Tag Archives: Super Dirt Series

Steel Palace Super DIRT Week: Oswego Speedway Set to Host NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLV

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(Shawn Cathcart Photo)

OSWEGO, NY (July 14, 2016) – For the first time since 1952, Oswego Speedway’s racing surface will be covered in dirt, as the ‘Steel Palace’ will officially play host to NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLV running from October 5-9, including the featured NAPA 300.

The official announcement from the World Racing Group comes on the heels of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press conference held earlier this afternoon at Oswego’s Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, in which Governor Cuomo not only announced the city of Oswego as the winner of a $10 million Downtown Revitalization initiative, but also confirmed a plan to move Super DIRT Week from Central New York Raceway Park to Oswego Speedway.

“With support from Governor Cuomo, the State of New York, and incredible fans and sponsors, we are excited to write a new chapter in the history of Racing’s Biggest Party,” said DIRTcar Racing CEO Brian Carter. “We’ve developed a great relationship with John Torrese and his team over the past several months, and Super DIRT Week is going to be a lot of fun at Oswego this year.”

The 5/8 mile Oswego Speedway paved oval will play host to two other major open-wheel events ahead of NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week, with the 60th running of Budweiser International Classic Weekend taking place September 2-4 and the historic Race of Champions September 15-17.

Speedway co-owner John Torrese is excited at the opportunity to host three of the biggest racing weekends in motorsports in a month period.
“The coming weeks at Oswego Speedway are certainly unprecedented,” said Torrese.  “This is a testament to the history and lineage of Oswego Speedway to be fortunate enough to host Classic Weekend, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the Race of Champions, and Super DIRT Week in such close proximity.  We thank World Racing Group’s Brian Carter as well as the State of New York for the opportunity to help keep such an important event, not only in New York State, but right here in central New York.”

Opening in 1951, Oswego Speedway’s beginnings were as a 3/8 mile dirt racing facility.

The Speedway operated as a dirt oval from August 10, 1951 through June 15, 1952 before Speedway owner Harry Caruso opted to pave the facility for the remainder of the 1952 season which continued on July 11 of that year.

Eventual International Classic champion Billy Blum won on the dirt at Oswego more than any other driver with three victories, two of which came in the final four events on the surface including the last dirt event to be held at Oswego on June 15, 1952.

Charlie Barry, the winner of the first event ever to be held at Oswego in August of ’51, Chuck Kotwica, Bob Cameron, Nelly Ward, Al Weber, Bob Kegebin, John Torrese Sr., and Dick Jerrett Sr. would all win on the dirt at Oswego in A-Modified action.
After moving to pavement, the Speedway would stay at its 3/8 mile configuration until being enlarged to the current 5/8 mile configuration in 1961.

The format and schedule for NAPA Super DIRT Week at Oswego Speedway will remain the same as previous years with on-track action every day from October 5 through 9 at Oswego, including a return of Friday Night Lights. Other municipalities will get in on the action with traditional nighttime events slated for Weedsport Speedway on Wednesday, October 5; Brewerton Speedway in Central Square, NY on Thursday, October 6; and the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series will be racing at Fulton Speedway in Fulton, NY on Saturday, October 8.
All fans that placed deposits will be contacted to select their seats and camping spots in the order of their deposit through July 25. Tickets and camping spots will then be made available to all on August 8. More information will be available to fans at SuperDIRTWeekOnline.com after Friday, July 15, or by calling 844-DIRT-TIX (347-8849).
For more information on Oswego Speedway visit online at www.oswegospeedway.com or LIKE on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway.  Those interested in Speedway video programming online can subscribe to the Speedway’s YouTube Channel, ‘OswegoSpeedwayOnline’.

To purchase tickets for the 2016 racing season call the Speedway box office at (315) 342-0646.

