SANDUSKY, Ohio — Fourteen years ago, second-generation driver Dave Shullick Jr. stood in victory lane celebrating what he thought was his first Hy-Miler win at Sandusky Speedway.
That win was taken away by a disqualification of the car he was driving. He vowed he’d be back someday to get that win back. Sunday, after Saturday’s rain postponement, Shullick Jr. stood in victory lane beside his dad and his car builder Jim Bodnar.
This time no one would take this Hy-Miler win away. It was something he had looked forward to for so many years. The importance of this fulfillment of a dream was evident as he spoke as the raindrops, which had shortened the race to 85 of the 100 scheduled laps, fell, but could not dampen the occasion.
“I don’t think anybody here knows what this means to me. In 1999 I won this race and got disqualified. The last time I won this was with Jim (Bodnar) and I said to him don’t worry I’ll get another one. That was 14 years ago and to park the car here today means the world to me. My dad has won it five times and to have my name on the shirt with him means everything to me.”
Taking the lead early was not exactly his plan. He had had a spirited battle with Mike Lichty on Friday night for the top spot and was leading it only to have a brake caliper end what might have been a weekend sweep.
Shullick went on to describe Sunday’s event.
“I knew Lichty was having a few problems. I figured he’d be the one we’d be racing with at the end of the day. I just tried to be smart, to just take what I was given. I don’t really like leading this race so early because you have to set the pace. Today I just tried to be smooth and set the pace that I figured I could run the whole race. I never got loose. Actually I was on the tight side at the end.
“I have to thank Jim Bodnar. Less than a year ago we talked about doing this – building this car. And he worked his butt off from October to April to get this done and he built a hell of a rocket ship. I owe it all to him – giving me the opportunity to do this. And of course my dad, Jack Mahar, Coco Adams, my parents, my sponsors – everybody who has helped. . This is a true story I’ve got a bottle of Grey Goose that is a large one and I said I’d never open it except for this occasion right here. It’s in my motor home and it’s getting open tonight.”
Finishing behind Shoe II was Moe Lilje for his second podium of the weekend. He was a little disappointed at not being able to finish the entire 100 laps due to the rain.
“This was a good run for us- something to be proud of – but obviously we’d like to be standing here holding the checkered flag. DJ had an awesome racecar. On a clear track I don’t know if we had enough for him, but he was getting a little freer. I would have liked to have run the last 15 laps and see how it all came out. I know at the beginning of the race I had a pretty good car and so did DJ. Once I got up to him I kind of matched his race. But toward the end I started pushing a lot and didn’t have a lot for him. I don’t know if we would have ended up in victory lane or not but we would have liked to have found out anyway. I definitely like to thank Ryan, Craig and everybody involved with the team. They bust their tails off for us to get up here. We should be proud about finishing second in this race.”
Cicconi, who swapped finishing positions with Lilje for the two-race stint, said, “It was a tough race back there for third, racing Schultz is always tough, but he raced me clean. I’m happy I got third. In regard to the swap of second and third with Lilje from Friday, Lou quipped, “Us podium guys have to stick together.”
Dave Shullick Jr., Moe Lilje, Lou Cicconi, Charlie Schultz, Ben Seitz, Mark Sammut, Danny Shirey, Timmy Jedrzejek, Bobby Dawson, Alison Cumens, Kevin Jaycox Jr., Trevor Berry, Jon McKennedy, Eddie Witkum Jr., Kyle Edwards, Ryan Litt, Tim Ice, Ray Graham Jr., Dan Lane, Mike Lichty, Johnny Benson Jr., Jim Paller, Kyle Vanderpool, Jimmy McCune, Mike McVetta, Ryan Coniam.