Stock car racing: Marc Johnson wins 358 qualifier at Syracuse
SYRACUSE Super DIRT Week’s Sowle Trailer Sales-sponsored “Friday Night Lights” program saw a pair of Capital Region stars in the spotlight.
Ronnie Johnson of Duanesburg and Marc Johnson of Guilderland, though not related, garnered most of the attention in the opening events, with Marc Johnson recording his first-ever Super DIRT Week victory.
Ronnie Johnson led the field to the green for the first of two 358-modified qualifiers, but front-row companion Carey Terrance jumped the start and led the race flag to flag.
Johnson, who had expected the start to be called back, made a run on him on a lap-12 restart, but had to settle for second ahead of Tim McCreadie, Billy Decker, Tim Sears Jr. and Brett Hearn. Larry Wight, JR Heffner, Jeff Sykes and Alain Boisvert.
Round two was much more exciting, with polesitter Chris Raabe leading Marc Johnson all the way to a lap-18 restart, when the Albany-Saratoga Speedway regular blew by Raabe as his car slowed.
But the story of the night was Fonda Speedway modified champion Stewart Friesen, who tagged the field after changing engines and charged around the outside of the Syracuse mile to finish third behind Johnson and Matt Williamson.
Wins in the Triple 10’s for sportsman were shared by Brett Wright, Albany-Saratoga Speedway champion Jeremy Pitts and Mathieu Desjardins.
Attention then turned to the evening’s premier events, the Triple 20’s for big-block modifieds. Friesen, who turned fast-time Thursday, blasted off from the pole and disappeared into the night while front-row companion Jeff Rockefeller dropped back through the field.
Billy Decker ran second until his engine went up in smoke, promoting Matt Billings to second, but another late-race restart let Rob Bellinger slip by. Billings hung on for third ahead of Dave Rauscher, Tim Fuller, Tom Sears Jr and Jimmy Horton.
Earlier, the Futures program for Syracuse rookies saw a number of area drivers excel.
Andrew Krause won the 358-modified opener, with Kevin Albert and Fonda regular Darwin Greene trailing in the 12-lap event.
The huge sportsman field was split in two, with Fonda’s Ricky Quick driving off to a near half-lap victory over Michael Sabia. Round two saw Fonda’s Adam McAuliffe take the checkered flag in the same car his uncle, John McAuliffe, earlier turned fifth-fastest time in. But when the car came up light at the scales, the win went to Mike Maresca.
Albany-Saratoga star Byron Westcott started on the pole in the pro-stock race, but dropped to third before clawing his way back to the lead and the win. In the final event, for big-block modifieds, polesitter Rockefeller dropped in behind Terrance on the green. But an immediate caution brought a restart, with Rockefeller blasting off to lead flag to flag.
Albany-Saratoga and Lebanon Valley sportsman driver Brett Wright set fast time for his division, and will start on the pole in today’s feature.