By Jo Ann Davies
CONCORD, N.C. - Nov. 8, 2015 - For the first time in his young career Canadian Big-Block Modified driver Tim Kerr of Picton, Ontario, scored a Super DIRTcar Series win, and did so on Sunday night at the premier Bad Boy Buggies World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
A strong second-place finish earned Waterloo, N.Y.'s Matt Sheppard his fourth Super DIRTcar Series championship title and the first for team owners, Al and Judy Heinke, of Heinke Baldwin Racing. After his Friday night, fourth place feature finish Sheppard held an 81-point lead over only other title contender, Gypsum Express driver Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y.
Kerr, who managed a 19th-place finish in the Friday night Bad Boy Buggies World Finals, utilized the Saturday rain date to work on his car and their efforts paid off with an $8,000 payday on Sunday.
"This is just awesome," Kerr said in victory lane. "We are not going home for a day at least."
Peter Britten of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, jumped out to the early lead and held the point for the first 30 laps of the 40-lap feature. A slight shift up the track on lap 30 off turn two by Britten gave Kerr the opportunity for an inside power move that took him into the lead on the backstretch. Once in the lead, he was never seriously challenged on his way to the checkered flag. A jubilant crew, led by crew chief Zach Aubertine, greeted their driver in victory lane where Kerr jumped into their arms in celebration.
Britten settled for fifth after leading the most laps. Second-place finisher Sheppard worked his way forward, picking off cars one by one, from his ninth-place starting position. Finishing in positions three and four were Larry Wight in the Gypsum Express #99L and Danny Johnson in the Fingerlakes Livestock Exchange #27j.
Since 2010 when the Big-Block Modifieds joined the World Finals and its unique format of two feature events in the three-day program, seven different drivers have now won the 12 events held to date.
With only one caution on lap 18 for a SDS driver Keith Flach crash in the Gould Erectors # 43, all drivers had to be on top of the wheel to earn their finishing spots.
By MIKE MALLETT
CONCORD, N.C. - For the second consecutive season Danny Johnson put his Chris Genarrelli-owned ride in Victory Lane at the Bad Boy Buggies World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The ageless veteran campaigner used a nifty pass on an early restart to assume the lead and eventually the $8,000 Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series win.
"I had a great race car with a great team behind me," said Johnson, of Rochester, N.Y. "To be here in Victory Lane after last year is pretty cool. We had a good hot rod. We actually got the same car we had last year. It's working really well for us. We are really happy with it."
Jimmy Phelps drew the pole for Friday night's feature that was shorted to 30-laps from 40 due to Mother Nature. Phelps jumped to the early lead as he battled outside pole-sitter Carey Terrance. Terrance hopped the cushion in turn one allowing Phelps to slide up in front of him for the top spot. As Phelps got traction on the cushion, Johnson worked low to take second on the backstretch after starting third.
The duo remained the top two when caution was displayed for the first time on lap three. Craig Von Dohren spun on the backstretch collecting Rick Laubach and Mike Mahaney. Both Von Dohren and Mahaney were done for the night while Laubach was able to continue on.
For the restart, Phelps elected to use the bottom with Johnson pulling up alongside. Phelps got a good restart with Johnson able to hang with him on the outside. As they raced into the first turn Johnson followed Phelps to the cushion before diving low as he exited turn two. From there Johnson pulled even heading into the third corner before sliding up in front of Phelps for the lead in turn four.
"He (Phelps) was tight so I knew I had to go to the top and diamond off the corner," Johnson said. "I knew he was going to go to the top coming out so I had to get to the top going in so I could get to the bottom coming out."
At that point Johnson began to pull away. He enjoyed a comfortable advantage as Heinke-Baldwin Racing teammates Phelps and Sheppard duked it out for the runner-up position. Phelps kept Sheppard at bay for the first third of the race.
The second caution came on lap 11 when Stewart Friesen slowed with issues on his No. 66. The Sprakers, N.Y., pilot was forced to head to the pit area. Johnson held the lead with Phelps, Sheppard, Billy Decker and Larry Wight completing the top five.
That running order was short-lived because once the race resumed it was a free for all for position as they raced to the first corner. Johnson was the leader while Decker, Sheppard and Wight, who was over the cushion, were all able to get by Phelps as he pushed up the track through the turn.
Decker closed on Johnson as the laps started to click off. 20 laps were showing complete just as Johnson started catching the tail of the field. Decker took advantage of the slower traffic to close in. After a couple of laps Decker was on the back bumper of Johnson looking for the lead, but before an opportunity presented itself, the field was brought under yellow one more time on lap 22. Erick Rudolph slowed with mechanical issues and Carey Terrance spun to avoid him on the frontstretch.
