Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – PHOENIX, NY – It may not have been the season Larry Wight wanted to have on the Super DIRTcar Series tour in 2021.
However, to finish strong like he did with a good run at the World Finals may be the springboard he needs to come of the gates guns blazing in ’22.
Wight nearly won the opening night of racing at the Dirt Track at Charlotte in November, only to finish second to Alex Yankowski after leading most of the event.
What did the Phoenix, NY driver think of his season on tour?
“We had a really good year,” Wight said. “We were in the hunt, but just ran into a lot of bad luck.”
Luck needs to be on your side when you’re in these races if you want to have a shot at winning.
“There were a lot of races that we were in contention to win,” he said. “It’s just that luck wasn’t on our side or a part failure took away our chances to win.”
Wight finished eighth in Super DIRTcar Series points this past season with the second in Charlotte being his best result. He ended the season with four top 5’s and ten top 10’s to his credit, but a visit to victory lane eluded him.
With seven career Series triumphs to his credit, Wight knows his LJL Racing team is capable of winning but they have work to do if they want to get back near the top of the mountain.
“We were close in 2021,” he said. “However, we weren’t the premier car. We just have to do our homework for next year and do a little bit better.”
The crew is already working hard to improve the program for the 99L. Larry knows that for his team to be successful, they have to figure out ways to make their equipment better that their competitors.
“All of these cars out here right now are really, really close,” he said. “We’ve gone from the days of being able to get in the car and out-drive it to where everyone’s got the same stuff. Everyone’s even got the same set up and it’s become a lot harder to edge people out.”
Wight captured a single victory in DIRTcar Big Block Modified competition in 2021. That came at his Friday night home, the Brewerton Speedway, on August 6th. Even with that, he came within a whisper of taking home the track championship, missing out to Jimmy Phelps by eight markers.
The former Super DIRT Week Big Block Champion knows his competition stepped up their game this past season. He has as well, but now, he has to take it up even higher.
“It’s tough when you’ve got guys like Matt (Sheppard) out there,” he said. “When you’ve got guys like Mat (Williamson) and Stew (Friesen) that are running as well as they do. That’s when it’s hard to get a better car than them, but we’ll get there.”
The Super DIRTcar Series has a stout group of talented drivers that follows it to every event. The caliber of guys that could visit victory lane on any given night is what makes Wight want to win even worse.
“That’s why we do what we do,” he said. “That’s why we follow the Super DIRTcar Series. That’s why we need to stay together and keep the Series a premier class for the Modified division and make it the strongest class out there.”
Wight finished sixth in DIRTcar Weekly Championship points on the strength of 15 top 5’s and 20 top 10’s in 30 starts. In addition to his Big Block effort, he also captured three 358-Modified wins during the 2021 season, two of which came at his weekly Saturday night home, the Fulton Speedway. There, he finished fourth in the final points standings after capturing the track title two years ago (the most recent due to the pandemic).
If you’re looking for a driver always up on the wheel, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one like Larry Wight. He gets 110% out of his equipment and is a contender every time he straps in.
With a little more luck, he’ll get back to the front of the Super DIRTcar Series points picture, and that may be in 2022. The team’s already working hard to make that a reality.