WEEDSPORT, N.Y. – A year away from his small block did no harm to Tim McCreadie’s performance during Wednesday night’s NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week Kickoff presented by FX Caprara Cayuga County Fair Speedway.
McCreadie qualified well for Wednesday’s 75-lap DIRTcar 358-Modified Series race, starting six, and charged through several early-race cautions to take the lead in lap five.
“We were fast early. We died a little mid-race, but we picked up at the end,” said McCreadie, a World of Outlaws Late Model Series regular. “Lapped traffic didn’t really seem to help.”
Leaders McCreadie and Brett Hearn reached lapped cars in lap 33, racing two- and three-wide, neck-and-neck, until Hearn slid past McCreadie for the lead in lap 43.
Hearn built a sizable lead over McCreadie, but “T-Mac” overtook him with just a few laps to go.
“We swapped the lead back and forth several times,” said Hearn, who took second at the checkered flag. “I knew where we needed to be at the end of the race, but I just couldn’t get to where we needed to be.”
Two-time defending Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard started 18th in the grid, but powered off the early-race restarts and kept up momentum for the third-place finish.
Danny Johnson finished fourth and defending VP Small Engine Fuels 200 champion Stewart Friesen finished fifth. Point leader Dale Planck pitted early in the race after a collision with Danny O’Brien’s 17d, but was able to reenter later in the race for a tenth place finish.
The DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series feature that followed went caution-free for all 30 laps, allowing outside pole sitter Steve Gray to speed to victory, unhampered by yellow flags.
The race may have seemed short to onlookers in the packed Cayuga County Fair Speedway grandstands, but for Gray, leading most of the race, it was a long 30 laps.
“When you’re out front, it feels longer,” Gray said. “You’ve got Dave Marcuccilli and a lot of those other guys that run fast.”
Although he expected the race to be his last of the season, Wednesday’s victory inspired Gray to consider running his 29g in the Sportsman division competitions at the New York State Fairgrounds during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLI.
“Cosmetically, it’s not Syracuse-ready,” Gray said, pointing to the machine that took him to victory on Weedsport’s 3/8-mile oval. But Gray is undaunted. “Regardless of whether the car is ready or not, I am, and I’m ready to be in another show.
Rounding out the top five are Martin Pelletier in second, Greg Martin in third, Don Spatorico in fourth, and Dave Marcuccilli in fifth.