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Brett Hearn is back in victory lane for 20th time at Volusia

Brett Hearn
Brett Hearn

Seven-time champion is third different DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH winner in three nights

BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 18, 2011 – Brett Hearn is back. He said as much in victory lane on Friday night after he held off Matt Sheppard and Danny Johnson at the 40th DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio at Volusia Speedway Park.

When Johnson selected the outside on a restart with eight laps complete, Hearn took full advantage of the bottom groove in his Speed Energy/Wentworth Custom Homes Teo. Hearn shot out quickly, then Matt Sheppard snuck past Johnson and the three-car battle was on. Johnson slid back past Sheppard while Hearn, who lost Wednesday’s opener on a final-lap pass by Stewart Friesen, never let up this time.

Johnson kept it close early on in his Rochester Americans Bicknell, trying to rattle Hearn with contact coming out of Turn 2, but there’s little that can shake a driver who owns seven Super DIRTcar Series championships.

A caution with 10 laps to go set up a double-file restart, Hearn chose the inside and put Johnson back into his preferred top groove. Sheppard lined up his Xtreme Lubricants Bicknell behind Hearn with Friesen behind Johnson. The restart was a scramble and took two tries. Hearn eventually charged out front, Sheppard got past Johnson for second and then Willy Decker slowed on the backstretch, bringing out the fourth and final caution of the event.

Hearn was determined. He remembered vividly what happened on Wednesday night in the opener. He wasn’t going to relax at all on Friday. The green waved with nine to go, Hearn jumped in front fast. Sheppard slid up the track in Turns 1 and 2 and blocked Johnson. Friesen tried to pick a lane to make a move from fourth in his Pizza Logs Teo. Then he tried a slider on Johnson in Turn 2 but missed. The move cost him his momentum while Johnson set his sights on Sheppard.

All that action behind him was fine by Hearn. It slowed those in pursuit and allowed him to open what normally would be a safe advantage. Of course, Hearn still wasn’t taking any chances.

“I tried to stay with it a little bit harder the last couple of laps, not get comfortable,” said Hearn, of Sussex, N.J., who failed to win at Volusia last year. “I was just trying to concentrate on my line and keep the car underneath me. The car was really good right from the first lap of the race. … I missed winning last year (at Volusia). I’m back.”

The victory was the 20th of Hearn’s career at Volusia Speedway Park. Sheppard was able to secure second-place ahead of Johnson, Friesen and Bobby Varin.

“I was good there all night,” said Johnson, of Rochester, N.Y., when trying to explain his early decision to restart in the outside line. “We just missed by a little bit, that’s all. I’m not going to second guess myself. I’m happy with the way things went and I’m proud of my team.”

There have now been three different winners in each of the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified events with Friesen taking the opener on Wednesday, Sheppard winning on Thursday and Hearn on Friday. Sheppard and Friesen are tied atop the Florida Tour standings with Hearn only two points behind. The Florida Tour finale will be Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on the Super DIRTcar Series, go to http://www.SuperDIRTcarSeries.com, or follow the series on Twitter @SuperDIRTcar.

Tickets are available for Saturday night’s final showdown by calling 386-985-4402 or by going to http://www.DIRTcarNationals.com.

DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio; Volusia Speedway Park; Feb. 178, 2011

(Click here for a roster of competitors at the DIRTcar Nationals By UNOH)

(Click here for Florida Tour standings through three events)

Super DIRTcar Series 30-Lap A-Main Finish (Finish Pos./Start Pos./Driver) – 1. (9) Brett Hearn; 2. (5) Matt Sheppard; 3. (2) Danny Johnson; 4. (12) Stewart Friesen; 5. (6) Bobby Varin; 6. (7) Rob Bellinger; 7. (3) Tim Fuller; 8. (16) Jimmy Horton; 9. (21) Michel Chicione; 10. (15) Matt DeLorenzo; 11. (11) Rich Scagliotta; 12. (8) Andy Bachetti; 13. (24) Kevin Bates; 14. (13) Tim Kerr; 15. (12) Mike Iles; 16. (26) Chris Higgins; 17. (20) Randy Chrysler; 18. (17) Tim Currier; 19. (1) Dave Rauscher; 20. (4) Rick Laubach; 21. (25) Darwin Greene; 22. (23) Billy VanInwegen; 23. (22) Danny Hieber; 24. (27) Roger Chrysler; 25. (28) Jeff Schaffer; 26. (19) Willy Decker; 27. (29) Jeremy Markle; 28. (18) Ray Swinehart; 29. (10) Danny Varin; 30. (DNS) Brian Truppi. Time of race: 20 minutes, 1.876 seconds. Margin of victory: 1.146 seconds. Cautions: 4 (Laps 4, 8, 20, 21). Lap leaders: Johnson (1-8), Hearn (9-30).

Qualifying Group 1 – 1. Rick Laubach (18.280), 2. Dave Rauscher, 3. Rob Bellinger, 4. Randy Chrysler, 5. Tim Kerr, 6. Danny Varin, 7. Willy Decker, 8. Jimmy Horton, 9. Jeff Schaffer, 10. Jeremy Markle, 11. Roger Chrysler.

