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Ridley Fends Off Friesen For 1st Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series Win At Canandaigua

Kevin Ridley
Kevin Ridley - Alex Bruce Photo

Canandaigua, NYSeptember 20, 2008 – By Dave Medler, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast Series Correspondent

Newly crowned 2008 track points champion Kevin Ridley picked the right time to score his first victory of the year at Canandaigua Speedway on Saturday night. Yet grabbing the lead early, it was anything but easy as he had to hold off late race challenges from Canadian James Michael Friesen to pick up a well-deserved win in the Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Championship “Labatt Ice 45” at the Ontario County Fairgrounds oval.

“I’m in shock right now. I never thought I’d get one of these races, we’ve been trying for four years,” Ridley said after exiting his JB Motorsports no. 20x Advanced Lubrication Specialties/Teo machine in victory lane. ” I’m pretty excited to finally get one here and the first of the season.”

Justin Wright grabbed the early lead in the 45-lap affair before the first of only three caution periods came out on lap two for a spinning Luke Carleton in turn four. Carleton refired and joined the back of the pack that was 30 cars strong.

On the restart Wright and Ridley raced nose to tail and side by side for the next five circuits with the lead in doubt. Keeping his momentum up running the top side, Ridley was scored the leader on the lap eight.

Once out front Ridley started to open up a comfortable lead with Wright still holding onto second. All eyes moved back to Friesen as the third-generation chauffeur was starting to march towards the front to make his presence known.

On lap 20 Ridley was still out front on cruise control opening up a three-second lead on the field with Friesen advancing to third and starting to put pressure on Wright for the runner-up spot. Mark D’Ilario and Mark Chiddy ran fourth and fifth.

With no yellows and heavy lapped traffic on the back straight, Friesen was able to pin Wright behind a back marker and take over second. The recently crowned Ransomville Speedway points champion still had his work cut out for him as Ridley remained far ahead continuing to run the top of the speedway.

With 29 laps in the books, the caution came out for Tim Currier who made contact with another car coming out of turn four. The second yellow flag of the race suddenly erased the big lead Ridley had enjoyed and put Friesen right on his back bumper while D’Ilario, Steve Gray and Wright would set up right behind the top two still with a shot at the win.

Ridley got a great restart on the back straight jumping out to a five car-length advantage but by time he exited turn four Friesen pulled almost even using the bottom of the speedway. The third and final caution arrived for debris on lap 32, once again allowing Friesen to cozy up to Ridley on the ensuing restart.

With 10 laps to go Ridley led by a half-second over Friesen as D’Ilario waited for a break in third as the leaders set up for the dramatic dash to the finish.

Over the last eight circuits Friesen hounded Ridley, lap after lap getting underneath him in the turns and showing the leader his door while pulling even. But Ridley wasn’t rattled, running the top side to perfection as he picked up the narrow win over Friesen and emerged as the 10th different winner in 10 tours races run this season.

D’Ilario, Gray and current Series point leaders Dan Wiesner (2nd) and Chris Raabe came next, followed by Wright, pole-sitter Mark Chiddy, Jeremy Pitcher and John Pietrowicz in the top-10.

“I saw him (Friesen) a couple times on the bottom and figured if I kept my car straight as I could and kept the momentum, there was no way he was going to get by me,” Ridley said about his crowd-pleasing battle with Friesen that resulted in his first career Sportsman Series victory on home soil.

Round number 11 of the Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series is slated for Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in a move to Central New York as part of the 22nd World Series Weekend on Saturday, September 27.

Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Race #10 – Canandaigua Speedway, September 20, 2008 ‘Labatt Ice 45’ Event Summary
Feature

