MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — There is not much Mat Williamson hasn’t won since August of 2019.
However, on Saturday night he clicked off yet another crown-jewel event in the Northeast, winning the Eastern States 200 at Orange County Fair Speedway.
Williamson started eighth and rode around for most of the first half of the race. It was on lap 92, when a caution came out for the second-place car of polesitter Larry Wight, that things got interesting – as it became the money stop of the race.
“I came on the radio and said we were not good enough to win,” Williamson said of that yellow. “We took the gamble there on the pit stop.”
After the pit stop, Williamson began to move forward and was fourth at lap 114. Nine laps later he was second and chasing leader Stewart Friesen, who had won three of the previous four Eastern States 200s.
Williamson gained the lead on lap 144, but then had to contend with hard-charging Mike Mahaney, who started 16th. A restart with six to go made Williamson a little bit nervous
“A lot of things ran through my head,” Williamson said. “We were gonna take the top and put Stew behind Mike and make them race it out. I was also worried he would get by me. Mike had a good car as well. Thankfully we picked the bottom because we were a rocketship fast.”
From that point forward it was smooth sailing as Stewart Friesen and Mike Mahaney battled for second.
“It makes for a good year,” Williamson said. “We can go into the winter with a little bit of cash in our pockets.
In the companion events on the night, polesitter Jimmy Phelps won the small-block modified feature over Tim Sears Jr., Rocky Warner, Billy Decker and Larry Wight to round out the top five.
Twelve-year-old Tanner VanDoran won the sportsman 50-lap feature.
Jim Hajkowski picked up a $1,000 for winning the street stock feature.
Mat Williamson, Stewart Friesen, Mike Mahaney, Tim Sears Jr., Tyler Dippel, Jimmy Phelps, Pat Ward, Max McLaughlin, Billy Vaninwegen, Jeff Heotzler, Tommy Meier, Peter Britten, Ryan Godown, Marc Johnson, Anthony Perrego, Jack Lehner, Dillion Steuer, Kevin Root, Allison Ricci, Jessica Friesen, Matt Hitchcock, Richard Smith, Tim Fuller, Ronnie Johnson, Andy Bachetti, Larry Wight, Billy Decker, Matt Sheppard, Shane Jablonka, Jimmy Horton, Tyler Trump, L.J. Lombardo, Tyler Boniface, Bobby Henschel, Rocky Warner, Kyle Armstrong, J.R. Heffner, Jerry Higbie.