2014 Season comes to an end this past Saturday with season awards banquet
(Woodhull, NY) Over 250 mothers, fathers, sponsors, track employees, and of course drivers gathered inside the beautiful and luxurious Watson Homestead in East Campbell, New York to celebrate another great year of Dirt Track Racing at the Woodhull Raceway.
The night was highlighted by Billy Van Pelt winning his 16th career track championship in the 370 Modified's.
"I had an awesome year, despite from what happened. A year ago I didn't even have a ride, so thanks again Grant (Hilfiger). This is a pretty emotional time, yes, I have been up here so many times, 16 this year, but this year was special." Said Van Pelt during his championship interview.
Rookie of the year went to Chris Fisher, who piloted the Don Lawson #18 for a majority of the year. The sportsmanship award went to Brady Fultz.
Picking up his 7th track championship was Glenn Writenour in the 360 Late Models. Writenour tallied up Four Main event wins in 2014 and won by a margin of 66 points over runner up, Carl Hughes, who picked up his first 2 career wins in 2014.
Russ Morseman collected his first career track title in the Crate Sportsman, after winning two track championships in the Street Stocks. Morseman only won two features all year but was mighty consistent notching 12 top five finishes. Cory Costa, who was also this year's Rookie of the Year in the Crate Sportsman division finished the season second in points with four feature wins and 12 top five finishes.
Morseman will be piloting his MRC Chassis in the Modified ranks next season.
Ted and Brandi White would like to thank EVERYONE, that make the Woodhull Raceway the way it is and New York's Toughest Bull Ring. Big plans are in store for 2015 as the Short Track Super Series will hit the High Banks in August, under the promotion direction of Brett Deyo.
Be on the lookout on both the track website, and our facebook page for information regarding rules, and other race related events in 2015.
STRUNK, HOWARD, UMBENHAUER AND STOUDT EARN HONORS AT 52ND GRANDVIEW SPEEDWAY AWARDS BANQUET
GILBERTSVILLE, PA NOVEMBER 15, 2014 . . . Champions and other outstanding performers were honored at the 52nd annual Grandview Speedway Awards Banquet held at the Gilbertsville Fire Co. Social Hall on Saturday night with a large turnout of competitors and fans on hand.
For the 10th time in his long storied career Jeff Strunk was able to claim the NASCAR Whelen All American Series 358 Modified title while Jared Umbenhauer was honored as a three time NASCAR Sportsman champion while Randy Stoudt, who recently announced his retirement from racing, celebrated his second NASCAR Late Model title.
Pottstown, PA based Jeff Strunk teamed up with car owner, New Yorker Vinnie Salerno, to grab the title and the more than $10,000 in track and NASCAR point money. Strunk was able to claim the title with another season-long consistent performance winning two features and tallying 5332 points. Duane Howard, Oley, PA, took second in the standings with five feature wins and 5165 points. By virtue of his five wins Howard was able to claim the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Pennsylvania State title and earlier had laid claim to the American Racer Cup Modified championship earning his Atlas Paving #66 team a lucrative season ending payoff. Craig VonDohren, Oley, took third in the final standings with three feature wins and 4967 points.
Jared Umbenhauer, who is based in Richland, PA, won his third straight NASCAR Sportsman title with 11 feature victories and 5144 counters driving the Bashore Trucking/Eastern Rigging #5. Orefield, PA’s Brett Kressley kept the point battle close and finished second in the final standings earning four wins and 4899 points. Veteran Kenny Gilmore, Kutztown, PA, managed to come home third in the standings with 4364 points despite not have a feature win.
The top 20 drivers and top 10 owners in each division were presented with beautiful awards for their 2014 season efforts while the top ten drivers and top five car owners earned point fund checks. The champions received beautiful custom rings from the track owners, Bruce and Teresa Rogers and family.
During the evening veteran Modified racing talent Terry Meitzler, a past champion at Grandview, announced his retirement.
Jeff Ahlum, just completing his first year as the track announcer, introduced special guests, officials and others, before getting into the many special awards. Media members in attendance and a number of working officials were presented with tokens of appreciation.
