OSWEGO, NY – Larry Wight scored the biggest win of his life at Oswego Speedway, claiming the Super DIRTcar Series big-block Modified event of Super DIRT Week XLVII. Wight led the final 22 circuits of the Billy Whittaker Cars 200, picking up a cool $50,000.
“It’s something we’ve been fighting for a long time,” Wight said with a massive smile. “Starting off at Syracuse, then to get on the boards early at Oswego, it definitely means a lot to my whole family and whole team. I knew Jimmy would be conserving fuel, they were trying to make it the whole way, but with us on him he couldn’t save too much. With the late yellow, I was hoping Jimmy could stay in between me and Friesen as my block car, because Stewie is known for those late-race moves. I just had to hit my marks.”
Polesitter Jimmy Phelps darted to the lead at the start of the Billy Whittaker Cars 200, with Keith Flach slotting in behind. Phelps showed good speed early on, putting a solid second and a half on Flach and Gary Lindberg before Justin Haers slowed on lap nine.
Phelps then held off Flach’s advances on the topside, while Stewart Friesen moved to third past Lindberg. Rob Bellinger’s car quit on lap 15, halting Phelps, Flach, and company for a second time in the event. Phelps drove away when racing got back underway, as Flach continued to follow.
Behind the top two, drivers were having a hard time deciding who went where. Lindberg went back to third, as Friesen surrendered fourth to Rudolph. By lap 25, Rudolph clawed past Lindberg for a podium spot, and Larry Wight’s charge put him in the top five from deep, getting by Friesen after Friesen glanced off the turn one wall. Carey Terrance slowed with bad right rear damage on lap 29, pulling Phelps back to the pack.
Rudolph continued his positive trend in the running order, sliding around Flach for second on lap 36. From there, Rudolph hung close to leader Phelps, stalking him entering lapped traffic. Phelps and Rudolph hit said traffic on lap 43, with Rudolph drawing to within three car lengths. However, Phelps was working through traffic well, and before too long held a half straightaway lead.
Rudolph went under fire from Lindberg for second, as Flach, Wight, and Friesen were there as well. The five-car scramble for second eventually settled with Rudolph in the runner up spot, followed by Wight and Friesen. By lap 50, that battle calmed down and Rudolph went hunting for Phelps.
On lap 54, Phelps missed his mark on the bottom, and Rudolph was close enough to pounce, taking the lead away. Wight closed in on both, but Phelps hung on to second until Ryan Watt slowed on lap 59. Under this caution, leader Rudolph, fifth runner Mat Williamson, Matt Sheppard, and a whole host of cars from tenth on back ducked into the pits.
Racing resumed on lap 67, and Wight drove around the top of Phelps to the lead. The next time by, Danny Johnson slowed with left front shock damage, not allowing Wight a chance to run away and hide.
Phelps pulled the same move the next restart, blowing by Wight and retaking the lead on lap 76. Friesen and Billy Dunn kept arguing over third, with Friesen eventually grabbing the spot.
In no time, Phelps had half a straight on Wight, but once the leaders hit traffic on lap 86, Wight came closing in. Wight drew to five car lengths back, but Friesen and Dunn were right on him. On lap 90, Nick Webb found the turn 2 wall to draw the yellow, allowing Friesen and others to pit.
By halfway, Phelps was checking out from Wight, Dunn, and Justin Haers, but a back-pack pileup collected Pat Ward, Alan Johnson, and others. A few laps later, Watt found the wall again, this time with terminal damage. With Dunn pitting, this allowed Haers and Sheppard to climb to third and fourth, the highest of the cars who had pitted earlier.
Phelps drove away again on the restart, with Wight falling over half a straightaway behind on lap 120. Behind Wight was the group who pitted on lap 54, with Sheppard, Rudolph, Williamson, and Haers in tow. Danny Varin stopped with a left rear flat with 124 circuits down, meaning Phelps needed to stave off another restart. However, Sheppard was his new wingman, as Wight, Williamson again, and many others dropped into the pits.
Not long ago, Peter Britten was in the back. He restarted fourth, but drove around Sheppard for second on lap 142. Continuing to rail the cushion for all its worth, Britten drew to within a car of Phelps. Soon as Britten went for his pass, Danny Varin suffered another flat, drawing caution on lap 135. Sheppard, Flach, Rudolph, and more made their second stops of the day, while Phelps stayed out.
Phelps got a great restart, and Britten couldn’t immediately match his pressure from earlier. As Britten closed, Adam Roberts slowed and Jimmy Horton spun on lap 147. Now, Phelps and crew switched to a no-stop strategy, but second-running Britten pitted.
