SUPER DIRT WEEK REPORT (2 Oct to 9 Oct 2017)
Super Dirt Week is always one of my favorite times of the year, it’s a time when all us like minded Dirt racing fans congregate in Central New York for a festival of our preferred brand of racing.
For many years , I would cram as much as I could into the week, but recently I’ve had to tone down my activities due to my health problems. On the few days leading up to this years event , I wasn’t feeling too good, but with motel booked, just try keeping me away !
My week had started with a canceled doctors appointment on Tuesday (3 Oct). I guess doctors are entitled to be sick too !
So , my plan for SDW was to carry on as planned , take things easy and play it all by ear.
After the demise of the ‘Moody Mile’ at Syracuse, this was the second time that the Oswego Speedway would be the center of the action.
Last years SDW was the first time that dirt was laid down on the asphalt of the famed Steel Palace, normally the home for paved Modifieds.
One of the satelite races to ‘kick start’ SDW ,was at the Utica-Rome Speedway for a 358 Modified Dirt Car series and was scheduled for Tuesday (3 Oct) . I was going to pass, on this one and hadn’t put it in my plans. This was won by Matt Williamson.
My SDW started on Wednesday, and I left home in Cornwall ,Ontario for the short drive to Oswego , NY.
My first port of call was the media sign-in , and once that was done , a short time was spent in the media tent. I didn’t stay long because I wanted to be in down-town Oswego for the parade of cars through the City Centre that launches SDW..
It was warm and sunny so parked my car and sat outside one of the eateries for a quick snack as I awaited the parade.
While waiting, I bumped into my good friend Colin Casserly who hadflown over from the UK to cover the event for the British Stock Car Magazine.
Colin arrived on Monday and he was cramming in as much of SDW as he could. Colin and I raced BriSCA F1 Stock Cars during the same era, and have both transferred into the media side of racing as we’ve got older.
After taking our pics of the parade, and chatting for a while, we both went our separate ways.
I set off for Phoenix NY, to the RFH Hideway Motel, to book into my accommodation for the week. I’d arranged to meet up with my ‘tog’ buddy Don Simpson who was sharing the cost of the room with me. Once sorted , we got in his car and set off in the direction of our first race.
It was the second satelite event of SDW, and was another 358 DirtCar Series race, that was being staged at the Weedsport Speedway.
We got there and signed in, just as a a few sprinkles of rain started coming down. It didn’t seem much at first, but soon got a heavier. At around 5-30 pm we heard the call it had been canceled.
We were just about to leave when we bumped into our good friend, and local driver Corey Wheeler. He was camping at Weedsport and invited us back to his RV for a beer. We were soon joined by two more of our local guys, Ryan Stabler and Ryan Arbuthnot . After sheltering under the canopy for awhile, the rain soon stopped and I had my first games of ‘Botchy’ and ‘Washers’
A campfire was made and we all sat around shooting the breeze. Around 9-30 we hit the road and went back to the Motel.
Next morning, (Thursday 5 Oct) , Don took off to a camera store in Syracuse, while I went to the Oswego track. I spent some time in the media room before shooting a few pics of the Big Block hot laps from the grandstand.
Around mid afternoon, I made my exit for the short drive to the Brewerton Speedway. In the parking lot, I met up with Don and Colin.
While I was with Colin, we bumped into more ‘Brits’ .
Some of the UK’s racing Finnikin family were over with a few friends for DirtCar racings big show. I chatted with Stuart who’s father Alan Finnikin raced BriSCA F1’s at the same time I did.
Brewerton were staging the third of SDW’s satelite events, th e Hurricane 100 358 DirtCar series race, as well as series race for the Sportsman too.
Don , Colin and me were all on the middle with all the usual gang of Central NY ‘Togs’.
There were a lot of race cars in attendance, which meant a long night. Colin was OK, his motel was nearby in Brewerton, but for me , a long night was not what I wanted,
The big race was a good one, and it was Chad Brachman who got the Victory.
It was about 11-30pm , by the time the Victory Lane pictures were done, and there was still a 50 lap race for Sportsman to be run.
I was feeling tired , so decided to miss out, and return to my room in nearby Phoenix. In my absence, Dave Marcuccilli took the win.
Next morning (Friday 6 Oct) I was in no rush to get to Oswego, and after a good rest , I got there just before mid day. I was still feeling under par, so spent most of the afternoon in the media tent, apart from a brief time out, shooting the 358 Modifieds Hot Laps from out side turn four. I found enough energy to climb the ladder to the photographers vantage point.
On Friday night, and under the lights, they had the Triple 30’s races for Big Blocks and the Twin 20’s for the 358’s. I was not feeling well, so decided to give these a miss and return to the motel for an early night.
On Saturday (7 Oct) I was awake bright and early so was at the Oswego track at 7-45 am, in good time to find a parking spot close to the media tent. I was taking things easy and remained there for most of the day.
There wasn’t much going on before lunch apart from the annual Ms Motorsports photo shoot, which was conveniently taking place next to the media tent.
Early morning rain had delayed the ‘on track’ action and the race I’d been looking forward to, the big one for the 358’s was running late.
One thing I’ve learned after attending SDW for many years, is you can’t do everything. That night, another satelite show was taking place at the Fulton Speedway and if I wanted to attend that , I would need to miss part of the 358 race.
The World of Outlaw Sprint Cars were appearing , along with a ‘win and you’re in’ a last chance to qualify for the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 , Oswego race for the Mods the next day..
I left Oswego mid afternoon to be at Fulton in good time for a good parking place. Meanwhile Matt Shepherd won the 358 race .
I joined Colin, and my usual Fulton ‘Tog’ buddies on turn three and four.
Don had had given Fulton a miss, and chosen to visit the Afton Speedway NY that night.
.WoO winner was David Gravel,
The modifieds, which are my racing preference provided Tom Sears with a win, and a place on the grid for the next days Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at Oswego.
The show was all over by 11-00 pm and with my motel being just five minutes down the road, it meant a nice early night.
On Sunday (8 Oct) morning, it was another day of not feeling good, and I was very tempted to head for home, but with it being the last day of SDW, I headed to Oswego and decided to play it by ear.
Once again , I got parked up close to the media tent before 8-00 am and was one of the first arrivals.
As the morning went on, I felt a bit better and ventured on to the middle for the 75 lap Sportsman and Pro Stock races. I have to thank my fellow CNY ‘tog’ Bill Moore for the use of his spare lawn chair.
While I was waiting to cross to the infield, I bumped into my good friend Josee Fortier, who was helping the # 33 Bruno Cyr Pro Stock team.
The Sportsman race was first and included quite a few of my local drivers , but it was Central New Yorker, Dave Marcuccilli that took the checkers.
Up next was the Pro Stock race where my buddy Rob Yetman made things look easy by taking a flag to flag win and his fifth consecutive SDW victory .
I’d met up with Colin again while I was in the middle, and he’d offered to get me a Victory Lane picture from the 200 lap Big Block race, while I shot pics from the grandstand. I took my pictures with the long lens and got the cars coming out of turn two.
The winner was Matt Shepherd who passed long time leader Peter Britten on the last lap.
Before the half way point I decided to make a move. After a steady drive home , and stopping for a nice meal, I was home in Cornwall, Ontario by 8-00 pm.
I’d survived another Super Dirt Week and got a lot more of it in, than I’d originally thought. Hopefully by next years event I will be fitter, and get back to my normal self, chasing here, there and everywhere.