By BILL FOLEY
If I never announced or wrote about another racing weekend again this past few days would basically be a wild way to call it a career.
Brewerton and Fulton had just about everything you could ever imagine with excitement, surprises and even a good amount of controversy thrown in for good measure. It was a wild way to end the regular season.
And even on Monday as I sat in the parking lot at Weedsport visiting the emotions were still quite high. (Heard the Weedsport show was pretty good, but headed home without ever going inside).
Well, Mother Nature certainly didn’t determine the final outcome of the point standings like it did for so many other Northeast tracks.
Billy Decker and Tim Sears Jr. won their crowns with Sears having to do it in the final yards to the checker. Ronnie Davis III went from Teo to an old Bicknell this year and capped it off with two titles. Kevan Cook gained the Fulton Late Model crown in dramatic fashion as the top two drivers in the points finished one-two.
Fulton Modified Drama In the Spotlight
Going into the final 35 lapper Sears had a one point edge over Jimmy Phelps. Whichever driver finished in front of the other was the track champ.
On the 15th lap restart Jimmy got into the left rear corner panel of Ryan Jordan and was sent to the rear of the field. In victory lane Timmer indicated he got into Jimmy (but he didn’t say exactly when on the restart).
So Phelps went to the 24th spot.
The frustration, adrenalin and probably simply frame of mind saw Jimmy put on one of the most spectacular runs in recent years. Four laps later he was back to 12th and he continued to pick them off in rapid succession.
With just about a lap to go he pulled ahead of Sears and the two diced back and forth in the final three-eighth’s of a mile. At the line Sears was .210 behind winner Billy Whittaker and Jimmy .250. The several month battle for the track title came down to four one hundredths of a second.
On Tuesday Jimmy Phelps released a statement regarding the situation on his Facebook page.
“A message of thanks to the fans and supporters of Jimmy Phelps.
The most important sentiment that I would like to convey today is my gratitude. I need to thank my family, my race team, our sponsors, and especially all of our fans. I have been truly blessed to have the best fans.
Thank you for understanding that a person’s integrity, as well as the integrity of the sport that we all love, must always come first.
The disrespect shown to myself personally, and the sport specifically, has left me with no other option than to withdraw our support from the Outlaw 200 this year. We cannot support the Hurricane 100 in October, and our plans for the 2018 weekly racing schedule are still undecided.
As the 2017 racing season winds down, we look forward to competing in the remaining great races, and I plan to make all that have supported me over the many years proud of my performance. We are focused on competing at the highest level and winning races to close out the year, and we look forward to the 2018 racing season.
Thank you for the unwavering support.
In talking with Andy Phelps, Jim’s dad, on Sunday he said, “Don’t ever expect the HBR cars or Andy Phelps car back at Fulton unless they are fortunate enough to host a Super Dirt Series show.”
Further he added that Jimmy Phelps, Max McLaughlin and Mike Bowman Mods along with Mike Phelps Sportsman (and maybe other cars) wouldn’t be at the Outlaw at the end of the month.
He noted, “You know this isn’t just about the money.”
I was able to contact Jordan to get his thoughts on what transpired Saturday night as well.
“Well, I definitely spun the tires, but I feel he got desperate and tried to force his way through when he saw I spun,” said Jordan in a message to DirtTrackDigest.com. “In my opinion he was just way too impatient.”
Sears Got Help from LJL Racing
With just a few weeks left in the regular season standing in the Brewerton pits the Sears team was mighty dejected as they had just lost their motor.
A week later Tim Sears Jr. was behind one of Larry Wight’s cars and won the feature at Fulton which eventually meant the track title. This isn’t the first time LJL has done this as unbeknownst to many fans he has helped numerous teams get back to the track. Heck, Matt Hulsizer drove the car that Tim Sears won with a couple weeks earlier after losing his motor.
Sears was overjoyed and expressed his appreciation to everyone especially John and Laura Wight.
Whittaker All Smiles
After taking off a over a decade from dirt Modified racing Billy Whittaker arrangement with LJL racing has paid off.
Little did many realize (but I did) that Billy was winning the final regular season big-block Modified feature (for the time being) at the Fulton Speedway as 358’s will be the featured class next year.
He put on an exciting race and the to three came across the line within three-tenths of a second of one another.
What a classic way to close out the regular season.
Decker Should Have been Angry
Slide jobs are funny things. Sometimes they are a thing of beauty and others, well, not so much.
Brewerton Modified winner Chris Hile has seen heartbreak this year. He’s been so close only to get passed at the end. He’s trashed a spanking new car with less than ten laps on it and on Friday night leading the Mod main he wasn’t going to let anyone get past.
Entering turn one in the waning stages he threw a block on Decker that if it was football the running back never would have gotten up on the hit.
Hile won by .004 of a second over a high flying Mike Mahaney and Jimmy Phelps was seven-tenths of a second behind while Decker in fourth was nine-tenths of a second back. The top four within one second, but Billy won the track title.
Decker said of the move that Hile made on him, “I had to lock it up and stalled the motor so not to hit the 5H. I couldn’t get going again to get him.”
Fink Loses by One Spot
Alan Fink went into Brewerton final Sportsman main with a 13 point lead over Ron Davis III.
Early on Davis had all sorts of difficulty getting past Fink, but eventually made his way through. However, Davis was really behind the eight ball as 13 points are quite a few.
Fink was the champion until the final turn on the final lap when Glenn Forward picked up the position of his number, seven, and shuffled Fink to his number in eighth.
It meant that RD3 won the crown.
Davis Doubles Up
Fulton saw Davis with a two point lead over Todd Root and the duo were in the same Sportsman feature.