Qualifying Group 2 – 1. Matt Sheppard (18.103), 2. Bobby Varin, 3. Andy Bachetti, 4. Tim Currier, 5. Kevin Bates, 6. Rich Scagliotta, 7. Stewart Friesen, 8. Mike Iles, 9. Michel Chicione, 10. Billy VanInwegen.

Qualifying Group 3 – 1. Tim Fuller(18.221), 2. Danny Johnson, 3. Matt DeLorenzo, 4. Brett Hearn, 5. Danny Hieber, 6. Chris Higgins, 7. Ray Swinehart, 8. Darwin Greene.

Heat 1 (8 laps) – 1. Rick Laubach, 2. Dave Rauscher, 3. Rob Bellinger, 4. Danny Varin, 5. Tim Kerr, 6. Jimmy Horton, 7. Randy Chrysler, 8. Willy Decker, 9. Roger Chrysler, 10. Jeremy Markle.

Heat 2 (8 laps) – 1. Bobby Varin, 2. Matt Sheppard, 3. Andy Bachetti, 4. Rich Scagliotta, 5. Stewart Friesen, 6. Tim Currier, 7. Michel Chicione, 8. Kevin Bates, 9. Billy VanInwegen, 10. Jeff Schaffer.

Heat 3 (8 laps) – 1. Danny Johnson, 2. Tim Fuller, 3. Brett Hearn, 4. Mike Iles, 5. Matt DeLorenzo, 6. Ray Swinehart, 7. Danny Hieber, 8. Chris Higgins, 9. Brian Truppi, 10. Darwin Greene.

B-Main (10 laps) – 1. Willy Decker, 2. Randy Chrysler, 3. Michel Chicione, 4. Danny Hieber, 5. Billy VanInwegen, 6. Kevin Bates, 7. Chris Higgins, 8. Darwin Greene, 9. Roger Chrysler, 10. Jeff Schaffer, 11. Jeremy Markle, DNS. Brian Truppi.

SUPER DIRTCAR SERIES FLORIDA TOUR STANDINGS (Through three of four events)

POS. POINTS CAR DRIVER / HOMETOWN Wins T5 T10 Starts Money
1 166 9s Matt Sheppard/Waterloo,NY 1 3 3 3 $4,000
2 166 1F Stewart Friesen/Niagara-on-the-Lake,ONT 1 3 3 3 $4,000
3 164 20 Brett Hearn/Sussex,NJ 1 3 3 3 $3,900
4 138 10x Bobby Varin/Sharon Springs,NY 0 1 3 3 $1,950
5 134 27J Danny Johnson/Rochester,NY 0 2 2 3 $2,125
6 130 5 Jimmy Horton/Neshanic Station,NJ 0 1 3 3 $1,800
7 128 8r Rob Bellinger/Dexter,NY 0 0 3 3 $1,700
8 114 8 Rich Scagliotta/Bound Brook,NJ 0 0 1 3 $1,375
9 113 74 Tim Fuller/Edwards, NY 0 1 2 3 $1,500
10 108 1x Willy Decker/Vernon,NY 0 1 1 3 $1,500
11 107 34 Andy Bachetti/Sheffield,MA 0 0 1 3 $1,300
12 94 3d Matt DeLorenzo/Cropseyville, NY 0 0 1 3 $1,050
13 89 7 Rick Laubach/Hellertown,PA 0 0 1 3 $950
14 88 711 Mike Iles/Medford, NJ 0 0 1 3 $1,000
15 81 1 Darwin Greene/Susquehanna,PA 0 0 0 3 $825
16 79 07 Tim Kerr/Picton,ONT 0 0 0 3 $825
17 78 10 Tim Currier/Aubrun, NY 0 0 0 3 $750
18 78 48too Dave Rauscher/Waterloo,NY 0 0 0 3 $750
19 76 42b Kevin Bates/Lake Ariel, PA 0 0 0 3 $750
20 72 97 Michel Chicoine/Ste-Cecile de Milton,QUE 0 0 1 2 $700
21 65 10v Danny Varin/Sharon Springs, NY 0 0 0 3 $650
22 63 19h Chris Higgins/Raliegh, NC 0 0 0 2 $725
23 63 33 Ray Swinehart/Perkionville, PA 0 0 0 3 $600
24 60 21k Randy Chrysler/Lewiston,NY 0 0 0 2 $475
25 60 11 Danny Hieber/Newtown, PA 0 0 0 3 $600
26 56 23 Billy VanInwegen/Sparrowbush,NY 0 0 0 2 $425
27 54 79 Jeremy Markle/Port Jervis,NY 0 0 0 2 $575
28 40 T21 Roger Chrysler/Lewiston,NY 0 0 0 1 $200
29 40 4 Jeff Schaefer/Fombell, PA 0 0 0 1 $200
30 30 02 Brian Truppi/Redington, NJ 0 0 0 1 $200
31 42 22c Mario Clair/St-Edmond,QUE 0 0 1 1 $550