Every year I look forward to Super Dirt Week, and this year was no exception. I always remember the great times of the past chasing around on a busy schedule, trying to get to as many events as possible. In recent times, my advancing years and medical issues have slowed me down, and sadly the body won’t co-operate with what my mind wants to do. I’m a bit stubborn and don’t want to except this fact.
Anyway, my Super Dirt Week began the same way, I’ve mentioned in most of my weekly reports with one of my many doctors appointments. I got this particular one out of the way on Monday (1st October) and was ready for my trip down south the next day. Since the loss of the Moody Mile at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, it has been based at the Oswego Speedway, about a 45 minute drive north of the city.
My original plan was to drive down to Oswego on Wednesday, but at the last minute I decided to go a day earlier, to catch some of the Tech inspections taking place on the opening day, then move on to the 358 DirtCar series event at the Utica-Rome Speedway in the evening. There are a number of satelite events like this added to the Super Dirt Week experience.
I left home in Cornwall, Ontario at 8-00 am on Tuesday, and by 9-00 am I was having a coffee at Ogdensburg NY.
It was then that I got the message from my ‘tog’ buddy Don Simpson (who would be joining me later in the week) that Utica- Rome had been canceled due to wet weather.
Regardless of this bad news, I decided to carry on, as there would be many other friends down in Oswego that I could socialize with . I arrived around lunch time then checked in to the media tent. It wasn’t long before I was chatting with DirtCar Media officials Cristina Cordova and Joe Grabianowski.
It was still damp and wet after the morning rain as I took a few pics around the pits.
Before leaving Oswego, I met up with my ‘tog’ buddy Colin Casserley who was over from the UK covering Super Dirt Week for the British racing media. Colin and I have known each other for many years since the days we raced together in BriSCA F1 Stock Cars .
I was heading out from the track to sort out my accommodation for the night.
As stated earlier , my original plan was to arrive a day later (Wednesday) , so I was hoping that the ‘Hideaway’ at Phoenix NY where I’d booked four nights , would be able to fit me in a day early. Unfortunately they were full up for Tuesday, so I had to go elsewhere. I drove a little further to the Quality Inn at Syracuse, where I knew I could get a room at a sensible price.
Next morning, it was yet another rainy day as I returned to Oswego .
I parked the Impala then met up with my friends Chanty and Ted Lesage, who were camping with the Stephane Lebrun Team in section D. (The track grounds are all sectioned off into areas for camping , parking and the race teams).
Chanty took me for a tour of the pits on the four wheeler , before I made my exit for the next thing on my agenda.
At midday it was the race car parade through the city center, and I wanted to try a different shooting location from where I’d been in previous years. I parked my car in the Subway Restaurant on Bridge Street, I bought a sub and then ate it in the bus shelter opposite.
I was in the perfect place to catch the cars coming across the bridge.
One lady race fan had brought along a placard with a message for all to see.
From down town Oswego I drove to Phoenix to book into my room at the Hideaway. Once settled, I continued the short distance to the evenings satelite show at the Weedsport Speedway.
The program consisted of DirtCar Series races for 358 Modifieds and Sportsman.
I met up with Colin once more, who was planning to get to as many races as he could.
Over the past five years the Weedsport Speedway has had plenty of investment as they strive to make it a more fan-friendly place.
On this Kick Off Party for Dirt Week a band was playing in the new bar area.
It was a cold and damp night out on the middle taking pics with my ‘tog’ buddies.
Erick Rudolph won the 358 race .
This was followed by the Sportsman race which gave Dave Marcuccillo yet another Weedsport win.
He often seems to win when I’m there.
After this I headed back to the Hideway.
There was no big rush to get to Oswego in the morning, it was raining again and things looked grim for the rest of the day. Looking on the bright side, there was a glimmer of hope for the evenings satelite race at Brewerton , with the morning showers coming to and end with no more rain.
It was during the drive between Oswego and Brewerton that I noticed a whining noise from the front of my Impala , that had all the makings of a wheel bearing starting to go. Not good, when you are a long way from home and in another country. So I just took things steady and hoped it never got worse.
Like Weedsport the night before, the bill of fare at Brewerton consisted of DirtCar series races for 358’s and Sportsman.
During the Hot Laps Brett Hearn flipped right in front of us ‘togs’ and think most of us captured it.
