DUNDEE, NY – In a race that left fans talking on their way out the gate, Stewart Friesen took the victory Wednesday night in the ‘Outlaw Showdown’ at Outlaw Speedway.
Friesen, of Sprakers, N.Y., came out on top of a see-saw battle for the lead to score a $5,200 payday in the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco appearance at the Dundee, N.Y., four-tenths-mile track, Race No. 2 of the series’ rain-marred Halmar International North Region.
“This place was racy tonight,” offered Friesen, who took the lead for ultimately the final time on the 34th circuit of the 50-lap main. “This track hasn’t been good to us. It’s nice to win one here and get going in the right direction.”
A post-qualifying redraw of top heat-race finishers put Cory Costa on the pole for the main event. Costa led the opening four laps before Pennsylvania standout Duane Howard pressed Norm Hansell’s No. 357 into the top spot.
With 31 cars starting the main, lapped traffic became a factor very early on. Friesen, who started sixth, pressed his Halmar International No. 44 into contention for a three-car tussle out front.
When Howard’s car caught the infield in turn two and pushed momentarily, Costa regained the top spot. Friesen and Howard, meanwhile, diced high and low for second, all-the-while pressuring Costa.
Friesen found an open groove on the extreme outside lane on the 21st lap, powering to the lead around both Costa and the lapped cars.
On lap 24, the race’s first caution flew for Danny Johnson, who had stopped over the banking in turns three and four.
Friesen led Costa, 12th-starter Alan Johnson and Howard.
On the ensuing restart, Howard found the top lane and charged from fourth back to the lead on lap 26.
Friesen gave chase of Howard for eight full laps before he once again slipped to the inside for the top spot on lap 34.
Enter Matt Sheppard.
After mechanical issues and an ensuing spin in his heat race, the speedway’s dominant driver ‘Super Matt’ had started 21ston the field in the Sweeteners Plus No. 92s.
Sheppard roared into third on lap 32 and four tours of the Outlaw oval took second, setting up a ‘Superman’ vs. ‘Mr. Freeze’ battle out front.
The two superstar drivers put on a show, switching lanes and darting through lapped traffic while battling side-by-side. Ultimately, Sheppard’s night of misfortune continued when he suffered a flat tire on lap 41.
Sheppard and Howard had contact earlier in their battle for second with Sheppard’s right-rear going down and Howard suffering a left-front flat.
Friesen picked the outside for the double-file restart and outgunned ‘A.J. Slideways’ at the drop of the green. Johnson attempted to keep Friesen in view, but Friesen’s Billy the Kid-powered DKM No. 44 gradually drew away to race under the Sunoco Race Fuels checkered flag a winner.
Friesen’s $5,000 effort was boosted by a $200 bonus presented by Superior Remodeling as the race’s Halfway Leader.
Middlesex, N.Y.’s Johnson finished a solid second, taking home a $3,000 payday for his efforts on a heels of a win at the speedway the prior Friday. Johnson was utilizing big-block power for the event.
Canadian Mat Williamson, driving the Behrent’s Performance Warehouse No. 3, edged Mike Mahaney on the final lap to clinch the final podium position and a $2,000 payday. Williamson had started seventh.
Mahaney, of King Ferry, N.Y., finished fourth in the Olum’s-sponsored No. 21, driving forward from 14th on the grid. Ringoes, N.J., driver Ryan Godown advanced from 19th to finish fourth and captured the night’s Land Hoe Maintenance Hard Charger Award worth $200 cash and contingencies.
From 10th on the grid, Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y., drove the Jeremy Smith Racing No. 91 to sixth. Completing the top-10 were Howard, of Oley, Pa., who nursed his car home seventh with a flat left-front tire; early leader Costa of Corning, N.Y.; Boyertown, Pa., driver Mike Gular who, like Howard, was making his debut at the speedway; and second-generation driver Kyle Coffey of York, N.Y.
A field of 42 STSS Modifieds checked in for action with Beyea Headers heat wins going to Costa, Friesen, Gular, Bachetti and Derick Podsiadlo. Consolation victors were track owner Tyler Siri and Jerry Higbie.
In Outlaw support division action, Dave Marcuccilli (Outlaw Sportsman $1,500 to win) and Dylan Cecce (Street Stock $1,000 to win) each scored 25-lap feature wins.
SHOWDOWN SHORTS: The win for Friesen was his all-time-leading 12th career STSS triumph. With the Outlaw score, Friesen has now won series events at nine different facilities since the series’ inception in 2014. His son Parker joined him in Victory Lane….
After pitting on lap 41 for the aforementioned flat tire – and with little attrition in the event – Matt Sheppard was only able to record an 18th-place feature finish….
After 50 laps and just two cautions, 22 drivers completed the 50-lap main on the lead lap….
Several series travelers battled adversity during the night. Anthony Perrego broke a rear suspension at the start of his heat race, requiring a provisional. Danny Creeden’s No. 16x was destroyed in a heat crash. He started the feature in the Adam Hilton No. 1R. Craig Hanson pulled off throughout the night with a misfire in his No. 20c….
Hard Charger Ryan Godown had stayed in the area after competing in USAC Sprint Car competition the prior night at nearby Weedsport (N.Y.) Speedway….
Bonus points were on the line for the American Racer Cup presented by Sunoco Race Fuels Insinger Performance North Region as a ‘Challenge Event’ on the agenda….
The pit area was full with the 42 Modifieds joined by 35 Sportsman and 26 Street Stocks….
Rain hovered just south of the speedway throughout the day, but a clear night for racing prevailed….
Racing resumes for the STSS on Tuesday, July 3 with a Halmar North Region invasion of Accord (N.Y.) Speedway for ‘Battle of the Bullring 6’ on the tight quarter-mile oval. STSS Modifieds race 50 laps for $5,000 to win plus STSS Sportsman ($1,000 to win) and Street Stocks. This event carries a rain date of Wednesday, July 4.
To learn more about the 2018 Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail [email protected], check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.
-Short Track Super Series Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Mojo Photos