Derek Wagner Grabs Mod Lite Win
BREWERTON, NY – October 9, 2014 (By Dave Medler) – Brett Hearn, of Sussex, N.J., came out on top Thursday night after a battle with rival Modified driver Danny Johnson at Brewerton Speedway. Hearn persevered through a caution-riddled 100 laps to claim victory in the “Hurricane 100,” a NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLIII special at the Central New York track.
“It feels good. It’s been a while since we’ve been this good here at Brewerton,” said Hearn, who led all 100 laps in Thursday’s feature race. ”I found a line early that I thought was working for me, I stayed out of the black, and I think that was key.”
Hearn drew the pole Thursday and took off at the green flag with the initial lead. The first caution came early as several cars, including the No. 21k of Randy Chrysler, the No. 3B of Chad Brachmann and the No. 71 of Mike Bowman, collided in lap 3. The field returned to green in lap 10, but was quickly back to yellow in lap 11.
Johnson, who started fifth on the grid, was capitalizing off the stop-and-go action and had made his way to third. Soon after the next restart, Johnson rode on the heels of Ryan Susice in second, taking the position in lap 19. Hearn had pulled away from the field, but Johnson charged ahead, hoping to have a go at his longtime rival.
A lap 31 caution for Yan Bussiere, whose No. 21 spun in turn 2, brought the field back together for a restart. Hearn and Johnson restarted from the front row, Hearn selecting the inside group. Hearn was able to stay ahead, but Johnson wasn’t as strong at the green flag and lost a position to Jimmy Phelps in the No. 99J.
However, Johnson gained momentum after a few green laps, and sought revenge on Phelps. He reclaimed second from the Baldwinsville Bandit in lap 41 and set his sights on Hearn.
The pace slowed again in lap 47 as the yellow flag waved for Lance Willix III. Hearn kept his spot on the restart and by lap 60 was speeding into lapped traffic when caution hit the speedway again in lap 68. Off the next restart, a midfield pileup in the front stretch brought a prolonged caution period as track crews cleared the wreck.
Racing resumed in lap 75, and the last quarter of the race wasn’t without its challenges for leader Hearn. The yellow flag waved in lap 77 for Zach Aubertine stopped in turn 4, giving Johnson another opportunity to challenge for lead off the restart. However, Hearn held on through that restart, as well as one in lap 80 after Chad Brachmann’s No. 3B slowed to a spot. In lap 93, the No. 71 of Mike Bowman brought the last caution of the race. Johnson charged ahead at the restart, putting all his will into overtaking Hearn in the last 7 laps, but Hearn’s No. 20 stayed ahead to claim victory.
“You don’t mind the yellows when the laps are counting, but when they’re not counting its a little longer,” commented Hearn, who admitted to having some trouble in lapped traffic on the one-third-mile “D-Shaped Dirt Demon.” “The lapped cars were tough at times. They were wandering around and you didn’t really know where to go.”
“Really the key was the car stayed good for 100 laps. Sometimes that’s hard here,” Hearn said.
After many unsuccessful challenges for the lead, Johnson finished second, fending off advances from Phelps.
“I had a great hotrod,” Johnson said in post-race ceremonies following the feature event. “I’m really happy that we’re here in Victory Lane, getting up on the podium and talking to all the fans.”
Phelps finished third and, while he would have preferred the win, was glad for a podium finish.
“We just missed it a little bit. We practiced a little choppy, and the bite just didn’t go away like we thought it would,” Phelps said. We started up front with some really good guys, so we’re not disappointed with third.”
In the 20 lap Pro Race Cars Mod Lite feature Brewerton and Fulton Speedway’s Champion Joe Isabell jumped out to the early advantage and had a comfortable lead till lap 5 when invader Derek Wagner making only his second start at the speedway ran nose-to-tail and side-by-side with Isabell. Just a few car lengths back, Jeff Isabell Sr., Jeff Sykes and Doug Williams were putting on a show racing for third through fifth.
Suddenly on lap 8 having a battle royal with Wagner for the lead Isabell suddenly slowed heading to the infield ending his run for the win to end the 2014 season.
At the halfway point Wagner opened around a ten-car length advantage over Isabell Sr. and Sykes as they tried to close the gap on the leader. Sterling Miller, Williams and Spec/Stock powered Jim Bogett were in a close fight for fourth through sixth.
Over the second half of the race nobody seriously challenged Wagner as he checked out winning by over two-seconds. Jeff Isabell Sr., Jeff Sykes, Jim Bogett and Sterling Miller finished second through fifth. Justin Williams, Joe Garafolo, Lowell Zehr, Doug Williams and Mike Mullen completed the top-ten.
The entire staff of the Brewerton Speedway wants to thank all the fans and competitors for a successful 2014 season. Plans are already in motion for the 2015 season.
For all the latest offseason news keep an eye on the speedway website by visiting www.brewertonspeedway.com and like the tracks Facebook page to interact with fans www.facebook/BrewertonSpeedway .
(SUNY CANTON HURRICANE 100 358 MODIFED SDS) – BRETT HEARN, Danny Johnson, Jimmy Phelps, Carey Terrance, Alan Johnson, Mat Williamson, Ryan Susice, Tim McCreadie, Stewart Friesen, Mike Mahaney, Erick Rudolph, Ryan Arbuthnot, Mario Clair, Roy Bresnahan, Zach Aubertine, Neal Williams, Yan Bussiere, Mike Bowman, Larry Wight, Danny Creeden, Chad Brachmann, Pat Ward, Brian Sage, Ryan Godown, Kevin Bates, Lance Willix II, Danny O’Brien, Randy Chrysler, Billy Decker, Ryan Bartlett, Bobby Harrington.
(LAP LEADERS) – Brett Hearn 1-100.
(IN MEMORY OF RYAN BAYE – HALFWAY LEADER $325) – Brett Hearn.
(PRO RACE CARS MOD LITES 20 LAPS) – DEREK WAGNER, Jeff Isabell Sr., Jeff Sykes, Jim Bogett, Sterling Miller, Justin Williams, Joe Garafolo, Lowell Zehr, Doug Williams, Mike Mullen, Rick Demo, Jeff Blackburn, Kelly Skinner, Tim Cady, Lane Bush, Zack Babcock, Joe Isabell, Alan Fink, Jeff Isabell Jr., Sam Usborne, Frank Sobotka.
(OPEN) – Derek Wagner. (SPEC/STOCK) – Jim Bogett.