BARBERVILLE, FLA. – February 24, 2013 – When Brett Hearn wins, he wins with style. His victory yesterday at the Super DIRTcar Series UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment finale at Volusia Speedway Park was nothing short.
Not only did Big Block Modified star Hearn usurp the lead in lap 49 of the 50-lap race, but he did so after a flat in lap 35 took him from the lead to the tail of the field.
“At that point, the crew had a really dejected look on their faces,” Hearn recalled pulling up to his pit crew for a tire change. “They were changing the right rear tire, and I’m thinking, they think I don’t have a chance.”
Nonetheless, Hearn worked his magic, navigating to second place off a lap-45 restart and, in a stunning last-lap lead change, passing Mario Clair on the back straightaway to take the win.
“I could run that lap over in my mind a hundred times,” Hearn said. “I knew that if was going to pass him I had to go on the inside and nail a really good turn – stay low in the middle of (turn) two and then get ahold of a shot off the backstretch and move up on him a little bit.”
Hearn started the race from the tenth spot on the starting grid with H.J. Bunting III taking the lead off the initial green. Stewart Friesen passed Bunting in lap two and, by lap 15, Friesen was darting between lapped cars with Hearn at his back bumper.
In lap 20, Hearn cruised past Friesen on the backstretch, continuing to tenaciously maneuver lapped cars for 15 more green laps. “The Jet” was so persistent, in fact, that when he reached Pete Britten and Eric Kormann racing two-wide, he never slowed to let one pull to the side – he sped between the two, nearly touching the sides of both as he passed. That daring maneuver cost him a tire.
“I thought I’d get through the hole and I didn’t quite fit, but maybe bent the wheel or scuffed the side wall,” Hearn said. “I probably should have been a little more patient at that point.”
The timing worked out for Hearn, with the tire giving at the turn-four pit entrance, allowing him to steer to the pit crew without further damaging the car. The crew worked quickly on the lap-35 caution, sending Hearn back to the track before the green. Having lapped more than half the field when he was in the lead, Hearn was able to restart tenth as the last lead-lap car.
“Right off the get-go, I had a fresh tire and passed five or six cars on the first lap,” Hearn said of the lap-35 restart. “Before I knew it, I was a contender again.”
For Clair, who gained the lead when Hearn pitted for a tire change, Hearn’s last-lap challenge was not a surprise.
“I had a really fast car tonight, but when I saw Brett Hearn on the scoreboard in third I knew that his was the fastest car here,” Clair said through a translator. “I’m really happy with our performance here the last four days.”
With a sixth-place finish, Danny Johnson topped the Super DIRTcar Series competitors in points for the week, taking home the prized UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment gator trophy.
“We’re really excited to get that big gator. The championship means a lot to the race team and myself, so it’s just a really cool situation for us all,” Johnson said, although he would have liked to have made it to victory lane, and was in contention for the lead for much of the race. “As long as we could get a good finish and get the championship, that was really important to us.”
Justin Haers, of Phelps, N.Y., finished third after running in second for most of the lead and very nearly passing Clair on the first of two lap-45 restarts. Friesen started fourth, made his way to the lead early, but ended up back at fourth by the time the checked flags waved. After an uncharacteristically poor qualifying round, three-time defending series champion Matt Sheppard started 16th on the grid, but made his way up to fifth.
Mat Williamson started sixth and finished seventh. Friday’s winner Rick Laubach, qualified well and was a strong contender for the lead early in the race, but finished eighth. Rich Scagliotta finished ninth and Bunting tenth to round out the top ten.
After a brief hiatus, the Super DIRTcar Series moves back to the Northeast, with the next date scheduled for Wednesday, June 5, at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in Elbridge, N.Y. The 60-lapper at Rolling Wheels is the first chance competitors will have to earn points toward the series championship.
