Shocking Finish Leads to Brett Hearn’s First Series Win of 2018
Story By: Joe Grabianowski/Super DIRTcar Series
Photos By: Mark Ranalletta/RacersGuide.com
DUNDEE, NY – July 10, 2018 – It looked like nothing would stop five-time Super DIRT Week Champion and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Stewart Friesen from driving away with the Ultimate Outlaw 100, but a late race mechanical failure sent the no. 44 behind the wall with just nine laps left. Brett The Jet Hearn inherited the lead and never looked back, taking the checkered flag for the Ultimate Outlaw 100 at Outlaw Speedway in Dundee, NY. Hearn battled in the top-five for the entire race after starting on the outside pole position. Championship points leader Matt Sheppard took home a hard fought second place finish after close racing with Erick Rudolph and Danny Johnson. The Doctor Danny Johnson held the final podium position maintaining his torrid pace over the last three races.
As Brett Hearn pulled into Victory Lane he uttered some telling words: “It’s been a while”. Hearn had not won a Series race since August 31, 2017 at Lebanon Valley Speedway. 2018 has not treated The Jet well so far until now. After starting on the outside pole, Hearn stayed in the top three for the entire race but with just nine laps remaining, race leader Stewart Friesen suddenly pulled off into the pit area. “I saw him [Stewart Friesen] wiggle a little bit down the front straightaway and he slowed up. I was like man that doesn’t look good. I made a left hand turn and got down to the slick part of the track. I didn’t know how close third was to me, but once I cleared him I just tried to get back to the top and get into my rhythm. We had a couple close calls with lapped cars and just everything worked out great.”
Perhaps the Madsen Motorsports team is on the upswing: “Wow finally a car that stayed good for a whole hundred laps.” Hearn expressed how disappointed he had been with his car at the last Series race at Utica-Rome Speedway and was glad to have a dependable hot rod to bring a checkered flag after one hundred laps of grueling competition on the high banked Outlaw Speedway. Even after getting passed by Friesen, Hearn thought he still had the car to beat but was also keenly aware that Matt Sheppard was prowling behind him.
“You know, Stew got by me but I’m not sure he was any better than I was. I don’t know what happened there at the end but sometimes you gotta get lucky and you gotta be in second to get lucky like that. You got Matt Sheppard who’s got a lot of local knowledge here and he’s sitting on your heels with nine to go and you are thinking – I feel really good but I don’t know if I have enough, but apparently, I did. I couldn’t be happier.” This was Super DIRTcar Series win 139 for Brett Hearn.
Current points leader Matt Sheppard slowly pulled himself up through the field to take second place and maintain his Championship points advantage: “We had a pretty good race car here. There were probably two things I didn’t need tonight and one of them was drawing twelfth and the other one was that last caution. I think knowing this place a little bit better than Brett when we got into lapped traffic there he got kind of bottled up. I just got up under him and saw my shot and next thing the caution came out. To come from twelfth tonight, we had a really good race car.”
The top line was the fast way around for most of the top ten drivers and Sheppard knew he had be there to make his move to the front. “I could survive on the bottom of turns three and four okay but the bottom of one and two was pretty much a death sentence. It seemed like every restart we were on the bottom. We finally got on the top of one there at the end and we were able to get some cars and get up into contention.” Sheppard will hope to keep him momentum up this week as he heads to Cornwall Motor Speedway this Thursday to go for a $12,000 to win DIRTcar 350 Modified Series North Region series race.
The Doctor Danny Johnson in his famous orange 27J rounded out the top three. Johnson has been electrifying over the last three races and has jumped up into the top five in points. As always, Johnson was not satisfied with a third-place finish. “Came up a little bit short but we’ll keep trying.”
The HBR stable came into the Ultimate Outlaw 100 running second and third in points. Unfortunately, on lap 30 Jimmy Phelps spun out in turn one. The caution flag flew immediately but a majority of the field was still hurtling towards the prone no. 98H car. Everyone squeaked by without serious contact but Phelps suffered some damage and was forced to retire his Big-Block Modified. Phelps was scored in twenty-sixth position. Max McLaughlin broke his left front suspension in Heat Race two, forcing him to start the Ultimate Outlaw 100 in twentieth position. The no. 6H came on strong in the second half of the 100-lap Feature for a seventh-place finish.
Erick Rudolph started on the pole position after picking the right hat in the Dig Safely NY 811 Redraw. He noted after drawing the pole that the pressure was on because the only way to go was backwards or win it. Rudolph failed to win but he managed a fourth-place finish after battling lap after lap with veteran ace pilots Matt Sheppard and Danny Johnson. The no. 25 has been a picture of consistently and remains a factor in the Championship chase. Rounding out the top five was Tim Fuller who has been similarly consistent. He’s kept his no. 19 in the points picture as well as we go into the next race at Orange County Fair Speedway.