Friday, Oct. 5: Live Updates at NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week
SYRACUSE, NY – A full day of NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week action is rolling at the one-mile New York State Fairgrounds, highlighted by tonight's 'Five 25s' – Triple 20-lap heats for the DIRTcar big-block Modifieds and Twin 20-lap heats for the DIRTcar 358-Modifieds.
With the postponement of yesterday's DIRTcar 358-Modified time trials and work on the 'Moody Mile' track surface, DIRTcar officials have released an updated schedule of events. The latest sked can be seen by clicking the 'Read More' link below, which leads to live updates of today's activities. (Scroll to bottom of page if schedule doesn't appear at top.)
Be sure to refresh your browser regularly to read the most up-to-date results, news and notes from Friday at NAPA Auto Parts Super Week...
Dunn pulls out finale
9:35 p.m. - Billy Dunn won the third big-block Modified heat after overtaking a slowing Gary Tomkins on lap 16. It marked the second consecutive year that the Watertown, N.Y., driver has emerged victorious in a heat.
Justin Haers finished second, followed by Peter Britten, Andy Bachetti and Ronnie Johnson. Also transferring to the 200 were 6-11 finishers Dave Rauscher, Rick Laubach, Keith Flach, Justin Wright, Lance Willix and Rich Scagliotta.
Tomkins, who locked into the 200 with his time-trial run yesterday, tumbled from contention with a flat left-front tire and bent front axle sustained from clipping the inside wall in turn three as he was attempting to lap a slower car.
Hospital trip for Perrotte
9:25 p.m. - Veteran racer Mike Perrotte saw his NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week come to an early end today due to injury -- but not an injury associated with an on-track incident.
Earlier this afternoon Perrotte was climbing the ladder from his trailer's lift gate to the roof when he slipped and fell into the trailer. He tumbled a good 10 feet and, while he didn't lose conciousness, he needed medical attention for a bleeding cut on his head.
According to Perrotte's car owner George Huttig, Perrotte was taken to a local hospital and doctors found no serious head injury. He did break his left wrist.
Perrotte's good friend, 2008 VP Small Engine Fuels 200 winner Frank Cozze, was on hand to work as Perrotte's radio man, so after Perrotte was transported Cozze jumped into his buddy's big-block Modified to run the first heat. Cozze dropped out midway through the event, and Huttig said the Pennsylvanian had not decided if he would run the car in Sunday's Non-Qualifiers' Race.
Varin brings famous 'Double Zero' back to Victory Lane
9:20 p.m. - Bobby Varin controlled the action all the way to win the second 20-lap heat. It was his second career heat-race victory at NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week -- but more importantly, he put the famed 'Double Zero' back in the winner's circle at the Mile.
Varin's car carries the No. 00, the trademark number used by Floridian Buzzie Reutimann, who won the first two Syracuse Modified classics in 1972 and '73. Varin's sponsor is Dave Cruickshank, who backed Reutimann's racing efforts throughout the Modified star's career.
Matt Sheppard finished second, followed by Tim McCreadie, Stewart Friesen and Tim Fuller. Also locking into the 200 were 6-10 finishers Bob McGannon, Jeff Strunk, Kenny Tremont, Eddie Marshall and Danny Johnson, who rallied after pitting to change his car's left-front tire on lap 10.
Bad break for D.J.
9:03 p.m. - Danny Johnson rolled to a stop in turn four on lap 10 of the second 20-lap big-block Modified heat, short-circuiting his top-five run. He limped into the pit area with a cut left-front tire.
Bobby Varin has led the prelim from the initial green flag after polesitter David Hebert failed to come up to speed. Matt Sheppard currently holds second, followed by Tim McCreadie, Stewart Friesen and Tim Fuller.
It's Decker again
8:45 p.m. - Chalk up another checkered flag for Billy Decker, who cruised to victory in the first 20-lap big-block Modified heat. He easily outdistanced Jimmy Phelps.
Decker's Gypsum Express teammates, Pat Ward and Larry Wight, finished third and fifth, respectively. Alan Johnson crossed the finish line in fourth.
