WEEDSPORT CANCELED: COVID-19 forces cancellation of Super DIRTcar Series Hall of Fame event at Weedsport

WEEDSPORT, NY – Due to the ongoing COVID-19 guidelines, Weedsport Speedway and the Super DIRTcar Series have canceled the Hall of Fame 100. 

The historic Series staple, Weedsport Speedway, continues to lay dormant until fans are allowed back in the grandstands. 

Please also note that the Hall of Fame ceremonies that were scheduled for Thursday, July 23 are also canceled.  More details will be announced in the near future. 

Keep an eye out for future schedule updates on SuperDIRTcarSeries.com, Facebook, and Twitter. 

RANSOMVILLE RESCHEDULE: Summer Nationals for Super DIRTcar Series Moved to Monday, August 24

RANSOMVILLE, NY –  The Summer Nationals originally to be raced on July 7 at Ransomville Speedway has been rescheduled for Monday, August 24 in accordance with local guidelines regarding COVID-19. 

The Super DIRTcar Series has turned up the Niagara County earth with Big Blocks since 1973 when Jack Johnson parked the no. 12a in Victory Lane. As of late Stewart Friesen has dominated the track his family helped build winning three of the last four Series tour stops at “The Big R.” 

Before’s Friesen’s run, Billy Decker dominated 2014 setting the all-time track record and winning the 100-lap Feature. 

Ransomville Speedway’s Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship DIRTcar 358 Modified field is full of elite drivers but there are two names everyone should know: Mat Williamson and Erick Rudolph. 

Rudolph and Williamson not only butt heads weekly on the .375 mile Ransomville paperclip but on the DIRTcar 358 Modified Series, and the Super DIRTcar Series. Both drivers sort it out cleanly and with great respect. It’s an understated but significant rivalry in the northeast. 

Both drivers weighed in on the Series and Ransomvile ownership shoring up a date. 

Erick Rudolph is from the town of Ransomville, NY so this race is always special. 

“Everyone around town and local fans get hyped up for the Series to come in,” said Rudolph.

Mat Williamson noted, “The place is pretty cool for the Series because the track is good for a Big Block at the beginning of the night and slicks off by the end. It makes for dynamic racing. That’s what makes it one of the best races we go to all year.”

There will be a set of strong local drivers to defend home turf. 

“Ransomville is a fun place to race weekly. Parm and the whole team there have done an amazing job upgrading the facility and making it into one of the premier tracks of New York State,” said Williamson. “It’s filled with talent weekly with Mike Bowman, Erick Rudolph, Ryan Susice, Greg Martin, and Gary Lindberg all there.

Can Rudolph and Williamson convert their 358 Modified success into a Super DIRTcar Series win at the “The Big R?” 

“There’s a lot of unknowns going into it this year,” noted Rudolph. ”I hope to get on the track soon.”

Race fans are in store for an outstanding DIRTcar Northeast doubleheader as the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series: Western Region is in town as well.

Stay up to date with more schedule announcements coming up on SuperDIRTcarSeries.com. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 

Border Restrictions Force Officials to Cancel Canadian Mid-Summer Races

CONCORD, NC — Canada has extended the border closure with the United States through the end of July, and due to these restrictions the Super DIRTcar Series is forced to cancel and postpone several events that were scheduled north of the border. 

Also, the July 2 race at Land of Legends has been postponed until Wednesday, July 22. 

“With the ever-changing restrictions due to COVID-19, the Super DIRTcar Series schedule has been quite the juggling act,” Super DIRTcar Series Director Dean Reynolds said. “First with the extension of the Canadian border closing, and now with the uncertainty of executive orders in New York, we have to make some changes.

“We were all set for July 2 at Land of Legends, but with recent changes and the uncertainty of when or even how many fans would be allowed in the stands, Paul Cole and I determined it was best to postpone to later in the Summer where we hope to have better guidance from the state,” Reynolds said. “Our teams have been itching to get on the track so we are looking at some of our partnered tracks outside of New York in an effort to schedule a race or two where we’ve unfortunately lost dates.”

Super DIRTcar Series officials and Cornwall Motor Speedway ownership are working to reschedule their June 28 race on a future Sunday later this Summer. 

The June 29th event at Le RPM Speedway in Quebec is canceled. 

