Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – SYRACUSE, NY – When it comes to the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series in 2023, it appeared as if Mat Williamson could do no wrong.
In the end, that was evident to everyone in DIRTcar Racing as the St. Catherines, ONT driver won half of the Series events this season and captured his first career Series crown.
Williamson was honored for his achievements Saturday night in Syracuse, NY at the annual Night of Champions.
“We had just a really good year with our 358-Modified,” Williamson said. “Early on in the season, we focused more on traveling with the Small Block car. Then, at the end of the year, we got lucky with Port Royal raining out which transferred our focus to Brockville.”
At the season-ending Fall Nationals at the Ontario track, Williamson was able to score a second-place finish to Corey Wheeler and won the championship handily by 89 points.
“We were just able to put it all together this season,” he said. “No matter which team we drove for, it was just a good year with the 358.”
Williamson’s season on the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series was simply awesome. In eight events, Mat scored six top 5’s and seven top 10’s, including four wins. Those checkered flags came at Albany-Saratoga, Brewerton, Fulton and his first triumph in the Salute to the Troops 150 at Super DIRT Week.
With all of the victories Williamson has on his resume, that victory at Oswego Speedway in October had eluded him, until 2023.
“We went into Oswego kind of focused on winning the 358-Modified race,” he said. “Obviously, the Big Block stuff pays more but that race was one that I had never gotten. That and the Fonda 200 were the two big races we had never won so to put it all together was pretty special.”
For Williamson, that victory wasn’t just him. It was a total team effort.
“We wanted that win so we put a little more emphasis on that race than we normally would,” he said. “(John) Cocco’s Small Block ran really well. We had a good motor in the car that was a deal between Wayne Conn and my dad (Randy Williamson). We put everything together for that race and just had a great team.”