Andy Bachetti was in no mood for polite post-race back-slapping Wednesday night after finishing second to Stewart Friesen in Brett Deyo’s Short Track Super Series 48-lapper at I-88 Speedway.
His anger was sufficiently aroused that he invoked the time honored chestnut, ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything’ by refusing to be part of the post-race trackside ceremonies.
AARN found Bachetti, ensconced in the cavity between his car hauler and tractor, after the Crazy Eights post-race stuff was long over, debriefing with his crew. He was livid, but measured.
“I don’t mind losing a race when I make a mistake or somebody outdrives me. That’s what racing is all about. But that’s not what happened here.
“The 44 (Friesen) gets me at the finish line. We go into turn two and I get him back. There’s a car sitting backwards on the track out there. I almost hit the guy. We get all the way into turn three before the yellow lights come on. By that time, I’m back in the lead by a car length. I guess they’ll say they go back to the last completed lap or something.
“Hey, we’re racing hard, for a lot of money here. To lose a race like that really burns my a**.”
For his part, Friesen could only comment on what had actually had happened, the events that propelled what seemed to be a top five car into the winners circle.
“We had that long stretch of green flag laps and that’s when my car really came in. I wasn’t holding anything back, that’s for sure. When I got to the 34 (Bachetti), I knew I had the race. There was plenty of time.
“Then the caution flag came and for me it was at the right time. Lapped traffic was getting pretty heavy.”
Indeed the caution flag timing could not have been better for victory-bound Friesen. Short Track Super Series rules call for double file restart until the final five laps, which are single file. Friesen not only had gained the lead, but had a clear track ahead and Bachetti lined up behind, rather than outside of him. When the green flag flew, Friesen took off and drove away.
“I don’t think it’s right that they put him ahead of me and I didn’t keep the lead on the restart. It’s over, there was nothing I could do about it. I’m not happy and I didn’t want to be a part of it (post-race ceremonies),” Bachetti summarized.
Though Bachetti may have cried ‘foul’ about the restart lineup with five to go, he was the direct beneficiary earlier in the race with a similar situation.
Danny Creeden had charged under Bachetti for the lead in turn one after twenty-two laps were complete. But an eight car crash a few moments later negated the pass which had taken place in the midst of the 23rd lap.
Had the pass stuck, Creeden might have been the ‘rabbit’, not Bachetti whom Friesen had to run down.
Bachetti, incidentally, recognized this. “I had to pick it up a little bit after that,” he said…
STSS Promoter Brett Deyo, when contacted by AARN Friday, explained the events. “Our Series rules allow for the scoring of laps as complete without every car actually crossing the line physically. Its standard operating procedure for our Series and for most weekly short tracks and it is what we did in this case. When the yellow came out, the last completed lap was lap 43, and Friesen was ahead of Bachetti at the finish line on that lap.”
While the timing of the decisive caution flag favored Friesen, it most certainly did not favor Mike Mahaney, who sat backwards on the second turn while most of the pack whizzed by him, some missing him by inches and only after split second evasive moves. Finally, the lights did come on.
Annoyed though Bachetti was, Friesen had no doubt that he would have prevailed over Bachetti under any circumstances.
“The car just came in,” Friesen said. “Got better and better.”
This is confirmed by STSS Promoter Deyo who noted that the two fastest laps of the race were Friesen’s 47th and 48th. Remarkably, the American Racer tires Friesen used in this night were the same ones he had used at the last STSS race at Thunder Mountain.
This was Friesen’s second straight high profile Wednesday night win. The previous week, he broke Pat Ward’s heart with a last lap, last turn move to win Five Mile Point’s Super DIRTcar Series race.
On a side-note, Mike Mahaney was given a one lap penalty for what Deyo felt was purposely spinning to bring out the yellow so he could make a pit stop.