MIDDLETOWN, NY – Stewart Friesen has been red hot in the 358 Modified division taking victories at both Super DIRT Week and now Eastern States Weekend. The Eastern States Weekend victory was worth $20,000.
Friesen and Mahaney led the field to the green flag with Friesen jumping out to the early lead, but Mike Mahaney was able to wrestle the lead away on lap three.
Mahaney lead the race until he reached lapped traffic on lap 13 and Friesen was able to drive around the Adirondack Auto 35 to retake the position. It was a lead that he would not relinquish the rest of the way as he dominated the remaining 87 laps of the event to take the victory, and the $20,000 top prize.
“It was good,” said Friesen. “The Halmar team did a great job with the small-block. The guys have worked really hard. We’ve done a lot of racing here the last two days with the big-block and the small-block. The guys have worked really hard to get us here.”
At the start, Friesen tried using the middle lane around the speedway which allowed Mahaney to sneak by first and then Perrego. As the groove began to widen out, Friesen began to close back in on the top duo.’
Traffic first became a factor on lap eight which tightened up the gap between the top three. Friesen moved back to second on lap 12 by getting Perrego.
One circuit later Friesen drove through the middle of turns three and four to rocket by Mahaney off of fourth turn to take command of the race.
Billy VanInwegen brought out the caution on lap 20 after something let go in the rear of the No. 4v. This reset the field and cleared the track in front of Friesen.
Friesen continued to lead the way at the green flag. As he showed the field the fast way, Matt Sheppard was busy making moves up through the field after starting in the 12th position.
Gary Edwards Jr., went up in smoke on lap 44. Friesen was the leader with Mat Williamson now chomping at the bit to get his crack at Friesen with Sheppard restarting in the top five for the first time.
After another quick caution the race returned to action with Sheppard driving around Williamson and into the runner-up position. He know put his full attention on getting to Friesen.
Friesen was now working the extreme outside of the speedway with Sheppard rolling through the middle lane. Friesen’s line worked well once he got back into traffic on lap 73. He was able to roll the outside of the traffic with Sheppard struggling to find a way through.
The two top went untouched with the final caution coming out on lap 83 for a spinning Dave Marcuccilli. Under this yellow, Tyler Dippel and Peter Britten made contact numerous times resulting in disqualification of Dippel and a red flag to get him off the speedway.
When the tempers settled down, Friesen went back to work planting his Bicknell as Sheppard chased on the bottom. Sheppard started to close as the lap counter showed 90 complete.
Friesen adjusted his line on the final laps to keep Sheppard behind him securing the win.
“I was chasing the brown on top of the track,” said Friesen. “It kind of got greasy as I got toward the fence. He was rolling the middle. Tommy was giving me hand signals on the backstretch so I know he closed up pretty quick there.”
Sheppard, driving for car owner Vinny Salerno, was forced to be happy with a runner-up finishing position. It was an impressive drive for the Waterloo, N.Y., driver.
“As good as Stewie is right now, you can have a really good race car and still lose,” said Sheppard. “It was start getting interesting there at the end. I would have liked to see the top blow off a little more. He’s on top of his game right now and this is definitely good finish for our team.”
Williamson earned the third position after starting third. Not the result he was looking for after showing speed during the middle of the feature.
“It was a good race,” mentioned Williamson. “It just didn’t play out in our favor. We didn’t change the car all day. Unloaded good and finished okay. We’ll load it up and hopefully finish better tomorrow.”
Perrego crossed the line in fourth while Dillon Steuer charged from the back after a mid-race flat to get back to fifth at the checkered flag.
ORANGE COUNTY FAIR SPEEDWAY UNOFFICIAL RESULTS (10/24/20)
Eastern States 358 Modified Feature (100 Laps): STEWART FRIESEN, Matt Sheppard, Mat Williamson, Anthony Perrego, Dillon Steuer, Tyler Boniface, Larry Wight, Tyler Jashembowski, Billy Decker, Peter Britten, Mike Mahaney, Ronnie Johnson, Tanner VanDoren, Marc Johnson, David Schilling, Bobby Flood, Lance Willix II, Mike Trautschold, Corey Cormier, Shaun Walker, Danny Creeden, Chris Stevens, Roger Henion Jr., Allison Ricci, Daniel Morgiewicz Jr., Tommy Meier, Tyler Dippel, Dave Marcuccilli, Todd Root, Pat Ward, Andy Bachetti, Tim McCreadie, Gary Edwards III, Billy VanInwegen, Chris Shultz, Ryan Macartney, Adam Pierson, Kyle Inman, Rocky Warner