The “Super” in the Short Track SuperNationals lived up to all the hype Saturday night at Thunder Mountain Speedway. A race-long battle over the 50-lap Modified feature between polesitter Mat Williamson and Andy Bachetti turned into an all-out melee that thrilled fans over the final 10 laps. In the end, it was Bachetti making a last-lap pass on Williamson to score the victory.
For the first nine laps, Williamson defeated Bachetti at every turn, even snagging the lead back on the backstretch after Bachetti had been clear for a short time. On the last lap, lapped traffic would be the difference as Williamson lost momentum trying to get past Jeremy Smith. Bachetti shot past on the inside in turn three, breezing to his first Short Track Super Series win of 2018.
“I knew I was getting close. I had a drive in there to make something happen, so I took a shot at it there on the last lap,” Bachetti told Speed51.com. “You could see the traffic a little bit even with the dust. But the car was good, the motor was good, everything was good tonight. Billy the Kid engine, Teo Pro Car, just a really good night.”
“Andy had a good car, certainly he earned it, hats off to those guys,” Williamson lamented. “But its’ disappointing. I really wanted to take this car to victory lane. We had a good starting spot and we did everything right until the last lap. We just screwed up a little bit and let him get by us. I think if we had a clear track on the last lap, probably would have been able to roll the top a little better.”
It was the end of what had been a long day for the first-year STSS driver, starting out at Oswego Speedway for Super DIRT Week activities, before heading to Thunder Mountain and missing hot laps, but winning his heat race and having a shot at the win.
“It’s still a good day, but if he had passed me on lap one, it would’ve been a little better, but not bad,” Williamson said. “Happy for these guys, they worked their tails off all day and it’s nice to put it on the podium even in second.”
Both drivers were pleased with how the battle went down in the end, a combination of hard but respectable racing over the 50-lap distance. Of course, Bachetti admitted that he probably had the best seat for the battle as he became the 11th different SuperNationals winner in its 11-year history.
“Mat had a good car tonight, hats off to the Behrent team all around. It was an awesome race to probably watch, and it was certainly fun to drive.”
After a strong end to the 2017 season, including winning the Short Track Super Series North Region title, Bachetti and the No. 4 team have had their struggles in STSS competition for most of 2018. Now, this late season victory comes at just the right time, with big money shows, including Eastern States Weekend at Orange County Fair Speedway fast approaching.
“Better late than never. This is awesome for us to bring in some momentum to Eastern States and all the end of the year shows for the money. It gets everybody pumped up for working hard and focusing on what’s coming up next.”
Shaun Walker, Danny Bouc, and STSS North points leader Billy Decker rounded the top five.
The Short Track Super Series shifts back to the South Region, with the first ever visit to Port Royal Speedway (PA) on Friday, October 12. The next STSS North round, the Hard Clay Finale at Orange County Fair on Thursday, October 18 will conclude the 2018 season.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos