Column By: ADAM CORNELL / RPW – LAFARGEVILLE, NY – For the last two years, two faces have shown up in victory lane for the Whitesboro Plow Shop DIRTcar 358 Modified series at Can-Am with such regularity that it almost felt like a foregone conclusion that either Billy Dunn or Tim Fuller would be the winner week in and week out.
Friday, fans were treated to a surprise as the checkered flag waved over the track. Derek Webb, of Brownville, New York, found his way into victory lane after battling against a talented field which included Tim Fuller, Lance Willix, Jordan McCreadie, Ryan Bartlett, Jack Meeks and more.
Prior to taking the lead, Webb was chasing Meeks of Evans Mills, New York for first place. Meeks had started fourth and climbed up to first in early laps. It took all the way until only six laps remained in the twenty-five-lap feature before Webb was able to slip by in his slick looking blue and white 66W machine. Meeks continued to race hard, but drifted back in the field a bit, finishing where he started in fourth position.
It was Webb’s first victory of the year, after a somewhat frustrating start to the season. He had only cracked into the top 5 once previously on the year, finished near the back of the field at Fulton Speedway twice, and had engine trouble back on May 18th at Can-Am, receiving a DNF at 27th position for the night.
Webb looked solid throughout the race, Friday night, however. There were no signs of struggle as he methodically climbed through the field from his 8th position start after placing third in his qualifying heat earlier in the night.
“After everything this year, all the motor breaks and everything, it was great to get the win. I was biding my time there, waiting and waiting for a chance, and I finally got it there at the end,” Webb said from victory lane.
Once Webb got his opportunity to get by Meeks, he never looked back. Taylor Caprara, of Watertown, New York, was the closest driver to Webb to provide any kind of credible threat to take the lead, but Webb hit his marks perfectly and steered through the corners with precision to grab the win.
Had the race gone another five laps, however, that may not have been the outcome, as 2021 track champion and current points leader, Tim Fuller, of Watertown, New York, was charging up from his 21st position start, passing up competitors left and right. On the final lap of the race, Fuller supplanted Meeks for third position and looked to have the fastest car on the track. Another couple of laps and Webb may have had his hands full with Fuller, but 25 laps was the cap and Webb happily took his first checkered flag as the lead car in 2022.
It was the highlight of firsts for the night at Can-Am Speedway. Gavin Eisele of La Fargeville, New York won his first Bob Johnson Auto Group DIRTcar Sportsman Modified feature of the year at Can-Am. Logan Chrisafulli also notched his first victory in the Panther Frameworx 602 Crate Sprint Car feature. Another first victory dor the year went to Jock Symonds of La Fargeville, New York in the Marsha Gibbons TLC Real Estate Thunder Car feature.
With the victory Friday night, Derek Webb jumped up in the points standings to second place in the battle for track supremacy. Only Tim Fuller stands in his way for first place. No doubt, Webb will have a lot of work on his hands if he wants to beat out Fuller for the championship. But if Friday night was any indicator, Webb has the speed and skill to do just that.
The night’s racing was sponsored by Bob Johnson Auto Group, located on outer Washington Street in Watertown, New York.