OSWEGO, N.Y. – Long known for his wild charges around the outside that either ended in a win or a spectacular crash, Larry Wight turned the wick down a bit Sunday and was rewarded with a $50,000 victory in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200.
Wight’s Kevlar-powered brand new Bicknell led Stewart Friesen, Saturday small block winner Peter Britten, Billy Decker
ckers during the Super DIRT Week finale at Oswego Speedway in a race filled with three wide passes, multiple pit stops and wide variations in race strategy.
“This is huge,” said the elated winner. “The only thing close was qualifying for the Chili Bowl my first time there. This is the biggest modified race anywhere and makes your career.
“At the end, I had to keep telling myself, ‘Don’t be too conservative. That’s when Stewart Friesen passes everyone to steal his wins.’ Eric Kingsley was my spotter and he told me to go hard on the outside while it was there to get track position. Once we got to the top five, we just rode.
“Actually, I was surprised others pitted so early. These tires seal over very quickly here and guys who pit later just drive right by you. Our timing turned out to be perfect.”
As happy as Wight was, fast timer and race-long leader Jimmy Phelps was at the other end of the spectrum. He planned on running the race non-stop and led to lap 67, when Wight muscled his way by on a restart.
He got the lead back when Wight pitted and held off all comers until Wight again ran him down on lap 180. Then, with just three laps remaining, Phelps ran out of fuel and had to pit, dropping him to 22nd in the rundown.
Keith Flach, Gary Lindberg and Friesen ran behind Phelps early on as it soon became apparent that yellows would be the order of the day. All told, the caution flag waved some 16 times, allowing teams to pit for fuel and tires almost at will.
The first mass pitting came on a lap 57 caution, with contenders Erick Rudolph and Matt Sheppard going in, then leading the cars that hit pit road back through the field as others made later stops. Classic winning strategy on the Syracuse mile, the plan would come up short on the Oswego five-eighths-mile oval.
At the halfway point, the order was Phelps, Wight, Billy Dunn, Justin Haers, Chris Hile and Kenny Tremont Jr., none of whom had pitted, with a horde of refueled cars with new tires behind them. Wight dove for the pits on lap 123, when Danny Varin stopped to draw a yellow, with Friesen and a number of others following.
Phelps stayed out with Britten, who would pit a number of times before the end, behind him. Sheppard and Rudolph also made another stop on lap 136 along with Britten and by lap 150 the order had changed completely again. Phelps led Ryan Godown, Billy Decker and Tim Fuller, but Wight stood eighth and Friesen ninth, ready for a final charge.
The crowd held its collective breath as Britten charged around the outside three wide after another stop and Wight worked his way forward at a calmer pace, with a 10-car melee, the only major incident of the race, then coming on lap 170, precipitating a red flag.
Justin Haers, who had hit the turn two wall, got to turn three and went around with a flat, collecting a gaggle of cars in the process. Most amazingly continued once order was restored, though the mid-pack order was shuffled.
When the green reappeared on lap 170, Godown began trying Phelps on the bottom while Wight went to his beloved outside groove once again and flew from sixth to third before the next yellow. That let him shoot down Godown on the restart and as the lap counter hit 179 he stood second with what Phelps the only driver ahead of him. The next time around he dove under Phelps in turn one and the 200 was his.
“I had better tires and plenty of fuel, so I knew I’d get him,” summed up the elated winner.
Godown also got by Phelps, only to have another yellow negate the pass while also giving Britten, now back to eighth, a shot at the lead pack cars. With action everywhere, Friesen took second from Godown as Britten shot around the outside only to have a car slow to draw another yellow with three to go.
Phelps then went pitside, putting Friesen second. Godown began smoking under yellow and dropped out as soon as the green reappeared and Britten, fifth on the restart, shot to third to set the final order.
“We got there but couldn’t do anything with Larry in four laps,” tipped Friesen. “These tires are weird. They go like mad, then cool down under yellow and stop.
“It went through my mind early in the race to try and go non-stop like Jimmy but I’m not that patient.”
As for Britten, many thought he made one too many stops, giving up too much track position, but he disputed that, saying, “You never know the ideal strategy. We didn’t do one too many sets of tires, we just needed that last set a little earlier before the track took rubber.
“I needed another yellow to keep the field closed up, but the track also dusts up under yellow and gets slick for a lap or two. We just didn’t know how the track would change. Larry pitted at the exact right time so congrats to him.”
Former winner Billy Dunn led the second five, trailed by Rudolph, Mat Williamson, Max McLaughlin and Fuller.
Golobic Parked it last night on the opening night of Fall Nationala The Matt Wood machine sporting the Elk Grove Ford, Priority Aviation Keizer Aluminum Wheels colors to victory lane at Silver dollar Speedway.
Shane Golobic bested the field of 54 Winged Sprint Car entries to score the $3,000 victory in the 30 Lap Main Event.
he drop of the green flag Golobic grabbed the early lead from his Pole Position starting spot. On Lap 2 however, Tanner Thorson would make the move around the outside to take over the race lead. He would pull away and lead until about Lap 19 when Shane Golobic found a fast line on the bottom in Turns 1 & 2. He was able to get by Sean Becker and Tanner Thorson to go from third to first in two laps. Just when it looked as though Golobic had the race wrapped up, a yellow flag would wave on the final lap of the race. That would bunch the field up once again and give Tanner Thorson one last run at Golobic. On the restart with two to go Golobic went to protect the bottom of the racetrack. As he took the White Flag, Thorson was mounting one last charge. The two motored through the first set of corners and down the back stretch. Golobic dove to the bottom, Thorson let it all hang out on the top. At the line it was a drag race and Shane Golobic got the victory by just .151 seconds over Tanner Thorson. The win was the first for Shane Golobic since climbing behind the wheel of the Matt Wood owned, Elk Grove Ford #17W sprint car. Despite leading the most laps, Tanner Thorson would settle for second in the Tri-C Machine #3C. Dominic Scelzi made his return from a broken leg to round out the podium in the Third Position in the Scelzi Enterprises #41S. Sean Becker charged from 15th to finish in the 4th position. He was at one point up to the second spot and battling for the lead before a caution would fly. Brad Furr would round out the Top Five in fifth. It was good to see the red #2 back at the Silver Dollar Speedway.
Golobic wins his very first career USAC National Midget Feature during the Shamrock Classic 50 at Du Quion in Illinois Saturday Night. Dennis Krieger Imagery/USAC Dennis Krieger Imagery
Cunningham has started the season off right scoring two consecutive podium finishes on his keizer wheels at the GNCC tour!
Aluminum Wheels has become the #1 wheel in China yet again! We have partnered with some key importers that make our US produced wheel parts available to every team. & they utilize us indefinitely! We thank all the teams from every continent for taking us along for the ride!