42 Pete Bicknell / St.Catharines,ONT
19 26 145 Roy Bridge / Castleton,NY®
20 29 19K Paul Kinney / Vernon,NY
21 17 M40 Mark Forte Jr. / Blue Anchor,NJ
22 37 24D Patrick Dupree / Saranac Lake,NY®
23 25 55P Perry Francis / Akwesasne,NY
24 21 80 Jeff Marshall / Fort Covington,NY®
25 38 17 Jerry Higbie / Slate Hill,NY
26 14 115 Kenny Tremont / West Sand Lake,NY
27 9 90 Martin Roy / Napierville,QUE
28 28 22G Eric Gauvreau / Chelsea,QUE®
29 24 959 Brett Graham / Kerhonkson,NY®
30 40 16 Lance Willix II / Theresa,NY
31 23 00 Doug Manmiller / Shoemakersville,PA
32 16 M96 Brian McDonald / Cornwall,ONT
33 30 007 Carey Terrance / Hogansburg,NY
34 5 44S Matt Sheppard / Waterloo,NY
35 39 77G Robbie Grant / Malone,NY
36 34 19H Chris Higgins / Syracuse,NY®
37 15 55 Mitch Gibbs / North Norwich,NY
38 36 9 Mark Smoke / Akwesasne,NY®
DNS 33 45 Wayne Jelley / Pittsfield,MA
DNS 35 37X Tom Scheetz Jr. / Boyertown,PA®
DNS 41 99 Mike Adderley / Watertown,NY®
DNS 42 93 Rich Vinson / Sanborn,NY
DNS 43 17D Danny O'Brien / Kingston,ONT
+Relieved qualified driver Chad Brachmann and started last.
LAP LEADERS: Bicknell (1-7), Hearn (8-29), Bicknell (30-124), Ward (125-129), Bicknell (130-141), Ward (142-148), Hearn (149-150).
TOTAL LAPS LED: 114-Bicknell, 24-Hearn, 12-Ward.
LEAD CHANGES: 6 among 3 drivers.
CAUTIONS: 12 for 60 laps; 2 RED FLAGS (lap 1, lap15).
ELAPSED TIME: 2 hr. 45 mins. 31 secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 54.370 mph.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.360 sec.
MIDSTATE GOLF CARS ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Craig Mitchell.
DASAH SPRINT CAR SIMULATOR HARD CHARGER: Stewart Friesen.
ORIGINAL PIZZA LOGS HALFWAY BONUS: Pete Bicknell.
GATER RACING NEWS BEST APPEARING CAR & CREW: #80 - Jeff Marshall.
NYSSCA 'TOP MEMBER' AWARD: Brett Hearn.
MAGNUM FORCE PEST ELIMINATION HARD LUCK AWARD: Pat Ward.
THOMPSON MOTORSPORTS POLE AWARD: Pat Ward (30.965 sec/116.260 mph).
THOMPSON MOTORSPORTS OUTSIDE POLE AWARD: Pete Bicknell (31.181 sec/115.455 mph).
PULLEN'S TRUCK CENTER TWIN-20 RACE WINNER: Pete Bicknell.
PULLEN'S TRUCK CENTER TWIN-20 RACE WINNER: Willy Decker.
RACE ROOKIES®: 12.
The final Mr. DIRT 358-Modified event of the season comes in two weeks during the 46th running of Eastern States Weekend, Oct. 19-21, at Orange County Fair Speedway with valuable points on the line towards the overall Hoosier Tire-Sunoco Race Fuels Mr. DIRT 358-Modified Championship finale.
SUPER DIRT WEEK XXXVI EVENTS SCHEDULE: Oct. 3 - Oct. 7, 2007
*All times and events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TIME EVENT
Sun-10/7 8am Pit Gates Open
9:15am BNC Motorsports Pro Stock Driver's Meeting (in pit building)
9:30am AAP Rite Aid 200 Modified Driver and Crew Chief Meeting (in pit building)
10am Grandstands Open, Track Open For BNC Motorsports Pro Stock Final Practice
10:20am AAP Rite Aid 200 Final practice
10:45am BNC Motorsports Pro Stock Last Chance Qualifier
11:15am Dig Safely NY Modified Last Chance Qualifier
11:30am Town Mechanical, Inc. Sportsman Championship (30 laps, 30 cars to start)
11:45am Advance Auto Parts Modified Top-30 Autograph Signing under grandstand
(Top 30 in Thu. Time Trials)
12:00pm BNC Motorsports Pro Stock Championship (25 laps, 30 cars to start)
12:45-1:45pm Rite-Aid Cold Pit Tour of Pit Row
1:30pm SDW Parade of Champions
1:45pm Rite Aid 200 Modified Championship Pre-race ceremonies
2:15pm Rite Aid 200 Modified Championship (200 laps, 44 cars to start)
Mon-10/8 -TBA- Rain Date For Saturday or Sunday events
2007 Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Schedule
DAY-DATE LAPS TRACK LOCATION/WINNER
Mon-Aug 20 100 Autodrome Drummond Brett Hearn
Tue-Aug 21 100 Autodrome Granby Kayle Robidoux
Sun-Sep 2 100 Cornwall Motor Speedway David Hebert
Fri-Sep 7 100 Autodrome Edelweiss Danny O’Brien
Sat-Sep 8 50 Lebanon Valley SpeedwayKenny Tremont
Fri-Sep 14 52 Can-Am Motorsports Park Danny O’Brien
Sat-Sep 15 100 Brockville Ont Speedway Danny O’Brien
Fri-Sep 21 75 Rolling Wheels Raceway Pat Ward
Wed-Oct 3 75 Can-Am Motorsports Park Tim Fuller
Thr-Oct 4 75 Brewerton Speedway Brett Hearn
Fri-Oct 5 100 Rolling Wheels Raceway Tim Fuller
Sat-Oct 6 150 New York State Fairgrnds Brett Hearn
Sat-Oct 20 100 Orange Co Fair SpeedwayMiddletown,NY
*All events subject to change.
The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Advance Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tire and Sunoco Race Fuels. Promotional partners include AMB i.t., F.X. Caprara Car Companies, Rite Aid Corporation and the University of Northwestern Ohio and the contingency sponsors are Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Integra Shocks, MSD Ignitions, Miller Electric Manufacturing Company, Motorsports Safety Systems, Penske Shocks and Wrisco Industries.