By BOBBY SWEENEY
BREWERTON, NY – While Larry Wight may have started first and finished first in the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Hurricane 100 at Brewerton, the laps in between were anything but easy.
“We had a good car all race, but we were kind of running around the holes,” Wight said. “It was the same track for everyone, though. We had that one restart where Erick slid up and I had to get out of it so we didn’t get wiped out by him, and we lost some spots there, but you can’t quit. We put our heads down, and it doesn’t matter how many laps you lead, as long as you lead the last one.”
Wight launched out in front of the field at the drop of the green, chased in the opening laps by Erick Rudolph. Early on, Wight and Rudolph experimented with lines all over Brewerton, as a weather-damaged surface sent all drivers searching for a smooth lane.
Rudolph closed in on Wight when the leaders hit traffic on lap 10, but as soon as Rudolph got within striking distance, Louie Jackson drew the race’s first yellow with a flat right rear tire.
Wight held the lead on the restart, leading a trio of 25s in Rudolph, Steve Bernier, and Michael Parent. Once more, Rudolph got quicker as lap traffic loomed, railing the top to draw within a carlength.
As Rudolph reached Wight, the yellow flew on lap 30 as Carey Terrance nearly went for a wild ride in turn two, the yellow likely being thrown predicting disaster.
Rudolph got the jump on the ensuing restart, driving by Wight and into the lead. Once in front, Rudolph went foot to the floor and opened up a solid advantage, gapping Wight by half a straightaway on lap 44. However, Rudolph became pinned in thick lapped traffic, and Wight closed fast.
By halfway, Wight was within striking distance, ready to pounce if Rudolph became bound up.
On lap 56, a handful of lapped cars directly in front of the leaders got together, scattering across the track. Rudolph got a piece of one of the cars, dropping his speed down to a crawl to avoid being fully involved. While no car came to a complete stop, the caution was thrown, once more predicting the end result to be more destructive than what happened. During the incident, Wight snuck by Rudolph up top and was scored the leader.
On the restart, both Rudolph and Wight slid up the racetrack, and Bernier was there to capitalize. Off of turn two, Bernier drove to the bottom and past both Wight and Rudolph, scored leader on lap 62.
Rudolph got by Bernier briefly two laps later, but Bernier regained control and set sail. On lap 69, Rudolph slowed with a flat right rear tire after quickly falling to fourth.
When racing resumed, Wight got a great launch off the bottom to snag the lead on lap 76. Bernier wasn’t phased by the driver who won three Big-Block features at Brewerton this year, driving right back by Wight the next time around.
Wight wasn’t going away quietly, and the lap after that poked his nose under Bernier once more, but Bernier began bouncing through holes. Wight and Bernier made contact, with Wight nearly spinning. The resulting contact allowed Danny Johnson to snag second, a solid charge up from tenth.
On lap 82, Wight muscled his way back by Johnson and set his sights on the Bernier machine. Rather quickly, Wight chopped into the gap, showing a nose under Bernier as soon as lap 88. Mike Maresca spun from fifth on lap 90, setting up a final dash to the finish.
Wight did not get a great restart, grabbing ruts the wrong way and losing ground to Bernier. Wight wasn’t staying down for long, again clawing back at Bernier in the final circuits.
With three laps to go, Wight reached Bernier, but both drivers preferred the same lane for much of the track.
On lap 98, Bernier smacked a hole in the middle of turns one and two, sending his car off the bottom. With the fast lane clearing right in front of him, Wight throttled down and drove to the lead. As the checkered flag dropped, it was Wight scoring his first Hurricane 100 victory in wild fashion over Steve Bernier, Danny Johnson, Michael Parent, and Pat Ward.
Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux Hurricane 100 Presented By SUNY Canton Results
(DIRTcar 358 Modified Series Hurricane 100) – LARRY WIGHT, Steve Bernier, Danny Johnson, Michael Parent, Pat Ward, Chad Brachmann, Steve Bernard, Carey Terrance, Erick Rudolph, Lance Willix, Ryan Bartlett, Tim Sears Jr., Bobby Varin, Ryan Susice, Dan Creeden, Tyler Trump, Ryan Arbuthnot, Louie Jackson, Mike Maresca, Alan Johnson, Rob Bellinger, Randy Green, Greg Martin, Ron Davis III, Gary Linberg, Jeff Sykes, James Sweeting, Mario Clair, Billy Whittaker, Todd Root.
(In Memory of Ryan Baye Halfway Bonus $500) – Erick Rudolph.
(DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Hurricane 30) – DAVE MARCUCCILLI, Jackson Gill, Bob Henry Jr., Kevin Root, Zach Sobotka, Brad Rouse, Mark Yorker, Corey Barker, Cedric Gauvreau, Tyler Thompson, Kevin Chaffee, Adam Pierson, Alan Fink, Jeff Taylor, Ricky Yelle, Richie Riggs, Dorian Wahdan, James Friesen, Brianna Ladoucer, Andrew Smith, Tony Finch II, Dan Ferguson, Kyle Sherlock, Alex LaJoie, Martin Pelletier, Brent Joy, Joe Kline, Shane Pecore, Kyle Inman, DNS – Jim Spano.