Race Pro Weekly Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – WEST LEBANON, NY – It was just over two years to the day that Brett Hearn last stood in victory lane on the Super DIRTcar Series. Who would have thought he’d go winless since the August 2015 tour stop at Cornwall. Well, that all changed on Thursday night with a dominant performance in Lebanon Valley’s Mr. DIRT Track USA.
Hearn, who will be crowned champion at the Valley for yet another year on Saturday night, took the lead from Eddie Marshall with a power move from fourth to first on lap 18 and was never really challenged again as he went on to grab the $17,500 payday.
“They say if you’re gonna break out of a slump, you might as well win the one that pays the most money,” Hearn said with a laugh. “What a hot rod man. This car was so good tonight.”
The Sussex, NJ driver took his time early in the event, using patience until the time was right to strike.
“I didn’t want to use my stuff up so I just sat for a while until that caution,” he said. “I knew I wanted to get by the 4 (Andy Bachetti) and went into turn one and the 43 (Keith Flach) went low. I got a good run on the outside and Eddie (Marshall) slid up just a little bit and the car just took off. Eddie came out a little bit sideways and lost traction while I had a good run and that’s all I needed.”
It’s hard to get Brett Hearn rattled, but to say he was nervous to get the monkey off his back and end his Series winless streak would be understatement.
“This was completely nerve-racking I’ll tell you,” he said. “After the restarts you’re feeling vibrations, and then I think I’m running out of gas at the end and the motor’s stumbling. After the heat race, we had some oil issues but, man, it’s a lot of anxiety.”
Second place finisher Eddie Marshall has had an up-and-down 2017 season but finishing second to Hearn Thursday night was a big boost for the team.
“We were good tonight but after he went by me, the longer the race went, the tighter our car got,” he said. “I knew that if I was dead on, I wasn’t going to go back by him too easy. He certainly was the class of the field.”
Marshall made a big run at the leader during the middle stages of the race, but in the end had to settle for the runner-up position.
“He came back to us a little bit, but I think he was saving his tires,” Marshall stated. “Our car was good tonight. Our crew worked hard. The Teo chassis was good and Kevin Enders really built us a great engine so that’s something to build on and to keep digging for the future.”