The NASCAR 358 Modified Division special award recipients were:
Mike Kellner, Rookie of the Year
Kyle Borror, Best Newcomer
Nate Christman, Most Improved Driver (going from 15th in the 2013 point standings to 8th in the 2014 points)
Eric Biehn – Best Appearing Car for his No. 87
John Willman – Hard Luck
The NASCAR Sportsman special award recipients:
Jim Housworth – Rookie of the Year
Brett Gilmore – Best Newcomer
Jordan Henn – Most Improved Driver (12th in 2013 and 6th in 2014)
Guy Germano – Sportsmanship
Craig Whitmoyer – Best Appearing Car #99
Ronnie Krex – Hard Luck
The top three in the final point standings received plaques courtesy of NASCAR.
Speedway management announced that the 2015 season would get underway with the annual Free-to-the-Public practice session on Saturday, March 28th. The 2015 schedule will be released later in the year with Saturday night racing featuring NASCAR 358 Modifieds, Sportsman and Late Models.
POINT STANDINGS FOR NASCAR MODIFIEDS
1. Jeff Strunk, Pottstown, PA #4* 5332**
2. Duane Howard, Oley, PA #66 5165*****
3. Craig VonDohren, Oley, PA #1C 4967***
4. Doug Manmiller, Shoemakersville, PA #46 4740*****
5. Mike Gular, Green Lane, PA #53 4108
6. Frank Cozze, Wind Gap, PA #357 3942
7. Ryan Grim, Laury’s Station, PA #17 3503
8. Nate Christman, Fleetwood, PA #37 3314
9. Kevin Hirthler, Bechtelsville, PA #117 3301*
10. Jordan Umbenhauer, Richland, PA #19 3192
POINT STANDINGS FOR NASCAR SPORTSMAN
1. Jared Umbenhauer, Richland, PA #5 5144***********
2. Brett Kressley, Orefield, PA #19K 4849****
3. Kenny Gilmore, Fleetwood, PA #7 4364
4. Brian Hirthler, Green Lane, PA #4* 3888*
5. Jim Housworth, Reigelsville, PA #72 3545
6. Jordan Henn, Kutztown, PA #77H 3506
7. Ryan Beltz, Harleysville, PA #221 3498
8. Joe Funk, Coopersburg, PA #14J 3402
9. Erik Renninger, Bridgewater, NJ #51 3316
10. Craig Whitmoyer, Hamburg, PA #99 3215*
RANSOMVILLE SPEEDWAY 2014 AWARDS BANQUET HONORED CHAMPIONS AND MANY OTHERS FOR THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Ransomville, NY – Friday, November 14th, 2014 – Approximately two hundred and twenty guests gathered for the 2014 awards and dinner banquet last Friday night. It was a night of celebration, one of coming together as competitors, friends, and family.
Danny Johnson celebrated his eighth track championship in the 358 Modifieds. As has become customary at the Big R, the points title came down to the final night as Johnson, Erick Rudolph, and Ryan Susice vied for the top spot. Johnson’s strong performance in the month of August along with his four victories would result in the eighth title for the veteran who has been racing at Ransomville Speedway for 36 years. Rudolph settled for second while Susice rounded out the top three.
Greg Martin of Wilson, NY enjoyed his first ever track title, coming in the Sportsman ranks. Martin would also need the final week to claim his championship over James Michael Friesen and defending champion Jesse Cotriss. These three were involved in a tight points battle through-out the season swapping the lead on several occasions. Friesen finished second in points with seven victories on the year while Cotriss rounded out the top three.
Brian Lonneville of Sanborn, NY had a stellar season as he notched his first track title before the final night of racing! Lonneville enjoyed consistent top five finishes which aided him to the top of the points charts. Winning by over 100 points, Lonneville topped rookie Brett Senek and Mike Short.
Chris Leone claimed his second track championship in the four cylinder ranks – this one in the 4 Bangers. Leone graced victory lane twice in 2014 taking the title by twenty markers over Jim Stone and Steve Matson.
