Wight and Pauch Put on Show; Notes from DIRTcar Nationals – DTD Exclusive


At numerous points during the course of the opening 30-lap Super DIRTcar Series main-event for the Modifieds on Wednesday night at the Volusia Speedway Park it looked like a host of drivers were good enough to find themselves leading the last lap.

Ultimately it was Billy Decker that was able to come home with the gold, but Larry Wight and Billy Pauch both had cars that were good enough to challenge the veteran driver. Pauch made his ground way up around the top while Wight found something on the extreme inside lane.

For Wight it was a mid-race restart that helped him find the bottom.  His car was very tight thought the race. That forced him to hit his line perfectly in order to get his car to drive the way he needed it to.

“The thing that the made difference was there was enough brown to enter the right front down in it,” stated Wight. “If not, the car was so tight. If I was in the black my right front would just shove the nose. That’s what we were fighting. We found the bottom on the restart when I had to start third. I figured I’d see how it goes. I drove around the wall nice and tight and it stuck. I definitely had a better car than Billy (Decker), but we were fighting a little bit of tightness. I think if we make a couple of changes to the shocks it should be really good.”

Wight’s race for second with Pauch was one of the better ones in the main-event. Pauch blasted his way around the cushion with Wight hugging the rail. Wight believed that once Pauch got by, third was going to be the best he could hope to muster. He regrouped and almost chased down Decker for the win.

“As soon as I saw him up top I thought I was holding on for third,” cited Wight of his battle with Pauch. “I kept digging the bottom. I don’t know if I got heat in right front and it started biting, but the car kept getting better, better and better. I was able to get back by him and chase down Billy (Decker). I think if we didn’t have that lapped car that we were both were trying to race around at the end I could have got underneath him quicker, but I also missed my marks plenty of times where I let Billy get away from me and I had to chase him back down.”

As for Pauch, like everyone else, he seemed to be struggling with how tight his car was at the beginning of the race. The Frenchtown, N.J., driver continued to work on his Bicknell throughout the race making changes.

“I just kept freeing the car up under caution,” commented Pauch. “Usually the thinking is it needs to be tighter, but I kept freeing it up. I tried to keep up on the track.”

Pauch felt really good on the outside of the speedway, but prior to Wight’s move to the bottom he was caged in with no place to go. Once Wight dove low, that was his opportunity. He got to second and chased Decker down only to fall short at the end when visibility became an issue.

“I was good on the top, but Larry was there and I didn’t want to get up into him and put us both in the wall,” mentioned Pauch. “I had to hang back. Once he went to bottom I knew I could go. I got up to Billy and I thought we were good enough to get him because I wasn’t running where he was. He was misting oil out and it smeared on my visor and I couldn’t see the line to get in. I had to float in it and pick up the cushion. That cost me the race.”

Super DIRTcar Series Notes

There were 39 cars signed in for the first night of the DIRTcar Nationals for the big-block Modifieds at Volusia Speedway Park after a Tuesday night rain-out…

Stewart Friesen was fastest overall in time trials on the night with a lap of 17.679. Heat race wins were taken by Wight, Decker, Matt Sheppard and Rick Laubach. Last Chance Showdown wins went to Ryan Godown and Justin Haers…

Marc Johnson broke a tie rod bolt during the consolation event in the front-end of his No. 33. Johnson was running in a transfer position when he was forced to retire from the race failing to make the show…

Tyler Siri was unable to get his car to stay running at the start of the feature. He was forced to pull into the pit. The team believed that water in the fuel caused his issues…

Tim Fuller, Haers and Danny Johnson all pitted for tires during the 30-lap feature…

Friesen was forced to pit with issues in the front end of his No. 44 on lap 12 of the main. He’d pit a few laps later to change a tire as well…

Sheppard spun going for the lead after contact with Decker on lap 13.  He pitted for a right front shock adjustment on his No. 9s. He rebounded to drive his way all the way back up to seventh.