HEARN AND TEAM REFUSE TECH, MEIER WINS HARD CLAY OPEN – DTD EXCLUSIVE
By MIKE MALLETT
In a very ironic turn of events, Brett Hearn won Saturday’s Hard Clay Open at the Orange County Fair Speedway only to refuse post-race technical inspection which resulted in his disqualification and the win going to the 2015 Eastern States 200 winner Tommy Meier. Meier pocketed the $5,000 plus for the victory.
That is the where the plot takes an interesting twist. Hearn’s stated reason for the refusal of tech dates back to the Eastern States 200 win for Meier. The decision ultimately was made by Hearn’s team and engine owner Kevand Cross while he was out on the speedway competing in the Sportsman feature. The motor the team refused to have puffed was a former truck series engine of Ken Schrader. Hearn stated it was a 355 cubic inch engine.
“It’s not as nearly disappointing as losing $30,000 at Eastern States because someone got to run an illegal engine and was allowed to do it,” said Hearn. “I think we made the point. In an ironic way he finishes second.”
He continued, “What happened at Eastern States was totally wrong and nobody really followed up on it. I understand the politics of it and how that works. That was a way bigger story than the race itself and I felt like no one really followed up on it and no one dug deep enough and asked how does that happen? It would be like someone being allowed to run the CT525 at the 76er and being the only one in the field that could. And at the end of the race someone saying he couldn’t have that. Then being told, ‘yeah he can because we told him he could.’ How’s that work? That’s the way we feel about and I’m sure that how he (Cross) feels about it. I’m not speaking for him.”
As to where he goes from here, Hearn was noncommittal about his racing plans in the future. He was scheduled to return to Orange County next Saturday for the $4,000 to win season opener.
“I’m going to home and fertilize the grass,” he said. “Then I’m going to go to the shop and work on the car. I’ll probably be back next week. Like I said, I haven’t talked to those guys yet so we’ll see.”
Meier was asked about the engine in question that he won the 2015 Eastern States finale with. That was Hearn’s major bone of contention. Hearn feels the engine was illegal. Like Hearn’s, it was also a small-block powerplant. Hearn’s issue arose over the weight and style of engine that Meier was allowed to compete with in the event.
“I have nothing really to say about it,” stated Meier. “It’s over. He finished second is that why? He’s allowed to say what he wants and I can say he won tonight and he got disqualified. I hate this controversy stuff.”
Meier, who inherited the win via Hearn’s disqualification, was more than happy to take the victory and the large paycheck. Meier started ninth and worked his way through the field into the runner up position which ultimately earned him the win.
“This is a first time for me,” said Meier about getting the win via disqualification. “I don’t know why he would decline going to tech. That is the bizarre thing. The win is awesome. Harry and Jeff (Behrent) do so much for me. They put every perfect part on that car. It puts a lot of pressure on me.”
Series director Brett Deyo made the final decision on the disqualification. To him it was an easy decision to make. The rules are cut and dry.
“On the bigger tracks our main rule for weight is determined by cubic inch,” said Deyo. “It’s a 15 minute check. It’s very simple and he (Hearn) refused to do it. If he was big cubic inch he had the option to run big-block weight but we’ll never know because he refused tech.”
Deyo’s next event is schedule for April 17th at Bridgeport Speedway while it remains to be seen if Hearn will decide to run next Saturday’s opener at Orange County.
‘HARD CLAY OPEN’ QUICK RESULTS – ORANGE COUNTY FAIR SPEEDWAY APRIL 2, 2016
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP Halmar International North Region Event No. 1 Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): TOMMY MEIER, Danny Johnson, Mike Ricci, Andy Bachetti, L.J. Lombardo, Erick Rudolph, Gary Edwards, Mike Mahaney, Rich Ricci Jr., Billy Van Inwegen, Matt Janiak, Stewart Friesen, David Van Horn Jr., Craig Hanson, Tyler Dippel, Corey Lowitt, Ryan Darcy, Matt DeLorenzo, Randy Chrysler, Jeff Heotzler, Danny Creeden, Josh Hohenforst, Jackie Brown Jr., Robbie Green, Anthony Perrego, Rob Rowe, Jerry Higbie Jr., John Ferrier, Nick Nye.
Disqualified: Brett Hearn (refused post-race technical inspection)
Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): BRETT HEARN, David Schilling, Michael Storms, R.J. Smith, Billy Eggers, Winter Mead, Steve Eubanks, Michael Sabia, Tim Hartman, Frank Venezia, Matt Stangle, Dillon Steuer, Chris Stevens, Leo Fotopoulos, Allison Ricci, Dave Marcuccilli, Jeff Hulseapple, Nick Horton, Rafael Carson, Austin Smith, Randy Sweetman, Tyler Boniface, Tyler Treacy, Eddie Burgess.
Note: The pit area was filled with 53 Modifieds and 46 Crate 602 Sportsman. Full results with DNQ listing and bonuses will be posted tomorrow morning.