By MIKE MALLETT
Mat Williamson and the Jeff Behrent racing team were rewarded for all their hard work during the day Thursday with a nice $10,000 payday to finish off the Lumberjack Swing for the Short Track Super Series at Le RPM Speedway.
Williamson was involved in an incident on Tuesday night at Autodrome Granby, where the team thought they suffered just front-end damage. It turned out to be much more.
“While everybody was beating the buttons on Facebook, I was working on my race car, trying to win a race tonight,” said Williamson with a smile. “Last night was a shitty deal. Obviously, we didn’t want to wreck a race car, but to rebound tonight to get the win was pretty cool.”
He continued, “The radius rod actually came up and hit the bell housing and knocked that out of the car. So Dad (Randy) went to Canadian Tire and got a couple pieces of steel, reinforced it, and built it so that it would last the night. It will have to be replaced when it gets home.”
Williamson started sixth in his heat, finished third, and made the redraw, which put him on the outside of the front row for the feature. He got the jump at the green flag and led all 60-laps for his fifth career win with the series.
“Usually at these draw races I don’t draw very well, so it’s nice to come up to this part of Canada and draw a couple good numbers,” said Williamson. “Luckily, we were good enough in the heat race, made the redraw, and drew a good number. These cars are so even I don’t know if we would have won starting much further back than sixth.”
Wiliamson went on to thank the Quebec fans for their support after massive crowds attended both nights of the series’ first ever visit to the province by the series.
“I really gotta say the fans in Quebec are like no other,” said Williamson. “This is a pretty cool deal that Brett (Deyo) did here, and I’m looking forward to coming back next week with the Super DIRTcar Series.”
Friesen Chases Williamson to the Line
Stewart Friesen chased Williamson for much of the feature. He got within striking distance of Williamson a couple times, but things just didn’t fall his way. He’s not a fan of second, but was happy to right the ship after problems at Granby.
“We just got a little tight on the long run,” said Friesen. “I would kind of lose some brakes or something, but the track was awesome. It was fun. Lapped traffic would kind of help me and hurt me all at the same time. It was a good two days. Obviously, yesterday didn’t go our way. I had some problems, but it’s just awesome to come up here with the Short Track Super Series. It’s kind of refreshing to come here with the series. What a great turnout in the stands and great race fans. Like I said, overall, good two days. We got a second Mat, who’s on his game, and we’re close.”
Friesen tried about 10 different lines on the track in an effort to find the speed to catch Williamson. At times he ran high, others low, sometimes through the middle, and still other times he’d go from the bottom to the top.
“I could definitely move around,” said Friesen. “Matty was ripping that top in three and four, and I could kind of go up there, but I was faster if I cut the corner riding through the middle. As small as it is here, there are three different grooves. It’s just a racy place.”
Erick Rudolph was happy to come home third with his No. 25 ride after he suffered a flat tire at Granby on Tuesday that took the whole side of the car with it. His car was really strong during the middle stages of the race, allowing him to make a run from ninth to third at the checkered flag.
“We started at ninth, had to pass six cars, and they’re all good cars, especially up here,” said Rudolph. “I think our best laps were from like 20 to 50. Early on, I wasn’t sure where I really wanted to be. At the end, it just seemed like the car was starting to lose a little bit. I was starting to struggle with lapped cars a little bit more than I was, but nonetheless, we ended up in third place. Gotta be happy with that, especially after last night where we didn’t really have the finish we wanted.”
Mahaney has Another Strong Car
Mike Mahaney completed his trip to Quebec with a fourth-place finish in the final rundown. Not bad for a guy who came in struggling. Two nights in a row, things seemed to click for the Huttig team, which has Mahaney excited as he looks ahead.
“Different car tonight, but we tried to apply the same setup, and it worked here at a completely different racetrack,” said Mahaney. “That was a fast-paced night. We didn’t have a whole lot of time with the rain coming. The guys worked really hard and did an awesome job. I am pumped with how we’re running. Today we had probably one of the best draws we’ve had the entire season in the North Region, and it paid off with a top five.”
Le RPM Leftovers
31 cars signed in for the second night of the Lumberjack Swing…
Heat wins were taken by Mario Clair, J.F. Corriveau, and Erick Rudolph…
The program was rushed through with rain in the area. The consolation was canceled, and 30 cars started the feature event. The teams rolled right out onto the track, took a lap, and went to green in an effort to speed the program along…
Matt Sheppard blew a motor in his primary car during the heat race. He started at the back of the pack and powered forward to a seventh place finish…
Unlike the night before, where Canadians filled most of the top five, on this night, American drivers dominated and took all five top positions, with Marc Johnson finishing in fifth.