With the top nine drivers not already locked into the VP Small Engine Fuels 200 transferring to Sunday's event, the drivers finishing 6-10 -- Vic Coffey, Ryan Godown, Jerry Higbie, Tim Hindley and Donnie Corellis -- punched their tickets to the big dance.
Brett The Jet's misery continues
8:35 p.m. - Brett Hearn's Syracuse luck remains putrid as he just ran into trouble in the first 20-lap big-block Modified heat, breaking a right-rear wheel and rolling to a stop in turn four while holding third place. He is locked into the VP Small Engine Fuels 200, however, after timing fourth-fastest in yesterday's qualifying.
Billy Decker has held the lead for the entire distance and appears headed to 11th career big-block heat-race victory.
D.J. holds on
8:15 p.m. - It was a little tougher than he would have liked, but Danny Johnson repelled the late-race bids of Tim McCreadie to win the second 358-Modified heat race.
McCreadie drew close in the closing laps as Johnson struggled to lap Tim Currier. Johnson never did get by the slower car and expressed his displeasure with the development after the checkered flag, rubbing Currier into the marbles between turns three and four on the cool-down lap.
Andy Bachetti finished third, Canadian Mat Williamson was fourth and Tim Fuller placed fifth.
Seven to go
8:05 p.m. - Danny Johnson holds the lead 13 laps into the second 358-Modified 20-lapper, which has been slowed for the first time by a caution flag (debris on homestretch). But the Doctor isn't home free -- hot on his rear bumper has been Tim McCreadie.
Interestingly, neither Johnson nor McCreadie has ever won a 358-Modified heat race at Syracuse.
Decker keeps rolling
7:50 p.m. - Billy Decker remained perfect in NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week competition, scoring a flag-to-flag victory in the first 358-Modified heat race. Ronnie Johnson finished second, followed by Billy Dunn, Ryan Godown and Jimmy Blewett, a pavement Modified standout who looked very good in securing a top-five finish one year after missing the Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150 starting field due to a qualifying crash.
Decker won a 358-Modified heat at Syracuse for the fifth time in his career. Only Brett Hearn, with seven small-block heat wins, has earned more.
Trouble for Planck, Hearn
7:45 p.m. - Under a caution flag on lap 18 for DIRTcar 358-Modified Series points leader Dale Planck (he lost power on the backstretch), Brett Hearn relinquished fifth place when he rolled power-less into the pit area.
7:35 p.m. - A caution flag is out with two laps remaining in the first 358-Modified heat for Brian Murphy, whose tough race (he was involved in an original-start tangle on the homestretch with Kevin Gamble) has ended with flames coming from under the hood of his car as he sits stopped in turn four.
Billy Decker has led the entire distance from the pole, but Ronnie Johnson and Billy Dunn have remained within striking distance. Dunn made an outside bid to pass Johnson for second on lap 16 but couldn't complete the move.
Ready to go
7:15 p.m. - The first of two 20-lap 358-Modified heat races is now on the track. Starter Dave Farney will be waving the green flag momentarily.
Anticipation building for heat action
6:55 p.m. - Following the completion of some quick hot-lap sessions for big-block and 358-Modifieds, teams are making final preparations for tonight's Five 20s. Opening ceremonies for the heat-race program are set to begin momentarily.
Futures action complete
6:25 p.m. - After victories were earned by Mathieu Desjardins of Sorel-Tracy, Que., and Gary Lindburg of Ridgeway, Ont. (Sportsman-Modifieds) and Glenn Forward of Morrisville, N.Y., (Pro Stocks), today's series of five Futures events is complete.
Desjardins continued his Syracuse coming-out party in the first 12-lap Sportsman event, following up on his earlier fast-time honor in qualifying for the Sportsman-Modified Championship race by beating Brandon Easey of St. Catharines, Ont., to the finish line by 2.075 seconds. Lindburg, meanwhile, was victorious in the second 12-lapper by 2.641 seconds over Michael Sebia Jr. of Easton, Conn.
Forward scored the closest win of the day, nipping Ryan Stabler of Cornwall, Ont., at the checkered flag by a mere 0.170 of a second.
