SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Rob Yetman battled his way through 25 laps at the infamous “Moody Mile” at the New York State Fairgrounds to claim victory in Sunday’s NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLII BACC-OFF Pro Stock Series Championship.
“The car has been just unstoppable all weekend,” said Yetman, who locked in the pole position Saturday after running the fastest lap in time trials. “At the drop of the green, I knew I was good.”
Yetman pulled ahead of the field at the green flag, but it wasn’t long before the defending race champion, Pete Stefanski, caught up. Stefanski started on the outside pole and threatened Yetman’s supremacy all 25 miles of the championship race and DIRTcar Pro Stock Series finale.
From the first lap, Stefanski was ready to challenge for the lead, but a pileup before the lap’s completion stopped the race. The red flag waved as track crews cleared the wreck in the backstretch, which involved 9 cars.
When the field returned to green, Yetman again sped ahead with Stefanski at his tail. By lap 8, leaders were approaching cars at the back of the field. Yetman pulled up behind the No. 34 of Paul Engwer, but got held up when he tried to go around and Stefanski took the opportunity to charge to the lead.
“I caught a lapped car, anticipating that he’d stay on top, but he came down in front of me,” Yetman said. Engwer pulled into the pits soon after shifting to the inside. “I allowed Pete to get a good run on me. Going into the corner we made a little contact, so I was trying to get low, and I got off and let him go.”
Stefanski’s skill on the challenging mile clay track at the New York State Fairgrounds speaks for itself, with two NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week BACC-OFF Pro Stock Series Championship already under his belt. He adroitly steered around the track, Yetman close at his heels – within two car lengths. Stefanski seemed ready to launch forward and establish a good lead, but a caution in lap 14 brought the field back together.
Yetman found speed off the restart, taking the topside to challenge Stefanski for the lead and pulling ahead of him.
“Pete’s no joke here, so when he got by me I had to find something,” Yetman said. “This car is phenomenal on restarts. The next restart I got a good run, and found something on the topside down 3 and 4 and went back around him. A hell of a race.”
“We were a little too loose after the yellow came out, it took too long for our car to come in,” said Stefanski, who stayed strong in second the rest of the race but was unable to challenge for the lead again. “We kind of had the same setup as we had last year, and it was the same as it was last year. As we stayed green, the car got better. Last year we just had more green flag laps than we did this year. We just got burned on the restarts. That’s the way it is.”
Glen Forward finished third and Francois Adam finished fourth. Dave Bissonnette finished a strong fifth, earning enough DIRTcar Pro Stock Series Championship points to launch him to the point lead and the series championship. Former point leader Stephane Lebrun fell to third in point standings after finishing 21st in the NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week 25-lapper.
“This was a goal of mine for years now, and I finally have it,” Bissonnette said of his series championship. “We had a great season.”
Bissonnette claimed two top-five finishes and four in the top-10 out of the five feature races run in the DIRTcar Pro Stock Series and won the track championship at Cornwall Motor Speedway.