By BOBBY SWEENEY
Mat Williamson has been the headline maker of the season. Big win after big win, a $100,000 paycheck at Orange County, a win at Oswego, wins all over the Northeast. On Saturday night, Williamson put exclamation point on his superb season, claiming the Super DIRTcar Series championship.
Williamson didn’t show the speed he hoped at Volusia, but the team went to work in the early spring. A podium in the Super DIRTcar Series points opener at Can-Am built momentum for the team, and despite podium after podium, Williamson didn’t win a race until September. The first win came at Brewerton, then the second came at Mohawk the next night. Williamson then entered Super DIRT Week full of momentum, claiming victory in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at Oswego. Williamson’s three wins was short of Sheppard’s eight Super DIRTcar Series wins this year, but consistency kept Williamson in the hunt all season.
“To be here, to do this is just beyond incredible,” Williamson said. “This ‘super team’ we have is powerful beyond words, and we had everybody here this weekend. To be the first Canadian to win the Super DIRTcar Series title is unreal.”
Entering the final 40-lap race, Williamson had a 18-point lead over Matt Sheppard. Sheppard started pole, and Williamson second. To win the title, Williamson needed to finish second or third if Sheppard won the race. Halfway through the race, Sheppard was leading, and Williamson was barely clinging onto third.
“I was really nervous,” noted Williamson about his race. “Early in the night I was feeling fine, but things took a turn at the redraw. Starting second was cool, but Sheppard was inside of us and we all know how good he is here. We knew we just had to stay up front, and we did what we had to do. I think I could’ve gotten up there and raced with Billy Decker at the end, but I was so focused on just keeping the car safe that I settled into second.”
Like Williamson said, he was able to claw by Sheppard and finish second. At the end, Williamson scored the championship by 28 points. While not the closest points finish in Super DIRTcar Series finish ever, it was more than close enough to provide a thrilling finish.
“This championship means a lot to me, but everyone at Buzz Chew deserves this so much,” Williamson stated. “For what everyone here puts into it, it’s been underappreciated these few years. They haven’t had the success to reflect the work they’ve done, and it’s so cool to finally get there. My crew chief Spot works harder than anyone, he doesn’t sleep like I do and we’ll be texting each other at 2 in the morning talking about the car. We’ve all been through some hard times these past few years, and this is so cool for all of us.”
Williamson should be used to celebrating massive paychecks, but the Super DIRTcar Series championship is his biggest accomplishment yet.
“It’s crazy, I never cried after winning $100,000, never cried after winning Super DIRT Week, but I cried a little tonight,” Williamson joked. “It’s cool to win the big races, but those are only 100 laps, 200 laps. This was an entire season’s worth of work. It shows the amount of work that goes into all of this, to finish top ten, top five, and finish races to begin with as much as we did.”
Expect Williamson and the Buzz Chew team to come out swinging in 2020, as with a full year together under their belts, the team may be stronger than ever.