February 23, 2013
Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series
A-Main (50 laps): 1. 20 Brett Hearn/Sussex, N.J. ($4,000); 2. 22c Mario Clair/St-Edouard, Quebec; 3. 3 Justin Haers/Phelps, N.Y.; 4. 85f Stewart Friesen/Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario; 5. 9s Matt Sheppard/Waterloo, N.Y.; 6. 27J Danny Johnson/Rochester, N.Y.; 7. 6 Mat Williamson/St. Catharines, Ontario; 8. 7 Rick Laubach/Quakertown, Penn.; 9. 8 Rich Scagliotta/Bound Brook, N.J.; 10. 85J H.J. Bunting III/Milford, Del.; 11. 21 Pete Britten/Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; 12. 8r Rob Bellinger/Cicero, N.Y.; 13. 99 Bruno LaPage/Maplegrove, Quebec; 14. 5 Jimmy Horton/Neshanic Station, N.J.; 15. T21 Randy Chrysler/Lewiston, N.Y.; 16. 5* Tyler Siri/Corning, N.Y.; 17. 1 Darwin Greene/Susquehanna, Penn.; 18. 29 Chris Ostrowsky/Conklin, N.Y.; 19. 48T Dave Rauscher/Waterloo, N.Y.; 20. 79 Jeremy Markle/Port Jervis, N.Y.; 21. 49 Francois Bernier/St-Hyacinthe, Quebec; 22. 85 Dan Vauter/Clifford, Penn.; 23. 34B Andy Bachetti/Sheffield, Mass.; 24. 97 Michel Chicoine/Ste-Cecile-de-Milton, Quebec; 25. 10 Billy VanInwegen/Sparrowbush, N.Y.; 26. 901 Eric Kormann/Vineland, N.J.; 27. 30 Jamie Mills/Milford, Del.; 28. 323 Neal Williams/Pittsgrove, N.J.; DNS: 14 C.G. Morey; 64 Daniel Nadeau; 66w Dexter Stacey; 88 Dave Allen; 518 Kyle Sheldon; Roger Chrysler
Hearn (21-34, 50)
B-Main 1: 1. 85 Dan Vauter; 2. 48too Dave Rauscher; 3. T21 Randy Chrysler; 4. 79 Jeremy Markle; 5. 88 David Allen; 6. 30 Jamie Mills; DNS: 64 Daniel Nadeau
B-Main 2: 1. 5* Tyler Siri; 2. 29 Chris Ostrowsky; 3. 99 Bruno LaPage; 4. 14 C.G. Morey; 5. 518 Kyle Sheldon; 6. 66w Dexter Stacey; DNS: T21 Roger Chrysler
Qualifying heats (8 laps, top 2 to redraw, top 5 qualify)
Heat 1: 1. 85f Stewart Friesen; 2. 85J H.J. Bunting III; 3. 22c Mario Clair; 4. 8r Rob Bellinger; 5. 1 Darwin Greene; 6. 21K Randy Chrysler; 7. 88 Dave Allen; 8. 85 Dan Vauter; 9. 64 Daniel Nadeau
Heat 2: 1. 7 Rich Laubach; 2. 323 Neal Williams; 3. 20 Brett Hearn; 4. 34B Andy Bachetti; 5. 5 Jimmy Horton; 6. 48too Dave Rauscher; 7. 30 Jamie Mills; 8. 79 Jeremy Markle; 9. 99 Bruno LaPage
Heat 3: 1. 10 Billy VanInwegen; 2. 3 Justin Haers; 3. 8 Rich Scagliotta; 4. 901 Eric Kormann; 5. 97 Michel Chicoine; 6. 29 Chris Ostrowsky; 7. 14 C.G. Morey; 8. 518 Kyle Sheldon
Heat 4: 1. 6 Mat Williamson; 2. 27J Danny Johnson; 3. 49 Francois Bernier; 4. 9s Matt Sheppard; 5. 21a Pete Britten; 6. 5* Tyler Siri; 7. T21 Roger Chrysler; 8. 66w Dexter Stacey
Time Trials: 1. 3 Justin Haers, 17.393; 2. 7 Rick Laubach, 17.415; 2. 323 Neal Williams, 17.484; 3. Brett Hearn, 17.505; 4. Mat Williamson, 17.584; 5. 30 Jamie Mills, 17.594; 6. 85f Stewart Friesen 17.596; 7. 49 Francois Bernier, 17.597; 8. H. J. Bunting III, 17.658; 9. 9s Matt Sheppard, 17.690; 10. 48too Dave Rauscher, 17.704; 11. 5 Jimmy Horton, 17.711; 12. Billy VanInwegen, 17.747; 13. 34B Andy Bachetti, 17.765; 14. 27J Danny Johnson, 17.847; 15. 901 Eric Kormann, 17.877; 16. 22c Mario Clair, 17.968; 17. 8 Rich Scagliotta, 17.977; 18. 21a Pete Britten, 18.029; 19. 5* Tyler Siri, 18.070; 20. 8r Rob Bellinger, 18.078; 21. 79 Jeremy Markle, 18.227; 22. 1 Darwin Greene, 18.218; 23. Bruno LaPage, 18.265; 24. 29 Chris Ostrowsky, 18.265; 25. 518 Kyle Sheldon, 18.312; 26. 97 Michel Chicoine, 18.352; 27. 21K Randy Chrysler, 18.450; 28. 14 C. G. Morey, 18.506; 29. 85 Dan Vauter, 18.567; 30. 88 Dave Allen, 18.601; 31. T21 Roger Chrysler, 18.837; 32. 64 Daniel Nadeau, 19.311; 33. 66w Dexter Stacey, 19.735