Golden Jubilee: DIRTCar 358 Series - Tough to Beat the Regulars


Can-Am Speedway

Golden Jubilee: DIRTCar 358 Series - Tough to Beat the Regulars

The 2024 Golden Jubilee Season is closing quickly and opening day is right around the corner. Opening day will feature stars in three open wheel DIRTCar Series to kick off the year. One of those being the DIRTCar 358 Modified Series, which has been a part of Can-Am from the very start and has been important part of the 50 year track history.

In 1983 the DIRTCar 358 Modified Series, then known as the Mr. Dirt 320 Modified Championship trail, saw Can-Am be race number 7 in the series. Track regular and Northeast Hall of Famer Dave Heaslip collected the 50 lap victory over a stout field, which saw Andy Romano, 1985 Series champion Lin Hough, eventual Sprint Car star Mal Lane and Chuck Kennison complete the top 5.

That first series race started a run where Can-Am regulars could not be stopped over the next few events.

Heaslip followed up his ’83 victory, with a win in 1984 while former track champion Marcel “The Hammer Lafrance” claimed the win in the 1985 event. Doug “The Ox” Carlyle kept the string going, taking the win in 1986, on his way to the Mr. Dirt championship that year. It also marked the 2nd time in four years, the Mr. Dirt Championship went to a Can-Am regular, with Tony Corcoran winning the crown in its first year in 1983.

Other Can-Am regulars saw success in DIRTCar 358 Series events. Hall of Famer Ovide Doiron claimed a series win in 1989, while Pat O’Brien, another Hall of Famer, won his only Can-Am series race in September of 1990. More on Flyin’ O’Brien later.

Plenty of other popular names have stopped the invaders who came to Can-Am over the years.

In 1993 Rick Wilson marched to his only Series win in September which was quite popular with the hometown fans. Tim McCreadie thrilled the Can-Am crowd in 1997 by scoring a win and Tim Fuller also was victorious in 1999. Also more on him later.

In 2000 Frank Caprara would win the battle of track regulars on this night, as he passed Lee Gill and lead the final three laps to claim his first ever series win. Frankie would add a second career win in 2004. Danny O’Brien, who was inducted into the Northeast Hall of Fame in 2023, claimed his only Can-Am 358 Tour win in 2007.

In 39 total series events, a total of 23 of them have been won by Can-Am track regulars. However, only two drivers, who are Can-Am regulars, have won every DIRTCar 358 Series race since 2017, that would be six time track champion Billy Dunn and three time and reigning track titlist Tim Fuller.

Between the two Watertown natives, they have won the last 8 series races including the 2020 Oktoberfast event. Fuller has the lead in that category with 5 wins, while Dunn has 3.

Overall the DIRTCar 358 Modified Series championship has been stayed at Can-Am a total of 8 times in Series history. Tony Corcoran scored the first ever series title in 1983 with Doug Carlyle taking the ’86 crown. In 1988 was when 10 time track champion and 73 time feature winner, Pat O’Brien, began to leave his mark on the Series.

The Kingston Ontario native would become champion for the very first time in the ’88 season, then the first two time champion in 1990. O’Brien would later become the first three time series champion, taking the ’92 crown. In 1995 Pat would score, at the time, his record, 4th series championship, driving for his own team.

Other Can-Am regulars who have series titles include Tim Fuller, who won it as a regular in 1993 and also won a second crown in 2003 as a non-track regular. 26 years later Billy Dunn would bring the DIRTCar 358 Series title back to Can Am, winning it in 2021.

Needless to say, Can-Am track regulars don’t take a back seat to the invaders on any given night. From Dave Heaslip in 1983 to Tim Fuller in 2023, the series races have been important to the drivers and very important in being part of the 50 year history of the speedway.

The Golden Jubilee season is on the way as the Thunder in the 1000 Islands weekend will kick off the 50th year of operation for the track, highlighted by the Super DIRTCar Series and the opener for the DIRTCar 358 Modified Series April 12th and 13th.

Stay tuned to our website at and the track Facebook page for more feature stories on drivers, special events and historical moments that have all been part of the 50 years at Can Am Speedway in Lafargeville New York.

Track Regulars with Series wins at Can-Am
Dave Heaslip- 1983, 1984
Marcel Lafrance- 1985
Doug Carlyle- 1986
Ovide Doiron- 1989
Pat O’Brien- 1990
Rick Wilson- 1993
Tim McCreadie- 1997
Tim Fuller- 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023
Danny O’Brien- 2007
Billy Dunn- 2017, 2019, 2021

Past Can Am DIRTCar 358 Series Champions
Tony Corcoran- 1983
Doug Carlyle- 1986
Pat O’Brien- 1988, 1990, 1992, 1995
Tim Fuller- 1993, 2003*(not a track regular in this season)
Billy Dunn- 2021

Article Credit: Tim Baltz

Submitted By: Tyler & Michelle Bartlett

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