SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Story and audio by Race Chaser Online New York Correspondent Steven Ovens — Brad Ovens photo —
Larry Wight and Billy Dunn got their own Super DIRT Week off to a fantastic start on Thursday afternoon. Wight drove his Gypsum Express 99L to a lap of 29.154 seconds around the Moody Mile to take the pole for Sunday’s Syracuse 200. Meanwhile, Billy Dunn posted a lap of 30.838 seconds to claim the pole position for Saturday’s 358-Modified Salute to the Troops 150.
If his first qualifying lap was any indication, Wight didn’t have a shot at netting the pole as his first lap was nearly two seconds off the pole at a lap over 31 seconds. Wight elbowed up on lap No. 2 and clocked in the pole lap to his own amazement. The driver from Phoenix, NY turned a lot of heads with his pole lap, and admitted on pit lane afterwards that his first lap involved a lot of driver error as he scrubbed off too much time in the corner.
Stewart Friesen also had a great lap to come in at second fastest with a lap of 29.281 seconds. Friesen, a three-time Syracuse 200 Winner, will look for No. 4 on Sunday. Carey Terrance, Billy Dunn, Pat Ward and Matt Sheppard rounded out the top six locked in cars from Time Trials.
Time Trials were particularly important due to the forecast not looking favorable on Friday, when the qualifying Triple 20’s and Twin 20’s are scheduled to be run. If those races are washed out, driver’s will have to fall back on their speed to qualify for each race. DIRTcar has yet to determine that process until Friday comes because as they always say in Syracuse ‘If you want to know what the weather is going to do in Central New York, wait five minutes’.
Earlier in the afternoon, Watertown, NY driver and former winner of the Syracuse 200 Billy Dunn, took his Number One Speed No. 49 358-Modified around the mile the fastest to take the pole for Saturday’s event. Dunn noted his team’s choice to take the last 30 days to not race in fall specials to prepare for Super DIRT Week as a reason for their success.
Dunn’s team is not noted to be one of the better funded teams on the dirt circuit but they sure do make good on the resources they have at their disposal. The driver known now as ‘Machine Gun’ will look to avenge his 2013 Small-Block race on Saturday. 2013 saw Dunn lead the final circuits of the event, only to run out of fuel as he crossed the stripe for the white flag.
Dunn will lead the field to the green along with Super DIRT Week rookie Tyler Dippel who ripped off a lap of 31.189. Brett Hearn, Kenny Tremont Jr, Billy Decker and JR Heffner were the six cars that are now locked into the Salute to the Troops 150 on Saturday.
Audio Interviews from Big Block Modified Syracuse 200 Qualifying:
Larry Wight, Pole Winner
Stewart Friesen, Outside Pole Winner
Carey Terrance, 3rd Place
Billy Dunn, 4th Place
Pat Ward, 5th Place
Matt Sheppard, 6th Place
Audio Interviews from 358-Modified Salute to the Troops 150 Qualifying:
Billy Dunn, Pole Winner
Tyler Dippel, 2nd Place
Kenny Tremont Jr, 4th Place