Syracuse,NY — Following a rigid full-fender schedule has done little to affect the open-wheel expertise of former DIRTcar Big-Block Modified standout Tim Fuller as the Edwards, New York driver bested a stellar field of 63 Modifieds taking time on Thursday afternoon to earn the pole-position start for the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series Rite Aid 200 scheduled for Sunday at the New York State Fairgrounds. Fuller was the fifth from last driver in the fourth of five groups to take time and the 2004 Rite Aid Champion made the best of the late afternoon assignment, winning the $2,500 American Traditions Motorsports Pole Award after touring the historic Syracuse Mile in a one-lap clocking of 30.160 sec. (119.363 mph).
“It doesn’t hurt late model racing when you want to learn to go fast and this place is really fast,” said Fuller, who less than 24 hours earlier was scheduled to run in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series event at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway before rain ended the day. “The track wasn’t as fast as I expected but we had a good number too, and that helped. I can sure use the money after the year we’ve been having,” noted Fuller, who earned his only other Rite Aid start on the point in 2006 en route to a seventh-place finish.
Hitting the track fourth from the end on Thursday afternoon, Matt Sheppard stopped the clocks at 30.461 seconds to collect the $1,500 TEO Pro Car Outside Pole Award. Six-time pole winner Brett Hearn (30.485) was the first car out in group number four and held the top spot until dropping to third on the final chart while last year’s pole-sitter Jimmy Phelps (30.547), Southern Tier New York veteran Mitch Gibbs (30.668) and Lebanon Valley Speedway surprise Keith Flach (30.736) filled out the top-six that are now locked into the front three rows for Sunday’s 200-lap Modified main.
33rd fastest time trialer Andy Bachetti will start seventh in DIRTcar racing NorthEast’s signature race on Sunday by virtue of his victory in the Lebanon Valley 200 in early September while Alan Johnson, who was slated to start eighth after copping the rain-shortened National 200 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, failed to make it trackside.
“We didn’t get any practice last night with a bum radiator,” revealed Sheppard, who enters the Rite Aid 200 having already won the 358-Modified and Sportsman Modified portions of Super DIRT Week on the Syracuse Mile. “But all the guys worked hard on the car to get it going. We ran a little bit this morning but not a whole lot so we didn’t know what to expect. The car was great, the C.C. motor pulled good and the Bicknell car handled good. It was fast and we’ll be on the front row Sunday, that’s what counts the most.”
After timing among the sixth quickest earlier in the afternoon during qualifying for the ‘Salute To The Troops 150’ 358-Modified, Hearn settled for third fastest on the Moody Mile in his blue multi-tone Big-Block. “Not very often I get to take any of my brother’s money so that would’ve been nice,” quipped Hearn, whose younger brother Bobby Hearn heads the TEO Pro Car Fabrication company that sponsors the outside-pole award. “We’ve got a pretty good car, the driver just left a little bit out on the track today.”
“I told the guys on the radio coming in those weren’t my best laps. I just tried to squeeze a little bit more than what the car had and lost a bunch of time. But third is still good, it makes the whole week a lot easier. Today, we would have to slow down to go quicker and that would be a driver adjustment. The car is still fine,” said Hearn, who last reached Rite Aid victory lane in 1995 following his fifth triumph in the prestigious event.
Timing among the top-six for a fourth straight autumn, Phelps will start three positions farther back than last October yet is happy just the same to fill in outside row two on Super Sunday. “We’re happy to be locked into this deal, now we can get to work towards Sunday,” said Phelps, who currently ranks third in Mr. DIRTcar/Advance Series points behind leader Billy Decker and runner-up Dale Planck.
“I kinda screwed up and got in a little too hot on that first lap and threw my timing off a little bit and that might’ve cost us some. But all in all, the car needed to be a little tighter, probably set up for more of a lock-down situation out there and the track just never quite got there,” remarked Phelps, who settled for seventh-place last year after leading the first 54 laps.