The first Novice Sportsman title was won by Dan Heschke. The Novice Sportsman division made its debut in 2014 as a stepping stone for those looking to graduate into the open wheel ranks. Approximately thirty different drivers took the opportunity to give open wheel a try while several made it a weekly affair. Mike Martin and Rick Blech rounded out the top three in points
Specialty award winners;
Driver of the Year – Danny Johnson
Performance of the Year – Brian Lonneville
Owner of the Year – Ron Martin
Key Players – Chad Brachmann and Sam Lehr
Best Friend Award – Alex and Helen Bruce
Rookie of the Year – Brett Senek
Pat Spina Mechanic of the Year – Keith Lonneville
Ray MacIver Sportsmanship Award – Rob Clark
Trevor Wilkins Hard Charger Award – James Michael Friesen
Three timer McPherson and four first time champions honored at 63rd Awards Night – Williamson and Friesen receive special awards
For Immediate Release from Jim Irvine Merrittville Speedway Public Relations
THOROLD, Ontario (November 3, 2014) - Merrittville Speedway’s 63rd consecutive season officially came to a close with the Night of Champions Saturday November 1st honoring the 2014 Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Champions and other award recipients.
Cody McPherson of St. Catharines took home top honors for the 3rd straight year in the Rick’s Delivery DIRTcar Sportsman Division.
Mat Williamson (St, Catharines), Mark Fawcett, (Canfield), Jeffrey May, (Mount Hope) and Leroy Buscumb (Port Colborne) all celebrated their 1st Career Championships in the Bobcat of Hamilton DIRTcar 358 Modified, Hoosier Stock, J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite and Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Divisions respectively.
Merrittville’s Co-announcers Clint Geoffrey and Dana Curvin performed Masters of Ceremony duties – presenting the top 12 points finishers from each division with point fund monies in addition to a wide variety of special awards.
The 2014 Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division Championship went right down to the final lap with second generation driver Cody McPherson edging James Michael Friesen also of St. Catharines by just 2 points.
Friesen, a third generation racer and grandson of former Merrittville co-owner and Wall of Famer Stan Friesen was announced as the Archer Truck Service Driver of the Year.
Friesen was one of 14 different drivers to be honored as a Driver of the Week during the season but was the only one earn it multiple times – 3 … the same number of wins he would rack up in 2014.
McPherson’s 5 win season included a pair of victories in the David Chevrolet King of the Crates Mini-Series in which he won as well in 2014 in his C. McPherson Jr Trucking/Bobcat of Hamilton/Turn 4 Collision/Rev’s Full Throttle Powersports/Fourth Avenue Dental/Brian Staff/Brian's Tire Repair/The Trap #7.
After finishing in the runner up spot three straight years to 23 time Champion Pete Bicknell, Williamson rebounded from a third place finish last season to win his first Championship which earned him the Performer of the Year Award.
Driving the S&W Service Centre/Optional Hose & Hydraulics/Jasen Enterprises/Darryl Johnson Inc./Champion Oil/Robitaille Racing #6, Williamson collected 5 wins and 14 top 10 finishes.
All 5 division champs earned traditional Merrittville Speedway Championship Rings and Jackets in addition to trophies and cash awards.
Kurtis Wiley, (Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Division), Chris Watson, (J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Division), Kyle Pelrine, (Hoosier Stock Division), Ryan Turner, ( Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division) and Travis Miller, (Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Division) received 2014 Rookie of the Year Awards.
Lucas Oil Slick Mist Best Appearing Car Awards were presented to Kyle Rothwell, (Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Division), Paul Klager, (J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Division), Kevin Knapp, (Hoosier Stock Division), Gary Lindberg, ( Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division) and Chad Brachmann, (Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Division).
Several history-laden awards were also presented during the event.
The Ed MacPherson Construction Kelley-Winger Sportsmanship Award was presented by the Merrittville Speedway Reunion Committee to second generation driver and former kart racer Ryan Susice of Ransomville NY, who finished in 4th spot in the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Division.
The Begolo-Little Award for the most improved driver in the 358 Modified Division went to Chris Steele, 5th in the Bobcat of Hamilton Divisional Standings.
Although away on a European vacation, Steele and his fiancée Sami Pierce were the originators of a brand new award honoring the memory of Pete Cosco who passed away late this season. Pete and his wife Linda were presented with the inaugural Pete Cosco Memorial Merrittville Speedway Car Owner of the Year Award.
In addition to owning Pete Cosco Haulage and Humberstone Speedway, their race team support includes as car owners and/or sponsors of Steele, their grandsons Jordan Cosco, Dylan and Tyler Davidson and Rob Ledingham.
The Gordie Award named after former Merrittville Announcer and Wall of Famer Gordie Wilson goes to a person, or group of people who exhibit dedication to the sport. Dan ‘Moose’ Sider – who has been part of the CAA Niagara Tow Truck Crew since the mid 1980’s was the 2014 recipient. Sider was also an integral part of his brother George’s racing career in the 1990’s.