Drivers and fans were looking forward to being a part of Ohsweken Speedway’s historic 25th Anniversary season on July 6th, but the event will not be held in 2020. The Super DIRTcar Series and Ohsweken are looking forward to making it happen in 2021.

The fan-favorite “Quebec Swing” to Autodrome Granby on July 20 and Autodrome Drummond on July 21 have both been canceled. The gros blocs will invade Quebec once again in 2021. 

Stay tuned for information about Super DIRTcar Series at SuperDIRTcarSeries.com, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Big Show Waits for 2021, New Albany-Saratoga Date Being Explored

The Big Show Waits for 2021, New Albany-Saratoga Date Being Explored

MALTA, NY — Brett Hearn’s The Big Show 12 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway originally scheduled for June 23 has been postponed to 2021 because of mass gathering restrictions to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Track and Series officials are working on a new event at Albany-Saratoga Speedway for this season. 

“In talking with promoters Brett Hearn and Lyle DeVore, we, unfortunately, have to cancel the Big Show-themed event,” Super DIRTcar Series Director Dean Reynolds said. “However, we will continue to follow the scope on what is going on in New York State with the COVID-19 restrictions, and hope to add a Super DIRTcar Series event at Albany-Saratoga later in the summer.” 

For the latest news and information visit SuperDIRTcarSeries.com as well as follow the Series on Facebook and Twitter.

MAHANEY MATTERS: Mike Mahaney is ready to fly in 2020

CONCORD, NC – King Ferry, NY’s Mike Mahaney has a reputation. In the pit area, the full-time Super DIRTcar Series competitor has a smile as wide as a front stretch is long but on the track, he’s known as a ferocious competitor.

2019 was a revolutionary year for Mahaney. He joined one of the most storied race teams in the history of dirt modified racing in the Northeast: The iconic yellow George and Julie Huttig-owned Adirondack Auto no. 35. 

NAPA Super DIRT Week fans will immediately recognize the yellow paint scheme as it has been entered in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 for many years with top drivers behind the wheel such as Mike Perrotte, Wayne Jelly, and Frank Cozze. 

Perrotte was the Huttig’s first driver and he brought the No. 35 to the team in 1985. It’s been emblazoned on the Huttig machine ever since. 

Traditionally, outside of NAPA Super DIRT Week, the Huttigs fielded a DIRTcar 358 Modified rather than a Big Blocks. But with Mahaney on board, the Adirondak Auto team enters a new era. 

As a full-time driver, any lull in action is difficult, especially one as extended as we are experiencing in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This whole thing has everyone nervous because we just don’t know what to expect,” said Mahaney. “It would be nice to get out there but the next best thing has been iRacing.” The only difference is that the dirt is digital and the cars are virtual but the competition has been incredibly fun for fans and competitors alike.

Mahaney has been competing in the World of Outlaws iRacing Invitationals against some of the best drivers across the country and even the world. His sponsors have been exposed to many thousands of people on FOX Sports, CBS Sports, and DIRTvision making the friendly competition well worth the time for a full-time racer who depends on sponsors. 

“We have been able to put on a show and advertise our sponsors where if we can’t get on the track this is the next best thing to keep their names out there and show them off a bit in a positive way,” said Mahaney. “There’s a lot of negativity out there and this was positive we can do.”

Since day one of the shutdown, the World of Outlaws and DIRTcar Racing have been working diligently to create racing entertainment for the present while we prepare for the “Return to Racing” and reaction to the iRacing shows has been tremendous. 

When it comes to the racing there are adjustments for real-life drivers to make. 

“The simulator has limitations. You don’t get a “seat of your pants” feeling from the race car of course but it works on your hand-eye coordination and you’re working on your audio coordination,” he noted. “The track changes. You have to move around to find the right groove. You gotta do trial and error with setups. It’s not necessarily the exact changes that we make in real life but you do have to try something to see if the car got faster. You get into that rhythm of what you do in real life.”

Mahaney has been paired against some of the best World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car drivers plus stars from NASCAR like Joey Logano, Will Byron, and even Formula 1 and IndyCar star Juan Pablo Montoya. 