In the end Davis won, but Root was third just over seven seconds behind the winner.
Late Models Too Close to Call
Entering the final night it was a tie between Jason Parkhurst and Kevan Cook, but Cook took the lead and defeated Parkhurst by three seconds in a classic run for the title.
Mod Lite Title Not Easy
Justin Williams captured the Mod Lite crown, but it wasn’t easy as he lost his motor a few weeks before the end of the season.
Kelly Skinner and the Halliday Racing team provided him with fill in rides that helped him maintain his point lead.
He put a new motor in during the week and settled for fifth behind winner Zach Babcock for his track championship.
Brewerton Pit Stops
Peter Siravolo was behind the wheel of the Tom Mackey 13 for the first time…
Dan Vauter had his Mod in the pits for the first time this year. He’s only been out two or three times as he did run Penn Can twice, but I got the feeling it was a one shot deal for this year at the Demon. Night ended with a collapsed front end.
ESS driver Dan Douville ended up on top of a yuke tire…
Larry Wight put on a heck of a run in ESS. Got in trouble low in three and spun with three laps to go…
It appeared a Barney benefit at that point, but Danny Varin got him. Saying Barney was bummed out would be an understatement. However, second, first and second on the weekend wasn’t all that bad…
Chad Phelps consistency picking up with fifth followed by Max McLaughlin, Tim Sears, Larry Wight, Pat Ward and Adam Roberts…
Jeff Blackburn spun out in the main in turn two, but said to me after, “I got some help over there.”…
The 11 car Sportsman B Main was won by Jeff Taylor over Tim Schneider.
Tony Komuda put up $500 in honor of Brooke Teachout. The Sportsman winner really made good money…
DNQ’s included Komuda, Joe Sobotka, Dan Dupra, T.J. Stoughtenger and Kenny Ryder.
Patrick LaPage was in Houston, TX involved in the clean up of Hurricane Harvey. The 911 crews will be there for quite a while.
Nick Krause won by .630 of a second over Davis in the Sportsman with Brent Joy, Rich Townsend and Kyle Fink completing the top five…
Amy Holland in sixth another top ten finish…
Tyler Trump had a football game, started last and finished 14th…
23 Sportsman finished 25 laps of the 25 cars that started the main event.
Fulton Pit Stops
New Mods to make 28 pitside included Brian Murphy, Jeff Crambo, J.R. Hurlburt and Orange County regular Matt Hitchcock.
Sportsman new names included Chris Frennier, Tighe Scott Rood, Rick Miller and Garrison Fretz…
Travis Billington, Bill Megdin (Gregg Kimball’s old car), Mikey Wight and Kenny Ryder were some new Novice. Looking at records this year Billington has apparently driven eight big block shows at Fonda, one at Malta and a small block at Airborne…
The Empire Super Sprints in the house and nearly 40 were on hand. Jason Barney dominated and I mean dominated…
Though outside the top three Mike Bowman was fourth and Chris Hile fifth on Saturday in the Mods…
Larry Wight entered the night ten points out of the point lead, but settled for a hard driven sixth place…
Joe August Jr. solid ninth place in Mods…
Chad Phelps continues to be consistent as does Tim Kerr as the 07 was seventh and X eighth…
Pat Ward first car out of the Mod main with only three laps in before mechanical problems…
Talk about doubles, who would have thought that Nick Krause would put together back to backs wins this weekend in the tough Sportsman division…
Great final run by Mike Phelps who was 1.8 second behind Krause. Three through five were Chris Mackey, Mike Button and the surprise of the night Joey Bonaguario was fifth.
There were 52 Sportsman split for two features…
Davis edged out Tyler Trump by two seconds. I would expect both will be new members of the 358 division next year. Following were Todd Root, Dylan Zacharias and Corey Barker…
Rocky Warner in the house and finished seventh in his main…
ESS runner Matt Tanner was second to Barney after coming on late…
It was fun watching Danny Varin, Bryan Howland and Larry Wight battle for third, fourth and fifth as they were seven tenths of a second difference…
Steve Poirier broke on the fourth lap and was 26th on the night…
There was a season high 18 Late Models. Chris Fleming, Bret Belden and A.J. Kingsley completed the top five.to tenth…
Jeffrey Isabel drove the 93j…
Novice was fun as Casey Cunningham came from the football field to race track and won by .170 of a second over Chris Bonoffski…
Bonoffski was crowned track champ for Four Cylinders at Brewerton and Fulton…
Billy Sauve survived Billington and Mother Nature as the race was checkered at nine of 15 due to rain. ..
Oswego Classic Sunday
The first race I ever remember attending was an International Classic when I was 12 years old and if the last race I ever attend was Sunday then it would be ironic that it would be the Oswego Classic.
I enjoyed watching former Mod Lite champ Tim Devendorf put on a heck of a driving display and he was second before a huge, flip ending, pinning him in the car crash.
The Classic is different from most races as it is about surviving. I think six cars were on the lead lap as D.J. Shullick won handily once he got the lead while Michael Barnes had his third straight runner up followed by Brandon Bellinger, veteran Joe Gosek and Joe Moriarty.
Huge crashes by Tim Snyder and Otto Sitterly along with a hard hit by Bobby Santos and a car destroyed multi-car wreck that ruined the Osetek car. Heartbreak for pole sitter Keith Shampine due to a fuel leak.
That’s it as I skipped the SDS show at Weedsport.
Something a bit different this coming Sunday with about a $20,000 purse and five grand to win for the Sportsman only show at Utica-Rome. Racing starts at 4 p.m. with a guarantee of $500 to start.
Send along comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s been fun.