Gibbs was feeling comfortable piloting Gary Mann’s Big-Block machine and looking to rebound after a disappointing Rite Aid appearance just 12 months earlier. “This is the same car we had last year here and we were pretty fast back then,” Gibbs said. “We had a good car last year and overheated in the race so we’re looking forward to getting back to race on Sunday. (Pit stops) are a big part of it and that’s where we might be hurting a little bit. We don’t do these races all the time so that’s our next thing. Get through the Triple 20s and start preparing for pit stops.”
Slated to start behind the handful of veterans on Sunday will be 22-year old Ravena, New York runner Keith Flach. “This is definitely a good feeling, I’m still getting over it,” said Flach, who finished eighth in Big-Block points at The Valley in 2008. “(Fairgrounds) is tough to get used, its always a little intimidating. This is our second season in a Big-Block and we’re sitting in the top-six at Syracuse, its definitely something.”
The remainder of the Rite Aid 200 field will come from Friday’s Advance Auto Parts Modified Triple 20’s and the ‘Dig Safely New York Shootout’ last-chance qualifier on Sunday, with the 3rd Annual Pullen’s Truck Center “Win And You’re In Twins” Big-Block/Small-Block Super Shootout at Cayuga County Fair Speedway giving the driver with the best combined finish in a pair of 25-lap features the 45th starting spot in this year’s Rite Aid 200.
Super DIRT Week XXXVII action continues on Friday afternoon with the Advance Auto Parts Big-Block Modified Triple 20s and Pullen’s Truck Center 358-Modified Twin 20s taking center stage on the NYS Fairgrounds oval followed immediately by P & M Fabrication/Motorsports Safety Systems Sportsman Time Trials. But that’s not all as the action then moves over to Rolling Wheels Raceway Park for a 358-Modified/Sportsman Mr. DIRTcar Series doubleheader while Cayuga County hosts round no. 4 of the Mr. DIRTcar Street Stock Championship Series.
SUPER DIRT WEEK XXXVII MODIFIED TIME TRIALS, NYS Fairgrounds, Oct. 9
TIME MPH CAR# DRIVER
1 30.160 119.363 19F Tim Fuller/Edwards,NY
*$2,500 – American Traditions Motorsports Pole
2 30.461 118.184 9S Matt Sheppard/Waterloo,NY
*$1,500 – TEO Pro Car Outside Pole
3 30.485 118.091 20 Brett Hearn/Sussex,NJ
4 30.547 117.851 98H Jimmy Phelps/Baldwinsville,NY
5 30.668 117.386 55 Mitch Gibbs/North Norwich,NY
6 30.736 117.126 43 Keith Flach/Ravena,NY
7 30.741 117.107 115 Kenny Tremont/West Sand Lake,NY
8 30.747 117.085 2 Ronnie Johnson/Duanesburg,NY
9 30.768 117.005 J66 Danny Johnson/Rochester,NY
10 30.784 116.944 77X Dale Planck/Cortland,NY
11 30.794 116.906 88 J.R. Heffner/Pittsfield,MA
12 30.829 116.773 FX1 Frankie Caprara/Watertown,NY
13 30.834 116.754 12A Jack Johnson/Duanesburg,NY
14 30.856 116.671 35X Jason Barney/Constantia,NY
15 30.867 116.629 56 Vince Vitale/Phoenix,NY
