By BOBBY SWEENEY
FULTON, NY – Mat Williamson notched his first Fulton Speedway win on Thursday, grabbing the Showdown At Sundown 100 trophy after besting Erick Rudolph and the rest of the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series field.
“Erick had a good car early,” Williamson said. “You got to plan on cautions. We got to lapped traffic, and I didn’t see anyone poking their nose for second, so I kinda just rolled around the bottom and saved my tires for a late race restart, and that’s what I got. I thought we had the car to win last year for the Outlaw 200, but mechanical issues took us out of that, so to win here is pretty cool.”
Larry Wight led the opening laps of the Showdown at Sundown over Williamson, with Wight and Williamson glued to the bottom of the speedway. Not glued to the bottom was Erick Rudolph, who rolled the middle by both drivers and into the lead on lap four. An early caution on lap six restacked the field, and Bobby Herrington came out of nowhere for second on the restart. Ahead of Herrington, Rudolph fired up the rockets and took off from the field.
By lap 20, Rudolph had already put half a straight between himself and Herrington, who now had Williamson to deal with. Danny Johnson and Mike Mahaney got by Wight for fourth and fifth, and Williamson got past Herrington on lap 27.
With 40 laps in, most of the top ten had made a home on the bottom. The clear exception was Rudolph, who continued through the middle and top, extending his lead to a full straightaway over Williamson. Johnson eventually slipped by Herrington for the final podium spot, and the race settled into a long green flag run.
As the race passed halfway, Mahaney, Dave Marcuccilli, and Wight found themselves in a brawl for fifth. While a fun battle to watch, it was a long ways behind Rudolph. With over 50 laps of green flag racing in a row, Rudolph established a lead of nearly half a lap over Williamson, then another handful of seconds back to Johnson in third. It all came to a halt on lap 68, as lapped car Tyler Thompson slowed and drew the caution.
The top three remained status quo on the restart, but Herrington got shuffled back to outside the top five. Thompson slowed again on lap 77, followed by another quick yellow for Mark D’Illario spinning a lap later. The field lined up double file, and Williamson took another crack at Rudolph.
Williamson got a monster restart, beating Rudolph by a nose to turn one. Having position, Williamson was able to take away Rudolph’s preferred lane in the middle and steal the lead on lap 79. Rudolph now found himself as the chaser for the first time in nearly half an hour.
Williamson quickly opened up a second and a half lead, but Rudolph begun to shrink it around lap 90. At about the ten to go mark, the leaders hit traffic, and Williamson was able to maneuver through the cars a tick better than Rudolph. This gave Williamson the edge he needed to keep the lead, and when the checkered flag waived, it was Williamson claiming the Showdown at Sundown 100 victory.
Rudolph had a good day, consisting of a quick time in qualifying, a heat win, and 75 laps led in the feature. He still wasn’t happy.
“I don’t know what to comment about it,” Rudolph said on the last restart. “They were okay with the start, I really wasn’t, but we’re not going to to redo it.”
Johnson ran a seemingly calm race to finish third, but inside the car, The Doctor was busy bandaging up some mechanical issues.
“Had a good race car, last night we had issues with it jumping out of gear,” Johnson said. “Thought we had it fixed, still jumped out of gear about five times. Drove with one hand on the shifter, other on the wheel.”
Marcuccilli ended the night in fourth with Mike Mahaney rounding out the top five.
In the companion DIRTcar Sportsman 25-lap features Kyle Inman and AJ Miller found their way to victory lane.
DIRTcar 358 Modified Series St. Lawrence Radiology Showdown at Sundown 100 Results
(DIRTcar 358 Modified Series 100 Laps) – MAT WILLIAMSON, Erick Rudolph, Danny Johnson, Dave Marcuccilli, Mike Mahaney, Chad Brachmann, Todd Root, Bobby Herrington, Tim Sears Jr., Chris Raabe, Corey Wheeler, Justin Haers, Chris Hile, Larry Wight, Steve Bernier, Tyler Meeks, Ron Davis III, Yan Bussiere, Lance Willix, Kyle Dingwall, Michael Parent, Pat Ward, Jordan McCreadie, Jeff Sykes, Mark D’ilario, Ryan Arbuthnot, Tyler Thompson, Tyler Trump, Tim Fuller, Dale Planck.
(Larkin Mowing Hard Charger $50) – Chad Brachmann.
(DOT Foods DIRTcar Sportsman #1 – 25 Laps) – KYLE INMAN, Mike Phelps, Brandon Ford, Zach Sobotka, Tyler Corcoran, Bob Henry Jr., Addison Bowman, Jim Spano, Greg Doust, Chris Mackey, Kyle Perry, Alan Fink, Jimmy Moyer, John Strickler, Willy Decker Jr., Jake Davis, Frank Sobotka, Robert Gage, Jeff Prentice, Rachel Zacharias, Riley Rogala, Brandon Chretien, Isaiah Forward, Torrey Stoughtenger, Tom Juno, Jessica Power.
(DOT Foods DIRTcar Sportsman #2 – 25 Laps) – AJ MILLER, Eric Giguere, Matt Steffenhagen, Matt Janczuk, Austin Germinio, Mike Button, Jackson Gill, Corey Barker, Dylan Zacharias, Tyler Murray, Amy Holland, Rick Miller, Rocky Grosso, Charlie Tibbitts, Joe Sobotka, Chis Bonoffski, Brett Draper, Joe Gosek, Ryan Dolbear, Kearra Backus, Steve Marshall, Jordan Bennett, Wade Chrisman, Casey Williams, Rick Rogala, Brandon Carvey.
No Racing Saturday, June 29 For Graduations
Saturday, July 6 – Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints Speedweek, Modifieds, Sportsman, Late Models, Novice Sportsman Plus Yellow Out for Sarcoma Research.