‘Lightning’ Larry Rules Border Battle

Larry Wight in victory lane at Airborne Speedway. (DIRTcar photo)
Larry Wight in victory lane at Airborne Speedway. (DIRTcar photo)

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Larry Wight took advantage of a restart at the halfway point to pass Matt Sheppard and win the Border Battle for the Super DIRTcar Series Monday night at Airborne Speedway.

Wight and the Gypsum Racing team went home $10,000 richer and now have a guaranteed starting position in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at NAPA Super DIRT Week XLVIII in October at Oswego Speedway.

Runner-up Matt Sheppard drove to the front early, passing both Mat Williamson and then leader Brett Hearn in one fell swoop. Sheppard had built a massive lead but after the bottom line went away for him he lost speed. In third place came Danny Johnson who battled hard in the top ten all night to earn his podium result.

Larry Wight, in his iconic crimson red No. 99L Gypsum Racing Big Block Modified, motored to the lead after starting fourth. Wight hovered around his starting place for the first half of the race, but then his car came to life.

“I wasn’t too sure what we had at the beginning,” Wight said. “We got into the top five and it just leveled out. I watched Jimmy [Phelps] and Matt [Sheppard] drive away from us and I might have saved my tire a bit more. It seemed I could make the top of turns three and four work well.”

The track made for some incredible racing with passing all throughout the field. The fast lane was around the top where at times could get choppy. Wight noted, “It was definitely a handful. It was tougher than 200 laps at Oswego!”

For the second year in a row, Sheppard finished second.

“We had a pretty good car. The difference was that Larry [Wight] could get around the top of turns three and four better than I could. I found a pretty good groove there on the bottom but about halfway through the race somebody clipped one of the [implement] tires and moved it out on the track a little bit. That kind of took my line away,” said Sheppard.

Last year’s winner Johnson was strong right off the bat.

“We’re happy to get a good finish,” Johnson said. “I’m really proud of my Sweeteners Plus team. I want to thank C.C. Performance and Bicknell Racing Products for such a great team.”

Sheppard was fast off the trailer. The now two-time runner-up at Plattsburgh was quickest in Time Trials earning him the Billy Whittaker Cars Fast-Time Award.

The finish:

Feature (100 laps): 1. 99l-Larry Wight [8]; 2. 9s-Matt Sheppard [5]; 3. 27J-Danny Johnson [10]; 4. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [6]; 5. 25-Erick Rudolph [16]; 6. 88-Mat Williamson [4]; 7. 91-Billy Decker [17]; 8. 66X-Carey Terrance [14]; 9. 21A-Peter Britten [9]; 10. 26-Ryan Godown [3]; 11. 20-Brett Hearn [1]; 12. 96b-Steve Bernier [19]; 13. 90-Dany Gagne [2]; 14. 1-Chris Raabe [20]; 15. 35B-Francois Bellemare [22]; 16. 2L-Jack Lehner [11]; 17. 91NY-Jackie Brown [23]; 18. R2-Rusty Smith [25]; 19. 55-Matt Woodruff [15]; 20. 44-Stewart Friesen [7]; 21. 35-Mike Mahaney [12]; 22. 37-Paul StSauveur [26]; 23. 111-Demetrios Drellos [18]; 24. 66J-Louis Jackson [13]; 25. 24-Patrick Dupree [27]; 26. 17-Marcus Dinkins [21]; 27. 34f-George Foley [24]