Makin’ Tracks – Weedsport Hall of Fame Caliber Night; Rauscher Okay – DTD Exclusive

By BILL FOLEY

Some guys make a living racing and they showed why at the Weedsport Speedway Hall of Fame 100.

This was one of those century grinds that during the last 50 laps either Stewart Friesen, Tim McCreadie or Larry Wight were going to win this thing. All three became close friends with the outside wall throughout the race. Sure once in a while they would move, but not all that often. It was more like watching Sprint Cars than Modifieds.

These guys are so good that one mistake can, and did, ruin a night.

On the 51st lap restart McCreadie slipped just a little in turn one and that was all Friesen needed to cop his second Super DIRTcar Series main of the year.

At the line McCreadie went high, dove low off four and nearly pulled alongside Friesen at the line as the fans went wild for the spectacular finish.

Stewart enjoyed it and said, “What a race. Timmy took 10 thousand from me a couple of weeks ago and I got it back tonight. I have wanted to win here at Weedsport since Al (Heinke) took over.”

He admitted he got a bit defensive at the end of it, but what else would you expect.

McCreadie was in a Mod for only the third time this year and his second with the Super DIRTcar Series.  His first at Malta and second at the ‘Port gives him a pretty darn good average finish so far with the series.

TMac simply said, “I run as hard as I can and I have one goal to run as fast as I can. I made one slide and saw the back end of the 44 for the rest of the race. I lost track of the laps and my eyes opened up when he went to the bottom, but the race monitor said the race was over. Damn it.”

The two professional, race for a living guys, were one-two and another driver who has tested some traveling waters was third.

Larry Wight ran behind the duo for the majority of the event and at times appeared that he might have enough to close in and challenge.

However, Larry noted, “The car got too tight and the right rear sealed so we just rode it out.”

He talked about Stew and Timmy and noted, “Those guys travel all over the country. Tim has his Late Model and Stew the truck deal going. It is good to see our Modified guys doing this and it shows where we come from.”

Though Wight finished in third it was a great point night for him as entering the evening as he entered third and came out with a nine point lead atop the point standings over Billy Decker and a 27 point bulge over Brett Hearn.

The 100 was extremely fun to watch as traffic played a factor lap after lap. Throughout the later stages of the event Friesen just powered off two and put a tremendous amount of distance between him and the chasing duo.

However, by the time the trio hit the third turn it was “bunch up” time again and challenges could commence. Then they would hit turn two and it would start all over again.

In the waning laps McCreadie was able to slice into that second turn rush and gain valuable real estate, but in the end he was just tenth’s of a second away from the win.

This was a 100 lap event that was worthy of its title…the Hall of Fame 100.

Frightening Moment for the Big Show

Just when you think you’ve seen everything in racing something stranger occurs.

In a very frightening moment in time trials there were five cars on the track. “The Big Show” Dave Rauscher, C.G. Morey, Friesen, Gary Tomkins and Max McLaughlin were ready to go when suddenly “it” happened.

Rauscher slammed full throttle into the third turn wall and immediately the car started doing donuts. Apparently the impact stunned the driver and the foot remained planted on the throttle.

The spinning continued on the track for what seemed to be forever and then suddenly it reached the lower part of the track away from the jersey barrier and continued doing donuts in the infield scattering photographers and other bystanders.

Eventually the car hit the large light pole and came to a stop.

Crews were on the scene immediately, took the roof off the car, slid in the back board, but suddenly Dave got out of the car to the thunderous applause of fans.

Max McLaughlin was right behind him and said, “He went in full throttle. I had to go full bore to get past him as he was doing donuts on the track and was aimed right at me.”

Gary Tomkins said, “I just wanted to get out of the way and I even thought of running into him to stop the car. I do not ever want to see anything like that again.”

The good news is that Dave was transported to an area hospital and released later that night.

According to his son Brandon he had a sore shoulder and otherwise was okay. The car appeared to be destroyed.

These guys are competitors, but if you were standing in the pits as they were removing Dave from the car the concern expressed on the faces of many was quite obvious.

