HILE-DRIVER: Family Tradition Powers Chris Hile’s 6-Race DIRTcar OktoberFAST Effort

SYRACUSE – Chris Hile has been a staple on the high banks of Fulton and Brewerton Speedways for a decade where he honed his skills before deciding to go full-time Super DIRTcar Series racing in 2020. Unfortunately, like many well-laid plans, the Series championship has been postponed until 2021. 

Hile, of Syracuse, a would-be rookie of the year candidate with a decade of experience behind the wheel of a Big Block Modified, sits poised to make the best of a turbulent 2020 racing season with a run for the money at DIRTcar OktoberFAST. 

“We were really excited for this year to go full time on the Series trail, but obviously we’re all in the same boat with COVID,“ Hile said thinking back to April. 

It was decided that the Super DIRTcar Series would not go quietly into the end of 2020. DIRTcar OktoberFAST presented by DIRTVision promises six nights of the greatest Super DIRTcar Series action to be seen anywhere this year. 

Chris Hile and his team have committed to taking on the entirety of the event. The demon-red No. 5H will roll out of the hauler for all six nights of DIRTcar OktoberFAST, and here’s how it all came together.

The Track, Grandpa, and Kinsella:

Chris Hile, a 33-year-old Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified driver, started his life at the race track, spending each and every weekend there. The rhythm of the Central New York summer beats to the order of weekdays, Hot Laps, Feature, sleep. For many, the interruption has encouraged us to look back on our past. Hile has taken the time to remember his roots. 

“When he was young, my grandfather raced a hobby stock at Fulton and Lafayette Speedway. Later, he and my father took me to the races every week. I know I went to races in diapers so I’ve been around it since I can remember,” Hile reminisced. 

Not only did Hile have his grandfather and dad to look up to at the race track, but he also had his hero Tom Kinsella, a two-time champion of the famed Victoria 200 at Fulton Speedway. 

“I was probably about 13 when we started helping out Tom Kinsella. He was my idol growing up. If there was a race and Tommy was at it, I had his autograph at least four times. He was someone I looked up to,” said Hile, laughing. 

Hile has walked the path many have dreamt. He started as a wide-eyed Tommy Kinsella fan, he took the chance to try a DIRTcar Sportsman Modified and made his way up to become a full-fledged Super DIRTcar Series driver. It’s only a matter of time before “The Hile Driver” will inspire that next young fan to want to jump into a go-kart and go racing. 

From Sportsman to a Decade in a Big Block:

Race fans were anticipating Chris Hile’s rookie season because although he would technically be a rookie on the Series, he is also a threat to win on any given night. Hile has been behind the wheel of a race car for well over a decade. 

“In 2003, when we started dirt racing we went straight into DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds. There wasn’t a novice class like there is today,” noted Hile. “We raced Sportsman until 2010, which was my first full year in a Big Block. This is my 10th year in a Big Block!”

In those 10 years, Hile has 250 starts in DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds at Fulton Speedway and Brewerton Speedway combined. The No. 5H finished in the top 10 in half of those races, including two Feature wins at Fulton and four at Brewerton. The impressive stats are all a nod to the consistency of his racing program. 

“We’ve always had good help from people. We try to be meticulous with stuff so when the car leaves the shop it always has a chance to win,” Hile said. “The driver is on his own though. It shows that we keep our nose clean that we try to make it to the next race. At the end of the day if you have a waffled up race car you don’t have much.”

One of the many NAPA Super DIRT Week traditions that made the move from the New York State Fairgrounds was the ”Win and You’re In” race on Saturday night before the Billy Whittaker Cars 200. Hile has the distinction of winning the first one to award a position at Oswego rather than The Mile. 

“I remember it was raining and raining, they went out and worked the track and it was the fastest Fulton surface I have ever been on. To watch the World of Outlaws out there, too, was pretty wild. I don’t remember who won the sprint car race but I know we had a good night,” Hile said with a laugh.

Super DIRTcar Series and OktoberFAST track experience

Hile has 48 starts, two top-fives, and 12 top-10s in Super DIRTcar Series competition at tracks across New York, although a few tracks will be new for him during DIRTcar OktoberFAST. 

He was surprised at the number of career starts he has on the Series, but when reflecting Hile said, “Anytime Weedsport, Rollings Wheels, Utica-Rome, Canandaigua came up on the Series schedule we’d go. It’s just crazy to think of how fast it adds up when you look at the numbers.”

