One year ago, Stewart Friesen put his name in the record books as the final driver to win the Syracuse 200 at the New York State Fairgrounds. On Sunday afternoon, the driver known as Mr. Freeze iced the competition and made history as the first driver to win the Super DIRT Week Bud Light 200 at Oswego Speedway (NY).
Friesen took over the lead from Tim McCreadie on lap 192 and hit his marks on the tough racing surface over the final nine laps to win Super DIRT Week for the fifth time. He is now the second winningest driver in the 45-year history of the event.
“This is just awesome,” Friesen said in Victory Lane. “Thanks everyone for supporting this event. The track conditions were challenging, but damn that was an exciting race. To stand up on this thing with all those guys that have won the Classic and all the Modified races here, this is pretty damn cool.”
Matt Sheppard led the 43-car field to the green flag on Sunday and was in control for the first 153 laps of the race. A hard-charging Tim McCreadie, who pitted early, charged to the back bumper of Sheppard near the lap 150 mark before eventually making the pass for the lead on lap 154.
When the next caution (one of 20 yellow flags) flew on lap 157, Sheppard took his No. 9s down pit road for the first time.
At that point, McCreadie was in the lead and Friesen was on the move. Friesen stayed glued to the back bumper of McCreadie before eventually pulling the slider in turn one and taking over the lead for good.
“Just rolling the top and not messing up, it was a fine line,” Friesen said of what it took to get by McCreadie. “Timmy hit the wall a couple times there, I pounded it there on that last restart and I knew if I could roll up to him a little bit that I could slide him in one and two and just try to stay away from that big bump down there.”
McCreadie, who was looking to join his father Bob on the Super DIRT Week winner’s list, saw the win slip away after being in position to win late. While it looked like McCreadie was driving his No. 39 for all it was worth, looks can be deceiving.
“It looks like I ran hard, but I didn’t run as hard as I thought I could,” McCreadie told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I just tried to stay out of the ruts and find a clean line up there that nobody was in. We made some time and passed a bunch of cars; I just made a mistake there and got in the wall there and then got in the wall at each end. Once it knocked the deck out of it it just wasn’t as good. There’s no excuses; he was better than I was. I didn’t even have radios; I didn’t even know he was coming.”
On a late restart with five laps to go, Brett Hearn made a charge out of nowhere and began working the inside of Friesen for the lead. But Hearn’s charge was short lived, as Friesen pulled away over the final laps to seal the deal.
“I saw Brett try to stick his nose down there a few times, so I just tried to hit my marks after that,” Friesen explained. “They were hard to hit, but it was awesome. This is so cool.”
Hearn rebounded from a flat tire in the early stages of the race to finish second, a finish he was more than glad to except.
“It almost felt like we were down on power, but I think it was helping me get off the corner a little bit better,” Hearn said. “On that restart I just laid back a little bit; I got a run on those guys coming down the front straightaway and when I dove to the bottom I almost cleared both of them with one sweep.
“To live through that 200 and come out of here with a second is pretty cool. Stewart was pretty good, he likes to put his right rear in the wall and that’s when he’s at his best. So chances are, unless something happened to him, I wasn’t going to get a better finish.”
Carey Terrence proved to be battle-tested on his way to a third-place finish, while Sheppard and McCreadie rounded out the top five.
Ten cars finished on the lead lap in what turned out to be a battle of attrition with multiple accidents, tire problems and suspension problems sidelining drivers.
Race fans can find a full lap-by-lap on-demand recap by visiting Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage.
This story will be updated as more becomes available.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos
Bud Light 200 Unofficial Results