Sportsman Futures Race No. 1 Finish: 1. Mathieu Desjardins, 2. Brandon Easey, 3. Corey Wheeler, 4. Frank Burnell, 5. Justin Sharp, 6. Dave Flannigan Jr., 7. Casey Pavlick, 8. James Maier, 9. Chris Thurston, 10. Martin Pelletier, 11. Jessica Powers, 12. Ryan Darcy, 13. Devin Caron, 14. Ricky Thompson, 15. Eric Lauziere, 16. Jeremy Pitts, 17. Brett Wright, 18. Scott Duell
Sportsman Futures Race No. 2 Finish: 1. Gary Lindburg, 2. Michael Sebia Jr., 3. Ryan Arbinout, 4. Randy McCulloch, 5. Don Spatorico, 6. Fred Proctor, 7. Rocky Warner, 8. Brett Martin, 9. Andrew Krause, 10. Jon Miller, 11. Mike Williams, 12. Ray Zemken, 13. Bryan Gleason, 14. Matt Farnham, 15. Sean Letts, 16. Jarrett Rozycki, 17. Jeff Stevenson, 18. Dillon Sallows
Pro Stock Futures Race Finish: 1. Glenn Forward, 2. Ryan Stabler, 3. Gus Hollner, 4. Stephane Lariviere, 5. Guy Viens, 6. Sid Harmer Jr., 7. Dave Seguin, 8. Milo Campbell, 9. George Renaud, 10. Chris Cunningham
5:50 p.m. - Mario Clair of Drummondville, Que., who just finished second in the big-block Modified Futures event, has one of North American auto racing's rising stars on his radio this week: Andrew Ranger, a 25-year-old French-Canadian whose experience runs the gamut from DIRTcar Modifieds to NASCAR and ARCA stock cars to IndyCars.
Ranger, the son of former Quebec DIRTcar Modified standout Robert Ranger, is an articulate young talent who attempted to qualify for the VP Small Engine Fuels 200 as a 15-year-old (he fell short after crashing in the Non-Qualifiers' Race) and was competing on the Champ Car/IndyCar circuit by the age of 18. This year he won three times and finished second in the points standings on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and won an ARCA road-course event at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
"I love coming to Syracuse," said Ranger, who is scheduled to compete in next month's NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "As long as I can make it, I'll be here."
Wright does right
5:40 p.m. - Justin Wright charged to his first Moody Mile victory in the 15-lap Big-Block Modified Futures race. The regular at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park outdistanced French-Canadian Mario Clair for the victory.
Big-Block Modified Futures Finish: 1. 19w Justin Wright, 2. 22c Mario Clair, 3. 57s Brian Sage, 4. 3a Kevin Albert, 5. 3J Marc Johnson, 6. 5* Tyler Siri, 7. 816 Jeff Rockefeller, 8. 4k Jasmin Leveillee, 9. 72 Tommy Flannigan, 10. 342 Matt Pupello, 11. 3B Scott Boudinot, 12. 1 Darwin Greene, 13. 16 Aaron Jacobs
5:10 p.m. - Kenny Brightbill and Bob McCreadie – big-block Modified legends and former VP Small Engine Fuels 200 winners – were spotted in animated conversation in the pit area today.
McCreadie, of course, is on hand to watch his son, Tim, chase his first-ever Syracuse victory in the big-block and 358-Modified ranks. Barefoot Bob made the last of his 21 career starts in the VP Small Engine Fuels 200 in 2003.
Brightbill, who last competed in the 200 in 2007, has both of his sons working on pit crews this week. His eldest, Keith, is helping Danny Johnson's effort, and his young son Brad is assisting Pennsylvanian Kevin Albert's first-ever Syracuse assault.
5:07 p.m. - Tim Sears Jr. of nearby Clay, N.Y., emerged victorious in the 15-lap 358-Modified Futures event, besting Jason Herrington of Troy, N.Y.
