Tuesday, October 11, 2005

SUPER DIRT WEEK: Fuller Powers To Third 358-Mod Series Win In Super DIRT Week Thriller

By Chris Marquart, DIRT MotorSports 358-Modified Series Reporter

Syracuse, N.Y. - October 8, 2005 – Brett Hearn was hot at Super DIRT Week XXXIV. Real hot, like on fire in Death Valley hot.

Heading into Saturday’s Goulds Pumps-ITT Industries 150-lap 'Salute to the Troops' 358-Modified Super DIRT Series event, Hearn already drove the Wentworth Construction Custom Homes-Delaney Heavy Construction-Four Star Transmission Services No. 4* TEO Pro car to a win in the NativePoker.Com twin-20 qualifying heat, and had previously set the fastest time in qualifying.

Now, there was only the headline event to win, but no such luck would be found. Tim Fuller gambled, driving under Hearn when ‘The Jet’ miscalculated a pass on a lapped car. Slipping too high into the turn one/two cinders, Fuller drove the NativePoker.com no. 19 TEO Pro car under Hearn and ultimately sealed the win.

“You only get one or two chances to pass a driver like Brett Hearn,” Fuller commented. “I had the opening and I went for it.” For the third year in a row, the final outcome of the 150-lap 358-Modified event was decided in lapped traffic. “This was typical Syracuse,” Hearn said, dejectedly.

Hearn was on fire all week long, but Mother Nature took it upon herself to help cool the streak. With iffy conditions at best, the race was delayed some seven hours due to drizzly rain. With the event nearly certain to be held in the darkness, and the Syracuse Mile’s notably dark third turn, crews trucked in special generator/light rigs, positioning 12 of the apparatus around the speedway. With the significant amounts of rain, the infield and pit row were quite muddied, and deemed too dangerous for pit stops. The event was split into twin 75-lap segments. This eliminated the pit strategy of the program, and also let drivers race on their right rear more than guessing when they could go hard and when they needed to conserve.

Hearn redrew on the pole, but began to encounter an overheating problem. The car was backwashing water out of the cooling system. On lap 105, the car lost all oil pressure. Luckily, it came back, but it was fluctuating considerably. “We’re lucky to have even finished the race,” Hearn said. “We had terminal motor problems that would have put us out in another 10 laps.”

And that was the best news that anyone could have shared with Tim Fuller. Fuller was second quick in time trials and won the second NativePoker.com qualifier. He pulled position no. 7 in the redraw and was none too pleased with the redraw situation to start with. But from there, the car was a rocket.

“We knew we would have to have some good luck,” Fuller said. “But the car has been good. Still, I thought our chances were pretty limited and a win at Super DIRT Week was a little far-fetched.” But at the half-way break, he found himself second, sandwiched between Billy Decker and leader Hearn

In the first half, Matt Sheppard led the first 17 laps before Andy Bachetti made a wild move entering turn one. Bachetti powered to the outside, pinching down on a lapped car. Setting a brutal pace, Bachetti ended up getting into trouble as traffic checked up and Bachetti hammered the outside wall. Sheppard would later be sidelined with a flat right rear and a broken rear end.

Hearn took the lead at that point, lap 23, and could run away on restarts. Vic Coffey showed some muscle leading into the halftime, but spun on lap 69 after being cut down in turn one and started the second half in seventh. The wreck moved Fuller and Decker into second and third.

In the second half, Decker was able to run Fuller down on restarts, but couldn’t do much in terms of passing the no. 19. “I had a little more gear than Tim did,” Decker said. The gearing difference let Decker chase down Fuller on a restart, but within a lap, Fuller was back on Hearn’s tail.

The field bunched up on Hearn on lap 105 when Ryan Larkin flipped down the back straight. Hearn showed his first signs of weakness during that break in the action, radioing his crew about the engine temperature and oil pressure issues.

The field slowed again on lap 118 when New Jersey’s Mark Forte Jr. slowed in the third turn. The event stayed green through lap 143, and Hearn looked to be on a yo-yo string. As the engine cycle grew more ill, Hearn fell back to Fuller. Hearn could pull away at times, but the situation was not in his favor. Aside of that, the leaders were mired in heavy traffic.

