SYRACUSE Brett Hearn wasnt really disappointed that the 41st VP Small Engine Fuels 200 Super DIRTcar big-block modified series championship was called after 113 laps due to rain Sunday at the New York State Fairgrounds.
While Hearn was leading the race at the time it was officially called, many drivers were not happy that race officials did not wait longer before calling it.
Hearn told reporters that he was informed the rain might linger for awhile. Weather reports said that it was raining in Buffalo, and Syracuse could be in for a long period of rain.
We may be here for awhile or this thing isnt (going) to get going again, which is fine for me, he said
Hearn won his sixth overall big-block title race, last winning in 1995. His first victory came in 1985.
Watertown native Tim McCreadie, winner of the small-block championship race on Saturday, took the news that the race was called in stride.
Its just the way it is, McCreadie said. I had a great car all day. If I knew it was going to rain. I would have waited to make the pit stop.
Officials made a change in the pit-stop rules this year, and a new late-race procedural change affected the way teams approached the race.
Teams must change a right-rear tire after lap 100. The last 25 laps of the race must be run under green-flag conditions, so the need for fuel conservation to make it to the finish line has been eliminated.
Matt Sheppard finished second behind Hearn with Jimmy Phelps, Justin Haers and Pat Ward rounding out the top five. McCreadie finished seventh and Billy Dunn of Watertown was 10th.
My car was good all day, Dunn said. If the rain held off for another 10 or 15 minutes, I am sure that McCreadie and I would have finished one and two.
Stewart Friesen, who won last year amid controversy, left the race early. It was a broken driveshaft that ended his day as he was looking for his third straight 200 win at the Fairgrounds.
Dexters Rob Bellinger, who won the non-qualifier race before the 200 feature, finished 23rd. Tim Fuller of Watertown finished 25th.
In the sportsman championship race, Rocky Warner beat Mathieu Desjardins to the finish line. Warner won the pro stock championship race at Syracuse a year ago. Peter Stafranski became a two-time winner of the pro stock championship with his win Sunday, placing ahead of Joey Ladouceur.