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NickHolt posted a topic in Do it in the DIRTFuller Crowned King of the Big Blocks at Bridgeport Friesen and McLaughlin finish behind Fuller after 100 lap New Jersey clash SWEDESBORO, NJ – With his first win since 2018, Tim Fuller, hero of the North Country, took over the race lead at the halfway point and never looked back. If he had looked back, Fuller would have seen the looming shadow of Stewart Friesen getting larger but after relegating Max McLaughlin to third, the #44 Halmar Racing Big Block failed to reel in the leader by the conclusion of the 100-lap, $10,000-to-win King of the Big Blocks. Quentin Young photo Tim Fuller, from Watertown, NY, has now eclipsed the late Jack Johnson’s all-time Super DIRTcar Series win total with Series victory number 32 to his name. He did it after starting in the first position outside of the redraw, thirteenth, and dressing by the best Big Block Modified drivers around including fellow podium finishers Stewart Friesen and Max McLaughlin. Early in the race, Fuller had to make some gutsy moves but he was so fast that he avoided taking big risks along the way. By the halfway point the #19 St. Lawrence Radiology Big Block was in the lead. Then he hit lapped traffic and that’s where experience became vital. “I’ve been doing it so long that I’ve learned to be patient with lapped traffic and not rush it,” said Fuller. “I’ve seen people crash themselves out and lose the race because you are overdriving and it's stupid. I’ve lost them that way and I’ve won them that way. It’s your race to lose when you are leading. Protect the bottom and don’t get slid.” By holding on for the victory, Fuller attained some redemption after allowing Friesen to pass him late in the Thousand Islands 100 at Can-Am Speedway in April this year. The Halmar driver went into Bridgeport with a historic three-race win streak to start the championship season. “Friesen is the best in the business right now,” Fuller conceded. “There’s no question about it. He’s in the prime of his career. I remember being his age. He can still see very well! He has so much ability and he’s not going away for a while so anytime you can win one over him means you’re doing something right.” The racing on the track was intense with three and four-wide moments everywhere. The Hoosier Racing Tire compound game was just as hotly contested as the side-by-side action on the speedway. It played a crucial role in the outcome of the race. “I knew I had soft rubber on the left side and right front,” Fuller noted of his tire choices. “My right rear was as hard as you can get. I think the other guys were running the softer tire. I made a shock change on the right front before the Heat Race and I liked that. We just got better and better. The long-distance races here I’ll take them all day long.” After redrawing the eleventh starting position, Friesen took his #44 up 10 spots to pick up the second-place finish. “We were good,” said Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON driver Stewart Friesen. “We went as hard as we could get with the tire. I think some of those early cautions hurt us a bit when the tires got hot and cooled back off. We’ve got some momentum going and fast race cars. Big thanks to Halmar and Chris Larsen.” He won last year’s King of the Big Blocks and many had him touted as the favorite to win the 2021 edition. Ten more laps or one more restart may have put the ball in his court but the race stayed green and Fuller put too many lapped cars between himself and the #44 for Friesen to challenge him. Tire compound choice was vital. “We have a good notebook from last year,” Friesen noted. “We went as hard as we could go last year too and the track was more abrasive then. Tonight, for whatever reason it stayed a little bit slicker. We were good at the end but we just didn’t fire at the beginning. If you look at those cautions it’s a woulda/coulda/shoulda scenario. We’ll chalk it up and roll on to the next one.” Friesen steadily moved through the field to the front. “It’s an awesome race track,” he said. “Super racy. If you enter on the bottom you can get in there good but then you lose all your momentum to the guys sailing on the outside. It was a little bit sketchy on the restarts going three and four wide. It was fun.” Third-place finisher Max McLaughlin led the second-most laps of the race. The #32C started fifth but was soon mixing it up with the top 3 including pole-sitter and former HBR teammate Jimmy Phelps who had a strong night and ultimately finished fifth. “These races are too long to count on anything early,” McLaughlin said of his early domination. “I knew when we fired well on the restart and drove right to the lead that I may have made the wrong.” Again, the tire game in the pits made for an exciting Feature on the track. “I ran a 400 right year and 300s in the other three,” McLaughlin said. “They were running 400s and 500s so they [Fuller and Friesen] were better on the long runs. Even though we picked the wrong tire we still ran really well. I think we can build on that.” The Mooresville, NC native has one career Series win, the finale of DIRTcar OktoberFAST at Weedsport last October, but he’s been close to doubling up that total. “My stuff was pretty burned out at the end,” McLaughlin lamented. “I was playing defense more than I was attacking. It was a lot of fun. It’s always good racing with these