The Crew Chief of Year Award named after Billy Matthews went to former racer Brian Halliwell who was behind 2013 4 Cylinder Champion Kyle Pelrine’s move to the Hoosier Stock Division. Halliwell’s father Dave – an L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Famer is a previous winner of the award.
For information on Merrittville Speedway’s 64th consecutive season as the best family entertainment in Niagara – visit www.merrittvillespeedway.com or call the Winter Office during business hours – 905-685-7223.
Merrittville Speedway’s Winter Office is located in Bicknell Racing Products, 117 Cushman Road in St. Catharines.
358 Modified Division Top 12 in Points: Mat Williamson – 871, Chad Brachmann – 820, Pete Bicknell – 799, Ryan Susice – 775, Chris Steele – 762, Mike Bowman – 755, Tim Jones – 746, Tommy Flannigan – 745, Brandon Easey – 739, Tyler McPherson – 713, Chad Chevalier – 678, Scott Wood – 657..
Sportsman Division Top 12 in Points: Cody McPherson – 820, James Friesen – 712, Brad Rouse – 680, Gary Lindberg – 649, Justin Sharp – 620, Paul Gaboury – 607, Brent Begolo – 582, Rob Knapp – 554, Austin Wood – 539, Ryan Turner – 484, Jason Farraway – 444, Jordan Cosco - 427.
For all the news on Merrittville Speedway’s 64th Consecutive Season in 2015 – visit www.merrittvillespeedway.com. Race fans and Race teams alike can follow Merrittville on Face Book (Facebook.com/Merrittville Speedway) and Twitter (Twitter.com/Merrittville
Jack Frost Enduro Set for January 4, Registrations Open
Mercer, PA (October 20, 2014): With the 2014 racing season complete, the staff and management of Mercer Raceway Park are already making plans for a bigger and better 2015.
Once again, the fun will start on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015 with the Jack Frost 150 Enduro and Snow Flake 25.
Competitors can get the details and entry blanks by contacting the track office, at 724-662-1310.
Further information will soon be posted to the website, at www.mercerraqcewaypark.com. Remember to register early, for starting positions in the big race will be determined by the order in which the entry blanks are received.
Danny Johnson powers to DIRTcar 358-Modified Series victory at Brockville Ontario Speedway
Erick Rudolph crowned DIRTcar 358-Modified Series champion after Fridays finale
BROCKVILLE, ONTARIO - Saturday, October 18, 2014 - "The Doctor" Danny Johnson outmaneuvered Modified stars Billy Dunn and Erick Rudolph to claim Friday's DIRTcar 358-Modified Series victory at Brockville Ontario Speedway.
"We started fourth and we jiggled around back and forth there for a little bit," said Johnson, who claimed his sixth DIRTcar 358-Modified Series win at Brockville. "Then a couple guys there fell out, and the bottom came in good. My car was really hooked up well on the bottom, it rotated well, and it worked out well for us tonight."
Johnson started fourth while Dunn and early race leaders Michel Chicoine and Mike Adderley battled for the prime position. However, a fast yet perilous outside groove caused trouble for all three, throwing each, in succession, off the track while leading the field. When Dunn lost control and slid off the backstretch in lap 34, Johnson was left in first place with Rudolph running in second.
"It's a tough thing - the outside is so fast, it's easy to fall off the track," Johnson commented. "Fortunately, it didn't happen to me, and we were able to get the win."
Friday's victory may have earned Johnson the ample $4,000 winner's share, but it was runner-up Rudolph who took home the biggest prize. The 22-year-old out of Ransomville, N.Y., claimed his second consecutive DIRTcar 358-Modified Series by a margin of just four points over Hogansburg, N.Y.'s Carey Terrance.
"We were fighting for the win," said Rudolph, who had established a point lead earlier in the season but lost it after Terrance's impressive run in Syracuse's Salute the Troops 150. "I knew Terrance was going to do everything he could to win it for himself."
Rudolph was second in point standings by just 11 points before Friday's race and started 10th in the 100-lap feature. Terrance started 16th, and both contenders were quick to make their way toward the front of the field. However, Terrance jumped the cushion in lap 19, leaving Rudolph with a strong advantage.