Hile has Big Block starts at all the OktoberFAST tracks except Can-Am Speedway and Albany-Saratoga Speedway. 

“I have a couple wins at Can-Am in Sportsman Modifieds but never in a Big Block. I’ve never raced at Albany-Saratoga at all. I have only been there to help out on other teams.”

But learning a new track is very simple for Chris Hile: He either gets it or he doesn’t. 

“I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but as a race car driver, I look at a World of Outlaws Sprint Car driver,” said Hile. “They’ll go to a track for the first time and they are just as quick as a regular. I always say if I can’t figure it out in Hot Laps and Time Trials then I’ve got an issue behind the wheel.”

There is still some homework to be done and racers never give all of their intel away. Tweaking setups night-to-night will be key for winning teams. 

“For setups I try to think of tracks that are similar shapes and sizes. You can grab your notes for gears and things like that,” he said. “You want to know if it has a big bank or is flat. Take those main things into account and you can get pretty close from there. I can go to Fulton, Weedsport, and Albany with pretty much the same setup besides the gears.”

To see how Chris Hile and the rest of the Super DIRTcar Series fare over six races in six nights at six different tracks, be sure to watch DIRTcar OktoberFAST presented by DIRTVision October 6-11. Click here to get your Fast Pass now. 

DIRTcar OktoberFAST is brought to fans by many important sponsors and partners, including:

ARP [automotive Racing products], ASI Race Wear, Bart Contracting Inc., Beyea Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux, Chevy Performance, Cometic Gasket, COMP Cams, DART, DIRTVision, Drydene, Fast Shafts, FireAde, Fox Shox, Hoosier Racing Tire (Official Tire), I Love New York, Integra Racing Shocks, Intercomp, iRacing (Official Online Racing Game), Penske Shocks, Racing Electronics, SIS Insurance (Official Insurance Provider), TNT Rescue, VP Racing Fuels (Official Racing Fuel), Wrisco (Exclusive Racing Aluminum).

DIRTcar OktoberFAST Boasts $300,000 Purse

CONCORD, NC – DIRTcar OktoberFAST is a unique opportunity for Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified drivers and teams to experience a true speed week. Six storied DIRTcar tracks set the stage for six heart-pounding nights of action all broadcast live on DIRTVision without fans in the stands as per state COVID-19 guidelines. 

Notably, all six DIRTcar OktoberFAST events pay a full Series purse for all divisions including five $7,500-to-win Super DIRTcar Series races, three $4,000-to-win DIRTcar 358 Modified Series races, three DIRTcar Pro Stock Series races at $1,000-to-win, and five DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series races also for $1,000-to-win. The final races at Weedsport have increased purses of $10,000-to-win for the Big Blocks and $2,000 for the DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds. 

While these events do not award Series points, they do count towards the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship for each division. 

On Tuesday, October 6, the highly anticipated roadshow begins at “The Great Race Place” Albany-Saratoga Speedway where the stars of the Super DIRTcar Series will race for 60 laps and $7,500-to-win. The Big Blocks are joined by the DIRTcar Sportsman and Pro Stocks where they race 30 and 25-lap features respectively for a full night of DIRTcar racing. 

Vernon, NY’s Utica-Rome Speedway hosts race two of DIRTcar OktoberFAST. The famous half-mile track has hosted Super DIRTcar Series races since 1982 when “Jumpin” Jack Johnson took the checkered flag. Jimmy Phelps, in the HBR no. 98H, grabbed the win in 2018 at the last completed Series race there. Also on the card are the DIRTcar 358 Modified for a 40-lap Feature and Pro Stock Series. 

Then the Series digs in at Fulton Speedway for the third 60-lap scrap of DIRTcar Big Blocks. The high banks will also feel the roar of the DIRTcar 358 Modifieds and Sportsman Modifieds as well. 

Friday, October 9 OktoberFAST the Series rolls north to “The Nasty Track” for another triple threat of Super DIRTcar Series Big Blocks, DIRTcar 358, and Sportsman Modified Series races. 

Can-Am was supposed to host the first point-paying Series race of 2020 back in April but the pandemic caused it to be canceled. Big Block drivers are eager to challenge the reworked LaFargville, NY track. Added banking in turns one and two has created another lane of action at Can-Am thanks to the investments by the Bartlett family. 

