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  1. Friesen Brings the Noise and Tames The Nasty Track Stewart Friesen bested an elite field of Super DIRTcar Series drivers to win Thunder in the Thousand Islands 100 LaFARGEVILLE, NY – Stewart Friesen, from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, wheeled his way to the front and picked up a healthy $7,500 for a night’s work. The #44 flashed across Can-Am Speedway’s start/finish line just ahead of Tim Fuller, who led the most laps. Lightning Larry Wight, from Phoenix, NY, brought the #99L home third. Max McLaughlin, the 2021 DIRTcar Nationals champion, led the field to the green flag with veteran Big Block pilot Carey Terrance. Almost immediately, the #32c was swallowed up and faded back into the field, eventually pulling the car behind the wall on lap 83. Tim Fuller took the early lead and began driving away from the field, however, he wasn’t alone. Fuller was towing an eager Erick Rudolph in his wake. Rudolph, in the #25R, slowly gained on Fuller as the laps clicked off. Finally, Fuller hit lapped traffic at lap 30. Rudolph closed in and the #19 and #25R swapped first and second positions multiple times in a heated battle. At that point, it looked as though Rudolph and Fuller were going to lap the field and Friesen watched them get farther and farther away. At the halfway point Fuller began to pick away at the lapped cars, which became more and more difficult to get around. Rudolph was not able to keep up Fuller’s pace of passing cars and fell back. Meanwhile, Friesen got to work on Larry Wight, from Phoenix, NY, who was occupying third. “I got by a couple of guys but then when I got up to Larry he’d move and take my line away,” said Friesen. Eventually, Friesen was able to motor by Wight on his path to the win. Lap 70 turned out to be a fateful lap for the Halmar Racing team. Rudolph slowed down and had back to go to the pits for a repair and brought out a caution flag. This lined Friesen up next to Fuller on the restart and the #44 was able to power around the #19 to make a winning pass. Friesen’s car came to life at just the right time but it wasn’t a coincidence. “I had the car set up for the beginning of the race with a heavy fuel load so it would come in towards the end,” said Friesen. “It got good around lap 60 or 70. I thought early on I would be able to make the top work in turns one and two and see if I could sneak by a few cars. I went up there and skated. It was a little dusty but then the middle cleaned off and that was pretty good.” This was his 36th career Super DIRTcar Series victory. Friesen is only three away from Bob McCreadie on the all-time list. Runner-up Tim Fuller was not pleased with his second step on the podium after leading most of the race’s laps. Fuller described the pass: “He [Friesen] came down and I got out of it so we both didn’t crash but he’s an incredible talent, Fuller said. “You hate to get beat that way. I think we were better than the first place car but we got snookered there a little bit. It happens.” he was satisfied with the effort and the drive but not the result. “I just wish I’d had a taller spoiler,” Fuller cracked. “But I wouldn’t have done anything differently.” The Gypsum Racing machine of Larry Wight crossed the line third after battling in the top five the entire race. Wight was searching for a way to compete with Fuller and Friesen but just couldn’t find another gear. “I stayed on the bottom because of a hole on top but once I saw Friesen show his nose up there I knew I had to move up and try it,” Wight noted. “We were a third-place car though. We’ll take it and build off of it for the next one.” Track conditions for dirt surfaces can be tricky for the first race of the year however the Can-Am Speedway track crew brought the best out of our drivers and they were appreciated. “Great job by the track crew for grading the track and giving us something to race on,” said Friesen. Wight added, “For the first race of the year the track was beautiful besides one blemish but that was nothing to complain about. We weren’t sure what the track was going to do. Sometimes when they scrape the top layer off it turns into a dust bowl. The track took it though and