FULTON, NY – Western Region Champion St. Catherines, Ontario native Brad Rouse held off persistent challenges from Kyle Inman, Shane Pecore, and Dave Marcuccilli over the course of the 50-lap Sportsman Shootout sponsored by Industrial Tire of CNY at Fulton Speedway. Rouse was pleased to start the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Fall Championship with a win and a $2500 check. Dave Marcuccilli came on strong at the end and picked up second place after sneaking under third place finisher Shane Pecore on a late-race restart.
The race kicked off the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Fall Championship, which is a marathon week for the drivers and teams. In Victory Lane Brad Rouse noted, “It feels awesome starting NAPA Super DIRT Week like this. It puts us ahead of the game. We love it here. My crew worked real hard. We put in a lot of hours to get this thing where it is.”
The fast line was on the extreme bottom of the track. Drivers were hard on the brakes into the turns and had to get the car rotated just right to stay on the bottom and get a launch down the straightaways. “It rubbered down in 3 and 4 on the bottom. You couldn’t get out of that. You had to use it.”
Rouse ran side-by-side with Kyle Inman early in the race and even lost the lead to him at one point. “Me and Kyle ran here against each other all year. I kinda got into him on the bottom a little bit. But you know it was a good race.”
With all the Regions combined for the Fall Championship, the competition was at the highest level. Ninety-six drivers entered the two-day event and thirty-two started the Feature. That certainly narrowed the field down to the cream of the cop. Rouse recognized this and said, “To beat them [Shane Pecore and Dave Marcuccilli means a lot”
Dave Marcuccilli had hoped for a few more driving lines, but was happy to start the week out with a second-place finish.
“It was frustrating because we didn’t have a very racy track, just hugging the bottom. James Michael [Friesen] showed me you could run the middle in 1 and 2 as it rubbered up. You had to take advantage of the restarts. I wouldn’t have passed Pecore racing.”
The blue no. M1 was a long run car and Marcuccilli drove up through the field during long green flag intervals.
“I needed a couple laps for the tires to come in. The longer we went the better the car got, just like at Mohawk. That’s the kind of car we had. We did not have a short run car. I just kept spinning the tires on the restarts and got lucky on the last one.”
Shane Pecore challenged Rouse early for the lead and even looked to have the fastest car on the track midway through the race.
“We dug ourselves a little hole there in time-trials. But the crew made some changes and we won the Heat Race. It put us in a good position in the draw. We had a good car there in the clear. We were catching Rouse. Once I got stuck on the outside [on a restart] and you have that M1 [Dave Marcuccilli] in third, it’s going to be tough to hold off. These guys are the best in the business. We try to race clean and race hard and put a show on for the fans.”
Round 2 of the Fall Championship is Tuesday, October 2 at Utica-Rome Speedway along with the DIRTcar 358 Modifieds and an open 360 Sprint Car race.
Industrial Tire of CNY Sportsman Shootout 50 Results:
1. Brad Rouse, 2. Dave Marcuccilli, 3. Shane Pecore, 4. Zach Sobotka, 5. Brandon Ford, 6. Alan Fink, 7. James Friesen, 8. Kevin Root, 9. Nick Krause, 10. Jackson Gill, 11. David Schilling, 12. Amy Holland, 13. Amy Holland, 14. Chris Mackey, 15. Corey Barker, 16. Mike Stanton, 17. Brianna Ladoucer, 18. Jeff Taylor, 19. Martin Pelletier, 20. Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, 21. Jack Meeks, 22. Jessica Power, 23. Kyle Kiehn, 24. Bob Henry Jr., 25. Rick Miller, 26. Jimmy Moyer, 27. Adam Rozon, 28. Kyle Fink, 29. Matt Janczuk, 30. Kyle Inman, 31. Will Shields, 32. Tom Juno