“Our only chance was going to be in the lapped traffic,” Fuller said. “Hearn jumped up in the traffic and he got up too far in the cinders. He had the fastest car and he was the class of the field. But Syracuse isn’t always about the fastest car, but who makes the fewest mistakes.” Hearn skated up the track and opened the door for Fuller, who rolled on through on lap 143. Hearn’s piece held together through the finish, but he could not catch the leaders as the engine soured. Defending race winner Wayne Jelley took fourth ahead of third-generation Syracuse competitor Stewart Friesen.

DIRT MotorSports 358-Modified Super DIRT Series – New York State Fairgrounds - Saturday – October 8, 2005 Event Summary [Official Box Score posted on www.DirtMotorSports.com and can be viewed by first selecting 'DIRT NorthEast' on the Corporate Homepage, choosing 358-Modified SDS, then clicking '358-Modified Series' link on the top left.]

26th ITT Industries/Goulds Pumps "Salute To The Troops" 150
1 7 19 Tim Fuller / Edwards,NY
2 9 91 Billy Decker / Unadilla,NY
3 1 4* Brett Hearn / Sussex,NJ
4 12 45 Wayne Jelley / Pittsfield,MA
5 11 22 Stewart Friesen / Niagara-o-t-Lake,ONT
6 14 115 Kenny Tremont / West Sand Lake,NY
7 17 43 Keith Flach / Ravena,NY(R)
8 13 42 Pete Bicknell / St.Catharines,ONT
9 34 14j Alan Johnson/Phelps,NY
10 22 47S Chris Shultz / Pawling,NY
11 16 21 Donnie Corellis / Averill Park,NY
12 37 10X Richie Pratt,Jr. / Sewell,NJ
13 21 M40 Mark Forte,Jr. / Blue Anchor,NJ(R)
14 29 7 Sam Crogan / Lewiston,NY
15 8 3B Chad Brachmann / Wheatfield,NY
16 6 77X Dale Planck / Cortland,NY
17 10 37K Kyle Jacobs / Hogansburg,NY
18 33 66X Carey Terrance / Akwesasne,NY(R)
19 35 77F Mark Flach,Jr. / Coxsackie,NY
20 25 39 Ryan Larkin / Alford,MA(R)
21 2 28S Matt Sheppard / Waterloo,NY
22 4 32C Vic Coffey / Liecester, NY
23 27 24S Rich Salisbury / Wynantskill,NY
24 31 3W Donnie Wetmore,Jr. / Weedsport,NY(R)
25 28 55 Perry Francis / Akwesasne,NY
26 5 1H David Hebert / St. Damase,QUE(R)
27 26 112B Stephane LaFrance / Casselman,ONT
28 23 151kb Brian McDonald / Cornwall,ONT
29 15 1X Todd Stone / Middlebury,VT
30 36 88 Jeff Strunk / Bethel,PA
31 19 44 Sebastian Gougeon/Drummond,QUE(R)
32 30 66 Jared Petruska / Wayne,NJ(R)
33 32 47M Mike Storms / Wantage,NJ(R)
34 3 4 Andy Bachetti / Sheffield,MA
35 20 26 Rick Richner / Niagara Falls,NY
36 18 26S Scott George / Wilson,NY(R)
37 24 48too Dave Rauscher / Waterloo,NY
LAP LEADERS: Sheppard (1-17), Bachetti (18-22), Hearn (23-141), Fuller (142-150).
TOTAL LAPS LED: 119-Hearn, 17-Sheppard, 9-Fuller, 5-Bachetti.
LEAD CHANGES: 3 among 4 drivers.
CAUTIONS: 10 for 37 laps; 2 RED FLAGS (lap 75-mandatory pit stop, lap 105).
ELAPSED TIME: 2 hrs. 25 mins. 29 secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 61.865 mph.
NATIVE POKER.COM FAST TIME AWARD: Brett Hearn (29.552 sec/121.819 mph).
NATIVE POKER.COM 2ND FAST TIME AWARD: Tim Fuller (29.704 sec/121.196 mph).

Contact: DIRT MotorSports, Inc.Tom Skibinski, DIRT MotorSports™ NorthEast Media ManagerOne Speedway Drive, Weedsport, NY 13166Phone: (315) 834-6606 Email: media@dirtmotorsports.com, tskibinski@dirtmotorsports.com

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