Canadian Overtakes Sheppard With 10 Laps Remaining For Dramatic $50,000 Win To Cap NAPA Super DIRT Week
Story By: CHRIS DOLACK / DIRTcar MEDIA Photo By: DAVE DALESANDRO / RPW
SYRACUSE, NY - October 13, 2014 - Stewart Friesen used a feathery throttle foot to win his first two Syracuse 200 Big-Block Modified classics during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds.
But to secure his third career victory in the division's most prestigious race on Sunday, Friesen just put his foot to the floor and tossed his car around the historic one-mile oval like he was blasting around a quarter-mile bullring.
Rallying from multiple mid-race pit stops to repair a broken shock mount, Friesen authored a dramatic charge over the final 50 circuits that will go down in Moody Mile lore. He completed his comeback by sailing around the outside of Matt Sheppard in through turns three and four to grab the lead in breathtaking fashion.
A 31-year-old native of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., who now resides in Sprakers, N.Y., Friesen pulled away from Sheppard following a lap-194 restart to secure his third $50,000 Syracuse 200 victory in the last five years by 2.154 seconds over his 32-year-old rival from Waterloo, N.Y.
J.R. Heffner, 42, of Averill Park, N.Y., finished third, logging a career-best Syracuse 200 finish in his 10th start. He ended the race nearly five seconds behind Friesen.
Fifty-one-year-old Duane Howard of Oley, Pa., quietly contended throughout the 200-mile distance to place fourth - his second consecutive top-five finish in the event - and two-time Syracuse 200 champion Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., survived bodywork damage sustained in a restart tangle on lap 74 to complete the top five.
The star of the day was unquestionably Friesen, who went from thinking his chances at another checkered flag were done when problems with his left-rear shock and fuel vent developed during the event's first half to putting together one of the most memorable drives in the 43-year history of NAPA Super DIRT Week.