358-Modified Futures Finish (15 laps): 1. Tim Sears Jr., 2. Jason Herrington, 3. Brian Murphy, 4. David Papineau, 5. Jeff Rockefeller, 6. Darwin Greene, 7. Tim Currier, 8. Jimmy Cottrell, 9. Kevin Albert, 10. Henry Maier, 11. Patrick McGrail, 12. Aaron Jacobs, 13. Kevin Gamble, 14. Neal Williams, 15. C.G. Morey, 16. Mikael Lebreche
Here come the 'Cuse rookies
4:45 p.m. - The DIRTcar 'Futures' races – short sprints reserved exclusively for first-time Syracuse Mile entrants in the Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman-Modified and Pro Stock divisions – will hit the track next.
There's an especially large group of drivers making the NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week debuts in the Sportsman-Modified class – a total of 36, in fact. The impressive turnout prompted officials to split the field into a pair of 12-lap Futures features.
The big-block and 358-Modified Futures events will run over the 15-lap distance.
358-Modified Futures Race Lineup:
Row 1: Tim Sears Jr./Brian Murphy
Row 2: David Papineau/Jeff Rockefeller
Row 3: Jason Herrington/Neal Williams
Row 4: Darwin Greene/Jimmy Cottrell
Row 5: Patrick McGrail/C.G Morey
Row 6: Henry Maier/Tim Currier
Row 7: Aaron Jacobs/Kevin Gamble
Row 8: Mikael Lebreche/Kevin Albert
Sportsman-Modified Futures Race No. 1 Lineup:
Row 1: Mathieu Desjardins/Corey Wheeler
Row 2: Frank Burnell/Brandon Easey
Row 3: Scott Duell/Devin Caron
Row 4: Brett Wright/Chris Thurston
Row 5: Jeremy Pitts/James Maier
Row 6: Dave Flannigan Jr./Ricky Thompson
Row 7: Martin Pelletier/Casey Pavlick
Row 8: Ryan Darcy/Jessica Power
Row 9: Whitney Slavin/Eric Lauziere
Sportsman-Modified Futures Race No. 2 Lineup:
Row 1: Gary Lindberg/Michael Sabia
Row 2: Rocky Warner/Randy McCulloch
Row 3: Don Spatorico/Ryan Arbinout
Row 4: Brett Martin/Matt Farnham
Row 5: Andrew Krause/John Miller
Row 6: Mike Williams/Fred Proctor
Row 7: Ray Zemken/Jarrett Rozycki
Row 8: Bryan Gleason/Dillon Sallows
Row 9: Sean Letts/Jeff Stevenson
Pro Stock Futures Race Lineup:
Row 1: Glen Forward/Ryan Stabler
Row 2: Gus Hollner/George Renaud
Row 3: Stephane Lariviere/Dave Seguin
Row 4: Guy Viens/Milo Campbell
Row 5: Chris Cunningham/Sid Harmer
Big-Block Modified Futures Race Lineup:
Row 1: Justin Wright/Mario Clair
Row 2: Marc Johnson/Brian Sage
Row 3: Jeff Rockefeller/Kevin Albert
Row 4: Tyler Siri/Jasmin Leveillee
Row 5: Matt Pupello/Scott Boudinot
Row 6: Aaron Jacobs
What a debut
4:35 p.m. - Mathieu Desjardins of Sorel-Tracy, Que., shocked the Sportsman-Modified field, setting fast time for Saturday's 30-lap Championship event with a lap of 34.738 seconds. His accomplishment came in his first-ever attempt at the Syracuse Mile.
"I've been coming to Syracuse since I was a kid," the French-speaking Desjardins (pictured below) said through a translator (Canadian announcer Brian Mulligan). "This is my first time here as a competitor and it can't be any better than this."
Cody McPherson, who won DIRTcar Sportsman-Modified championships this season at Ontario's Merrittville and Humberstone speedways, timed second-fastest at 34.988 seconds. Gary Lindburg of Ridgeway, Ont., was third-fastest (35.299), followed by Josh VanBrocklin of Watertown, N.Y. (35.348) and James Henry of Niagara Falls, N.Y. (35.354).
The top-24 in Sportsman time trials are locked into tomorrow's headliner.
Click here to see the full results from Sportsman-Modified time trials.
