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.

Utica-Rome Speedway: DIRTcar Track Spotlight

VERNON, NY – February 27, 2020 – The legendary Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, NY features three DIRTcar sanctioned Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship divisions every Sunday night as well as highly anticipated special events including the Super DIRTcar Series, Empire Super Sprints, Monster Trucks, and even a music festival. 

Some of the greatest drivers to ever strap into a race car in the Northeast have contested the Central New York half-mile clay oval. Before it was dirt, NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Richie Evans was an icon at the track. Today, seven-time Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard, 2019 Utica-Rome Speedway track champion Erick Rudolph, and many more vie for supremacy in series races as well as Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship action. 

Race fans can count on a premium level of competition every Sunday night in Vernon, NY with three DIRTcar sanctioned divisions in action. Last year, Erick Rudolph fended off Billy Dunn and Pat Ward to take his first Utica-Rome Speedway track championship in the exciting DIRTcar 358 Modified class. 

In 2019, the dynamic DIRTcar Sportsman Modified driver Matt Janczuk took the track championship over front-runners Kyle Inman and Alan Fink. In the DIRTcar Pro Stocks, Nick Stone had a close track championship win over Josh Coonradt. Mike Welch finished third. 

The Utica-Rome season comes into 2020 with a roar on Sunday, April 19 with a $2,500-to-win DIRTcar Big Block Modified Spring Break special. All three of Utica-Rome’s DIRTcar Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship divisions will be in action as well including a $1,500-to-win DIRTcar 358 Modified race. 

All the above drivers put on an incredible show every year at NAPA Super DIRT Week and fans can experience that thrill every Sunday night at Utica-Rome. 

Highlighting Utica-Rome Speedway’s dynamic 2020 schedule are the Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds and Empire Super Sprints. On Sunday, September 6, the stars and cars of the Super DIRTcar Series roll into Utica-Rome for a $7,500-to-win 100-lap Feature. The points race will be hot in this late-season battle. 

In what has become a Fall classic, the speedway opens up the racing action for NAPA Super DIRT Week XLIX on Tuesday, October 6 when the DIRTcar 358 Modified Series and the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series take on the half-mile speedway. This will be the second stop at Utica-Rome for the 358 Series as the second Series race of the year takes the green on Sunday, May 10 in celebration of Mother’s Day. Each event will boast a nice, hefty $4,000 winner’s share.

The DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series also makes three stops in Vernon, NY in 2020. First is the Father’s Day special on June 21 where a Central Region event pays $1,000 to win. The newly formed Eastern Region races on Sunday, August 2 for the Jan Corcoran Memorial. Then the Series joins the 358s during NAPA Super DIRT Week XLIX on Tuesday, October 6 as a part of the fall Championship Series which also pays $1,000 to win. 

The Empire Super Sprints are in town three times on three holiday weekends. The first falls on Sunday, May 24. Then, Utica-Rome caps off Central NY Speedweek on Sunday, July 5. The final visit is Sunday, September 6. 

There’s more to do at Utica-Rome Speedway than just world-class racing. FrogFest Featuring country singer Dylan Jakobsen on Saturday, May 30. 

Nearby the track, visitors can check out the famous Turning Stone and  Vernon Downs Casinos. If you want to slow down from the pace of the race track, stop in at the Bull Farm Antiques and Market. For some great tunes and food, schedule your lunch or dinner at the Nothin’ Fancy Country Rock Saloon.

Weedsport Speedway: DIRTcar Track Spotlight

WEEDSPORT, NY – Weedsport Speedway and the history of DIRTcar are inextricably intertwined. Every Super DIRTcar Series star has tested their mettle on the .375-mile Central New York dirt track and the 2020 schedule is primed to bring the excitement to race fans once again. 

Weedsport Speedway is the ultimate test of a driver’s car and throttle control. Multiple racing lines from the top to the bottom of the track develop in every race. Only the best of the best have figured out the fastest way around. Matt Sheppard and Erick Rudolph have been the ringers as of late but by all accounts, the Super DIRTcar Series field is catching up. 

Weedsport hosts three Super DIRTcar Series races plus the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars, DIRTcar 358 Modified Series, DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series, and the DIRTcar Pro Stock Series in 2020. 

The Super DIRTcar Series kicks Weedsport’s racing season off on Monday, May 25. The Heroes Remembered 100 is quickly becoming a Memorial Day tradition for racers and fans across the Northeast. 

