Story By: MICHELINA FRISS / DIRTCAR – WEEDSPORT, NY – Mat Williamson had a night to remember Sunday evening at Weedsport Speedway. Not only did he secure his second points-paying win of the season in the Heroes Remembered 100, he did it in a car that performed as well as any driver could hope.
The Super DIRTcar Series Big Blocks lined up for their first 100-lap Feature of the season with a $7,500 payday on the line. After starting third on the grid, Williamson quickly moved past Jimmy Phelps and into second place, ready to chase leader Peter Britten. After staying within striking distance while navigating through lapped traffic, the St. Catharines, ON driver made his move on Lap 22 and passed the Australian competitor.
After finding clean air, Williamson established himself as the car to beat, with his Buzzchew Racing machine hitting its spots around every turn.
“The car felt really good,” Williamson said. “I didn’t know how far we were ahead of the second-place car…that’s one of those cars you get every once in a while. If you hit everything right, it’s just your night. And when it’s your night, it’s your night. And tonight, was my night.”
Williamson wove in and out of traffic during the 78 laps he held the lead, using both the inside and the outside of the track to maneuver around the lapped competitors.
“I just went where they weren’t for the most part,” Williamson said. “When the lapped cars were in front of us, we had to be really good at going where they weren’t, trying to keep the torque arms loaded, keep the thing rolling through the corner…you have to put good laps together, consistent laps. 100 laps is a long time around this place. Fortunately, tonight it paid off.”
Williamson’s machine performed so well that he lapped up to the fourth-place car by the final laps of the race.
Behind him, defending Series champion Matt Sheppard charged his way up from sixth position to second place. He too ran both the inside and the outside of the track, making his way around the 27-car field. While Williamson remained out of reach to anyone, Sheppard solidly held the second position, fending off any challenges. It wasn’t until the final lap that Jimmy Phelps was able to find an opening and take advantage of every inch of open track.
Coming out of Turn 4, Jimmy Phelps pushed his machine one last time to pass Sheppard on the top and move into second, effectively dropping Sheppard into third.
“Our cars were pretty even,” Phelps said. “Then you get into traffic, and you have to lick your chops a little bit and see how it works out. It went our way on that last corner. I felt good. Obviously, the #88 [Williamson] was in another zip code but when you can run with the #9s [Sheppard], you’re at least in the ballpark. We’ll take that away tonight and keep digging.”
Sheppard faced challenges keeping his car balanced and running optimally for the last portion of the race, attributing Phelps’s pass as a direct consequence.
“We got rolling a little bit in the middle of that race and thought we were a little better than that last week. And then kind of at the end there I just lost the balance. I’d either lose a nose or lose the back and I was kind of hanging on. I didn’t know whether to drive around the #70 [Alex Payne] or follow him and I guess I didn’t use enough race track up there at the end.”
Peter Britten finished fourth place followed by Chris Hile in fifth place to round out the top five.
The Super DIRTcar Series will travel east to Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, NY for a 100-lap, $13,500-to-win, showcase event – the first of six remaining Super DIRT Week 51 Qualifying events.
Results (100 Laps) 1. 88-Mat Williamson; 2. 98H-Jimmy Phelps; 3. 9S-Matt Sheppard; 4. 21A-Peter Britten; 5. 5H-Chris Hile; 6. 4-Anthony Perrego; 7. 83X-Tim Sears Jr; 8. M1-Dave Marcuccilli; 9. 7Z-Zachary Payne; 10. 35-Mike Mahaney; 11. 2-Jack Lehner; 12. 99L-Larry Wight; 13. 8H-Max McLaughlin; 14. 70A-Alex Payne; 15. 91D-Billy Decker; 16. 54-Steve Bernard; 17. 12-Darren Smith; 18. 16X-Dan Creeden; 19. 32R-Ronnie Davis III; 20. 215-Adam Pierson; 21. 91-Felix Roy; 22. 37M-Mathieu Desjardins; 23. (DNF) X-Chad Phelps; 24. (DNF) 22-Tanner Van Doren; 25. (DNF) 19-Tim Fuller; 26. (DNF) 29-Matt Caprara; 27. (DNF) 34-Kevin Root