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DIRTcar 358 Modifieds

Lance Willix Drives to Mohawk Valley Showdown Victory at Glen Ridge

It’s the Theresa, NY driver’s second career DIRTcar 358 Modified Series win

Lance Willix

After wrecking his car Saturday night at Fulton Speedway, Lance Willix was ready to stop racing. 

But he decided against it, staying up until four in the morning to prepare for Sunday’s DIRTcar 358 Modified Series race at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park. That decision paid off, as the Theresa, NY driver led the final 37 laps to win the second annual Mohawk Valley Showdown.

“I wanted to quit,” Willix said. “But luckily, I have a wife that 110 percent supports me because after last night, I was like, let’s buy a boat. We had to put a front axle in it, both front shocks. We even junked the radiator, tore up all the metal inside the pipes, and hurt the frame back by the radius rods. It’s racing.”

Defending Glen Ridge track champion Jordan McCreadie led the 30-car field to the green flag with Willix on his outside. McCreadie quickly pulled away from the No. 31, gaining a full-straightaway lead by Lap 6. However, that’s also when he reached the back of the field, allowing Willix to close back in.

The first of two cautions slowed the field on Lap 11 when C.J. Castelletti spun in between Turns 3 and 4. When the race resumed, McCreadie pulled away from Willix again. But when the next caution came out on Lap 13, Willix made sure it didn’t happen again on the next restart.

When the green flag came back out, Willix was even with McCreadie as they entered Turn 1 and the two remained side-by-side when they exited Turn 2. But that changed down the backstretch. Willix, with a burst of momentum, powered past McCreadie’s No. 28, taking the lead and quickly dropping to the inside as they drove into Turns 3 and 4. 

Willix pulled away quickly but faced another challenge before the end of the race.

As Willix and McCreadie reached lap traffic, Stewart Friesen worked to third with momentum on the outside lane.  However, that momentum was halted in the final 10 laps when he tried to drive around McCreadie on the outside as Dale Gray, a lap car, held his line in front of him.

Once Friesen cleared Gray, the Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON driver regained his momentum and set his sights on McCreadie again with five laps to go. The NASCAR Trucks Series star rolled around McCreadie on the outside lane, beating him to the start/finish line as they completed Lap 47. 

But Friesen wasn’t done there, trying to pass Willix on the final lap with the same move he used on McCreadie. However, Willix was too strong, beating Friesen to the checkered flag by 0.355 seconds to earn his second career DIRTcar 358 Modified Series win—one worth $4,000.

Willix said he knew he had to make his move on the Lap 13 restart as the bottom became the dominant line.

“I was thinking to myself, I just had to time this right because he was blowing away from us the two times before,” Willix said. “I timed it right, and I stayed on his door getting into [Turn] 1, and I cleared him. 

“It’s fun racing with Jordan. He’s a clean racer. We beat the best with Friesen, (Mat) Williamson, and all the guys. There was no feeling better than tonight.”

Friesen, who now lives in Sprakers, NY, settled for second. He said he was happy to come out with a good finish close to home.

“It was a heck of a race,” Friesen said. “I got to the top, and I was really good off the top of [Turn] 4 early. Jordan would move up there and then move to the bottom, and it seemed like whenever I’d try something, he’d try the same thing.”

McCreadie finished third after leading the first 13 laps of the Feature. He said that the restart on lap 13 changed his entire race.

“It was the worst time for me, and like the best time for Lance,” McCreadie said. “I think that was right when the rubber started to show up. I knew it was going to happen. I was hoping maybe it would happen in lap traffic, so maybe I could gauge where it was. And by the time we were in lap traffic, the yellow would fly, so it was unfortunate it happened on the restart. 

“After that, I was sort of surprised to see Stewie on the outside. He could roll the middle a half-groove on the rubber, which was pretty impressive. Other than that, it was a good night for us; we’re going to take third for sure.”

Mike Mahaney finished fourth, and Felix Roy rounded out the top five.

Up Next: The DIRTcar 358 Modified Series returns to action on Wednesday, June 19, at Fulton Speedway in Fulton, NY for the Highbank Holdup.

DIRTcar 358 Modified Series Mohawk Valley Showdown (50 Laps)- 1. 31-Lance Willix[2]; 2. 44-Stewart Friesen[6]; 3. 28-Jordan McCreadie[1]; 4. 35-Mike Mahaney[5]; 5. 91-Felix Roy[4]; 6. 49-Billy Dunn[9]; 7. 21A-Peter Britten[3]; 8. 21C-Brian Calabrese[16]; 9. 6-Mat Williamson[10]; 10. 39-Ryan Bartlett[12]; 11. M1-Dave Marcuccilli[11]; 12. 92-Andrew Buff[8]; 13. 427-Carter Gibbons[20]; 14. 24-Brian Pessolano[14]; 15. 57H-Remington Hamm[18]; 16. 9-Tyler Meeks[15]; 17. 94-Willy Decker Jr[17]; 18. 11S-Steve Lewis[23]; 19. 42-Tucker O’Connor[13]; 20. 7S-Shaun Shaw[22]; 21. 19-Brandon Carvey[21]; 22. 38-Kevin Stevens[28]; 23. 5H-Amy Holland[24]; 24. 20B-Joey Bonetti[27]; 25. 18$-Sean Beardsley[26]; 26. 117JR-CJ Castelletti[7]; 27. 38J-Jarrett Herbison[19]; 28. 11-Nick Zielinski[25]; 29. 67W-Zack Welch[30]; 30. (DNF) 61-Dale Gray[29]

Hoosier Racing Tire Award: Joey Bonetti (Free Tire)

Post-Race Tech: Headers were pulled to look at the inner components of the engine. Everyone passed.

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