HARTFORD, Ohio — Jimmy Phelps proved that his J&B Installations, Inc. No. 98h team had what it took as he was untouchable in the return of the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds 100-lap feature at Sharon Speedway on Thursday night.
“I had no idea but I got nervous there in the end with all of those yellows happening with twenty to go,” Phelps said in victory lane. “The tires started to cool off and I didn’t know how good the guys were behind me. We started slip-sliding around there but we’ve been good here since we unloaded today.”
Ryan Watt and Ryan Susice were the ones to bring the field to the green. Watt’s pole position was short lived as Susice took the lead by the time they scored lap one.
Susice used the outside cushion to his advantage as Watt hugged the bottom in second place.
By lap 13 fifth place starter, Phelps, passed Matt Sheppard for third position.
On lap 25 the scoreboard saw Watt, Sheppard, Phelps, Susice, and Brett Hearn as the top five. Watt caught the back end of the field on lap 31.
On a lap 46 restart Watt chose the inside lane with Phelps restarting on the outside in second. Phelps charged into turn one on the topside and drove passed Watt for the lead coming out of turn two.
Billy Decker, who started in 10th, took advantage on the lap 65 restart as he passed Watt for second place. On lap 75 the scoreboard saw Phelps, Decker, Watt, Hearn, and Dave Blaney as the top five.
The biggest caution of the night was brought out with just four laps to go as everyone scattered when Eric Rudolph and Blaney got together in turns three and four running fifth and sixth as Rudolph dove below Blaney, contact was made as Rudolph’s right rear tore apart sending Blaney sideways coming out of turn four. Jimmy Horton and Larry Wight got collected up in the middle of it causing all four to go to pits.
The final restart of the night saw the field go single file as Decker moved to the outside going into turn one and shot to the bottom coming out of turn two to try and pass Phelps for the top position. Decker made the move but just couldn’t get the job done as Phelps pulled away.
It was Jimmy Phelps who took the checkered for his first series win of the season over Decker, Watt, Hearn, and Ward. His last series win came in August 2015 at Albany-Saratoga in Malta, N.Y.
“I can’t thank Curt and Al and everybody at Mohawk and HBR enough. We had a good race and we just have to keep digging to prove it,” Phelps said.
“I couldn’t make any mistakes, the track got real narrow there especially in one and two. Fortunately we got out front and had good track position. We had a real good restart on the outside and passed the 14 on the outside. That was the real key to the deal.”
The cautions are what Decker had hoped for but just couldn’t make it happen.
“We had a different tire on than Phelps did and he got rolling pretty good. I was pretty good on those restarts,” Decker said. “I was starting to fade but was then coming through a bit so I liked all of those cautions because I could pass all of those cars for a lap or two. The last restart I tried to cut across, maybe if I stayed to the outside of him I could have gave him a shot but he was really good.”
For pole-starter Ryan Watt, the third place run was his best finish with the series.
“That’s my best run we had with the series. Williams Grove we had a good run going there but my car was getting tighter and tighter and I made a mistake and got a left front flat. We may have had a top five,” Watt said. “I don’t get a chance to come up here and run with these guys very often and now we know we can do it. I just wish it wasn’t such a far ride to go.”
Race Notes: Prior to Phelps’ win at Sharon Speedway he only had three top five’s out of 10 series races. 51 cars attempted to qualify and 32 cars started the field. The top two points leaders, Matt Sheppard and Stewart Friesen, didn’t finish in the a-main. Friesen’s suspension broke as he pulled into the pits on lap nine. Sheppard’s car overheated as he pulled into the pits on lap 47. The fastest overall in time trials was Jimmy Phelps with a 16.375.
The Super DIRTcar Series returns to action in Quebec, Canada on Monday, July 25 at Granby and on Tuesday at Drummond.
Super DIRTcar Series Statistical Report; July 21, 2016; Sharon Speedway; Hartford, Ohio.
A-Main (100 Laps) – 1. 98h-Jimmy Phelps; 2. 91-Billy Decker; 3. 14w-Ryan Watt; 4. 20-Brett Hearn; 5. 42p-Patt Ward; 6. 6h-Max McLaughlin; 7. 165-Rex King Jr; 8. 38-Ryan Susice; 9. 8-Rich Scagliotta; 10. 35-Frank Cozze; 11. 88-Mike Mahaney; 12. 21-Yan Bussiere; 13. 43-Keith Flach; 14. 19-Tim Fuller; 15. 13-Chad Brachman; 16. 65-Rex King; 17. 07-Tim Kerr; 18. 99L-Larry Wight; 19. 21k-Erick Rudolph; 20. 32R-Jim Rasey; 21. 7M-Michael Maresca; 22. 6m-Mat Williamson; 23. 18b-Dave Blaney; 24. 43h-Jimmy Horton; 25. 18h-Peter Britten; 26. 32c-Vic Coffey; 27. 66m-JR McGinley; 28. 15-Billy Pauch Jr; 29. 9s-Matt Sheppard; 30. 27j-Danny Johnson; 31. 23-Jim Weller; 32. 44-Stewart Friesen
CREDIT: DIRTcar Media