Dirt Winners at Oswego Speedway:

August 10, 1951: Charlie Barry
August 17, 1951: Bob Cameron

August 24, 1951: Billy Blum

September 15, 1951: Nelly Ward

September 21, 1951: Chuck Kotwica
September 28, 1951: Al Weber
September 28, 1951: John Torrese Sr.
October 20, 1951: Bob Kegebin

May 18, 1952: Dick Jerrett Sr.
June 1, 1952: Billy Blum
June 8, 1952: Chuck Kotwica
June 15, 1952: Billy Blum

Laubach Battles Back at DIRTcar Nationals to Score Super DIRTcar Series Victory

Matt Sheppard battles late, comes .117 seconds short of second straight win

By Mike Mallett

BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 19, 2016 – BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb 19, 2016 – Rick Laubach watched the feature win slip away late in Thursday night’s 30-lap Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified feature event at the Volusia Speedway Park. He gave up the lead in slower traffic and eventually finished in third behind Matt Sheppard and Larry Wight.

On Friday night of the DIRTcar Nationals, Laubach had a serious case of Deja Vu. He was leading late in the race with Sheppard closing fast as he battled heavy traffic. Unlike the night before, Laubach wasn’t tentative in traffic and he made the moves he had to in order to grab a Friday night win for the second year in a row. It’s his third career win in Florida and it came by mere feet over a hard charging Sheppard.

“I’m just happy to be here,” Laubauch said. “We almost got the win last night and tonight we got the win. My little boy (Matthew) loves these trophies. Now we get to take another one of these Gators back to Grammies house. I’m proud of my team. My owners Gary and Lori (Herrmann). We got everyone clicking here.”

Laubach redrew the outside of the front row while Tyler Dippel earned scored the pole. Laubach immediately went to the top at the green flag in turns one and two to procure the lead. The run was short lived as on lap two Vic Coffey became the first caution as he came to a stop in turn two.

WATCH HIGHLIGHTS OF RICK LAUBACH’S DIRTCAR NATIONALS WIN ON FRIDAY NIGHT

Laubach wasted no time pulling away from the field when the racing action resumed as he put his Teo Pro Car right down to the bottom of the speedway. This allowed him to run away from Dippel and the rest of the competition. He opened up over a second gap.

The lead went away on lap nine when Brett Hearn slowed with a right rear flat. By this point Laubach remained the leader while Dippel flanked him for the restart. Sheppard now made his presence known as he had moved around Stewart Friesen and Alan Johnson to take over the third position.

Yet another caution flag came out on lap 13 as Jessey Mueller spun in turn two collecting Tim Fuller. Fuller, the night one winner, took his car to the pits after the incident. Laubach saw Dippel to his outside again and like the previous restarts he was able to hold him off. As Dippel attempted to make a move on Laubach he looked to his inside and watched Sheppard drive by him for second.

One final caution came on lap 16 for Eldon Payne. Payne got into Coffey as he checked up and it broke the front end on his mount. He came to a stop in turn one and was towed to the pit area ending his evening.

Laubach turned up the wick on the restart as he now knew that Sheppard was there to challenge. He quickly spread the gap back to Sheppard in open race track. At one point Laubach grew his lead to nearly two seconds.

That lead evaporated quickly as Labauch took the five to go sign. The Hellertown, Pa., found himself fighting through heavy lapped traffic. At times the traffic was two and three wide in front of him. Laubach was much more aggressive Friday and it paid off. He even made one three wide move with two laps to go that kept Sheppard at bay.

“That’s what I didn’t do last night,” said Laubach about the three-wide move. “I took it easier and tried keeping my tires under me. That was probably what cost me that race. The opportunity was there again tonight and I was getting through there.”

In the final corner of the race, Laubach went low under a lapped car while Sheppard rolled through the middle lane. It allowed Sheppard to get up alongside of Laubach as they exited turn four. Sheppard wasn’t able to finish the pass as they came to the line giving Laubach the victory.

“I just followed that guy and I didn’t feel pressure like last night, but son of a gun they don’t give up,” stated Laubach about Sheppard and company. “That’s the thing about these guys. I had trouble last night in traffic but that wasn’t going to happen again.”

Sheppard, of Waterloo, N.Y., was so close at the checkered flag, but he couldn’t get his Bicknell car up alongside him far enough at the line. He played it somewhat safe as he didn’t want to risk wrecking both cars at the end of the race.

