Friesen Powers to Pole for Sunday’s NAPA Super DIRT Week Syracuse 200

• October 11, 2013 • Comments (0)

Ronnie Johnson claims top spot for Saturday’s 358-Modified Salute to the Troops 150

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Oct. 10, 2013 – The 42nd NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week came to life on Thursday afternoon at the New York State Fairgrounds “Moody Mile” as 68 Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds and 54 DIRTcar 358-Modifieds began their quests to win this weekend’s premier events.

Two-time Syracuse 200 champion Stewart Friesen made one spectacular lap of the one-mile oval to put himself at the top of the qualifying list for the Syracuse 200 on Sunday. Then he topped that with an even faster second circuit, securing his first-ever pole position starting spot for the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified classic.

As one of the last drivers to hit the track during time trials, Friesen, of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, blazed around the mile in 30.237 seconds to put a resounding exclamation point on his qualifying effort. His clocking was over seventh-tenths of a second quicker than defending Syracuse 200 winner Brett Hearn of Sussex, N.J., who will start Sunday’s $50,000-to-win event from the outside pole after turning a lap of 30.963 seconds.

Did Friesen, 30, think he could lay down a lap that was so much better than his rivals?

“Not really,” said Friesen, who won the Syracuse 200 in 2010 and ’11 but dropped out of last year’s event in his bid for a threepeat. “After we hot-lapped and had a good lap it definitely felt like a car that was capable of it, but you never know. You try to do as well as you can and see what shakes out.”

Friesen steered a brand-new Jeff Dailey & Sons-backed Teo-Pro car to his fast-time honor, worth $1,000 from Pole Position Raceway.

“We made a couple adjustments after practice and (motor builder) Chuck Cici did some tuning on the engine and it worked great,” Friesen said. “It’s just a good combination and we made good adjustments. Matt (Hearn) and myself work really good together, and with Loren and the Rochinski boys … we got a good group of close friends who just are working for the same goals.

“It’s real cool to be on the pole. We’ll make a big deal of it all the way from now until Sunday. The boys work hard, so it’s something to celebrate about.”

 

The top six qualifiers for Sunday’s Syracuse 200 include (from left) Carey Terrance, Brett Hearn, Matt Sheppard, Jimmy Phelps, pole winner Stewart Friesen, and Jeff Rockefeller. (Photo courtesy Alex Bruce)

Hearn, 55, had his Madsen Motorsports Teo-Pro car’s No. 20 at the top of the scoreboard until being knocked off by Friesen. He fell short of his first Syracuse 200 fast-time since 2002, but beginning his bid for a record seventh victory in the event from the front row left him extremely satisfied.

“The car feels very stable, it’s rolling the corner real good and it’s getting down the straightaway real good,” said Hearn, who receives $1,000 for his outside-pole performance from Page Trucking. “I think we’re gonna have a way different track on Sunday than we have right now though … so we’re gonna have to keep an eye on the conditions and adjust to them.”

Hearn was a bit awestruck by Friesen’s sizzling circuit, however.

“That’s pretty amazing,” said Hearn, shaking his head. “I could see (the pole winner being) a couple tenths faster, but seven-tenths – that’s pretty big. That’s traction.”

Jimmy Phelps of Baldwinsville, N.Y., earned the third starting spot for the Syracuse 200 with a lap of 31.055 seconds in the HBR Racing Troyer car.

The surprise of qualifying was Jeff Rockefeller of Scotia, N.Y., whose lap of 31.101 seconds early in time trials with his Bicknell car held up to place him fourth-fastest in the final rundown. He became the rare driver to make a career-first start in the Syracuse 200 from a position in the top six.

Former Syracuse 200 winner Matt Sheppard of Waterloo, N.Y., guided Jeff Brownell Sr.’s Bicknell machine to the fifth starting spot with a lap of 31.164 seconds while Carey Terrance of Hogansburg, N.Y., locked into the headliner in sixth place with a circuit of 31.187 seconds. Terrance was the lone driver to qualify in the top six for both the Syracuse 200 and DIRTcar 358-Modified Salute to the Troops 150.

In DIRTcar 358-Modified time trials, second-generation racer Ronnie Johnson of Duanesburg, N.Y., led the way with a lap of 31.754 seconds to earn the pole position in Saturday afternoon’s headliner.

The son of two-time Syracuse 200 winner Jack Johnson, Ronnie steered Alton and Carole Palmer’s Teo-Pro No. 76a to his first fast-time honor in the DIRTcar 358-Modified ranks at NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week. He will make his sixth career start in the 150 hoping to better his personal-best finish of fourth, which he achieved in 2010 and ’12.

Johnson, who will celebrate his 40th birthday on Nov. 2, has a string of three consecutive top-five finishes in the 358-Modified 150 – all earned behind the wheel of equipment owned by the Palmers. He was proud to put the personable husband-and-wife team on the point for Saturday’s headliner.

