Owego, New York
Champion - Owego, New York - September 6, 2009
By Jason Bonsignore - Eastern Speedway Promotions
BULLY DOG US Open Championships
Hedden Crowned Bully Dog US Open Speedway Champ
Photo by Jody Garris
The largest crowd of the 2009 East Coast Speedway season was on hand at Champion Speedway on Sept. 6th to witness some great racing at the 2009 Bully Dog John F. Stalma US Open Championship Finals.
Round one of heat races kicked off with points leader Tommy Hedden scoring a win over Jerry "Buford" Harman. Josh Carr was third with Keith Hawkins last. Next up was defending Champion, Shawn "Mad Dog" McConnell of Bully Dog Racing, and he took a first over Brian Hollenbeck. Mikey Buman was third with Warren Diem last. Track Champion, Adam Mittl, then defeated Jesse Diem with Dave Clark third and Russ "Doctor Dirt" Cornell fourth. Tuff McBride concluded the first round with a victory. Coming in second was Corey Brookes while third went to Andy "Crawfish" Crawford and Shawn "Steamboat" Engel was last.
McConnell, Hedden, W. Diem and Harman all were in the winners circle in series two of heat racing and taking valuable seconds were McBride, Mittl, Carr and Buman.
The third round began with Hollenbeck getting his first win. Taking second to him was Brookes. The big showdown between Hedden and McConnell was next but Hedden outran the champ for first. Buman scored three crucial points in his heat race with a win over J. Diem and McBride was the winner against Mittl and W. Diem in that order.
Just after intermission W. Diem finished his heat races with a first place while Clark was second. Hedden remained undefeated with his besting of second placed Buman. McConnell then got revenge on Mittl from the night before by taking the checkers first while Harman finished things off with a three point haul over J. Diem.
The evenings D-Final was won by Hawkins with Crawford second, Ray Barondick third, Engel fourth and Mark Bradley fifth. Hollenbeck was an uncontested winner of the C-final with Carr second, Brookes third and Cornell fourth. Mittl could not be stopped in the B-final as he led from the gate to the finish. Clark ended up second, J. Diem was third and Harman last.
The four A-Finals where each of the top four points scorers get a gate position once and the fifth rider gets gate five each time were spectacular. The first feature saw Hedden get a great start and be momentarily challenged by McBride for a lap before pulling away to the win. McConnell was third with Diem fourth and Buman fifth.
The second time out McConnell was determined to score full points and needed to in order to stay within striking distance of Hedden for the title. He did just that with a perfect ride. Hedden stayed consistent with second, Diem rode hard on the outside for third and McBride and Buman were fourth and fifth.
McConnell could not be slowed in the third final as he won again with a good gate. Hedden was second with McBride third this time and Diem fourth.
It all came down to the last race and McConnell needed to win. He won convincingly but Hedden would have needed to have been third to force a tie breaker for the crown and he rode well again to take second and the Championship by one point on his MXRC/NGK/JUSTICE BROS/ARAI Jawa! Diem was third but would end up fourth overall, McBride took fourth and ended up on the podium in third and was crowned the Stormin Norman Robinson Cup winner for being top NY scorer while Buman fell and would take fifth overall.
Bully Dog John F. Stalma US Open Speedway Championships
1. Tommy Hedden - Champion
2. Shawn McConnell
3. Tuff McBride - Winner of Stormin Norman Robinson Cup for top New York scorer
4. Warren Diem
5. Mikey Buman
6. Adam Mittl
7. Jerry Harman
Support A Champion
Support B Champion
Tommy Hedden and podium 1st Hedden 2nd McConnell 3rd McBride
Photo by Jody Garris