At the halfway point, Johnson, Rudolph and Mario Clair were continually in battle for the best position and Terrance had made his way back to 16th place. Johnson managed to stay ahead of Rudolph by a hair while Brett Hearn, after starting 22nd, battled Ryan Bartlett for fifth place. With just eight laps to go, Johnson was starting to pull away from the rest of the field while Terrance slid into fifth place.
"We were probably faster than Danny about halfway through the race, and then as the race went on he got a little better and at the end of the race I was just holding on for second," Rudolph recalled.
Indeed, Rudolph clung to second place, fending off persistent challenges from Clair to the very end, winning him enough of a point advantage to surpass Terrance.
"This year we really had to work for it," Rudolph said of the series championship, with its finale race being just one of many obstacles along the way. "We had some things happen to us in races where we've never seen it happen, we're scratching our heads, we've never seen it happen or even heard of it happening. But that didn't set us back. We kept working hard, bringing a quality car to the track."
Clair finished third, Brian McDonald was fourth and Terrance fifth.
The 1000 Islands RV Centre DIRTcar Fall Nationals concludes Saturday, Oct. 18, when the Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series and DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series take center stage. The 2014 DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series Champion will be crowned after Saturday's feature race.
For more information about the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series, click www.dirtcar.com, follow @DIRTcarNE on Twitter, or like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/DIRTcar.
DIRTcar 358-Modified Series
1000 Islands RV Centre DIRTcar Fall Nationals
Brockville Ontario Speedway
Friday, October 17, 2014
A-Main (100 laps):
Pos. - No. - Driver / Hometown [Start]
1. 27j Danny Johnson / Rochester, N.Y. 
2. 25 Erick Rudolph / Ransomville, N.Y. 
3. 22c Mario Clair / Drummondville, Quebec 
4. 151kb Brian McDonald / Cornwall, Ontario 
5. 66x Carey Terrance / Hogansburg, N.Y. 
6. 17D Danny O'Brien / Kingston, Ontario 
7. 20 Brett Hearn / Sussex, N.J. 
8. 9j Jordan McCreadie / Watertown, N.Y. 
9. 66 Kyle Dingwall / Morrisburg, Ontario 
10. 97 Michel Chicoine / Ste-Cecile-de-Milton, Quebec 
11. 124 David Hebert / St. Damase, Quebec 
12. 93 Ryan Bartlett / Watertown, N.Y. 
13. R70 Ryan Arbuthnot / Renfrew, Ontario 
14. 16w Lance Willix II / Theresa, N.Y. 
15. 21 Yan Bussiere / Drummondville, Quebec 
16. 46 Kayle Robidoux / St-Constant, Quebec 
17. 13 Kevin Hamel / Sorel, Quebec 
18. 54 Steve Bernard / Granby, Quebec 
19. 19 Luke Stewart / Sydenham, Ontario 
20. 88 Chris Herbison / Mallorytown, Ontario 
21. 55 Matt Woodruff / Bloomingdale, N.Y. 
22. 99L Bruno Lepage / Maple Grove, Quebec 
23. 99A Mike Adderley / Charlotte, N.C. 
24. 15aw Kyle Wilson / Joyceville, Ontario 
25. 26 Maxime Viens / St. Cesaire, Quebec 
26. 94 Jean Francois Corriveau / Granby, Quebec 
27. 9 Jason Riddell / Cardinal, Ontario 
28. 23 Billy Dunn / Watertown, N.Y. 
29. 75j Joseph Banks / Brockville, N.Y. 
30. 44x Dylan Breen / Kingston, Ontario 
31. 24b Roger Levesque / Napanee, Ontario 
DNS: 115 Stephane Lafrance / St. Albert, Quebec
Lap Leaders: Chicoine (1-7); Adderly (8-13, 34-40); Dunn (14-33); Johnson (41-100) .