“Rick (Laubach) had the best car tonight by far,” Sheppard said. “He got caught up behind that lapped car. I could see what was going on so I darted to top there and got a killer run off of four. He peeled out around the lapped car a little bit and I had to check up so I didn’t wreck both of us. If he didn’t peel out it would have been interesting.”

Sheppard admitted that he probably wouldn’t have been able to catch Laubach had it not been for the traffic slowing his pace. In clear track, Labuach had a dominant car.

“The only time I could see the back of him was when he got into lapped traffic,” joked Sheppard. “It got a little dicey there, but that goes to show you it’s never over until it’s over.”

Johnson was a surprise third place finisher. The Middlesex, N.Y., pilot had his best run of the week and was all smiles on the front straightaway at the conclusion of the night. Johnson had struggled in the first two nights of action before finally getting things rolling Friday.

“This feels great,” Johnson said. “The way we’ve been going I never expected this. We just kept working on it and we got it pretty good. I was really surprised. I’m kind of looking forward to tomorrow now. I thought it was going to be a long week but it’s starting to shorten up now.”

Erick Rudolph secured his second top five finish of the week as he brought his car home in fourth with Stewart Friesen rounding out the top five.

Billy Pauch turned the fastest lap of the week for the Modifieds in time trials with a lap of 17.433. Heats were won by Friesen, Laubach, Dippel and Pauch. Danny Johnson and Eldon Payne won their consolation races.

Racing returns Saturday night at Volusia Speedway Park for the 10th day of the DIRTcar Nationals. Gates open at 5 p.m. and racing begins at 7:30 p.m.

Follow the series on Twitter @SuperDIRTcar, or click www.SuperDIRTcarSeries.com.

DIRTcar Nationals Statistical Report; Feb. 19, 2016; Volusia Speedway Park; Barberville, Fla.

A-Main (30 Laps) – 1. 7-Rick Laubach, 2. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 3. 14J-Alan Johnson, 4. 25R-Erick Rudolph, 5. 44-Stewart Freisen, 6. 1-Billy Pauch, 7. 1T-Tyler Dippel, 8. 27J-Danny Johnson, 9. 54-Steve Bernard, 10. 74-J.R Heffner, 11. 49-Billy Dunn, 12. 32c-Vic Coffey, 13. 99L-Larry Wight, 14. 21a-Pete Britten, 15. 30-Jamie Mills, 16. 1G-Darwin Green, 17. 19m-Jessey Mueller, 18. OBs-Jeremy Markle, 19. 323-Neal Williams, 20. 20-Brett Hearn, 21. 6m-Mat Williamson, 22. 5*-Tyler Siri, 23. 28p-Eldon Payne, 24. 19-Tim Fuller, 25. 7-Tim Kerr, 26. 83-Brian Swartzlander

Last Chance Showdown 1 (10-laps – Top 3 Finishers Transfer) – 1. 27J-Danny Johnson, 2. 1G-Darwin Green, 3. 32c-Vic Coffey, 4. 85-H.J. Bunting, 5. 21k-Randy Chrysler, 6. 64-Daniel Nadeau, 7. 48T-Dave Rauscher, 8. 29e-Erik Martin

Last Chance Showdown 2 (10-laps – Top 3 Finishers Transfer) – 1. 28p-Eldon Payne, 2. 19m-Jessey Mueller, 3. 83-Brian Swartzlander, 4. 14-C.G. Morey, 5. 5-Billy VanInwegen, 6. 8-Rich Scagliotta, 7. 29J-Chris Ostrowsky

Heat 1 (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 44-Stewart Freisen, 2. 54-Steve Bernard, 3. 20-Brett Hearn, 4. 323-Neal Williams, 5. OBs-Jeremy Markle, 6. 1G-Darwin Green, 7. 85-H.J. Bunting, 8. 21k-Randy Chrysler, 9. 29e-Erik Martin

Heat 2 (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 7-Rick Laubach, 2. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 3. 14J-Alan Johnson, 4. 21a-Pete Britten, 5. 7-Tim Kerr, 6. 27J-Danny Johnson , 7. 32c-Vic Coffey, 8. 48T-Dave Rauscher, 9. 64-Daniel Nadeau