The ensuring green flag saw Johnson keep the lead with a three-car jingle between Decker, Wight and Sheppard in turns one and two. As a result of all the contact Wight was able to secure second. Decker hopped the cushion and nearly collected all three drivers. The mistake by Decker allowed Johnson to pull away. He easily led the final seven laps to be the first to the checkered flag.
Wight, of Phoenix, N.Y., was pleased to get back to second after an early race bobble. Wight started 10th but got shuffled back early. He rallied on the extreme outside of the speedway. He put his LJL Racing owned car in a groove that no one else was willing to run allowing him to pass cars at will to get back to the front.
"The top was wide-open above the cushion," Wight said. "We were able to get up there above it and run some good laps to make some time up. We fell back to 15th or so. We really didn't want to beat on the car that much tonight and hopefully we didn't hurt it too much for tomorrow. We ended up bending up a radius rod on the right front otherwise I think we had something for Danny (Johnson). We held on to finish in the top two."
By FRANK CATTIZONE
MIDDLETOWN - Popular Modified driver Tommy Meier drove the race of his lifetime and collected the biggest pay day of his career early Sunday evening as he rode him with his first Eastern States 200 victory at the Orange County Fair Speedway.
Meier, who started outside pole, took advantage of several caution periods and a gutsy restart late in the event to overtake Tim McCreadie and walk home with the first-place prize of $35,000 offered from Halmar International and Arkel Motors.
"I still can't believe just what happened,'' said Meier, who was greeted in victory lane my a throng of well wishers. "I'm just in awe right now and can't believe what I just did. This is just fantastic and is easily the biggest victory of my racing career.''
Meier, who raced second to McCreadie since the 162nd lap of the race, went for broke on a 197th lap restart when he drove around McCreadie and into the lead.
"I felt like that was going to be my last chance at winning the race,'' said Meier. "I noticed that McCreadie was having a little problem and thought he might have a tire going down. I was able to get a good run off the top and was able to nose ahead off the restart.
"But I just couldn't believe all the cautions and could wait to get the race over. I was worried about tire wear myself and that right rear was never changed. We just took on fuel during our stop and I still can't believe the tire held up. I really don't know how much further we could have gone.''
The race was red-flagged shortly after Meier was scored the leader when Anthony Perrego slowed on the homestretch and had his car flipped over when Matt Hitchcock slammed into it. The ambulance and safety crews were summoned to the scene to check on the drivers.
Brett Hearn, meanwhile, who led the event around the midway mark, was able to work his way into second place following the restart, but fell just one position short of claiming the $10,000 bonus offered by Halmar International.
BECHTELSVILLE, PA -
For the third time this season veteran racer Kevin Hirthler was able to wheel the Pioneer Pole Buildings/ Green Lane Wm.Penn/4 Star Lettering No.117 to victory in the 30-lap Ingersoll Rand Night feature for T.P. Trailers NASCAR 358 Modifieds at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night. Defending BRC Late Model champion Randy Stoudt drove to his third win of the season in the 25-lap main event for the BRC Late Models wheeling the J&H Automotive No. 10. Young Brad Arnold drove the family owned WEEU sponsored entry to his first career win in the 25-lap Sportsman feature. All of the racing action was videotaped for later showing on RCN4 cable television.
All feature winners received monetary awards from T.P. Trailers and an Ingersoll-Rand Tool Kit valued at $600 plus if they were running VP Gas and met the necessary requirements were awarded product awards.
On Saturday, July 18th Hatfield Quality Meats, a long time sponsor of racing at Grandview, will have their mascot on hand to shoot t-shirts and Hatfield hot dogs into the stands. Early arrivers will be able to sample the new Hatfield "Dry Rub" tenderloin and fillet. Mascot "Smiley" will be on hand to say hello to fans and pose with feature winners during the evening.
The Hatfield Meats sponsored night will include T.P.Trailers NASCAR 358 Modifieds, BRC Late Models and Sportsman stock cars along with the popular Blast from the Past Vintage racers with racing starting at 7:30 p.m.
Hirthler is still running his car from last year since he's not quite satisfied with the new car after hitting the wall earlier in the season. Upset with his second-place finish last week to Craig VonDohren in the 30-lap T.P. Trailers NASCAR Whelen Modified feature he was determined to do better this week.
By the fourth lap of the feature Hirthler advanced into second from his seventh-place starting grid and put on a torrid side-by-side battle with polesitter Ryan Kunkle for first.