Story By: JORDAN DELUCIA / DIRTCAR – WEEDSPORT, NY – Twenty-three wins combined between “the big three” of the DIRTcar Pro Stock ranks this year – Nick Stone, Luke Horning and Josh Coonradt. Sunday night’s DIRTcar OktoberFAST presentation from the Weedsport Speedway casted the same stars for its big finale, live on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.
In the end, a second OktoberFAST checkered flag for Stone this week and a ninth trip to Victory Lane this season in DIRTcar competition. Right behind him – his two biggest competitors of Horning and Coonradt.
“With the amount of races we’ve done, and our finishes… we’ve been a top-three car every time we hit the track, with a couple DNFs. But it’s just been a phenomenal season. It’s because of the people that help me, really. We’ve had the best crew; each person had a job and took care of it all year long,” Stone said atop Weedsport’s Victory Hill.
By just glancing at the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship points standings, you wouldn’t be able to tell of Stone’s dominance right away, as he currently sits sixth with nine wins, 14 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s. While he’s now atop the win column, his starts column is actually most impressive – all of those finishes through just 17 starts.
Stone used every bit of that consistency Sunday night as he led flag-to-flag in the 25-lap contest for the $1,000 prize.
The Manibal jumped out to a comfortable lead after a few restarts on the opening circuits and set the pace with Coonradt jumping up to second just a few laps later.
Horning started from seventh on the grid and reached Coonradt’s rear bumper within the first ten laps. Now in the thick of lapped traffic, Coonradt got hung out behind a slower car going down the backstretch on Lap 12, opening the door for Cuzzin Luke to take the spot down low.
“When I passed [Josh] Coonradt on the bottom, I said “man, we got something, we just need a yellow.’ There were no yellows, but we were catching lapped traffic and I said, “this might work out for us,’” Horning said of the move for second.
As the laps clicked off and the finish line neared, the traffic thickened in front of Stone. Horning was reeling him in with a blistering pace and a hunger for redemption after the late-race incident with Coonradt while running second at Albany-Saratoga on Tuesday.
But even the slower traffic wasn’t enough to put a dent in Stone’s race for victory.
He ran up on two lapped cars after taking the white flag, opening the door for Horning down low. Horning pulled almost even with Stone at the exit of Turn 2 and drag raced him down the backstretch, but Stone held strong on the top and made it around the line of traffic unscathed to pick up the win by just .364 seconds.
“Lapped cars held me down some laps,” Stone said. “I saw Luke [Horning] was fast all night long too, so seeing him there at the end doesn’t surprise me at all. I wasn’t sure how close [he was] or what, but I knew he’d be the guy coming. I just looked at the cars in front of me and made sure they didn’t hold me up too long.”
Coonradt crossed the line with the final podium spot a few seconds back. While he didn’t get that trip to Victory Lane he was looking for, he did earn redemption from OktoberFAST opening night’s spin late in the Feature Tuesday night.
“Anytime you finish third to those two… you’re racing the best out there, so there’s no shame in third place for us,” Coonradt said. “We had a good car tonight. A little off, but what are you gonna do. There’s thirty-something cars out there and we don’t come here much, so we’re happy with our finish.”
At the end of the day, they’re friends, competitors and podium-stackers. Horning described the relationship he shares with Stone and Coonradt at the track with the following:
“Josh [Coonradt] has joked around many times – it’s the ‘big three’ – we all pit near each other, we all get along well and it seems like it’s always us, no matter where we go,” Horning said.
And so, what began just six days ago is now all said and done. DIRTcar Racing would like to thank all of those who competed in the OktoberFAST events, fans that watched on DIRTVision, sponsors that stepped up and track staffs that helped to put each event together. What a great way to cap off the 2020 season!
Feature (25 Laps) 1. 27-Nick Stone [$1,000]; 2. 2H-Luke Horning [$600]; 3. 70X-Josh Coonradt [$450]; 4. 711-Rich Crane [$325]; 5. 324-Jason Casey [$275]; 6. 2-Peter Stefanski [$225]; 7. 25-Chad Jeseo [$200]; 8. 23T-Scott Towslee [$180]; 9. 1X-Mike White [$160]; 10. 322-Jay Casey [$140]; 11. 74N-Jim Normoyle [$120]; 12. 711X-Chris Crane [$110]; 13. 14-Kim Duell [$100]; 14. 7-Rob Yetman [$100]; 15. 28-Burton Ward [$100]; 16. 35-Ken Gates [$100]; 17. 10-Tony Markou [$100]; 18. 6C-Brian Carter [$100]; 19. 15-Beau Ballard [$100]; 20. 96-Andrew Graves [$100]; 21. 67R-Johnny Rivers [$100]; 22. 110-Devon Camenga [$100]; 23. 99-Buck Gasner [$100]; 24. 3K-Shawn Kirby [$100]; 25. 4M-Jordan Modiano [$100]; 26. 9-Shane Henderson [$100]; 27. 57K-Kevin Fetterly [$100]; 28. 56-Jay Fitzgerald [$100]; 29. X15-Tyler Bushey [$100]; 30. 8K-Ivan Joslin [$100] Stirling Lubricants Hard Charger Award: 322-Jay Casey[+10]