16 30.878 116.588 44 Stewart Friesen/Niagara-o-t-Lake,ONT
17 30.909 116.471 4 Duane Howard/Oley,PA
18 30.921 116.426 49 Billy Dunn/Watertown,NY
19 30.931 116.388 26 Ryan Godown/Ringoes,NJ
20 30.958 116.287 57 Donnie Corellis/Averill Park,NY
21 30.976 116.219 84 Gary Tomkins/Clifton Springs,NY
22 30.993 116.155 98 Eddie Marshall/Ridgefield,CT
23 31.007 116.103 14 Rick Laubach/Hellertown,PA
24 31.024 116.039 83 Brian Swartzlander/Leechburg,PA-f
25 31.036 115.994 44C Frank Cozze/Wind Gap,PA
26 31.101 115.752 24 Chris Shultz/Pawling,NY
27 31.103 115.744 53 Ric Hill/Lafayette,NJ-f
28 31.107 115.730 91 Billy Decker/Unadilla,NY
29 31.123 115.670 88H Steve Hulsizer/Bridgeport,NY
30 31.149 115.574 3 Justin Haers/Phelps,NY
31 31.157 115.544 1H David Hebert/St.Damase,QUE
32 31.176 115.473 32C Vic Coffey/Leicester,NY
33 31.193 115.411 34 Andy Bachetti/Great Barrington,MA
34 31.207 115.359 42P Pat Ward/Genoa,NY
35 31.220 115.311 99 Ryan Phelps/Fulton,NY
36 31.253 115.189 19H Chris Higgins/Syracuse,NY-f
37 31.280 115.090 M40 Mark Forte Jr./Blue Anchor,NJ-f
38 31.383 114.712 7 Jimmy Horton/Neshanic Station,NJ
31.383 114.712 99L Larry Wight/Phoenix,NY
40 31.407 114.624 21M Bob McGannon/Garnerville,NY
41 31.478 114.366 29 Jeff Brownell Jr./Geneva,NY
42 31.528 114.184 1 Bobby Varin/Sharon Springs,NY
43 31.648 113.751 22 Larry Lampman Jr./Port Colborne,ONT-f
44 31.684 113.622 62R Ron Smoker/Hamburg,NY
45 31.721 113.489 87 Hector Stratton/Bennington,VT
46 31.747 113.397 87x Paul Gilardi/Pittsfield,MA-f
47 31.810 113.172 48too Dave Rauscher/Waterloo,NY
48 31.863 112.984 41 Shawn Reimert / Oley,PA
49 31.998 112.507 35 Mike Perrotte/Elizabethtown,NY
50 32.048 112.332 37 Jason Herrington/Troy,NY-f
51 32.119 112.083 02 Roy Bresnahan/Fulton,NY-f
52 32.161 111.937 16 Mike Bowman/Baldwinsville,NY
53 32.428 111.015 3B Chad Brachmann/Sanborn,NY
54 32.441 110.971 21 Yan Bussiere/Drummondville,QUE
55 32.568 110.538 42 Pete Bicknell/St.Catharines,ONT
56 32.694 110.112 220 John Ferrier/Middletown,NY
57 32.783 109.813 37X Tom Scheetz Jr./Boyertown,PA-f
58 32.859 109.559 96 Todd Milton/Auburn,NY
59 33.164 108.551 44S Casey Swamp/Akwesasne,NY-f
60 33.329 108.014 66 Vince Gagliardo Jr./Reading,PA-f
61 33.913 106.154 347 George ‘Skippy’ Fox/Springfield,MA-f
62 34.052 105.721 1NY Greg Atkins/Clintonville,NY
63 34.057 105.705 4S Brad Shova/North Bangor,NY
64 -NT- —– 7A Al Blanchard/Fenwick,ONT
65 -NT- —– 7X Steve Paine/Waterloo,NY
66 -NT- —– 14J Alan Johnson/Middlesex,NY
67 -NT- —– 14M Mitchell Jock/Akwesasne,NY
68 -NT- —– 19 Joe Williams/Scotia,NY-f
69 -NT- —– 22J Jeremy Wilder/Fort Plain,NY-f
70 -NT- —– 24D Patrick Dupree/Saranac Lake,NY
71 -NT- —– 26R Rick Richner/Niagara Falls,NY
72 -NT- —– 28P Eldon Payne,Jr./Hopewell,NY-f
73 -NT- —– 45 Wayne Jelley/Pittsfield,MA
74 -NT- —– 66X Carey Terrance/Hogansburg,NY
*Top-6 locked into front three rows; 74 cars entered.
