OSWEGO, N.Y. — Stewart Friesen has found a way to rise up to a level that others rarely can at Super DIRT Week. Not even a change in venue to the Oswego Speedway could stop the driver from Sprakers, N.Y., as he would go on to win the Bud Light 200 for the fifth time in his career.
Friesen rolled off the forty-three car field in the seventh position, after winning Triple 30 number two on Friday night. That seventh spot proved to be lucky indeed.
Matt Sheppard led the field to the green in the Bud Light 200, and would prove to have the dominant car early in the going. Sheppard would, in total, lead the first one hundred fifty-three laps of the race.
Early on, Friesen was as high as the second position, as he ran second behind Matt Sheppard trying to lock up his fifth Super DIRT Week championship. Sheppard was the rabbit though, as a flurry of cautions flags slowed the field throughout the event.
Lap 93 saw the red flag be displayed as a hard crash on the backstretch wowed the packed house in attendance on not only the front stretch, but the backstretch. Several cars that were heavily damaged included Alan Johnson, Yon Bussiere and Billy Whittaker who landed on the inside wall. Drivers were ok, but they needed to watch the rest of the 200 from the infield pit area.
Friesen came into the pit area on Lap 108 for tires and fuel, having made it eight laps past halfway. Sheppard remained on the speedway, but under several red flag periods it was noted that Sheppard was leaking water from the F.X. Caprara Chevrolet No. 9s.
As the race reached Lap 152, Tim McCreadie who had already made his pit stop for the day, began stalking Sheppard for the lead. Just two laps later, the crowd roared as ‘T-Mac’ took the lead in the Bud Light 200.
As the caution flew with forty laps to go, Sheppard dove to the pit area to the attention of his crew. The crew would lift the hood on his ride to find an overheating engine, as was suspected during all of the red flags when Sheppard would leak water.
One driver that was a great story on this day was that of Waterloo, N.Y.’s Steve Paine. Paine raced his way from 22nd to 6th at one point early in the race. ‘The Hurricane’ would get as high as third during a pit cycle, but would settle for finishing all 200 laps in the eighth spot.
Lap 179 saw Frank Cozze end up nose-first into the fence. During the caution, as cautions did not count in the final 25 laps, a shouting match between the crews of Cozze and Danny Johnson took place.
With just sixteen laps remaining, Kenny Tremont in the No. 115 slowed on the track after competing in the top five late in the event.
On the restart, Friesen started closing in on McCreadie for the lead. The fans seemingly willing McCreadie to Victory Lane, as they would go crazy every time McCreadie would pull away by mere car lengths.
But Friesen was just setting McCreadie up for the slide job of all slide jobs entering turn one with only eight laps remaining. Friesen made the move and just a lap later, McCreadie lost the handle and spun all by himself in the first turn, drawing the yellow flag.
McCreadie eventually made his way down pit road to change the right rear tire. The tire, though, was not flat when changed by the Sweeteners Plus No. 39 pit crew.
This left Friesen, Carey Terrance and Hearn left to decide the winner of the Bud Light 200. Hearn made it three wide on the bottom side of turn one on the restart, but Friesen was true on the high side to keep the lead.
Hearn stayed right on Friesen as the laps clicked off, but nobody had anything for the driver who always shows a little magic on Dirt Modified’s biggest stage.
Friesen beat out Hearn and Terrance to the line for his fifth Bud Light 200 victory.
Race Chaser Online spoke with Bud Light 200 Winner Stewart Friesen in Victory Lane:
Now hear from second place finishing Brett Hearn:
Carey Terrance finished in the third spot, in what he calls a great day for the 66x machine: