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Hearn Looks In Mirror For 11th OCFS Eastern States 358 Championship

Brett Hearn
Brett Hearn - Bob Armbruster Photo

Middletown,NYOctober 18, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast PR Director

Anyone attending Eastern States Weekend at Orange County Fair Speedway one year ago may have experienced deja-vu all over again on Saturday afternoon as Brett Hearn won his second straight Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship in almost identical fashion.

Last October the Sussex, New Jersey star started fourth and took the lead on lap nine en route to a convincing victory. Yesterday, Hearn began inside row two and blasted by pole-sitter Jerry Higbie on a lap eight restart with the same result — a $7,500 payday and another dominating performance at the historic ‘Hard Clay’ oval. Oh yes, last year’s winning car was back in the picture again as young talent Michael Storms steered it to a fifth-place finish in the Orange County Small-Block finale.

“We had to push early because the track has a tendency to narrow up in daytime races,” remarked Hearn, the all-time Orange County winner with his 11th career Eastern States Small-Block Championship elevating his division total to 121. Of his 293 checkered flags, 170 have come in Big-Block competition at the fairgrounds and he’ll be looking to capture his ninth Eastern States 200 triumph Sunday afternoon in what is fondly being referred to by his fans as the ‘House of Hearn.’ “We looked high and low and at that point in the race you really don’t know what to expect, Jerry was running really good and his strategy might’ve been something totally different.”

“We had a really good car and I just kept working it harder on the outside and finally was able to make it stick. Then we just did we always do when you get the lead at Orange County, just try to run smooth and pick out the right spots to run on the track,” noted Hearn, after opening up a 15 car-length margin over runner-up Ronnie Johnson at the line with Higbie, hard-charging Tommy Meier and Storms filling out the front-five in the 100-lapper.

After setting fast time the previous night in WLR Construction time trials, Higbie got the early nod from his pole-position start while Hearn quickly followed suit to apply pressure from the outset. Pennsylvanian Rick Laubach slowed in turn one to bring out the first of nine yellow flags the third time around, but it was the second caution that proved pivotal when Tim Fuller experienced ignition failure on lap eight and Hearn grabbed the lead as soon as the green lights reappeared.

From that point on, Hearn only needed to stay clean in traffic and watch the laps click off as it was his race to win as the nearest contenders failed to keep pace.

“The car really stayed good the whole race, very neutral and that’s what a driver is always looking for, not too loose, not too tight,” added Hearn, following his second Mr. DIRTcar 358-Mod Series win of the season, both coming in the past nine days. DIRTcar NorthEast’s all-time Small-Block Series winner notched his first win in the recent Super DIRT Week special at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park and now has 68 to top the list.

“The track was moving around a little bit so you had to change your line every couple laps and find out where the best grip was. Lapped traffic didn’t give an inch, I could run just outside the main line but those (lapped) guys wouldn’t let up and just kept banging.”

Starting fourth on the 41-car grid, Johnson never fell any further back before taking advantage of a fading Decker machine at the lap 70 mark and stealing away second from Higbie with just a handful of laps to go.

“We were good on the restarts for a few laps but couldn’t gain much ground after that,” said Johnson, 34, son of legendary Capital District driver Jack Johnson, who was at the track Saturday to watch a very commendable performance by the second-generation star. “But this is Brett’s home so you’ve got to be more than good any time you come here.”

“I have to thank Roger Heroux and Julien from JPM, they gave me the motor to compete here today and it was really strong. Hopefully, we can run the same tomorrow in the 200 and be up there at the end to give Brett another shot,” added Johnson, who was buckled in aboard the potent Wm.Larned no. 2 Palmer’s Service-Morris Auto Group/TEO that has a twin in the Big-Block ranks.

Higbie fended off challenges from Billy Decker, who was fading with tire trouble the last third of the race, before dropping to the show position behind Johnson as a final restart on lap 95 proved to be the final difference.

