By STEVE BARRICK
Matt Sheppard may have won the Super DIRT Series 75 at Orange County Fair Speedway on Wednesday, July 5, but the man who put on the show was the track’s all time winningest driver, Brett Hearn.
Hearn was in his element after this race, smiling broadly to those who dropped by his pit area to offer their congratulations.
In turn, Hearn praised his race team’s efforts for the car they gave him for this race.
“If you have a good piece, which I did in this race, there are things you do in a race car that you never forget how to do. What I’m happiest about is that we’ve only run this car a handful of times and it’s as good as it is. We’re way ahead of the curve with the development of the chassis,” he evaluated.
The Super DIRTcar Series start was just the fourth race Hearn has driven in this season. Hearn passed Larry Wight not once, but twice to take the lead in the SDS 75 lapper. He ultimately gave up the lead to Matt Sheppard, but stayed ahead of Wight to finish second at the checkered.
Were it not for a troubling issue that cropped up in mid-race, Hearn thought he very well may have won the SDS 75.
“I was better than he (Wight) was pretty much the whole race. He was taking a little bigger risk in lapped traffic with all of the dust than I was. My bigger problem in the race was keeping an eye on the water temperature gauge which was rising. That was pretty much what cost us a shot a the win,” said Hearn.
“I had to back it down a little to get the engine temperature down from halfway on. Had to back off the throttle a little earlier, get back on it a little later.”
Hearn said after the SDS race that he was planning on running the 30-lap OCFS Big Block race as long as he was able to run the heat race without spiking the water temperature again. He won his heat race and was pleased that the temperature had returned to normal, which gave him the green light to him to run the second feature.
That race proved to be different for Hearn and the Gary Miller-owned No. 20.
“The right rear didn’t ever hook up. Don’t know why, really. The track did change a little, I was just mediocre in the second race,” Hearn summed.
Second race result aside, Hearn was encouraged by the way the way the night went overall. “We were hunt in the Super DIRTcar feature, have a few things to work on,” Hearn shared. The progress has been enough, Hearn confided, for his team to begin to consider what their racing schedule might look like for the rest of this season.
“We’re looking at doing stuff other than Middletown, but not until after Labor Day. Super DIRT Week, Eastern States Weekend, and Charlotte World Finals are what we are looking at,” Hearn revealed.