BREWERTON, N.Y. – Oct. 8, 2015 – Danny Johnson of Rochester, N.Y., had a simple description for the performance of the car he steered to a convincing victory in Thursday night’s SUNY-Canton Hurricane 100 DIRTcar 358-Modified Series event at Brewerton Speedway.
“On rails,” the 55-year-old Johnson said when asked about his Bicknell machine owned by Chris Gennarelli. “It just felt like it was on rails.”
Johnson was effectively in a league of his own as he rolled to a $5,000 triumph that marked his second DIRTcar 358-Modified Series score in as many NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week nights. He charged forward from the ninth starting spot to pass race-long pacesetter Larry Wight of Baldwinsville, N.Y., for the lead on lap 21 and wasn’t challenged thereafter.
Four of the race’s six caution flags flew after Johnson assumed command, but none of the slowdowns hampered the veteran superstar. He pulled away easily on each restart and built nearly a full straightaway at some points, though his final victory margin was a more modest 1.904 seconds over Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y.
Matt Sheppard of Waterloo, N.Y., advanced from the 12th starting spot to finish third. Eighth-starter Mike Mahaney of Kings Ferry, N.Y., was hot on Sheppard’s heels in fourth at the checkered flag and Pat Ward of Genoa, N.Y., steadily cut through the field from the 19th starting spot to place fifth.
“This car is just phenomenal every time out,” said Johnson, who registered a $4,000 victory on Wednesday night at Weedsport (N.Y.) Speedway. “This car is three years old and it’s got a lot of three-year-old parts in it, and you wouldn’t believe it.
“It’s that good, it really is. I can’t believe it. I don’t know what it is – I can’t my other cars to go this good, but this one here is just superb. I love it.”
Decker, 54, certainly had no answer for Johnson’s speed. The reigning Big-Block Modified Super DIRTcar Series champion started third in his second start in as many nights behind the wheel of Scott Kerwin’s 358-Modified, but he was overtaken for fourth by Johnson on lap 10 and never was able to offer a serious challenge to the eventual winner after inheriting second place on lap 55 when Brett Hearn of Sussex, N.J., slowed with a broken steering arm.
“All in all, it was a good run,” Decker said after his runner-up finish. “Danny was really good tonight. It almost made me throw up when he drove by us all. It looked like he could just drive around. I think he was talking on his cell phone when he went by.”
The 33-year-old Sheppard, meanwhile, had to be satisfied with placing a distant third, nearly four seconds behind Johnson at the finish.
“We didn’t start terribly deep, but we started deep enough,” said Sheppard, who made a rare 358-Modified start in an Al Heinkie-owned machine. “We just had to inch and claw for every position all the way up through the race. I don’t think we got by anybody easy. We worked our way towards the front but we just weren’t good enough to get all the way there.”
The race’s only other leader was the 22-year-old Wight, who paced the first 20 circuits after starting from the outside pole. He relinquished second place during a lap-37 caution flag to pit for a left-rear tire change and never was a factor again, eventually finishing 19th after making another pit stop on lap 55 and then retiring after completing 89 laps.
Forty-five DIRTcar 358-Modifieds entered the event.
Hearn was the overall fastest qualifier at 14.726 seconds.
Heat winners were Wight, Hearn, Decker, Mahoney and Johnson. Canadians Scott Wood and Steve Bernard captures the consolations.
Rocky Warner of Johnstown, N.Y., passed Brad Rouse of St. Catharines, Ont., for the lead on a lap-27 restart and held on to capture the 30-lap DIRTcar Sportsman Series feature.
A Pro Stock star-turned-Sportsman standout, Warner grabbed the $1,000 top prize with an inside move underneath Rouse through turns one and two. He had to survive another restart before beating Rouse to the finish line by 1.036 seconds.
Dave Marcuccilli of Cayuga, N.Y., finished third, followed by Tony Finch II of Penneville, N.Y., and Tyler Meeks of Evans Mills, N.Y.
Fifty Sportsman were signed in for the evening’s action. Heat winners were Rouse, Warner, Marcuccilli, Todd Root of Warners, N.Y., and Finch. Casey Williams and Corey Barker captured the consolations.
For more information on NAPA Super DIRT Week, visit www.superdirtweekonline.com.
DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Hurricane 100 Finish: 1. Danny Johnson, 2. Billy Decker, 3. Matt Sheppard, 4. Mike Mahaney, 5. Pat Ward, 6. Jimmy Phelps, 7. Ryan Arbuthnot, 8. Chris Raabe, 9. David Herbert, 10. Steve Bernard, 11. Ryan Susice, 12. Matt DeLorenzo, 13. Danny Creeden, 14. Tommy Flannigan, 15. Shawn Walker, 16. Alan Therrien, 17. Roy Bresnahan, 18. Yan Bussiere, 19. Larry Wight, 20. Ryan Godown, 21. Mario Clair, 22. Boyd MacTavish, 23. Danny O’Brien, 24. Gary Lindberg, 25. Erick Rudolph, 26. Brett Hearn, 27. Gage Morin, 28. Scott Wood, 29. Jordan McCreadie, 30. Randy Chrysler.
DNQ: Josh McClelland, Bill Bleich, Tim Schneider, Kyle Weiss, Mike Adderley, Ryan Bartlett, Shawn Ward, Robbie Krull, John Smith, Jeff McGinnis, Brian Gleason, Neal Williams, Gino Clair, Jeff Strunk, Ray Bliss.
DIRTcar Sportsman Series Feature Finish (30 laps): 1. Rocky Warner, 2. Brad Rouse, 3. Dave Marcuccilli, 4. Tony Finch II, 5. Tyler Meeks, 6. Corey Barker, 7. Ron Davis III, 8. Kevin Root, 9. Bruno LePage, 10. Jeremy Pitcher, 11. Billy Clark Jr., 12. Brianna Ladouceur, 13. Louie Jackson Jr., 14. James Sweeting, 15. Tyler Trump, 16. Jessica Power, 17. Steve Abt, 18. Darryl Nutting, 19. Brian Pessolano, 20. Sean Beardsley, 21. Casey Williams, 22. Mike Stacey, 23. Chris Cunningham, 24. Dave Constantino, 25. Todd Root, 26. Gregg Kimball, 27. Shane Pecore, 28. Jack Meeks, 29. Joey Ladouceur, 30. Gilles Goddard.
DNQ: Dave Constantino, Chris Burek, Kevin Wills, Todd Fenoff, Cody Bleau, Aaron Jacobs, Gord MacIntosh, Zach Sabotka, Anthony Alger, Zack Sam, Tristan Draper, Greg Doust, George Sanford, Chris Storm, Sid Harner Jr., Will Shields, Adam Gage, Brian Hudson, Dusty Barton, Corey Baber, Alan Fink.
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, Chevy Performance Parts, NAPA Auto Parts, Pole Position Raceway and Dig Safely New York. Contingency sponsors are ASI, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Edelbrock, FX Caprara, Fox Shox, Impact Race Products, Intercomp, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, KSE Racing Products, Mobil 1, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD Performance, Racing Electronics, Superflow, TNT Rescue and Wrisco Aluminum.