Qualifying Heats (Top 3 redraw)
Heat 1: 1. Bernard, 2. McCreadie, 3. Chicoine, 4. Bartlett, 5. Corriveau, 6. Woodruff, 7. Hamel, 8. Levesque
Heat 2: 1. O'Brien, 2. Adderly, 3. Rudolph, 4. Arbuthnot, 5. Robidoux, 6. Hearn, 7. Dingwall, 8. Hebert
Heat 3: 1. Clair, 2. Riddell, 3. Stewart, 4. Lepage, 5. Wilson, 6. Viens, 7. Breen
Heat 4: 1. McDonald, 2. Dunn, 3. Johnson, 4. Terrance, 5. Herbison, 6. Bussiere, 7. Willix, 8. Banks
Group 1 Time Trials: 1. Bernard 14.305, 2. McCreadie 14.475, 3. Chicoine 14.499, 4. Corriveau 14.511, 5. Bartlett 14.559, 6. Hamel 14.612, 7. Levesque 14.904, 8. Woodruff 15.047
Group 2 Time Trials: 1. O'Brien 13.940, 2. Adderly 14.033, 3. Arbuthnot 14.139, 4. Rudolph 14.230, 5. Robidoux 14.251, 6. Hearn 14.275, 7. Hebert 14.515, 8. Dingwall 14.620
Group 3 Time Trials: 1. Clair 14.250, 2. Riddell 14.362, 3. Lepage 14.424, 4. Stewart 14.426, 5. Wilson 14.645, 6. Breen 14.815, 7. Viens 14.826
Group 4 Time Trials: 1. McDonald 14.078, 2. Dunn 14.185, 3. Johnson 14.202, 4. Bussiere 14.300, 5. Terrance 14.454, 6. Herbison 14.531, 7. Willix 14.661, 8. Banks 14.672
2014 DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Winners
Sun., May 18 Cornwall Speedway Cornwall, Ontario / Mario Clair
Mon., May 19 Merrittville Speedway Thorold, Ontario / Danny Johnson
Tues., July 1 Humberstone Speedway Port Colborne, Ontario / Erick Rudolph
Wed., July 2 Ransomville Speedway Ransomville, NY / Danny Johnson
Sun., Aug. 31 Cornwall Speedway Cornwall, Ontario / Carey Terrance
Fri., Sept. 5 Autodrome Granby Granby, Quebec / David Hebert
Fri., Sept. 12 Mohawk International Raceway Akwesasne, New York / Billy Dunn
Fri., Sept. 19 Le RPM Speedway St-Marcel De Richelieu, QC / David Hebert
Sat., Sept. 20 Brighton Speedway Brighton, Ontario / Erick Rudolph
Wed., Oct. 8 Cayuga County Fairgrounds Speedway Weedsport, NY / Matt Sheppard
Thurs., Oct. 9 Brewerton Speedway Brewerton, NY / Brett Hearn
Sat., Oct. 11 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse, NY / Brett Hearn
Fri., Oct. 17 Brockville Speedway Brockville, Ontario / Danny Johnson
Hearn Captures Second Straight Salute to the Troops 358-Modified Championship 150 At Syracuse Mile
Slips By McCreadie As Decker Gives Up Lead To Dry Fuel Tank With Four To Go
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (Oct. 11, 2014) - Brett Hearn did it again in Saturday's 'Salute to the Troops' 358-Modified Championship 150 at the New York State Fairgrounds - and this time with a little dramatic flair.
Seizing the moment when leader Billy Decker ran out of fuel and slowed on lap 146, Hearn split the gap between Decker and second-place Tim McCreadie to vault into the top spot and drove away over the remaining distance to capture the NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week small-block spectacular for the second consecutive year.
Hearn, 56, of Sussex, N.J., earned $20,000 for his sixth career triumph in the 358-Modified 150, tying Unadilla, N.Y.'s Decker for the event record.
Decker, of course, came painstakingly close to capturing the race for the seventh time. He emerged as the leader on lap 70 when his Gypsum Racing teammate, Larry Wight of Phoenix, N.Y., pitted under caution and kept his challengers at arm's length after that - until an empty fuel tank caused the 49-year-old star to fall off the pace rounding turns three and four with just four laps remaining.
"It was just my day," Hearn said after executing a couple celebratory donuts in victory lane with his Madsen Motorsports Teo-Pro car. "When Billy ran out of gas, Timmy got caught behind him, it just parted, I had a run coming through the middle and then it was like, 'Here we go.'"
When Decker slowed, McCreadie took evasive action to avoid him. Hearn, who had been a few car lengths behind McCreadie in third place, saw a door open between Decker and McCreadie off turn four and blasted right through to steal the race in unlikely fashion.
McCreadie, 40, settled for a second-place finish, 1.31 seconds behind Hearn at the checkered flag. It was his second runner-up performance in the event - he was second to Decker in 2010 - and his fourth podium finish in the last five years, topped by a victory in 2012.