“I’ve been with the Palmers probably since 2005,” Johnson said. “We got to know each other from racing at Fonda (Speedway) and we just kind of hit it off. We became good friends and our relationship has grown ever since. I’m very fortunate to be able to race for them.

Johnson knows that Alton – a successful veteran Modified racer in his own right – and Carole Palmer always provide him a competitive car to run at the Mile. Nevertheless, besting the small-block field in today’s time trials still surprised him.

“Carol and Alton put this car away to save it just for coming here,” said Johnson, whose pair of fourth-place finishes in the DIRTcar 358-Modified 150 sandwiched a fifth-place run in 2011. “We just run it here and we usually unload a top-10 car, but I never dreamed we’d be on the pole with it.

“I didn’t know how good we were because you’re out there by yourself. I’ve run a lot of time-trial laps and felt like that was the fastest one and I come in and I’m 10th or 12th, so you never know. But when I took the white flag lap I saw the (number) 76 up on the board so I knew we must have been pretty good.”

 

The top six qualifiers for Saturday’s Salute to the Troops 150 include (from left) Willy Decker, Mark Johnson, pole winner Ronnie Johnson, Chris Raabe, Carey Terrance and Larry Wight. (Photo courtesy Alex Bruce)

Rising young star Chris Raabe of Napanee, Ont., timed a career-best second at 32.236 seconds, earning the outside pole starting spot for Saturday’s 150. The two-time overall DIRTcar Sportsman champion will make his second career start in the event; he finished 29th in 2010.

Terrance was third-fastest at 32.289 seconds to earn his seventh career start in the 150 (top finish: ninth in 2012). Marc Johnson of Guilderland, N.Y., was fourth-fastest at 32.328 seconds for his fourth career start in the event (top finish: sixth in ’10); Larry Wight of Phoenix, N.Y., was fifth-fastest at 32.349 seconds (sixth career start with a top finish of fourth in ’09); and Willy Decker was the final driver to lock in to the 150 with a sixth-fastest lap of 32.464 seconds (sixth career start with a best finish of eighth in ’06).

Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified Syracuse 200 Qualifying Time Trials; NY State Fairgrounds; Oct. 10, 2013

Pos.

Car

Name

Time

Diff

1

44F

Stewart Friesen

30.237

-

2

20

Brett Hearn

30.963

0.726

3

98h

Jimmy Phelps

31.055

0.818

4

816

Jeff Rockefeller

31.101

0.864

5

9s

Matt Sheppard

31.164

0.927

6

66x

Carey Terrance

31.187

0.95

7

91

Billy Decker

31.247

1.01

8

39

Tim McCreadie

31.255

1.018

9

99L

Larry Wight

31.301

1.064

10

74M

Matt Billings

31.321

1.084

11

74

J.R Heffner

31.349

1.112

12

1H

Tim Hindley

31.351

1.114

13

48T

Dave Rauscher

31.363

1.126

14

3h

Justin Haers

31.457

1.22

15

43

Keith Flach

31.519

1.282

16

21a

Peter Britten

31.577

1.34

17

66J

Danny Johnson

31.586

1.349

18

34

Andy Bachetti

31.614

1.377

19

8r

Rob Bellinger

31.66

1.423

20

84

Gary Tomkins

31.725

1.488

21

710

Bobby Varin

31.753

1.516

22

62s

Tom Sears Jr.

31.764

1.527

23

28p

Eldon Payne

31.79

1.553

24

49

Billy Dunn

31.804

1.567

25

3ax

Duane Howard

31.848

1.611

26

35

Mike Perrotte

31.855

1.618

27

32c

Vic Coffey

31.89

1.653

28

74F

Tim Fuller

31.902

1.665

29

10v

Billy VanInwegen

31.931

1.694

30

115

Kenny Tremont Jr.

31.944

1.707

31

56

Vince Vitale

31.956

1.719

32

747

Ryan Godown

32.021

1.784

33

5

Jimmy Horton

32.088

1.851

34

42P

Pat Ward

32.088

1.851

35

21k

Chad Brachmann

32.09

1.853

36

57

Donnie Corellis

32.137

1.9

37

51m

Dominic Buffalino

32.168

1.931

38

6m

Mat Williamson

32.178

1.941

39

1HH

David Hebert

32.192

1.955

40

21m

Bob McGannon

32.195

1.958

41

76a

Ronnie Johnson

32.198

1.961

42

1

Darwin Greene

32.228

1.991

43

10c

Tim Currier

32.306

2.069

44

27

Andrew Krause

32.344

2.107

45

14a

Brian Swartout

32.346

2.109

46

7z

Dale Planck

32.375

2.138

47

77

Brian Sage

32.384

2.147

48

711

JaMike Sowle

32.488

2.251

49

14J

Alan Johnson

32.528

2.291

50

8

Rich Scagliotta

32.548

2.311

51

323

Neal Williams

32.608

2.371

52

1x

Willy Decker

32.73

2.493

53

2

Roy Bresnahan

32.768

2.531

54

22c

Mario Clair

32.787

2.55

55

39T

Clement Therrien

32.913

2.676

56

7

Rick Laubach

32.931

2.694

57

165

Rex King Jr.

