Rockefeller Leads Syracuse Futures Winners
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Jeff Rockefeller (big-block modifieds), Andrew Krause (358 modifieds), Ricky Quick (sportsman), Mike Maresca (sportsman) and Byron Wescott (pro stocks) were victorious in Friday’s series of DIRTcar ‘Futures’ feature events during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds.
The big headline-grabber of the special races for Syracuse Mile upstarts was Rockefeller, a 37-year-old from Scotia, N.Y., who captured the 15-lap ‘Futures’ big-block Modified event one day after shocking the establishment by locking himself into Sunday’s Syracuse 200 with the fourth-fastest lap in time trials.
Rockefeller was flawless in the big-block race, grabbing the lead at the initial green flag and never relinquishing it. He held off Carey Terrance of Hogansburg, N.Y., to triumph by a slight 0.386 of a second.
A newcomer to the DIRTcar Modified ranks who campaigns a small-block-powered car at the Capital District’s Fonda and Glen Ridge speedways, Rockefeller was overjoyed when he climbed out of his Bicknell machine in Victory Lane and was presented the $750 first-place check. The only previous win of his short dirt career came earlier this season at Glen Ridge.
Adding a Syracuse victory to his unexpectedly strong performance in Thursday’s big-block time trials was almost too much for Rockefeller to grasp.
“This is crazy,” said Rockefeller, who is racing both a big-block and 358-Modified this year at Syracuse after failing to qualify for last year’s small-block event in his first visit. “This is incredible. I just can’t believe this is happening.
“A month ago this (car) was just a chassis sitting in the garage. Now all this…it’s unbelievable.”
Krause, 23, of Holmdel, N.J., scored a flag-to-flag triumph in the 12-lap 358-Modified ‘Futures’ event, beating Kevin Albert of Lebanon, Pa., to the finish line by 0.867 of a second.
An asphalt Modified competitor for five years before shifting his focus to dirt racing last year, Krause is competing in his second straight NAPA Super DIRT Week. He struggled last year but has tuned up his effort this season with help from such experienced hands as Pennsylvania Modified veteran Rick Laubach.
“It was awesome to be out there and pull off a win here,” said Krause, whose father and car owner, Cliff, promotes the paved Wall Township (N.J.) Speedway. “I’m real excited.”
Quick, 29, of Scotia, N.Y., completely dominated the first of two 12-lap Sportsman ‘Futures’ features, rocketing away from the pack to defeat Michael Sabia of Easton, Conn., by a resounding 14.069 seconds.
“I didn’t even know how far ahead I was,” said Quick, a Fonda regular whose only previous appearance at Syracuse was in 2008 when his week ended early with a hard crash into the inside wall in turn four. “The car was just working so well.”
The 18-year-old Maresca, meanwhile, inherited the $600 winner’s prize for the second 12-lap Sportsman ‘Futures’ event after apparent victor Adam McAuliffe was disqualified because his car weighed in light at the scales.
Hogansburg, N.Y.’s Maresca, who competes regularly at Mohawk International Raceway, happily accepted the checkered flag after initially crossing the finish line 0.803 seconds behind McAuliffe.
Matt Janiak of Pine Island, N.Y., was elevated to the runner-up spot in the official rundown due to McAuliffe’s disqualification.
Burnt Hills, N.Y.’s Wescott emerged victorious in the 12-lap Pro Stock race, beating Ghislain Valade of North Lancaster, Ont., by a scant 0.310 of a second. The regular at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y., was the third driver from New York’s Capital District to win a ‘Futures’ event.