Round two at the historic Central New York oval falls on Sunday, June 26 when we celebrate the induction ceremony at the Northeast Dirt Hall of Fame with the classic $10,000 to win Hall of Fame 100. 

The Cavalcade of Cup Weekend, Friday & Saturday, September 11-12, is one of the premier dirt track racing events in the Northeast. The weekend culminates with the 100-lap Super DIRTcar Series Feature. Also on the card is the only DIRTcar Pro Stock Series race of the year at Weedsport. The Empire Super Sprints are scheduled for the weekend as well. 

One of the highlights on the schedule comes on Saturday, August 1 when the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars come to town along with the DIRTcar 358 Modifieds. The Greatest Show on Dirt is sure to pack the stands once again. 

The final race of 2020 at Al Heinke’s preeminent facility takes place on Wednesday, October 7. The NAPA Super DIRT Week Kick-Off Party features the DIRTcar 358 Modified Series and the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series. The Sportsman will be in the midst of the Fall Championship Challenge.

Non-Series DIRTcar sanctioned races include DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, DIRTcar 358 Modifieds, and DIRTcar Sportsman. All scheduled Features count towards the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship standings. 

Weedsport’s diverse schedule also includes the American Flat Track Bike Series, USAC Sprint Cars, All-Star Sprints, and more including the Empire State Ride to benefit cancer research and treatment at Roswell Park in Buffalo, NY. 

Don’t make your visit to Weedsport Speedway a day trip. There are multitudes of great restaurants, shopping, and activities in nearby Syracuse, NY. Don’t miss the famous Dinosaur BBQ or Middle Ages Brewery for some pre-race lunch and libations. If all the racing has you itching to get behind the wheel, hit RPM Raceway in the huge Destiny USA mall for indoor karting. 

There are plenty of hotels nearby but none are closer than the Days Inn right off the Weedsport New York State Thruway exit only a half-mile away from the speedway. 

If you are a returning fan or a first-timer, there is something for everyone at Weedsport Speedway. 

Weedsport Speedway 2020 schedule:

Sunday, May 3 – Test and Tune – All divisions

Monday, May 25 – Heroes Remembered – Super DIRTcar Series, DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds, CRSA Sprints

Sunday, June 7 – All-Star Showcase – All-Star 410 Sprints, Champion Oil DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds

Sunday, June 14 – Thunder on the Erie – USAC National Sprints, Champion Oil DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, CNY Mod Lites

Friday/Saturday, July 3-4 – New York Short Track – American Flat Track Bike Series

Sunday, July 26 – Hall of Fame 100 – Super DIRTcar Series, DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds, Classics on Dirt

Thursday, July 30 –  Empire State Ride – Cycling to benefit Roswell Park Alliance Foundation

Saturday, August 1 – Empire State Challenge – World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars, DIRTcar 358 Modifieds

Sunday, August 9 – Legends Reunion – Empire Super Sprints, DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds, Dirt Modified Nostalgia Tour

Friday/Saturday, September 11-12 – Champion Oil DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, Empire Super Sprints, Super DIRTcar Series, RUSH Late Models, DIRTcar Pro Stock Series, CNY Mod Lites

Wednesday, October 7 – NAPA Super DIRT Week Kick-Off Party – DIRTcar 358 Modified Series, DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series

Going All In

19 0917 albany graphic

MALTA, NY – Sept. 12, 2019 – As the Super DIRTcar Series gears up for the NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week Billy Whittaker Cars 200, there is one final piece of business outstanding — the final guaranteed starting spot, which goes to the winner of Saturday’s $10,000-to-win Feature at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.

This race was not initially slated to be a NAPA Super DIRT Week qualifier, but the excitement of the high stakes races was enough for Albany-Saratoga Speedway officials to bump up the huge finale to their “Massive Malta Weekend” to make it a $10,000-to-win. Teams should note that the event also pays $1,000 for 10th and $500 just to take the green flag!

Earlier this season, the Series raced on the famous eastern New York dirt track, where Stewart Friesen edged out Brett Hearn for the guaranteed start and $11,111 in The Big Show XI. Race fans have come to expect nothing less than specular wheel-to-wheel racing at Albany-Saratoga.

