NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Thinkin’ Dirty: 2021 Super DIRT Week Kickoff at Weedsport

** Note to our readers: Due to family obligations and the finale of Super DIRT Week running this Sunday afternoon, the weekend edition of Thinkin’ Dirty will be published for the Monday morning run exclusively here on Frontstretch.

The Headline(s)

Canada’s Mat Williamson emerges as the Super DIRT Week frontrunner, scoring feature wins at both Brewerton and Weedsport as the biggest weekend in center-drive modified racing kicks off.

Our Feature Spotlights

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Spotlight: 2021 South Dakota Nationals
Where: Raceway Park – Jefferson, S.D. (streamed on Advantage Racing TV)
Why We Chose It: Sunday’s only streaming race that didn’t require the writer buying another streaming subscription

Redwood Falls, Minn.’s Dalton Magers prevailed on the high-side of a three-wide right from the start of Sunday’s IMCA modified feature, and ran away from the field uncontested until four laps to go, when all hell broke loose. Entering turn 1, the lapped car of Greg Johns washed up into Magers’s door, sending the race leader spinning. The fireworks didn’t end there, with the ensuing restart seeing the second- and third-place cars make contact coming to the green, resulting in Justin Sackett’s car riding the turn 3 wall on two wheels before landing right-side up.

When the feature finally restarted, polesitter Jason Schneiders of North Sioux City, S.D. prevailed over the last four laps to score the $1,200 win, though it wasn’t without incident; coming to three laps to go, a slide job from third-place finisher Ricky Stephan saw his No. 25 car make contact with the race leader exiting turn 4, though Schneiders managed to keep it straight.

Monday, October 4, 2021

No races scheduled for streaming.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Spotlight: 2021 Demon 100 (Super DIRTcar Series)
Where: Brewerton Speedway – Brewerton, N.Y. (streamed on DirtVision)
Why We Chose It: After how good the Mahaney/Friesen show was the last time this series took to the track, this event was a must-see.

Mat Williamson spent long portions of Tuesday’s Demon 100 feature in the runner-up spot, finally pouncing on a lap 79 restart to get alongside race leader Larry Wight at the start-finish line. The following lap saw Wight get out of shape in turn 2 on a track that developed several significant holes during the later stages of the race, and that was all Williamson needed to pull away for the $10,000 win.

The victory, Williamson’s second tour win of 2021, also came with the perk of guaranteeing him a starting spot in the Super DIRT Week 200-lap finale race this coming Sunday at the Oswego Speedway. 

The Super DIRTcar portion of Tuesday’s program was marred by numerous flips throughout the heat and last-chance qualifier races. The Demon field also had a notable entrant in home-state driver and current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points leader Tim McCreadie, who finished 10th in his first series start since 2019.

Wednesday, October 5, 2021

Spotlight: 2021 Super DIRT Week Kickoff Party
Where: Weedsport Speedway – Weedsport, N.Y. (streamed on DirtVision)
Why We Chose It: At $4,000 to win, Wednesday’s highest-paying dirt race.

Mat Williamson picked up where he left off at Brewerton the night before, albeit in a different racecar. Dropping down to the 358 modified class Wednesday night, Williamson prevailed in a barnburner of a feature duel with Tim Sears Jr., making his second three-wide pass for the lead of the night on lap 64 of the 75-lap feature before driving off to the victory.

Wednesday’s headline feature saw Williamson and Sears swap the lead five times under green-flag conditions, with Williamson making three-wide passes for the lead through the middle twice as the leaders navigated lapped traffic. 

Success Stories

Williamson winning the two headline features of Super DIRT Week to date is success enough. But the way he’s done it, with a determined and sustained pressure prevailing in Tuesday’s Demon 100 and then all-out three-wide racing for nearly the entire second half of Wednesday’s feature has twice put on shows worth watching. 

Ronnie Davis Jr. was the hard charger of Wednesday’s 358 modified feature at Weedsport. Going from 20th to fourth in any feature is a job well done. Going from 20th to fourth in a feature that was stopped by only one yellow flag? Even more so.

Though this occurred over the last weekend, Brandon Overton gets a shout-out for keeping his word. Damn good story from Outside Groove here.

For all the praise I’ve heaped on Williamson, Tim Sears Jr. also deserves credit for the way he raced to a runner-up finish Wednesday at Weedsport. Sears’s power move on the high side of turn 1 to take the lead on lap 61 was every bit the “put the pedal to the carburetor” moment the DirtVision crew described it as. Making it even more impressive…

Vexed, Villains & Victims

Is that such a performance came a night after Sears flipped his modified in Tuesday’s Super DIRTcar feature at Brewerton. Sears was not alone in that regard, as he was one of four drivers to flip during the DIRTcar program Tuesday night.

