NEW EGYPT, N.J. – It seemed like nothing could stop Pennsylvania’s Rick Laubach, who led a tough 60 laps at New Egypt Speedway Wednesday, staying ahead of a highly competitive field and fending off late-race charges from the series point leader to claim a Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified victory.
“I just got the lead, and I know this place,” said Laubach, out of Quakertown, Penn. “I’ve run here — not in the past two years, but, prior to that, three years in a row. I know the lines, and what to do, and it worked out.”
Laubach’s No. 7 leapt ahead at the green flag, from the third starting position to first, and gained a such a significant lead — by mid-race, he was nearly a half-lap ahead of then-runner up Danny Johnson on the 7/16-mile oval.
However, some late-race cautions tightened the field in the last 10 laps, opening an opportunity for Stewart Friesen, who by then had passed Johnson for second, to challenge for the lead. Laubach stayed strong, and pulled off an impressive win over the race co-promoter at the Pioneer Pole Buildings, Inc. “Dirty Jersey 60.”
“It was going real nice until all the yellows started flying at the end, but that’s the part of it that makes it so exciting,” Laubach said. “The yellows started to fly, so the nerves started to build a little bit.”
Although Laubach is no stranger to the Super DIRTcar Series Victory Lane — he took a win when the Big-Block Modified tour traveled to Volusia Speedway Park for UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment in February — the odds seemed against his favor earlier this month. Motor failure the week before the Series’ Northeast opener, the DIRTcar Hall of Fame 60 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, kept Laubach’s team from traveling north to the Elbridge, N.Y., speedway.
“We have just one motor and one car right now, but we just couldn’t miss this,” Laubach said of Wednesday’s race at New Egypt Speedway. “We figured we’d come to this one — it’s so close to home. And it paid off. We’ll get the other motor back, and then we can commit to more DIRTcar races.”
The first visit of the Super DIRTcar Series to New Egypt Speedway since 2007 was a strong night for several Pennsylvanian and Jersey drivers, with Billy Pauch (Frenchtown, N.J.), Eric Kormann (Vineland, N.J.), David VanHorn, Jr. (Harmony, Penn.), Neal Williams (Pittsgrove, N.J.), and Sammy Piazza (Lawrencetown, N.J.) all making fast time in their groups. A stout 45-car field made it a challenge for local racers and series stars alike to qualify for the feature.
However, two-time NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week Big-Block Modified Champion Friesen seemed to have no problem getting in. The Canadian Big-Block Modified star, originally of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, not only finished third in his heat and charged to a second-place finish in the feature, but also did so while responsible for promoting the race. Friesen teamed up with Brett Deyo late last year to form Friesen-Deyo Promotions and promote Wednesday’s “Dirty Jersey 60” at New Egypt Speedway.