By Mike Mallett
OSWEGO, N.Y. (October 13, 2019) – The finale of the 2019 edition of Super DIRT Week is here. It’s been a long, grueling week for fans, teams, drivers, officials and media members, but the payoff is just moments away as we’ll know by the end of the day who will walk away making history as a winner at Super DIRT Week XLVIII.
Every driver in the 41 car starting field believes they have a shot at glory and the $50,000 top prize that comes with winning dirt Modified racing’s most prestigious event. Since the event moved to Oswego Speedway in 2016, only three drivers have captured wins at the five-eighths mile track. Stewart Friesen won in 2016, Matt Sheppard was victorious in 2017 while Larry Wight picked up the 2018 edition.
Before I offer my prediction for Sunday’s finale, I first look at the starting line-up through the lens of several Dirt Track Digest staff photographers.
BILLY WHITTAKER CARS 200 STARTING LINE-UP THROUGH THE LENS
There are so many drivers that come into this event running well that picking a winner is no easy task.
- Billy Decker is coming off an impressive performance in the Salute the Troops 150. He’s got the playoff beard going and he’s feeling good. He could ride the confidence into a win at Oswego.
- Erick Rudolph remained steady all week finishing second in just about every race he ran. He is due to finally breakthrough in one of these extra distance affairs.
- Mat Williamson saw his podium finish streak come to an end with a top five in Saturday’s DIRTcar 358-Modified finale. He wasn’t as good Saturday as he was earlier in the week, but you can expect the team to get better for Sunday.
- Matt Sheppard was fast out the box, but he’s been just off in some of the bigger season ending shows. He’ll need to figure out a strong strategy if he wants to get back to his winning ways on Sunday.
- Jimmy Phelps was close in 2018 coming up short on fuel, something that seemed to happen again on Saturday, but he was strong in qualifying and won his big-block Modified heat.
- Tim Fuller had a win in his Modified heat as well as a top five in the Salute the Troops 150.
- Stewart Friesen had to use his guaranteed starting spot to make the field after just missing locking into the feature. He may be starting 31st on the grid, but you can never count him. Two Saturday’s ago the Sprakers, N.Y. driver won $53,000 at Fonda Speedway.
I could list more, but for my pick in this story I’m going with Mat Williamson to win Sunday’s 200-lap main-event. Williamson has learned how to win the big race. He won $100,000 at the Orange County Fair Speedway, he won Tuesday at Utica-Rome then again on Thursday at Brewerton. He dominated Friday Night Lights winning both of his qualifiers. He’s been close at Oswego before, but 2019 is the year he goes on to visit victory lane for the first time.