Carey Terrance of Hogansburg, N.Y., who led laps 16-55 before pitting and rallied to contend for victory during the race's final 50 circuits, finished a career-best third. Chris Raabe of Napanee, Ont., also registered a career-best 358-Modified 150 finish of fourth and Stewart Friesen of Sprakers, N.Y., was fifth after rallying from a late pit stop on lap 70.
Decker, who started from the pole position and led laps 1-15 before ceding the spot to Terrance and then pitting on lap 21 during a caution flag, limped into the pit area to refuel and was credited with a 20th-place finish.
Hearn, who started seventh, made his required pit stop with Decker, McCreadie and more than a dozen other drivers on lap 21. He was third out of the pits behind Decker and McCreadie and chased his two longtime rivals until the fateful 146th lap.
"I saw Decker kind of glitch a little going down the homestretch into one (after scoring lap 145) and then he picked up and went again," said Hearn, who made several unsuccessful bids to overtake McCreadie for second late in the race. "Then on the back straightaway we caught him, and then he moved to the inside so I knew that he was thinking, 'I'm done.'
"But he picked up again and was carrying some pretty decent speed into (turn) three and I kind of laid back a little bit (from McCreadie) because I said, 'We're gonna be going through that corner and he's gonna run out of gas, and if we're tucked up too tight we're both gonna have to lift.' The timing of it just worked out - when Billy ran out of gas Timmy was tucked in his back bumper and he had to move out to the right real quick and he was already slowed … and I came at them guys with a head of steam and the opening was there right through the middle of them. It was pretty crazy.
"It's just unbelievable," he added, shaking his head at the turn of events. "Just unbelievable."
Decker reached pit road without bringing out a caution flag, allowing Hearn to sail virtually uncontested to the finish line.
"The funny thing was, I think in the end we probably had the best car in open track," said Hearn, who made his 29th career start in the NAPA Super DIRT Week 358-Modified headliner. "I was pretty much able to drive off effortlessly (after grabbing the lead), and those last two or three laps all I pretty much did was think about the fuel - although really, at that point, it wasn't gonna be a lot of conservation because it was too late. We had run pretty hard most of the race."
Hearn actually ran faster than he would have preferred considering he had to stretch his load of fuel for 129 laps after during the race's second caution period. Any thoughts he - as well as Decker and McCreadie - had of taking it easy to save gas were destroyed by Terrance, the soon-to-be 34-year-old driver who had a fast car and wasn't afraid to push it to the limit because he pitted on lap 56 and had no fuel worries.
Terrance made an impressive move on lap 76, sailing around the outside of Hearn through turn one to grab fourth place. He pulled off a similar pass on Billy Dunn of Watertown, N.Y., exiting turn two on lap 79 to snatch third place, and on a lap-91 restart Terrance drove around the outside of McCreadie in turn three to land in second place.
Only Decker remained between Terrance and an upset victory, and on a lap-104 restart he went for it all. Terrance's bid to overtake Decker with an outside charge in turn one failed, however, when he nearly ran into Decker's rear bumper and slid high, allowing McCreadie and Hearn to drop him to fourth.
Terrance regained third from Hearn on lap-112 restart, but five circuits later Hearn was back in control of the position and Terrance never climbed higher until Decker's untimely departure. But Terrance's presence kept the leaders from into conserve mode - and perhaps led to Decker's demise.
"We ran harder than we all wanted to," said Hearn. "I think Carey forced the issue on that. I'm gonna give him credit for running Billy out of gas because I think the pressure he put on all of us made us run harder, and that may have been the difference in the end."
Terrance, however, didn't consider the role he played in the outcome. He just was satisfied to emerge as a serious threat in his eighth career 358-Modified 150 start.
"We're pretty much a rookie here compared to these guys and it's just good to run against them," said Terrance, whose previous best finish was ninth in 2012. "We just got a little greedy on the (lap-104) restart and tried to take the lead on Decker. We should've probably waited a little while … but rookie mistakes. We'll come back to try to make up for that."
McCreadie, meanwhile, tried to put on a happy face after finishing second, but that was a hard task because he knew a victory slipped right through his fingers. He had enough fuel in his Vinnie Salerno-owned car to reach the finish but couldn't take advantage of the only driver ahead of him running dry.