Heat 3 (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 1T-Tyler Dippel, 2. 25R-Erick Rudolph, 3. 49-Billy Dunn, 4. 19-Tim Fuller, 5. 99L-Larry Wight, 6. 14-C.G. Morey, 7. 28p-Eldon Payne, 8. 8-Rich Scagliotta, 9. 5-Billy VanInwegen

Heat 4 (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 1-Billy Pauch, 2. 74-J.R Heffner, 3. 30-Jamie Mills, 4. 6m-Mat Williamson, 5. 5*-Tyler Siri, 6. 83-Brian Swartzlander, 7. 29J-Chris Ostrowsky, 8. 19m-Jessey Mueller

Qualifying Group 1 – 1. 44-Stewart Freisen, 17.495; 2. 323-Neal Williams, 17.871; 3. OBs-Jeremy Markle, 17.976; 4. 20-Brett Hearn, 18.138; 5. 54-Steve Bernard, 18.266; 6. 85-H.J. Bunting, 18.298; 7. 1G-Darwin Green, 18.352; 8. 21k-Randy Chrysler, 18.505; 9. 29e-Erik Martin, 19.939

Qualifying Group 2 – 1. 7-Rick Laubach, 17.435; 2. 21a-Pete Britten, 17.535; 3. 14J-Alan Johnson, 17.809; 4. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 17.916; 5. 27J-Danny Johnson, 18.131; 6. 7-Tim Kerr, 18.2; 7. 32c-Vic Coffey, 18.302; 8. 48T-Dave Rauscher, 18.545; 9. 64-Daniel Nadeau, 18.813

Qualifying Group 3 – 1. 1T-Tyler Dippel, 17.793; 2. 49-Billy Dunn, 17.851; 3. 19-Tim Fuller, 17.926; 4. 99L-Larry Wight, 17.962; 5. 25R-Erick Rudolph, 17.989; 6. 28p-Eldon Payne, 18.129; 7. 14-C.G. Morey, 18.254; 8. 8-Rich Scagliotta, 18.725; 9. 5-Billy VanInwegen, 18.798

Qualifying Group 4 – 1. 1-Billy Pauch, 17.433; 2. 74-J.R Heffner, 17.776; 3. 5*-Tyler Siri, 17.909; 4. 6m-Mat Williamson, 18.028; 5. 83-Brian Swartzlander, 18.367; 6. 30-Jamie Mills, 18.421; 7. 29J-Chris Ostrowsky, 18.533; 8. 19m-Jessey Mueller, 18.714

DIRTcar Nationals Big-Block Modified Week Points Standings; Feb. 19, 2016; Volusia Speedway Park; Barberville, Fla.