Then it’s a Saturday special at Land of Legends Raceway, where DIRTcar Big Blocks have been rocking all season long against the odds. Look for home track favorites like track champion Larry Wight, Erick Rudolph and Matt Sheppard to be on the pointy end of the field after 60 laps. The DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series joins the Big Blocks as well. 

The grand finale to DIRTcar OktoberFAST takes place Sunday, October 11 at Weedsport Speedway. The Super DIRTcar Series will race for $10,000 over 75 laps on the one-third mile Central New York staple. Weedsport has been on the Serie tour since the beginning and has hosted the best of the best. 

The DIRTcar Sportsman will go 35 laps for their $2,000 to win payday and on this night the DIRTcar Pro Stocks make their return to the DIRTcar OktoberFAST trail for another $1,000-to-win battle. 

Race fans can now experience what it is like to race at Weedsport Speedway on iRacing after the release of the new digital version of the track on Wednesday, September 9. Be sure to drive the track before you watch the track! 

Race teams can note that the online registration process and competition notes will be available no later than Monday, Sept. 14.  A reminder that all pit passes will be purchased online as there will be no sales on race night and the deadline to enter is set at Sept. 30th.

Now the drivers write a new chapter in history with this unprecedented Big Block Modified speed week. Race fans do not want to miss this incredible week of racing, which will be streamed live on DIRTVision

Keep up to date on upcoming DIRTcar OktoberFAST news regarding special awards, digital fan engagement, track spotlights, and committed driver announcements by following the Super DIRTcar Series on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

DIRTcar OktoberFAST presented by DIRTVision Schedule

Tuesday, October 6 – Albany-Saratoga Speedway

Super DIRTcar Series – 60 laps, $7,500-to-win, $500-to-start

DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series – 30 laps, $1,000-to-win, $100-to-start

DIRTcar Pro Stock Series – 25 laps, $1,000-to-win, $100-to-start

Wednesday, October 7 – Utica-Rome Speedway 

Super DIRTcar Series – 60 laps, $7,500-to-win, $500-to-start

DIRTcar 358 Modified Series – 40 laps, $4,000-to-win, $250-to-start

DIRTcar Pro Stock Series – 25 laps, $1,000-to-win, $100-to-start

Thursday, October 8 – Fulton Speedway

Super DIRTcar Series – 60 laps, $7,500-to-win, $500-to-start

DIRTcar 358 Modified Series – 40 laps, $4,000-to-win, $250-to-start

DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series – 30 laps, $1,000-to-win, $100-to-start

Friday, October 9 – Can-Am Speedway

Super DIRTcar Series – 60 laps, $7,500-to-win, $500-to-start

DIRTcar 358 Modified Series – 40 laps, $4,000-to-win, $250-to-start

DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series – 30 laps, $1,000-to-win, $100-to-start

Saturday, October 10 – Land of Legends Raceway

Super DIRTcar Series – 60 laps, $7,500-to-win, $500-to-start

DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series – 30 laps, $1,000-to-win, $100-to-start

Sunday, October 11 – Weedsport Speedway

Super DIRTcar Series – 75 laps, $10,000-to-win, $500-to-start

DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series – 35 laps, $2,000-to-win, $100-to-start

DIRTcar Pro Stock Series – 25 laps, $1,000-to-win, $100-to-start

 

All races will be broadcast, without fans in attendance, on DIRTVision.com.

BIG BLOCKS IN OCTOBER: DIRTcar OktoberFAST presented by DIRTVision Features Six Nights of Racing on Six Historic DIRTcar Tracks

2020 continues to be a year without precedent. Given the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions — knowing NAPA Super DIRT Week just wouldn’t be Super DIRT Week without thousands of spirited fans on location — DIRTcar Racing has scheduled a six-day extravaganza of the four premier Northeast divisions, spotlighting the Super DIRTcar Series. With purses and prize money totaling over $300,000, DIRTcar OktoberFAST will feature six tracks in six days, participants-only at track, broadcast live to fans around the world on DIRTVision from October 6-11.

