Memorial Day Weekend marks the first doubleheader weekend of the season for the Super DIRTcar Series and marks the first race for the series since Mat Williamson’s triumph at Bridgeport on April 23rd. The remainder of early May’s Battle at the Fairgrounds at Orange County Fair Speedway was postponed to July after rain moved in prior to the Last Chance races. Now, the series will head to Weedsport Speedway on Sunday for a 100-lap, $7500-to-win affair before moving to Lebanon Valley Speedway on Monday for another 100-lap event that pays $13,500 to the victor, but more importantly, a guaranteed starting spot for the Super DIRT Week finale at Oswego Speedway.
Part 1: Weedsport
Weedsport Speedway no longer crowns a season-ending champion, but names like “Barefoot” Bob McCreadie, Billy Decker, Tim Fuller, Tim McCreadie, Justin Haers, and Matt Sheppard have all etched their names in the history books as track champions. Now, the tricky D-shaped circuit plays host to a handful of standalone, marquee events like the Hall of Fame 100, Cavalcade Cup Weekend, and this Sunday’s Heroes Remembered 100. Stewart Friesen has won two of these events, 2018 and 2022, while Erick Rudolph went to victory lane in 2019 and Mat Williamson held the honors in 2021. Friesen has indicated that he will only be competing at Fonda this weekend, so it will be up to Williamson and Rudolph to keep the new contenders at bay.
Matt Sheppard - $21,400:Matt Sheppard is King of Weedsport with 27 career victories that places him atop the all-time wins list. He broke the tie with Danny Johnson last weekend when he claimed the All Star Showcase 50 non-series event by 1.6 seconds over Anthony Perrego. Sheppard, by his standards is in a bit of a slump coming into the weekend. He finished 6th and 5th in Utica-Rome's Twin 20s on Friday night and rallied from an early flat tire at Fonda's Dave Lape Memorial to finish 8th. Outside of that 6th place. Of his six finishes outside of the top 5 this season, half came due to early flat tires. Do not fret, because he is still "Super" Matt.
Jimmy Phelps - $21,000: Much like Sheppard, Jimmy Phelps is an absolute stud at Weedsport, where he slots in 3rd on the all-time wins list with 19. He finished 8th in this event last year, but claimed his 19th victory at Weedsport in the Hall of Fame 100 in August. He might be one of the older drivers in the field at 48, but the "Baldwinsville Bandit" still has it, as he finished 5th here last weekend and won Brewerton Speedway's weekly event on Friday night.
Erick Rudolph - TBA: Erick Rudolph is going to be in the conversation for the victory on Sunday night, as he has a stellar record at Weedsport. He won this event in 2019, finished 9th in 2021, and stood on the bottom step of the podium in 3rd last year, which he did last Sunday as well. Rudolph will be riding even higher tonight, as he picked up the victory at Land of Legends on the night that his father was being honored! With a Weedsport resume that shows him finishing outside of the top 10 only 8 times in 32 events, Rudolph should absolutely be on your radar at any salary.
Tim Fuller - TBA: Fuller sits at 5th all-time on the Weedsport wins list with 17, but the near-future inductee into the Hall of Fame is a running a true outlaw schedule this season, so it is unknown if he will be competing this evening. If he does choose to run his 3rd event of the weekend, you are not only getting a driver that finished 7th here last Sunday, but has a staggering 137 top 10s in 178 starts at Weedsport. Fuller already opened the season by besting Matt Sheppard at Fonda's Montgomery County Open in April and picked up his 2nd victory of the season in his Small Block at Can-Am on May 12th. Like Five Iron Frenzy once sang, "At least I'm not like all those other old guys..."
Tim Sears Jr - $20,500: Sears finished 19th at Weedsport last Sunday and 13th on Friday at Brewerton before finishing runner-up to Larry Wight at Fulton last night. Those two finishes outside of the top 10 seem to be a temporary glitch, as Sears has only finished outside of the top 10 twice in 10 starts this year. He finished 8th at the Bridgeport SDS event, and outside of that 13th at Brewerton, he has 5 finishes inside of the top 3 between Brewerton and Fulton, which draw strong contenders. Last year, Sears had an average finish of 9.6 in 6 events at Weedsport, while he claimed two non-series victories at the circuit in 2021.
Anthony Perrego - $20,300: Perrego had a pretty abysmal start to the season, blowing up three engines in three different cars in two races. However, since a 15th at Bridgeport, he has an average finish of under 4 in the following 4 races, including a runner-up here last weekend. Perrego only has 10 starts at Weedsport, but has finished inside the top 10 in 6 of those, including another 2nd in Super DIRT Week Kickoff Party DIRTcar 385 Modified Series event last October. After the rough start to the season, I was really starting to worry about Perrego, but I think everything has finally settled, so have a look at him for your roster.
Larry Wight - $20,200: Seeing Wight at this salary slot is like noticing that you have enough McDonald's points to get that free McMuffin, because Wight is a part of the elite at Weedsport and his price should really be much higher. Sure, he finished 4th here last weekend, but he also won a non-series Big Block race last year and the Cavalcade Weekend SDS 60-lap event. Wight is not a full-timer driver on the tour, so you will not have a provisional safety net, but Wight will be one to challenge drivers like Sheppard and Williamson for the victory. He is coming off of a Small Block win at Fulton last night, so he already has momentum on his side.
Chris Hile - $19,700: Chris Hile is off to a pretty solid start to the season, with a 9th at the opening SDS round at Bridgeport, three 4ths in three tries at Brewerton, and, oh, a 23rd at Weedsport last weekend. Hile was not a factor at all last weekend, but this is where I break out the resume to make this argument. In what was essentially a Brewerton-only weekly schedule for Hile last year saw him finish 4th (Cavalcade) and 5th (Hall of Fame 100) in his two trips to Weedsport, which were both SDS events.
Alex Payne - TBA: With only 4 starts, Payne has very limited experience at Weedsport. His only top 10 came during the non-series support event for the World of Outlaws last year, which saw him advance from 14th to 4th in a 35-lap sprint. Payne is only 17-years-old, so he very well could be seen as a sprinter that has not matured enough to run long distance events like the veterans have mastered. In his first full modified season last year, Payne claimed his first 5 victories at the Outlaw Speedway bullring. On Friday, Payne threw a last-lap slider on veteran JaMike Sowle, but came home second. In the second of the Twin 20s, Payne would keep a steady hand on the razor-thin cushion, sneaking past a bobbling Bobby Hackel IV to win his first feature at Utica-Rome, which is a big ask when the field filled with drivers like Warner, Decker, Bachetti, Rudolph, and Sheppard. Payne is a bit of a shot in the dark, but he has had a great weekend so far, notching a 2nd, 1st, and 4th, so maybe Payne figures out the tricky oval like he figured out Utica-Rome.