"We'll go get the paycheck at the pay window and realize it's not as bad as we thought, but you want to win," said McCreadie, who earned $10,000. "Damn, you want to win. We gave it our best, but …"
McCreadie ended up being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"When Billy ran out, I was just too close and ran into him," said McCreadie. "I know Billy really well, and I'm sure he was getting off the track because he thought it would help (and) he thought maybe I'd be able to make it (on fuel if a caution didn't extend the race).
"When we went into (turn) three I went out and tried to poke him on the outside and he still had enough fuel and it crowded me up and just got me out of the rubber. When I diamonded back down I just had a big run and I never expected him to be out (of gas). I expected him to at least get down the straightaway, and it didn't work.
"I've been coming here since I was a little kid, and I know one thing about Syracuse," he added. "You can talk about luck, but it doesn't seem to come to a McCreadie all that often, that's for sure."
Hearn has experienced his share of misfortune over nearly four decades of racing at the Moody Mile, but he's also enjoyed great breaks like he caught on Saturday and in last year's 358-Modified 150 when Dunn ran out of fuel on the final lap to hand him the victory. It's all part of the mix of luck and preparation that a driver needs to be a record-breaking winner at the track.
Of course, for Hearn, it's a lot about the preparation side of things.
"This is all about homework," said Hearn. "(It's about) getting the fuel mileage and guys behind the scenes working hard on everything and making sure all the little details are taken care of, making sure if we ever get ourselves in a position to win a race like that, that we're able to - and that's exactly what happened."
Hearn was certainly honored to join Decker as the most prolific 358-Modified 150 winner in history. He already owns more Syracuse 200 Big-Block Modified triumphs than any other driver, an accomplishment he's proud of for one main reason.
"It keeps my sponsors and my owners invested in me," said Hearn. "I think that's the most important thing."
The race was slowed by eight caution flags for 37 laps.
The only significant accident occurred on lap 53 when Greg Atkins of Keeseville, N.Y., slammed the wall between turns one and two with his car's front end in a tangle with Tim Sears Jr. of Clay, N.Y.
Other caution flags were needed for a turn-one spin by Jamie Maier of Spencerport, N.Y., on the opening lap; a backstretch spin by Rich Scagliotta of Manville, N.J. (lap 19); a blown right-rear tire for Donnie Corellis of Averill Park, N.Y. (lap 67); David Hebert of St-Damase, Que., slowing (lap 86); Brett Wright of East Chatham, N.Y. (lap 100); Lance Willix II of Teresa, N.Y. (lap 108); and Willy Decker of Vernon, N.Y. (broken rearend on lap 119).
NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLIII concludes on Sunday (Oct. 12) with the running of the $50,000-to-win big-block Modified Syracuse 200. Also on Sunday's card is the DIRTcar Sportsman Championship 30 and the BACC-OFF Pro Stock Championship 25, which kicks off the action at 11 a.m.
For the latest news and updates about NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week, visit www.SuperDirtWeekOnline.com.
Salute to the Troops' 358-Modified Championship 150 Order of Finish
1. Brett Hearn
2. Tim McCreadie
3. Carey Terrance
4. Chris Raabe
5. Stewart Friesen
6. Tim Fuller
7. Wayne Jelley
8. Ronnie Johnson
9. Jerry Higbie
10. Marc Johnson
11. Ryan Arbithnot
12. Rick Laubach
13. Kevin Albert
14. Pat Ward
15. Jimmy Blewett
16. Erick Rudolph
17. Brian McDonald
18. Mike Maresca
19. Lance Willix II
20. Billy Decker
21. Bob McGannon
22. Billy Dunn
23. Chad Jeseo
24. Jeff Rockefeller
25. Alain Boisvert
26. Mario Clair
27. Willy Decker
28. Larry Wight
29. Brett Wright
30. David Hebert
31. Donnie Corellis
32. James Maier
33. Jimmy Horton
34. Yan Bussiere
35. Tim Sears Jr.
36. Greg Atkins
37. Duane Howard
38. Olden Dwyer
39. Rich Scagliotta
40. Kenny Tremont Jr.
Time of Race: 1 hour, 57 m
Margin of Victory: 1.31 seconds
Lap Leaders: B. Decker (1-15); Terrance (16-55); Wight (56-69); B. Decker (70-145); Hearn (146-150)
Caution Flags: 8 for 37 laps