Phelps got another good jump, leading over Ryan Godown and Billy Decker. Dunn had clawed his way back to fifth, and Wight seventh, before Alan Johnson broke on lap 160.
Matt Sheppard was mired back in 18th, with Britten 20th. Phelps once more drove away from the field, with teammate Max McLaughlin filing into fourth. On lap 170, a pileup drew a red flag, with cars involved including Ward, Sheppard, and many others. Wight was now sixth, and Friesen seventh.
Godown nearly snatched the lead from Phelps on the restart, but Phelps rolled the middle perfectly and hung on. Wight rocketed to third, using the top to get by McLaughlin and the bottom on Decker. Friesen climbed to fifth, but all
Phelps got a great restart, and Britten couldn’t immediately match his pressure from earlier. As Britten closed, Adam Roberts slowed and Jimmy Horton spun on lap 147. Now, Phelps and crew switched to a no-stop strategy, but second-running Britten pitted. Phelps got another good jump, leading over Ryan Godown and Billy Decker. Dunn had clawed his way back to fifth, and Wight seventh, before Alan Johnson broke on lap 160. Matt Sheppard was mired back in 18th, with Britten 20th.
Phelps once more drove away from the field, with teammate Max McLaughlin filing into fourth. On lap 170, a pileup drew a red flag, with cars involved including Ward, Sheppard, and many others.
Wight was now sixth, and Friesen seventh. Godown nearly snatched the lead from Phelps on the restart, but Phelps rolled the middle perfectly and hung on. Wight rocketed to third, using the top to get by McLaughlin and the bottom on Decker. Friesen climbed to fifth, but all eyes shifted up front.
On lap 175, Godown was three cars back of Phelps, but closed to his bumper the next time by. Bobby Varin stopped on lap 178, alleviating the pressure for Phelps momentarily. Phelps got a solid restart, but Wight was flying up top. Wight blew by Godown instantly, then drove around Phelps for the lead off of turn four. Lap 178 saw Wight scored the leader, and once out front, Wight set sail.
By lap 186, Wight had ditched the battle for second by a full straightaway, as Godown, Friesen, and Decker charged after Phelps. Godown got by Phelps on lap 190, but Rich Scagliotta parked his car in the wall in turn 4 to draw a yellow flag.
Wight absolutely ditched the field on the restart, leaving Phelps to hold off Godown and Friesen. Friesen was working the top for all its worth, getting by Godown on lap 191. Godown then started showing smoke from his mount, but was steady in fourth. Just as Wight was running away, Danny Johnson stopped with a broken rear end on lap 196.
After the yellow flag waived, Phelps needed a splash of fuel, surrendering second with four laps to go. Now, Friesen was on Wight’s tail. When the field went back green with four to go, Wight went to his lane in the middle of turns one and two, then bottom in three and four. Friesen did the opposite, bottom in one and two and top in three and four. Friesen stayed tight, within a car length, but his charge just wasn’t enough. When the checkered waived, it was Larry Wight winning the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 over Stewart Friesen.
Friesen fell about two car lengths short of a record-tying sixth event win, but second was still relatively satisfying.
“Some of those caution laps were just killing us,” Friesen noted. “We had a lot of fun the last couple days, just came up a little short. We got speed, and Larry has been due to win one of these for a while.”
Peter Britten made a late charge, almost enough to sweep the weekend. However, “Batman” had to settle for third.
“We knew it was going to be a tire race,” said Britten. “Unfortunately for us, it got kind of one lane at the end. I was running the top and could roll by people on restarts, but after a few laps the bottom would clean off and the top dirty up.”
Billy Decker wound up finishing in fourth with Marc Johnson having a solid day in fifth.
BILLY WHITTAKER CARS 200 FEATURE FINISH (200-LAPS): 1 Larry Wight 2 Stewart Friesen 3 Peter Britten 4 Billy Decker 5 Marc Johnson 6 Billy Dunn 7 Erick Rudolph 8 Mat Williamson 9 Max McLaughlin 10 Tim Fuller 11 Kenny Tremont Jr. 12 Mike Mahaney 13 Matt Sheppard 14 Keith Flach 15 Danny Varin 16 Gary Tomkins 17 Pat Ward 18 Mike Maresca 19 Justin Haers 20 Chris Hile 21 Jack Lehner 22 Jimmy Phelps 23 Bobby Varin 24 Danny Johnson 25 Billy Whittaker 26 Brett Hearn 27 Adam Roberts 28 Jimmy Horton 29 Tom Sears Jr. 30 Ryan Godown 31 Rich Scagliotta 32 Carey Terrance 33 Dave Rauscher 34 Gary Lindberg 35 Alan Johnson 36 Billy VanInwegen 37 Ryan Watt 38 Nick Webb 39 Demetrios Drellos