With double points on the line in all three top divisions at the track, the drivers knew the pressure of what a good run could do. They also knew what a bad run might mean. Going into the night’s action, Brett Hearn held a 46 point advantage over Marc Johnson for the Modified title. In Sportsman, Tim Hartman Jr. led the standings by a mere 10 points over Chris Johnson while Connor Cleveland sat only 26 back. For the Pro Stocks, last year’s champion, Kenny Martin, was once again on top by 18 markers over Jay Corbin.
Then, it was time to leave it all on the track to see who would become your 2018 Champions.
The Modified feature was set to go a whopping 53 laps on the evening. Why 53, you ask? ? Well that’s how long the track has been in existence, and with double points, they wanted something special.
The green flag flew with Jim Nagle jumping out in front to take an early lead. All eyes were on Hearn and Marc Johnson for the race within the race.
Caution flew early for the 115 of Kenny Tremont went around in turns one and two, sending the “Sand Lake Slingshot” to the rear of the field.
Another driver who had the fans attention was 15th place starter Stewart Friesen, who was making a rare appearance at the track. Friesen was slowly picking of the cars on his way to the front.
Battle at the front of the field then saw Kris Vernold take over the lead and tried to run away and hide.
The championship watch had the “Jet” riding in 11th while Johnson in 17th. Hearn was doing what he needed to do.
Friesen had worked his way to seventh by lap nine while Hearn had worked into the top 10. Then it all came crashing down for the championship leader.
On lap 18, Hearn slowed heading down the backstretch and came to a stop as he rolled to a stop in turn four. He was pushed to the pits and would not make it out for the finish.
This was the opportunity #3j of Johnson needed. Could he get it done?
While Johnson tried to make up the ground, the car still storming to the front was the #44 of Friesen, who was picking of cars at a rapid rate.
Lap 21 saw another lead change as Nagle would reclaim the top spot while Friesen worked his way to the fourth spot, running the high side. He was coming.
Just 11 circuits later, the Halmar DKM machine took over the top spot and Friesen put it on auto pilot. Nobody had anything else for him as he drover a flawless race from start to finish.
Tremont, who had to go to the rear with the early race mishap, marched his way back through the field to get to second and was hoping for a caution to see if he had anything for “Mr. Freeze.” That wish never came and Friesen took the victory, in dominating fashion.
“We had a fresh piece tonight and it worked well,” Friesen said after the race. “We’re going to work hard, but if we don’t get the Truck Series Championship, we’ll do everything we can to bring something back to New York state. A special thanks to all the great fans who are here and support us with the truck deal. It’s awesome.”
Tremont had to settle for second after a great run from deep in the field, twice. Third was Bobby Hackel followed by Kris Vernald and Ronnie Johnson, who drove up from 18th.
Marc Johnson didn’t end up with the night he was looking for. The driver of the #3j could never capitalize on the Hearn misfortune and struggled to a 10th place finish. Hearn wound up your 2018 Modified track champion by 10 points over Marc.