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ALAN JOHNSON'S SEASON-OPENING WIN OVERTURNED
By DIRT MotorSports PR
WEEDSPORT, N.Y. – Alan Johnson was the first driver to take the checkered flag in the 2005 DIRT Modified season-opener at Fulton Speedway on April 16. Four days later, race runner-up Pat Ward was officially credited with the feature win in Fulton's 8th Annual Showdown at Sundown after Johnson's car was deemed underweight.
"I promised the teams equal treatment," stated Martin Willis, DIRT MotorSports™ V.P. Technical Operations, "and applying the rules per the rulebook is the only fair and equal way I know how to do it. There may be one upset team, but the other way you have twenty plus upset teams. I feel there was a little confusion on the official weight, but once the error was realized, it was rectified in a very professional manner. Our experience is, Fulton is and always will be a fair place to race under DIRT rules."
Since Johnson posted the convincing victory, a number of protests were lodged soonafter concerning the weight of the car, which was 2438 track scale pounds. Fulton promoter Harvey Fink was under the impression that the old weight rule used by DIRT in the past was still in effect, thus allowing the win to stand at that time and overruling the DIRT tech inspectors at the track.
In the days immediately following the event, additional protests were filed with the DIRT MotorSports™ offices in Colorado. Fink was informed about the old weight rules that were no longer in effect and that the 2005 minimum weight is 2450 pounds for a DIRT legal small-block in competition with big-blocks that weigh in at 2500 pounds.
"Due to this infraction it is DIRT’s ruling that the win be credited to the second place finisher, Pat Ward, and that Alan be placed and pointed last along with a handicap for the win," Willis said. "All other drivers will be moved up one position in points for that event. Harvey is taking full responsibility for his actions and has offered that Johnson keep the purse money for the event. Our own staff regrets any misunderstanding although DIRT had no option but to overturn the original result. By following the rules set down by DIRT MotorSports, Fulton Speedway is and will remain a fair and just place to race."
With Johnson's apparent win in the caution free 45-lap DIRT Modified main now scratched, the battle of the race for second position between open-wheel veterans Ward and Danny Johnson ultimately turned out to be for victory. Tim McCreadie, Matt Sheppard and Justin Haers completed the revised top-five feature finishers while Tim Fuller, Gary Tomkins, Tom Sears, Billy Decker and Jeff Rudalavage, Johnson's car owner, filled out the new top-10.