BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Stewart Friesen didn’t miss a beat over the winter, passing Brett Hearn on the final lap to win the Super DIRTcar Series big-block modified opener at Volusia Speedway Park during the DIRTcar Nationals Wednesday.
Friesen spent most of the 30-lap race battling 2010 Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard for second. The two swapped the runner-up spot during six restarts before Friesen finally grabbed the spot for good with 10 laps left.
That gave Friesen the chance to chase down Hearn. One final restart with eight laps remaining, set up the dash to the finish, with Friesen following in Hearn’s tire tracks.
Hearn didn’t give in inch during the final laps until with two laps left Hearn slid up the track in turn four, opening the bottom lane for Friesen. Friesen took advantage, moving alongside Hearn to challenge for the lead.
Coming to the white flag, Friesen and Hearn were side by side. The pair charged into turn one, with Friesen gaining the advantage on the bottom and pulling into the lead on the backstretch. Hearn tried to slide back under him in turns three and four, but it was too late.
“It was pretty surreal,” said Friesen, who won for the second-straight year at Volusia. “It was one of those things where you’re racing with the two best guys on dirt, Matt Sheppard and Brett Hearn. Me and Matt kept switching back and forth for second and third on the restarts. Brett was being pretty tricky and using a lot of race track and he had a bunch of tricks up his sleeve on the restarts. It was always different. He would always restart in a different spot and kept us on our toes.
“That last one we were able to get back by Matt and get to second. On a five-lap run we could just kind of reel in Brett and get to his bumper. We were able to get a good run on him, he pushed a little bit, I put a slide job on him and it stuck,” Friesen said.
Hearn finished second ahead of Danny Johnson, Sheppard and Tim Fuller.