“Don’t think I had enough gear on the restarts and it took me a couple laps to get going, that’s how Ronnie got me at the end,” said 2008 Orange County Small-Block points champion Higbie, who won the ESW 358-Modified main in 2005 when it was 150 laps in distance. “He had a little more gear. If you stayed in the rubber the track was really good. There were a few slick places, sometimes it got a little hairy when you hit a slick spot and the car skated.”

“Everybody knows Brett is the man here … its Eastern States Weekend and that’s always tough going. We still had an awesome car and the whole team did a super job. It was a good day for everybody, really capped off a nice season for us,” Higbie added.

While the battle up front raged on, sometimes three-wide among the top-10, the chase for valuable points on the Mr. DIRTcar Championship trail was heightened further back as Canadian travelers Pete Bicknell and Danny O’Brien jockeyed for position for the duration. When the dust settled, Bicknell and O’Brien finished 20th ad 21st respectively, padding Bicknell’s lead by a single marker heading into the Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series finale next weekend at Can-Am Speedway Park.

In search of a third overall series points crown, still winless Bicknell (1,042) holds a narrow lead ahead of O’Brien (1,009), who is hungry for his first career Mr. DIRTcar title and has two tour triumphs in 2008. O’Brien also copped the ’07 series stop last September at Can-Am while Bicknell’s two wins at the LaFargeville, New York layout were registered in 1991 and ’94.

Eastern States Weekend activity continues on Sunday with a full program of DIRTcar UMP Pro Stock action, DIRTcar Big-Block Modified consolation round qualifiers and the 47th running of the Eastern States 200 Modified Championship finale. Pit gates and grandstands are slated to open at 8 am followed by the popular Race Against Drugs Pit Party that runs on the front stretch from 9:30-10:30 am.

Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Race #13 – Orange County Fair Speedway, Oct. 18, 2008 Eastern States 100 Championship Event Summary
FEATURE
:
FIN STR CAR# DRIVER
1 3 4* Brett Hearn/Sussex,NJ($7,500)
2 4 2 Ronnie Johnson/Duanesburg,NY
3 1 17 Jerry Higbie/Slate Hill,NY
4 17 33-1/3 Tommy Meier/Waldwick,NJ
5 16 4 Mike Storms/Wantage,NJ
6 6 91 Billy Decker/Unadilla,NY
7 9 4b Andy Bachetti/Great Barrington,MA
8 7 71 David VanHorn/Phillipsburg,NJ
9 20 1x Matt Sheppard/Waterloo,NY
10 13 98h Jimmy Phelps/Baldwinsville,NY
11 26 94 Tim Hindley/Monticello,NY
12 12 33x Craig Mitchell/Wappingers Falls,NY
13 31 77 Jimmy Johnson/Bloomingburg,NY
14 25 33 John Lieto/Mt.Kisco,NY
15 2 9g Johnny Guarino/Nanuet,NY
16 21 14L Rick Laubach/Hellertown,PA
17 38 3b Chad Brachmann/Sanborn,NY
18 11 7k Kirk Horton/Eldred,NY
19 22 124 Pierre DagenaisGatineau,QUE
20 28 42 Pete Bicknell/St.Catharines,ONT
21 19 17d Danny O’Brien/Kingston,ONT
22 23 99L Larry Wight/Phoenix,NY
23 34 73 Rick Mill/New Windsor,NY
24 33 88k Randy Chrysler/Tuscarora,NY
25 36 72 Tommy Flannigan/St.Catharines,ONT®
26 40 16w Lance Willix II/Theresa,NY
27 24 97 Michel Chicoine/Ste-Cecile de Milton,QUE
28 18 9 Mark Smoke/Akwesasne,NY
29 10 42p Pat Ward/Genoa,NY
30 8 24 Chris Shultz/Pawling,NY
31 37 220 John Ferrier/Middletown,NY
32 5 84 Gary Tomkins/Clifton Springs,NY
33 29 55 Mitch Gibbs/North Norwich,NY
34 35 16x Danny Creeden/Middletown,NY
35 15 22c Mario Clair/St-Edmond,QUE
36 27 66x Carey Terrance/Akwesasne,NY
37 41 27 Jessica Zemken/Sprakers,NY
38 30 14s Randy Sherlock/Milford,PA
39 39 21j Jamie Yannone/Newburgh,NY
40 32 115 Kenny Tremont/West Sand Lake,NY
41 14 74 Tim Fuller/Edwards,NY
EVENT SUMMARY:
GATER NEWS LAP LEADERS: Higbie (1-7), Hearn (8-100).
CAUTIONS: 9 for 28 laps.
BICKNELL RACING PRODUCTS WINNER AWARD: Brett Hearn.
HALFWAY LEADER: Brett Hearn.
BERT HARD CHARGER: Chad Brachmann.
HOLLEY HARD LUCK: Mario Clair.
PENSKE POWER POSITION (18th): Kirk Horton.
HEAT WINNERS: VanHorn, Shultz, Bachetti, Ward, Horton, Mitchell.
CONSI WINNERS: J.Johnson, Tremont, Ra.Chrysler.
WLR CONSTRUCTION POLE WINNER: Jerry Higbie (21.264sec/105.813mph).
CARS ENTERED: 68
FINAL EVENT: Can-Am Motorsports Park – October 25, 2008.

DID NOT QUALIFY(27)
X-Ben Rizzo/Middletown,NY
1-Jimmy Spellmon/Butler,NJ
3-Erik Holmgren/Middletown,NY
4r-Mike Ruggiero/Walden,NY
4SL-Bob Hentschel/Pine Bush,NY
6-C.V. Elms/North Haverhill,NH
6g-Martin Gagne/Granby,QUE
12-Danny Johnson/Rochester,NY
12c-Bobby Hayes Jr./Nanuet,NY
12t-Tim Bayles/Wantage,NJ
14b-Dan Barnes/Honesdale,PA
16-A.J. Romano/Johnstown,NY
18-Anthony Perrego/Montgomery,NY
21-Greg Morgan/Lake Ariel,PA
t21-Roger Chrysler/Lewiston,NY
22-Rich Coons/Montgomery,NY
k22-Kenny Moulton Jr./Rock Hill,NY
23k-Chris Kervatt/Wantage,NJ
27-Jerry Wildrick/Sussex,NJ
33h-Matt Hulsizer/Stony Point,NY
53-Joey Barbagallo Jr./Branchville,NJ
81h-Jim House/Middletown,NY
111-Art Liedl/Flemington,NJ
124j-Alan Johnson/Middlesex,NY
157-Billy Eggers Jr./Woodcliff Lake,NJ
211-Chuck McKee/Middletown,NY
7-17-Everett Haubrich/Lafayette,NJ

