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Providence RI Dunkin' Donuts Center
by Polly Reid

The 2012 “Coffee Cup Classic” Indoor Race Weekend in Providence, R.I.’s Dunkin Donuts Center proved to be worth the trip and then some for Stewart Friesen of Niagara On The Lake, Ontario who swept both TQ Midget events, the 40 lap 2K to win Saturday night and the 100 lap 3k to win on Sunday. Erick Rudolph and Joey Payne in the Timex Morgan owned TQ Midgets crossed for second and third.

“It was awesome, we had a great group effort,” said Friesen as he was walking off the track Sunday afternoon. “My crew chief Kevin Crowley was awesome. We’ve worked together four times and we’re four for four, that was cool. Dave Shore from No Regrets Tattoo, Lou Cicconi the owners, they put together a great team.

In the Sunday afternoon 100 lap feature, Friesen took the lead on lap 38 and despite the strong challenges from Erick Rudolph and Joey Payne, held on through several cautions including a string of yellows on lap 99 for the coveted win. “They are good cars but we were able to get by them early in the race and through traffic.” Friesen started 8th on the grid after the re-draw. “On those restarts, you want to be first, that’s the best spot to be, a clear track- a product of indoor racing, green, checker, everyone is going for it.”

“Fourth time working with Stewie and the fourth time we won,” said crew chief Kevin Crowley. Crowley met Friesen through Jimmy Blewett, the first time they teamed up was the Turkey Derby where they won both events there. “I came up yesterday, we changed the shocks, change the whole car around, kept tightening it up, tightening it up- he said it was perfect both nights.” Crowley adding, “He’s a wheel man, such a wheel man.”

Friesen, a dirt modified racer who will be competing in about one hundred races this year ‘all over the place’ added, “Its game on now every weekend until November. This is the start of a long season, this is great.”

Nearly fifty TQ Midgets competed in the Saturday night and Sunday afternoon event with a cross section of drivers and teams that covered a wide span of talent as well as a wide variety of geographic locations. Erick Rudolph took down second in both events, “I gave him all I had. If things would have been different, if we had a stretch of green laps, I was never really able to go where I wanted to.” Rudolph will be back in action this summer running a dirt car closer to home in Ransomville, NY.

Crossing third, Joey Payne went in with a thoughtful strategy, “The first fifty I was just riding, trying to save my tires. Under the yellow, the break, we lowered the back of the car a little bit, went up on the pan hard bar to loosen up the car a bit, played with the shock a little bit and it worked.” Payne will have a full 2012 schedule. “I’m going to be busy. My 12-year old, Anthony, races quarter midgets. I get to race Saturday at Oswego then drive through the night to come home for Sunday racing at Wall Stadium. I get about two hours of sleep on Saturday night but I love it.”

Defending Coffee Cup Classic winner Ted Christopher and his team made a gallant effort that resulted in a top five Saturday night. “I’ve got to give it to all my guys for getting that thing together at the last minute like that, that was great.” Christopher was involved in an incident in the second heat race. “One of those guys hit me from behind, hit the left rear tire, jammed the rear and blew the ring and pinion out of it. That thing unfortunately is a major job to do the ring and pinion change, but they got it done. They took the whole rear end apart between the two consi’s and the go-kart feature and got me out at the last minute to make the TQ feature.” Christopher started 25th and crossed the line 5th, despite not having any power steering. “Luckily it worked out.” Christopher was well into the hunt in the 100 lap event but was forced to retire before the checkers.

Glen Reen from Wilbraham, MA, winner of the NWMT World Series event at Thompson Speedway in the fall claimed a top ten Saturday night in the 40 lap Coffee Cup Classic. Reen is ready for the 2012 season and is teamed up again with car owner Donnie Silverman to run for the SK Modified title at Stafford Motor Speedway..

Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: March 12, 2012

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