AFTON, N.Y. – Danny Creeden put his name on the Northeast dirt modified map in a big way Thursday night at I-88 Speedway.
Creeden, a low-budget weekend warrior from Wurtsboro, N.Y., upset an all-star field in the Sowle Trailer Repair ‘Crazy 8s Special’ presented by Olum’s at the Afton Fairgrounds facility. Creeden won the event – round No. 3 of the Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP – in spectacular fashion, passing superstar drivers Danny Johnson and Matt Sheppard en route to the front, and then fending off both Stewart Friesen and Andy Bachetti in the final circuits.
“This is awesome,” Creeden said after climbing to the roof of his car in victory lane. “To get up there and pass the best of the best, it was unbelievable.”
The 31-year-old Creeden earned $9,164 cash for just 48 laps of feature racing on the three-tenths-mile clay oval including the $6,888 posted purse, $2,000 ‘Gambler’s Bonus’ and lap money collected.
Rain and thunderstorms postponed the second annual ‘Crazy 8s’ to Thursday from its originally scheduled Wednesday date. Despite the postponement, 56 Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP Modifieds – an increase of 12 from the 2013 count – raced before a large crowd.
The race was historic for I-88 Speedway as its richest event ever! The Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP Modifieds competed for $37,972 in cash plus contingency awards and other perks.
Creeden’s No. 16X Hig Fab chassis rolled off the grid from eighth position for the main event. Danny Johnson picked the pole in the post-qualifying redraw and shot into the lead at the outset. Early on, Matt Sheppard was on the move aboard Norm Hansell’s No. 357.
Sheppard arrived in second from his fourth-place starting position on lap six. Using the outside lane, ‘Super Matt’ powered around Johnson to take the lead on the eighth circuit.
Creeden, meanwhile, came to life following a lap-12 yellow. He cleared Mike Ricci for third on the 14th lap and began his pursuit of the leaders.
Friesen was also dicing through traffic after starting 24th in Tom Cullen’s No. 1WGC. Friesen cracked the top five at lap 19, fourth on lap 22 and third on the 30th lap as a three-car race for the lead emerged between Sheppard, Creeden and Friesen.
The underdog Creeden unseated three-time Mr. DIRTcar Modified champion Sheppard for the lead exiting turn two on lap 35. Friesen followed closely behind.
When the race’s final caution flew at lap 35, Creeden led Friesen, Sheppard, Johnson and an emerging Andy Bachetti, who not only had started 21st on the grid, but was forced to the rear of the field on lap eight when he was involved in a three-car tangle in turn two.
As Creeden led, Bachetti’s No. 34 came to life. On lap 40, Bachetti darted three-wide to the inside of both Sheppard and Johnson for third. At lap 44, he cleared Friesen for second and was running down the leader.
Time ran out, however, and Creeden collected the huge payday.
The Dig Safely New York GRIT Series for Crate 602 Sportsman made its first-ever I-88 Speedway appearance with a 30-lap main paying $1,000 to the winner. Alan Barker, a regular competitor in the I-88 weekly Sportsman class, hopped into the Gary Card-owned No. 2x crate powered car and took the victory.
Danny Creeden, Andy Bachetti, Stewart Friesen, Danny Johnson, Tyler Dippel, Brian Weaver, Shaun Walker, Matt Sheppard, Rich Ricci Jr., Mike Mahaney, Mike Ricci, Jeff Heotzler, Danny Tyler, Jeff Strunk, Tyler Siri, Vic Coffey, Billy Decker, Ryan Watt, Tommy Meier, Rich Eurich, Tyler Boniface, Tim Currier, Brian Malcolm, Craig Hanson, Billy Van Pelt, Rusty Smith, Brett Tonkin, Matt Jester.