Centennial Race Weekend Official Results
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – This was billed as a race for the ages. An event that would gather some of the most prominent figures of racing lore during the 100-year history of the Orange County Fair Speedway as well as many of today’s top dirt-track Modified competitors.
At stake was the richest prize in dirt-track racing history – a whopping $100,000 to the driver luckiest enough to take the checkered flag at the conclusion of 160 grueling laps around the newly surfaced, five-eighths mile, hard clay oval.
Mat Williamson, a talented young driver that has sizzled the western New York racing scene the past several seasons, emerged as the victor of this thrilling event as he held off a late charge provided by Stewart Friesen for his first OCFS career triumph in the Centennial Anniversary 160-lap feature that ended early Sunday morning following a two-hour rain delay.
Williamson, who started on the pole following the redraw for the top 12 qualifiers from six heat races, traded first place several times during the race. He forged ahead of Anthony Perrego with an inside pass down the homestretch to complete 147 laps.
Friesen then moved past Perrego on the 151st lap and was riding the outside groove as he started gaining ground on Williamson. The two drivers then put on a classic battle for the lead during the next few laps before Friesen made contact with the outside wall off the fourth turn to forced a caution with 157 laps in the record books.
Friesen, despite forcing the caution, was able to maintain his second-place position because he never lost momentum after making contact with the wall. The race was slowed as a safety measure for the Sprakers driver.
Williamson assumed command when racing resumed and went on to gain some breathing room on Friesen and secured his initial OCFS by nearly two seconds. Matt Sheppard, after being involved in an early massive pile-up, moved into third place following the restart to finish ahead of Danny Johnson, Billy Decker, Jimmy Phelps, Justin Haers, Larry Wight, Chris Hile and Brian Krummel.
Sheppard, who won Thursday’s DIRTcar Series 100-lapper and Friday’s Centennial Anniversary 80-lapper, watched his bid for a clean sweep of Modified racing during the weekend dampened after 12 laps were completed during the 100-lap grind.
Sheppard and several other drivers in the 43-car field were involved in a massive pile-up in the first turn when the track got slick from a sudden burst of rain. Ryan Godown, Tim Fuller, Tyler Dippel and Tommy Meier were all forced out of the event as their cars were unable to continue.
Williamson assumed his lead when racing resumed following the rain delay and remained there until Decker utilized a backstretch pass to move into first place on the 34th circuit.
Danny Johnson, meanwhile, was able to move into second place past Williamson on the 43rd lap and then quickly began closing in on Decker. Johnson took over first place through lapped traffic on the 57th circuit, but it was short-lived as Williamson gained control once again a lap later.
Williamson would remain in front as the lapsticked off with Decker, Johnson and now Perrego entering the picture as the lead group raced well ahead of the rest of the field. Perrego and Johnson were embroiled in a heated battle for second place with Perrego finally winning out on the 128th lap.
Perrego then quickly moved in on Williamson and grabbed the lead with a first-turn pass on the 130th lap. However, after opening a big cushion over the next 15 laps, Perrego’s car began to fade as Williamson grabbed first place for good on the 147th lap.
A field of 69 cars were signed into the pits with six qualifying heats going to Pat Ward, Decker, Johnson, Chris Hile, Brett Hearn and Williamson. The consolation races were won by Tyler Boniface, Matt Hulsizer and Krummel.
Former Eastern States 200 winners and OCFS Modified track champions Rich Eurich and Jerry Higbie were added to the field as promoter’s choices as well as Craig Mitchell.
Sheppard, the biggest winner in the northeast dirt-track circuit again this season, captured Friday’s Centennial Anniversary 80-lapper pretty easily as he finished ahead of Billy Dunn, Friesen, Perrego, Larry Wight, Williamson, Johnson, Mike Mahaney, Erick Rudolph and Fuller.
Sheppard passed Dunn on the 33rd lap and was never really challenged the remainder of the race as it ran caution-free following Mike Gular’s fourth-turn incident with 16 laps competed.
Sheppard, who leads all Modiifed competitors with three wins at OCFS in 2019, also ran away with Thursday night’s DIRTcar 100 as he finished ahead of Godown, Rudolph, Decker, Hearn, Billy Pauch Sr., Peter Britten, Johnson, Williamson and Phelps.
Wight recorded the first victory of his OCFS career during Friday’s program as he led the entire 25-lap distance to capture the Centennial Anniversary Small Block Modified feature race. Wight started on the pole for the 36-car field.
Dunn finished in second place with Hearn, Williamson, Ward, Gary Edwards Jr., Perrego, Jimmy Spellmon, Dillon Steuer and Danny Creeden following.
The Sportsman Invitational 25-lap main event on Thursday was awarded to Sammy Martz Jr. following a disqualification during the post-race inspection.
Martz, who took the checkered flag in second place, was handed his first OCFS career win when Grant Hilfiger was disqualified for illegal valve springs on his car. Corey Cormier advanced to second place with Clinton Mills, Dan Morgiewicz and Jared LaBagh following.
DIRTcar Modified Feature Finish, 100 Laps: 1. Matt Sheppard, 2. Ryan Godown, 3. Erick Rudolph, 4. Billy Decker, 5. Brett Hearn, 6. Billy Pauch Sr., 7. Peter Britten, 8. Danny Johnson, 9. Mat Williamson, 10. Jimmy Phelps, 11. Chris Hile, 12. Billy Dunn, 13. Mike Mahaney, 14. Larry Wight, 15. Tim Sears Jr., 16. Pat Ward, 17. Tommy Meier, 18. Demetrios Drellos, 19. Rusty Smith, 20. Paul St. Sauveur, 21. Marcus Dinkins, 22. Anthony Perrego, 23. Jimmy Horton, 24. Brian Krummel, 25. Billy VanInwegen, 26. L.J. Lombardo, 27. Andy Bachetti, 28. Dillon Steuer, 29. Danny Creeden, 30. Rick Laubach, 31. Craig Mitchell, 32. Tyler Boniface, 33. Tim Fuller, 34. Jeff Strunk, 35. Billy Pauch Jr., 36. Chris Whitehead, 37. Jack Lehner.
Sportsman Invitational Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Sammy Martz Jr., 2. Corey Cormier, 3. Clinton Mills, 4. Dan Morgiewicz, 5. Jared LaBagh, 6. Jake Bedell, 7. Michael Sabia, 8. Matt Shultz, 9. Bobby Flood, 10. Jordan Lawrence, 11. Greg Sleight, 12. John Brown, 13. Ken Ferrier, 14. Christian Rumsey, 15. Tyler Corcoran, 16. Joe Bonetti, 17. Travis Green, 18. Troy Arnold, 19. Jeff Higham Jr., 20. Patrick Murphy, 21. Bob Jashembowski, 22. Ken Ryder, 23. Trevor Arnold, 24. Joe Conklin, 25. Mel Schrufer, 26. Nick Plumstead, 27. Dylan Smith, 28. Ryan Neiger. Disqualified: Grant Hilfiger (illegal valve springs), Cole Stangle. Did Not Qualify: R.J. Smith, Pat Mann, Mike Bull, Rich Eggers, Aaron Doolittle, Austin Smith, Billy Eggers Jr., Willis Mann.
