Brewerton Notebook: Wide Open on Week Two – DTD Exclusive


Victor Larry Wight had nothing but praise for Eric Fink’s preparation of the Brewerton Speedway on Friday night.

Larry started back in the field and went from 12th to eight on the first lap before eventually taking the lead for good on the 16th lap in his 99L big-block Modified.

It was a strange feature event and Larry mentioned that there were just too many yellows and reds  or “any other color flag” in what was a marathon feature.

Three lanes were common on Friday night as drivers felt comfortable all the way around, thus resulting in some head shaking moves. 

Groups of cars together were common as was wheel to wheel racing. 

Tom Sears Jr. grabbed the lead from Matt Caprara on lap two and was in charge for 16 laps. He held off numerous charges from Wight. However, numerous restarts kept everything bunched up and it was a late race restart that really shuffled the field.

With eight laps to go the green came out after Todd Root (running in the top five) sustained a right rear flat and pulled up high in turn one.

The line up at that point was Wight, Tom Sears, Ronnie Davis III, Matt Caprara, Chad Phelps, Tim Sears Jr., Chris Hile, Darren Smith and Zach Payne.

“Shuffled” would be the word for what happened next as on the restart Phelps nearly went airborne riding up Caprara’s right rear tire. Both of them lost positions.

Tom Sears car seemed to go away and his what looked like second place finish disappeared.

At the checker it was Wight, Davis, Tim Sears Jr., Hile and Sears.

A lengthy red delayed the show for several minutes as the light tower in the first turn and in the pits decided to turn itself off.

Tom told Dirt Track Digest, “On the last restart I just couldn’t get going. The car was really good up until that last restart.

The first week of the season Davis said, “I used up the car too early and when I took the lead early I knew I was too good and probably wouldn’t win.”

On the 13th lap Jason Parkhurst went around in the first turn and Sears, leading at the time, clipped the front end. Tom said, “I really don’t think that made any difference.”

However, he was extremely strong running where ever he wanted to on the track in Friday’s 35 lap feature for a runner up finish.

He came a long way after finishing eighth in his heat he rallied for third in the consi behind Max McLaughlin and Darren Smith.

Tim Sears Jr. was third and not exactly happy as he said, “I really need to win one of these races.”

But in regards to his night at Brewerton that saw him in a podium finish, he said, “I didn’t get a good start on the night, but we made some good changes and got the car to where I think we were at the end of last season here. In fact I think the car might even be better than it was last year here. I felt pretty good as I could move all over. I think I bent my front end a bit when Jimmy Phelps and I got together as I couldn’t roll the bottom as well after that.”

Chris Hile started back in the pack by virtue of his fourth place finish on week one and he battled throughout the race to repeat his opening night finish.

Todd Root said, “I had only three big-block races before tonight,” but he did himself proud in winning his heat over Larry Wight.

Todd ran third until the 24th lap and when his right rear went flat he was seventh with just eight laps to go. Definitely a heartbreaking moment.

Root’s motor is a Finger Lake motor purchased from Justin Haers.

Chad Phelps came home sixth was a bit disappointed with his night as he anticipated it could have been better than it was. 

He came off the line in 18th and finished just out of the top five.

Phelps said, “That last restart I went over the 29’s (Caprara) tire and lost some spots. We went from 18th to sixth and I really feel I had a third place car tonight.

Caprara is also a new face in the division and said, “I’ve only run big-blocks five times He finished in seventh saying.  It was probably my best run. There were a lot of yellows, but I really felt the top was dominant, then I saw Tim (Sears) on the bottom and almost get me and I was I have to get down there.”

The car is a former Larry Wight chassis and Matt has it running well. There was one restart where he went from sixth to third as everyone simply was using the entire track setting up three wide racing.

Matt noted, “I’m not disappointed. I am learning and gaining experience every time I’m out there. There is no such thing as a loss for me at this time.”

One scary moment came on lap 21 when there was contact between several cars. Suddenly a tire and the entire assembly was bouncing into turn one, hit the ambulance and a few competitors before Jimmy Phelps could safely park the car up between turns one and two.

Phelps said, ”I really don’t know what happened. There was some minor contact, but suddenly it just sheared off at the wheel as I went into one. I felt it drop down” and fortunately he came to a safe stop on the high side between one and two.

Jimmy had been sixth at that point and behind him both Tim Sears Jr., Chad Phelps and Marcus Dinkins all were hammered by the wayward rubber.

Dinkins, running 10th at that point, battled on with front end issues only to get collected with Chris Mackey in turn one. 

Dinkins said, “The front end got messed up after I hit Jimmy’s tire and then I saw Chris go around and thought he was going to roll the top. That resulted in a split oil tank that caused a fire.”

Pit Notes-Max McLaughlin had some difficulties and  the opening night winner headed to the pits for a stop midway through. He settled for 14th. On night one he had skipped the Stafford Sizzler qualifying to run Brewerton.

He headed for Stafford the next day  and qualified through the last chance race, but said, “We blew up the spec motor when we got to seventh.”

Next race on the asphalt is at New Hampshire…

Jimmy Witko Jr. had quit racing last year after his late season Brewerton wreck that saw him come down hard, injuring his back. Gladly he’s made a return and is also working on a second car in his shop in Clark Summit…

Small Block driver Max Hill has gone to a new look this year.

He said, “I went with the green. Steve Hulsizer was a good friend of the family and I thought being a new car, to us, I would start fresh.”

Currently the plan is to run Brewerton, but dad John said, “We are trying to get a second small-block” so they’ll see what the plans are for the rest of the year…

Chris Mackey has made the Modified return this year with a small-block. Back in ‘14 he ran a big-block at Fulton and Brewerton, but said, “I just couldn’t afford it anymore. Lonny Rood, my dad and I own this car.”

He went 20th to seventh a Fulton and opening night at Brewerton 19th to seventh. He ended up 15th on Friday…

Darren Smith from the B Main to eighth…

358 Rookie Amy Holland 25th to 11th…

Mod Lites had some moments as Matt Kitts rolled his Mod Lite in heat action and came back for sixth in the feature…

Kyle Demo took the lead on lap two and won, but had to hold off significant challenges from Zach Babcock, Joe Isabelle and Joe Garafolo at one time or another…

Mike Gloska slowed on the front stretch with mechanical woes and Isabelle closing quickly had no where to go and the runner up at that point was out of for the night…

Garafolo had a front end suspension part break eliminating him with five laps to go….

Babcock and Mike Mullen completed the top three…

Nicholas Garafolo got his first ever Mod Lite ride and was all smiles after. He spun out on the ninth lap and couldn’t restart, but he held his line while he was out there and wasn’t a road block for the faster cars. He’ll be back. Dad Joe was proud to say the least….

Brandon Carvey picked up a win in the Sportsman main with a 1.229 victory over Cody Manitta. Zach Sobotka was third…Chris Bonoffski was the four cylinder winner….

31 Mods (all started the feature except Jeff Prentice who headed to the pits before the green), 21 Sportsman, 15 Mod Lites and 16 Four cylinders…

ESS invades on Friday night.