By BILL FOLEY
Friday night was just one of those nights where maybe, just maybe, a 358 would be sitting in “The Demon” victory lane when it was all over.
As fourth place finisher Chris Hile said, “I think the small block guys circle this date when the Sprint cars are at Brewerton.”
With the way the schedule was set, the Empire Super Sprints ran their feature first followed by the Sportsman and then the Modifieds.
It had been a tough night for many of the regular front runners as Max McLaughlin, Tom Sears, Darren Smith and Tim Sears Jr. were all mired in the back of the starting grid.
At the green it was small-block runner Nick Krause taking the lead and he would remain there for nearly the entire event.
In the late 20’s Ronnie Davis III was running side-by-side with Krause and Nick was hanging on, but doing what was necessary.
However, the dream of his small-block coming home first ended on the 31st lap as the two cars headed high out of two and Nick rode the wall thus eliminating him from action.
Nick told Dirt Track Digest, “He (Davis) didn’t touch me. It was just hard racing. We both were going for it and he kinda slid me up as he had to do, but I wasn’t going to lift off two and got in the marbles. It sucked me into the fence. It happens. We had a lot of front end damage, but will be back next week.”
When the night was over the 358’s did themselves proud.
Andrew Ferguson finished a solid third and had challenged Krause in the early going for the lead while Chris Mackey came from ninth to fourth only to get passed on the last lap by Chris Hile to finish fifth.
Ferguson was content with his night and noted, “We got this Troyer car going really good. We are trying some things out of the box and it’s been pretty fast all year. We threw some stuff at it tonight and we’ve been waiting for a track like this to try it on. It did everything we wanted it to do and probably a little more.
In his race for the lead with Krause he said, “I didn’t have anything for Krause. I was there on a couple of restarts, but he had a hell of a car. I didn’t want to see those longer cautions there. Krause kind of got away from me and later I thought I was kind of starting to reel them in, but I don’t know what I would have done with them.”
Of the night, Andrew explained, “I get around this place pretty good. It’s good to come and compete for the bonus. I really didn’t think the big-blocks were gonna roll that good tonight because there was really nothing to get a hold of, but that goes to show you how good the field is here. Hey, it just feels good to run up front against competition like this.”
Mid-race Mackey was coming up well from his ninth starting spot and, in fact, at one time passed eventual winner Jimmy Phelps.
Mackey talked with DTD and said, “It definitely feels good to be able to run with these big-block guys and get a top five finish out of the deal. I didn’t want to see that last caution. I think if that hadn’t happened we might have had a little better finish.”
Continuing he noted, “The car was pretty good, but there is still room for some improvement, but I guess we always feel that way from the seat. I know these guys have worked hard to give me a really good car. We started ninth and went forward all night against this group of guys. So you can’t ask for much more running a Small Block here at Brewerton and finishing in the top five is not so bad after all.”
Chris was content with the night, saying, “Well take it. We were kind of excited with the Sprint Cars coming here tonight because we knew if there was ever a chance it was on a night the Sprint Cars are here. I really feel if we didn’t have that last caution I could have been a top three car, but top five and the second Small Block across the line, we’ll take it.”
Like many drivers in the pits the big-blocks weren’t the overall favorite, but Mackey said, “It was definitely more of a small-block track tonight, but as you saw Ronnie (Davis) was really good and Jimmy Phelps was running up there. The big-block just has got so much more power, but we’re definitely competitive tonight with the small-block.”
At the end of the feature small-blocks driveres came home third with Ferguson and Mackey fifth followed by sixth place Alan Fink and eighth place rookie Amy Holland.
So if indeed the small-block drivers circle the date when the Sprint C ars return to the Brewerton Speedway then there are plenty of circles around Friday, June 30th.