the water soaked in. It actually had a middle line to it. We could run the top too.” Race fans were elated to have the Super DIRTcar Series back underway and the 28-car starting field did not disappoint. The 100-lap battle was fought all across the track, from the very top, through the middle, and the bottom. For example, hard charger Mike Mahaney, from King Ferry, NY, made use of the racy surface by picking up 17 positions after starting 25th. Seven-time Series champion Matt Sheppard was involved in battles constantly but the #9S did not stray far from its starting position. After redrawing 10th Sheppard looked to be on the move but a stubborn Peter Britten, from Queensland, Australia, would not give up position number six. Next up for the Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds are a pair of $10,000-to-win, NAPA Super DIRT Week qualifiers at the dirt-covered Bristol Motor Speedway for the World of Outlaws Bristol Showdown. Get your tickets now or purchase a DIRTVision FAST PASS and enjoy all the World of Outlaws and DIRTcar Racing that you can handle. Stay tuned to Super DIRTcar Series social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram plus SuperDIRTcarSeries.com has full results, highlights, recaps, and more. FEATURE RESULTS (100 laps) Pos No. Name 1 – 44 Stewart Friesen 2 – 19 Tim Fuller 3 – 99L Larry Wight 4 – 91 Billy Decker 5 – 83X Tim Sears Jr. 6 – 21a Peter Britten 7 – 9S Matt Sheppard 8 – 35 Mike Mahaney 9 – 3 Justin Haers 10 – 42p Pat Ward 11 – 7M Michael Maresca 12 – 2L Jack Lehner 13 – 5H Chris Hile 14 – 60 Jackson Gill 15 – 88 Mat Williamson 16 – M1 Dave Marcuccilli 17 – 28 Jordan McCreadie 18 – 48T Dave Rauscher 19 – 17 Marcus Dinkins DNF 32c Max Mclaughlin DNF 2 Rusty Smith DNF 25 Erick Rudolph DNF 98H Jimmy Phelps DNF 7t Billy Dunn DNF 66x Carey Terrence DNF 4r Kevin Root DNF 111 Demetrios Drellos DNF 98w Rocky Warner DNF 22 Brandon Walters PHOTO: Joe Grabianowski
  2. Big Block Modified Legend ‘Jumpin’ Jack Johnson Passes Away - Andrews, Decker remember Super DIRTcar Series hero of the famous #12A BY Super DIRTcar Series WEEDSPORT, NY — The Super DIRTcar Series and all of the dirt racing community are mourning the loss of four-time Series champion Jack Johnson. Courtesy of Super DIRT Week program Johnson, who passed away on Thursday at 76 years old, easily ranks among the all-time greatest Big Block Modified drivers, and for many race fans and former competitors, he is the greatest without question. “Jumpin Jack” was a part of the very origins of the Super DIRTcar Series circuit. His first Series Feature win came at Ransomville Speedway on Aug. 7, 1973. Johnson’s excellence behind the wheel of the flashing orange #12A brought him 30 more wins until his final Series victory in 2001 at Orange County Fair Speedway. Jack Johnson had many loyal fans following him across the Northeast during his incredible career, but one of them became the voice of the Super DIRTcar Series. Shane Andrews shared his heartfelt thoughts on the passing of Jack Johnson. “Jack Johnson has left an indelible impression on so many race fans in the Northeast,” Andrews said. “Growing up in Central New York, when you walked into a race track, whether it was Utica-Rome, Weedsport, Rolling Wheels, Albany-Saratoga, but most of all Fonda Speedway you were greeted with an absolute sea of orange. It was the orange of the #12A of Jack Johnson.” In addition to his four Series championships, Johnson took the checkered flag at NAPA Super DIRT Week in 1979 and 1984. He became the first New Yorker to capture the crown jewel of dirt modified racing at the famed Syracuse Mile. “He had talent,” Andrews said. “He had a big smile and rock star looks. He was the man. He had great equipment, great sponsors, and he had a personality. He was approachable and personable. He was a gasser. He was smooth. Those years that he won 12 races at Fonda he had to start in the back every race because of the handicapping. He could race through the field. He was up on the wheel every lap. He knew what it took to win. He was a driver that a young race fan could meet and that was important.” Clearly, Jack Johnson made an impact with fans and racers throughout his career. “If you spend any amount