Three weeks ago Vinny Salerno’s Four Star Racing Team suffered a major setback as it lost two Big-Block Modified cars and thousands of dollars in equipment following a major theft during the annual Super DIRTcar Series tour of Quebec.
Thursday night the team got a reprieve of sorts when nationally acclaimed talent Tim McCreadie buckled in behind the wheel of the no. 4* Keizer Aluminum Wheels-Four Star Transmissions/TEO mount and dusted the field in the Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series ‘Gypsum Wholesalers 17th Annual Leaf Racewear 100’ at Brewerton Speedway.
“I’ve been down for six months and Vinny is down right now, what a pairing we’ve got here,” remarked McCreadie, now a national Late Model Champion, following his first Modified feature win at owner John Wight’s ‘D-Shaped Dirt Demon’ since 2003. “Winning this is just amazing.”
“Michael (Storms, regular driver) was giving me signals under the yellows down in the turn … I don’t know what to say, I just jump in and drive and these guys make al the decisions. I’m not used to that. But this group of guys works as hard as any team I’ve ever been with, they should get all the credit tonight,” McCreadie said.
Afternoon Syracuse ‘Salute To The Troops 150’ 358-Modified pole winner Brett Hearn settled into second behind McCreadie and his former ride under the checkered flag, with Canadians Stewart Friesen and Pete Bicknell sandwiching fourth-place finisher Matt Sheppard at the line to make up the final top-five.
After time trialing quickest in the 52-car field on Thursday, McCreadie re-drew sixth to start outside row three alongside Merrittville (Ont.) Speedway mainstay Larry Lampman, Jr. Bicknell out-dragged pole-sitter Ronnie Johnson and grabbed the early lead yet once McCreadie reeled in the leader there was no stopping the second-generation standout from Watertown, N.Y. as he put nearly a straightaway between himself and runner-up Hearn in Brewerton’s ’09 season-finale.
“I made a lot of mistakes out there. When you know that Brett’s behind you, you can’t make any mistakes so I got lucky tonight. I let everybody here down in the Late Model race at Brewerton, I couldn’t get one done. But this (win) means more to me than that LM show ever did,” McCreadie added.
Filing into fourth on the initial 31-car starting grid, Hearn fell victim to McCreadie’s hot set-up on lap six and could improve to second just shy of the midway mark where he would stay for the remainder despite a pair of cautions temporarily tightening the gap.
“We were really close right up until the end, maybe just lacking a little bit of side bite,” figured Hearn, already a five-time Small-Block series race winner at Brewerton, with one more tour triumph registered in the Big-Block ranks. “This is a brand new experimental Teo Pro Car so we’ll go back and critique the set-up a little bit and see what we can fine tune.”
“I wish I could be this good in the summer (Big-Block) shows, when we come back here in October we always seem to do pretty well. Maybe its just a Big-Block, Small-Block thing, whatever the reason is we’re always confident lining up here this time of year,” Hearn noted.
Hearn’s second row partner when the first green flag unfurled, Friesen dropped back as far as seventh in the early stages before methodically working his way back toward the front to garner a solid third-placing showing at the stripe.
“I think I needed a 100 years of experience like these two guys ahead of me to move up any further,” commented Friesen, a third-generation pilot hailing from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. “To come up here and finish third is huge. I don’t care if Brett is experimenting or not, he always got something up his sleeve…and Tim McCreadie just speaks for himself.”
“We just hung around and tried to be super patient on the bottom and it paid off. You get excited and try to make it to the front too early you can cook your tires. I’m learning a ton personally as a driver, learning all the fundamentals trying to be more consistent. We’ve got 63 or 64 races in this year just trying to get as much experience as possible, I think we did that tonight,” said a confident Friesen, on this night driving the Kendrick Racing no. 7* Global Warranty/Bicknell machine.
Defending Mr. DIRTcar Champion Bicknell cut 12th-place finisher Dale Planck’s series points lead down to 52 markers with just three events remaining on the ’09 agenda. Racing in the Hoosier-VP Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series speeds on in round three of the scheduled four-race stint during the annual Super DIRT Week extravaganza in the Salt City. Rolling Wheels Raceway Park continues the rare quadrupleheader Friday, October 9 on the eve of the headline 150-lap Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series ‘Salute To The Troops’ Championship race slated for Saturday on the Syracuse Mile.
Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Race #9 – Brewerton Speedway, October 8, 2009 ‘Gypsum Wholesalers 17th Annual Leaf Racewear 100’ Event Summary
FIN STR CAR# DRIVER
1 6 4* Tim McCreadie/Watertown,NY($4,000)
2 4 20 Brett Hearn/Sussex,NJ
3 3 6* Stewart Friesen/Niagara-o-t-Lake,ONT
4 16 1w Matt Sheppard/Waterloo,NY
5 2 42 Pete Bicknell/St.Catharines,ONT
6 5 22L Larry Lampman,Jr./Port Colborne,ONT
7 13 6 Pat O'Brien/Kingston,ONT
8 1 2rj Ronnie Johnson/Duanesburg,NY
9 10 99j Jimmy Phelps/Baldwinsville, NY
10 9 94 Ray Hoard/Granville,NY
11 28 3b Chad Brachmann/Sanborn,NY
12 30 77x Dale Planck/Cortland,NY
13 11 85 Dan Vauter/Forest City,PA
14 26 66x Carey Terrance/Akwesasne,NY
15 18 8r Rob Bellinger/Dexter,NY
16 24 7* Danny O'Brien/Kingston,ONT
17 27 21 Lance Willix II/Theresa,NY
18 7 10 Pat Ward/Genoa,NY
19 25 22j Jeremy Wilder/Fort Plain,NY
20 21 88 Tim O'Brien/Kingston,ONT
21 20 Deuce Alan Johnson/Middlesex,NY
22 12 89b Todd Burley/Spencerport,NY
23 8 88k Randy Chrysler/Lewiston,NY
24 23 121 Tim Fuller/Edwards,NY
25 19 22c Mario Clair/St-Edmond,QUE
26 31 *42b Kevin Bates/Lake Ariel,PA
27 14 71 Mike Bowman/St.Catharines,ONT
28 17 6h Josh Hohenforst/Gloversille,NY
29 15 1x Todd Stone/Middlebury,VT
30 22 91 Billy Decker/Unadilla,NY
31 29 6m Mat Williamson/St.Catharines,ONT
*Started in rear with #66w Wallace Stacey car.
GATER NEWS LAP LEADERS: Bicknell (1-8), McCreadie (9-100).
CAUTIONS: 9 for 8 laps.
HEAT WINNERS: Hearn, Ward, Hoard, Bicknell, R.Johnson.
CONSI WINNERS: A.Johnson, T.O'Brien.
BICKNELL RACING PRODUCTS WINNER AWARD: Tim McCreadie.
SYRACUSE 150 QUALIFIER: Tim McCreadie.
HALFWAY LEADER: Tim McCreadie.
BERT HARD CHARGER: Dale Planck
PENSKE POWER POSITION (15th): Rob Bellinger.
INTEGRA SHOCKS FAST TIME AWARD: Tim McCreadie (14.131sec/84.920mph).
TOTAL PURSE: $19,325
CARS ENTERED: 52.
NEXT EVENT: Rolling Wheels Raceway Park - October 9, 2009.
DID NOT QUALIFY(21)
26-Rick Richner/Niagara Falls,NY
33-Mike Mahaney/King Ferry,NY
82s-Roy Shields/King Ferry,NY