Hearn Ready To Tackle Eastern States 200
MIDDLETOWN, N. Y. – Brett Hearn didn’t just win at Eastern States Weekend last year, he took a clean sweep at the historic Orange County Fair Speedway event, charging to victory in both the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified Eastern States 200 and 358-Modified feature races.
This year, Hearn has the Super DIRTcar Series point advantage going into one of the biggest events of the year, and is ready to defend his position at the track he still considers his “home track.” The Super DIRTcar Series Eastern States 200 feature takes over Orange County Fair Speedway Sunday, Oct. 27, after completing time trials and heat races Friday, Oct. 25.
“Last year was unbelievable,” said Hearn, who hails from nearby Sussex, N.J., just a short drive from “The Hard Clay” of Orange County Fair Speedway. “Coming off the Syracuse win, and then to go to Eastern States and set fast time in both divisions, and then win both races – it doesn’t get any better than that. I can’t imagine that it’s going to be easy to duplicate that.”
He may not duplicate his 2012 feat, but Hearn could come close this year, having already picked up a NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week win this year. Hearn battled Billy Dunn on his way to victory lane in the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Salute the Troops 150 this October at the New York State Fairgrounds, but Dunn claimed victory in the Big-Block Modified Syracuse 200. With the lead in Super DIRTcar Series points, Hearn has high hopes heading into some of the biggest races at some of his strongest tracks.
“It’s a place where I learned how to race, so it always comes back to me pretty quick,” Hearn said of Orange County Fair Speedway. “Orange County’s my home court, and we’re also very good at Charlotte, so the race is on!”
Even to Hearn, an Eastern States 200 victory won’t come easy though. Like early October’s grueling races at Syracuse’s “Moody Mile,” the extra distance for Sunday’s race will put race teams and their cars to the test. Pit strategy will come back into play, and strong performance in qualifying might not mean a strong finish after 200 laps on “The Hard Clay.” With challengers like three-time defending series champion Matt Sheppard and this year’s Syracuse 200 champion Billy Dunn taking aim at the series point lead, Hearn will have his work cut out for him.
“I’ve always considered it to be the second biggest race to Syracuse,” Hearn said of the Super DIRTcar Series Eastern States 200. “You’ve got to refuel, or maybe take tires. There’re a lot of different strategies going on depending on tire wear and things like that.”