GRANBY, QC – Late in the race, Stewart Friesen, five-time NAPA Super DIRT Week Champion and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series talent, pulled alongside current points leader and defending NAPA Super DIRT Week Champion on the back stretch and powered ahead to take the lead at Autodrome Granby. Friesen never intended to look back, but with four laps to go Sheppard suffered a right rear flat, and bringing out the caution flag. HBR Motorsports driver Jimmy Phelps and Erick Rudolph in the no. 25r lined up behind the Halmar Racing no. 44 of Stewart Friesen, poised to take a stab at the lead. Unfortunately for both of those drivers, Friesen’s car never faded and kept ahead of his challengers.
Despite a rash of flat right rear tires, the racing on the half-mile facility was superb. Friesen was overjoyed with his first Series win at Autodrome Granby, as well as his second Series win on Canadian soil. After climbing on top of his car, Stewart Friesen showed the massive Canadian crowd how much Canadian pride he has. After clamoring down from the roof, the first thing he said was, “Oh Canada! It’s about time!”
“What a tough race. We were awful at the beginning. I made a bunch of adjustments inside the car to keep up with it. I could have killed Eric for the shock selection before the race, but it paid off in the end on the long run. Wow, finally to win one here in front of all the Canadian fans. Man, it feels so good. It’s been spectacular (the last few weeks). I gotta thank everybody at Halmar International for giving me the opportunity to come out here and run all these races and all these great race fans that support us and wear our shirts, chase us all over the place, and watch on TV. I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you so much. I’m so proud to be Canadian.”
Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, the track was taking spotty rain showers. The racing surface was well taken care of by the Autodrome Granby staff, and it was ready to go at race time. With water, no sun, and no wind, the track retained its moisture, making for an extremely tacky racing surface.
Runner up Jimmy Phelps discusses the speeds on the track: “The track was heavy, fast, and challenging. It took us a long time to get to be a third-place car.” The track needed to slow a little bit and the guys who were up front needed to slow a little bit. Fortunately, we caught a couple restarts there late. We got some track position back. It would have been nice to be a little better on the last run there—maybe we could’ve given Stew a shot. But we’ll take second.”
After a couple difficult races, including breaking the car and finishing last at Outlaw Speedway, Phelps needed a strong run to keep up in the points standings. He moved back up into third in Series Points after benefitting from Matt Sheppard’s woes. With only four laps to go, Matt Sheppard was running in second place behind Stewart Friesen before suffering a flat right rear tire. Sheppard slowed in turns 3 and 4 and brought out the caution. Sheppard managed an 8th place finish after passing a handful of cars on the restart.
Jimmy Phelps and Max McLaughlin had an intense side by side battle in which The Baldwinsville Bandit was victorious. Despite racing for the same Championship Points and real estate on the track, Phelps does not view his relationship with Max McLaughlin as a rivalry. Instead they “look out for each other. At the end of the day it’s too good to see him run up front. He’s come a long way in a few short years.”
Erick Rudolph gets on the podium again in 2018 even though his car was ill handling for most of it. “For three-quarters of the race I didn’t feel like we had a racy car at all. But it came alive a little bit at the end. We kept it in one piece and were able to put it on the podium.”
Rudolph moves into second in points -111 behind Sheppard. Phelps moves up to third and McLaughlin falls to 5th.
Our next event is at Autodrome Drummond July 24.
1) Stewart Friesen 2) Jimmy Phelps 3) Erick Rudolph 4) Danny Johnson 5) Brett Hearn 6) Peter Britten 7) Rich Scagliotta 8) Matt Sheppard 9) Mathieu Boisvert 10) Max McLaughlin 11) Francois Bernier 12) Dominic Dufault 13) Joisanne Plante 14) David Herbert 15) Adam Roberts 16) Louie Jackson Jr. 17) Dave Raucher 18) Yan Bussiere 19) Tim Fuller 20) Steve Bernier 21) Steve Bernard 22) Francois Bellemare 23) Daniel Nadeau 24) Dany Gagne 25) Carey Terrence 26) Maxime Michon 27) Pierre Hebert 28) Kayle Robidoux 29) Mario Clair 30) Jean-Nicolas Gareau 31) Gino Clair 32) Simon Perreault 33) Paul St. Sauveur 34) Maxime Plante 35) Michael Parent 36) Kevin Hamel
-Super DIRTcar Series Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51/Mojo Photos