By Dave Roberts
THOROLD, Ontario — Brett Hearn held off Chad Brachmann and captured a DIRTcar 358-Modified Series victory Monday night at Merritville Speedway, winning for the seventh time overall this season.
Hearn, who finished second the night before in Cornwall, worked his way forward from his 10th-place starting position, surged to the lead on a lap-54 restart, then battled Brachmann to the finish.
“We had a pretty good car on both nights,” said Hearn, of Vernon, N.J. “Tonight’s car was just a little bit better.”
Hearn has now won twice at Merrittville in the past year.
“I don’t know what it is,” Hearn said. “This place is awesome. We’ve had a lot of good luck here.”
Larry Lampman Jr., of Port Colborne, Ontario, and Brachmann started on the front row following a pre-race draw. Within the first five laps, both drivers had led the race on the fast one-third mile oval.
There were four cautions in the first 20 laps before the race settled down. Brachmann led the pack but on a lap 19 restart, Jimmy Phelps raced past Lampman into second and set his sights on Brachmann as Hearn popped into the top five and began pressuring Lampman for fourth.
On lap 30, Phelps charged past Brachmann and marched out to seven-car-length lead. By lap 35, lapped traffic was heavy for the front runners. Hearn was now in third and pushing Brachmann for the runner-up position. Two cautions slowed the action between laps 39 and 50, and on the restarts Phelps chose the outside lane. When the race resumed on lap 54, Hearn got a good bite and quickly slipped by Phelps, who wound up finishing third.
“I thought we had a decent car tonight,” said Phelps, who drove the Blue Shield Blue Cross of Western New York Troyer entry usually piloted by Scott Kerwin,. “I always have a good time when I come up and drive Scott’s car here at Merrittville.”
With Hearn in the lead and the final yellow out on lap 89, Brachmann saw an opportunity to reclaim the lead, but Hearn managed to hold him off.
“I really thought that I had a clean shot to get him,” said Brachmann, of Wheatfield, N.Y. “When it comes to finishing second to Brett, it’s like a win to me. I’ll take it.”
Following Hearn, Brachmann and Phelps were Mat Williamson, of St. Catharines, Ontario, while Merrittville Speedway co-owner Pete Bicknell rounded out the top-five.
Danny Johnson, who won the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series opener on Sunday in Cornwall, finished sixth, followed by Lampman, Mark DiIiario, Tim Jones and Carey Terrance.
A total of 30 cars attempted to qualify. Heat race winners were Williamson, Rick Richner, Randy Chrysler and Phelps.
The next race for the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series will be Thursday, June 21, at Mohawk International Speedway in Frogtown, N.Y.
DIRTCAR 358-MODIFIED SERIES STATISTICAL REPORT; MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY
A-main (100 LAPS) — 1. BRETT HEARN, 2. Chad Brachmann, 3. Jimmy Phelps, 4. Mat Williamson, 5. Pete Bicknell, 6. Danny Johnson, 7. Larry Lampman Jr, 8. Mark D’llario, 9. Tim Jones, 10. Carey Terrance, 11. Danny O’Brien, 12. Travis Brawn, 13. Dale Planck, 14. Chad Chevalier, 15. Randy Chrysler, 16. Kenny Cosgrove, 17. Chris Steele, 18. Mike Bowman, 19. Todd Gordon, 20. Rick Richner, 21. Tommy Flannigan, 22. Stephane LaFrance, 23. Dave Small, 24. Bill Bleich, 25. Shayne Pierce, 26. Fred Carleton, 27. Scott Wood, 28. Rob Pietz, 29. Tim Currier, 30. Erick Rudolph.
MODIFIED TIME TRIALS
1. JIMMY PHELPS 15.641sec/76.645mph
2. Pete Bicknell 15.688sec/76.415mph
3. Danny O’Brien 15.706sec/76.328mph
4. Mat Williamson 15.780sec/75.970mph
5. Brett Hearn 15.780sec/75.970mph
6. Rick Richner 15.788sec/75.931mph
7. Larry Lampman 15.798sec/75.883mph
8. Travis Brawn 15.805sec/75.809mph
9. Mark DIIario 15.824sec/75.798mph
10. Bill Bleich 15.840sec/75.682mph
11. Tim Jones 15.844sec/75.663mph
12. Rob Pietz 15.944sec/75.188mph
13. Erick Rudolph 15.960sec/75.113mph
14. Fred Carelton 15.967sec/75.080mph
15. Chris Steele 15.977sec/75.033mph
16. Chad Brachmann 16.018sec/74.841mph
17. Stephane LaFrance 16.073sec/74.585mph
18. Scott Wood 16.087sec/74.520mph
19. Tommy Flannigan 16.113sec/74.400mph
20. Randy Chrysler 16.163sec/74.169mph
21. Carey Terrance 16.176sec/74.110mph
22. Dale Planck 161.81sec/74.087mph
23. Danny Johnson 16.208sec/73.963mph
24. Kenny Cosgrove 16.225sec/73.886mph
25. Chad Chevalier 16.328sec/73.420mph
26. Shayne Pierce 16.381sec/73.182mph
27. Tim Currier 16.445sec/72.898mph
28. Dave Small 16.592sec/72.252mph
29. Todd Gordon-No Time
30. Mike Bowman-No Time
MODIFIED HEAT RACES (Top Six Qualify, Top Three Redraw)
HEAT RACE #1— MAT WILLIAMSON, Travis Brawn, Larry Lampman, Chris Steele, Erick Rudolph, Fred Carleton, Rob Pietz, Scott Wood.
HEAT RACE #2— RICK RICHNER, Mark D’Iliaro, Chad Brachmann, Dale Planck, Bill Bleich, Kenny Cosgrove, Tim Currier.
HEAT RACE #3— RANDY CHRYSLER, Danny O’Brien, Tim Jones, Carey Terrance, Chad Chevalier, Shayne Pierce, Dave Small.
HEAT RACE #4— JIMMY PHELPS, Pete Bicknell, Brett Hearn, Danny Johnson, Tommy Flannigan, Todd Gordon, Stephane LaFrance
2012 DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Schedule
Sunday, May 20th Cornwall Speedway, Cornwall, Ontario — Danny Johnson
Monday, May 21st Merrittville Speedway, Merrittville, Ontario — Brett Hearn
Thursday, June 21st Mohawk International Speedway, Akwesasne, New York
Tuesday, July 3rd Ransomville Speedway, Ransomville, New York
Sunday, September 2nd Cornwall Speedway, Cornwall, Ontario
Friday, September 7th Autodrome Granby, Granby, Quebec
Friday, September 14th Mohawk International Raceway, Akwesasne, NY
Friday, September 21st Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Canandaigua, NY
Saturday, September 22nd Brighton Speedway, Brighton, Ontario
Wednesday, October 3th Cayuga County Fair Speedway, Weedsport, NY
Thursday, October 4th Rolling Wheels Raceway, Elbridge, NY
Saturday, October 6th New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, NY
Saturday, October 13th Brockville Speedway, Brockville, Ontario 100 150
The Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast Region is brought to fans by several sponsors and partners including Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, GM Performance Parts, Nationwide Insurance and Safety-Kleen. Promotional partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio and Chizmark Larson Insurance. Contingency sponsors are ASI, Bert Transmissions, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Comp Cams, Intercomp, JE Pistons, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD Ignition, Penske Shocks, Racing Electronics, R2C, Super Flow, Vicci Racing Apparel, WIX Filters, Wrisco Industries, Xtreme Lubricants and Extreme Mufflers.