While Matt Sheppard has a strong lead on his fellow Super DIRTcar Series stars, it is not insurmountable, especially with the premier Series race teams gunning for the top spot behind him including Mat Williamson, Erick Rudolph, Larry Wight, Billy Decker and Jimmy Phelps.

Peter Britten, Mike Mahaney and Demetrios Drellos have many laps around the Malta oval and should not be counted out.

Home track hero and 900-plus-win Big Block Modified superstar Brett ‘The Jet’ Hearn was the runner up in his own Big Show back in June. The famous No. 20 will be looking for retribution on Saturday night.

Albany-Saratoga regulars like 2019 Track Champion Marc Johnson, Matt Delorenzo in the No. 3D, Mr. DIRT Track USA Champion Kenny Tremont Jr., and many more will be on hand to battle the Series stars.

Plus, for those outside region, this race will be broadcast live in HD by at FloRacing.

For update-to-the-minute Race Day photos, news and notes follow the Super DIRTcar Series on Twitter and Facebook. Check us out on Instagram for stunning images and information on upcoming events.

Take a look at the Series standings here.

Mat’s in the Money

19 0914 mohawk graphic 3

HOGANSBURG, NY – September 14, 2019 – Mat Williamson made a daring race-winning pass overtaking Billy Dunn and Matt Sheppard to win at Mohawk International Raceway. Williamson went into this weekend without a single Super DIRTcar Series win in 2019 but now he will wake up on Sunday morning with two. The Mohawk win is worth $10,000 as well as a guaranteed start in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at NAPA Super DIRT Week XLVIII. Billy Dunn maintained second and Matt Sheppard settled for third. 

Demetrios Drellos, in his black and white No. 111, brought the field to the green flag alongside Erick Rudolph. Drellos led the early stages but slipped up and over the cushion allowing Billy Dunn to inherit the lead. Dunn, Sheppard, and Williamson were locked in a battle when a lapped car forced the leaders to change their racing lines. Suddenly the No. 88 drove high and whipped by Dunn and Sheppard for the lead. 

Mat Williamson is a force to be reckoned with in the Super DIRTcar Series and this weekend is proof positive of that. Friday night he took the win in the Duel at the Demon 100 at Brewerton Speedway and tonight he walks away with $10,000 and a Billy Whittaker Cars 200 guaranteed start. 

Williamson described his race:

“We’ve got a really good car. It was the same thing as last night. We were fortunate with the starting position [fourth both nights]. I dropped back there at the start and I was like, “Man if we don’t get up there before it rubbers we’ll be in trouble.” I think I was back as far as eighth and had to come back up. I made a Bonzai move going into three and four to get around Billy [Dunn]. With the rubber down, it made it challenging at the end. Fortunately, we were up front.”

At the halfway point Williamson took the No. 88 around the outside for a stunning pass on then-leader Billy Dunn. 

“It was a Bonzai move to get around him and he got checked up by a lapped car. He’s great to race with and I’m surprised he didn’t give me any shots in the bumper at the end,” Williamson said with a chuckle. 

It takes a great team to get on a roll in the Super DIRTcar Series. 

“I can’t thank Buzz Chew enough. Spot, Ernie, and Dan, they work on the car every week. My guys came with me tonight and worked their tails off in the pit area,” he said, proudly looking at his crew. 

Runner-up Billy Dunn had a strong night in his Graham Racing machine. A bobble while working around lapped traffic cost him the win but he is happy with the direction of his racing program. 

“This Graham Racing car was really good. We made some petty big changes after the Heat Race. We got it dialed in so we could drive to the front before it rubbered.”

Battles were intense all over the track, especially in the first half of the race. Unfortunately for Dunn, a lapped car unintentionally changed the dynamics of the race for the win.  

“Sometimes that’s the way it goes. Lapped traffic didn’t get out of the way but hey they are racing too,” said Dunn. 

“Two seconds in these cars that I haven’t run much. I gotta thank Ray Graham for the opportunity and my crew guys. They worked their tails off and hopefully, we can build some momentum for the end of the year.”

Defending Series Champion Matt Sheppard showed off once again why he is a champion. The No. 9s is always there at the end. 

“We didn’t get a very good start and dropped back a little bit. We passed a lot of cars and got up here with the leaders,” noted Sheppard. 

