OSWEGO, N.Y. – Mat Williamson’s dream season continued Sunday during the finale of Super DIRT Week as the hard charging Canadian collected $50,000 for his score in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at Oswego Speedway.
Williamson, who earned a $100,000 victory earlier this year with a win in the anniversary race at Orange County Fair Speedway, made the run look easy.
He made his pit stop during a lap 56 caution period and then patiently waited for the cars in front of him to pit as well. By the time another of the 22 caution flags waved at halfway, he’d passed a few cars and enough other cars ahead of him had pitted to put him third.
He then rode patiently behind leader Tim Sears Jr and Max McLaughlin until another yellow waved on lap 117. When the duo went pitside together, Williamson was the new leader with a relatively fresh Bicknell powered by a Billy the Kid engine and he was almost home free.
From that point, Williamson would shoot out to a turn lead after restarts and ride as his challengers dueled behind him. Ryan Godown ran second ahead of Mike Maresca and Erick Rudolph in the 120-lap range and that was the order when Mike Mahaney and Ryan Watt tangled in turn one on lap 134, causing Mahaney to jump out and angrily discuss the situation with Watt.
With order restored, the race continued to run in bits and spurts between cautions and with 50 laps to go it was Williamson, Godown, Chris Hile, Rudolph and Anthony Perrego in the top five. Then Perrego caught fire, got to second on lap 184 and began closing on Williamson.
With 10 to go, the leaders caught the tail of the field and Perrego got even closer. He was right alongside Williamson on lap 195, but Rudolph pulled up on the frontstretch to draw the day’s 22nd yellow and Williamson escaped.
A return to green with five to go saw Williamson launch like a rocket and with two to go he had a turn lead again. At the same time, Perrego slowed, apparently low on fuel, and Tim Fuller, who had been picking cars off one by one in the late stages, was suddenly second.
Brett Hearn came across third ahead of Godown, Jimmy Phelps, late pitter Stewart Friesen, Chris Hile, fast timer Billy Decker, ageless Jimmy Horton and Marc Johnson.
“Wow, what a dream season,” exclaimed Williamson. “I really wanted this one. Our strategy was perfect, we got the lead and we were still there at the end.
Fuller said he struggled all day and was surprised to finish second.
“I was fourth with two to go,” Fuller said. “We struggled all day, so who would have thought this would happen. These pit stop races are tough for everyone but things worked out for us today.”
Hearn, whose amazing career is winding down, was as competitive as ever in the 200 and for a while, many thought he had a shot at the win.
“All those yellows killed our strategy,” said Hearn, long known as a master tactician. “But we adjusted on the fly and pretty soon we were in the top five. Amazing.”
The caution plagued event was mostly slowed by cars pulling up with a flat or single car spins, but a restart scramble on lap 121 left nine cars in a heap in turn three, with former winner Alan Johnson going over as others piled in. Fortunately, everyone emerged unscathed.
Mat Williamson, Tim Fuller, Brett Hearn, Ryan Godown, Jimmy Phelps, Stewart Friesen, Chris Hile, Billy Decker, Jimmy Horton, Marc Johnson, Tom Sears Jr., Kenny Tremont Jr., Anthony Perrego, Peter Britten, Pat Ward, Justin Haers, Tim Sears Jr., Danny Johnson, Kyle Coffey, Dave Marcuccilli, Erick Rudolph, Duane Howard, Ryan Susice, Billy Dunn, Max McLaughlin, Jack Lehner, Demetrios Drellos, Mike Mahaney, Ryan Watt, Michael Maresca, Matt Sheppard, Alan Johnson, Rob Bellinger, Gary Lindberg, Paul St. Sauveur, Danny Varin, Dave Constantino, Jessey Mueller, Gary Tomkins, Larry Wight, Billy VanInwegen.