By Andy Fusco
Weedsport, NY — The crew chief who masterminded Stewart Friesen’s victory in the 2010 Super DIRT Week SEF 200 — Ron Ste Marie — has been named as
“Mechanic of the Year” by the DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Committee.
Ste Marie, age 36, regularly crews for the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR modified team, driven by Bryon. His connection to Syracuse came via Friesen, who
also operates out of the Chew shop near Old Forge.
Ste Marie has vast experience in long distance NASCAR racing. For eight years,
he crewed Bryon Chew’s highly successful NASCAR Busch East team. And he is a close ally and confidante of Greg Zipadelli, crew chief for Sprint Cup
star Joey Logano.
It was that know-how in pit stop races which paved the way for Ste Marie to game plan
Friesen’s winning run.
“I studied the last several super DIRT Week 200s and saw that Syracuse has
become a gas mileage race. So we did our homework and Stewie did the rest.”
Friesen’s 2010 Syracuse ride #44 was a one-off entry combining parts, pieces, and
personnel from the various different cars and teams which Friesen drives for at Utica-
Rome, Five Mile Point, and in the DIRTcar series. He time trailed it in the top six and
kept in the lead pack all day. But it was Ste Marie’s pit strategy which carried the day.
Ste Marie brought Friesen in on lap 68 for gas only. The #44 then went the final
132 laps without running dry. The run also include two extra unscored laps on red flag
restarts. That total — 134 miles on a thankful — is an all time Syracuse record.
Ironically, Friesen’s car had enough gas left at the end that he still wouldn’t have run out
had the race gone into a green, white, checker overtime finish.
Ste Marie was born in Canada and was raised in Albany and Old Forge. He
began his racing career as a successful snowmobile drag racer as a teen. He hooked up
with the Chew team in 1996 and has headed the Chew operation out of its Old Forge
shop ever since.
Ste Marie will be honored at this year’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2 p.m.
Sunday May 29 at the Hall of Fame, Route 31, Weedsport.
The 2011 Hall of Fame inductions are part of the 3rd annual DIRTcar NE All Star Weekend, with races taking place that evening at the nearby
Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, featuring the season opening round for the 2011 DIRTcar NE Big Block Super DIRT Series.