CONCORD, N.C. – They say there’s a first time for everything, and Thursday night during Super DIRTcar Series preliminary action at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Mike Mahaney wrote a page of big block modified history.
Mahaney became the first driver in Super DIRTcar history at the World Finals to sweep the Thursday night preliminary events, winning both Pole Position Raceway Fast Time Awards and following that up with wins in both of his heat races.
During the Friday qualifying session, Mahaney took the No. 88 Buzz Chew Chevrolet entry to a lap of 15.609 seconds (92.254 mph), while he toured the four-tenths-mile oval in 15.678 seconds (91.848 mph) during the Saturday time trial round.
As a result of his efforts, the Kings Ferry, N.Y. native is locked into the top-five redraw for both Friday’s and Saturday’s 40-lap feature events, which will close the book on the 2017 season.
“(Our night) couldn’t have been any better, that’s for sure,” said Mahaney. “We’ve come down here [in the past] and kind of struggled. We gained a lot of fans the one time we came down here and passed everyone in the Last Chance Showdown and everyone got excited, but to come down and feel like we came out of the box with a really good car is even bigger.”
“We timed first in both sessions and won the heat races; that will set us up great for the weekend. I couldn’t be prouder of our Buzz Chew Racing Team. We’ve just been doing everything perfectly so far and I hope we can keep it up.”
Mahaney jumped to big lead at the start of Heat 1A, never trailing en route to a one-second win over Brian Swartzlander, Danny Johnson and Pat Ward among the drivers who transferred straight into Saturday’s show.
Heat 2A saw Mat Williamson charge to the early lead over Tyler Siri and never look back, with Ryan Godown and Jimmy Horton completing the top four. Brett Hearn could only come from the back to seventh in the heat, after switching to a backup car due to driveline troubles.
Points leader Matt Sheppard flat dominated Heat 3A, leaving Larry Wight in his dust when the green flag dropped and motoring on to a 3.195 second win over Wight, Billy Whittaker and Gary Tomkins.
Keith Flach put together a similar performance in Heat 4A, leading all the way and crossing the line 1.294 seconds in front of Yan Bussiere. Justin Haers and Tim Fuller completed the top four.
And in the final heat race for the Friday program, Demetrios Drellos took his family-owned team to an emotional and powerful heat race performance, holding off a hard-charging Billy Decker the entire way to win by 1.651 seconds.
Justin Wright and Peter Britten also transferred to Friday’s feature from Heat 5A.
Notables who will have to race their way in through one of two Last Chance Qualifiers on Friday night include Jimmy Phelps, Erick Rudolph, Tyler Dippel, Hearn, Max McLaughlin and Dave Blaney.