Tricky track conditions made strategic decisions very difficult but for Sheppard, the whole race came down to this lap-forty moment:

“I was about a half a car length short of being Mat [Williamson] to the rubber down there out of one and two at about lap 40. I would have never dreamed that that would be the difference between first and third tonight.”

Larry Wight picked up the Billy Whittaker Cars Fast-Time Award after setting the quickest lap out of the thirty-five car field. Wight and his Gypsum Racing teammate Billy Decker both finished the night with top tens. 

Louie Jackson Jr. picked up eight positions to finish sixteenth earning him the KSE Racing Hard Charger Award. 

In the Dig Safely NY 811 Redraw Mike Mahaney drew number 12 out of 12 possible starting positions. For that, he is granted one free tire courtesy of Hoosier Racing Tire. 

The Super DIRTcar Series is back at it again next Saturday, September 21 for another $10,000-to-win NAPA Super DIRT Week XLVIII qualifier. 

FEATURE (100 Laps) 1,88-Mat Williamson [4][$10,000]; 2. 49-Billy Dunn [7][$5,000]; 3. 9S-Matt Sheppard [8][$2,500]; 4. 25-Erick Rudolph [2][$1,800]; 5. 124-David Hebert [9][$1,600]; 6. 19-Tim Fuller [10][$1,400]; 7. 99L-Larry Wight [6][$1,300]; 8. 91-Billy Decker [13][$1,200]; 9. 31-Lance Willix [14][$1,100]; 10. 111-Demetrios Drellos [1][$1,000]; 11. 35-Mike Mahaney [12][$800]; 12. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [11][$700]; 13. 22C-Mario Clair [18][$600]; 14. 26-Ryan Godown [5][$575]; 15. 21A-Peter Britten [15][$550]; 16. 18J-Louis Jackson [24][$525]; 17. 42P-Pat Ward [17][$500]; 18. 27J-Danny Johnson [20][$500]; 19. 66X-Carey Terrance [16][$500]; 20. R2-Rusty Smith [25][$500]; 21. 17-Marcus Dinkins [27][$500]; 22. 2L-Jack Lehner [21][$500]; 23. 63d-Domonic Dufault [23][$500]; 24. R70-Ryan Arbuthnot [3][$500]; 25. 23m-Mike Stacey [19][$500]; 26. 96S-Paul St.Sauveur [26][$500]; 27. 23-Cameron Black [22][$500]

KSE Hard Charger Award: 18J-Louis Jackson[+8]

Contingency Sponsor Awards:

VP Race Fuels $50 – Billy Decker

Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux $100 – Larry Wight

Cometic Gaskets $50 – Peter Britten

Comp Cams $50 – Demetrios Drellos

Fox Racing Shox $50 – Erick Rudolph

JE Pistons $50 – Tim Fuller

MSD Ignition $50 – Billy Dunn

MSD Ignition $25 – Ryan Arbuthnot

NGK Spark Plugs $50 – Erick Rudolph

DART $50 –Demetrios Drellos

Drydene $50 – 

ASI Racewear $50 – 

Product Prizes

Hoosier Racing Tire (1 Free) – Mike Mahaney

Bicknell Racing Products – Mat Williamson

Comp Cams – Billy Dunn

JE Pistons – Peter Britten/Rusty Smith

KSE Racing Products – Marcus Dinkins

Wrisco Aluminum – Mat Williamson

NGK Spark Plugs – Peter Britten

DART – Matt Sheppard/Marcus Dinkins 

Drydene – Marcus Dinkins

NAPA Auto Parts Celebrates Eight Years as Title Sponsor of Super DIRT Week

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OSWEGO, NY — Aug. 21, 2019 — NAPA Auto Parts will be a key partner in Super DIRT Week for the eighth consecutive season, extending one of racing’s longest running event sponsorships.

As NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week is preparing for its fourth year at Oswego Speedway on Oct. 9-13, the tradition of “Racing’s Biggest Party” is ready to celebrate its 48th year as DIRTcar Racing’s biggest event.

The partnership between NAPA Auto Parts and DIRTcar Racing is so fitting because NAPA caters to people who prefer to use their “NAPA know how” to maintain their daily drivers, hot rods and even race cars by supplying high-quality parts and service to its customers, who are also huge fans of racing.