POINTS

CAR#

DRIVER / HOMETOWN

1

176

9s

Matt Sheppard/Waterloo,NY

2

156

7

Rick Laubach/Quakertwon, PA

3

155

1

Billy Pauch/Frenchtown,NJ

4

154

44

Stewart Friesen/Niagara-on-the-Lake,ONT

5

150

25R

Erick Rudolph/Ransomville, NY

6

150

49

Billy Dunn/Watertown, NY

7

147

99L

Larry Wight/Phoenix, NY

8

135

19

Tim Fuller/Edwards, NY

9

116

32c

Vic Coffey/Leister, NY

10

115

14J

Alan Johnson/Middlesex,NY

11

114

1T

Tyler Dippel/Wallkill, NY

12

113

20

Brett Hearn/Sussex,NJ

13

109

74

J.R. Heffner/Kinderhook, NY

14

106

54

Steve Bernard/Granby, QUE

15

105

27J

Danny Johnson/Rochester, NY

16

104

21a

Peter Britten/Brisbane, AUS

17

88

07

Tim Kerr/Picton,ONT

18

75

5*

Tyler Siri/Corning, NY

19

73

1g

Darwin Greene/Susquehanna,PA

20

73

83

Brian Swartzlander/Lernerville, PA

21

72

323

Neil Williams/Pittsgrove, NJ

22

72

6m

Mat Williamson/St. Catherines, ONT

23

62

30

Jamie Mills/Milford,DE

24

60

28p

Eldon Payne/Canandaigua, NY

25

55

85

H.J. Bunting III/Milford,DE

26

52

5

Billy VanInwegen/Sparowbush, NY

27

46

19m

Jessy Mueller/Olmstedville, NY

28

46

OBs

Jeremy Markle/Port Jervis,NY

29

43

48too

Dave Rauscher/Waterloo,NY

30

30

8

Rich Scagliotta/Bound Brook,NJ

31

30

14

C.G. Morey/Rutland, VT

32

30

21K

Randy Chrysler/Lewiston,NY

33

30

29e

Erik Martin/Zelienople, PA

34

30

29J

Chris Ostrowsky/Conklin, NY

35

30

64

Daniel Nadeau/Montreal, QUE

36

10

X

Ed Kitchell/South Kingstown, RI

2016 Super DIRTcar Series Expands Its Boundaries

The series rolls into DIRTcar Nationals on Wednesday

By Jo Ann Davies

BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 11, 2016 – The Super DIRTcar Series schedule has taken on a new look for the 2016 season and it’s one that has its touring drivers and DIRTcar Northeast’s Mike Perrotte excited about the challenges awaiting them. “This year’s schedule has generated a ton of interest,” stated Perrotte, “and we are ready to deliver a superior dirt racing experience for all of our fans.”

With the top Big-Block Modified point drivers from last season committing themselves to this year’s program, as well as a couple of new followers, the title could belong to anyone at season’s end. For most of the past decade the Mr. DIRTcar title has been a contest among the same three drivers-four-time SDS champion Matt Sheppard, three-time SDS champion Billy Decker, and eight-time SDS champion Brett Hearn.

Before the season even began, the 2015 Series champion, Matt Sheppard, and the second place finisher in points, Billy Decker, were each dealt the blow of being informed by their team owners they needed to look elsewhere for 2016. Speculation was rampant as to what each driver would do for the upcoming season.

“The title is definitely up for grabs this year. We have veteran drivers who are ready and determined to become the title holder, as well as several new full-time drivers to the Series,” stated Perrotte, “…I think it’s going to be an exciting and challenging year for us.”

Stating their readiness to challenge for the DIRTcar crown is an impressive collection of the top dirt racers in the country including returning 2015 DIRTcar NE Top 10 point finishers Jimmy Phelps, Larry Wight, Danny Johnson, Pat Ward, Tim Fuller, and Peter Britten. Tossing their hats into the ring for a full-time run at the title will be 2015 Super DIRT Week winner Stewart Friesen, 2008 Super DIRT Week winner Frank Cozze, defending Lernerville Speedway (PA) champion Mat Williamson, and 2015 Thunder Mountain Speedway champion Mike Mahaney.

The DIRTcar NE schedule, which includes the Big Block Modifieds, 358-Modifieds, Sportsman, and Pro Stock Series, currently shows a total of 67 point races in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Canada.

New to the Super DIRTcar Series schedule are Williams Grove Speedway (PA), Eldora Speedway (OH), Sharon Speedway (PA) and Central NY Raceway Park (NY), each of which will host a Big-Block Modified event with CNYRP hosting the four-day, 45th Annual Super DIRT Week. Also on the Big Block schedule, as non-point events, is the annual DIRTcar Nationals event held at Volusia Speedway (FL) each February.

Generating the most discussion among the teams and fans is the return of the Big Block Modifieds to the famed Eldora Speedway, in Rossburg, Ohio. Track General Manager Roger Slack, known for his extravaganza approach to event planning, assures fans the trip to Eldora for July 19 and 20 will be one to include on their bucket list for 2016. “We will be honoring the tradition of the Super DIRT Series races,” stated Slack. “Eldora has gone through a lot of changes since the Modifieds were here last (2006) and this is a chance for the SDS to be part of one of the biggest nights of dirt racing.”

The Eldora race dates will pair the Big Blocks with the annual visit to the track by the NASCAR Truck Series and it is expected the Series regulars will be joined by many other Northeast teams who are planning to attend. “(The Modifieds) are my favorite division in racing and hold a special place in my heart,” said Slack, “and the two divisions will complement each other.”

Veteran Matt Sheppard, 2015 SDS Champion, is ready for the Super DIRTcar Series to begin. For 2016 Sheppard will be operating as an independent team with Randy Kisacky and Jamie Beachy, long-time HBR team members, joining his team and making for a potent combination. “The same cast of characters is with me this year and we are ready to go.” When asked about the trip to Eldora he stated, “Any time you can go to a high profile track (like Eldora, Sharon and Williams Grove) it is a plus for us.”

That sentiment was echoed by Brett Hearn who said the event will be the highlight of the summer schedule. “It’s the ultimate dirt track in the country,” stated Hearn, “…and it’s been a long time since we have been there. I’m looking forward to it.”

Also on board with the planned Eldora show is 2015 Super DIRT Week winner Stewart Friesen. Planning to compete full-time for the Series title, Friesen sees Eldora as an opportunity to showcase his talents before a broad audience of car owners, teams and fans. The driver of the Halmar International and Jeff Daley no. 44 says he is “looking to improve our chances” to win the title with his Billy the Kid powered Big Block.

Visiting 24 different tracks in five states and two Canadian provinces will prove challenging for the Big Blocks and requires commitment and planning. This year’s schedule will also include Sharon Speedway (OH) and Williams Grove Speedway (PA). While Big Block Modifieds have raced at Sharon in the past, this will be the first time a SDS race has been schedule at the track. Teams will be making this stop, scheduled for Thursday, July 21, as part of their return trip from Eldora.

Williams Grove Speedway last hosted a SDS event in 2006 and their Wednesday, June 22nd date on this year’s schedule will be the second point race of the season, following the April 30th season opener at Fulton Speedway (NY). Albany-Saratoga Speedway (NY) will once again host Brett Hearn’s “Big Show 8” on Tuesday, June 28th.

August 1 and 2 will see the Big Blocks making their return to Merrittville Speedway for the “Bob St. Amand Sr. Memorial” and the “Alex Friesen Summer Nationals” respectively. The always popular “Mr. DIRT Track USA,” hosted annually by Lebanon Valley Speedway, has a change in its traditional date and will be run on Thursday, September 1 this year.

Canadian fans will see the Big Blocks return on June 26 to Cornwall, July 25 and 26 to Autodrome-Granby and Autodrome-Drummond respectively and again on September 10 when Drummond will have their second SDS event of the season and on October 15 at Brockville Speedway for their final event before the season-ending World Finals at the Dirt Track at Charlotte.

Also scheduled for hosting a Big-Block Series race will be Canandaigua Motorsports Park (NY) on June 30, Utica-Rome Speedway (NY) on July 3, Mohawk International Speedway (NY) on July 7, Five Mile Point (NY) on July 12 and Grandview Speedway (PA) on July 14. The Hall of Fame 100 at Weedsport Speedway will be August 9, followed by Rolling Wheels Raceway Park on August 17, Central NY Raceway Park on September 5, LeRPM on September 9, Brewerton Speedway on September 16, Weedsport for a second event on September 17 and then at Fonda Speedway on September 24.

For the 358-Modified Series there are nine races scheduled beginning on May 23 at Merrittville Speedway and ending on October 14th at Brockville. The 17 race schedule for the DIRTcar Sportsman Series competitors kick off the season on Friday, April 29 at Fulton Speedway’s “High Bank Hold-Up” and ending on October 15th at Brockville. For this division drivers are able to drop their four worst finishes from races run up through the Brighton Speedway “Applefest” show on Saturday, September 24th. The DIRTcar Pro Stock Series currently has nine events scheduled from June 10th at Autodrome-Granby to their finale at CNYRP during the NAPA Super DIRT Week program on Sunday, October 9.

The veterans such as Sheppard, Hearn and Decker are viewed as always prepared, ready for upcoming seasons and typically the odds on favorites to be in contention for the title when the Series finishes at the World Finals. However, this year there are several new contenders planning a full-time assault on the typical top three as well as veterans who have set their sights on the crown.

