By MIKE MALLETT
The 2020 DIRTcar Nationals are just a few days removed meaning racing is just around the corner in the Northeast (thankfully). The Super DIRTcar Series competed for five consecutive nights at the Volusia Speedway Park with two drivers dominating the headlines. Larry Wight scored three wins while on his way to the DIRTcar Nationals title and Mat Williamson who won twice including the finale worth $5,000.
After a few days to compile the stats, here is a recap of the action at the DIRTcar Nationals including photos, points, money won and finishes.
DIRTcar Nationals by the Numbers
Total Modified Drivers Attempting to Qualify: 36
Total Heat Race Winners: Nine (20 events run)
Total Consolation Winners: Six (six events run)
Total Payout: $79,425
Highest Money Earner: Larry Wight $10,400
Points, Money and Recap
1 Larry Wight – 749 points – $10,400
Wight’s week couldn’t have gone much better. Wight won three features in a row before winning his third DIRTcar Nationals title. To go along with his three wins, he also had a fifth and sixth place finish. That was good enough to win the championship by 21 points over Mat Williamson.
2 Mat Williamson – 728 points – $10,300
Williamson bookended his week with wins. Williamson earned his first Florida win on Tuesday night. He had one off night where he finished 15th when a bolt broke on the rear shock. From there he got things going and won the $5,000 to win finale. He came up just short in his pursuit of the Big Gator.
3 Billy Decker – 720 points – $4,200
Decker was consistent all week long with his Gypsum Racing No. 91. The Unadilla, N.Y., driver nearly got the win on Friday night only to have his teammate Wight pass him for the victory. He finished second that night. From there Decker had four finishes inside the top 10 including one other top five effort.
4 Erick Rudolph – 703 points – $4,075
Rudolph’s week started with his best finish on Tuesday. Rudolph scored a runner-up effort in the opener. Rudolph had one hiccup during the week where he finished outside the top 10. It was a 12th place effort.
5 Matt Sheppard – 696 points – $3,550
Shockingly, Sheppard’s best finish of the week came on the final night where crossed the line in third. Other than that, it wasn’t a good week for the former DIRTcar Nationals champion. Sheppard struggled on Wednesday night for his worst finish when he ended the night 19th. The rest of his finishes were in the top 10.
6 Billy Dunn – 694 points – $3,250
Dunn continued to show speed in his Ray Graham owned No. 49. In five nights of racing done had five top ten finishes. His best run of the week was in the finale where he finished an impressive fourth.
7 Anthony Perrego – 690 points – $3,300
Perrego started the week strong with a podium effort before scoring a pair of eighth place finishes. He then shot back up the finishing order with a fourth on Friday night before his worst effort of the week on Saturday where he crossed the line 14th.
8 Jimmy Phelps – 667 points – $4,175
It was a struggle for the HBR team out of the gate. The team didn’t manage a top 10 until Friday night where Phelps picked up a fifth. He backed that up with a runner-up finish to Williamson on the final night to head back north on a high-note.
9 Brett Hearn – 662 points – $2,600
Hearn was oddly inconsistent at Volusia. Hearn finished just outside the top 10 in the opener before coming back with two top five finishes. At that point it looked like things were going his way, but the final two nights saw Hearn slip down the rankings with a 20th and 11th place finishes respectively.
10 Pat Ward – 645 points – $2,175
Ward’s best run came on the final night with a seventh place run behind teammates Billy Decker and Larry Wight. Ward had one other top 10, he finished ninth on Tuesday night to kickoff the DIRTcar Natioanls.
11 Peter Britten – 621 points – $1,800
Britten managed only one top 10 finish during the week-long campaign at Volusia. Britten had his fair share of struggles. His most impressive run came on the final night when he started deep in the consolation after mechanical problems early, transferred to start in the back of the feature before scoring a 16th place finish. His best run of the week came on Wednesday when he scored his only top 10.
12 Tim Fuller – 618 points – $1,800
Fuller took some time to get rolling at Volusia. Fuller missed the mark early in the week before righting the ship the final two nights. Fuller had back-to-back 10th place finishes to cap of his week.
13 Andy Bachetti – 617 points – $2,250
At times it seemed like the tale of two Bachetti’s. Some night’s he was one of the fastest cars on the track the other two nights he posted finishes way outside of expectations. Bachetti had a 26th and 24th place finishes for the low lights, but three top tens to go with it. His best was a sixth.