“The best part of iRacing is that it doesn’t matter where you are, you can race against people from across the world. We are a Northeast division so it’s rare for us to run into drivers from California or Texas,” Mahaney said. “It’s cool not only because you can race with each other but you get to talk to each other too. We’re on the radio chatting it up and people are going a little bit of trash talking. Instead of fighting in the pits they just say what they want to say and it’s over.” 

Of course, sitting behind the wheel of a simulator in your basement or race shop mostly eliminates the risk factor of making a gutsy slider. Mahaney likens the racing to, “having 25 Jac Haudenchild’s out there going as hard as they can go every lap and not giving an inch. And why not? You don’t have a whole lot to risk.”

Of course, there’s no substitute for the smell of VP Racing Fuel, the heat of the Big Block’s exhaust, and the sound of a cheering crowd.

Race fans can catch Mahaney out on the Super DIRTcar Series trail when the tour starts up again. Additionally, the Adirondack Auto team will also be on the hunt for valuable Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship points at Albany-Saratoga Speedway and, new for 2020, Orange County Fair Speedway. 

Now in the second year of the DIRTcar Big Block Modified program, Mahaney and team are ready to rock. 

“We were going to be more prepared than ever before the pandemic but now all we have is time,” said Mahaney. “Without being able to race or test, we’ve learned more about what to work on in the shop. But we won’t know what to do with the cars until we run them.”

Between the Super DIRTcar Series, Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly racing at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Orange County Fair Speedway, plus select races at Utica-Rome Speedway, the team has to keep up a strict maintenance schedule rotating equipment in and out. 

On some weeks the Adirondack Auto machine will can potentially race four DIRTcar events. The common rulebook makes that possible. “Going from DIRTcar track to DIRTcar track we know we can run our Hoosier Racing Tires and Big Block,” said Mahaney. 

Mahaney is excited to start racing at Orange County. 

“There’s a big attraction to running Orange County. There’s a really good weekly purse and a great point fund. DIRTcar sanctioning means we know 100 percent what we are getting into for rules,” he noted. “There’s a strict rulebook and with Brett Hearn running it, I think knowing him as a racer and a professional, he’ll keep to the rulebook. You know what you expect.”

Needless to say when the Return of Racing comes to the Northeast, Mike Mahaney and his team will be ready. Of course they could not do it all without the support of their sponsors Adirondak Auto, Huttig Nissan, Marcella’s Appliances, Bosch, and Darcy Construction. 

Get connected to Mike Mahaney Racing. Check out his official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Be sure to come out to the Albany-Saratoga Speedway Fridays, Orange County Fair Speedway Saturdays, and all along the Super DIRTcar Series tour.

Super DIRTcar Series ‘Heroes Remembered 100’ at Weedsport Canceled

WEEDSPORT, NY – The annual Super DIRTcar Series “Heroes Remembered 100” at Weedsport Speedway has been canceled by series and track officials because of state and local restrictions, as well as CDC guidelines, limiting mass gatherings in an effort to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was originally scheduled for Memorial Day, May 25.

“I’ve been talking with [Weedsport promoter] Jimmy Phelps a few times a week going over all of the possible scenarios, but with the guidelines set forth by the state to make sure all are as safe as possible, we had to cancel the event,” said Super DIRTcar Series Director Dean Reynolds. 

“The way the Series schedule is set up, luckily it was only our second event on the schedule, but we will get busy by the end of June into July,” Reynolds said. “A combination of two more events at Weedsport, a busy Summer and of course just the unknown, it was best to cancel versus postpone.”   

All parties involved look forward to when New York State can safely reopen for racing. Stay up to date with all Super DIRTcar Series news and schedule updates at SuperDIRTcarSeries.com, Facebook and Twitter.

DIRTcar Racing: Return to Racing

The World of Outlaws and DIRTcar Racing would like to thank our Fans, Drivers, Race Teams, Tracks, Partners and Suppliers for their amazing support.  We also need to acknowledge stakeholders from every major sanctioning body who have been working together behind the scenes in such unprecedented fashion.  The motorsports world embodies the definition of community, and the efforts being made by so many for the safety and stability of our community will pay dividends for years to come.

We are pleased to announce the launch of our Return to Racing initiative and our Resource Center which is now available on online.  The dirt track community faces a unique set of challenges; from the varied size and ages of our facilities to the fact that there is a dirt track in all but one State in America (c’mon Rhode Island).  The Resource Center has been designed as an open-source portal for all of our sanctioned racetracks to use in support of their individual efforts to Return to Racing.