Centennial Anniversary Modified Feature Finish, 80 Laps: 1. Matt Sheppard, 2. Billy Dunn, 3. Stewart Friesen, 4. Anthony Perrego, 5. Larry Wight, 6. Mat Williamson, 7. Danny Johnson, 8. Mike Mahaney, 9. Erick Rudolph, 10. Tim Fuller, 11. Billy Pauch Sr., 12. Chris Hile, 13. Jimmy Phelps, 14. Tim Sears Jr., 15. Justin Haers, 16. Brett Hearn, 17. Danny Creeden, 18. Bob McGannon, 19. Jimmy Horton, 20. Michael Storms, 21. Dillon Steuer, 22. Tommy Meier, 23. Matt Janiak, 24. Ryan Godown, 25. Brian Krummel, 26. Andy Bachetti, 27. Marc Johnson, 28. Chris Whitehead, 29. Billy VanInwegen, 30. Pat Ward, 31. Jack Lehner, 32. Jackie Brown Jr., 33. Mike Gular, 34. Matt Hitchcock, 35. Jeff Strunk, 36. Peter Britten, 37. Tyler Boniface, 38. Billy Decker, 39. Craig Mitchell, 40. Tyler Dippel. Did Not Qualify: Jeff Heotzler Sr., Matt Stangle, C.G. Morey, Tyler Jashembowski, Steve Dodd, Sheldon Creed, Josh Delea, Chris Grbac, Daniel Johnson, Dominick Buffalino, Jessica Friesen, Yanick Mathieu, Danny Cronk, Chris Shultz, Brendan Finley, John Ferrier, Mike Kolka, Kurt Hundeland, Sam Martz Sr., Mike Trautschold, Billy Pauch Jr., Ryan Krachun, Rich Eurich, Gary Edwards Jr., Bob Hentschel, Jerry Higbie.
Centennial Anniversary Small Block Modified Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Larry Wight, 2. Billy Dunn, 3. Brett Hearn, 4. Mat Williamson, 5. Pat Ward, 6. Gary Edwards Jr., 7. Anthony Perrego, 8. Jimmy Spellmon, 9. Dillon Steuer, 10. Danny Creeden, 11. Richard Smith, 12. Allison Ricci, 13. Billy VanInwegen, 14. Tyler Boniface, 15. Craig Mitchell, 16. Brendan Finley, 17. Ben Bushaw, 18. Chris Stevens, 19. Chris Curtis, 20. Joey Bruning, 21. Joe Bonetti, 22. Patrick Reiser, 23. Scott Ferrier, 24. Michael Sabia, 25. Matt Shultz, 26. Mike Kolka, 27. Chris Grbac, 28. Frank Venezia, 29. Stewart Friesen, 30. Roger Henion Jr., 31. Brian Krummel, 32. Bob Hentschel, 33. Jerry Higbie, 34. Tommy Meier, 35. Anthony Falanga, 36. Rich Eurich.
Centennial Anniversary Modified Feature Finish, 160 Laps: 1. Mat Williamson, 2. Stewart Friesen, 3. Matt Sheppard, 4. Danny Johnson, 5. Billy Decker, 6. Jimmy Phelps, 7. Justin Haers, 8. Larry Wight, 9. Chris Hile, 10. Brian Krummel, 11. Mike Mahaney, 12. Anthony Perrego, 13. Dillon Steuer, 14. Mike Gular, 15. Peter Britten, 16. Pat Ward, 17. Jerry Higbie, 18. Marc Johnson, 19. Jack Lehner, 20. Jessica Friesen, 21. Bob McGannon, 22. Josh Hohenforst, 23. Tyler Boniface, 24. Michael Storms, 25. Gary Edwards Jr., 26. Matt Hitchcock, 27. Billy Pauch Jr., 28. Brett Hearn, 29. Erick Rudolph, 30. Donnie Wilson, 31. Jimmy Horton, 32. Matt Janiak, 33. Rich Eurich, 34. Matt Hulsizer, 35. Jackie Brown Jr., 36. Billy Pauch Sr., 37. Billy Dunn, 38. Jeff Strunk, 39. Craig Mitchell, 40. Ryan Godown, 41, Tim Fuller, 42. Tyler Dippel, 43. Tommy Meier. Did Not Qualify: Jeff Heotzler Sr., Bob Hentschel, Brendan Finley, Matt Stangle, Sam Martz Sr., Steve Dodd, Danny Cronk, Mike Trautschold, Tim Sears Jr., Danny Creeden, Ryan Krachun, Chris Whitehead, John Ferrier, Brian Gleason, Andy Bachetti, Kirk Horton, Billy VanInwegen, L.J. Lombardo, C.G. Morey, Tyler Jashembowski, Dominick Buffalino, Josh Delea, Johny Guarino, Sheldon Creed, Daniel Johnson, Yanick Mathieu.