Home / Dirt Tour News / CNYM Exclusive: News and Notes From Friday’s Super DIRTcar Series Triple 30’s

CNYM Exclusive: News and Notes From Friday’s Super DIRTcar Series Triple 30’s

By CAMDEN PROUD

Over 300 race cars took part in Friday’s ‘DIRTcar Day’ under the lights at Oswego Speedway and among them were 78 Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds vying for a total of 24 spots in Sunday’s 200-lap, $50,000 to win Billy Whittaker Cars and Trux NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week headliner.

Winning 30-lap qualifiers were Jimmy Phelps, Super DIRTcar Series points leader Matt Sheppard, and Mat Williamson; who has been red hot with the Buzz Chew No. 88 ride. Phelps and Williamson were able to double up as they also won their DIRTcar 358 Modified qualifiers earlier in the evening.

Triple 1 Recap 

Phelps, who tied with Justin Haers for sixth place in qualifying on Thursday afternoon, was able to fly from his starting spot in third to the win. The ‘Baldwinsville Bandit’ first got around Sunday’s polesitter Billy Decker, and eventually Tim Fuller on a lap 11 restart, to claim the top spot. Once the 98H got out front, Phelps never looked back enroute to a dominant victory.

“I can’t thank my guys enough for putting their heads together on these two cars all week,” Phelps said. “It hasn’t been the best year, but we have a couple of really good pieces to work with for Saturday and Sunday. We are happy to be up front and can’t ask for much more than to walk out of here with a couple wins on Friday night.”

Behind Phelps, Mike Mahaney, Decker, Fuller, and HBR Racing teammate Max McLaughlin were able to join the lock-in’s in the top five. Finishing in the top ten were Marc Johnson, Demetrios Drellos, Tim Sears Jr, Kyle Coffey, and Jessey Mueller. These five drivers locked into Sunday’s big show as well.

Triple 1 Notes 

DNQ’s were Billy VanInwegen, Ryan Watt, Jeff Strunk, Adam Roberts, Rusty Smith, Robbie Bellinger, Whittaker, Rick Laubach, Mike Gular, Bodie Bellinger, Steve Bernier, Francois Bellemare, Daniel Johnson, Eldon Payne, and Jason Occhino…

While Friday was a struggle for one half of the PA drivers, it was a success for the other as Duane Howard and Ryan Godown were able to run well enough to get in the show. Watt and Strunk experienced their share of difficulties in the first qualifier…

Race sponsor Billy Whittaker will start his Saturday from the outside looking in with the Whittaker Cars & Trux 109 big block, but he was able to sneak in a transfer spot in the first 358 qualifier, finishing seventh…

Drellos continues to show improvement. The Albany-Saratoga regular who won the NAPA Super DIRT Week qualifier at the ‘Great Race Place’ just a few weeks ago is not only a guaranteed starter, but earned his way into the field with a strong heat race effort as well…

Also turning heads was Coffey, son of longtime Modified driver Vic Coffey. Kyle picked up his first career win at the Outlaw Speedway this past summer and showed he is poised to compete with the best of them after driving into the field Friday evening…

Friday was also a good night for Sears, as Tim has had a season he’d probably much rather forget, seemingly being bit by bad luck from every direction. Any time you can lock in to avoid the bread and butter races is a big relief…

Triple 2 Recap 

In the second triple of the night, Matt Sheppard did Matt Sheppard things. The outside pole-sitter for the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 rocketed out to the lead alongside Anthony Perrego, and from there, nobody was able to touch the No. 9s machine. Erick Rudolph came from fifth to finish second over Perrego, Rick Laubach, and Pat Ward in the top five.

“It was a good run and we’ll take it,” offered Sheppard. “The track was doing a lot of different things. It had a lot of grip in some places and in others, not so much. Especially going into turn three. I thought it might have been a little closer than it was with Erick (Rudolph), but fortunately we had a good race car and starting spot and were able to hang on.”

While Sheppard dominated out front, there were several cars to watch in this race including Gypsum Racing teammates Larry Wight and Pat Ward. Ward has had a miserable week, destroying his primary small block car at Weedsport and struggling in the time trials for both classes. Ward was able to sneak by Wight in the closing laps to crack the top five.

Passing more cars than anyone was the ‘Corporate Jet,’ Brett Hearn. After breaking an intake valve prior to qualifying, this put Hearn behind the eight ball for the entire weekend. Or did it? The Sussex, NJ driver was able to flat out kick ass in his heat race, coming from 29th all the way to a transfer spot in ninth place.

Locking in with Sheppard, Rudolph, Perrego, Laubach, Ward, Wight, and Hearn, were the seventh, eighth, and tenth place cars of Ryan Godown, Chris Hile, and Jimmy Horton. Hearn and Horton were both able to get by Peter Britten on a late restart to take over the final two transfer spots.

Triple 2 Notes 

DNQ’s included Britten, Dave Constantino, Chad Phelps, Gary Lindberg, Keith Flach, Chris Curtis, Dan Humes, Brian McDonald, Dave Allen, Brian Whittemore, Roy Bresnahan, Alissa Cody, Dillon Groover, Mike Maresca, Gary Edwards, David Hebert, and Danny Varin…

Varin, Hebert, Edwards and Maresca were pitside early due to mechanical woes…

Flach, Groover, and McDonald all made contact with the outside steel at one point or another during the 30-lapper…

Breaking a Super DIRT Week record making his 45th start in the Whittaker Cars 200 on Sunday is 63 year-0ld Horton of Neshanic Station, NJ. All these years later, the ‘Sensational One’ is still a crowd favorite…

Triple 3 Recap 

With satellite wins at Utica-Rome and Brewerton, a second at Weedsport, and a win in one of the three DIRTcar 358 Modified Series Triple 25’s, Canadian Mat Williamson earned his third win of the week in the final Super DIRTcar Series Triple 30. The Buzz Chew No. 88 was seemingly untouchable on Friday evening.

“I couldn’t be any happier going into Sunday,” commented Williamson. “We are so confident in our two race cars right now that we even elected to opt out of the practice sessions this afternoon. Having a week like we have been helps a ton as far as mindset and things like that are concerned for Saturday and Sunday. We’re going into it with a lot of confidence.”

The other guaranteed starter in the final qualifier; Justin Haers, did not fair nearly as well. Hears slowed to bring out the yellow while running in third place with six laps to go. It appeared that there were sparks shooting out the rear end of the No. 3 ride as Haers brought it into the infield.

With Haers out of the picture, this meant that only the top nine cars would transfer to the big dance. There was no question that Williamson and second place Billy Dunn were the two fastest cars on the track, but you could throw a blanket over the rest of the top ten.

Transferring behind Williamson and Dunn were the other Sears; Tom, legend Kenny Tremont Jr, Ryan Susice in the Slack 3rs, ‘The Doctor’ Danny Johnson, young Jack Lehner in the family No. 2L, and Gary Tomkins, who is making a rare Super DIRT Series start this year with the Rauscher Racing No. 84.

Triple 3 Notes

DNQ’s included Alan Johnson, Louie Jackson Jr, Paul St. Sauveur, Matt Farnham, Greg Atkins, Josh Hohenforst, CG Morey, Bobby Hackel, Aaron Jacobs, Brian Swarthout, Brian Hiltz, Marcus Dinkins, Mike Stacey, and Nick Krause…

Not starting the event were Mario Clair and Francois Bernier…

‘AJ Slideways’ may have drove as hard as anyone for the 30-laps, suffering a flat left front tire on the first lap. Johnson missed by one spot and starts third in one of Saturday’s LCQ’s…

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