FIN STR CAR# DRIVER
1 4 20x Kevin Ridley/Geneva,NY($1,000)
2 9 52 James Friesen/St.Catharines,ONT
3 3 08 Mark D’Ilario/Smithville,ONT
4 11 29g Steve Gray/Rushville,NY
5 10 66 Dan Wiesner/Geneva,NY
6 18 01 Chris Raabe/Napanee,ONT
7 2 11jr. Justin Wright/Piffard,NY
8 1 54 Mark Chiddy/Boston,NY
9 8 14 Jeremy Pitcher/Fulton,NY
10 29 85 John Pietrowicz/Phoenix,NY
11 16 6 Mat Williamson/St.Catharines,ONT
12 12 12 Chad Chevalier/Port Colborne,ONT
13 20 777 Tyler McPherson/St.Catharines,ONT
14 17 10 Tim Currier/Auburn,NY
15 7 76 Rob Bussey/Canandaigua,NY
16 14 51 Cody McPherson/St.Catharines,ONT
17 24 2k Rob Knapp/St.Catharines,ONT
18 15 3 Fran Hilton/Waterloo,NY
19 19 14s Craig Gardner/Beaver Dams,NY
20 22 26h Luke Carleton/Port Colborne,ONT
21 28 62 Rick Bellante/St.Catharines,ONT
22 21 70 Brady Fultz/Dundee,NY
23 13 22 Greg Cool/Geneva,NY
24 26 1h Jason Hallett/Byron,NY
25 6 44 Gary Hotaling/Middlesex,NY
26 27 99p Greg Panunte/Port Colborne,ONT
27 23 2 Brian Sage/Brockport,NY
28 31 18h Todd Henderson/Canandaigua,NY
29 5 06j Jordan Bennett/Pennellville,NY
30 25 67g Eric Giguere/Waterloo,NY
DNS 30 71 Mike Bowman/St.Catharines,ONT
EVENT SUMMARY:
LAP LEADERS: Wright (1-7), Ridley (8-45).
CAUTIONS: 3 (lap 2, lap 29, lap 33)
QUALIFYING
Heat Races (8 laps, 5 transferred to feature, top 3 went to re-draw)
#1: J.Bennett, Ridley, Chiddy, Cool, Currier, Fultz, Panunte, Guererri, Henderson, Dixon, B.Bennett.
#2: Friesen, D’Ilario, Hotaling, C.McPherson, Raabe, Giguere, Sage, Dinkins, Pietrowicz, Lewis, McCulloch.
#3: Bussey, Wiesner, Gray, Hilton, Gardner, Humphreys, Wheeler, DeMallie, Johnstone, Knapp, Hilkert.
#4: Chevalier, Pitcher, Wright, Williamson, T.McPherson, Carleton, Bowman, Bellante, Crooker, Gordon, Hallett.
Consi (8 laps, 4 transferred to feature)
#1: Fultz, Sage, Giguere, Panunte, Pietrowicz, Henderson, Dinkins, Lewis, B.Bennett, Dixon, McCulloch, Guererri.
#2: Carleton, Knapp, Hallett, Bellante, Crooker, Humphreys, Gordon, DeMallie, Bowman, Wheeler (DNS), Johnstone (DNS), Aubin (DNS).
Guarantees: Pietrowicz, Bowman.
Provisional: Henderson.

Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series Point Standings (Through Sept. 20, 2008)
Rank No Driver Total Series Bonus Diff Wins T-5 T-10 Sts
1 01 Chris Raabe 944 644 300 0 1 5 7 9
2 66 Dan Wiesner 917 637 280 -27 1 5 5 10
3 99p Greg Panunte 870 590 280 -74 1 2 5 10
4 777 Tyl.McPherson 869 591 278 -75 0 2 6 10
5 08 Mark D’Ilario 862 614 248 -82 1 4 5 10
6 85 John Pietrowicz 846 564 282 -98 0 2 5 10
7 71 Mike Bowman 842 558 284 -102 0 3 5 9
8 6 Mat Williamson 815 559 256 -129 0 2 3 10
9 19w Justin Wright 808 534 274 -136 0 1 2 10
10 14 Jeremy Pitcher 798 514 284 -146 0 1 5 9
11 67g Eric Giguere 757 487 270 -187 0 2 2 10
12 52 James Friesen 753 461 292 -191 0 3 4 6
13 12 Chad Chevalier 688 424 264 -256 0 0 3 8
14 20x Kevin Ridley 613 335 278 -331 1 1 3 6
15 10 Tim Currier 603 335 268 -341 0 0 0 8
16 2x Rob Knapp 603 345 258 -341 0 0 1 8
17 2L Loren Lincoln 558 316 242 -386 0 2 3 6
18 29g Steve Gray 528 244 284 -416 0 1 2 5
19 140 Mark Dixon 521 341 180 -423 0 0 1 8
20 17k Sam Reakes IV 508 228 280 -436 0 1 2 5
21 21JJ Jimmy Johnstone 481 241 240 -463 0 0 2 4
22 2K Chris Hile 475 225 250 -469 1 1 1 4
23 4 Daryl Hilkert 468 214 254 -476 0 0 0 5
24 18R Brad Rouse 462 172 290 -482 1 1 2 2
25 26h Luke Carleton 460 216 244 -484 0 0 0 5
26 17T Todd Town 460 216 244 -484 1 2 3 4
27 06 Brandon Easey 454 184 270 -490 0 0 2 3
28 70 Brady Fultz 445 149 296 -499 0 0 1 3
29 24 Brandon Sweet 442 150 292 -502 0 0 1 2
30 38w Luke Whitteker® 439 187 252 -505 0 0 1 4
31 06 Jordan Bennett 428 160 268 -516 0 0 0 4
32 18h Todd Henderson 423 123 300 -521 0 0 0 3
33 8s Justin Sharp 420 146 274 -524 0 0 0 3
34 33 Mike Ruggiero 417 125 292 -527 1 1 1 2
35 M1 Dave Marcuccilli® 417145 272 -527 0 0 0 4
36 25g Nick Guererri 412 132 280 -532 0 0 1 3
37 0 Jipp Ortiz 410 140 270 -534 0 1 1 2
38 vs1 Jim Spano 406 150 256 -538 0 1 1 3
39 17 Marcus Dinkins 394 142 252 -550 0 0 1 2
40 99c Nick Cupolo 390 136 254 -554 0 1 1 2
41 62 Rick Bellante 385 195 190 -559 0 0 0 4
42 3a Fran Hilton 382 132 250 -562 0 0 0 3
43 38 Ryan Susice 375 115 260 -569 0 0 0 2
44 5 Don Spatorico 374 90 284 -570 0 1 1 1
45 17d Tom Juhl 370 98 272 -574 0 0 1 1
46 74 Matt Billings® 354 84 270 -590 0 0 0 1
47 54 Mark Chiddy 352 140 212 -592 0 0 2 2
48 3k A.J. Kingley 352 90 262 -592 0 0 0 2
49 12x Dan Sellen 343 83 260 -601 0 0 1 2
50 p38 Rob Pratt 342 60 282 -602 0 0 0 1

UPCOMING EVENT
Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series race chasers return next week as they contest at charter member Rolling Wheels Raceway Park on Saturday, September 27. Valuable points towards the overall Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Championship will be awarded along with a guaranteed starting position in the ‘Town Mechanical 30’ Sportsman Modified main event during Super DIRT Week in October.

2008 Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE LAPS TRACK LOCATION/WINNER
Sat-Apr 5 50 Black Rock Speedway Larry Wight
Mon-May 26 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Dan Wiesner
Thr-Jul 3 20 Rolling Wheels Raceway Mark D’Ilario
Thr-Jul 3 20 Rolling Wheels Raceway Todd Town
Fri-Jul 4 30 Brewerton Speedway Chris Hile
Thr-Jul 10 30 Brockville Ont. Speedway Chris Raabe
Mon-Sep 1 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Mike Ruggiero
Sat-Sep 6 50 Merrittville Speedway Brad Rouse
Fri-Sep 12 50 Ransomville Speedway Rain-Cancelled
Sat-Sep 13 30 Genesee Speedway Rain-Cancelled
Fri-Sep 19 50 Humberstone Speedway Greg Panunte
Sat-Sep 20 45 Canandaigua Speedway Kevin Ridley
Sat-Sep 27 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Fri-Oct 3 30 Fulton Speedway Fulton,NY
Wed-Oct 8 30 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Fri-Oct 10 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Sat-Oct 11 30 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse,NY
Fri-Oct 17 40 Thunder Mountain Speedway Center Lisle,NY
Sat-Oct 18 50 Orange Co. Fair Speedway Middletown,NY

The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Advance Auto Parts and Hoosier Racing Tire. Rite Aid Corporation is a promotional partner and the contingency sponsors are Bars Leaks, Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Crane Cams, Dig Safely New York, Holley HP Carburetors, Integra Shocks, Intercomp, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, Penske Shocks, Rislone Oil Stabilizer and Wrisco Industries.