OSWEGO — Mat Williamson took away any drama of a race for the $50,000 top prize in Sunday’s Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at Oswego Speedway, but there was plenty of drama behind him.
The St. Catharines, Ontario, driver is in his first year with the Buzz Chew team, and in a race that lasted more than three hours, he won by 6.3 seconds to capture his first Super DIRT Week finale.
“Wow, what a dream season this has been! I grew up watching races like this. I am more than excited for the Buzz Chew team, as they deserve this with the amount of work they put in it. They give me a strategy and I trust whatever they want to do. Their strategy hit the nail right on the head,” Williamson said.
He withstood a closing lap caution flag, but the action was right behind him in the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified main event.
With a half a lap to go, Anthony Perrego was running second in a Ray Graham car, but he ran out of fuel and suddenly was shuffled from second to 13th.
Tim Fuller, who was in a late-race battle trying to salvage fourth, found the right lane and raced to the runner-up spot.
“I was fourth with two laps to go and we struggled all day long,” Fuller said. “Who would have thought we could come out of here with second? These pit stop races really take a lot. It was a great finish.”
Brett Hearn, who blew a motor and missed time trials, scratched and clawed his way through the weekend. He fought his way to start 27th on the grid and despite a few pit stops was in the right place at the right time to wind up third at the end.
“We had a strategy, but there were long yellows and we were having fuel issues. I got in a jingle and lost track position, but it all came around and with 10 to go I really think we were the fastest car at the end,” Hearn said.
Pole-sitter Billy Decker led early and on lap 6 it was Perrego taking over to continue in that position until the halfway point.
With 100 laps down it was Perrego, Tim Sears Jr., Jimmy Phelps, Williamson, Decker, Max McLaughlin, Marc Johnson, Ryan Godown, Matt Sheppard, and Stewart Friesen filling the top 10.
Numerous yellow flags throughout the race kept the field bunched, but also created chaotic situations in a single-lane track.
Sears inherited the lead at lap 101 when the leader pitted, and he surrendered the top spot to Williamson on lap 120 when he made his own pit stop.
Once again he “Williamsonized” the field as he was never again tested. Williamson kept the point through numerous restarts and with his advantage was able to maneuver around substantial holes.
Shortly after 120 laps were recorded, a restart saw contact between the cars of Michael Maresca and Matt Sheppard, sitting third and fourth respectively. Sheppard’s car sustained substantial rear end damage and his race was over.
The lone major accident of the day occurred on lap 121 when two cars touched tires entering turn 3. There was a major jam behind the duo. Nearly a dozen cars were impacted by the crash, which left 40-year SDW competitor Alan Johnson’s car on its side as the only flip victim of the weekend, and Robbie Bellinger with a mangled machine from the impact with the boiler plate.
Drivers had settled into comfortable positions with Ryan Godown taking over the runner-up spot by lap 125.
With 50 laps left, Williamson, Godown, Chris Hile, Erick Rudolph, Perrego, Kenny Tremont, Hearn, McLaughlin, Johnson, and Jimmy Horton were the top 10.
By the end of the race Hile had fallen back, Rudolph ran out of fuel, and McLaughlin had a tire fly off.
At the checkers it was Williamson, Fuller, Hearn, Godown and Jimmy Phelps (who picked up five spots in the last 20 laps).
Williamson, who also won Thursday’s 358 Modified Hurricane 100 at Brewerton, remains in contention for the Super DIRTcar Series title.
Billy Whittaker Cars 200
Super DIRTcar Series (200 laps): 1. Mat Williamson (88), 2. Tim Fuller (19), 3. Brett Hearn (20), 4. Ryan Godown (26), 5. Jimmy Phelps (98h), 6. Stewart Friesen (44), 7. Chris Hile (5H), 8. Billy Decker (91), 9. Jimmy Horton (43h), 10. Marc Johnson (3J), 11. Tom Sears Jr. (62s), 12. Kenny Tremont Jr. (115), 13. Anthony Perrego (18), 14. Peter Britten (21a), 15. Pat Ward (42p), 16. Justin Haers (3), 17. Tim Sears Jr. (83x), 18. Danny Johnson (27J), 19. Kyle Coffey (23), 20. Dave Marcuccilli (1m), 21. Erick Rudolph (25), 22. Duane Howard (8a), 23. Ryan Susice (3rs), 24. Billy Dunn (49), 25. Max McLaughlin (6h), 26. Jack Lehner (2L), 27. Demetrios Drellos (111), 28. Mike Mahaney (35), 29. Ryan Watt (14w), 30. Michael Maresca (7mm), 31. Matt Sheppard (9s), 32. Alan Johnson (14J), 33. Rob Bellinger (11r), 34. Gary Lindberg (96L), 35. Paul St. Sauveur (37), 36. Danny Varin (93), 37. Dave Constantino (34), 38. Jessey Mueller (19m), 39. Gary Tomkins (84), 40. Larry Wight (99L), 41. Billy VanInwegen (4v).