By CAMDEN PROUD
Defending Billy Whittaker Cars 200 champion Larry Wight has had another great season. The 2019 track champion at both the Brewerton and Fulton Speedways had a strong third place run in yesterday’s DIRTcar 358 Modified Salute the Troops 150. Now, his team has shifted focus to the big block with which Wight says they are still searching for just a little bit more.
“We’ve kind of been struggling on what to do for the big race,” Wight admitted. “We are kind of at a loss at what we can do to get the car a little bit better and actually find some really good results out of some of the changes we have been trying. The small block car has been good all year and was, but the big block is still a work in progress.”
Wight started third and finished sixth in his qualifier on Friday. It was on a track that changed significantly from the small block Triple 25’s to big block Triple 30’s. The surface narrowed out and began to take rubber on the bottom, resulting in close quarters racing between Wight, Duane Howard, and Gypsum teammate Pat Ward; who charged from sixteenth into the top five.
“Friday night was OK,” said Wight of his 30-lap Super DIRTcar Series heat race. “We were just there and didn’t really do anything crazy. On the last restart, I think Duane (Howard) must have thought we were still in PA and decided he’d smash everyone out of the way which is typical. Once it narrowed up it was just follow the leader on the bottom. It will be a different surface Sunday.”
Since Friday, Wight has only had one more practice session to make adjustments to the LJL Gypsum Racing No. 99L. He has a mid-pack starting spot for the Whittaker Cars 200 in eighteenth and would love nothing more than to repeat as champion. The Phoenix, NY driver has his fingers crossed that the team will figure out the right combination needed for this new Bicknell frame.
“This year’s chassis is a duplicate of the winning car last year,” explained Wight. “It has all of the same stuff, but it is a new frame and we are still scratching our heads. We really aren’t sure what it likes and what it doesn’t like just yet. The track will be what it is, and we need to figure out our race car a bit better. We’ve done our homework and will hopefully be back up front.”