SYRACUSE – On Saturday, Billy Dunn was leading the “Salute to the Troops 150” only to run out of gas on the final lap, handing Brett Hearn the $20,000 victory.
On Sunday, Dunn made a late-race pit stop for fuel and a fresh right rear tire but was running 15th.
However, with the 2013 rule changes, caution laps did not count in the final 25 laps. One by one competitors began falling out and Dunn was in the right place to inherit the lead when Stewart Friesen ran out of gas on lap 197.
Dunn cruised the final two circuits to finish over a full straightaway ahead of Larry Wight to claim the $50,000 first place money for winning the Syracuse 200 at Super DIRT Week XLII at the New York State Fairgrounds.
“They say you have to lose one before you can win one here,” Dunn said. “Losing that race [Saturday’s ‘Salute to the Troops’ 358-Modified 150] really hurts, but this will take the sting away a little bit. I’ll give up Saturday every year to win on Sunday.”
Also picking up a feature win on the final day of Super DIRT Week XLII was Rob Yetman who won the 25-lap BACC-OFF DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship.
Friesen and Hearn brought the 45-car field to the green with Friesen setting the pace for the opening 84 laps. When Rick Scagliotta slowed to bring out the caution on lap 81, most of the field opted to make their first pit stops.
However, Vic Coffey and Kenny Tremont Jr., who pitted under caution on lap 44, stayed out and combined to lead the next 50 laps. Coffey paced the field from laps 85-109 before pitting and Tremont took over on lap 110 and held the lead until pitting on lap 135.
While Coffey and Tremont battled on the front end, Tim McCreadie, Friesen and Hearn were locked in a tight battle for third.
McCreadie inherited the lead on lap 136 and was in front when the caution flew for Jimmy Horton, who slowed with a flat tire.
Dunn was among a handful of drivers who took the opportunity to top off their fuel cells, while the leaders opted to keep their track position.
When the race went green on lap 170, Friesen swung to the high side of turn one and passed McCreadie exiting turn two.
Unfortunately the pass did not stick as the caution came back out when Jeff Rockefeller spun, putting the lead back in McCreadie’s control.
Dunn, who restarted 18th, began to move up with the help of cars running out of fuel and a multi-car accident. Three of the race’s nine cautions and a red flag came in the final 25 laps.
Friesen took the point on lap with Hearn, Jimmy Phelps, Billy Decker and Dunn in pursuit.
Shortly after the race went back to green, Decker pulled pitside out of gas and Hearn followed suit two laps later, moving Dunn into third behind Friesen and Phelps.
Dunn pulled into second on lap 196 when Phelps also slowed out of fuel.
Two laps later, Friesen suffered the same fate, giving Dunn the lead, more than a straightaway in front of Larry Wight.
“Our strategy played out almost 100 percent – almost by the lap we wanted to pit both times,” Dunn said. “We didn’t have good fuel mileage all week, so we knew we had to do something different. To me, if you’re not in the top 10 and you’re trying to conserve, you’re wasting your time because you’re probably not going to win anyway. You might as well pit and get gas, so when the guys up front possibly run out, you got a chance to get up front.”
Wight crossed the line second, followed by Ryan Godown, Tim Hindley and Duane Howard in the top five. Rich Laubach, J.R. Heffner, Carey Terrance, Danny Johnson and Bobby Varin, who recovered from a late race right rear flat, completed the top 10.
Yetman made the most of his front-row starting spot to immediately take control at the drop of the green.
The race was red-flagged on the first lap for a multi-car wreck on the backstretch.
When the race went green, Yetman had little trouble regaining his lead.
Defending race champion Pete Stefanski challenged Yetman in traffic and took the lead on lap eight.
Yetman retook the point two laps later on a restart and never looked back.
Stefanski was second, followed by Glen Forward, Francois Adam, Dave Bissonnette, Ghislain Valade, Nick Stone, Byron Westcott, Roch Aubin and Sid Harmer, Jr.
Syracuse 200 Results
1. Billy Dunn, 2. Larry Wight, 3. Ryan Godown, 4. Tim Hindley, 5. Duane Howard, 6. Rick Laubach, 7. J.R. Heffner, 8. Carey Terrance, 9. Danny Johnson, 10. Bobby Varin, 11. Jimmy Horton, 12. Jeff Rockefeller, 13. Tim McCreadie, 14. Keith Flach, 15. Brett Hearn, 16. Rob Bellinger, 17. Dave Rauscher, 18. Kenny Tremont, Jr. 19. Vic Coffey, 20. Stewart Friesen, 21. Dominic Buffalino, 22. Jimmy Phelps, 23. Tim Fuller, 24. Matt Billings, 25. Billy VanInwegen, 26. Justin Haers, 27. Dale Planck, 28. Billy Decker, 29. Peter Britten, 30. Donnie Corellis, 31. Ronnie Johnson, 32. Andy Bachetti, 33. Vince Vitale, 34. Chad Brachmann, 35. Eddie Marshall, 36, Tim Currier, 37. Pat Ward, 38. Alan Johnson, 39. Rich Scagliotta, 40. JaMike Sowle, 41.Matt Sheppard, 42. Eldon Payne, 43. Tom Sears Jr., 44. Gary Tomkins, 45. David Hebert.