New York State’s COVID-19 restrictions have forced the four DIRTcar Northeast Series to wait to resume in 2021 but not without racing for big money in the cool October air. While competitors will be at the track, social distancing, and masking up for their safety, our fans will be able to enjoy this unparalleled week of racing from home on DIRTVision, the new home of the Super DIRTcar Series in 2021. DIRTcar OktoberFAST events will be included in the monthly DIRTVision FAST PASS. 

With the 49th annual NAPA Super DIRT Week postponed until 2021, tickets and camping will automatically carry over to Oct. 6-10, 2021. Fans may request a refund, but refunded camping sites and seats will be made available to the general public at superdirtweek.com in October. 

What DIRTcar has put together is essentially an entire season in a week with six nights of Super DIRTcar Series racing supported by DIRTcar 358 Modifieds, Sportsman, and Pro Stocks. 

“We want to keep the teams close to home by celebrating at our home tracks,” said DIRTcar CEO Brian Carter. “We’re putting it all on the line, investing the 2020 Series’ point funds into prize money over the course of a single week so we can put 2020 behind us with a bang.”

Six core, longstanding DIRTcar tracks are lined up to host these premier events. Generally, travel will be east to west with DIRTcar OktoberFAST kicking off on Tuesday, October 6, at the ever-exciting Albany-Saratoga Speedway with Big Blocks, Sportsman and Pro Stocks. From there the action picks back up in Vernon, NY on the wide, half-mile Utica-Rome Speedway on Wednesday night with Big Blocks, 358 Modifieds, and Pro Stocks. 

Fulton, NY has been quiet in 2020, but on Thursday, October 8, the Super DIRTcar Series will shake up the town once again on the high banks of Fulton Speedway alongside the DIRTcar 358 Modifieds and Sportsman. Then, it’s “The Nasty Track’s” turn as Big Block, 358 Modified and Sportsman teams tow up to Can-Am Speedway for a Friday night spectacular on their racy new surface and configuration. 

Land of Legends Raceway is the site of a Saturday night special. Big Blocks and Sportsman will tear up the historic half-mile oval in Canandaigua, NY on October, 10.

Sunday, October 11, the DIRTcar OktoberFAST finale takes the green for a 75-lap Big Block barn burner. Weedsport Speedway, the founding site of DIRTcar Northeast racing, will cap off this incredible one-time tour with a thrilling Sunday Spectacular including Sportsman and Pro Stocks.

Each night from Tuesday, Oct. 6 through Sunday, Oct. 11, will be highlighted by two or three feature events. No weeklong champion will be named, but drivers will battle for over $300,000 in purse and prizes. Fans and friends of DIRTcar will also have the opportunity to contribute to Special Awards for the entire week. 

Stay tuned for details on the purse structure, expanded digital fan interaction, Special Awards opportunities, and more. 

Competitors will be asked to pre-register for each event. An email will be sent to DIRTcar members with the link and more information. 

2020 has become the most challenging year on record for racing and individuals alike. DIRTcar is proud to put together a program that tracks, competitors, and fans can enjoy as much as possible under the restrictions deployed by New York State at this time. 

Unfortunately, the remaining races on the Super DIRTcar Series schedule in September have been canceled as a result of the COVID-19 crowd restrictions. Because of the limited racing, there will be no Series champions crowned in 2020. The spotlight will shine on the Hoosier Weekly Championship chase.

The canceled races were scheduled for Sept. 6 at Utica-Rome Speedway, Sept. 12 at Weedsport Speedway, Sept. 19 at Land of Legends Raceway, and finally September 26 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Series officials and track promoters are looking forward to getting back to Series racing in 2021. 

Stay tuned for more exciting announcements on SuperDIRTcarSeries.com, DIRTcar.com, Facebook, and Twitter

DIRTcar OktoberFAST is brought to fans by many important sponsors and partners, including:

ARP [automotive Racing products], ASI Race Wear, Bart Contracting Inc., Beyea Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux, Chevy Performance, Cometic Gasket, COMP Cams, DART, Drydene, Fast Shafts, FireAde, Fox Shox, Hoosier Racing Tire (Official Tire), I Love New York, Integra Racing Shocks, Intercomp, iRacing (Official Online Racing Game), NAPA Auto Parts, Penske Shocks, Racing Electronics, SIS Insurance (Official Insurance Provider), TNT Rescue, VP Racing Fuels (Official Racing Fuel), Wrisco (Exclusive Racing Aluminum).

