Brett Hearn Wins 12th Eastern States 200

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Brett Hearn grabbed his 12th Eastern States 200 victory on Sunday at Orange County Fair Speedway. (Harry Cella photo)

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — Conserving his Hoosier tires better than the competition, Brett Hearn picked up a record-setting 12th Eastern States 200 victory Sunday afternoon at Orange County Fair Speedway.

Holding off the late charge by 2016 victor Stewart Friesen, Hearn crossed the finish line first, winning by just under a second. It was his 304th career victory at the historic five-eighths-mile speedway where he is the all-time winner and champion.

Hearn started the 200-lap race in eighth position, made his only pit stop for fuel and tires on lap 44, and methodically worked his way through the field, taking the lead at lap 121. He then led the remaining laps, successfully fending off all challengers, the strongest of whom were Friesen and Kenny Tremont.

“I didn’t want this one to get away like last year,” said Hearn, of his 2016 last-lap loss to Friesen when his right-rear tire lost air pressure. “But the (right rear) tire still felt good, and that let me run hard those last laps.” It paid off with $35,000 (plus lap prize cash) first place money.

Hearn last won the Eastern States 200 in 2014, and his last Orange County victory—where he no longer competes on a weekly basis—was 2015 in the Eastern States weekend companion small-block championship race.

Friesen, who had won Saturday’s 358 modified feature, finished second.

Mike Mahaney, Jimmy Phelps and Matt Sheppard rounded out the top five.

The finish:

Brett Hearn, Stewart Friesen, Mike Mahaney, Jimmy Phelps, Matt Sheppard, Tim Fuller, Ryan Godown, Jerry Higbie, Matt Janiak, Clinton Mills, Anthony Perrego, Rick Laubach, Ken Tremont Jr., Steve Dodd, Tommy Meier, L.J. Lombardo, Eddie Marshall, Jeff Heotzler Sr., Billy Decker, Matt Hitchcock, Danny Creeden, Billy VanInwegen, John Ferrier, Scott Flammer, Richard Smith, Andy Bachetti, Tyler Dippel, Michael Sabia, Richie Eurich, Billy Pauch Jr., Brian Krummel, Chris Shultz, Ric Hill, Frank Cozze, Danny Johnson, Jimmy Spellmon, Mike Ruggiero, Billy Dunn, Gary Edwards Jr., Craig Mitchell, Jimmy Horton, Michael Maresca, Mike Kolka.