guys. I love racing with the Series and we’ll get another win here soon.” Fourth-place finisher “Batman” Peter Britten was the hard charger award winner for advancing more positions than any other driver. He drove up 16 cars for his top 5 from twentieth. Demetrios Drellos, driver of the #111 from Queensbury, NY was the only driver to run a 16.0 and that was good enough for the $100 Billy Whittaker Cars Fast-Time Award winner. Young gun Alex Yankowski finished sixth against a field of elite Big Block drivers. He a $50 bonus from Ken Bruce for being the highest finishing Pennsylvania/Delaware/New Jersey driver plus a free Hoosier Racing Tire for drawing position number 12 in the redraw. NEXT UP: The Super DIRTcar Series goes to Weedsport Speedway and Lebanon Valley Speedway for a doubleheader May 30-31. Bookmark SuperDIRTcarSeries.com to stay informed on all the Big Block action. Plus, race fans can follow along on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Feature (100 Laps) 19-Tim Fuller [$10,000]; 2. 44F-Stewart Friesen [$5,000]; 3. 32C-Max Mclaughlin [$2,500]; 4. 21A-Peter Britten [$1,800]; 5. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [$1,600]; 6. 84Y-Alex Yankowski [$1,400]; 7. 7MM-Michael Maresca [$1,300]; 8. 9S-Matt Sheppard [$1,200]; 9. 2L-Jack Lehner [$1,100]; 10. 83X-Tim Sears [$1,000]; 11. 88W-Mat Williamson [$800]; 12. 35M-Mike Mahaney [$700]; 13. 99L-Larry Wight [$600]; 14. 1T-Tyler Dippel [$575]; 15. 8A-Duane Howard [$550]; 16. 5H-Chris Hile [$525]; 17. 126B-Domnick Buffalino [$500]; 18. 28M-Jordan Mcreadie [$500]; 19. 14W-Ryan Watt [$500]; 20. 91-Billy Decker [$500]; 21. 4R-Kevin Root [$]; 22. 3M-Sam Martz [$]; 23. 22W-Brandon Walters [$]; 24. 118B-Jim Britt [$500]; 25. 17D-Marcus Dinkins [$500]; 26. 26-Ryan Godown [$500]; 27. 111D-Demetrios Drellos [$500]; 28. 25R-Erick Rudolph [$500]; 29. 30W-Joseph Watson [$500] Hard Charger Award: 21A-Peter Britten[+16] FULL RESULTS Contingency Awards: Billy Whittaker Cars Fast-Time Award – $100 – Demetrios Drellos Autism Awareness – $250 Tim Fuller VP Race Fuels – $50 – Matt Sheppard ASI Racewear -$50 – Matt Sheppard ARP – $50 – Matt Sheppard Cometic Gasket – $50 – Larry Wight Drydene Performance – $50 – Matt Sheppard COMP Cams – $50 – Larry Wight Fox Racing Shocks – $50 – Jack Lehner
NickHolt posted a topic in Do it in the DIRT50th DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator Championship Goes to McLaughlin Rained out finale ices points for North Carolina Super DIRTcar Series racer BARBERVILLE, FL - Max McLaughlin walked into Volusia Speedway Park with one mission — win races. He captured one victory, three top-fives and four top-10s to take the 50th DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator championship for the Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds. The banner win came with a dose of redemption that had been on McLaughlin’s mind since he drove for Heinke-Baldwin Racing in 2017. “Not only have I wanted to win at this race track for a long time, but to get a DIRTcar Nationals championship is really special,” said McLaughlin, of Mooresville, NC. “I almost got one in 2017 when I tied with Brett Hearn. He ended up winning the final night which gave the championship to him. It’s been bothering me for a few years that we didn’t win it. Now, this makes up for it.” But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the multi-discipline race car driver at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile. The 20-year-old driver of the #32C made contact with seven-time Series champion Matt Sheppard in Turn 1, Lap 1 during the rain-delayed Feature on Feb. 11. McLaughlin went on to win the race with Sheppard finishing fifth, however the drivers were involved in an altercation afterward. “I made a mistake hitting the water on Lap 1 and got into Sheppard and got punched in the face for it,” McLaughlin said. “That’s alright. Whatever. I got one black eye, one busted lip, and one DIRTcar Nationals championship.” Sheppard was penalized. McLaughlin now has his first two Super DIRTcar Series wins with the Sweentener’s Plus Big Block. “Thank you, Vic Coffey and everyone at the Sweetener’s Plus race team, for giving me the opportunity,” he said. “We won our first Heat Race of the week and I remember saying in an interview that this team has won here before and now it’s up to me and that’s what we did.” McLaughlin finished in an average position of 4.5 and accumulated 594 points in four completed 30-lap Features. Just behind him was The Franklin Flyer Billy Decker in his Gypsum Wholesalers Big Block who finished with 589 points. Decker had four top-five finishes to finish the week in second place overall which is a good indicator that the #91 will be contending for a Super DIRTcar Series championship in 2021. Michael Maresca finished in third place overall and came out with his first career Super DIRTcar Series win. The St. Lawrence Radiology #7MM is off to a strong start in 2021. Check out the final Big Gator championship points standings here. The Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds start up the championship points season at The Nasty Track, Can-Am Speedway, on Saturday, April 10. If you can’t make it to the track DIRTVision will have you covered for the broadcast. Be sure to follow us on social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also bookmark SuperDIRTcarSeries.com for the schedule, features, race reports, and more.
NickHolt posted a topic in Do it in the DIRTMcLaughlin Edges Decker for First Career DIRTcar Nationals Win Sweetener’s Plus racer wins by a half-second for first Gator trophy at Volusia BARBERVILLE, FL – Max McLaughlin raced home to his second Super DIRTcar Series win and his first trip to Volusia Speedway Park’s confetti-filled Victory Lane on Thursday night during the 50th DIRTcar Nationals. Jacy Norgaard photo The 20-year-old pilot of the #32C Sweetener’s Plus Big Block Modified was just barely able to box out future Hall of Famer Billy Decker in a wild finish where the two swapped lines on the track trying to block and slide each other at the same time. Hard charger Michael Maresca in the #7MM car cruised from 19th to third in an amazing run through the field. After a lengthy rain delay, drama built quickly in the 30-lap Feature as McLaughlin made contact with seven-time Series champion Matt Sheppard on the first lap, sending Sheppard’s #9S up the race track and into Peter Britten’s #21A. Sheppard made his displeasure with McLaughlin known during the caution flag, but was able to recover for a fifth-place finish. “I got into the water there on lap one,” said McLaughlin, of Mooresville, NC. “It was a bonehead move, I guess. They checked up and he [Matt Sheppard] started pushing and I figured I’d go right below him. The left front hit the water and pushed up and I got into Matt. I hate that. That’s kind of what I was thinking about the whole race.” When the race returned to green flag action, McLaughlin had to contend with some heavy hitters. “Mad Max” found a way around defending Series champion Mat Williamson as well as “The Baldwinsville Bandit” Jimmy Phelps, who started on the outside pole. However, once McLaughlin took the lead on Lap 15 there was no time to relax. Decker had his Gypsum Wholesalers #91 at full song around the top side of the speedway in pursuit during the closing stages. “I didn’t really know where he was but I knew he was coming around the top,” McLaughlin said. “I knew I had to change something and I saw the [signal] sticks get smaller and smaller. I had to do something different.” With an adjustment of his line, McLaughlin was able to hold Decker’s crimson #91 at bay. Decker did all he could to try and pass for the lead. “We had to go where he wasn’t,” said Decker, of Unadilla, NY. “I think we were as good as he was on the bottom, but he fired a little better on the restarts than we did. After a few laps, I think we got it rolling so it was one of those deals where he had to stick to his lane. I started hazing the outside and closing the gap. He obviously got the signal from the infield to move. If he didn’t, he was going to finish where I did. He had to move and I didn’t get him soon enough.” Decker will look to improve just one more position tomorrow night for a coveted 50th Anniversary DIRTcar Nationals win. Michael Maresca, from Pierrepont, NY, advanced 16 positions to capture his second consecutive third-place finish. The #7MM started the night behind the eight-ball. “We buried ourselves in a hole in qualifying,” Maresca said. “We had a really good car all night. I think with it being a little bit wetter, I think it threw me off on my gear selection. We were able to capitalize on good restarts.” A fast, widening race track gave him what he needed to work through two-thirds of the field in 30 laps. Unfortunately, for the pilot of the St. Lawrence Radiology Big Block Modified, Decker and McLaughlin were just a click faster. “Congrats to Max and Billy,” Maresca said. “I couldn’t keep up with them. I think I was just a little bit under-geared for that. But I know our car is good so we are just going to keep trucking and hopefully contend for a win tomorrow.” Catch all the action in person or on DIRTVision on Friday, February 12 at Volusia Speedway Park as the Super DIRTcar Series take on The World’s Fastest Half-Mile for the fourth night in a row alongside the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models. Keep up with the Super DIRTcar Series at SuperDIRTcarSeries.com and on social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Full results available here. Feature (30 Laps) — 1. 32C-Max McLaughlin [$4,000]; 2. 91-Billy Decker [$2,000]; 3. 7MM-Michael Maresca [$1,000]; 4. 88-Mat Williamson [$800]; 5. 9S-Matt Sheppard [$700]; 6. 25-Erick Rudolph [$650]; 7. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [$600]; 8. 23-Kyle Coffey [$550]; 9. 21A-Peter Britten [$500]; 10. 1D-Tyler Dippel [$450]; 11. 8-Rich Scagliotta [$400]; 12. 7F-Tim Fuller [$375]; 13. 4-Billy VanInwegen [$350]; 14. 16X-Dan Creeden [$325]; 15. 118-Jim Britt [$300]; 16. 19M-Jessey Mueller [$300]; 17. 17D-Marcus Dinkins [$300]; 18. 1-Darwin Greene [$300]; 19. 20-Brett Hearn [$300]; 20. 14-CG Morey [$300]; 21. 88T-Tyler Jashembowski [$300]; 22. 30-Ryan Godown [$300]; 23. 6-Matt Stangle [$300]; 24. 2-Jack Lehner [$300]; 25. 33T-Cass Bennett [$300]; 26. 01W-Justin Wright [$300]; 27. 17-Rob Pitcher [$300]; 28. B52-Brandon Hightower [$300]; 29. 26-Derrick McGrew [$300]. Hard Charger Award: 7MM-Michael Maresca[+16]. PHOTO CREDIT: Jacy Norgaard