These Guidelines and Procedures have been developed with the support of motorsports experts Agajanian & Anthony, P.C., Mr. Jeff Ladd at Sports Insurance Specialists, LLC and Dr. Jack Faircloth, MD.  Dr. Faircloth is a Coordinating Panelist for the North Mecklenburg (NC) COVID-19 Response Team and has been a strong advocate of the Clean-Cover-Confine strategy included in our plan.   We have studied guidelines issued by CDC, OSHA, FDA and more.  The documents in the Resource Center will be updated weekly with the latest information and research available as the response to COVID-19 remains very dynamic.

To be clear, the World of Outlaws does not yet have any specific event or timeline targeted for its Return to Racing and DIRTcar Racing has not sanctioned an event since early March.  We want to get back to the track soon, but in the safest and most responsible manner possible.  In order to so, this may include Tracks being limited to practice days, participant-only events, and/or limited crowd events for a period of time in some States, while others may simply not allow motorsport events of any kind for a longer period of time. =

Included in our Resource Center is a 10-Step Guide for a Return to Racing that is relevant regardless of where a Track is located and what level of restrictions may be present in that area.  There is also an editable Executive Summary document that we encourage Tracks to use as if it were their own to reflect the conditions in their area.  We suggest that Tracks use these two documents as a tool to reach out to their Local, City and/or County Officials first, as we believe this is a situation where it is in fact better to ask for permission than beg for forgiveness.

In racing we all want to be First, but in this case the trophy will go to the Best.  Please let that be your guiding principle as you Return to Racing.

THERE AND BACK AGAIN: Big Block Modified legends Tim Fuller and Billy Pauch on finding Victory Lane outside the cockpit of a modified

CONCORD, NC — Many would agree that wheeling a Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified takes a unique driver skill set. Massively powerful, torque-heavy engines, center steer chassis, wide bodies, and dirt-kicking Hoosier Racing Tires combine to make Big Block Modifieds one of the most exciting, and challenging forms of oval racing in the world.

In the past, a number of Super DIRTcar Series drivers have made forays into racing disciplines outside of their familiar Big Block Modified seat. Two of these drivers are featured on the DIRTVision Watch Parties this week: Billy Pauch and Tim Fuller.

The legendary Billy Pauch, from Frenchtown, NJ, is one of the few drivers able to conquer both Big Block Modifieds and 410 sprint cars. Although he never followed the series full time, Pauch has accumulated 14 Super DIRTcar Series wins, which puts him twentieth overall on the all-time wins list.

Although he’s successfully raced in a wide range of premier race car divisions, Pauch noted, “Modifieds are my forte.”

(RELATED: Hear from Tim Fuller Friday at 7 pm ET on DIRTVision when he recalls his first World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series victory, and then on Saturday at 7 pm Billy Pauch joins DIRTVision to talk about his win in the 1994 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series event at the New York State Fairgrounds Moody Mile.)

Pauch was inducted into the Northeast DIRT Modified Hall of Fame in 2016.

“Modifieds are what I grew up with and it’s what I feel most comfortable in. I love Sprints, believe me, and I drove for a lot of good people in Sprint Cars. The Sprints are physical and more of a younger guy’s car,” said Pauch.

Pauch won one of the crown jewels of sprint car racing: The 1994 Supernationals at the New York State Fairgrounds mile speedway. The famous win was over the best drivers of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.

First, all the fan-favorite Frenchtown driver had to do to put the Zemco #1 Sprint Car on the front row was break a world record. So he did.

Pauch wheeled his trimmed-out sprinter around The Moody Mile, clocking in a blistering lap of 24.825 seconds which was over 144 MPH average speed around the track.

This incredible record would stand until 2015 when Paul McMahan astonishingly broke the record at Rolling Wheels Speedway, ironically on the night before the final race ever on the famed Syracuse Mile.

Teams were known for building Syracuse specials. These were purpose-built designs for maximum straight-line speed. The unique creations found throughout the pit area were a part of the draw to The Moody Mile. Pauch’s Zemco entry was one of the most sealed-off sprint cars to ever roll off a trailer.

