SDW – Day 6 -The Finale Final Countdown; Friesens’ Ice Fields – DTD Exclusive‏

By BILL FOLEY

“Let’s make this old lady proud,” said Dave Farney as he spoke at the Sportsman drivers meeting on Sunday morning.

This is the final day for “the old lady” and it is generating a mixture of emotions. CEO Brian Carter told everyone earlier this week to basically savor the weekend and have fun. Others liken Sunday to a funeral with the parting of an old friend.

The “Finale at the Mile” was the official moniker, but I like “The Final Mile”.

It was typical Syracuse with the fact that it was a major league event, but like many major sports events they never quite live up to the hype. This one won’t go down as a classic.

Winner Stewart Friesen said, “Langhorne went away, Trenton went away, Syracuse s going away”, but dirt racers “will keep racing.”

For Friesen his second consecutive win was typical Stewart. Pit strategy and he never really appeared to be pushing the car. At 150 he was sixth while at 170 he had moved to third, He put away one two with lightening speed. On 172 he stormed past Jimmy Phelps and the made a swift pass of Matt Sheppard a lap later.

Kenny Tremont made giant strides and late in the race he had himself solidly in second place, With about 10 laps to go he closed in on Friesen entering turn one, but a lapped car woed him down.

Tremont didn’t blame anyone as he said, “This is a tough old place” and in talking about chasing down the winner noted, “I never had a chance to put a wheel under him. The areas that are good for acceleration were slippery and when we hit the traction spots Stewart never missed any of the spots.”

Jimmy Phelps was disappointed with third as he was up front a majority of the race, but the weekend wasn’t all that bad with the small block win on Saturday. The #6 Mud Buss was in the spotlight at the front of the field for quite some time, but that victory in the 200 at Syracuse has eluded Jimmy (as well as numerous other championship drivers).

I always say “If you ask all they can say is no.”

Well, the Sportsman drivers meeting got things interesting as one driver calmly said there were nearly 100 teams, they had minimal track time, the mods started 40 and he wondered if the field could be enlarged.

CEO Brian Carter talked the company line, but he walked to the side talked to Mike Perrotte and moments later starter Dave Farney said two more cars would be added from each consolations.

Eventually an additional car was added to make it six from each consi.

James Michael Friesen had just one shortlived challenge from Rocky Warner in the caution filled Sportsman championship. Top group of the finishers were really no surprises with Shane Pecore third, Ron Davis III fourth and Corey Wheeler completing the top five.

Pro stocks must have thought they were racing on a short track as it was a tremendous race with Francois Adam and Rob Yetman behind a lapped car for the last few laps. Adam was leading with one lap to go, but going down the back stretch Yetman went to the outside of the slower car and Adam got caught as Yetman drove to his third consecutive win at Syracuse. The win was .486 of a second, but it was closer than that with just over a half lap to go. It was a green-to-checker event.

Yetman stood on the roof of the car, celebrated and then crossed his arms for several seconds as he simply savored a moment that will never happen again. There will be no chance for four in a row and he will leave with being the only three time winner. He noted, “This place is friggin’ awesome.”

Top five were Yetman, Adam, Glenn Forward, Jay Corbin and Dan Bissonette.

Pit Stops – I had a brief chat with Buzzie Reutimann and noted I was there for his first win. In an understatement he said, “It was a fun day.” Buzzie is gracious and you can tell he really enjoyed coming back to Syracuse…It was certainly a thrill seeing Kenny Brightbill, Barefoot Bob (McCreadie), Gary Balough, Richie Tobias all together and the past winners ceremony was done right and with the correct air of respect…Jimmy Maier whose dad put together the remembrance paint job recognizing departed New York State trooper A.J. Sperr, was named rookie of the race. He started in the 43rd spot and eventually finished 22nd…Steve Paine was last in after winning at Rolling Wheels, but first out as he headed out on the second lap…Billy Dunn lost his brakes around 117 miles, but managed to get to the finish in sixth place…. Matt Guererri was in the second sportsman consi. It is good he was back as he was involved in an incident where his cockpit became engulfed in fire on Wednesday at Weedsport. Said he wanted to run the futures race, but that had been cancelled…Nick Stone put on a tremendous show battling for the lead, but eventually cut a tire with just four laps to go in the Pro Stocks …Larry Wight led early and was cruising, but dove in the final pit entrance on the front straight apparently something in the rear end went. He spent the rest of the race working for Pat Ward doing tires and talking to him on the radio …Utica Rome regular Glenn Forward was third in the Pro Stocks..Eric Giguere started 36th in the Sportsman event and finished 16th as a 20 position improvement was probably one of the best of the day…Nick Krause started 33rd and came home 19th…Outside front row starter Jim Spellmon didn’t make it lap until he had trouble on the very first lap, came back to the rear and 16 year old Brianna Ladoceur captured one of the sportsmen consolations…Billy Decker broke a rocker earlier in the week, but it was repaired. He was smoking in Sunday practice…There are just too any heartbreak tales during the weekend. There always are. Disappointing 200 for Carey Terrance (top five when out), Vic Coffey (problem on the drive through lap), Dave Blaney (top ten), Danny Johnson (may have set record for most pit stops before wreck), Mat Williamson, Andy Bachetti, Peter Britten, leading Matt Sheppard as they certainly would like to forget the finale…Gary Tomkins had no ride entering the week. Came home seventh…Frank Cozze solidly in top five in late stages settled for ninth place…The Mile has never been kind to Pat Ward, but he did come home tenth. Prior to the event he told me “I hate this place” as it has bitten him too many times. Pointing to the stage where introductions were being held and to the grandstand he said, “But I will miss this.”…Tough weekend for Taylor Lamb in the tb82 as his transponder didn’t work in practice, so they changed it. They didn’t show up when he time trialed, and it was determined he qualified 73rd, and in his last chance race he still didn’t show up on the scoring monitors, but he ran 15th.

I hope to Make Tracks to a column later this week with a so-long Syracuse theme, but racing was my target for Day 6. I hope you have enjoyed Makin’ Tracks as much as I have had writing for the past week.

Comments and correspondence to foley395@hotmail.com