By TIM BALTZ
BROCKVILLE, ONT – A packed house was on hand this past Friday night as day 1 of the 1000 Islands RV DirtCar Northeast Fall Nationals was ready for action. The 358 Modified Super DirtCar Series Go Nuclear Late Models and a special 30 lap Street Stock Invitational highlighted the night. With titles on the line in the Modified and Late Model divisions it was get up and go time for all drivers.
The 358 Modified Super DirtCar Series was set for their 100 lap season finale and Chris Raabe was looking to maintain a 95 point advantage on David Hebert in an attempt to claim his first ever series title.
Ryan Arbuthnot and Bud Light 200 champion Stewart Friesen led the field of 30 cars to the green flag with Arbuthnot getting the top spot away over Friesen, Carey Terrance, Gage Morin and Dany Bilodeau. The top 3 drivers would have their way with the field until lap 11 when Brian McDonald spun in turn bring out the first caution of the race.
On the restart Arbuthnot continued his great run but Stewart Friesen, aboard the JF Corriveau owned ride, made his way by Arbuthnot on lap 16 and began to put on a driving clinic. Friesen would pull away from the field by over 2 seconds as behind him Carey Terrance and Mike Maresca were in a battle for the 3rd spot. Maresca would hold the spot and try his best to run down the top 2 drivers.
On lap 30 Danny O’Brien made contact with the wall on the front stretch bringing out the caution. When the green flew it was once again Friesen out in front but Arbuthnot and Maresca were on the move. On lap 33 Maresca would lose the handle in turn 4 while running 3rd and the yellow flew for a 3rd time.
When the green came back out Stewart Friesen would be the dominant force as he once again pulled away to a huge lead and would maintain that big lead for the next 11 laps until the red flew for Bobby Herrington who flipped his car in turn 2. Herrington would climb out uninjured but the car was heavily damaged. It appeared as if Friesen was going to keep his Super Dirt Week momentum going on this night until lap 58 when he slipped up in turn 2 allowing Terrance to get by for the lead bringing Kyle Dingwall, Erick Rudolph, Ryan Arbuthnot and Danny Johnson to the top 5. Friesen would fall to 6th but would not slow his charge.
The championship battle was still a good one as Raabe was doing all he could do running just inside the top 10 the entire night while David Hebert knew he needed some help in order to grab the championship. Hebert would lose the handle on his machine ending his great run as the title began to slip away.
At the front Carey Terrance was looking for his first ever series win but Erick Rudolph was on the charge as he slipped by Dingwall for 2nd and closed in on the leader Carey Terrance. The top 2 drivers were charging hard and Terrance was trying to hold on to a race car that began to loosen up on him. On lap 97 Rudolph made the move on the high side in turn 4 to take over the lead. Despite several attempts to get back by Carey Terrance would fall 1 spot short as Erick Rudolph marched on to his 4th tour win of the year over Terrance who finished 2nd once again followed by Dingwall, Ryan Arbuthnot and David Hebert who rallied back to finish 5th.
358 Modified Super DirtCar Series(100 laps)
ERICK RUDOLPH, Carey Terrance, Kyle Dingwall, Ryan Arbuthnot, David Hebert, Danny Johnson, Dale Planck, Mario Clair, Randy Chrysler, Gary Lindberg, Chris Raabe, Jordan McCreadie, Steve Bernier, Brian McDonald, JF Corriveau, Stephane Lafrance, Chris Herbison, Joey Ladouceur, Luke Stewart, Dany Bilodeau, Yan Bussiere, Stewart Friesen, Kevin Hamel, Michael Maresca, Gage Morin, Lance Willix, Bobby Herrington, Roger Levesque, Danny O’Brien, Corey Wheeler