399142

OH MAN! Friesen Charges to Second Gator in Wide Open DIRTcar Nationals Feature

BARBERVILLE, FL — For the second consecutive night, Stewart Friesen charged to victory with the Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds at Volusia Speedway Park’s 50th DIRTcar Nationals, sweeping to the lead past Erick Rudolph with 10 to go and holding on to the checkered flag.

A field of 32 roaring Big Block Modifieds took the green flag Wednesday night to start the second Series Feature of 2021, and after picking up his second Billy Whittaker Cars Fast-Time Award in two days and convincingly winning his Heat Race, Friesen redrew sixth to start the Feature. With Mat Williamson, Jack Lehner, Erick Rudolph, Billy Decker, Matt Sheppard and more in his midst, Friesen had his work cut out for him in the 30-lap Feature. 

“We had a plan coming into this,” said Friesen, of Sprakers, NY. “If you want the plan to work you gotta work the plan and it’s paid off.”

The hard work and wins have paid off indeed as Friesen collected his second $4,000 check at the DIRTcar Nationals. 

The Volusia Speedway Park surface produced phenomenal Feature racing for the Big Blocks as well as the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models. The fastest racing lines went high to low, low to high, and everywhere in between. Drivers had their choices to make passes happen. 

“This is a very technical and challenging race track right now,” noted Friesen. “It’s kind of like mogul skiing on ice. You gotta try to get the car loaded up right. If you miss it, it shoves, but if you get it loaded up this thing was on the money.”

In the first half of the race, Friesen and his #44 Halmar Racing Big Block were forced to watch the top 5 battle door-to-door. Then lapped traffic came into play and remained a factor as there was only a single caution flag for the Big Blocks all evening. 

“I was just trying to see which way those guys [lapped cars] were going,” said Friesen. “It’s super slick in spots and in other spots you think it’s slick, but it turns out to be gripped up. Watching Max [McLaughlin] and Erick [Rudoloph] dice there and I got passed and lost a bunch of spots. Jack [Lehner] and Maresca got back by me. It was an awesome race track. I was just trying to find different lines and move around.”

Rudolph, from Ransomville, NY, started third behind the formidable front row of Williamson, from St. Catharines, ON, and Lehner. Rudolph had an excellent initial start and immediately took the fight to the front row starters. After dispatching Lehner, he got alongside the defending Series champion Williamson.

Williamson and Rudolph drove cleanly side-by-side for several laps before Rudolph took over the top spot only to be assailed by Max McLaughlin in the #32C. McLaughlin and Rudolph went toe-to-toe but the #25R built a lead in lapped traffic. 

“We started third and were able to wrestle away the lead from Williamson,” said Rudolph. “It seemed like we were able to work lapped traffic pretty good and I really didn’t want to see the caution come out, but it made a race out of it. Friesen got by me and we were about the same speed but the race played into his favor tonight.” 

After a caution flag came out for a stalled out #19 of Tim Fuller, Friesen pounced and worked the middle of the track and the outside to make the pass on Rudolph. 

Maresca, from Pierrepont, NY, struggled in the first night of Series action. However, his #7MM came back on Wednesday with some important shock changes that helped the balance of the car. Maresca drove up from the sixth-place starting position, passing Lehner, Mclaughlin, and Williamson in the process and proved the St. Lawrence Radiology #7MM is likely a threat for more podiums throughout the rest of the DIRTcar Nationals. 

Danny Creeden, from Wurtsboro, NY, started deep in the field: 27th place. But the driver of the #16C used the long green flag runs to his advantage and managed to pass 11 cars for the hard charger award. He finished 16th.

In Tuesday’s opener, the #26 ended the Feature on its roof, but hard work overnight and through the day allowed Derrick McGrew Jr. to finish the Feature in 19th. 

Thursday is Night 10 of the 50th DIRTcar Nationals and race three for the Super DIRTcar Series. If you are unable to make it to Volusia Speedway Park, be sure to watch live on DIRTVision and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for full coverage of the DIRTcar Nationals. 

Full results available here

Feature (30 Laps)

  1. 44-Stewart Friesen [6][$4,000]; 2. 25-Erick Rudolph [3][$2,000]; 3. 7MM-Michael Maresca [7][$1,000]; 4. 32C-Max McLaughlin [4][$800]; 5. 91-Billy Decker [5][$700]; 6. 21A-Peter Britten [12][$650]; 7. 2-Jack Lehner [2][$600]; 8. 20-Brett Hearn [9][$550]; 9. 9S-Matt Sheppard [8][$500]; 10. 1D-Tyler Dippel [13][$450]; 11. 88-Mat Williamson [1][$400]; 12. 4-Billy VanInwegen [15][$375]; 13. 30-Ryan Godown [11][$350]; 14. 6-Matt Stangle [19][$325]; 15. 19M-Jessey Mueller [22][$300]; 16. 16X-Dan Creeden [27][$300]; 17. 118-Jim Britt [16][$300]; 18. 14-CG Morey [23][$300]; 19. 26-Derrick McGrew [21][$300]; 20. 88T-Tyler Jashembowski [24][$300]; 21. 46-Jeremy Smith [18][$300]; 22. 8-Rich Scagliotta [26][$300]; 23. 17D-Marcus Dinkins [30][$300]; 24. 23-Kyle Coffey [28][$300]; 25. 48T-Dave Rauscher [20][$300]; 26. 1-Darwin Greene [31][$300]; 27. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [10][$300]; 28. 17-Rob Pitcher [14][$300]; 29. 19-Tim Fuller [17][$300]; 30. B52-Brandon Hightower [25][$300]; 31. 33T-Cass Bennett [29][$300]; 32. 01W-Justin Wright [32][$300]

Hard Charger Award: 16X-Dan Creeden[+11]

What to Watch For: The Super DIRTcar Series Starts Five Nights of Volusia Action Tonight

BARBERVILLE, FL – The 2021 Super DIRTcar Series season hits the ground running in 2021 with five straight nights of racing at Volusia Speedway Park.