Daylon Barr managed to get it from out side the track, and managed to get all of us guys in the picture too. That’s me in the wellington boots.
The Modified race was a real good one with four drivers in contention right to the end.
Erick Rudolph, Larry Wight and Quebecs Steve Bernier and Michel Parent .
Bernier carved his way through the pack and led right up until the last lap or so , when Larry Wight stole the win.
I met up with Don who was joining me down in central NY for the next three days, and we’d planned on sharing the boarding expenses.
We were both hungry and wanted to get back to the bar at the Hideway to eat, so didn’t stop for the Sportsman feature.
Don hadn’t planned on doing the SUPER DIRT WEEK events apart from Brewerton , and instead, was going to a two day Short Track Super Series event at the Thunder Mountain Speedway, near Center Lisle, about 75 minutes south, down I 81.
I’d planned on joining him for the trip on the Friday night show, after I’d spent a couple of hours at Oswego.
Thunder Mountain is a track I’ve been trying to get to for a long time. I’ve made three attempts in the past and all have been rained out.
So, after going over to Oswego for a couple of hours to shoot the Modifiedsdoing some hot-lapping, I returned to the Hideway.
We then set off in Dons Suburu, bound for the Thunder Mountain Speedway. The weather was fine, and I was pleased to be finally get this track under my belt.
We arrived in good time to wander the pits and chat to some of the staff. There was a great view from the top of the mountain as you looked down on the valley.
The first day of this two day event was for the Sportsman in the Short Track Super Series and Saturday was for the Modifieds.
The STSS is run by Brett Deyo, who is rapidly becoming one of the most respected dirt racing promoters in the business, and he recently became the new promoter at the Fonda Speedway.
Joining the Sportsman for their big night were the Modifieds who would be hot lapping and ‘dash’ racing, along with Sprint Cars, 600 Mods and 4 Cyls.
I stationed myself on turn one with another ‘tog’ buddy of mine, Duane Canfield.
Winner of the Modified dash was Mike Gular
The Sportsman winner was Mike Schane.
The complete show was over by about 11-00 pm and soon after that Don and I were heading down the mountain to join the I 81, and the road back to Central NY.
So the Thunder Mountain Speedway became track # 235 on my TrackChaser totals.
On Saturday morning I headed over to Oswego while later in the day, Don made the trip back to Thunder Mountain.
After stopping for breakfast and some shopping , I arrived at the track at midday just in time for the Miss Motorsports photo shoot at the Area Auto Racing stand. Leslie Donegan was there posing for the fans.
Colin Casserley was already there waiting.
This year Brett Hearns car was the chosen one.
After this, it was time for me to take some racing pics.
The big race of the day was the Camping World 150 lap race for 358 Mods.
I went out on the middle to do some shooting.
The winner was Australian Peter Britten who charged past Stewart Friesen to get the win. Matt Sheppard was third.
During the course of the day, and more so, towards the end of the race , the Myasthenia Gravis symptoms that I suffer from , made a return, making me feel quite unwell. So bad in fact that I left the track as soon as I could get off the middle.
I got in my car and drove straight back to the motel where I went to bed. The Hideway is only 5 minutes from the Fulton Speedway and I passed the entrance at 7-00 pm just as the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Show and ‘Win and Your In ‘ for Mods , was just about to get under way . My original plan was to attend , but I just wasn’t up to it. I needed to rest.
Thanks to Colin Casserley for this 358 race Victory Lane picture.
On Sunday morning I was still not feeling well, and with the car that also needed ‘nursing’ , adding to my situation, I decided to give the Sunday show a miss.
Instead of going to the Oswego Speedway for the final day , Don followed me back to Canada in his Suburu , just in case I had any problems.
By lunch time on Sunday I was back home in Cornwall, where I later learned of the days results .
Two of my local Canadian drivers got big wins. Shane Pecore in the Sportsman and C.d Beauchamp in the Pro Stocks. Larry Wight won the NAPA 200 lap Big Block race.
Thanks once again to Colin Casserley who , in my absence got the Victory Lane Pictures
So, to conclude this report, I’ll end it, as I began, and sadly repeat the fact , that I’m not get any younger and the days of me chasing around, like I did in the past look like they are over. I guess I will have to stop being stubborn and start cutting down, It sucks getting old .