Super DIRTcar Series and Can-Am Speedway Postpone April 11 Opener

LaFARGEVILLE, NY – With New York State Governor Cuomo’s extension of the “pause” in New York State, which bans non-essential gatherings of any size, Tyler Bartlett, the owner and promoter of the Can-Am Speedway, and Super DIRTcar Series director Dean Reynolds have agreed to postpone the Super DIRTcar Series opening event on Saturday, April 11.

“With the current state of the COVID-19 situation, we have decided to postpone the April 11 Super DIRTcar Series event,” Bartlett said. “We were hoping for better news and waited as long as we could, but the safety of our fans, employees, and competitors must come first. State officials have announced non-essential workers are to stay at home, and we will follow their guidance. We all want to put on racing and get back to being normal but now is not the time.

“Dean and I are looking at possible make-up dates because the Super DIRTcar Series is special at Can-Am. We just have to see how long current restrictions will stay in effect and then go from there. That does make it tough to announce a new date right now.  But, we were ready, before everything started to slow down we got the new lighting installed, PA speakers and the bleachers were 90% complete. I think the fans and competitors would have been very happy seeing the improvements.”

Remain up to date on the latest Super DIRTcar Series news at the Series’ new website, as well as on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Thunderstruck: Matt Sheppard Takes $10,000-to-Win Thunder in the Thousand Islands 100

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Matt Sheppard holds off a host of challengers for first NAPA Super DIRT Week Qualifier of 2019, Williamson and Dunn capture podium finishes

LAFARGVILLE, NY – Matt Sheppard conquered the inaugural Thunder in the Thousand Islands 100, NAPA Super DIRT Week Qualifier from the outside pole. Sheppard defeated all challengers including Jimmy Phelps, Erick Rudolph, Billy Decker, Billy Dunn, and Mat Williamson to hold onto the lead for the huge $10,000 payday. Mat Williamson’s brand-new No. 88 Buzzchew Chevy Big-Block Modified ride was stout and finished in Sheppard’s tracks for second place. Billy Dunn took advantage of a familiar race track where he’s won many races to round out the podium.

Read moreThunderstruck: Matt Sheppard Takes $10,000-to-Win Thunder in the Thousand Islands 100

04/13/19 — Can-Am Speedway

LAFARGVILLE, NY – Matt Sheppard won the Thunder in the Thousand Islands 100, NAPA Super DIRT Week Qualifier from the outside pole. Sheppard defeated all challengers including Erick Rudolph, Billy Decker, Billy Dunn, and Mat Williamson to hold onto the lead for a huge $10,000 payday. Mat Williamson’s brand new No. 88 Buzzchew Chevy Big-Block Modified was stout and finished in Sheppard’s tracks for second place. Billy Dunn took advantage of a familiar race track., where he’s won many races, to round out the podium.

Read more04/13/19 — Can-Am Speedway

DIRTcar Track Spotlight: Can-Am Speedway

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DIRTcar Track Spotlight: Can-Am Speedway

CONCORD, NC – A lot of short tracks in the United States call themselves a half-mile, but only a few have distinguished themselves as a “big half-mile” the way Can-Am Speedway has. The “big half-mile” was the first American track that Australian-born Big-Block Modified star Peter Britten raced on after spending his career on quarter-mile bullrings down under, and it made for a serious culture shock. The LaFargeville oval is a fan favorite in the North Country since 1974.

Read moreDIRTcar Track Spotlight: Can-Am Speedway

Super DIRTcar Series Returns to Can-Am Speedway for $10,000-to-Win Blockbuster

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Can-Am Speedway Hosts Thunder in the Thousand Islands 100 Saturday, April 13 $10,00- to-win NAPA Super DIRT Week Qualifier

Concord, NC – The Super DIRTcar Series has not turned a lap at the legendary half-mile Can-Am Speedway since 2009, but that all changes on Saturday, April 13, 2019 when the Big-Block Modifieds come to town for the $10,000-to-win Thunder in the Thousand Islands 100 NAPA Super DIRT Week XLVIII Qualifier. Drivers and fans are excited for Can-Am Speedway to break the ice on the 2019 Super DIRTcar Series Championship points season.

Read moreSuper DIRTcar Series Returns to Can-Am Speedway for $10,000-to-Win Blockbuster