32.942

2.705

58

0

Dan Humes

33.089

2.852

59

4k

Jasmin Leveillee

33.177

2.94

60

21

Yan Bussiere

33.203

2.966

61

24s

Brandon Sweet

33.322

3.085

62

3a

Kevin Albert

33.324

3.087

63

44

John McClelland

33.425

3.188

64

88

Dave Allen

33.511

3.274

65

47

Bob Sarkisian

33.556

3.319

66

959

John Lutes Jr.

33.94

3.703

67

3m

Henry Maier

34.13

3.893

68

16

Aaron Jacobs

35.188

4.951

69

66

Scott Flammer

-.—

-

70

76

Jimmy Blewett

-.—

-

71

98

Eddie Marshall

-.—

-

72

17

Marcus Dinkins

-.—

-

73

45

Wayne Jelley

-.—

-

DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Salute to the Troops 150 Qualifying Time Trials; NY State Fairgrounds; Oct. 10, 2013

Pos.

Car

Name

Time

Diff

1

76a

Ronnie Johnson

31.754

-

2

1

Chris Raabe

32.236

0.482

3

66x

Carey Terrance

32.289

0.535

4

3J

Mark Johnson

32.328

0.574

5

99L

Larry Wight

32.349

0.595

6

1x

Willy Decker

32.464

0.710

7

4*

Tim McCreadie

32.476

0.722

8

6m

Mat Williamson

32.532

0.778

9

83x

Tim Sears Jr.

32.563

0.809

10

49d

Billy Dunn

32.597

0.843

11

20h

Brett Hearn

32.604

0.850

12

25

Erick Rudolph

32.634

0.880

13

91

Billy Decker

32.658

0.904

14

27

Andrew Krause

32.77

1.016

15

4J

Jeff Sykes

32.784

1.030

16

42P

Pat Ward

32.803

1.049

17

74J

J.R. Heffner

32.843

1.089

18

115

Kenny Tremont Jr.

32.854

1.100

19

1H

David Hebert

32.887

1.133

20

76

Jimmy Blewett

32.896

1.142

21

73

Alain Boisvert

32.931

1.177

22

323

Neal Williams

32.959

1.205

23

22c

Mario Clair

32.988

1.234

24

74

Matt Billings

33.016

1.262

25

24s

Brandon Sweet

33.059

1.305

26

5

Jimmy Horton

33.074

1.320

27

7z

Dale Planck

33.091

1.337

28

74F

Tim Fuller

33.115

1.361

29

21

Yan Bussiere

33.139

1.385

30

39T

Clement Therrien

33.183

1.429

31

57

Donnie Corellis

33.195

1.441

32

3b

Chad Brachmann

33.196

1.442

33

3a

Kevin Albert

33.207

1.453

34

66

Scott Flammer

33.215

1.461

35

21m

Bob McGannon

33.254

1.500

36

45

Wayne Jelley

33.264

1.510

37

151

Brian McDonald

33.333

1.579

38

816

Jeff Rockefeller

33.394

1.640

39

1

Darwin Greene

33.402

1.648

40

10c

Tim Currier

33.447

1.693

41

4k

Jasmin Leveillee

33.52

1.766

42

25C

Chad Jeseo

33.553

1.799

43

27L

Rick Laubach

33.624

1.870

44

34b

Andy Bachetti

33.639

1.885

45

44

John McClelland

33.651

1.897

46

72

Tommy Flannigan

33.651

1.897

47

8

Rich Scagliotta

33.817

2.063

48

R70

Ryan Arbuthnot

33.97

2.216

49

3m

Henry Maier

34.009

2.255

50

959

John Lutes Jr.

34.137

2.383

51

14s

Brian Swarthout

34.482

2.728

52

88J

Olden Dwyer

34.625

2.871

53

16

Aaron Jacobs

35.89

4.136

54

3BX

Scott Boudinot

38.961

7.207

55

747

Ryan Godown

-.—

-

56

0

Dan Humes

-.—

-

57

47

Bob Sarkisian

-.—

-

58

51m

Dominic Buffalino

-.—

-

59

44F

Stewart Friesen

-.—

-

The Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast Region is brought to fans by several sponsors and partners including Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Chevy Performance Parts, NAPA Auto Parts, and Safety-Kleen. Contingency sponsors are ASI, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Edelbrock, Integra Shocks, Intercomp, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD Performance, Penske Shocks, Racing Electronics, Superflow and Wrisco Industries. Super DIRT Week sponsors include: Beyea Headers, Draco Springs, Fast Shafts, Fluidampr, FK Rod Ends, Fox Shocks, Pro Fabrication and Turbostart. Lighting for Super DIRT Week is brought to you by Musco Lighting. 

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Category: Big Block Modifieds

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