“It was my second year going to Syracuse with Zemco. They learned and watched the other teams. They were pretty sharp on getting the car aerodynamic,” said Pauch. “The team really slicked it up. That was the key. That and Davey Brown building the motor. Those together really gave me something special for Syracuse.”

Pauch also noted, “The biggest thing you can take back to the short tracks after a win like that is confidence. That always helps a lot.”

That and the $25,000 check.

Incredibly, Pauch raced at the top echelon of both Big Block Modifieds and Sprint Cars at the same time for many years, even fielding cars at NAPA Super DIRT Week in both divisions on the same weekend. Few drivers are that adaptable.

“When you ran Sprint Cars and Modifieds at the same time, going back into the Modified was like slow motion,” Pauch said. “Things happen a couple of seconds slower on a mile racetrack. It made it easier to drive a Modified but it didn’t make it easier to drive a Sprint of course.”

The speeds and treacherous nature made passing a premium on The Mile. Pauch preferred passing in the Modifieds because “you had the addition of ‘rub rails’ which you don’t have on a Sprint Car so you could muscle your way up a bit. If you tried that in a Sprint Car you’d usually hook wheels and go for a ride. It was easier to pass with a Modified,” Pauch attested.

Over the years, The Kid never shied away from a challenge. No matter what, he always drove the highest tier race car he could get his hands on.

After winning many races on Flemington Speedway’s dirt, Pauch spent some time on the new asphalt when the track was paved in 1991.

“Flemington was my home track. I won a lot of races there. In 1991 they paved it,” noted Pauch. “We switched the dirt cars over and ran the pavement but that only lasted for a couple of years. Then they went with the Asphalt Modifieds or what I call pancake cars.”

There was one “pancake car” that Pauch really liked and that was Mario Flores’ #44 Race of Champions asphalt modified. Here he describes the famous race at Flemington:

“They called me to run the Race of Champions race at Flemington in Mario Flore’s car. I knew it was a good car and I wasn’t doing anything so I took him up on it. I went up there and got the car in the show and started forty-third. It was a tough day coming through the field. The car got tight. At around 50 to go, I was in the top 10 and I told the team I couldn’t get the car to turn so they said pit next caution. We pitted and they made an adjustment and changed the right front tire. In 50 laps I came back through and won the race!”

Pauch returned to Flemington again in a NASCAR Truck Series race and finished a career-best sixth.

Today race fans can find the hand-painted, yellow #1 Big Block Modified racing around New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but also at select Super DIRTcar Series races like this year at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals.

2005 Super DIRTcar Series champion Tim Fuller is a hero of what New York calls The North Country in upstate New York. Fuller hails from Watertown, NY, a famous haven for Big Block Modified drivers including Bob and Tim McCreadie.

Fuller has 31 Super DIRTcar Series wins, which is good enough for eighth on the all-time wins list, tying him with Jack Johnson. After winning the Series championship in 2005, Fuller was ready for a new challenge.

Fuller hooked up with Gypsum Express and John Wight to make an assault on the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series in 2007. Fuller was incredibly fast out of the box and picked up the 2007 Rookie of the Year honors.

After leaving the Gypsum team, Fuller attempted to follow the Series full-time on his own budget. Unfortunately, Fuller had a cold spell that sapped the new operation’s funds.

Fuller left the tour in 2012 and began racing his Big Block Modified more again in the Northeast, although he continued to catch select World of Outlaws races until 2015.

The Watertown, NY-driver did not leave without making a mark though. Fuller is tied for thirteenth on the all-time Fast-Time Award list. He’s tied with Clint Smith in Heat race wins. The pilot of the #19 also had the third-most Fast-Time Awards in one season with 12 in 2009.

Fuller’s last World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model win came at River Cities Speedway in 2014 after an incredible battle with fellow Watertown native and Big Block Modified hot-shoe Tim McCreadie.

Another notable driver who returned to the seat of a Big Block Modified after dabbling in other forms of motorsports is perennial NAPA Super DIRT Week contender Jimmy Horton. He was a double-threat when he rolled into tracks with both a Modified and a Sprint Car in the tri-state area and on the Super DIRTcar Series trail.

But then the high banks of Daytona International Speedway called to The Sensational One and he heeded that call.