WLR CONSTRUCTION 358-MODIFIED TIME TRIALS
FAST AVE
TIME MPH CAR# DRIVER
1 21.264 105.813 17 Jerry Higbie/Slate Hill,NY
*$250 – WLR Construction Pole Award
2 21.361 105.332 9g Johnny Guarino/Nanuet,NY
3 21.361 105.332 4* Brett Hearn/Sussex,NJ
4 21.411 105.086 2 Ronnie Johnson/Duanesburg,NY
5 21.525 104.530 84 Gary Tomkins/Clifton Springs,NY
6 21.526 104.525 91 Billy Decker/Unadilla,NY
7 21.544 104.437 98h Jimmy Phelps/Baldwinsville,NY
8 21.554 104.389 74 Tim Fuller/Edwards,NY
9 21.586 104.234 4b Andy Bachetti/Great Barrington,MA
10 21.685 103.758 42p Pat Ward/Genoa,NY
11 21.758 103.410 7k Kirk Horton/Eldred,NY
12 21.809 103.168 33x Craig Mitchell/Wappingers Falls,NY
13 21.812 103.154 71 David VanHorn/Phillipsburg,NJ
14 21.815 103.140 24 Chris Shultz/Pawling,NY
15 21.823 103.102 22c Mario Clair/St-Edmond,QUE
16 21.827 103.083 4 Mike Storms/Wantage,NJ
17 21.843 103.008 33-1/3 Tommy Meier/Waldwick,NJ
18 21.848 102.984 97 Michel Chicoine/Ste-Cecile de Milton,QUE
19 21.889 102.791 17d Danny O’Brien/Kingston,ONT
20 21.902 102.730 12 Danny Johnson/Rochester,NY
21 21.905 102.716 66x Carey Terrance/Akwesasne,NY
22 21.912 102.683 124 Pierre DagenaisGatineau,QUE
23 21.950 102.506 55 Mitch Gibbs/North Norwich,NY
24 21.975 102.389 9 Mark Smoke/Akwesasne,NY
25 21.982 102.356 33 John Lieto/Mt.Kisco,NY
26 21.999 102.277 1x Matt Sheppard/Waterloo,NY
27 22.012 102.217 14L Rick Laubach/Hellertown,PA
28 22.020 102.180 16x Danny Creeden/Middletown,NY
29 22.037 102.101 99L Larry Wight/Phoenix,NY
30 22.045 102.064 14s Randy Sherlock/Milford,PA
31 22.055 102.018 77 Jimmy Johnson/Bloomingburg,NY
32 22.071 101.944 94 Tim Hindley/Monticello,NY
33 22.081 101.898 115 Kenny Tremont/West Sand Lake,NY
34 22.092 101.847 42 Pete Bicknell/St.Catharines,ONT
35 22.120 101.718 21j Jamie Yannone/Newburgh,NY
36 22.144 101.608 88k Randy Chrysler/Tuscarora,NY
37 22.228 101.224 157 Billy Eggers Jr./Woodcliff Lake,NJ
38 22.261 101.074 220 John Ferrier/Middletown,NY
39 22.278 100.996 22 Rich Coons/Montgomery,NY
40 22.290 100.942 211 Chuck McKee/Middletown,NY
41 22.446 100.241 6g Martin Gagne/Granby,QUE
42 22.450 100.223 73 Rick Mill/New Windsor,NY
43 22.463 100.165 16w Lance Willix II/Theresa,NY
44 22.466 100.151 72 Tommy Flannigan/St.Catharines,ONT®
45 22.472 100.125 16 A.J. Romano/Johnstown,NY
46 22.513 99.942 23k Chris Kervatt/Wantage,NJ
47 22.516 99.929 4r Mike Ruggiero/Walden,NY
48 22.543 99.809 12t Tim Bayles/Wantage,NJ
49 22.587 99.615 3b Chad Brachmann/Sanborn,NY
50 22.594 99.584 81h Jim House/Middletown,NY
51 22.679 99.211 12c Bobby Hayes Jr./Nanuet,NY
52 22.725 99.010 53 Joey Barbagallo Jr./Branchville,NJ
53 22.761 98.853 3 Erik Holmgren/Middletown,NY
54 22.847 98.481 k22 Kenny Moulton Jr./Rock Hill,NY
55 22.875 98.361 7-17 Everett Haubrich/Lafayette,NJ
56 22.957 98.009 18 Anthony Perrego/Montgomery,NY
57 22.958 98.005 1 Jimmy Spellmon/Butler,NJ
58 23.053 97.601 t21 Roger Chrysler/Lewiston,NY
59 23.202 96.974 33h Matt Hulsizer/Stony Point,NY
60 23.286 96.625 4SL Bob Hentschel/Pine Bush,NY
61 23.442 95.982 27 Jerry Wildrick/Sussex,NJ
62 23.667 95.069 6 C.V. Elms/North Haverhill,NH
63 23.693 94.965 111 Art Liedl/Flemington,NJ
64 26.360 85.357 X Ben Rizzo/Middletown,NY
65 -NT- —– 14b Dan Barnes/Honesdale,PA
66 -NT- —– 21 Greg Morgan/Lake Ariel,PA
67 -NT- —– 124j Alan Johnson/Middlesex,NY
68 -NT- —– 27 Jessica Zemken/Sprakers,NY
*Top-6 locked into front three rows; 68 Entries.