Dalton Magers no question was vexed and Greg Johns an inadvertent villain in their tangle at Raceway Park Sunday. As textbook an example of a lapped car deciding a race as they come.

Larry Wight not only lost Tuesday’s Demon 100 feature late in the going in no small part because of a bumpy run through turn 2, but then lost a podium finish eight laps sort of the finish when a mechanical issue forced his car off the track. Wight finished 18th despite leading much of the feature.

Fanning the Flames

It’d take a novel to try to explain the press release that XR Events put out describing their 20-race slate of super late model races for 2022, so I’m going to credit the fine folks at Speed Sport for their write-up. Let’s get into the pros and cons of this announcement. The super late model races that XR has promoted in 2021 and will continue to promote next year have paid good money, and adding big-money races to schedules is never a bad thing.

The plusses of this schedule? The return of the Colossal 100 is welcome, and bringing a major event to Stuart International Speedway is the most exciting date on the calendar, as the small-town Iowa track is a hidden gem of a facility. The cons? The Bristol Dirt Nationals, which were already ridiculously long this season, have now been expanded to two weeks, including eight nights of late models. Florida Speedweeks gets away with that because the racing at Volusia and East Bay is damn good. The racing at Bristol is not. Here’s hoping the crowds stay as socially distanced as a year ago. 

The biggest con? That same Stuart date that will be an exciting race is scheduled the exact same weekend as the Dream at Eldora. Let’s call that USFL playing football in the fall level brazen. I don’t see a lot of A-list drivers getting poached from the Dream field.

Now, having said that… if the result of XR choosing violence with regard to Eldora means that this Tweet comes true, suhweet!

It wasn’t just new XR events contributing to a 2022 slate that very well may prove the richest year of racing in super late model history. The annual Wild West Shootout is also making a splash in its first year moving to the Vado Speedway Park in New Mexico, with a clean sweep of the six feature events paying a $300,000 bonus. Considering the dates of this event do not conflict with the World of Outlaws Sunshine Nationals this year, expect a serious field to show up for this one.

I didn’t watch Monday’s NASCAR Cup Series race, but apparently there were a lot of headlines coming from the fact that an African-American driver won at Talladega. I’m not sure I get what the big deal is. That already happened five months ago.

The Griffin Laser and Engraving Steel Head Sportsman event for Saturday 4/24 was won by Shun Oreo Thomas of West Minster, SC. tonight at Talladega Short Track.

Posted by Talladega Short Track on Sunday, April 25, 2021

Judging from this week’s reading both at DirtonDirt and from veteran writer Richard Allen, there’s been more discussion about the “Lucky Dog” rule being employed during the Pittsburgher 100 than about youngster Hudson O’Neal actually winning it. Why? Because O’Neal’s mid-race adjustment that proved crucial to his victory came after a caution that he brought out. O’Neal’s team made their adjustment under a yellow they brought out, then proceeded to receive the Lucky Dog under the next yellow flag.

Anyone that read my work during my time on the NASCAR beat and has stuck with me this season (thanks, y’all rock) knows full well how much I hate trigger-happy yellow flags. But having watched thousands of dirt race features this season, I will concede that the limitations of dirt tracks, both in terms of tight confines and racecars that do not allow for spotter communications, make it so that cars that are slow on track are on their own hazardous enough to trigger cautions, even if they’re still moving. Trouble is, that also creates an incentive of sorts for drivers to slow on track to get a yellow flag. The Lucky Dog may be a NASCAR invention. That’s not why it’s wrong for dirt racing. The tight flagging necessary to keep racers safe necessitates that a lap down should be a lap down. For good. 

Numbers Game

4 – flip count for the Super DIRTcar field at Brewerton Tuesday night.

13 – car count for Sunday’s season finale modified feature at Raceway Park.

87 – total car count for Wednesday’s Super DIRT Week kickoff at Weedsport.

Where it Rated (on a scale of one to six cans with one a stinker and a six-pack an instant classic): The midweek gets a strong five Coronas. Wednesday’s 358 feature at Weedsport was thoroughly entertaining, and an otherwise mundane finale at Raceway Park got spiced up by a crazy lap 22 on two occasions. Plus, Wednesday’s Super DIRT Week kickoff ended at a very reasonable hour for a weeknight.

Up Next: Super DIRT Week hits the track in Oswego, N.Y., with the finale taking to the track Sunday for the $50,000-to-win Billy Whitaker Cars 200. Coverage will be available on DirtVision.

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