Between 1988 and 1995, Horton scored eight ARCA Menards Series victories including five out of eight races he entered in 1990. Although Horton struggled in the upper echelons of stock car racing, he made a definitive mark on ARCA. Due to his ARCA success, he was picked to sub for an injured Darrell Waltrip in the Junior Johnson-owned car but never landed a full-time ride.

Others have gone to the big track looking for success, such as eight-time Series champion Brett Hearn and 1986 Series champion Charlie Rudolph. Hearn finished tenth in his very first NASCAR Xfinity Series start in 1985 at Dover International Speedway but was unable to replicate that success in later starts.

More Super DIRTcar Series drivers who have found success outside of the Big Blocks include Tim McCreadie, who has had a superb Dirt Late Model career; Mike McLaughlin, who found success at NASCAR’s pinnacle; and the NASCAR Truck Series’ newest star, Stewart Friesen.

All of these drivers can agree on one thing: Big Block Modifieds are irreplaceable.

PIT STOP: The View from Central New York

OSWEGO, NY – As we all wait impatiently for the start of this year’s edition of the Super DIRTcar Series, I look back to when it all started. I was just a junior in college at SUNY Oswego.

There had been various modified racing series over the years. There were Challenge Cups and there were attempts to have team races representing tracks from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Canada with three members to each team. A novel concept. 

However, none had them staying power of what has become the Super DIRTcar Series. But who are the legends, the men to beat, and the future stars of the series? Let’s start with the all-time Super DIRTcar Series Feature winners list. 

Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at Oswego Speedway, 2018 – Chris Owens photo

Top 10 All-Time Super DIRTcar Series Feature Winners List (Points and Non-Points) 

140 Brett Hearn
89 Danny Johnson
78 Matt Sheppard
70 Billy Decker
57 Alan Johnson
39 Bob McCreadie
32 Stewart Friesen
31 Jack Johnson
31 Tim Fuller
28 Jimmy Horton

The Legends

Wayne Reutimann charges down the backstretch of The Moody Mile, 1973 – Courtesy of the NAPA Super DIRT Week Program

I remember when the Schaefer Circle of Champions raced the what would become the first series shows back in 1972 at tracks like Five Mile Point, Rolling Wheels, Fonda, Flemington, Twin Valley, Orange County, Nazareth, East Windsor, Lebanon Valley, Weedsport, Merrittville and The Mile.

Chuck Ciprich all smiles at NAPA Super DIRT Week – Courtesy of the NAPA Super DIRT Week Program

Winners included the likes of Buzzie and Wayne Reutimann along with Will Cagle, Kenny Brightbill, Dick Hansen, Don Beagell, Chuck Ciprich, Stan Ploski, and Bobby Rossell. These names were always at the top of the results in the race papers. 

Kenny Brightbill in Victory Lane at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, 1979 – Courtesy of the NAPA Super DIRT Week Program

The Super DIRTcar Series has been the lone series that brought together the elite of Northeast Modified racing on a regular basis. For fans, it is treated to have so many of the legends of the tour still with us today and competing on a regular basis.

The winningest driver is Brett Hearn and although he has taken up a management role at Orange County, he hasn’t totally walked away from possibly running a Super DIRTcar Series show from time to time.

Brett Hearn and Billy Pauch talk shop, 1986 – Courtesy of the NAPA Super DIRT Week Program

Whoever would have thought that Danny Johnson, who won his first tour race in 1983, would be second in the all-time win list and still be racing when the resumption of action commences in 2020.

Danny Johnson, 2019 – Pete MacDonald photo

Youthful compared to the guys he is surrounded by in the all-time win list, Matt Sheppard is third and he’s managed to achieve that climb in just 15 years.

The other still competitive drivers in the top 10 list of all-time winners include Billy Decker, Alan Johnson, Tim Fuller, Stewart Friesen, and Jimmy Horton.

Billy Decker triumphant, 2001 – Courtesy of the NAPA Super DIRT Week Program

Alan Johnson still finds time to hit the tour while The Sensational One Jimmy Horton is usually on the roster for NAPA Super DIRT Week and when the tour hits Orange County.

