By Bill Foley
Darien, N.Y.-native Kyle Inman capped off a tremendous NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week as he rolled across the line just nine-tenths’ of a second ahead of favorite Kevin Root to win the DIRTcar Sportsman Chevy Performance 75 at Oswego Speedway.
Inman, who won the big Fulton Speedway event last Saturday, cruised through NAPA Super DIRT Week with a win at Brewerton and third at Utica-Rome before earning the seventh starting spot for the Sunday morning race.
“This is the best week of anything so far in racing for me,” he said. “It was just crazy.”
As he stood alongside his winning car, Inman said, “Hey, this is our Super Bowl race. There is so much work that goes into it. It’s a long week and is costly. Winning Fulton last week felt good, but there is just something about winning this race. It feels so good as it is something we strive for all season long.”
The keys to the race for Inman were simple: “The communication with the team is the key,” he said. “You have to get the feel of the car, watch for changing track conditions and be patient. “
As far as competition was concerned the focus was on Root.
“Kevin (Root) was on the pole, and I thought he would be the one to beat,” stated Inman. “Matt (Junczuk) started 13th, and I really wasn’t expecting him to be where he was. However, it was a tough race, and you have to work around many fast cars that are up in front of you. I might have used my nerf bars a bit, but I’m sure they understand. We were just so great on restarts.”
Root, the pole sitter, led the first 41 laps, but with the appearance of Matt Janczuk and Inman the cream rose to the top.
“I had a very good car in the beginning,” said Root. “But track conditions changed and the car freed up in four while it was locking down between three and four. The car was simply too free, and I just couldn’t get it off the corners. We’ll take the points, but I really wanted to win here.”
The leader changed for the first time when Janczuk, in Tom Juno’s 25, worked the outside of the first turn and took over on lap 42.
Inman was sitting back in third, and on the 45th lap he worked under Root on the front stretch for second.
With 50 laps on the board Janczuk, Inman and Root were obviously the class of the field, while Robert Delormier and Moise Page were contesting fourth and fifth.
As “65” appeared on the board for a slowing David Manchester, problems arose for Janczuk, which would eliminate him from contention. “I was rolling out in turn four, and when he slowed down I hit the wall hard,” said Janczuk. “Then I got the jersey barrier in one with the left front suffering a flat tire.”
Some late restarts kept the field bunched, but Root simply didn’t have enough for Inman.
Janczuk settled for third, while Page and Delormier filled out the top five.
Janczuk, who destroyed his own car earlier in the week, was satisfied with the run. “It was just a really good car,” he added. “I felt I needed more left side grip so Tom (Juno) let us pull the car apart yesterday, cut the frame, and do what we wanted to do. I thought we had a shot to win. Unfortunately Kyle was able to beat us on restarts, but our car was working well on the outside.”
Fourth place Page, who runs at Granby and Cornwall, said, “I’m very happy. It is our first time here. I like long-distance races, and the car also likes them. I came here just hoping to qualify, and we are really happy.”
Delormier, who started outside the front row, settled for fifth. “Everybody wants to win this race,” he said. “I think a top five for us only being our second time here is pretty good. The car was good at the beginning, but kind of fell off at the end. I was able to hang with the leaders, so I’m happy overall.”
Kane Bristol, who came out of the Last Chance Showdown, started 27th and brought his 31 home in sixth.
Completing the top ten were Connor Cleveland, Chris Mackey, James Michael Friesen (from 31st) and Adam McAuliffe.
The second row had their difficulties as the rookies Addison Bowman and Jamie Begor were out early. Bowman, running third, saw heavy black smoke pouring from his car on lap four, while Begor appeared to have rear end problems, sending him to the sidelines on lap 12.
There were no serious incidents during the 75 laps as spins and mechanical failure slowed the field from time to time.
With 102 Sportsmen attempting to qualify, the 36 starters showed why they deserved to be among the elite in the division in this year’s edition of the Chevy Performance 75.