358-MODIFIED QUALIFYING HEAT RACE RESULTS
(8 laps, top-4 finishers transferred to feature)
#1: VanHorn, Phelps, O’Brien, Lieto, J.Johnson, Willix, Brachmann, Eggers, Haubrich, Wildrick.
#2: Shultz, Fuller, Sheppard, Hindley, D.Johnson, Flannigan, Elms, Ferrier, House, Perrego (DNS).
#3: Bachetti, Clair, Laubach, Terrance, Tremont, Coons, Romano, Hayes, Liedl, Spellmon.
#4: Ward, Storms, Dagenais, Bicknell, Creeden, Rizzo, Ro.Chrysler, Barbagallo, Kervatt, McKee (DNS).
#5: Horton, Meier, Wight, Gibbs, Gagne, Yannone, Ruggiero, Hitchcock, Holmgren, Morgan (DNS).
#6: Mitchell, Smoke, Chicoine, Sherlock, Ra.Chrysler, Mill, A.Johnson, Bayles, Moulton, Hentschel (DNS).

Consolation Round (8 laps, top-3 finishers transferred to feature)
#1: J.Johnson, Mill, Ferrier, Romano, Willix, Haubrich, Eggers, Perrego, Elms, Zemken, D.Johnson (DNS), House (DNS)
#2: Tremont, Creeden, Brachmann, Coons, Hayes, Ro.Chrysler, Barbagallo, Rizzo, Liedl, Spellmon, Kervatt (DNS), McKee (DNS).
#3: Ra.Chrysler, Flannigan, Yannone, A.Johnson, Bayles, Hitchcock, Hentschel, Gagne, Ruggiero, Holmgren (DNS), Moulton (DNS), Morgan (DNS).
Guarantees: Willix, Zemken.

Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Points (thru October 18)
Rank No. Driver Total Series Bonus Diff Wins T-5 T-10 Starts
1 42 Pete Bicknell 1,042 746 296 0 0 4 7 10
2 17d Danny O’Brien 1,009 709 300 -33 2 4 6 9
3 3b Chad Brachmann 978 702 276 -64 0 2 4 10
4 99L Larry Wight® 876 576 300 -166 0 1 2 10
5 66x Carey Terrance 862 578 284 -180 0 0 3 10
6 9s Mark Smoke 783 491 292 -259 0 0 0 10
7 16 Lance Willix II 766 490 276 -276 0 0 0 10
8 5 Todd Burley 759 459 300 -283 1 2 3 8
9 4* Brett Hearn 744 468 276 -298 2 2 3 6
10 19z Jessica Zemken® 738 458 280 -304 0 1 1 7
11 19L John Lazore 732 440 292 -310 0 0 1 7
12 72 Tommy Flannigan® 728 504 224 -314 0 0 1 10
13 22c Mario Clair 714 450 264 -328 1 2 3 8
14 66 Dale Planck 626 522 104 -416 1 4 5 7
15 007 Roy Tarbell 583 333 250 -459 0 0 0 4
16 124 Pierre Dagenais 550 270 280 -492 0 1 1 5
17 14 Mitchell Jock® 531 267 264 -511 0 0 1 4
18 26 Rick Richner 529 275 254 -513 0 0 2 4
19 15J Tim Jones 524 284 240 -518 0 0 0 5
20 22 Eric Gauvreau 524 236 288 -518 0 0 0 4
21 90 Martin Roy 498 210 288 -544 0 0 0 3
22 23L Larry Lampman Jr. 498 222 276 -544 0 0 1 3
23 38 Scott Wood 487 195 292 -555 0 0 1 4
24 23 Laurent Ladouceur 462 178 284 -580 0 1 1 3
25 96 Danny Johnson 441 371 70 -601 0 1 2 5
26 21 Yan Bussiere 441 185 256 -601 0 0 0 3
27 99J Jimmy Phelps 437 437 0 -605 1 3 5 5
28 28 Scott Kerwin 429 155 274 -613 0 1 1 2
29 39 Clement Therrien 428 164 264 -614 0 0 1 3
30 80 Chris Steele 427 205 222 -615 0 0 1 4
31 1h David Hebert 417 121 296 -625 0 0 1 2
32 93 Richie Vinson 410 158 252 -632 0 0 0 3
33 123 Robbie Krull 404 130 274 -638 0 1 1 2
34 97 Michel Chicione 402 216 186 -640 0 0 0 4
35 44 Casey Swamp 390 148 242 -652 0 0 0 2
36 24 Patrick Dupree 388 100 288 -654 0 0 0 1
37 73 Alain Boisvert 388 120 268 -654 0 0 0 0
38 77 Jimmy Johnson 384 156 228 -658 0 0 1 2
39 m96 Brian McDonald 384 132 252 -658 0 0 1 2
40 24 Chris Shultz 378 140 238 -664 0 0 0 2
41 46 Kayle Robidoux 376 76 300 -666 0 0 1 1
42 96 Kyle Dingwall 375 95 280 -667 0 1 1 1
43 17 Jerry Higbie 374 90 284 -668 0 1 1 1
44 54 Steve Bernard 374 122 252 -668 0 0 1 2
45 20 Jeff McGinnis 358 86 272 -684 0 0 1 1
46 80 Jeff Marshall 358 72 286 -684 0 0 1 1
47 44 Sebastien Gougeon 356 90 266 -686 0 1 1 1
48 74 Fred Gamache 352 172 180 -690 0 0 1 3
49 33.3 Tommy Meier 349 85 264 -693 0 1 1 1
50 94 Tim Hindley 346 70 276 -696 0 0 0 1

FINAL EVENT:
Can-Am Motorsports Park stages the final event of the 2008 Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series on Saturday, October 25 with top Small-Block teams contending for a spot in the headline F.X. Caprara Car Companies 75.

2008 Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE LAPS TRACK LOCATION/WINNER
Sat-Apr 26 100 Merrittville Speedway Dale Planck
Fri-Aug 1 68 Ransomville Speedway Todd Burley
Thr-Aug 21 100 Mohawk Int’l Raceway Mario Clair
Sun-Aug 31 100 Cornwall Motor Speedway Danny O’Brien
Sat-Sep 12 75 Brockville Ont Speedway Rain-Cancelled
Sat-Sep 13 152 Autodrome Drummond Danny O’Brien
Fri-Sep 19 75 Canandaigua Speedway Jimmy Phelps
Fri-Sep 26 75 Rolling Wheels Raceway Rain-Cancelled
Thr-Oct 9 84 Brewerton Speedway Gary Tomkins
Fri-Oct 10 100 Rolling Wheels Raceway Brett Hearn
Sat-Oct 11 150 New York State Fairgrnds Billy Decker
Sat-Oct 18 100 Orange Co Fair Speedway Brett Hearn
Sat-Oct 25 75 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY

2008 EASTERN STATES WEEKEND EVENTS SCHEDULE
*All times/events subject to change.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 19
Pit Gates & Grandstand Gates open, 8:00 am;
Race Against Drugs Eastern States Pit Party, 9:30-10:30 am;
Pro Stock Hot Laps, 11:00 am;
Big-Block Modified Hot Laps;
Pro Stock heat races, 12noon;
Big-Block Modified consolation races-2 (8 more qualify), 12:30 pm;
Pro Stock consolation race, 12:50 pm
Big-Block Modified consolation races-2 (8 more qualify), 1:00 pm;
Eastern States 25, Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship Series event, 1:30 pm;
47th Eastern States 200, Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series event (44 cars to start), 2:30 pm.

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