“The racing at Oswego Speedway during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week has been incredible, especially with all of the last-lap battles and close finishes in last year’s event,” said NAPA Auto Parts General Manager Ryan Nowitzke. “We are always excited when customers come into our stores and let us know how much they appreciate NAPA being part of Super DIRT Week. The connection we’ve built through the years is unparalleled in the Northeast and we can’t wait to see how the racing stacks up this year.”

The classic blue and yellow NAPA Auto Parts logo is immediately recognized by all automotive do-it-yourselfers and anyone who appreciates the great selection and availability of parts for cars, trucks or anything that makes you get up and go.

With 58 distribution centers, 16,000 NAPA AutoCare Centers, and more than 16,000 independently-owned and company-owned stores, including over 100 stores Central New York, NAPA Auto Parts is one of the most recognizable and dependable institutions in the automotive industry. NAPA’s inventory includes nearly a half-million parts for all automotive and industrial applications.

We are less than two months away from dropping that green flag on NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLVIII. Fans from across the United States and Canada will descend upon Oswego for five consecutive days of non-stop DIRTcar Racing action, with the crown jewel of Super DIRTcar Series racing, the Billy Whittaker Cars 200, putting the exclamation mark on a jaw-dropping week of dirt racing.

“We are very proud of our long partnership with NAPA Auto Parts and Super DIRT Week,” said DIRTcar Racing CMO Ben Geisler. “Our fans are absolutely their customers so it’s a great fit. Their support over the past eight years has allowed us to continue making improvements at Oswego. Most importantly, we always enjoy hearing stories about our fans in their stores. The partnership is good for everybody involved.”

NAPA Super DIRT Week will kick off with early parking for campers at Oswego Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 6. Early Bird tech inspection for all classes and competitors starts on Monday, Oct. 7. On-track activities will begin shortly after the procession of cars through the streets of Oswego at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 9.

A week of racing across four divisions at the historic 5/8th-mile all comes down to 41 Super DIRTcar Series drivers looking to write their names in the history books next to the names of Buzzie Reutimann, Bob McCreadie, Brett Hearn, Stewart Friesen and countless other drivers.

The Billy Whittaker Cars 200 pays a whopping $50,000 to the winner. The granddaddy of all Super DIRTcar Series events is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13.

Tickets and camping spots for the 48th annual NAPA Super DIRT Week are available online or by calling 844-DIRT-TIX. Stay tuned to NAPA Super DIRT Week, Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Racing social media channels for additional information regarding NAPA Super DIRT Week. Lastly, make sure to download the NAPA Super DIRT Week app for mobile devices for all the late-breaking information.

Larry Wight on Top of the World at NAPA Super DIRT Week XLVII

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OSWEGO, NY – October 7, 2018 – Gypsum Racing driver Lightning Larry Wight pulled off a late-race pass on veteran driver Jimmy Phelps and held off the five-time NAPA Super DIRT Week Champion Stewart Friesen for the $50,000 pay day. Jimmy Phelps gambled on racing the entire Billy Whittaker Cars 200 without stopping for fuel or tires. Wight’s lap 73 pit stop equipped him with fresh tires, which shot him to the top of the score card in the final quarter of the race. Friesen crossed the finish line in second followed by the Camping World 150 winner Peter Britten.

With a grin as wide as the Victory Lane he celebrated in Larry Wight said, “It’s something I’ve been fighting for, for a long time since we started at Syracuse. To get on the boards here early at Oswego, it definitely means a lot for my family and the whole team.”

A new father, Larry Wight had family on his mind in Victory Lane: “I want to thank my Mom and Dad, my wife Brooke, my daughter Audrey, this is all for them. Everything I do is for that little girl. It’s an awesome feeling being a Dad and to come do this on top of it has got to make this greatest year I’ve ever had.”

A lap 73 pit stop for tires and fuel turned out to be the right call. While pole-sitter Jimmy Phelps attempted to stay on the race track for the entire 200 laps, Wight had new tires and confidence in his fuel situation meaning he could put the pedal through the firewall when he needed it. With the hammer down, Wight streaked passed second place Ryan Godown, and then immediately by Phelps in quick succession on lap 179 and 180.