of time around racing in the Northeast you’ll see Jack’s influence,” DIRTcar Racing CEO Brian Carter said. “Whether it was the way he raced on the track or the way he connected with fans in the pits, he was a hero to so many people.” Andrews described seeing Johnson for the first time: “At my first race, my parents told me to pick a car to root for and I picked this orange #12A and they bought me a picture of it. He won the race that night at Utica-Rome and I instantly became a fan and stayed one my entire life. We went to the pits and I got him to autograph it. I still have that picture to this day. He made me a race fan. He was my racing hero and still is. There is nobody that will ever take the place of Jack Johnson in racing to me. He is the ultimate racing hero for me and I am not the only one that feels that way. Heroes live forever and Jack Johson will always be the man to many people.” Andrews still sees the legacy of Johnson’s driving ability live on amongst active drivers. “A lot of drivers that are racing to this day still try to race like he did,” Andrews noted. “He helped forge a lot of racers that you see racing today. He took the time to talk to up-and-coming drivers and to give them pointers.” Without Jack Johnson’s affable nature and willingness to reach out to his fans, we may not have Shane Andrews on the mic as heroes inspire many to achieve success. “I was awestruck every time I talked to him,” Andrews said. “Then I started getting into announcing. We’re not supposed to have favorites as announcers, but I couldn’t help kick it up a notch when he was on the track. I’ll admit it. If Jack Johnson was winning a Heat Race, I picked it up a little more. If Jack Johnson was winning a Feature, the meter was pegged. I loved announcing races when Jack Johson won and I had the opportunity to do that. I was able to interview him in Victory Lane and that to me in a lifetime highlight.” One driver that learned a lot from Jack Johnson was Billy Decker, from Unadilla, NY. Decker, with three Series championships, is one behind tying the great #12A. “Jack Johnson was special to me,” Decker said. “We raced, we hunted together, and I stayed at his house and helped work on the car between racing at Albany-Saratoga and Fonda. He was very important to me and my racing.” Jack Johnson’s prime spanned the careers of some of the best drivers to ever take on the Super DIRTcar Series. “He made it really tough to go out and win on the Super DIRTcar series,” Decker noted. “I got into it when we had all these powerhouses [Brett Hearn, Danny Johnson, etc.]. Jack was at the top of the list of competitors. He made it tough to compete. You had to be able to drive hard and work on your stuff to compete and he and his team did that. They did their job. No one was harder to race than Jumpin’ Jack.” “He was going to race you hard. Not dirty, but hard. You were going to have to be all over the steering wheel if you were going to pass him. He didn’t block, but he drove hard. When he strapped in, he was gassed up. That’s it. It was fun.” When the Super DIRTcar Series returns Saturday, April 10, at Can-Am Speedway, there will likely be a lot of orange in the pit area. Johnson touched the lives of many in the Northeast. “Jack was a legend, but he never made you feel that way,” Decker said. “That goes for his crew, too. It was always fun. He would help us out and we had a lot of laughs together. What was really amazing was the amount of support for Jack later in his life that immediately made his legacy apparent.” Super DIRTcar Series Director Dean Reynolds also grew up a fan of Johnson. “The word icon might be overused in today’s society, but I just can not think of a truer word to describe Jack Johnson,” Reynolds said. “One of the greatest to wheel a dirt Big Block Modified, a champion, a fan favorite and of course a Hall of Famer. While we lost Jack Johnson, let’s remember all the joy, and memories he brought us over the years. My thoughts are with his son Ronnie and the entire Johnson family.” Rest assured, the legend of “Jumpin’ Jack” will live on forever in the hearts of fans and racers for all time. Courtesy of Super DIRT Week program
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