CONCORD, NC – Brett Hearn came out victorious after a grueling 40-lap feature for the Super DIRTcar Series, holding off a hard-charging Tim McCreadie in the final laps for his second Series win of the year.
“This is the World Finals, it’s the big stage so it’s pretty cool,” commented Hearn afterwards. “We thought when we won that race in the middle of the summer at Outlaw (Speedway) everyone was pretty happy for me. This is off the charts.”
Jessey Mueller took the lead at the drop of the green flag, darting away from Yan Bussiere and Max McLaughlin. Quickly, Mueller built up a lead, nearly a second and a half by lap three. On that lap, McLaughlin slipped to fifth as Matt Sheppard and Brett Hearn got by, with points leader Sheppard now in third.
The yellow flag waived on lap seven, just as Sheppard caught Bussiere for second. Once racing resumed, it only took Sheppard a corner to complete the pass on Bussiere, but Mueller held tough out front. Keith Flach bounced off the wall and slowed on lap nine, drawing the race’s second caution.
Coming to complete lap 10, Mueller’s tenure up front came to an end. Sheppard drove to the bottom in turns three and four, getting a great bite and snatching the lead away.
Once in front, Sheppard kept his foot down and instantly opened up a two-second lead, but slowed with the rest of the field as the yellow waived on lap 13. Hearn and Danny Johnson moved by Mueller to second and third in the few circuits following the restart, but all eyes quickly shifted towards the front of the pack.
With 15 laps in, Sheppard slowed with a left rear flat tire, drawing a yellow flag and dropping from first to 27th.
A rash of cautions through the middle of the event didn’t slow Hearn or Johnson, but behind them was nothing short of a mad scramble. Mike Maresca charged from deep to third, by Tim Fuller, with Pat Ward in tow.
By lap 23, Matt Sheppard had clawed back to 13th, but title contender Erick Rudolph, who entered the race 50 points behind Sheppard, rode in eighth.
On lap 29, Sheppard had cracked the top ten, just one car behind Rudolph. Up front, McLaughlin had reclaimed third, but at this time nobody seemed to be in the same area code as Johnson or Hearn.
With six laps to go, Johnson slowed with right-rear suspension damage. In the see-saw battle for what was third between Maresca and McLaughlin, it was Maresca holding the spot at the time of the caution.
This put Maresca alongside Hearn on the late-race restart, with Tim McCreadie somehow clawing from 25th to third. McLaughlin restarted fourth, but broke immediately on the restart, causing a number of drivers such as Mike Mahaney and Demetrios Drellos to make contact and end up in the wall. On the six to go restart, McCreadie moved by Maresca and into second.
Over the final handful of laps, McCreadie closed in on Hearn, knocking a car length off of the lead each trip around. On the last lap, McCreadie reached the rear bumper of Hearn down the backstretch, but that’s as close as he could get.
Hearn scored the win in the 40-lap Super DIRTcar Series feature while McCreadie crossed a car length back in second. McCreadie was unavailable for comment as he hopped into his World of Outlaw Late Model for the feature where he also finished in second.
Sheppard, who ended up third, now has a 60 point advantage after his charge from the back up to the podium.
“Once again the car was really fast, really good, and I’m thankful to salvage a third and have the thing still rolling,” stated Sheppard. “We had the car to beat but it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Maresca, like McCreadie, landed in the top five after starting in the 23rd, while Rudolph came home fifth to keep the point battle close.
THE DIRT TRACK AT CHARLOTTE (11/3/18)
SUPER DIRTCAR SERIES FEATURE FINISH (40-LAPS): 1 BRETT HEARN, 2 Tim McCreadie, 3 Matt Sheppard, 4 Mike Maresca, 5 Erick Rudolph, 6 Rich Scagliotta, 7 Tim Fuller, 8 Billy Decker, 9 Peter Britten, 10 Pat Ward, 11 Steve Bernard, 12 Mat Williamson, 13 Steve Feder, 14Tim Kerr, 15 Danny Johnson, 16 Adam Roberts, 17 Max McLaughlin, 18 Demetrios Drellos, 19 Carey Terrance, 20 Josh Hohenforst, 21 Mike Mahaney, 22 Yan Bussiere, 23 Scott Hitchen, 24 Jimmy Phelps, 25 Jessey Mueller, 26 Chris Hile, 27 Gary Lindberg, 28 Keith Flach, 29 Dave Rauscher, 30 Tyler Siri