FULLER SCORES SECOND STRAIGHT DYNOMAX VICTORIA 200 WIN IN 20TH ANNUAL EVENT AT FULTON SPEEDWAY
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FULTON, NY – Track regular Tim Fuller of Edwards put an exclamation point on his 2005 DIRT Modified Track Championship race season at Fulton Speedway on Saturday by winning his second straight Dynomax Victoria 200 in the 20th Annual running of the historic fall classic. Fuller, who only captured one regular season victory at the high banked track, claimed $20,000 plus for his efforts behind the wheel of the B&F General Machine, Bob Faust owned No. M1.
The 200, split in two 100-lap segments with a 20 minute break at halfway to make adjustments, is held yearly at Fulton Speedway in the fall in the honor of Victoria M. Benway, wife of Fulton Speedway founder Bub Benway. 20 years ago in 1986, Victoria passed away leaving everyone with memories that will last a lifetime. Bub decided to name the richest Small Block Modified race in the country in her honor, fitting to her tribute every fall at the track they ran since 1961.
In 2004, under the leadership of current Fulton Speedway promoters Harvey, Joan, and David Fink, the speedway changed to weekly Big Block Modified competition, which left several Fulton Speedway regulars unable to race because the Victoria 200 was a Small Block only event. Compiled with the changes in DIRT Motorsports in the off season, and the desire to make the Victoria 200 more of an open race like it once was, Fulton Speedway management opened the rules up for the 2005 edition, allowing Big Block Modified engines and even alcohol to power the cars. The race would be held under the good graces of sanctioning body DIRT Motorsports, but the event would not be sanctioned.
Fuller used all of this to his advantage, bringing the Big Block Modified he won with at Super DIRT Week last fall to capture his third career victory in the Victoria 200. Fuller survived an early race side by side duel for many laps with Billy Decker and a near collision with Decker early in the second half in turn one to take the popular victory. Both drivers raced cleanly in and out of lapped traffic as they raced for the lead, which they exchanged nine times amongst themselves.
“What a great night,” said an ecstatic Fuller who began his racing career in the entry level Pure Stock ranks at Fulton. “We raced in and out of lapped traffic, it was good, close racing, never coming together. We raced each other hard.” Fuller summed up his duel with good friend Decker by saying, “This is what racing is all about, you didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Matt Sheppard and Brett Hearn paced the 42-car starting field down to the flags of Starter Larry Fink, with Hearn, looking for his first ever Fulton and Victoria 200 victory, racing out to the early lead. The usual four and five wide racing, which makes the Victoria 200 well known at the spacious and wide Fulton Speedway, began thrilling fans almost immediately.
Fuller, who started ninth, took the lead from Hearn on lap 19. Billy Decker, who started twenty sixth, charged up through the field to begin challenging Fuller for the lead on lap 37. A typical Fulton duel for position began between the two, which would last for the next 100 or so laps. Decker took the lead on lap 60, while Fuller led lap 65. Decker momentarily led lap 66, but Fuller continued the great battle taking over control again on lap 67. The battle would heat up as the drivers neared the halfway point, Decker did lead lap 96, but Fuller wrestled his way back into first on lap 97.
At the halfway point of the 200-lap grind, the top fourteen drivers, all on the lead lap, were Tim Fuller, Billy Decker, Pat Ward, Alan Johnson, Brett Hearn, Gary Tomkins, Pat O’Brien, Frank Cozze, Danny Johnson, Mitch Gibbs, Jimmy Phelps, Willy Decker, and Alan Rudalavage. The drivers then headed to the pits for the traditional quick 20 minute break to refuel their cars and make changes.
During the break, Fuller was presented the $1,000 to win Benway Halfway Challenge award for leading lap 100. The award was presented by the grand niece and grand nephew of Bub and Victoria Benway – A.J. and Victoria Kingsley. Absent was grand niece Ashley Kingsley who could not be on hand. Both A.J. and Victoria also gave the command before the race to fire engines, something they traditionally had done many years while their family operated the speedway.
At the start of the second 100-lap segment, Fuller continued his lead with Decker right behind constantly applying pressure. Decker took command on lap 117 and led until lap 132 when Fuller retook the lead in heavy lapped traffic. It was a lead that Fuller would never relinquish, as he pulled away somewhat in the final 50-laps. Decker would only close in lapped traffic but was never able to apply serious pressure.
