YORK HAVEN, Pa.: BAPS Motor Speedway announcer Dave Hare sees Garrett Williamson in the pits every week, and the young driver says the same thing.
“I will meet you out on the frontstretch.” Well, Williamson made that a reality on a rainy Saturday night last week.
This one was special. Not only did Williamson track down early leader Chad Criswell for his first career Super Sportsman victory in the 25-lap main event, he did it on Hall of Fame Night in front of returning legends in each division.
Drivers Larry Jackson, Gary Wolford, and Johnny Murphy were present to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the Super Sportsman class, as was legendary car-owner Jerry Burkett. Late Model inductees were Ed Jones and Carl Billet, while Richie Hughes and Carl Graves carried the banner for the Street Stock legends.
In the end, all eyes were on Williamson, who put on a show.
“Holy cow,” an excited Williamson said after climbing from his car in Victory Lane. “I’ve got to catch my breath. I’m speechless.
“For all of these legends, to do it in front of them, my first career win … I have one season under my belt, and this is my fourth race with a wing. We ran the wingless deal, but there ain’t nothing that beats Susky [BAPS].”
It didn’t take long for the Hummelstown, Pa., driver to show that he was going to be a major player to crack the win column.
He started eighth on the grid and, quickly, carved his way to the front. Meanwhile, Criswell, who started on the outside pole, was setting a blistering pace out front and went unchallenged for the first six circuits.
The first caution of the event came out with seven laps down for Todd Leonard and Chuck Landis. This gave Williamson a clear shot at the leader.
Williamson didn’t disappoint. He charged into Turn 1 and got beside Criswell before nosing out front to take over the top spot in Turns 3 and 4.
“I knew the start was going to be key,” Williamson said. “We went into Turn 1, and I knew he was going to run me clean.
“I didn’t know if he was going to go to the bottom. I feel like I kind of ran him dirty, shoving him up to the wall. We came off two, and he was still there, so I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be interesting going into three.’
“I cleared him, and once I saw him go back, this Sledgecraft Chassis hooked up. It grabbed everywhere. This chassis is excellent. Dave Conrad … he came to me in November and asked if I was willing to run their car, and I said, ‘why not.’”
Continued Williamson, “First time it was out in practice, I knew it wouldn’t take long for me to get a win. This chassis is incredible and like nothing I’ve ever driven.”
Williamson was in a league of his own the rest of the event. He survived a pair of cautions and took the win.
Criswell settled for second, with Russ Mitten charging from 15th to third. Scott Dellinger came from 12th to fourth, and Kenny Edkin came from the cheap seats in 18th to a fifth-place run around the racy track surface and hard charger honors.
“I was like, ‘don’t screw up, don’t screw up,’” Williamson said. “I saw that white flag, and I was announcing to myself going down the backstretch.
“It was, ‘Garrett Williamson through Turns 3 and 4, coming out of four, and picks up his first win at BAPS Motor Speedway.’”
Davey Walsh, Dellinger, and Tom Wyckoff were heat winners for the 29-car field. Doug Dodson won the consolation.
Bobby Beard started outside the front row and captured the 20-lap Limited Late Model main event.
But it wasn’t easy. Sean Merkel started on the pole and led the first six circuits before Beard took over and sprinted away to the win.
Merkel settled for second, with Troy Miller, Brian Shuey, and Travis Mease completing the top five. Merkel and Steve Billet were heat winners. The Street Stock main event fell to rain and will be made up on June 23.
Super Sportsman Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Garrett Williamson; 2. Chad Criswell; 3. Russ Mitten; 4. Scott Dellinger; 5. Kenny Edkin; 6. Davey Walsh; 7. Frankie Herr; 8. Paul Miller; 9. Doug Dodson; 10. Rich Eichelberger; 11. Justin Foster; 12. Chris Meleason; 13. Mike Enders; 14. Luke Deatrick; 15. Scott Grace; 16. Dave Lightner; 17. Bruce Buckwalter Jr.; 18. Tom Wyckoff; 19. John Edkin; 20. Timmie Barrick; 21. Jay Fannasy; 22. Matt Ondek; 23. Todd Leonard; 24. Chuck Landis.
Late Model Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Bobby Beard; 2. Sean Merkel; 3. Troy Miller; 4. Brian Shuey; 5. Travis Mease; 6. Steve Billet; 7. Dave Latsha; 8. Shaun Miller; 9. Jed Latshaw; 10. Ben Whitaker; 11. Chuck Cox; 12. Cameron Benyou; 13. Dan Hoffman; 14. Garrett Walls; 15. Bob Stough; 16. Ross Leinbach; 17. Alan Sagi; 18. Charles Potts.