SYRACUSE Watertown hit the trifecta at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse on Saturday as area drivers Tim McCreadie, Billy Dunn and Tim Fuller crossed the finish line ahead of the rest of the field at the conclusion of the Gander Mountain 150 358-modified championship.
McCreadie captured first place, followed by fellow Watertown drivers Dunn, in second, and Fuller third.
There may had been a different ending as it appeared that Brett Hearn, of Vernon, N.J., was headed to victory. But he slowed off turn two on lap 148 and apparently ran out of gas, something that has happened several times over the years to drivers about to win a big race at Syracuse.
Hearns misfortune handed the lead to McCreadie.
As McCreadie came around to take the white flag on lap 149, the caution flag flew for Willy Decker, whose car was stopped on the home stretch.
But then came the celebration.
Among those that gave the winner a hug was his father, dirt-car legend Bob McCreadie, who won the small-block championship race years ago when it was a 100-lap feature.
It was a great thrill to win down here, said Tim McCreadie, a Watertown native who now resides in the Rochester area. I guess why it is so special is because my family and friends are all here tonight. It wasnt many years ago when I had trouble finishing a race on this track.
Dunn was making his first appearance in the small-block race.
I made a run late in the race, Dunn said. Down here it is all about track position and we put ourselves in contention at the end.
Fuller, Dunn and McCreadie placed themselves in position to make a charge at Hearn as they stayed close to the driver who has won more than 800 races, including more than 330 small-block victories.
Toward the last few laps it was hard to see in some areas of the track because of the lighting, Fuller said.
Fuller, who is originally from Edwards but has resided in the Watertown area for several years, kept moving toward the front of the field during the race.
Dunn also fought his way through traffic to be in position for the late challenge.
At one point, Hearn appeared to be running away with the race as he enjoyed a big lead, but pit stops and cautions tightened up the field.
There isnt much time for McCreadie to celebrate the win as he, along with Dunn and Fuller, will join many other drivers in vying today for the Small Engine Fuels big-block modified title.
Before the 2 p.m. finale, the sportsman championship will be held. The 20-lap feature was postponed from Saturday to today. The pro stock championship is also scheduled to be held before the big-block modified race.
The small-block championship race went immediately to caution on the first lap due to a multi-car accident involving several drivers, including Bobby Varin and Tony Steiner. ... Rain on Saturday morning caused a long delay of the racing program. The 358 small-block feature was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., but was delayed for more than two hours. ... Hearn will be seeking his sixth big-block modified title today. ... McCreadie and his race team were awarded $25,000 for the small-block victory.