This past winter Dirt Modified racer Mat Williamson joined forces with one of the biggest forces on the Short Track Super Series, Jeff Behrent, to run as a teammate to fellow driver Tommy Meier for the entire STSS North schedule across the State of New York. Now, with the season opening Hard Clay Open just days away at Orange County Fair Speedway, the Behrent team is making its final preparations for its newest team member.
“I’ve been talking with Jeff and he’s got those cars ready to go; they’re all scaled up and we’re ready for the weekend,” Williamson told Speed51.com. “Jeff and I have always been friends, we’ve done business together for years. He and my dad have had a long-lasting business connection. To make it something more than that, I’m very excited about and Jeff has always got good equipment and a first-class team. The only pressure is on me now; we’ll see how it works out.”
While the team is attending an open practice this Saturday, prior to the main event on Sunday, Williamson has his work cut out for him after not having raced at the historic 5/8-mile oval in more than a decade.
“I ran there back in 2007 or 2006 and that would have been in a Sportsman car; I’ve never raced there with a Modified,” Williamson said. “I was there about five years ago just to watch the Eastern States 200 and that was the last time I was there. I’ve watched lots of video online. But we’ve been doing our best and I think we will be ready for it.”
Luckily for Williamson, he has just the supporting cast to help whip him into shape for 50 laps of racing on Sunday afternoon.
“Going back to the team, they have a ton of knowledge at that place, it’s their home track,” he explained. “Tommy has a lot of laps there so I’m leaning on him a bit. I just have to do my job as a driver and try to make everything last as long as I can.”
This weekend marks the debut of Williamson in STSS competition. The 28-year-old driver has made himself known as a part-timer on the Super DIRTcar Series, racing only for trophies and checks. Now he finds himself as a potential pre-season favorite in the North championship race.
“It’s only ten races, which makes it unique. Brett Deyo has done a great job with promoting the series, what you guys at Speed51 are doing with the videos and broadcasts is pretty cool. I’m very happy to be a part of it this year and hopefully at the end we can hold the big trophy.”
But Williamson has a long road ahead if he wants to be in the title race, having even less experience at all the other seven tracks STSS North will visit in 2018.
“These tracks we are going to with the Short Track Super Series are all new to me. I went to Afton once before and it rained out after the draw, so I’ve never turned a lap at any of these places before besides Orange County. We’re going to have to adapt quick and learn a lot throughout the year. But I think we’ve got just the team to do it.”
Fans can still expect to see Williamson throughout the Northeast in his familiar No. 6 Modified as well, with his team looking to ride momentum that includes wins at Utica-Rome Speedway and The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway this past fall.
“We’re going to race as much as we can. We are going to run Freedom Motorsports Park on Friday nights to be a part of the American Racer Cup. With that plus doing the Short Track Super Series puts us in a good position for the Cup. We’ll also still hit some Super DIRTcar Series races and try to do Oswego at the end of the year, as well as Fulton for the 200, and Charlotte again.”
Race fans can watch all of Sunday’s action at Orange County Fair Speedway and every Short Track Super Series race in 2018 live on Speed51.com. Sunday’s broadcast will be available FREE to premium subscribers or can be purchased separately as a pay-per-view for $14.99.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter:@Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos