|Date: 10/24/2015 11:24:32 PM|
Jimmy Phelps reaches victory hill on first night of Last Call at the Port Weekend
WEEDSPORT, N.Y. – Oct. 23, 2015 – Jimmy Phelps and Steve Bernard both climbed up Weedsport Speedway’s victory hill Friday night, but they each took a different route to get there – figuratively and literally, as their racecars faced nose-to-nose on top of the infield mound.
Phelps led the final 20 laps of the Bud Light 125 DIRTcar 358 Modified Series event that kicked off Weedsport’s Last Call at the Port Weekend and captured the win after driving up from the seventh starting position.
Bernard, meanwhile, claimed the series championship in its finale with an eighth-place finish, but he had to rely on some breaks along the way as he went into the race third in points and nine markers out of the lead.
“I’ve been up here a bunch of times, but never with a trophy in my hand,” said Phelps, who serves as the speedway’s general manager.
“We’re going to talk about it for at least a year just so we know it happened,” Bernard said of his title.
Kenny Wills and Larry Wight led the field of 30 small-block modifieds to the green flag, and it was Wills who dominated the early portion of the race. Phelps cracked the top five on lap 44, a lap after his Heinke Baldwin Racing teammate Matt Sheppard drove into third from his 17th starting position.
Phelps moved up to fourth, while Wight took the lead on lap 58 and Sheppard took the runner-up spot on lap 64. When the eventual winner moved up to third, it created a nice string of 9s at the front of the pack, with Wight’s No. 99L, Sheppard’s No. 9H and Phelps’ No. 99J.
Phelps grabbed second from Sheppard on lap 77 and nearly took the lead from Wight when a caution came out a lap later. Sheppard drove into the lead on lap 85, and Phelps followed him through for second a few laps later.
The order remained that way until lap 105, when Phelps took the high line around Sheppard and assumed the lead for the first and last time. Phelps crossed the finish line 0.897 seconds ahead of Sheppard, but Sheppard was disqualified when his car was found to be underweight in post-race inspection.
That gave second to Wight and third to Mat Williamson, who started last on the grid. Ryan Susice and Danny Johnson rounded out the top five, followed by Pat Ward and Randy Chrysler. Bernard finished eighth to clinch the championship, and Vince Vitale and Danny O’Brien rounded out the top 10.
“The yellows probably dampened things a bit. We had a good racecar,” Phelps said on victory hill. “If you’re going to win at Weedsport, you have to go through Matt Sheppard. That’s a proven fact.”
Chris Raabe went into the event with a three-point lead over David Hebert and a nine-point lead over Bernard. Running into the top five early on, Raabe looked set to cruise to the title when Hebert fell off the pace and went to the pits on lap 67.
But, Raabe himself found trouble on lap 97 when he fell off the pace. Through a series of pit stops, he continued running but lost ground and the points lead to Bernard, who needed to finish three spots ahead of the leaders to win.
When he saw both Hebert and Raabe suffer trouble, the champion said his plan for the rest of the race was just to finish the laps and stay in a position to win without pushing more than he needed.
“It’s more than appreciated. We weren’t sure we were able to win tonight,” Bernard said of the championship. “Chris was really fast. It’s unfortunate for him.”
In other racing action Friday, Go Nuclear Late Model Series points leader Lee Gill came out on top of that series’ 40-lap feature after taking the lead when Charlie Sandercock broke down with five laps to go.
Gill had taken the lead from early frontrunner John Waters before a vicious lap 18 wreck, but he surrendered the lead to Kevan Cook on the restart. Sandercock then grabbed the top spot when Cook spun out, but Gill took it back and hung on for the win.
Brandon Mowatt, A.J. Kingsley, Bret Belden and Alan Fink rounded out the top five.
In the 35-lap big-block modified feature that included the top 30 qualifiers who all redrew for their starting positions, Billy Decker raced into the lead over polesitter Carey Terrance and survived a series of cautions and a battle for second between Wight and Sheppard to capture the win.
Wight, Sheppard, Terrance and Pat Ward rounded out the top five.
358 MODIFIEDS (125 LAPS): 1) Jimmy Phelps, 2) Larry Wight, 3) Mat Williamson, 4) Ryan Susice, 5) Danny Johnson, 6) Pat Ward, 7) Randy Chrysler, 8) Steve Bernard, 9) Vince Vitale, 10) Danny O’Brien, 11) Erick Rudolph, 12) Nick Joy, 13) Ryan Bartlett, 14) Gage Morin, 15) Mark Kislowski, 16) Michael Maresca, 17) Lance Willix, 18) Chris Raabe, 19) Roy Shields, 20) David Hebert, 21) Kenny Wills, 22) Jordan McCreadie, 23) John Smith, 24) Mario Clair, 25) James Sweeting, 26) Billy Decker, 27) Carey Terrance, 28) Yan Bussiere, 29) Roy Bresnahan, 30) Matt Sheppard.
LATE MODELS (40 LAPS): 1) Lee Gill, 2) Brandon Mowatt, 3) A.J. Kingsley, 4) Bret Beldon, 5) Alan Fink, 6) Kevan Cook, 7) Kyle Sopaz, 8) Dale Caswell, 9) Brian Knowles, 10) Brandon Ford, 11) Andy Mayhew, 12) Dustin Waters, 13) Adam Turner, 14) Alan Chapman, 15) Charlie Sandercock, 16) Jeremy Wonderling, 17) Lazlo Holeyfield, 18) Chris Flemming, 19) Aaron Jacobs, 20) Grag Belyea, 21) John Waters, 22) Sean Beardsley, 23) Wayne Mohawk, 24) Mike Wonderling, 25) Bill Eisele, 26) Jason Occhino.
BIG-BLOCK MODIFIEDS (35 LAPS): 1) Billy Decker, 2) Larry Wight, 3) Matt Sheppard, 4) Carey Terrance, 5) Pat Ward, 6) Jimmy Phelps, 7) Tim Fuller, 8) Randy Chrysler, 9) Chris Hile, 10) Ryan Phelps, 11) Keith Flach, 12) Rob Bellinger, 13) Vince Vitale, 14) Matt Hulsizer, 15) Ryan Bartlett, 16) Shayne Pierce, 17) Dave Rauscher, 18) Steve Bernard, 19) Chad Phelps, 20) Yan Bussiere, 21) Rich Scagliotta, 22) Justin Haers, 23) Ryan Susice, 24) Alan Johnson, 25) Todd Milton, 26) Gary Tomkins, 27) Danny Johnson, 28) Mario Clair, 29) Mat Williamson, 30) Chris Raabe.
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