Promoter-driver Jimmy Phelps ran to the scene. Justin Haers got out of his car in the staging area and didn’t walk back to the cockpit until things were settled down. Tomkins was still concerned and emotional many minutes after the incident.

Everyone loves “The Big Show” as he is simply one of the nicest, most gregarious guys in the pits.

Pit Stops

There was that moment in the 100 lapper when Steve Paine, Alan Johnson and Brett Hearn were battling for positions. There was a flashback of many memories for old time fans. It was neat to see…

Paine got so much attention driving the Matt Sheppard car Alan Johnson must have wondered why he was being ignored. It isn’t often in any sport that Hall of Famers continue to complete in the sport after induction. That is what is great about racing is that guys are honored when they deserve it. By the way the other driver inducted into the Hall this year was Pennsylvanian “The Kutztown Komet” Freddy Adams…

Erick Rudolph, coming off the Utica-Rome small-block win on Sunday, was staging a late rally in the main and with less than 10 laps to go had closed up on Wight in a battle for third. Traffic was playing a role, but then the yellow came out on lap 97 for Billy Whittaker.

Many people wondered why Whittaker stopped at the pit gate in the closing laps. The answer was really quite simple. Billy said, “The motor expired. We were three laps too short. The sad thing is that we were going to replace it tomorrow morning for Eldora. This is not good.”…

Tim Fuller and Wight put on a show in the early to mid portion of the race for third with Fuller trying low and the 99L up against the wall…

Jimmy Phelps had a solid run going and was running in the top five when he and Peter Brittan touched on the front stretch. The 98H slapped the concrete with the right rear and Jimmy slowed to bring out the yellow. Repairs on the car were made and he returned…

Heard that former Supermodified driver Ray Graham would be joining his son Kody in the Mod dirt wars as he is nearly ready to bring out his new car…

Fuller had a transponder issue in time trials, hustled to get back out and ended up on the outside of Billy Decker in front row for heat four…

Chelsea Flach, wife of Mod driver Keith Flach, did solid job in performing National Anthem…

34 Big Blocks and 33 Sportsman were pit-side for the event…

All mod heats saw front rows finish first and second as it was no surprise pole sitters Hearn, Wight, Rudolph and Decker all won handily. Also no challenges for the second place runners Rich Scagliotta, Friesen, Haers and Fuller. Third place starters finished third in all but one race with the lone exception of McCreadie who started fourth in the first heat, but got third…

There weren’t too yellows in mod heats as Yan Bussiere and Ryan Bartlett had simple spins to stop action in prelims…

Thirty-one cars started main event. It appeared the only car left running, Kody Graham, would be left out as he finished as the last running car in the consi, but he was put in.

Not able to complete the night were Tim Murphy who had electrical or fuel pick up woes, Yan Bussiere who loaded up early and Dave Rauscher…

Andrew Ferguson won the consi starting from the pole while Whittaker closed in late…

Chad Phelps, Mike Maresca, Brandon Walters, Mike Mahaney, Kyle Coffey, Ryan Bartlett, C.G. Morey along with Mike Bowman also came out of the consi…

Missing the draw, but qualifying, were Keith Flach, Justin Wright, last year’s winner Tomkins, Chris Hile, Robbie Bellinger, Paine, Part Ward and Alan Johnson.

Rocky Warner ran away from the Sportsman field after taking the lead on the seventh lap from Nick Guererri. It was his first win this year at Weedsport. He thanked Mike Walton of Fastline Performance with shock work that has helped he be successful…

Dave Marcuccelli caught Taylor Caprara with a lap to go with an outside pass, using Jessica Power as a pick, coming out of four to clinch second place. Just recently at Can-Am Dave got Taylor late for the win. Dave said, “Rocky had the best car and we sort of go out racing for second. Anyone in the top 12 could have won this race.”…

Got off to a late start, around 7:45 p.m., but the track officials moved it along and it was sometime between 10:30 and 11 p.m. when the final checker flew. The only delay was for the draw and a brief ceremony to recognized Lenny Sammons as a media inductee into the Hall of Fame. He wasn’t able to be present on Monday night…

Any news, notes or comments please send along to foley395@hotmail.com