By BILL FOLEY
CONCORD, NC – Four qualifying heats were run for the Friday night portion of the World Finals presented by Can Am. Matt Sheppard, Max McLaughlin, Mike Mahaney and Brett Hearn came home with victories and are headed for the draw of the top eight for Friday night Modified main-event.
Also earning a spot in the draw were Billy Decker, Pat Ward, Jessey Mueller and Yan Bussiere.
Heat one was slowed at the start when 2015 winner Tim Kerr spun out.
The restart was exciting as Decker was diving low under Sheppard in turns two and three, but the No. 9s had more than enough once the action rolled along with Super Matt winning by three-tenths of a second
Josh Hohenforst, Mat Williamson and Steve Bernard got the other qualifying spots.
Heat two saw pole-sitter Keith Flach go to the rear because of an engine change as he went back to the eleventh position. It took him just two laps to get into the top five and he finished there thus earning feature spot for Friday.
Up front McLaughlin and Ward kept it interesting on the start,but they ran away from the field.
Danny Johnson, Tim Fuller and Flach completed the top five.
On the opening lap of heat three Louie Jackson Jr. got into the wall between one and two and Demetrios Drellos, who was quick earlier in the day, dropped out on the third lap. The team had changed the fuel pump during the break.
Heat three held a bit of drama as in the late going Tim McCreadie nearly bounced runner up in points Erick Rudolph to the last chance race.
Mahaney won by 1.4 seconds and upstart Jessey Mueller was runner up followed by Peter Britten, Rudolph and Carey Terrence.
The final “Friday” heat was won handily by Hearn who followed up his fast “Friday” time with a checker in the eight lap event.
Following runner up Bussiere were Chris Hile, Tyler Siri (who suffered a broken hub earlier in the day) and Jimmy Phelps.
Scott Hitchen slowed late in the race with smoke heavily pouring from his 65.
SATURDAY NIGHT QUALIFYING
Some things are different and some things remain the same could be the story of the heats for the Super DIRTcar Modifieds for their Saturday night show at the World Finals presented by Can Am.
Billy Decker, Demetrios Drellos, Mike Mahaney and Keith Flach captured qualifying races as the Mods outlasted the weather on Thursday night at the Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Also qualifying for the Saturday night draw were Peter Britten, Matt Sheppard, Tim Fuller and Mike Maresca.
The SDS title could have gone a long way in being captured by Matt Sheppard as in the first heat point runner-up Erick Rudolph lost power on the backstretch in the very early going and was pushed to the pits.He will be forced to run the last chance race on Saturday in order to qualify.
Erick noted to DTD, “motor issues” had knocked him out.
Heats on saw Decker race out to an uncontested lead and the huge advantage disappeared when Chris Hile’s 5H disappeared in a cloud of smoke as he pulled to the infield on lap seven.
Hile told DTD that “the motor is dead.”
At the checker Decker and Britten were followed by Brett Hearn, Justin Wright and Danny Johnson to earn a spot in the Saturday main event.
Heat two was a side-by-side battle on the first lap between Drellos and Sheppard,but Demetrios held the edge and that’s the way they finished. Justin Haers, Chad Jeseo and Carey Terrence qualified as one of the top point getters on the tour, Jimmy Phelps, finished sixth and will run a last chance event.
Mahaney dominated the third heat and second place Fuller was comfortably ahead of Jeremiah Shingledecker, Dave Rauscher and Mat Williamson
Jessey Mueller and Williamson had a solid tussle for fifth throughout much of the race,but Jessey heads to the LCQ.
Keith Flach was simply fast and from the pole he raced away from the field as Maresca was second and also earning berths in the Saturday main were Tim McCreadie, Max McLaughlin and Steve Bernard. Pat Ward and McLaughlin started in back, but Ward came up one spot short.
Josh Hohenforst hit the wall between one or two after a tangle with another car and was out on the first lap.
FRIDAY RESULTS (8 laps, 2 Redraw, 5 Qualify):
Heat 1: MATT SHEPPARD, Billy Decker, Josh Hohenforst, Mat Williamson, Steve Bernard, Tim Kerr, Justin Haers, Rich Scagliotta, Dave Rauscher, Adam Roberts, Justin Wright (DNF)
Heat 2: MAX MCLAUGHLIN, Pat Ward, Danny Johnson, Tim Fuller, Keith Flach, Gary Lindberg, Marcus Dinkins, Gary Edwards, Jack Lehner, Louie Jackson Jr (DNF), Demetrios Drellos (DNF)
Heat 3: MIKE MAHANEY, Jessy Mueller, Peter Britten, Erick Rudolph, Carey Terrance, Tim McCreadie, Mike Maresca, Rick Regalski, Chad Jeseo (DNF), Ed Kitchell (DNF)
Heat 4: BRETT HEARN, Yan Bussiere, Chris Hile, Tyler Siri, Jimmy Phelps, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Steve Feder, Scott Hitchen, Ralph McBride and Austin Langenstein.
SATURDAY RESULTS (8 Laps, 5 Qualify, 2 Redraw)
Heat 1: BILLY DECKER, Peter Britten, Brett Hearn, Justin Wright, Danny Johnson, Tim Kerr, Gary Lindberg, Steve Feder, Marcus Dinkins, Chris Hile, Erick Rudolph.
Heat 2: DEMETROIS DRELLOS, Matt Sheppard, Justin Haers, Chad Jeseo, Carey Terrance, Jimmy Phelps, Adam Roberts, Gary Edwards, Louie Jackson Jr., Ed Kitchell, Austin Langenstein (DNS)
Heat 3: MIKE MAHANEY, Tim Fuller, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Dave Rauscher, Mat Williamson, Jessy Mueller, Tyler Siri, Rick Regalski, Rich Scagliotta, Jack Lehner
Heat 4: KEITH FLACH, Mike Maresca, Tim McCreadie, Max McLaughlin, Steve Bernard, Pat Ward, Yan Bussiere, Scott Hitchen, Ralph McBride, Josh Hohenforst (DNF)