MIDDLETOWN, NY – The ‘Big Two’ in northeastern Dirt Modified racing, Stewart Friesen and Matt Sheppard, proved their mettle Thursday night at Orange County Fair Speedway by splitting the Holiday Twin 50-lap Big Block Modified features. Though each earned $5,000 for their wins, a $5,000 bonus offered by promoter Chris Larsen for a sweep went unclaimed.
As convincing as Friesen’s and Sheppard’s wins were, it was another Friesen – Stewart’s wife Jessica – who for the first half of the second feature nearly stole the show.
Lining up on the pole through a first feature finishing position redrew random selection, Friesen, with Allison Ricci sharing the front row, took off and hid from the field Jessica Friesen and Ricci took off. One early caution did nothing to shake up the front runners.
A caution flag halfway put Sheppard and Friesen in the front row with Friesen taking the outside lane, then switching back at the last second.
Half a lap into the restart, Sheppard thundered by for the lead. A final caution with thirteen laps left gave Billy Decker the opportunity to pass Friesen for second off the last turn of the last lap after lapped traffic impeded the outside lane. Jessica and Stewart Friesen were third and fourth with Craig Mitchell fifth.
In the first feature, Stewart Friesen started fourth. Decker led the first nine laps before Friesen gained the lead. At the halfway mark, Matt Sheppard’s charge to the front became apparent and he passed Friesen on the bottom to gain command. But a caution flag on lap 32 allowed Friesen to retake the lead whicn he held to the finish.
In the final five laps, Sheppard mounted a second challenge in a run at the lead with Tyler Dippel in Bill Pascual’s car moving into third as Decker dropped back. That’s the way they finished, with Anthony Perrego taking fifth money.
Billy Dunn, Mike Mahaney, Dippel, and Dillon Steuer won the four heat races and Chris Whitehead and Mike Gular took the pair of consolations. Thirty nine Modifieds were involved in the action.
The Rapid Tire USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series got its season started Thursday, July 2 at Orange County Fair Speedway in what was the first USAC sanctioned race ever at OCFS. A field of 25 Sprint teams turned out with Steven Drevicki of Reading, PA winning the feature.
Drevicki, the defending circuit champion, led all the way in a non-stop 25-lap main event.
Drevicki started third, passed Thomas Radivoy and Eric Jennings ln the first lap and stayed out in in front, feeling comfortable with the lowest lane possible on the track.
Behind him a fierce battle for second developed among drivers willing to test the outside groove.
All eyes were on Billy VanInwegen, who raced in all three races this night. He moved from his 12th place starting spot to third by lap nine, then onlap 16 passed Davie Franek for second where he finished. Franek, Eric Jennings and Danny Varin rounded out the top five.
First Modified Feature (50 Laps): 1. Stewart Friesen, 2. Matt Sheppard, 3. Tyler Dippel, 4. Billy Decker, 5. Anthony Perrego, 6. Mike Mahaney, 7. Michael Storms, 8. Rick Laubach, 9. Jimmy Horton, 10. Craig Mitchell, 11. Tyler Boniface, 12. Jessica Friesen, 13. Allison Ricci, 14. Peter Britten, 15. Billy VanInwegen, 16. LJ Lombardo, 17. Danny Creeden, 18. Ricky Davis, 19. Bob McGannon, 20. Chris Whitehead, 21. Mike Gular, 22. Nick Rochinski, 23. Marc Johnson, 24. Tommy Meier, 25. Dillon Steuer, 26. Matt Hitchcock, 27. Billy Dunn, 28. Ryan Krachun.
Second Modified Feature (50 Laps): 1. Sheppard, 2. Decker, 3. Jessica Friesen, 4. Stewart Friesen, 5. Mitchell, 6. Storms, 7. Mahaney, 8. Britten, 10. Creeden, 11. LJ Lombardo, 12. Dunn, 13. Boniface, 14. Hitchcock, 15. Davis, 16. Krachun, 17. VanInwegen, 18. McGannon, 19. Whitehead, 20. Steuer, 21. Meier, 22. Ricci, 23. Dippel, 24. Rochinski, 25. Horton, 26. Gular, 27. Perrego. DNS: Johnson
USAC East Coast Wingless Sprint Feature (25 Laps) 1. Steven Drevicki, 2. Billy VanInwegen, 3. Davie Franek, 4. Eric Jennings, 5. Danny Varin, 6. Tim Buckwalter, 7. Chris Allen, 8. Joey Biasi, 9. Jonathan Swanson, 10. Bill Unglert, 11. Thomas Radivoy, 12. David Quackenbush, 13. Alex Yankowski, 14. Christian Bruno, 15. Bobby Flood, 16. David Swanson, 17. Bruce Buckwalter, Jr., 18. Jason Cherry, 19. Dan Malley, 20. Len Kauffman
USAC EAST COAST SPRINT RACE REPORT: THURSDAY, JULY 2, 2020
DEFENDING USAC EAST COAST CHAMP STEVEN DREVICKI GETS SEASON OFF TO GOOD START WITH OCFS CIRCUIT OPENER VICTORY
A number of series rookie driver who will follow the tour in 2020 made their season debuts on Thursday including Christian Bruno, Andrew Layser, Bruce Buckwalter Jr,, and Alex Yankowski.
USAC National Midget 2019 Rookie of the Year Andrew Layser’s night came to an early and abrupt end as a thrown rod in the engine ended the rookie drivers night early in hot laps.
Heat race winners were Tim Buckwalter, Joey Biasi, and Danny Varin. USAC East Coast Rookie Alex Yankowski won the B Main on a last lap pass of Ryan Quackenbush.
Drevicki then backed up his OCFS win with a victory the next night in the Series race at Big Diamond (PA) Raceway.
USAC EAST COAST SPRINT SUMMARY
First Heat: Steven Buckwalter, Steven Drevicki, Davie Franek, Jonathan Swanson, David Swanson, Bruce Buckwalter Jr., Dan Malley, Charles Weslowski, Heidi Hedin.
Second Heat: Joey Biasi, Thomas Radivoy, Christian Bruno, Jason Cherry, Bobby Flood, Craig Pelligrini, Lee Kauffman
Third Heat: Danny Varin, Chris Allen, Eric Jennings, Billy Vaninwegen, Bill Unglert, Alex Yankowski, David Quackenbush, David Kyzer.
Consi: Yankowksi, Quackenbush, Malley, Kauffman, B Buckwalter, Weslowski, Kyzer, Hedin.