Column By: ROBERT SYMONDS/RPW – CHARLOTTE, NC – It was a chilly day in Charlotte, NC with the winter blast hitting The Dirt Track At Charlotte but that did not stop the fans from filling the grandstands for the can-am World Finals for the finale event. Tonight the Super DIRTcar Series 2019 Champion would be crowned.
To start the night, the Last Chance Showdowns were claimed by Justin Haers and Larry Wight to set the field for the 40 lap feature event. During the redraw for the top positions, Matt Sheppard and Mat Williamson grab the front row to setup the race for the points championship. If Matt Sheppard wins the feature, Mat Williamson would have to finish 3rd to win the championship. If Williamson finishes 4th or worse, he loses the championship.
Off the drop of the green Billy Decker passes up Mat Williamson for the runnerup spot as Matt Sheppard leads lap 1. The first caution would come early as Brian Swartzlander spins in turn 2. Swartzlander collects Justin Wright, Justin Haers, Tyler Thompson and Steve Bernard.
Back underway, Decker still maintains second from Williamson and closes in on the back bumper of Matt Sheppard for the lead. The pass for the lead however does not come til lap 10 as Decker slides past the 9s for the lead with Williamson only back by 2 car lengths.
As the race wore on Williamson closed in on Sheppard but was not able to make a pass as Decker enters lap traffic. During this time, the top 4 are all on the same straightaway: Decker, Sheppard, Williamson, and Maresca.
Sheppard takes advantage of slower cars and gets back by Decker for the lead on lap 22. Williamson once again closes back in to contend for a runner up spot on lap 23 as he gets to the back bumper of Billy Decker.
Still in lap traffic, Sheppard and Decker go side by side for the lead and Decker ultimately overtakes Sheppard on lap 27. Williamson now goes side by side with Sheppard for 2nd and gets by on lap 29.
Maresca, running 4th, takes the advantage and slips past Matt Sheppard for 3rd on lap 30. For the final 10 laps, Sheppard loses ground on the top 3 and Decker pulls away from Williamson to win the World Finals Finale.
“This race has been eluding us,” Decker mentioned in Victory Lane on Saturday night. “We have had a lot of heartbreak here but really glad to win this one.”
Mat Williamson finished 2nd in the finale and wins the 2019 Super DIRTcar Series Championship.
“I really tried to keep my cool out there and to run my line,” Williamson said to Blake Anderson Saturday night. “This is such a dream come true. I’d take a day like this any day of the week.”
Mike Maresca quietly sneaked himself into a third place finishing spot.
“I was really good when I found the topside, the car was really fast,” Maresca explained. “I know Matt and Mat were running for a championship so I tried to give them enough room so they could race it out for their championship.”
Super DIRTcar Series (40 Laps): Billy Decker, Mat Williamson. Mike Maresca, Matt Sheppard, Max McLaughlin, Demetrios Drellos, Erick Rudolph, Mike Mahaney, Chris Hile, Tim Fuller, Larry Wight, Gary Tomkins, Billy Pauch Jr, Billy Dunn, Steve Bernard, Ryan Godown, Danny Johnson, Brian Swartzlander, Peter Britten, Gary Lindberg, Jack Lehner, Ronnie Johnson, Tyler Siri, Anthony Perrego, Pat Ward, Paul St Sauveur, Brett Hearn, Tyler Thompson, Justin Haers, Justin Wright, Jimmy Phelps