CONCORD, N.C. – Jimmy Phelps collected his first Super DIRTcar Series victory of the season during a caution-laden 40-lap feature Friday night at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Phelps inherited the top spot from Billy Decker after Decker, who led all but one of the first 22 laps from the pole, went pitside with a flat left-rear tire.
From there, the Weedsport (N.Y.) Speedway promoter led the rest of the way, holding off a determined charge from Erick Rudolph in the closing laps to notch the 18th victory of his Super DIRTcar career.
It was Phelps’ first series triumph since Sept. 7, 2018 at Le RPM Speedway in Saint-Marcel-de-Richelieu, Quebec, as well as his second series victory at Charlotte.
Phelps was the inaugural Super DIRTcar Series winner at The Dirt Track at Charlotte when the tour was added to the Can-Am World Finals in 2010, but hadn’t won again at the four-tenths-mile oval since.
“I knew we had a decent car. I just didn’t know how good Erick (Rudolph) was,” said Phelps in victory lane. “Obviously he made up some serious ground at the end. I knew we were decent, but we weren’t restarting the greatest. Once we got rolling, though, it seemed like we were pretty good. It’s a Catch 22, really, because we were strong on the longer green runs early, and then the leaders got tore up there in traffic.
“I don’t know; I guess it was what it was. It worked out for us.”
Friday night marked Phelps’ first win with a Bicknell Racing Products chassis in just his second race with the new car, following a switch in chassis before Eastern States weekend at Orange County Fair Speedway.
“The car was super,” Phelps noted. “These guys busted their butts. It’s a new car. They put it together and it’s only got one other race on it. I’m tickled pink to be standing here right now. The thing was great.
“I can’t thank everybody at HBR, Al Heinke and Judy Heinke and all the guys that bust their tails enough.”
In all, six cautions slowed the pace during the 40-lap distance, including three in the second half.
Rudolph did what he could to try and track Phelps down with the aid of the yellows, but had to settle for a runner-up finish, .910 seconds adrift of the No. 98h at the twin checkered flags.
“I’m not sure if the yellows helped us or hurt us tonight,” Rudolph admitted. “I think maybe I had a better shot, but he (Phelps) was definitely the class of the field. He did what he had to do on the restarts there and he had a fast hot rod, but we’re not too disappointed with this run here. It’s a good night.”
Larry Wight completed the podium finishers, followed by Pat Ward and Mat Williamson, who assumed an 18-point lead over Matt Sheppard with his fifth-place finish on Friday night.
Sheppard suffered a flat right-front tire on lap three of the feature, but rallied back to finish 10th and keep his hopes of an eighth Super DIRTcar Series title alive going into Saturday’s season finale.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.