Two months ago, West Newton, Pennsylvania driver Matt Sever’s car was briefly sidelined from competition due to a mechanical failure that resulted in a practice crash. That occurred prior to the first 100-lap race of the season at Pennsylvania’s Motordrome Speedway. Ever since, the racer who is in his second full season competing in Late Models has been winning races left and right and pulled off his biggest one yet Friday night against one of the fiercest competitors in the region.
Glenn Gault, Jr. has collected numerous big paychecks up to this point and on this night found his way to the front by lap 14 despite starting eighth after the top 10 fastest qualifiers were inverted. Sever followed him through and stayed with him over the next several laps. Shortly after the quarter-way mark, Sever got Gault loose in turn one and returned to the stripe with sole possession of the top spot.
The caution flew on lap 40 for a second and final time and performance during the long run would prevail for Sever. Gault continued to close within a car length at times, even after getting held up in lapped traffic during the closing stages. Sever held him off for his first longer distance Late Model victory.
“Me and Gault were battling there around lap 20 or 30 or so, and even when we got by him I wasn’t really thinking that that was it,” said Sever. “I kind of figured in these 100s you typically get a lot of cautions toward the end. Then when we started getting inside 10 to go I started thinking if this goes caution free we’re really going to have a good shot.”
This time Gault had to settle for second and although he felt his car was pretty equal to Sever’s, it wasn’t enough to get back by him.
“We were just a little bit too tight,” said Gault. “We’ll have to get it freed up a little more for next time. Sometimes it doesn’t work out at the end of the day.”
With how close the two cars were Sever felt that making the pass for the lead early on in the race turned out to be the winning move.
“I think getting by him earlier was the difference,” said Sever. “This car of ours actually I don’t believe was quite as good as him on the long run. The lapped traffic helped us out a little bit, but you could tell he was still a little better on the long runs. It was just two really, really good cars. One thing about them, when you’re going against (Gault), them guys are top notch every week so you know if you’re going to compete with them you ought to be on your game. It kind of makes it that much more rewarding when we get down to the end of the race and you’re battling tooth and nail for something like that with him.”
Since moving up through the weekly local division ranks from Hobby Stocks to Street Stocks and now Late Models, Sever has been gaining recognition with his results. In fact, he had a touring series opportunity which would have kept him from competing in the Trupar 100. He made his ARCA Truck Series debut at Jennerstown Speedway in July and after a third place finish was offered the chance to drive again the same night as Motordrome at Toledo Speedway.
“It was a tough decision,” admitted Sever. “The first 100 down here we had some bad luck and actually got tore up in practice by a mechanical failure. I love the ARCA Trucks. They are a blast to drive, and I work with a bunch of great people there. The way that things work out with missing the first 100 and us having a really good car to come back to; I made the right decision. I’m really happy to be where I am right now.”
Track points leader Bobby Henry quietly finished third while Jayme Beck, who started from the pole after the invert, held on for fourth. Zane Zeiner traveled from Northeastern Pennsylvania for his first visit to the half-mile and was the fastest qualifier. Unfortunately, gremlins with his brakes resulted in not being a factor for the win and surviving for a fifth place finish.
– By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Correspondent – Twitter: @Aaron_Creed. Photo credit: Speed51.com