Makin’ Tracks – It’s Gator Time for McCreadie at Volusia – DTD Exclusive

By BILL FOLEY

“Gotta get a Gator” is why everyone comes to Volusia. The DirtCar Nationals provides one of the more unique trophies in racing.

You get a little Gator for winning a feature, but the overall champ gets a five foot gold plated Gator. Everyone wants one.

Tim McCreadie made certain that fans wouldn’t soon forget the Super DIRTcar Series Modified finale at Volusia and at the same time he wasn’t going to forget it as he finally got his big Gator as the champion.

What a difference 24 hours makes as the Volusia surface went from”lock it down in the bottom” to “lets race anywhere.” It was a great, fast track which allowed the Mods to shine.

After a sensational week that saw him atop the point standings the prelims weren’t kind to the Sweeteners’ Plus 39 as he finished seventh in his heat and failed to qualify in the last chance race as he chased Larry Wight, Brett Kressley and Brett Hearn.

Fortunately he got in via points and was “rewarded” with a 27th starting spot.

By the midway point he had worked his way to sixth and remained there until the 31st lap restart. He had chased down second place Mike Mahaney and on the 35 lap was second.

Stewart Friesen had a substantial lead and T-Mac whittled it down when finally with four laps to go he went where he was working, low in four, and suddenly found himself headed for his first DIRTcar Nationals Modified Gator.

It was a sensational way to close out the DIRTcar Nationals and owner Vic Coffey was overjoyed as he said, behind his never disappearing smile, ”This is awesome. Everyone comes down here for a Gator. I thought he was going to run second late, but then he started closing in on Friesen.”

He noted it was the most excited he had been in regards to racing and that this formidable combination could be together upwards to a total of 20 races this season.

It Comes Together for Mahaney

Mike Mahaney had a decent week, but on the final night a well driven third in the Buzz Chew Chevy saw him smiling after a podium finish.

He said, “It was a great track and it was super racing. It was a great finish for the week as I feel we stepped it up and are back to where we were last year at the end of the season at Charlotte. I wanted to use bottom to pass, but it just wasn’t there. The restarts were wild.”

Pit Stops

There were 42 mods with Ralph McBride making his first appearance…

Kevin Poitras and Jamie Mills didn’t run while Rich Laubach packed up and hauled out of the infield pits before heat action commenced due to a family situation…

The only car upside down this week was Rex King Jr. who had a frustrating Sunshine State visit. He said, “We had a rough week and I’m glad it’s destroyed.”…

Rick Regalski lost a wheel in hot laps and the car stopped in one while the wheel made it all around to the backstretch…

Heat action saw Jim Britt with a flat. He qualified later, but was towed off after catching the inside wall…

Danny Johnson qualified when he passed Jim Rasey on the final lap off of turn two…

The battle in heat four for the fifth and final qualifying spot was fun to watch between Tim Fuller, Brett Kressley and McCreadie in the consolation…

Yan Bussiere had his best night of the Nationals as he caught Rasey at the line in the consi for second place behind Jimmy Phelps in the last chance one race. Bussiere finished eighth in the feature…

In the second LCQ, Larry Wight, Brett Hearn and Tim McCreadie were all involved. Kressley held his own for second place. Kressley eventually was a DNF…

Ryan Watt suffered a flat tire on the 12th lap of the feature and also pitting and returning at that time were Billy VanInwegen and Pat Ward. Billy’s crew had a difficult time getting a new right rear shoe…

Tyler Siri had an outside front row starting spot and was passed by Friesen on the lap 12 restart…

Wight, from the last chance, was eighth on the 12th lap, but he found the wall on the 19th and nearly rolled it in turn one. The damage too extensive for him to return.

Sometimes racing is secondary. As a grandparent and parent it was simply a joy to see Wight sitting on his four wheeler in his driver’s uniform, holding his few month old daughter. He looked like a very happy young father…

Billy Decker looked the best he had all week long in the early going…

At the halfway point Friesen, Decker, Mahaney, Matt Sheppard, Billy Pauch, Kressley, Siri, Godown and Max McLaughlin along with Tim Fuller were the top ten…

It was the best run of the week for Pauch after on Saturday the team worked all day to straighten out the rear clip of the car. It had taken a big hit on Thursday night in turn two. A fourth on the final night was solid for the Frenchtown, N.J., legend.

On the 31st lap restart Sheppard appeared to have made the move of the night and dove under Mahaney and Decker in turn one, but they both recovered…

Danny Johnson went to the pits for a new left rear on the 31st lap…

It had to be a bit of a frustrating week for Friesen. He dominated the finale only to see TMac pass him on the bottom with less than a handful of laps to go. Earlier in the week he was leading when the right rear tire blew with just about four laps to go. Not the week he deserved…

Ward was consistent all week in last year’s car. He finished in the top five in points…

On night one of the DIRTcar Nationals someone put a very good lock on Matt Sheppard’s trailer. It took quite a bit of work to get it the unwelcome lock off. Not sure if someone was trying to be funny or mean. But there weren’t many laughs…

An old timers moment saw the Batmobile with Gary Balough driving pace the field for the start of the feature event. Gary also met with fans in the midway area earlier in the night and talked about the release of his book in April…

Nice to talk to many race fans who stopped to discuss Volusia action, but also share thoughts of the upcoming season up North especially in Central New York…

Several stories will be coming up this week with more news from the Super DIRTcar Series Volusia visit…

Comments, news, gossip or whatever you have can be sent along to foley395@hotmail.com