Quotes and Takeways from Eastern States Weekend – DTD Exclusive

By KEN BRUCE

This years edition of the Eastern States 200 will show that Stewart Friesen dominated the show but ‘The Doctor’ Danny Johnson showed everyone that he’s still got it as Johnson gave it all he had to try and outrun Friesen but came up short at the end. It was another good race for Johnson who has had a resurgence since teaming with Peter Britten as part of the Graham Racing Team.

“Our car was very good today,” mentioned Johnson. “We tried all we could to get by Stew on that one restart but we just came up a little bit short.”

Jimmy Phelps Garners Podium Finish

If you asked Jimmy Phelps about racing at the Orange County Fairgrounds, he would be the first to tell you that it’s probably not one of his favorite tracks. Phelps has competed at the historic Middletown, N.Y., track many a times over the years but luck hasn’t been on his side when it came to getting a good finish. Sunday Phelps managed to steer clear of all of the mishaps that happened throughout the race and add to that having a nice smooth pitstop propelled Phelps to a strong third place finish at the end.

“We’ve actually had some pretty good moments here,” explained Phelps. “I thought we ran pretty well here in the spring at the dirt (Super DIRTcar) series race so I thought we had a pretty good package for this weekend. The biggest thing is just staying out of trouble and catching the right breaks on the way back through after you make your pit-stop.

“Fortunately, we were able to do that today. We came back through the field pretty clean and were able to pass some guys on the outside when we needed after being bottled up. Once we got up towards the front and got comfortable we were able to just ride and save the tires.”

Phelps talked about the track and was a little surprised with the lack of tire wear on the day.

“It was a lot easier on tires than most people imagined, including myself,” mentioned Phelps standing by his car in the tech area. “But that also made a kind of a one lane track. The track had a few holes here and there, but overall it wasn’t that bad. I can assure it’s been a lot worse at times. Today definitely makes up for yesterday when we got caught up in every mess there was.”

Eastern States takeaways

There was a total of 262 cars that took time trials during Eastern States weekend. Big-block Modifieds (62), Small-block Modifieds (81), Sportsman (89) and Street Stocks (30)…

When Stewart Friesen took the checkered flag on Sunday in the 200, he became the only driver all weekend that took the checkered flag at the end of the race that actually held onto the win. Sportsman driver Howie Finch was disqualified on Friday for an illegal cam shaft, Friesen himself was dq’d after Saturday’s small block race for being around 10 pounds light and on Sunday Street Stock winner Kevin Skelley was dq’d afterwards in the tech area…

Big-block champion Anthony Perrego did not have the weekend he had hoped during ESW. In the small block feature the Montgomery, N.Y., driver had a weld break on the throttle linkage that ended his day and in the big block feature event Perrego was involved a couple of incidents that caused his day to end after 175 laps…

Please extend well wishes to driver and car owner CG Morey after his hard hit on Sunday during the running of the “B” main…

The improvements that Chris Larsen has done since taking over the facility have been tremendous. There is still a lot more to do and hopefully Larsen will be able to continue the improvements in the future. Lot’s of nice rumors regarding next years 100th anniversary season are abounding. It will be exciting to see what 2019 will bring to OCFS…

I was a little disappointed that more Modified drivers didn’t show up to try their hand at all the big money that was being offered over the weekend. Sixty-two Modifieds is a nice field but there were some big-name drivers missing that I thought wouldn’t mind taking a shot at the $40,000 first place prize…

I know they bill “Super Dirt Week” as racing’s biggest party but the party atmosphere at OCFS is second to none. It is not uncommon to see multiple drivers, crew members and car owners hanging with the crowd each and every night at the 31st Lap bar located right behind the main grandstand…

As always, I can be reached at dirtracefan25@hotmail.com for any questions or comments and on Twitter @dirtracefan25