By Bill Foley
Saturday night, Tim Sears Jr. was crowned Fulton Speedway Small-Block Modified Track Champion.
The final point race is this coming weekend, but with the two top point getters not planning to be in attendance this coming Saturday, the championship, for all intents and purposes, was decided this past week.
So this week, the remaining drivers will vie for their final positions in the point standings.
Sears, winning his third Fulton track crown, said, “Well, we won more races last year, but this year we finished all of them. So I think that was the biggest difference in winning the track title. That and being able to get enough of a gap to be able to pull it off.”
Fulton Public Relations Director Dave Medler told DTD, “Even if they stayed at Fulton (this coming week) and Larry won, he’d still come up short to Sears.”
So Fulton made sure their modified champion was recognized properly with a post-race celebration, as no one else would be able to catch him with just one race to go.
Sears, as well as Larry Wight, were both going to miss this coming week.
Tim told Dirt Track Digest, “Next week we have to go to the Valley for a series race. Last year we skipped the Valley and came here because we didn’t have enough points, but I don’t have to worry about it. We can now just go to the Valley and have fun with the series.”
“Timmer” talked about the title, saying, “This is my third modified one. We won last year. We were able to win the last year the big-blocks ran here (2017).”
The back-to-back track titles are meaningful to the Sears race team, but there is another one that would be maybe a bit more meaningful: the Brewerton Big-Block title.
Sears explained his frustration, saying, “We’ve been so close ever since the year before COVID. We’ve been there for the last four years. We’ve been leading or been first or second going into the last night, but we haven’t won it. It’s definitely a little nerve-wracking, but we’ve been there for all of them. We just haven’t been able to close out the deal. Hopefully we can this year.”
At both Central New York tracks this year, it has been Sears vs. Wight.
Of their relationship, Tim said, “Well, we’re probably two of the most fierce competitors. I mean, we want to beat each other so bad. We’ll put any time we need in the shop to try and beat each other. Whenever one of us beats the other, the other one just goes home and works a little bit harder. It’s a little bit of a rivalry and has definitely propelled us to be better race car drivers.”
On what would be his final Fulton point features of the year, Sears was able to bring home the 83x to a third in the make-up main behind Billy Dunn and Wight and runner-up to Larry in the second main of the night.
Looking back at the first race, Sears said, “The track was really fast and dusty. It’s so hard to get a hold of, and everyone was pretty fast. Because the track was better earlier, it just made it a little tougher to get through traffic, but we got through there, and we ended up getting towards the front. Billy and Larry were just a little bit better than us at the end of that first one.”
Sears has been successful in driving something quite different from other numerous small- and big-block competitors.
He said, “We run Troyers. This is the only thing I drive. It’s definitely a testament to these guys that we are there. Troyer cars are definitely there for us. We just got to get more of them out there.”
Looking at the reason for his success, Timer said, “I really have to thank Kevlar Racing Engines, John, Laura Larry (Wight), and all those guys over there. They’ve been super great to me since we started racing big-blocks, and now with the small-blocks, they’ve been tremendous in the help that we’ve been able to get to this point. I have to thank Kinsella Quarries, R&B, Syrstone, E&V Energy, and Integra. I also have to thank my parents and grandparents. This is such a family effort. It’s pretty cool to be able to do this out of a family shop. We all work 40 to 50 hours a week and do all this stuff in our spare time. It definitely means a lot to be able to race this much and get all the help we’ve gotten. Racing more definitely propelled us to where we are today.”
So Tim Sears Jr. will head into the upcoming weekend with high hopes, as he has the Fulton small-block crown on his head and hopes that this will be the year that “The Demon” doesn’t jump up and bite him on the final night of the point race.
Saturday, it’s off to Lebanon Valley for the Super DIRTcar Series race, and the 83x team has run there well in the past.