OSWEGO, NY — Tim Fuller and Billy Dunn both claimed victories from the pole in twin 25-lap features for the DIRTcar 358 Modified Series during Camping World Friday Night Lights at the 45th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week.
Fuller earned the pole for the first 25-lap feature after setting quick time during Thursday’s time trial session. The pole position didn’t initially prove to be beneficial for Fuller as Brett Hearn jumped out to the point in the outside lane to lead the opening lap.
Stewart Friesen quickly jumped to third before the field raced its way to single-file formation by lap five. Hearn and Fuller pulled away to a half straightaway advantage over Friesen 10 laps into the race.
Hearn caught traffic on lap 11 with Fuller racing within a car length. Fuller took full advantage of an opportunity on lap 14 when Heard was pinned to the high side in turn two behind a slower car. Fuller drove to the bottom of the track to take the lead for the first time since the drop of the green flag.
“I wasn’t the greatest on the start. Brett [Hearn] rolled around me quicker than I thought he was going to, but it didn’t matter,” Fuller said in victory lane. “I started tracking him back down right away, and I knew once we got into lapped traffic that I thought I had a better car. We scooped him.”
The caution waved for the first time at the completion of lap 14 with debris on the race track. The restart saw Fuller choose the outside lane as he jumped ahead of Fuller. Gary Lindberg was the big mover, though, as he jumped from fourth to second on the restart.
Over the final 11 laps, Fuller opened a lead of 2.9 seconds over Lindberg until he caught traffic with two laps to go. His half straightaway advantage was enough, though, to claim the victory.
Fuller was quick to dismiss suggestions he should be the favourite for Saturday’s Riccelli-Northern Salute the Troops 150. “It’s definitely too early [to tell],” he said. “But that’s the one we want.”
Dunn Dominates Second Twin 25
Billy Dunn led every lap of the second twin 25-lap feature to claim his first checkered flag of the weekend. Dunn, like Fuller, was powered to victory by the Wegner spec engine on a very fast race track under the lights at Oswego.
“This Wegner motor, Bicknell race car and Integra Racing Shocks combination — I didn’t know how it would be with how quick and how rough this track got, but man, it took off. In clean air it was really good,” Dunn said in victory lane.
Dunn jumped in front of the field immediately from the drop of the green flag, but was reeled in before the lap could be completed when Jean-Francois Corriveau spun in turn one.
The restart proved no issue for Dunn, who opened a big lead ahead of second-starting Matt Sheppard and Billy Decker. The top three remained stagnant until the halfway point, while Erick Rudolph battled for fifth with Mike Maresca and Larry Wight.
At the halfway mark, Dunn’s advantage was 2.4 seconds over Sheppard, who was under pressure from Decker. The runner-up spot went to Decker on lap 14, one lap before the second caution of the race when Joey Ladouceur spun against the inside front-stretch wall.
Dunn chose the outside lane for the restart, while Larry Wight made the most of the bottom lane by racing from fifth to third. Wight immediately challenged Decker for second, and the two drivers made slight contact at the top of turn two on lap 19. Both drivers recovered without incident, but Decker maintained the spot.
Dunn had the race wrapped up until Carey Terrance brought out the third caution of the race after he suffered damage to the car’s right front. The ensuing restart brought chaos as Corey Wheeler, Tommy Flannigan and Ryan Darcy came together in turn four.
Wheeler got the worst of the contact as he flipped and came to rest upside down. Flannigan suffered heavy damage to the right-side of his car as well. All drivers were uninjured.
With an extended delay for clean-up and a short rain shower, officials waved the checkered flag two laps short of the scheduled 25-lap distance to conclude the race.
Dunn’s dominant performance was impressive in front of a very busy Oswego grandstand, but he refused to accept suggestions Friday’s accomplishments would forecast success on Saturday.
“I don’t think we’ll have the same track tomorrow that we had today. They’re going to do some more work on it, and it’s going to be a whole different ball game,” Dunn said.
Ladouceur Claims Futures Race
Joey Ladouceur scored the victory in the 358 Modified Futures race prior to the Twin 25s. The futures race encompasses drivers who have never entered NAPA Super DIRT Week in the 358 Modified division.
Ladouceur led the first 11 laps while under fire from Jessey Mueller. The close battle between the two drivers led to a thrilling battle right to the checkered flag, and Mueller edged Ladouceur by .006 seconds at the line.
Mueller was disqualified in post-race technical inspection for an incorrectly located transponder, giving the win to Ladouceur. The victory is the first of Ladouceur’s career in a 358 Modified.
“We got in the wall at Brewerton, and we ended up re-clipping the car here at Bicknell’s booth today. They were there at 7:45am this morning. Twelve hours ago we were nowhere near being a race car, and to come out and win a race is a pretty good feeling,” Ladouceur said.
The DIRTcar 358 Modified Series returns to action on Saturday for a Last Chance Qualifier and the Riccelli-Northern Salute the Troops 150 at Oswego Speedway.
Race Notes: Tim Fuller took the lead from Brett Hearn in traffic on lap 14 and led the final 11 laps to earn the win and remain perfect in 358 Modified action at the 45th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week. Billy Dunn led every lap of the second twin 25-lap feature in dominant fashion to claim his first checkered flag of the week. Joey Ladouceur won the DIRTcar 358 Modified Futures race.
Twin Feature 1 – (25 Laps): 1. 3rs-Tim Fuller ; 2. 28-Gary Lindberg ; 3. 20-Brett Hearn ; 4. 66-Stewart Friesen ; 5. 27j-Danny Johnson ; 6. 1-David Hebert ; 7. 3j-Marc Johnson ; 8. 2rj-Ronnie Johnson ; 9. 01-Chris Raabe ; 10. 25p-Michael Parent ; 11. 39t-Ryan Bartlett ; 12. 111-Demetrios Drellos ; 13. 115-Kenny Tremont Jr. ; 14. 26-Rick Richner ; 15. 21-Yan Bussiere ; 16. 19n-Chad Phelps ; 17. 55w-Matt Woodruff ; 18. 02-Roy Bresnahan ; 19. 27w-Nicholas Webb ; 20. 34-George Foley ; 21. 24-Patrick Dupree ; 22. 16w-Lance Willix III .
Twin Feature 2 – (25 Laps): 1. 9-Billy Dunn ; 2. 46-Billy Decker ; 3. 99L-Larry Wight ; 4. 42p-Pat Ward ; 5. 62-Erick Rudolph ; 6. 7m-Mike Maresca ; 7. 19m-Jessey Mueller ; 8. 14j-Alan Johnson ; 9. 88-David Allen ; 10. 04-Mike Butler ; 11. 22c-Mario Clair ; 12. 14-Matt Sheppard ; 13. 47s-Corey Wheeler ; 14. 8-Rich Scagliota ; 15. 37s- Tommy Flannigan ; 16. 21d-Ryan Darcy ; 17. 66x-Carey Terrance ; 18. 55-Brett Haas ; 19. 23-Joey Ladouceur ; 20. 96-Jean-Francois Corriveau ; 21. 49- Donnie Elliott [DNS].
Futures Feature – (12 laps) – 1. 23- Joey Ladouceur; 2. 19m- Jessey Mueller; 3. 47s- Corey Wheeler; 4. 27w- Nick Webb; 5. 39- Ryan Bartlett; 6. 55- Brett Haas; 7. 96- Jean- Francois Corriveau; 8. 7- Louie Jackson Jr.; 9. 28- Gary Lindberg; 10. 55w- Matt Woodruff; 11.04- Mike Butler.
-Super DIRT Week Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos