|Date: 10/9/2015 9:39:57 AM|
Johnson Crashes Hearn’s Party During Super DIRT Week Kickoff Party at Weedsport Speedway
WEEDSPORT, N.Y. – Oct. 7, 2015 – Weedsport Speedway hosted the Super DIRT Week kickoff party Wednesday, and it was Danny Johnson who crashed Brett Hearn’s party during the 75-lap small-block modified feature.
Hearn dominated the DIRTcar 358 Modified event that served as the first racing action of the 44th annual Super DIRT Week, leading nearly 50 laps until Johnson caught him in the closing laps and pulled away for the victory.
“Obviously, it’s awesome,” Johnson said of his No. 27 machine on top of Weedsport’s victory hill. “This car’s been very good to me for three years. I just love this car, and it showed tonight.”
After Gary Lindberg started on the pole and Billy Decker lead the early laps, Hearn and Johnson staged a dogfight throughout the rest of the race when Hearn drove under Decker in turn 2 to take the lead just after completing the eighth lap.
Johnson slipped by Decker to take second a lap later and immediately set his sights on the leader, using a couple of cautions on laps 12 and 13 to catch up to Hearn. Johnson trailed Hearn as the leaders navigated lapped traffic until another caution came out on lap 26.
That is when Johnson began to really challenge Hearn for the top spot, and he got a look under the leader on lap 28 and appeared to move into the lead on lap 30 right when a caution came out again and reset the field with Hearn out in front.
When the green flag waved, Johnson found himself trailing Hearn through traffic again. He got another look under the leader on lap 47 and drove side-by-side with the No. 20 car, but he couldn’t make it work that time around.
Johnson drove under Hearn on lap 57, and this time he came out with a lead that he never relinquished. Johnson built his advantage over the remaining laps and took the checkered flag 3.524 seconds ahead of Hearn.
Pat Ward finished third, and Decker – the only other driver to lead laps in the race – finished fourth and Erick Rudolph finished fifth. Matt Sheppard crossed the line in sixth, and Larry Wight, Ryan Susice, Jimmy Phelps and Lindberg rounded out the top 10.
“I caught him in traffic a little bit, and it stuck,” Johnson said of the final move around Hearn for the lead and the win. “I was able to get underneath him in turn 2 and stayed there from there.”
Hearn offered his own viewpoint on the battle with Johnson, noting that just when he thought he was pulling away Johnson was right there with him.
“I just drove as hard as I could,” he said. “Every time I thought I was getting away, I saw an orange car coming up behind me. I figured he was better than me. I’d like to be a little bit better, but it’s not too bad.”
The winner also noted that it was his first win at the new Weedsport Speedway, and he commented on the look and feel of the track, including the flowers arranged in a W on the edge of victory hill.
“It’s such a great place. So much work has gone on here,” Johnson said. “It sure is a pleasure to be able to perform well and get up on the mound.”
The runner-up recalled that he drove from 12th to the front in the August Super DIRTcar Series race before he got tangled up in a wreck, and he said that moment seemed to sum up his season.
“We’ve had a good car all year long. We just haven’t gotten into a rhythm,” Hearn said. “What’s it going to take? We’ll keep digging.”
Meanwhile, Ward said a handling adjustment might have had him battling with the leaders, though race conditions kept him in his finishing position.
“We needed to be a little bit tighter. It got slicker than I thought it was going to,” he said. “The lapped cars helped me out, keeping Billy (Decker) behind me. We were good at the end.”
In the 30-lap DIRTcar Sportsman feature that capped off the night, Dave Marcuccilli continued his dominance with his fourth win of the season at Weedsport.
He officially led every single lap – though Tony Finch II briefly put his car out front on a restart before Marcuccilli passed him ahead of the start-finish line – and survived a crash-filled event to finish 2.683 seconds ahead of Brad Rouse.
Brian Pessolano finished third, and Finch came in fourth and Brett Senek came in fifth. Rocky Warner, Jesse Cotriss, Ron Davis III, Shane Pecore and Mathieu Desjardins rounded out the top 10.
“Maybe it’s that I’m most comfortable here,” Marcuccilli said of why he is so good at Weedsport. “We come here, the car unloads, and we’re always fast. It’s been one heck of a year.”
MODIFIEDS (75 LAPS): 1) Danny Johnson, 2) Brett Hearn, 3) Pat Ward, 4) Billy Decker, 5) Erick Rudolph, 6) Matt Sheppard, 7) Larry Wight, 8) Ryan Susice, 9) Jimmy Phelps, 10) Gary Lindberg, 11) Ryan Godown, 12) Danny Creeden, 13) Vince Vitale, 14) Steve Bernard, 15) David Hebert, 16) Alan Johnson, 17) Yan Bussiere, 18) Kyle Weiss, 19) Roy Bresnahan, 20) Kenny Willis, 21) Gage Morin, 22) Mario Clair, 23) Alan Therrien, 24) Chris Raabe, 25) Randy Chrysler, 26) Tyler Dippel, 27) Jeff Strunk, 28) Tommy Flannigan, 29) Jordan McCreadie, 30) Neal Williams.
SPORTSMAN (30 LAPS): 1) Dave Marcuccilli, 2) Brad Rouse, 3) Brian Pessolano, 4) Tony Finch II, 5) Brett Senek, 6) Rocky Warner, 7) Jesse Cotriss, 8) Ron Davis III, 9) Shane Pecore, 10) Mathieu Desjardins, 11) Bruno LePage, 12) Todd Root, 13) Greg Ezard, 14) Darryl Nutting, 15) Greg Doust, 16) Kane Bristol, 17) Joey Ladouceur, 18) Tristan Draper, 19) Louie Jackson Jr., 20) Jessica Power, 21) Dan Ferguson, 22) Joe Kline, 23) Mike Stacey, 24) Mike Taylor, 25) Jim Spano, 26) Corey Wheeler, 27) Brianna Ladouceur, 28) James Michael Friesen, 29) Zack Sam, 30) Tyler Meeks, 31) Matt Guererri.
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