On that pass and race strategy Wight noted, “I figured I could try and set him up to block and slow him down and it ended up working out. I knew he [Jimmy Phelps] was going to be conservative for fuel. I think they were trying to make it the whole way, so I knew he was conserving for fuel, and as long as I was pushing him, he couldn’t conserve too much.”
The race was far from over when Wight made the pass for the lead. Stewart Friesen was charging through the field in his tire tracks. Wight hoped to use Jimmy Phelps as a buffer between himself and Friesen, but that did not last long as Phelps faded and finally pitted for fuel with four laps to go. “I was just hoping that Jimmy could stay between me and Stewie. He was kind of my buffer car. I knew he was in limp mode,” Wight said. “We got back by him and we had that last caution with four to go there with Stewie right on us. He’s known for the last lap move. We just had to make sure we were hitting our marks and don’t worry about blocking. We knew our car was fast.”

Wight drove the no. 99L to victory with a Bicknell chassis beneath him and ace crew chief Scott Jeffery, who won four NAPA Super DIRT Week Championship at the New York State Fairgrounds with Billy Decker. This was Jeffery’s first win at Oswego Speedway. Wight discussed his racing line in the late stages, “It’s a fine line up there [on the high line] and you gotta trust your car. If you don’t drive it hard enough the car won’t set and if you drive it too hard you hit the wall,” Larry said laughing.

Five-time NAPA Super DIRT Week Champion and NASCAR Camping World Truck driver Stewart Friesen was pleased with his team’s effort but was left wanting more. “Those caution laps kind of killed us. I would have liked more green flag racing,” said Friesen. He thanked his team for their hard work as well: “I gotta thank Halmar Racing, DKM, Billy the Kid, and a lot of great product sponsors. I had a lot of fun here the last couple of days. We just came up a little bit short.”

Friesen pitted on the same lap as Wight and that proved to be the right call for both camps. “We’ve got some speed and Larry’s been due to win one of these for a couple years now. The pit strategy was pretty exciting. We got mud in our wheel there the one time and had to come back in. I didn’t know if we’d get back up there but we had a strong race car thanks you Halmar. Thanks to all the great fans that came out this weekend.”

Batman Peter Britten came up two spots short of his first NAPA Super DIRT Week Championship. Although not quite the heartbreaking last lap pass that lost him the race in 2017, Britten felt he was poised to win the race if not for changing track conditions. Britten noted, “Unfortunately for us the bottom cleaned off a little bit there towards the end and it turned into a one lane track. I just couldn’t get around guys on the outside when it got too dirty. After a restart, I could kind roll a couple guys but it’d just get dirty and I’d tuck back in. Unfortunately, two years in a row our strategy was close but no cigar. Congratulations to Larry. I know how tough it is to win this thing.”

Race strategy played a vital role in Britten’s podium finish. “We felt like using the high side was our best shot. We got ourselves in a position there on lap 120 or so wondering “Do we even get tires?” but we knew it was going to be a tire race.”

Britten made a pit stop on lap 50, so his tires had twenty-three more laps on them than the top two finishers. The Graham Racing no. 21A pilot is confident that he would have won the race if the track changed the way his team thought, “For the way that the track changed, we just didn’t have the right strategy. We stuck to our game plan. I really feel like if the track didn’t rubber up I would have won the race, but it did so it’s irrelevant. All you can do is plan for what you think is going to happen. If you don’t think it’s going that way, you change the strategy, but we really felt that was the way it was going.”

NAPA Super DIRT Week XLVII will be remembered as one of the greatest weeks in dirt racing history. Every single Feature event had late-race passes for the lead, dramatic action, and engrossing race strategy. Ticket and camping renewals are available until November 14. 2018 ticketholders who want to watch the Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Northeast top this year’s incredible racing, should call 844-DIRT-TIX. Tickets will be on sale to the general public on December 1.

The next Super DIRTcar Series tour stop is at Brockville Speedway Friday, October 12. 

Field Set for NAPA Super DIRT Week

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OSWEGO, NY – October 6, 2018 – It took two Last Chance Showdowns, won by Jack Lehner and Ryan Watt, to set the final positions for the NAPA Super DIRT Week XLVII Billy Whittaker Cars 200. Jimmy Horton, Nick Webb, Rich Scagliotta, and Alan Johnson earned the rest of the available starting positions.

Jack Lehner rolls off from position thirty on Sunday, October 7. The no. 2 car looked strong as he outran veteran Jimmy Horton for the win. Ryan Watt had a strong showing as well, driving up from position 13 for the win in the second Last Chance Showdown and starts thirty-first in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200.

