By BOBBY SWEENEY
BREWERTON, NY – Pat Ward held off teammate Larry Wight for the Brewerton Speedway victory, but Jimmy Phelps held the big check at the end of the night as track champion by just two points.
Gary Tomkins grabbed the lead at the start of the 35-lap Modified main, chased by Andrew Ferguson early on. Tomkins ran low and Ferguson up high, and Ferguson found more speed on top with every passing lap. With 13 circuits in, Ferguson got the run he needed and took the lead away from Tomkins, but close behind Pat Ward had reeled in on both of them. Ward made quick work of Tomkins for second, then pulled a slider on Ferguson to lead lap 16.
Behind the battle up front, Larry Wight had climbed from ninth to fourth. Entering the final points event, Wight trailed Jimmy Phelps by 12 points for the track championship, about five positions on track. As the lap counter hit halfway, Wight was working on Tomkins and Ferguson for second, while Phelps was mired in the back of the top ten. The race’s only yellow flew on lap 21 as Roy Bresnahan slowed, and Wight darted to second on the restart.
With five to go, the top two of Ward and Wight had separated themselves from the rest of the pack, which featured a brawl between Tim Sears Jr., Tom Sears Jr., Tomkins, Jimmy Phelps, Max McLaughlin, and Billy Decker. Up front, Wight couldn’t catch his teammate in the final laps, and Pat Ward drove off to his first Brewerton win of the year. Wight crossed in second, with Tim Sears Jr., Gary Tomkins, and Tom Sears Jr. completing the top five. Jimmy Phelps finished a close sixth, just enough to score the track championship by two points.
The win gives Ward a checkered flag from each of his home tracks this season – Brewerton, Fulton, and Utica-Rome.
“This car was in that bad wreck three or four weeks ago,” noted Ward. “It’s been really good since. Scott Jeffrey helped me put a new clip on it, and we had a car that could have won last week. I’m a little disappointed Larry didn’t win the title, I didn’t know it was that close, but I’m pretty happy with the way our car is rolling.”
After a season that literally came down to the last corner, Jimmy Phelps was crowned Brewerton Speedway track champion for the fourth time.
“We’re just super fortunate,” said Phelps. “The track was a little different and more sticky tonight with the rain, and that’s not my style so we were lucky to get out of that one. To win another title is amazing, we tried to win a race here for ten years before we did, so I cherish every one.”
Joining the race program on the evening was the Empire Super Sprints, and Danny Varin was a man on a mission early. In the first ten laps, Varin built up a full straightaway lead over Paul Kinney and Jason Barney, and wasn’t looking to slow anytime soon. Sixth running Tommy Wickham had flames come out of his car on lap 14, forcing a red flag and letting the field come back to Varin.
Barney slid around Kinney for second on the restart, and Larry Wight followed through to third. However, Barney’s good run would take a bit of a hit, as he found himself backwards in turn one with 16 laps in. Barney didn’t stay backwards for long, as he kept his foot down, spun around, and rejoined the field in fifth. The red flag waived again on lap 18, as Matt Billings went for a high flying flip off of the turn three banking, but Billings would push off and rejoin the field.
Once the field got going clean and green, Wight went to work on Varin for the lead. Over the final laps, Wight kept looking lower and lower on the speedway for grip to get by Varin, but it wasn’t enough, as Danny Varin scored the ESS win over Larry Wight by a car length.
“We were just alright tonight,” Varin said. “It was a tough race, I missed it and made mistakes a bunch of times, but starting position helped us a bunch tonight.”
Tyler Corcoran led wire-to-wire in the first Sportsman main for his first ever win, but it was far from easy. With the exception of a handful of laps, Corcoran’s lead over Jeff Taylor never exceeded more than three car lengths. Michael Stanton led much of the second Sportsman event, but Dave Marcuccilli stole the win on a late race restart.
Thanks to his extremely consistent runs week in and week out, Kevin Root grabbed his first track title in the Sportsman ranks, only winning one event, last week, in the process. Justin Williams put another exclamation point on his dominating season, grabbing another win to go along with his track title.
87 Speed August 31 Championship Night Results
(Tracey Road Equipment DIRTcar Modified 35 Laps) – PAT WARD, Larry Wight, Tim Sears Jr., Gary Tomkins, Tom Sears Jr., Jimmy Phelps, Max McLaughlin, Billy Decker, Andrew Ferguson, Chris Hile, Rob Bellinger, Chad Phelps, Tim Kerr, Jim Witko, Willy Decker, Matt Hulsizer, Nick Krause, Billy Whittaker, Tim Harris, Roy Bresnahan, Aaron Jacobs.
(2018 Tracey Road Equipment DIRTcar Modified Track Champion) – Jimmy Phelps.
(SUNY Canton DIRTcar Sportsman #1 – 25 Laps) – TYLER CORCORAN, Jeff Taylor, Chris Mackey, Kevin Root, Dylan Zacharias, Tyler Murray, Stephen Denton, Chris Cunningham, Amy Holland, Joey Buonagurio, Earl Rudy, Colby Herzog, Rick Rogala, Jake Petit, Robert Gage, Will Shields, DNS – Frank Sobotka, Sammy Reakes.
(SUNY Canton DIRTcar Sportsman #2 – 25 Laps) – DAVE MARCUCCILLI, Mike Stanton Jr., Rich Townsend, Alan Fink, Brent Joy, Sean Beardsley, Mark Yorker, Mike Fowler, Joe Sobotka, Zach Sobotka, Corey Barker, Willy Decker Jr., Bailey Groves, Casey Cunningham, Torrey Stoughtenger, Chris Bonoffski, Tony Finch II.
(2018 SUNY Canton DIRTcar Sportsman Track Champion) – Kevin Root
(STARS Mod Lites 20 Laps) – JUSTIN WILLIAMS, Doug Williams, Mike Mullen, Zack Babcock, Joe Garafolo, Hunter Lawton, Dave Brown, Tom Perkins, Sam Usborne, Kelly Skinner, Jim Dunham, Ryan Halliday, DNS- Tucker Halliday.
(2018 STARS Mod Lites Track Champion) – Justin Williams.
(Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints 25 Laps) – DANNY VARIN, Larry Wight, Jason Barney, Coleman Gulick, Steve Poirier, Billy VanInwegen, Matt Tanner, Shawn Donath, Mike Mahaney, Paul Kinney, Jeff Cook, Brent Wright, Jonathan Preston, Josh Azzi, Dave Axton, Dan Douville, Matt Billings, Chad Miller, Denny Peebles, Kelly Hebing, Parker Evans, Sammy Reakes, Tommy Wickham, Scott Holcomb, Josh Flint.