Daring Pass Lifts Stewart Friesen

Stewart Friesen in victory lane at Orange County Speedway. (Dan Demarco photo)

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — After a daring pass on Tim Fuller, Stewart Friesen in the Halmar Racing No. 44 showed the eager Orange County Fair crowd why he is one of the best short-track racers in the country.

Friesen, a five-time winner of NAPA Super DIRT Week and NASCAR Camping World Truck driver, stretched his lead during long green-flag runs to win Thursday’s Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified feature at the five-eighths-mile oval.

“What a race team. What a race car. It’s so fun. I get to go racing with my best friends. We have great race cars. DKM is working so hard,” exclaimed Friesen. “The first time I got a shot at him [Fuller] I just didn’t get close enough to his door. I had to keep my left sides in the rubber. Then I had a pretty good lap there. To be able to get on the topside and makes some moves, this thing was just on point. I knew we had to get rolling at the beginning of this one. We tried to get to the front as quick as we can and just kinda save our stuff. I love racing at this track. It’s strategic and just a lot of fun.”

Runner-up Matt Sheppard in the No. 9s was the next non-qualified driver for Super DIRT Week XLVII after Friesen, so the guaranteed starting position fell to him.

“It’s nice to have. It’s our biggest race all year,” Sheppard said. “I look forward to going back there and defending our title from last year.”

Erick Rudolph finished third. “Yeah it looked like his [Horton] tires might have been going away for him and I was able to slip under him,” he said. “Long race. I don’t know what happened in that red flag there but it seemed like a forty-minute delay. When we finally got back under green, we were racy. Just pecking our way up. Looked like we were gonna get a top five and then something happened to a couple leaders and we were able to get a podium finish tonight.”

Disaster struck when on lap 28 Danny Johnson, Bob McGannon and Rich Scagliotta tangled with each other entering turn one. After making contact, Scagliotta spun off into the turn and came to a rest outside of the racing line. Johnson and McGannon were not so lucky. McGannon’s car hit an inside wall tire barrier and crushed the front end of his Big-Block Modified.

Johnson hit the tires as well and they shot him straight up into the air. When he landed, the right side of the car was flipped by a passing car. All drivers walked away from the accident.