Sportsman on the clock
4:05 p.m. - Time trials for Saturday's Sportsman-Modified Championship are nearing their conclusion. Currently French-Canadian racer Mathieu Desjardins leads the qualifying chart with a lap of 34.738 seconds.
3:10 p.m. - Nearly 30 DIRTcar Pro Stock competitors got their first laps of NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLI a short time ago, with Rob Yetman of Castleton, N.Y., topping the speed chart with a lap of 38.051 seconds.
Yetman is certainly focused on Sunday's 25-lap Pro Stock Championship. He has started the event eight times since 1998 but hasn't reached Victory Lane, finishing as high as second twice (2005 and '11).
The full rundown
2 p.m. - Results from today's DIRTcar 358-Modified time trials are now posted and can be seen by clicking here.
Decker does it
Time trials are complete with Billy Decker remaining on top at 31.702 seconds to claim the pole position for Saturday's Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150. The remainder of the top-six drivers locking into the main event are Danny Johnson (31.885), Ronnie Johnson (31.918), Tim McCreadie (32.026), Billy Dunn (32.057) and Tim Fuller (32.061).
1:10 p.m. - On the heels of winning last night's World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Main at nearby Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, Rick Eckert and his crew are spending the day at the New York State Fairgrounds. The national full-fender tour's reigning champion was spotted with his wife, Kristal, and crewmen along Manufacturers' Row, chatting with Troyer's Billy Colton (photo below) at the DIRTcar Modified chassis builder's track-support tent.
Another WoO LMS regular wandering around the Syracuse pit area is rookie Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., who will follow Eckert back to his shop in York, Pa., to prepare for next Wednesday night's WoO LMS event at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C.
12:52 p.m. - Roughly halfway through 358-Modified time trials, Billy Decker sets atop the chart with a lap of 31.702 seconds. He's bidding to sweep the pole-position starting spots for the VP Small Engine Fuels 200 and Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150 for the second consecutive year.
Danny Johnson is currently second in the 358-Modified qualifying (31.885), followed by Ronnie Johnson (31.918), Tim McCreadie (32.026) and pavement Modified specialist Jimmy Blewett (32.194), who just cracked the top five moments ago.
12:40 p.m. - Upon further review, David Hebert won't be taking the green flag in Sunday's VP Small Engine Fuels 200 from the outside pole.
The resident of St. Damase, Que., turned the second-fastest lap in yesterday's big-block Modified time trials, but he has been informed by DIRTcar officials that he will have to start 17th in the 200-miler because he did not qualify in his assigned spot. He chose to forego the position he drew for time trials and take one lap at the end of the session instead – a move that resulted in him ripping off a quick circuit, but also one that is subject to a penalty as per the DIRTcar rulebook. DIRTcar rules state that drivers who do not qualify in their assigned place can end up no better than 17th in the final qualifying rundown.
Hebert remains locked into the VP Small Engine Fuels 200 and will start from the pole position in tonight's second 20-lap heat race, but he will be required to drop back to the 17th spot for the start of Sunday's big-block headliner.
11:45 a.m. – The draw for DIRTcar Sportsman-Modified time-trial order is complete and 358-Modifieds are rolling onto the track for the first practice sessions of the day. Here's the remainder of today's tentative schedule at this time:
* 12 noon – Time Trials for the Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150 (top six locked in)
* 1 p.m. – Pro Stock Futures Practice/Pro Stock Practice
* 1:30 p.m. – Sportsman Futures Practice/Sportsman Practice
* 2 p.m. – 358-Modified Futures Practice/Big-Block Modified Futures Practice
* 2:30 p.m. – Sportsman Time Trials (top 24 set for main event)
* 4 p.m. – 358-Modified Futures Race
Sportsman Futures Race
Pro Stock Futures Race
Big-Block Modified Futures Race
* 5:45 p.m. – Big-Block Modified Practice
* 6 p.m. – 358-Modified Practice
* 6:15 p.m. – Pro Stock Practice
* 6:45 p.m. – Opening Ceremonies
* 7 p.m. – 358-Modified Twin 20s
* 8:15 p.m. – Big-Block Modified Triple 20s