ROC DIRT MODS: The Doctor Wins the Battle; Friesen Wins the War, Claims 2014 ROC Dirt Title by Four Points

RaceChaser Staff Asphalt Modifieds, Dirt Modifieds, Dirt Track Racing, Northeast, Sprints & Midgets 0 Comments

KIRKWOOD, N.Y. — official release — Jeremiah Fish photo —

During his stellar driving career Danny Johnson of Rochester, NY has won quite a few big races at the Five Mile Point Speedway. On Sunday night Danny might have won his most impressive feature at the 65 year racing facility by simply destroying a very talented Modified field to win the Spring 100.

Johnson who started fifth took the lead on a lap 15 restart from Stewart Friesen. Johnson racing a Bicknell chassis that was set up perfectly glued himself to the bottom groove of the quarter mile oval. Johnson after getting the lead held off the challenges of Rick Laubach, Friesen, and finally Matt Sheppard to claim the $5,555 win in front of a packed grandstand.

Sheppard making his last start in the Norm Hansell owned car ended up second with Billy Decker in third, 17th place starter Danny Creeden was fourth and Brian Malcolm came from 12th to fifth.

In the race within a race to decide the postponed 2014 Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour, Stewart Friesen came into the event with a 38 point lead over Matt Sheppard. The final 12 laps of the 100 lap feature saw some added excitement as Friesen who was running second had to pit with a flat right rear. Sheppard inherited second at that point and tried his best to get the win and the championship. Friesen however delivered at crunch time as after returning to the race with a new right rear tire, he went from 16th on the track to tenth at the checkers to claim the RoC 2014 Dirt Modified Tour championship by just four markers over Sheppard.

“ First off I have to say Thank You to Chris Gennarelli and his family, Bicknell Racing Products who built this fast hot rod, and Gorden Motors who built this powerful motor. Without them all of this wouldn’t have been possible today “ said Danny. “ I won a lot here in the past with Mike Payne and what he taught me got me to victory lane today. “

Showtime Danny Tyler and Stewart Friesen brought the 24 car starting field to green and almost immediately the field began to race three and four wide. Friesen led the opening lap over Tyler, Pat Ward, Gary Tomkins, and Danny Johnson before a yellow on lap two slowed the action.

On the restart Johnson showed his strength as he moved into third but had eighth place starter Rick Laubach right on his heels in fourth. Johnson then dropped back to fifth before moving back into second with a daring up the middle, turn four, three wide pass on lap nine.

On a lap 15 restart Johnson in the top groove out dragged Friesen to get the lead. Laubach moved into second on lap 18 and set sail after Johnson to get the lead and was within striking distance for the lead when the lead pack entered into heavy lap traffic on lap 29. A caution flag on lap 35 slowed the action and allowed the field to bunch up.

At the lap 50 halfway mark / fuel stop Johnson led Laubach, Friesen, Matt Sheppard, and Billy Decker. During this time six drivers decided to pit to make adjustments, however no one within the top seven chose to pit.

Danny on why he didn’t pit at halfway. “ My tires guys did an excellent job and at the break we looked at the tires and they were just about perfect. Plus with the track position we were in, you hate to give the lead up.”

The great run of Laubach ended on lap 57 as he brought out the caution and was pushed into the pit area to end his day. This allowed Friesen to inherit second once again and he decided to try his best and keep up with the high flying Johnson. But Johnson was smooth as he hugged the inside groove with perfection and hit his marks every lap to become faster each passing circuit.

With tire wear now becoming a factor as many drivers suffered flat tires over the final 25 laps. The race took a dramatic twist as during a lap 83 yellow the right rear tire of Friesen started to go flat. Friesen refused to pit and the race resumed under green flag conditions, but the tire only lasted five more laps before going flat and Friesen pitted under yellow with 12 laps to go.

Johnson in control up front ran the final 12 laps virtually unchallenged to collect the popular win over Sheppard, Decker, Danny Creeden, and Brian Malcolm.

“My main concern once I got in front was getting the car slowed down entering the turns “ said Danny. “ This hot rod was so hooked up that I was on the brakes really hard going into one and three each lap. In all my years running a car here, tonight might have been the best car I have ever raced here. We were so hooked up, I can’t wait to come back in July for the DIRT show. “

Matt Sheppard of Waterloo, NY who won this race last year spoke about his second place finish. “ We had a good car, we were pretty close to being equal with him, but he was just a touch better than us “said Matt. “ We had to dodge the holes a little bit but we found a good groove there at the end in one and two, it is what it is, it’s spring time. “

Qualifying races for the 30 car field saw Tyler Dippel, Johnson, Mike Colsten, and Pat Ward capture the heta wins while Mike Mahaney claiming the consi.

Jeff Heotzler was slated to start 20th but scratched after the heat races with engine troubles. For the second week in a row Erick Rudolph in a second Randy Chrysler entry pulled off just before the start of the feature with mechanical issues.

FINISH: Danny Johnson, Matt Sheppard, Billy Decker, Danny Creeden, Brian Malcolm, Pat Ward, Jackie Brown, Jr., Mike Colsten, Randy Chrysler, Stewart Friesen, Claude Hutchings, Jr., Tyler Dippel, Joey Colsten, Vic Coffey, Anthony Perrego, Tyler Siri, Gary Tomkins, Rick Laubach, Mike Mahaney, Danny Tyler, Ray Bliss, Jr., Billy Van Pelt, Kenny Titus. DNS; Erick Rudolph. DNQ’S; Don Hart, Jr., Glenn Knapp, Jamie Batzel, Stacey Jackson, Richard Smith.

Credit: JR Kennerup

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