Alan Johnson in chase-mode in the Last Chance Showdown at NAPA Super DIRT Week before going on to win the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 from last, 1989 – Courtesy of the NAPA Super DIRT Week Program

Tim Fuller has been running the tour on and off for years successfully. His win total would be far more substantial it not for his years following the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model tour. 

There is no doubt that within the next 10 years The Doctor, Billy, Alan, Tomkins, Fuller, and Tremont will find other things to do other than sit in the cockpit of a Modified.

Okay, so maybe The Doctor will never quit, but you never know.

The Men to Beat

Obviously, Matt Sheppard has set the bar and after four consecutive years of winning the title will continue to be the man to beat.

Matt Sheppard, 2019 – Pete MacDonald photo

Mat Williamson had the season of his life a year ago in capturing the Super DIRTcar Series title and the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at NAPA Super Dirt Week and he too is going to be around for a long time to come.

Mat Williamson, DIRTcar Nationals, 2020 – Joe Grabianowski photo

Others who will help maintain the high caliber of racing on the Series include Larry Wight and Erick Rudolph.

Erick Rudolph, DIRTcar Nationals, 2020 – Terry Page photo

Stewart Friesen also should find his way to his share of SDS shows as he too is one helps the tour maintain its luster.

I think Peter Britten and Mike Mahaney will continue to be mainstays on the tour fielding strong entries year after year. 

Peter Britten, Airborne Speedway, 2019 – Joe Grabianowski photo

Teams change goals and aspirations. For some, the thrill of running on the tour and the prestige that comes with it is a dream or their ultimate goal in racing. They try it, for maybe a year or two, and say, “Well, I did it.”  However, others are in for the long haul.

Jimmy Phelps is a driver that can get hot any minute and be a real threat on the tour.

Jimmy Phelps on the gas at Autodrome Drummond, 2019 – Joe Grabianowski photo

Betting on Futures

How does it feel predicting the future Super DIRTcar Series stars? Let me use just one word…Unpredictable.

Certainly, Demetrios Drellos made his presence known last year as a rookie and getting his first tour win as even when I talked to him in February still couldn’t believe his team actually won in the very first year.

Demetrios Drellos, Autodrome Granby, 2019 – Joe Grabianowski photo

Jack Lehner is still quite young and he has a program that might allow him to be in this thing for the long run. He’s still learning and getting his feet wet. Jack made strides last year and he is one of the Young Ones.

Jack Lehner, Weedsport Speedway, 2019 – Joe Grabianowski photo

Chris Hile, a regular in Central New York, has proven to be competitive the series races he selects to run. He is doing the tour for the first time this year and if he can adapt to some tracks he’s never seen he could be a contender. There is no reason why he couldn’t finish in the top ten in the point standings.

Chris Hile, Eldora Speedway, 2019 – Mike Mallet Photo

If anyone has followed Tim Sears Jr. they know just by watching him for one single night that this kid has talent. The team has received some assistance from John Wight over the years when they are in need, but he would be a tremendous addition to the series. He is the future of Big Block Modified racing and needs to find a ride.

There are a bunch of DIRTcar 358 drivers with the talent to make that step up if sponsors and support can be found including Davie Marcuccilli, Corey Wheeler, Kyle Dingwall, Ryan Arbuthnot, and Jordan McCready.

Corey Wheeler and Todd Root race door-to-door at Oswego Speedway, 2019 – George Smith

However, my base of operation is in Central New York so those are the drivers that stand out to me. Series talent comes from all parts of the Northeast and Canada. 

It’s difficult to see what the future might hold especially in the crazy world we are currently surviving in. When the economy eventually bounces back, the sponsors and fans will be able to remain involved and the longest Big Block Modified series in the Northeast will continue to give fans their fill of the stars of racing. 

There is no crystal ball, but in witnessing racing since the late 60’s I thoroughly understand that times change, drivers change, racing changes, but our sport and in this case the Super DIRTcar Series live on.

Billy Foley is a prolific writer for racing news website Dirt Track Digest and announcers weekly at Brewerton and Fulton Speedways.

Orange County Fair Speedway: DIRTcar Track Spotlight

MIDDLETOWN, NY – In 2020 DIRTcar welcomes back the legendary Orange County Fair Speedway to the fold as the Big Block Modifieds entered the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship in addition to two Super DIRTcar Series tour stops. 