The best Big Block Modified drivers in the world will be on the hunt for the prestigious Big Gator championship trophy.

Big Block Modified Features at the DIRTcar Nationals are a touch different from traditional Series races where race fans are accustomed to seeing 100-lap battles. Instead, the Features at Volusia from Tuesday to Friday are 30 laps and $4,000-to-win. Saturday night’s finale is 50 laps and $5,000-to-win. These races do not count towards the Super DIRTcar Series points championship but they do count as prestigious Series wins in the record books. 

How to watch:

Tickets are available for all five nights of racing at Volusia Speedway Park. 

Tonight, Tuesday, February 9, features the DIRTcar Late Models with the Big Blocks. The next four nights, Wednesday to Saturday, the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models take over on the card. Alternatively, race fans can watch the live broadcast on DIRTVision

Who to beat:

Defending Series champion Mat Williamson, from St. Catharines, Ontario, was the other man to beat in 2020 at Volusia. Williamson won the first night and the final night as Wight picked up three straight in between. Look for Williamson in his #88 Buzzchew Racing, Shakelton Auto Parts Big Block Modified to be fast out of the box at “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”

The defending Super DIRTcar Series DIRTcar Nationals champion Larry Wight will not be in attendance but for good reason: His wife had a baby on February 8. Although Wight will not be traveling with the team, race fans will see the familiar Gypsum Racing red gracing Billy Decker’s #91. He’s looking to make a championship run this year and starting out fast at Volusia is often a key indicator for early-season success.

For all of his success, only two of his 70 Series wins have come in DIRTcar Nationals competition. “The Franklin Flyer” is eager to add to his total this week. 

Matt Sheppard, a member of the Top 50 DIRTcar Nationals drivers, says Volusia is unique because once you think you have it down, you don’t. He’s looking to a strong DIRTcar Nationals as the 2020 edition was not his best Florida excursion. 

Sheppard has eight wins to his name at Volusia and three Big Gator championships. 

The Ransomville, NY racer Erick Rudolph is a strong contender at every race. The top guns of the Series know the #25R is coming for them again in 2021. Can Rudolph kick off the 50th anniversary of the DIRTcar Nationals with a win.

Rudolph has won Series races in New York, Quebec, Canada, and Ohio but so far a Florida victory eludes him. 

Big names in attendance:

Never count out Stewart Friesen. The Sprakers, NY Canadian-American wheelman has added another motor racing vehicle to his repertoire; a dirt late model. Now Friesen will be back behind the wheel of his Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified before going to “the big track” to run his NASCAR Camping World Truck. Friesen was held winless at Volusia in 2020.

Seven out of Friesen’s 33 Series victories have come at Volusia. 

Brett “The Jet” Hearn is back behind the wheel. He has the most DIRTcar Nationals checkered flags out of all Super DIRTcar Series drivers. Notably, Hearn’s first win came on a flat three-eights of a mile track on the same grounds when the half-mile was paved over. 

When it comes to success at the DIRTcar Nationals Hearn is in a league of his own. He’s earned nine Big Gator trophies and a whopping 21 Feature wins. No one else is close. 

Max McLaughlin has made a name for himself behind the wheel of a Big Block Modified, an asphalt modified, and stock cars. He had an incredible run during last fall’s OktoberFAST including his first career Super DIRTcar Series win which came at Weedsport Speedway. 

Tim Fuller has 31 career Super DIRTcar Series wins under his belt. His last DIRTcar Nationals win came in 2016. Watch for the #19 to be a steady presence at the front of the field.  

Stories to follow: 

Albany-Saratoga Speedway hot shoe, Jessey Mueller, planned to make 2020 his rookie season in the Super DIRTcar Series. He’s going for it again as we get 2021 started with a bang. 

“The Batman” Peter Britten has a brand new Bicknell Racing Products chassis for the 50th annual DIRTcar Nationals. True to his nickname, he’s gone all black on the #21A. 

A couple of Big Block veterans, Rick Scagliotta and Dave Rauscher are looking to make their presence known at Volusia. Rauscher is coming off an injury plus a huge rollover at Land of Legends Raceway this past summer in his #48too. 

Jack Lehner continues to improve and could soon become a consistent threat for podiums this year. Watch his Time Trials results to see if the #2L is going in the right direction at Volusia. A solid Time Trial can set a driver up for a strong night. 

Keep an eye on these drivers:

Thirty-plus drivers are expected to let their Big Blocks loose at Volusia. Watch for drivers like Kyle Coffey, Billy VanInwegen, Jimmy Britt, Cass Bennett, Brandon Hightower, Danny Creeden, Rob Pitcher, Derrick McGrew, Justin Wright, Tyler Jashembowski, Ryan Godown, Marcus Dinkins, CG Morey, Tyler Dippel, Darwin Greene, and Matt Stangle want to start their 2021 off with a gator to bring back home. 

How to follow the action: 

Race fans can catch every lap of action in person at Volusia Speedway Park or live on DIRTVision.com

For live up-to-the-minute coverage, all week long follow us on Twitter and Facebook. You can also catch shots and videos up on Instagram. Schedules, features, race reports, and more are all on SuperDIRTcar.com

For more DIRTcar Nationals coverage follow the event account on Twitter and at DIRTcarNationals.com