Jimmy Horton is a past NAPA Super DIRT Week Champion after taking the win in 1994. With experience, speed, and Halmar Racing equipment, he will be one to watch in the back of the pack. Nick Webb proved he has what it takes to run with the top drivers with a third-place finish that put him in thirty-fourth for Sunday’s finale.

Super DIRTcar Series regular Rich Scagliotta lead early in the second Last Chance Showdown, but he could not hold off Ryan Watt. Scagliotta starts thirty-third in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200.

Fan-favorite Alan Johnson scooped up the third and final transfer position in the second Last Chance Showdown.

Due to the postponed Pittsburgher 100, Tim McCredie will not be able to start the Billy Whittaker Cars 200. His absence results in a bump in position for those behind him on the starting field and Billy VanInwegen making the grid in thirty-ninth.

Meanwhile, during the evening race at Fulton Speedway, Mike Maresca won the Dirt Track Digest Win in Your In, putting him in forty-first position for the 200.

The Billy Whittaker Cars 200 rolls onto the Oswego Speedway tomorrow, Sunday, October 7.

SEE LAST CHANCE SHOWDOWN RESULTS

SEE TRIPLE 30 RESULTS

SEE TIME TRIAL RESULTS

BILLY WHITTAKER CARS 200 STARTING LINEUP

1 98h Jimmy Phelps 2 43 Keith Flach
3 28z Gary Lindberg 4 21a Peter Britten
5 83x Tim Sears Jr. 6 44F Stewart Friesen
7 21J Danny Johnson 8 25r Erick Rudolph
9 6m Mat Williamson 10 3x Billy Dunn
11 84 Gary Tomkins 12 19 Tim Fuller
13 6h Max McLaughlin 14 3 Justin Haers
15 9s Matt Sheppard 16 111 Demetrios Drellos
17 99L Larry Wight 18 91 Billy Decker
19 62s Tom Sears Jr. 20 66x Carey Terrance
21 5H Chris Hile 22 5 Ryan Godown
23 93 Danny Varin 24 109 Billy Whittaker
25 115 Kenny TremontJr. 26 76 Bobby Varin
27 42p Pat Ward 28 3J Marc Johnson
29 11r Rob Bellinger 30    2L Jack Lehner
31    14w Ryan Watt 32    43h Jimmy Horton
33    8 Rich Scagliotta 34    27w Nick Webb
35    14J Alan Johnson 36    20 Brett Hearn
37    63 Adam Roberts 38    48T Dave Rauscher
39    4v Billy VanInwegen 40    88m Mike Mahaney
41    7m Mike Maresca      

The Top 30 Starters in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 are Set

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The Top 30 Starters in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 are Set

OSWEGO, NY – October 5, 2018 – The Camping World Friday Night Lights Triple 30s brought the huge crowd to their feet with fantastic drives from winners Peter Britten, Danny Johnson, and Gary Lindberg. Graham Motorsports won two out of the three qualifiers making them the hot team of the weekend. NAPA Super DIRT Week surprise Gary Lindberg timed in the Top 6 and went on to win his 30-lap qualifier.

Read moreThe Top 30 Starters in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 are Set

The Big-Block Modifieds Take Center Stage in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200

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NAPA Super DIRT Week Concludes on Sunday, October 7 with the Grand Daddy of All Big-Block Modified Races, the Billy Whittaker Cars 200

CONCORD, NC – September 27, 2018 – NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week is an event like no other, culminating with one of the most coveted races in all of dirt motorsports, the Billy Whittaker Cars 200. All eyes will be on Oswego Speedway from October 1-7 wanting to know who will win the Teo Pro Car Pole Award, who looks racy in practice, who will make an epic drive in the Last Chance Showdown to make the feature, and of course, who will take home the $50,000 paycheck at the end of 200 grueling laps on the 5/8-mile Oswego Speedway.
The stars and cars of the Big-Block Modifieds have battled wheel-to-wheel all season long on the road to Oswego. This year seven Super DIRTcar Series races offered a special guaranteed starter award to the winner or highest finishing driver without one. The drama and tension of NAPA Super DIRT Week started long before October 1, rather in April, May, and June as the Super DIRTcar Series set out across the Northeast and Canada.

Read moreThe Big-Block Modifieds Take Center Stage in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200