SYRACUSE, NY (October 10, 2009) Matt Billings came into Super DIRT Week XXXVIII never turning a lap on the "Moody Mile". Powered by VP’s C12 racing fuel, the recently crowned Brockville Ontario Speedway points champion took the lead at the drop of the green Saturday and totally dominated the 30-lap SDW Championship event that was stalled by two red flag periods before a single lap was turned.
Billings was not only the winner, he was also Ed’s Garage ‘Rookie of the Race’ and one of the youngest Super DIRT Week winners ever, matching the feat pulled off by another 16 year-old ---Erick Rudolph--- just last October at Syracuse’s famed one-miler.
"I talked to Sammy (Reakes IV) about this place and how to drive it," remarked the Brockville, Ontario native after his command performance in the Billings Automotive no. 74 Stealth Racewear/Bicknell entry. “He said drive it flat out and never lift or be afraid of the place. I thought if he can do it so can I and that’s just what I did.”
On the first attempt to start the race a massive 10-car pile up unfolded between turns one and two that required a red flag situation as the track was blocked inside and out leaving no room for racers to safely navigate.
On the second attempt coming down for the green, front row starters Billings and Neal Williams made slight contact with Williams looping around to collect Eric Giguere who made hard contact with the concrete stage on the front stretch.
Just past the Williams and Giguere inc ident, cars started collecting each other with Matt Hitchcock flipping over and landing on his wheels. Also involved in the crash were reakes, Steve Gray, Eric Holgrem and Kevin Wills. After two red flags to start the race officials went to single file just to get the race underway.
Green lights were turned back on and Billings jumped out front as John McAuliffe and Jesse Cotriss kept pace with the leader. By the second lap Billings had already bolted out to a 10-car length advantage.
A yellow flew on lap five when the #4 car of Mike Ruggiero slowed on the back straight, but made it’s way to the inner cinder track out of harms way. The ensuing restart mirrored the previous with Billings winning the drag race to the first turn as McAuliffe, Cotriss, Justin Wright and Matt Hulsizer showed in the top-five.
As the laps clicked off Billings continued to build on his full straight away margin over McAuliffe, while Cotriss, Ryan Susice and Wright ran a distant third through fifth. At the halfway point both Billings and McAuliffe had checked out on the field. Cotriss and Susice were in a tight battle for third as Wright and Hulsizer showed on the leader board.
With 10 laps to go and no yellows to tighten the field up, Billings had built up a four-second lead. McAuliffe ran alone in second, with Cortiss and Susice continuing a solid battle for third.
A quick yellow on lap 22 erased the huge lead Billings built up. At that point the car on the move was original front row starter Williams who moved from the back of the field from an earlier red flag incident now found himself in sixth.
With 5 laps to go Billings once again built up a big lead of 3 seconds as he tried to run away and hide. McAuliffe now had company in Susice as the pair raced for second place.
Over the final circuits nobody had anything for Billings as he was under the checkers first by 4.0-seconds. McAuliffe and Susice came across the line nose to tail for 2nd and 3rd with Cortiss and Wright rounding out the top five.
"In the first accident I pretty much over drove it and got high, the next thing I know I hear yellow, yellow, yellow. Everyone was aggressive I hope everybody is okay. I’m sorry if I caused anything," said the ’09 BOS points king about the first red flag period.
When asked if he had any idea how big his lead had been, Billings responded, " I had no idea how big, I was just trying to catch the lapped cars. That’s how I always race, catch the car ahead of me. I just kept hitting my marks and stayed strong. Starting position is huge here.”