By MIKE MALLETT
Coming on the heels of one of the busiest seasons of his career, Mat Williamson is prepared to do even more in 2019 as he’s secured multiple new rides including one that will allow him to compete on the entirety of the Super DIRTcar Series.
It was announced over the weekend that Mike Mahaney and Buzz Chew Racing team had split opening up the seat in their car. That seat was quickly filled as Williamson has been tapped as the new driver for the team next season.
“I met with Buzz in the last week and we are all super excited,” cited Williamson. “We are going to do all the Super DIRTcar Series races. We aren’t sure what else we will run at this point. They struggled a little bit this year, but are excited to get a fresh start. If we can get out and start running good, maybe we’ll do a few more races together.”
Williamson is very excited about the opportunity to pilot the Buzz Chew Bicknell and the opportunity to run the entire series. In the past the team has attempted it, but financial limitations have made it difficult. This deal affords him the chance to get into top notch equipment for the series.
“I’ve always wanted to do the Super DIRTcar Series,” stated Williamson. “In the past we’ve set ourselves up so we could do it then we’d have motor problems or financial stuff where we’d run out of resources three-quarters of the way through it. We’d end up missing Lebanon Valley (Speedway) and Orange County at the end. Your tongue starts hanging out by September. I think this deal with Spot (Ron St. Marie) and the Buzz Chew crew gives me the resources to focus on racing and not going to the track having to worry about wore out equipment.”
Williamson is setting some high expectations for himself and the new team. In 2018 he took home 18 checkered flags while scoring three runner-up finishes with the Super DIRTcar Series. Williamson ran 10 series events total this past year. He finished in the top 10 in seven of those races with four of those finishes finding him in the top five.
“Obviously we want to win,” mentioned Williamson. “With the resources they have, the equipment and the knowledge the team has I don’t see why we can’t go out and win the Super DIRTcar Series (title) and a few races along the way.
“Everywhere we went with the series this year we ran second. We ran second at Canandaigua (Land of Legends Raceway), Ransomville and at Mohawk we got second as well and we didn’t race that much. I’m looking forward to redeeming myself at them places and trying to get one spot better.”
By doing the whole series, Williamson will have the chance to get out and hit a few tracks that he has never had the chance to race at including Lebanon Valley Speedway.
“I’ve never been to the Valley so that will be one that will be cool to get,” said Williamson. “They have had success there with Mike (Mahaney) so they have some good notes to go off of. I’ve never raced Airborne (Speedway Park) and I haven’t done Quebec in a few years. We had some success there in the past.”
It was also announced over the weekend that Williamson is going to take over the driving responsibilities for the CW Racing No. 7 car on Friday night’s at the Ransomville Speedway. The team’s driver Scott Kerwin has decided to semi-retire allowing owners Pete and Johnny Cocco to offer him the ride.
“I’d talked about wanting to run Ransomville with my own stuff,” stated Williamson. “I thought about it. I talked to the sponsors to get a deal together for Friday night. Ransomville is close to home, pays decent money and the track has been better and better. They approached me and told me that Scott was thinking about retiring. They said that if he did they wanted to do a deal with me. It snowballed from there.”
Saturday night’s he’ll find himself running at Merrittville Speedway, but he’s not committed to weekly action as he’ll also have the opportunity to drive for Jeff Behrent at the Orange County Fair Speedway. The deal he has to drive the Behrent’s No. 3 also includes events with the Short Track Super Series North Region. This year the St. Catharines, Ont., driver finished third in series points, only eight points behind eventual champion Billy Decker in his first ever attempt at the title.
“We are still going to race the Short Track Super Series with Jeff,” commented Williamson. “He wants to do some other races at Orange County as well on Saturday night’s which I’m good with. We are focused on Friday nights at Ransomville (Speedway) and Saturday is going to kind of be our own deal still. We aren’t going to focus on it as much. If Orange County pays $10,000 to win on Saturday night we are going to go down there and race with Jeff. Other weeks we’ll run at Merrittvillle.”
Williamson has one other opportunity with the Petruska racing team. He competed for them this year at the World Finals. The team is set to talk in the coming days in order to determine what type of schedule they can put together. Williamson hopes to be able to utilize that team to compete in a handful of the Short Track Super Series South Region events while possibly hitting a few big money shows at the Grandview Speedway.
Williamson’s 2019 season will kick off in February at the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. He hasn’t competed there the last handful of seasons so he’s looking forward to getting back behind the wheel at the quick half-mile. The team will get in some testing the week before hitting the track. He’s hoping to come home with a gator trophy or two.