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DIRTcar 358 Modifieds

Jimmy Phelps Drives to DIRTcar 358 Modified Series Win at Weedsport

Jimmy Phelps
Jimmy Phelps/Joe Grabianowski

Jimmy Phelps made the most of his chance to defend home turf in a 358 Modified Sunday night at Weedsport Speedway.

The Baldwinsville, NY driver nosed ahead of Larry Wight with 16 laps to go to earn his seventh career DIRTcar 358 Modified Series victory.

“This feels great,” Phelps said. “Getting up on [“Victory Hill”] is awful tough. I can’t thank the guys enough. What a race car!

“The track was nice. It got cleaned off and we could run the middle. It started out bottom dominant but then it got dicey in traffic, and it seemed like more cars had to move around to clean that middle off. We had to widen our approach to the corners and carry more speed, and the car just kept getting better and better.”

Wight led the field to the green in the 50-lap Feature and pulled away throughout the first 10 laps. Behind him, Alex Payne and Phelps snuck by Tim Fuller on the bottom to take over second and third.

As the two chased Wight, the Phoenix, NY driver stayed on the bottom, keeping his left-side tires as close to the inside wall as possible. But as he approached lap traffic on Lap 12, his lead started to shrink.

With several cars battling in front of him, Wight had to be patient trying to get around them, which allowed Payne and Phelps to close in. As Wight stayed on the bottom, Payne saw an opportunity to drive past the No. 99L on the outside. However, that created an opportunity for Phelps, who drove underneath Payne to take over second.

Alex Payne and Jimmy Phelps

Alex Payne and Jimmy Phelps race side-by-side for 2nd/Joe Grabianowski photo

Payne and Phelps continued battling behind him as Wight led through traffic. On Lap 25, Phelps ultimately took over second after the two traded the position two more times in traffic.

“Lightning Larry” separated himself from the No. 98h, but that changed when the yellow flag came out on Lap 34 for Zach Payne. That set up a double-file restart with Phelps on Wight’s outside.

When the race resumed, Wight tried pulling away again, but Phelps was up to the challenge, staying even with him as they battled around the 3/8-mile track. The two stayed side-by-side as they completed Lap 35, with Phelps holding a slight advantage.

That lap played a vital role in the Feature’s outcome, as when the caution came out later on Lap 35 for Andrew Buff, Phelps had officially taken the lead.

Despite three more cautions in the final 15 laps, Phelps wasn’t challenged as he drove to the $5,000 victory—his first DIRTcar 358 Modified Series triumph since winning at Fulton Speedway during OktoberFAST in 2020.

“You really didn’t know what the middle was going to provide you if you had to race the leaders,” Phelps said. “That restart when we were outside of Larry; my thought process was that if we could roll through (Turns) 1 and 2 and into 3, we’d give it a shot. The car just stuck down the backstretch and into 3 and 4.

“Anytime the car gets better as the race goes on, you know you did something right.”

Alex Payne, the leading Rookie of the Year contender with the Super DIRTcar Series crossed the line second.

The Hopewell, NY driver said he knew he was taking a chance trying to sneak by Wight in traffic.

“I was like I might as well try it,” Payne said. “I didn’t come here to run second. I got next to Larry and didn’t just quite have enough going into (Turn) 1, and [Phelps] got by me.

“I think if I had been a little more patient, I might’ve been better off. But Jimmy was pretty good tonight. I don’t think we had much for him.”

Wight settled for third after leading the race’s first 34 laps. He said he was happy about his run and thought his team was heading in the right direction.

“We’ve been struggling to be consistent,” Wight said. “I think we finally found what we need. We are just kind of looking back at our notes and looking back two or three years ago and going back to basics.”

Tim Sears Jr. finished fourth, and Tim Fuller crossed the line fifth.

With a ninth-place finish, Lance Willix holds on to the Series points lead unofficially by four points over Jordan McCreadie, who finished eighth.

UP NEXT: The DIRTcar 358 Modified Series returns to action on Friday, Sept. 20 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY as part of Malta Massive Weekend.

For more on the DIRTcar Northeast, follow the DIRTcar Facebook page and the Series’ X/(Twitter) page.

DIRTcar 358 Modified Series Feature (50 Laps): 1. 98h-Jimmy Phelps, 2. 70a-Alex Payne, 3. 99L-Larry Wight, 4. 83X-Tim Sears Jr., 5. 19-Tim Fuller, 6. 25-Erick Rudolph, 7. 37s-Gary Lindberg, 8. 28-Jordan McCreadie, 9. 31-Lance Willix, 10. 91-Felix Roy, 11. M1-Dave Marcuccilli, 12. 21A-Peter Britten, 13. 5h-Amy Holland, 14. 3rs-Dalton Slack, 15. 49-Billy Dunn, 16. 7s-Shaun Shaw, 17. 9-Tyler Meeks, 18. 19c-Brandon Carvey, 19. 77z-Zach Payne, 20. 39-Ryan Bartlett, 21. 28F-Alan Fink, 22. 20-Dave Schilling, 23. 28m-Matt Meade, 24. 58m-Marshall Hurd, 25. 92-Andrew Buff, 26. 8H-Chris Hulsizer, 27. 11-Justin Crisafulli, 28. 94-Willy Decker Jr., 29. 01-Robert Gage, 30. 12-Darren Smith

Post Race Tech: Tire samples were taken.

Hoosier Racing Tire Award: Shaun Shaw (Free Tire)

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