By BOBBY SWEENEY
BARBERBILLE, FL – Another Super DIRTcar Series feature at Volusia Speedway Park, another dramatic finish. In Saturday’s 50-lap finale of the DIRTcar Nationals, Mat Williamson denied Jack Lehner of his first Super DIRTcar Series victory with a last-turn pass.
Lehner set a quick pace at the drop of the green, running away from Rick Laubach in the first ten laps. As traffic entered the picture, Labauch began to close in prior to a lap 13 yellow. On the restart, Laubach rolled the middle and went to the lead, while Lehner and other frontrunners returned to the bottom.
Through halfway, Laubach went unchallenged. Lehner felt pressure from Erick Rudolph and Williamson, but turned back their challenges each time. Around lap 30, Laubach’s pace slowed due to a leaking right front tire, and Lehner began to chip into the gap. On lap 36, Lehner pried under Laubach to regain the top spot, with Williamson and Rudolph moving by Laubach soon after.
Williamson got under Lehner to lead lap 39, but Lehner drove it hard through the middle and took it right back. Williamson wasn’t done, and Rudolph was there too, with the trio nearly three deep for the lead on lap 41. Eventually, Lehner secured some breathing room, and with five laps to go, appeared to be on his way to his first Series win.
Lapped traffic did Lehner no favors in the final circuits, as Lehner wasn’t able to clear cars as quickly as needed. Williamson reeled in Lehner, reaching his rear bumper at the white flag. Entering turn one, Williamson threw his car to the top and pinned Lehner behind traffic on the bottom. In the final set of turns, Williamson cleared Lehner, taking his second win in three DIRTcar Nationals features. Lehner came home a narrow second, with Rudolph, Max McLaughlin, and Peter Britten completing the top five.
“Jack ran a great race, he did everything he could do,” Williamson noted. “I feel bad – those boys would have torn this place down if they won. When you’re in lapped traffic, it can go either way. He was better than me, he got by me and by a lapped car and then took off. I think he got worried that if he couldn’t get around the lapped cars up top, he’d get freight trained on the bottom. But, hats off to them guys, it’s cool to see them run good. The Buzz Chew team, we got a big team down here this week, so it’s nice to come down and win the last two. I really didn’t think we were going to be that good here last night, I was hoping it was going to rain out. It’s nice that we were able to cap off this week with a win.”