By KEN BRUCE
The plan for Mat Williamson for the Eastern States 200 was to be buckled into the seat of the Jeff Behrent No. 3 big-block Modified. A blown motor at last week’s Speed Showcase during last Friday morning’s practice session in that same car left the team wondering what their plans would be for this weekend’s Eastern States.
After some conversation, Williamson and the Behrent’s team thought it would be best to bring Williamson’s own No. 6 Modified to Orange County for this weekend’s 200. All Williamson did with his own car was to time trial second fastest and win the 12-lap Race for the Pole putting him as the polesitter for the 200.
“First and foremost, I have to thank all of the guys that made this happen,” said Williamson. “This was done with a lot of help from Buzz (Buzz Chew of Buzz Chew Racing), Jeff and Harry Behrent and all of the teams. Paul Wendt and Johnny Coco and all these teams that make it all work for me. When we blew Jeff’s motor last week we didn’t know what we were going to do. I ended up calling back home to my dad and he got the valves set on this motor. I mean this motor was fogged and ready to put away for the winter.
“We have only raced this car about seven times this year, it is a couple of years old and has old parts on it. I mean this is a car we just screwed around and played around with all year. I put way more effort into my small-block car at Oswego than I did for this deal. At the big end of the year races we had circled, we certainly didn’t have this one circled for this car. This was Jeff’s (Behrent) deal, and it is a big race for him, but unfortunately, he broke a motor and we had to run our car.”
In the Race for the Pole 12-lap mini-feature, Williamson started second to fast timer Tyler Dippel. Williamson was able to beat Dippel into turn one on the start and then stayed out front by a comfortable margin to earn the right to start on the pole for Sunday’s $40,000 to win 200-lap main event.
“That is pretty cool, I don’t think I have ever started on the pole in one of these big races,” mentioned Williamson. “Whether it be Oswego, Eastern States or even Fulton. I haven’t had that opportunity yet. I don’t very often draw good to start on the pole in any races so this will be pretty cool for a change. I am very happy for our whole team.”