Returning to run the SDS full-time will be 358-Modified Super DIRT Week winner Jimmy Phelps in his potent 98h HBR sponsored 2016 Troyer powered by a Bob Bruneau built power plant. “The goal of HBR is to win the championship with the 98h,” stated Team Manager Betsy Angelone. Popular Australian driver Peter Britten says running the SDS is a priority as he is still looking for sponsorship in 2016. “You can run with the big dogs or stay on the porch,” stated Britten.

Returning to the Series full-time will also be LJL Race Team members Pat Ward and Larry Wight. Ward, a long-time racing veteran, has a new Bicknell in his stable as well as the car he ran at the end of 2015 powered by a Kevlar engine. Wight, who serves notice he wants to win every place he runs and is one of the strongest contenders for this season, will be running a 2016 Teo, Gypsum Express Ltd. Sponsored car, powered by Kevlar Racing Engines. Serving as Team Manager for LJL Racing, Inc. a new role for him, will be long-time winning crew chief Scott Jeffries. Jeffries was crew chief for champion Billy Decker for over 20 years.

Planning to challenge for the title is a returning favorite, “The Doctor” Danny Johnson. This year Johnson and team owner Chris Gennarelli like their chances to win several races and the title. “We have two new Bicknell’s and three Enders engines ready to go,” reported Gennarelli, and “we are more prepared for this season.” Returning once again will also be Rich Scagliotta in the Adamsville Maintenance no. 8 which will be a new Teo with engines from CC Racing Engines and Finger Lakes available as their power source.

The question of what would Billy Decker be doing this season after a split with car owners John and Laura Wight of LJL Racing was just recently answered. Decker, a perennial favorite to win, reports he has teamed up with Mike Payne to drive the Page Trucking No. 7z on this year’s Series. He will have a new 2016 Bicknell with a power plant prepared by Payne.

Hearn is anxious to begin the season and to regain the “Mr. Dirt” title that he has owned more often than any other driver. In addition to a late season points penalty, Hearn acknowledges “…we had too many blemishes compared to what Matt (Sheppard) was able to do and his consistency. Matt (running as an independent team) and Billy’s (new team owner) circumstances this year opens the doors for someone else to get through.” Hearn will be running a 2016 Teo Pro as well as his car from last year.

At this time, planning to run only a partial schedule this year due to work and family commitments will be Gary Tomkins, Mark Kislowski and Justin Haers. That could change for Tomkins if he can secure the needed sponsorship to run the SDS.

New to a full-time attack at the Series title will be five heavy hitters-Frank Cozze, Stewart Friesen, Mike Mahaney, Eldon Payne and Mat Williamson. Cozze will be running the no. 35 of George Huttig of Adirondack Auto Sales, Friesen in the no. 44 Teo of Halmar and Jeff Daley, Mahaney in a new 2016 Buzz Chew owned Troyer with Billy the Kid power, Payne will be running a new 2016 Bicknell powered by Billy the Kid, and Williamson in a new 2016 Bicknell powered by Finger Lakes. “Our new drivers can all challenge at any time,” said Perrotte, “and I expect them to win a few races as well.”

When asked to reflect on the 2015 season, Series Director Mike Perrotte felt a strength of the organization was its ability to do a good job of keeping everyone on a level playing field by being consistent in the enforcement of the DIRTcar rulebook. Perrotte stated “drivers need to have their stuff right or be prepared to change it and that begins at Volusia.”

“There is a ton of interest in what we as DIRTcar are doing and where we are going. I’m happy with our schedule and excited about the entire Series and feel the same about our weekly track programs.” He went on to state that the fall Promoter’s Workshop was highly productive due to the efforts of all those in attendance to work collaboratively to the benefit of the organization as a whole.

So, ready or not–and it would be hard to find a DIRTcar team or fan not ready-the 2016 DIRTcar NE racing season is upon us. From the opening days at the Volusia Speedway DIRTcar Nationals to the closing days of the World Finals at the Dirt Track at Charlotte, and every place in between, fans should be prepared for an exciting and highly competitive Super DIRTcar Series.