14 Michael Maresca – 616 points – $1,975
Maresca bent up the car early in the week, which the team recovered from the following night to have their best finish. Maresca was fourth on Thursday night. Other than that the team was unable to generate another top 10 finish.
15 Rick Laubach – 602 points – $1,625
Laubach was strong in qualifying all week long, but the finishes just didn’t come for the Quakertown, Pa., driver. He managed three top 15 finishes with his best being 11th. Laubach’s final night ended on a sour note with a 28th.
16 Justin Haers – 597 points – $1,550
Haers had a tough Florida trip. Haers southern campaign got off to a bad note at All-Tech and he never recovered. He did manage a 10th in the opener, but that was the peak of the week. Luck was never on his side.
17 Jessey Mueller – 595 points – $1,475
Mueller was consistent during the Florida swing. Mueller’s week started with his worst finish of 19th before he had a pair of 16th place runs and a pair of 15th place runs.
18 Demitrios Drellos – 590 points – $1,650
Drellos low point came on opening night when the failed to make the feature. He made the main-event every night after that with an eighth-place finish on Friday the highlight of the week.
19 Stewart Friesen – 579 points – $4,250
The only reason Friesen is this low in the points is he had to miss the Friday night program to compete at Daytona with the Truck Series. Friesen came out strong chasing Wight every step of the way finish fourth before two second place runs. In the finale he struggled getting going managing only a 12th place finish.
20 Ronnie Johnson – 575 points – $1,425
Johnson’s initial foray into the Sunshine State was a tough one. The Lebanon Valley Speedway regular was searching to find the setup while getting comfortable in the ride. Johnson was able to secure only one top 15 finish which came on Wednesday when he finished 12th.
21 Brian Swartzlander – 569 points – $1,400
Swartzlander made the show in each of the five nights. The Western Pennsylvania Hall of Fame driver’s high point of the week came on Friday when he finished 14th. He also scored a 16th in the opener for his only two top 20 finishes.
22 Billy Pauch – 562 points – $1,500
Things never got going in the right direction for Pauch. The week was a struggle for the Frenchtown, N.J., driver. He did finish 11th on Wednesday night, but that was the peak. It was all downhill from there for the driver who is traditionally in the hunt at Volusia.
23 Kyle Coffey – 554 points – $1,300
Coffey was in the feature on all five nights of the DIRTcar Nationals. He was consistently around 20th in the rundown each night. He had two 20th place finishes and two 19th place finishes with a 22nd on Friday.
24 Jeremy Smith – 552 points – $1,300
Smith’s top run of the week was his Friday night finish of 17th. The Southern Tier driver was then right around 20th in the final pecking order throughout the rest of the week.
25 Jim Rasey – 500 points – $950
Rasey made three of the five features at Volusia. Rasey’s best tally was a 19th on Friday night.
26 Dave Rauscher – 488 points – $900
Rauscher made three of the four races he attempted to qualify for. He elected to take Friday night off after all the rain. His high watermark was 23rd on Wednesday night.
27 Dillon Steuer – 487 points – $900
This youngster had a tough week. Steuer has shown speed in the past at Volusia, but this was not his week. He missed two of the five shows managing only to finish as high as 24th once.
28 Joseph Watson – 474 points – $775
Watson’s week was a struggle. The Delaware driver missed qualifying for the first three shows before a pair of 26th place efforts to cap off the week.
29 Darwin Greene – 463 points – $600
Greene made it into the show just one time all week. He was 25th in the 50-lap finale on Saturday.
30 Rich Scagliotta – 462 points – $600
Scagliotta returned to racing looking to get comfortable in the race car. The New Jersey driver got some laps and made only the last race of the week. He crossed the line 24th.
31 Rick Regalski Jr. – 450 points – $375
It was a tough week for Regalski. He didn’t make the show on any of the nights. Unfortunately for him, things went even worse when he rolled over on his side in final consolation event of the week on Saturday.
32 Russell Morseman – 450 points – $375
Like Regalski, Morseman competed all five nights, but never cracked the starting line-up.
33 Matt Strangle – 194 points – $325
Stangle made the opening round of racing on Tuesday where he finished 23rd. He got the wall on Wednesday night doing too much damage to return.
34 Tyler Thompson – 180 points – $150
Thompson lost a motor on opening night, came back and lost another one. That was the end of the week for the Central New York driver.
35 Ralph McBride – 90 points – $75
McBride attempted to qualify just one night. Mechanical issues sidelined is efforts from there.
36 Danny Johnson – 90 points – $75
Johnson’s only start came on Tuesday. The team had mechanical problems and was forced to load up and call it a week.