Controversy Rules Eastern States 200
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — Sunday afternoon’s Eastern States 200 for big-block modifieds had it all — but not very much of it could be considered good.
In the end, Tim McCreadie earned the $20,000 top prize, but it was after Syracuse 200 winner Stewart Friesen staged a sit-in on the frontstretch at Orange County Fair Speedway, which resulted in a melee, which involved crews and officials.
Friesen was in command, battling McCreadie for the lead in the prestigious event at the five-eighths-mile oval when the yellow flag waved for a crash on lap 184. Though he was not watching the leaders when the yellow flag came on, race director Michael Sanchelli ruled McCreadie as the leader according to the electronic transponders that all cars utilize.
Angry at the call, Friesen refused to give up the lead and was eventually black flagged, at which time he parked his car on the frontstretch and approached the flagman. After a heated discussion, Friesen sat on the roof of his car on the frontstretch and the race was red flagged.
After a lengthy delay, a near brawl and other discussions, the race resumed with Friesen allowed to restart at the rear of the field.
McCreadie led the final nine laps after the race resumed on lap 192. Clinton Mills finished second with Billy Decker, Jerry Higbie and Chris Shultz completing the top five.
Though, he was scored 20th at the checkered flag, Friesen’s day wasn’t finished as he went to victory lane and celebrated like he won before destroying the checkered flag and leaving McCreadie to enjoy the winner’s check.
“I don’t know what to say,” Friesen told RaceProWeekly.com. “They made a huge mistake, and it cost us a race. I’ve never been leading a race before when all of a sudden they’re yelling at me to go to second.”