By BILL FOLEY
It isn’t often that a driver can make up a three second deficit and gain a win in the final seven laps, but Mat Williamson accomplished that on night two for the Modifieds at the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
It isn’t often that a driver leads 29 laps, is in full command, only to have his heartbroken on the final circuit and find himself relegated to the runner up position, but that happened to a devastated Demetrios Drellos on Thursday night.
It is often that Larry Wight takes to the high lane and puts on a show and that he did by starting 22nd, out of a B main, and moving up to third, but being forced to fourth.
Williamson really wanted a gator for his car owner Buzz Chew.
Demetrios wanted to have his family team chalk up a win against the super teams.
And it was a night to remember.
For Williamson he had little to show for two nights of being the fast timer, but when it came together it was sensational.
Meanwhile, Erick Rudolph continued to be fast and ran as high as second by the midway point. With ten laps left Rudolph was passed by the eventual winner and then Wight got past. However, Alex Payne made contact with Wight with two laps to go and the bead lock went away the right front. Larry hung on, but it was for fourth and not third.
Max McLaughlin rounded out the top five, but the car was just a bit tight and he struggled after starting ninth.
Jack Lehner was in the draw, started fourth and fell back to sixth at the end. Matt Sheppard ran in the top five most of the race but fell back to seventh.
Stewart Friesen missed time trials, started from scratch in his heat, started on the front row of the first B main and from 20th finished eighth.
Jimmy Phelps was a heat winner, started fifth, but came home ninth and Peter Britten completed the top ten.
Andrew Smith out of Lockport was in action for the first time this week as the team replaced the entire transmission. He got out for hot laps on Wednesday and then it was over for the night.
Sheppard’s team apparently found a leak in a fitting. That was the issue they were chasing on Wednesday night.
Rich Scagliotta had a sensational drive in his heat finishing third and just missing the draw. On night one the front axle and a couple of rods along with two shocks had to be replaced after getting hit head on.
Marc Johnson wasn’t expected to be competing at Volusia, and when asked why the team decided to compete, he simply said, “The owner gave me the okay.”
Russell Morseman was out of action on Wednesday with a broken ring and pinion. He didn’t have a replacement but was able to get the part they needed from Stewart Friesens program.
Alex Payne had the back-up car out for night two. The motor of the primary car broke on Wednesday. The car he ran Thursday was the one he ran at All Tech in the STSS show. He competed there with a DIRTcar legal big-block.
Kyle Dingwall was in the team car to Corbin Millar in a deal that fell together on Tuesday as owner Charlie Miller firmed up the arrangement.
Dany Gagne saw his crew replace everything on the right front of his machine as they had an axle, shocks, shock mount and just about every suspension piece after his opening night crash.
Gagne’s car is brand new with a new motor.
Dexter Stacey had just built the Mod he brought to Volusia. He missed hot laps as well as track prep because a starter decided it was time to expire. He will be running at the big track this week in the Xfinity race and that will keep him away from Volusia for the next two nights.
Jessica Power finished fourth in the B Main after starting on the front row and being surrounded by Friesen, Wight and Louden Reimert. It was tough, but the former Matt Billings powerplant is something she is growing used to. She decided to learn the big-block at the fastest track they run.
Night one also saw Jimmy Britt sustain a bent shock, ruined tire and damaged sheet meter in a multi car mishap. He slapped the wall in Thursday’s heat action but was able to continue.
Adam Pierson and his crew got the 215 back together after a flip on opening night. I will have an in-depth story on Friday.
Same goes for Reimert as he too sustained major damage, but DTD will have a story about him too coming up in the next couple of days.
In heat two Wight said “Alex came down on me and forced me into the 66 (which resulted in flat tires for the 66M and the 99L).
Big-block rookie Justin Stone was in a qualifying spot only to have his engine blow. He went to the back up and eventually found his way in by having the most points of the cars not qualified.
Dean Reynolds had planned for two provisionals, but when Smith was unable to go Stone got a spot.
Rick Laubach got the head win while Williamson won the first.
In the third Rudolph ran away from the field and Jimmy Phelps the fourth.
Darren Smith was fifth and had a qualifying spot only to have a trail of blue smoke stream from his car between three and four on the cool down lap. The engine was done for the night. Talking to DTD on Friday morning Darren said, “We have one with us and are in the process of putting it in.”
Ryan Arbuthnot put on a show to win the second B over Danny Creeden while Friesen and Wight were one-two in the other consi.
That’s it for night two and DTD readers can look for stories on Louden Reimert, Adam Pierson, Dexter Stacey and Justin Stone tomorrow.