This weeks Blog starts on Friday the 29th of September .
One of the biggest Dirt racing events in the North East, is the annual Out Law 200 Weekend held at the Fulton Speedway NY, which has always been considered by many , as the unofficial start to SUPER DIRT WEEK.
It used to be known as the Victoria 200, but changed its name when the title of the race was transferred to another track.
I set off from my home in Cornwall, Ontario about 10-00 am and was checking into the Airport Budget Inn at Cicero NY soon after 2-00pm .
This was to be my room for the next two nights. It’s located about a 25 minute drive from the track.
The program for Friday was made up with qualifying for Modifieds and Sportsman, plus a complete night of ESS Sprint cars.
As many of you know, I’m not a sprint car fan, but the ESS aren’t too bad and have very few ‘squirrels’
I only recently heard the expression, ‘squirrels’ and love it .
It’s a term used to describe the ‘wana be’s’ and no-hopers who get in every ones way, and probably shouldn’t be on the track in the first place.
It was a lovely warm and sunny day and on arrival, I had plenty of time to wander the pits and sit in the sun.
Before long I was on turn three and four with my Tog buddies.
From Left to Right , Douane Van Gelder, John Meloling, Mike Mallet, Bobby Chalmers, Alex Bruce, AJ Yarbroady, Chris Marks, Me, and Evan Canfield.
There were no major delays and the show moved along quite quickly.
With it being only a qualifying night for the headline divisions, the sole feature race was for the Sprint Cars .
This was won by Jason Barney.
Racing was all over at a sensible time and I was back at my room at 11-00 pm.
Most of Saturday morning was was spent catching up with things on the lap-top, before returning to the track around 3-00 pm.
The start time was delayed by about an hour due to the weather.
Not because of rain, but because of the heat and sun.
Once things got going there was a lot of racing to get in.
The Sportsman had their last chance races first , then the Modified regular heats began .
The Sportsman feature was first to run and after a good number of cautions and lead changes, Bobby Herrington, who’s one of my local drivers got the win.
The delayed start time and the extra last chance races , meant a later than expected green flag for the big 200 lapper.
This was dominated from start to finish by Matt Sheppard , although he did get challenged a bit towards the end, by Mat Williamson.
Larry Wight completed the podium.
It was now around mid night .
I’m glad I opted for a second nights accommodation.
I was on the road again at 7-00 am Sunday morning and heading back to Canada.
I wanted to be in Cornwall before 1-00 am.
I did the journey easily and was back at my house by 11-00 am.
The reason I wanted to be back at this time, was because the Cornwall Motor Speedway were putting on a race car parade through the city to promote their ‘own version’ of ‘Dirt Week’ coming up the following week.
This of course clashes with SUPER DIRT WEEK, the ‘real thing’ that was happening in Oswego NY on the same dates.
I must be honest here, and say I’m not in favor of this Canadian event which clashes with a show that has been the prize jewel in the world of dirt racing for many years.
I have loyalties to both sides, so won’t get into the politics behind it all , but it’s sad, when race fans have to make difficult decision on where to go.
I have been the Official Track Photographer at the Cornwall Motor Speedway for 20 years and I live ten minutes away from the track, so it’s easy to guess where I planned to be .
Anyway, the parade is a great sight to see, and I was at the Civic Complex to see it leave, and then later on nearby Pitt Street to see it return.
Before it was over, I took a group photo of all those responsible for making it happen.
Monday was a kind of a rest day, while I got my stuff ready for another trip South.
I was setting off early the next morning for the rescheduled 358 DirtCar Series at the Weedsport Speedway NY that got rained out on the 14th of Sept.
For some reason I couldn’t get to sleep Monday night and while lying in bed wide awake at 3-00am, I had an idea go though my head.
Why don’t I shave my beard off.
So by the time it was morning , it had gone. I had left just the moustache , but it didn’t feel right.
So, I set off on my trip to Central New York, and when I reached a rest area on I81 just south of Watertown NY , I entered the bathrooms to finish the job off.
No beard, no moustache .
I’d been quite happy with my recent stay at the Airport Budget Inn a few days earlier so booked it again for Tuesday night.
My plans were to attend Weedsport on Tuesday then go on to the Hurricane Harvey 358 DirtCar Series race at the Brewerton Speedway on Wednesday.
Brewerton is only a three hour drive home, so there was no need for another nights board.
After registering , I made the thirty minute drive to Weedsport.
My first port of call , was the Dirt Hall of Fame located adjacent to the track.
This wasn’t my first visit but I like to go back once in a while.
My first visit was in 1997 , while we were on a family week-end trip to the Finger Lakes with fellow Brit’s the Mayhew family . Pete Mayhew is an old friend who also raced BriSCA F1’s like me.
On this particular occasion I was meeting up with my ‘Tog’ buddy John Meloling who is also a volunteer at the museum.
He and Jamie, his co-volunteer gave me a guided tour.