When the checkered flag flew, Fuller crossed the finish line 1.435 seconds ahead of Decker, with Pat Ward, Alan Johnson, and early leader Brett Hearn completing the top five. Mitch Gibbs made a late race charge to finish sixth, ahead of Gary Tomkins, Jimmy Phelps, Frank Cozze, and Bobby Varin. Alan Rudalavage, the final car on the lead lap, finished in eleventh.
Eight minor cautions slowed the 200-lap event for 32 laps. One red flag flew, on lap 3 for Jeff Strunk, who flipped out of the ballpark in turn one. Strunk was uninjured in the incident, but the same could not be said for his No. 88s.
The always exciting and dramatic Victoria 200 qualifying heat races were won by Dale Planck, Brett Hearn, Tim Fuller, Pat Ward, Alan Johnson, Gus Schmidt Jr., Pat Ward, Donnie Wetmore Jr, and Matt Sheppard. The tough consi races were won by Frankie Caprara Jr., Billy Shantel Jr., Ryan Phelps, Frank Cozze, and A.J. Romano. The Fernandez Auto Mall last chance to qualify 8-lap All-Star Event was won by Bobby Varin, followed by Jeff Strunk, Tom Sears Jr., Chad Phelps, Ted Lamb Jr., and Mike Colsten.
With the ending of the 20th Annual Dynomax Victoria 200, the 2005 Fulton Speedway race season is now over, with everyone looking forward to the Season Awards Banquet. The banquet will be held Friday November 4th at the Wyndham in Syracuse. For more information or to order tickets, please contact the Fulton Speedway track office at (315) 593-6531 or visit www.fultonspeedway.com.
VICTORIA 200 PIT NOTES – 93 Modifieds and 80 Drivers came to Fulton Speedway for the first Victoria 200 run under the new rules format. The weather was beautiful, with highs in the upper 70s, and sunny conditions. At nighttime, the air was chilled but comfortable for the capacity crowd on hand, leaving plenty of moisture in the track surface for all 200-laps. Billy Decker crossed the finish line in heat 8 in first, but was penalized two spots for jumping the last restart, much to his displeasure. The “Rookie of the Race” award has to go to Alan Rudalavage, who finished a strong eleventh, and was the last car to complete all 200 laps. Alan is the brother of Jeff Rudalavage, semi Fulton regular and Alan Johnson’s car owner. The win for Fuller was the eighteenth of his career at Fulton. Many drivers attempted to race in the “Pauch Line” up along the walls in the turns as the cushion got pushed out further and further. Without a doubt, Vic Coffey was entertaining to say the least as he drove his heart out, nearly hitting the fourth turn and second turn walls each time he exited the corners. Ten lead changes made the race memorable as ever, with Fuller and Decker accounting for nine changes. Fuller has now won three of the last eight Victoria 200 events since the Fink family began promoting the event. Alan Johnson has won four of those events, while younger brother Danny has one win in 2000. Fuller’s first Victoria 200 win came in 1998, ironically the last Victoria 200 to be run without a DIRT Motorsports sanction.
FULTON SPEEDWAY RACE SUMMARY
DAY 2 – 20TH ANNUAL DYNOMAX VICTORIA 200 WEEKEND
OCTOBER 1, 2005
20TH ANNUAL DYNOMAX VICTORIA 200 – TIM FULLER, Billy Decker, Pat Ward, Alan Johnson, Brett Hearn, Mitch Gibbs, Gary Tomkins, Jimmy Phelps, Frank Cozze, Bobby Varin, Alan Rudalavage, Danny Johnson, Pat O’Brien, Willy Decker, Todd Burley, Tom Sears Jr, Danny O’Brien, Vic Coffey, Ryan Phelps, Scott Prentice, A.J. Romano, Matt DeLorenzo, Billy Shantel Jr., Pierre Dagenais, Donnie Wetmore Jr., John Barker Jr., Dave Rauscher, Jeff Isabell, Gus Schmidt Jr., Ted Lamb Jr., Dale Planck, Tony Buffa Jr., Frankie Caprara Jr., Matt Sheppard, Tim Sears, Steve Paine, Ron Holmes, Bob McCreadie, Steve Hulsizer, Jimmy Horton, Paul Kinney, Jeff Strunk.