Makin’ Tracks – Brewerton & Weedsport BB Are Back – DTD Exclusive

By BILL FOLEY

I don’t know what it is, but when Big Block Mods are on the track I am simply in another world. I’ve grown up watching them and they are what attracted me to drive all over Central New York for decades to witness their power and majesty.

Well, I’d seen the big-blocks at Volusia this year and finally, yes finally, Brewerton and Weedsport swung the doors open and for me the official season has commenced.

So this past weekend Larry Wight took the checker at the Demon field and Matt Sheppard started 20th, broke Chris Hile’s heart with five laps to go and won the ‘Port opener with ease.

Hile later told DTD, “It’s a little upsetting, but Sheppard is obviously on top of his game, so if I’m gonna have to finish second to someone I guess he’s the one. Gotta have someone to chase, just makes us all work harder to try and beat him.”

There were certainly some drivers that got my attention this past weekend.

Willy Decker showed up in a car that everyone thought would be running at Albany-Saratoga on Friday’s and finished fourth in running with the leaders most of the race and on Sunday got himself taken off Matt Sheppard’s Christmas card list as it took a long time for Matt to get by Willy in the ‘Port 50 lapper.

You really had to be impressed with the runs of Jimmy Phelps. He was torrid both times out. He was right there at Brewerton and finished second just three-tenths of a second behind Wight, while leading much of the Sunday show only to have his brakes go away in the later stages and multiple rear end woes in the 98H relegated him to third. However, I think he is going to be one to be reckoned with as the season progresses.

You had to enjoy seeing Gary Tomkins race. He was smooth in one of the sharpest looking Mods in the field. A top five at the Demon and a fifth at Weedsport was a pretty darn good weekend. That car simply seemed to handle well on the top side throughout both nights.

Matt Hulsizer has a limited schedule this year due to Fulton dropping the BB Mods. He had a front end collapse on Friday night just eight laps into the feature and then on Sunday after winning his heat his racing schedule might have taken a huge hit. Ryan Arbuthnot bounced off the inside Jersey barrier in turn two, bounced out in into Hulsizer who took to the air as he slapped the outside concrete at full speed. He got out of the car slowly and on Monday told DTD, “The car is totaled. I’m okay just feel like I got a bad hangover and I’m very sore.”

Another driver who took a hit was Chad Phelps as he finished 13th on Friday, but Sunday apparently got involved with another driver on the backstretch. As he came out of four something in the left front didn’t appear correct and suddenly the front end of the car was lined up perfectly with the edge of the Jersey barrier going into one. He hit it full bore, spun around, back out into traffic and was hit by a surprised Billy Whittaker.

Phelps told DTD on Monday, “Yeah it was bad. The car went directly left into the barrier. Something broke and the car is junk.”

You aren’t a fan if you didn’t enjoy watching Alan Johnson come home fourth on Sunday night. He started up front and more than held his own. He earned a rain shortened feature win at Canandaigua the night before for his 44th consecutive year with a feature win. He’s an icon of Modified racing and take time to savor his drives as he is, and always have been, one of the best.

Brewerton Pit Stops

21 Mods, 38 Sportsman, 14 Mod Lites and 18 Four-Cylinders proved to be more than a respectable field for the opener…

Tim Sears Jr. with a third continues to impress every time he is out there…

Bellinger a solid sixth followed by Hile, McLaughlin, Tom Sears Jr. and small-block Tyler Trump. Trump was only going to have Larry Wight shake down the car because they thought he had a motor problem, but apparently no problem…

Pat Ward a tough night going around twice in the feature. That is probably the first time that’s happened to him in years…

Huge field of Sportsman meant two full purse, full point 25 lappers. Dave Marcuccilli, who usually works second shift at his regular job and is unable to run the Demon, won the first and Corey Barker, in Tom Juno’s 25 Bicknell, won the second. Barker has never driven anything other than a Troyer and this looks to be a partnership for the 2018 season. Barker finished a second ahead of Mark Yorker…

Dave M. and Kevin Root were classic rivals as it was a .294 of a second win…

STARS Mod Lites are regrouping and 14 were on hand. Joe Garafolo had fast time, won his heat, but settled for second behind Justin Williams in the feature…

Williams noted he had a major mechanical problem and Jeff May brought the parts for him to go racing. He said if May hadn’t come down to compete he would have had to park the car…

No surprise in the Four-Cylinders as Ray Bechler won, but runner up Quinn Wallis put on one heck of a run…

Tom Perkins returned for Mod-Lite action after wrecking the car last season…

Ben Bushaw a new face in the Sportsman…

The Sportsman battle in heat four between Chris Cunningham, Will Shields and Nick Krause was a classic wheel-to-wheel swapping positions battled…

Four-Cylinder Rich Wagner was second in the main when a right front flat ended his hopes. He looked pretty darn good.

Weedsport Pit Stops

You should have seen the Doctor standing up his car so you would see the underneath as he bounded in turn one…

42 Mods and there were some surprises including Grandview’s Brett Kressley and small-blocks Ronnie Davis III and Tyler Trump…

Danny Varin started 24th and came home 9th…

Mike Bowman ran a small-block, qualified, but finished 24th…

Billy Decker seemed mired deep in the field, but a late restart saw him rally for eighth…

Pat Ward fast early in the main, but faltered back to 7th at the end…

Max McLaughlin started deep in the field after coming out of the consi and settled for 14th…

Rob Bellinger fast, won his heat and sustained a flat tire in the main to settle for 22nd…

In the Sportsman it was basically a Canandaigua top five as Kevin Ridley, Dave Marcuccilli, Matt Guererri, Kevin Root and Erick Giguere were the first five across the line…

Will Shields was sixth, but you had to enjoy the lines that Tony Finch II was running as he fought his way to seventh…

Corey Barker, fresh from his haircut after winning on Friday, was moving well, but apparently got involved with Ben Wheeler and the 31 collected the barrier in the backstretch sending the car off on the hook…

Tyler Thompson puts on quite a show as he started last in the heat, fought up and overcame adversity all night long. He suffered damage in a couple of main jingles, but he’s gonna be fun to watch for a long time to come…

Kelly Smith took a wild Sportsmen ride. He slid high into one, hit the wall hard, slid along the top of the barrier and slamming into the protective barrels as he came to rest on his side. Afterwards Kelly said, “I am sore, but the car will be fixed and back in a few weeks, but I will be back.”…

There were 57 Sportsman in the pits.

I’m certain I missed some stuff after all I planned on writing about Brewerton and went to Weedsport as a fan and never took one note so I had to try to remember what I could remember.

Sad note as Dwight Nichols has announced he’s finished racing competitively due to ongoing vision issues. He was living his dream and despite some major setbacks continued to work on his car and come out and race. This year Syracuse Haulers was helping him out and everything looked good.

Last week my thoughts went back decades as I remembered interviewing and covering Maynard Troyer. He was nothing but professional and was a tremendous innovator to not only dirt Mods, but the asphalt scene. My condolences to his family and friends. He has passed, but the Troyer legacy will live on through the efforts of Billy Colton and company.

Any news, notes, comments, gossip please send along to foley395@hotmail.com