With the lack of sleep I’d had the night before, I was getting a bit tired, so once parked at the track, I snoozed in the car until start time.
Before the race got rained out a few weeks prior, all the Modified and Sprint Car heats were in the books, so all that was left to run was the features.
To to pad out the program , Sportsman and mini sprints had been added.
After taking a few hot lap pics from the outside of the pit gate, I took my usual position on turn three and four.
After the various heat races for Sportsman and Mini Sprints the ESS Sprint Car feature got under way.
This was won by Modified driver Larry Wight who was making one of his occasional appearances in a Sprint Car.
This was also the last points race of the season for the ESS and Quebec’s Jordan Poirier was crowned Champion.
Tim Sears was the early leader , but after 60 laps Erick Rudolph had worked his way to the front, and remained there until the checkers.
The last feature of the night was for the Sportsman .
Richard Murtaugh took this one after stealing it from Emmett Waldron on the line. Cody McPherson was third.
It was then time to head back to my hotel.
I had to be out of the room before 11-00 , so left at 10-30 am. to give me plenty of time for the next stop on my agenda.
As mentioned earlier , SUPER DIRT WEEK was taking place in Oswego NY and a Parade of Race Cars was taking place through the city at mid day.
Once I’d seen them go by, I drove the short distance up the road to the Oswego Speedway.
I hadn’t applied for Media Credentials this year as knew I would be at Cornwall when the big races were taking place, so I didn’t enter the pits.
It was a bit dusty , so after getting a few pics , I was back on the road again.
My next stop was the Brewerton Speedway for the ‘Hurricane Harvey’ , the name given to the 358 Modified DirtCar Series race held there each Dirt Week. The late Harvey Fink was a promoter at the track for many years.
I got there nice and early in time to grab a good parking spot, then took a snooze in the car.
When the pits started to fill up, I took a wander, and bumped into Mike Maresca.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen him , so it was nice to catch up.
This event at Brewerton, has always been a popular one , and a favorite of many.
There were lots of ‘Togs’ out on the middle and it was good to meet up with my old friend Mike Knappenberger from Reading Pa, who is also a fellow TRACKCHASER .
Instead of basing myself in my usual shooting spot on turn one/two, I switched to three/four.
The program also consisted of a DirtCar Series race for Sportsman, so there were a lot of time trials, heat races and consis to get through before the features.
The ‘The Hurricane Harvey’ for the Mods was up first.
This turned out to be a great race with Jordan McCreadie and Mat Williamson trading places lap after lap in the early stages.
Mat eventually got the better of Jordan and began to widen the gap.
At the finish line, it was Williamson , McCreadie and Caprara
It was now 11-00 pm, and the Sportsman feature had still got to run.
I’d planned on driving straight home from the races, so this was late enough for me.
It’s about a three hour drive to my place and after a quick stop for a Tim Hortons on Hwy 401, I was indoors at 2-00 am.
I later found out that Zack Sobotka won the Sportsman feature.
A weekend of rain was forecast , and already the Cornwall Motor Speedway , had pulled the plug on their ‘Dirt Week’, and postponed it for two weeks. (The Fall Nationals at nearby Brockville are the following week)
Thursday was spent relaxing around the house until 3-30 pm when it was time to get going again.
The Mohawk International Raceway had a show planned in conjunction with the Cornwall Dirt Week event.
The weather was still good on Thursday , so it was all systems go.
I arrived at 4-00pm and already there was a good turn out of cars in all the divisions. 358 Modifieds, Sportsman, Rookie Sportsman , Pro Stocks an Mini Stocks.
Until things got started I hung out in the tech garage with Kevin Fetterly , my good friend Chanty and her father Ted.
As usual I stationed my self on turn four.
The first feature races, were held before intermission. The first of which was for the Mini Stocks.
This was won by Mike Greenfield
Also being held before the break we had the Rookie Sportsman feature.
Dustin Woods took this one.
The Modified feature followed the intermission.
Early leader was Carey Terrance but he had to pull off while leading.
Brian McDonald then took the lead until Ryan Arbuthnot got past him.
That’s how it stayed until the checkers , with Johnathan Ferguson taking the third spot.
Next up was the Sportsman Feature.
Shane Pecore had a virtually unchallenged drive to Victory Lane, apart from in the closing laps when Moise Page starting homing in on him.
Dale Gonyo completed the podium.
Sid Harmer dominated this one , and took a victory with no serious challenges.
Bruno Richard was back out in a Pro Stock (following his switch to sprint cars) , driving his cousins 44X and he chased Harmer into second place. Justin Chaput was third.
The racing finished just before midnight and by 12-30 I was back in my house.
With the Cornwall weekend rained out and the Oswego weather looking grim, I’d thought about going to the Afton Speedway on Saturday for the Short Track Super Series , but alas, during the course of the night , I learned that got canceled too.
There is another option for me, the Peterborough Speedway are running their annual Autumn Colours Classic.
Lets see what happens.