Director of Motorsports and eight-time Super DIRTcar Series Champion Brett The Jet Hearn also ushered in the return of the Eastern States 200 as a points-paying Super DIRTcar Series race for 2020. 

Last year, the Middletown, NY landmark celebrated its centennial in grand fashion. Along with DIRTcar, Orange County Fair Speedway is well-situated to excel in providing professional, high-speed racing action with many of the best Big Block Modified drivers in the country each and every week. 

Orange County has been running weekly racing since 1950 and has been in operation since 1919. The .625 of a mile Orange County Fair Speedway is the site of one of the most prestigious Big Block Modified races in the world, Eastern States 200. 

This year, the Eastern States 200 is the final points-paying race before the Super DIRTcar Series heads to The Dirt Track at Charlotte for the Can-Am World Finals. It’s also the only other 200-lap Big Block Modified race along with the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 on the schedule. 

The Super DIRTcar Series is also slated to appear during the annual Orange County Fair, New York State’s second-largest Fair on Tuesday, July 28. Both stops on the series trail will boast five-digit to win figures. Plus, Orange County boasts a massive $102,000 point fund in addition to the DIRTcar Hoosier Tire Weekly Championship point fund.

Another highlight on the schedule falls on Sunday, August 2 when the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars return to Middletown.

Some of the greatest legends dirt modified racing called the famous fairgrounds oval at Middletown home. Drivers like Frankie Schneider, Buzzie Reutimann, Will Cagle, Gary Balough, Jimmy Horton, and of course Brett Hearn. But others made their mark too like Rick Eurich, Jeff Heotzler, Stewart Friesen, The Doctor Danny Johnson, and dozens more. 

Brett Hearn took the 2019 track championship against a stout field including Tommy Meier, Mike Gular, Horton, Jerry Higbie, Anthony Perrego, and more. This year the field is even more competitive: Matt Sheppard and Mike Mahaney will join the fray on Saturday nights. 

Recent renovations to the grandstands, fencing, pit area, restrooms, and a new, racy track surface that compliments the Hoosier Racing Tire have been key to the rejuvenation of the century-old race track attracting new fans, racers, and sponsors. Chris Larsen and his Halmar International have been the key to the historic track’s future.  

Don’t make your trip to Middletown a day trip. The Middletown population is just under 30,000, which finds many activities for visitors from shopping malls, theaters, and parks. Resorts World Catskills Casino is just a short drive away and of course, New York City is a little over an hour away. 

Bookmark the Orange County Fair Speedway website and follow them on Twitter and Facebook

Tentative 2020 Orange County Fair Speedway Schedule

Saturday, May 16 – Military Appreciation Night DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks, Rookie Sportsman

Saturday, May 30 – Saturday Night Racing – DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, Small Block Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks

Saturday, June 6 – Nostalgia Night – Jimmy Horton Tribute – DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, Sportsman 

Saturday, June 13 – Orange Crush – The Sprint Smashtacular – Monster Trucks

Saturday, June 20 – Graduation Night – Rookie Championship, DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks, Rookie Sportsman

Saturday, June 27 – Construction Night – DIRTcar Big Block Modified, Small Block Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stock 

Thursday, July 2 – Modified Twin 50s – USAC – DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, USAC Sprint Cars

Saturday, July 11 – Bike Night – DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, Small Block Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks

Saturday, July 18 – First Responders Night – DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, Small Block Modifieds, Street Stocks

Tuesday, July 28 – Battle of the Midway – Super DIRTcar Series, Sportsman

Sunday, August 2 – World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars, Small Block Modifieds

Saturday, August 8 – Marky Traverse Street Stock Memorial – Sportsman, Street Stock 

Saturday, August 15 – King of the Catskills Qualifier, DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks

Wednesday, August 19 – The 101 Summer Championship, DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, Sportsman

Saturday, August 22 – Saturday Night Racing – Small Block Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stock, Vintage Modifieds

Saturday, August 29 – Champions Night – DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, Small Block Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks 

Saturday, September 12 – Eve of Destruction – Demo Derby

Saturday, October 17 – Open Eastern States practice

Friday, October 23 – STSS

Saturday, October 24 – Eastern States 100 – Small Block Modifieds

Sunday, October 25 – Eastern States 200 – Super DIRTcar Series