SUPER DIRT WEEK XXXVII EVENTS SCHEDULE: Oct. 10 – Oct. 12, 2008
*All tmes and events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TIME EVENT
Fri-10/10 8am Pit Gates Open, Town Mechanical, Inc. Sportsman Inspection Open;
10am Grandstands Open, Syracuse 150 358-Modified Practice;
10:45am Advance Auto Parts Rite Aid 200 Modified practice;
11:30am Town Mechanical, Inc. Sportsman Practice;
12noon Pullen’s Truck Center 358-Modified Twin 20s (10 non-qualified cars advance
1:30pm Advance Auto Parts Mod Triple 20s (10 non-qualified cars advance from each);
2:45pm P & M Fabrication and MSS Sportsman Time Trials (2-laps, Top-24 Qualify);
3:00pm Optional Early Bird Pro Stock Inspection (East End of Main Grandstand);
10pm Pit Area Closed.
7pm Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified & Sportsman Series at Rolling Wheels Raceway.
7:30pm ASCS Patriot Sprints and Mr. DIRTcar Street Stock Series at Cayuga County Fair Speedway.
Sat-10/11 8am Pit Gates Open, BNC Motorsports Pro Stock Inspection Open;
9:00am Syracuse 150 358-Modified Championship Driver and Crew Chief Meeting (in pit building);
9:15am Town Mechanical, Inc. Sportsman Driver’s Meeting (in pit building);
9:30am Grandstands Open, Track open for Syracuse 150 358-Modified Final Practice;
10am BNC Motorsports Pro Stock First Practice;
10:30am Town Mechanical, Inc. Sportsman Final Practice;
11:15am BNC Motorsports Pro Stock Practice Second Practice;
11:45am Dig Safely New York Sportsman Last Chance Qualifier;
12:15pm Terrell’s Potato Chips Pro Stock Time Trials (2-laps, Top-24 Qualify);
1:30pm Syracuse 150 358-Modified Championship Pre-Race ceremonies;
2pm Syracuse 358-Modified Championship (150 laps, 40 cars to start);
4pm Town Mechanical, Inc. Sportsman Championship (30 laps, 30 cars to start);
7pm ESS/URC/ASCS PSG Sprint Challenge at Rolling Wheels Raceway.
7:30pm Pullen’s Truck Center presents the SUNY Canton “Win and You’re In” Big-Block/Small-Block Twin 25’s plus BRP CanAm Late Model Series at Cayuga County Fair Speedway (Mod Overall Winner Earns 45th starting spot in the Rite Aid 200).
Sun-10/12 8am Pit Gates Open;
9:15am BNC Motorsports Pro Stock Driver’s Meeting (in pit building);
9:30am AAP Rite Aid 200 Modified Driver and Crew Chief Meeting (in pit building);
10am Grandstands Open, Track Open for Pro Stock Final Practice;
10:20am Advance Auto Parts Series Rite Aid 200 Final practice;
10:45am Dig Safely New York Pro Stock Last Chance Qualifier;
11:15am Dig Safely New York Modified Last Chance Qualifier;
11:45am Mandatory Advance Auto Parts Modified Top-30 Autograph Signing under grandstand (Top 30 in Thursday Time Trials);
12:00pm BNC Motorsports Pro Stock Championship (25 laps, 30 cars to start);
12:45-1:45pm Rite Aid Cold Pit Tour of Pit Row;
1:30pm Rite Aid 200 Modified Championship Pre-Race ceremonies;
2:15pm Rite Aid 200 Modified Championship (200 laps, 44 cars to start)
Mon-10/13 -TBA- Rain Date for Saturday or Sunday events.
Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket retailer of parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items in the United States, serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets As of April 19, 2008, the Company operated 3,291 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Additional information about the Company, employment opportunities, customer services, and on-line shopping for parts and accessories can be found on the Company’s web site at www.advanceautoparts.com.
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, Hoosier Racing Tire and Sunoco Race Fuels. Promotional partners include AMB i.t., Rite Aid Corporation and the University of Northwestern Ohio and the contingency sponsors are Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Crane Cams, Integra Shocks, MSD Ignitions, Motorsports Safety Systems, Penske Shocks and Wrisco Industries.