Category Archives: Dirt Racing

SHEPPARD BREAKS THROUGH AT OCFS FOR STSS HARD CLAY OPEN VICTORY

Written by Chris Moore

MIDDLETOWN, NY – Matt Sheppard has a long resume of victories in his dirt Modified career.

Orange County Fair Speedway, however, had eluded him.

Until Sunday, that is. ‘Super Matt’ collected his first-ever victory at the Legendary House of Power in the Escape RV Inc. ‘Hard Clay Open’ to launch Race No. 1 of the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco Halmar International North Region.

Sheppard collected $11,919 from the posted $47,219 payout plus $100 from Rob Sherlock Roofing for winning his heat race, $150 as a Precision Hydraulic & Oil Halfway Cash Dash winner and $200 from Superior Remodeling as the Halfway Leader for a total of $12,369 for 50 laps!

The win for Sheppard came from 12th starting position aboard the Hurlock Auto & Speed No. 9s.

“There were no excuses tonight,” a smiling Sheppard said after climbing to the roof of his Bicknell race car. “We started 12th and had to drive our way to the front.”

A field of 60 STSS Modifieds rolled through the gates in hopes of kicking off the 100th anniversary of OCFS in Victory Lane. The car count was the highest in the six-year history of the ‘Hard Clay Open’ springtime event. A large crowd took in the action from both sides of the five-eighths-mile oval.

Invader Danny Varin and defending OCFS champion Anthony Perrego led the field to the drop of the green flag for the 50-lap affair. Varin grabbed the initial lead in the Magsarus No. 93, with Perrego wasting little time in his drive to the front. He rolled the outside lane to the lead on lap three.

Following a yellow on lap seven, two cars stood out from the rest. Matt Sheppard had made his way from his 12th starting spot to sixth in the first seven laps. Not too far behind was Stewart Friesen who was up to 11th from his 20th starting position.

When the race resumed, Sheppard and Friesen continued their assault on the field. After Varin took the lead back from Perrego on the restart, a three-car battle ensued after Sheppard climbed into the third spot. After three laps of intense, door-to-door racing, Sheppard emerged from the fray with the lead on lap 16 and went to work on lapped traffic.

Friesen’s Halmar International No. 44 had clawed his way into the top-five and caught the battle up front. He along with, Perrego, Varin, Brett Hearn, and Mat Williamson fought for the runner-up spot until a yellow came out on lap 31.

Sheppard motored away on the restart, leaving the chasers battling each other. Williamson began to show signs of an ill-handling racecar, sliding back to fifth before cutting the right-rear tire on the Jeff Behrent-owned No. 3 prior to the final yellow on lap 48.

Friesen’s climb from the 10th row ended with a runner-up finish as Savannah, N.Y.’s Sheppard broke his long winless drought at Orange County.

Friesen, of Sprakers, N.Y., earned $5,000 as the race’s runner-up plus $400 from Rock Fantasy Concert Shop in Middletown, N.Y., as the race’s Hard Charger for his 18-position ascent.

Middletown, N.Y.’s Perrego placed third in the Superior Remodeling No. 44 ($4,000), followed by Sussex, N.J.’s Brett Hearn, who survived a 360-degree spin in turn one to place fourth ($2,600 including heat win money) and Boyertown, Pa.’s Mike Gular, who drove forward from 16th to finish fifth in the Terry Fasnacht-owned No. 2A ($1,800).

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Mike Mahaney of King Ferry, N.Y., in the Olum’s No. 33 ($1,600); Brian Krummel of Middletown, N.Y., who started 13th aboard the Zubi’s Racing No 17z ($1,400); Danny Johnson of Rochester, N.Y., driving the Petruska family No. 66 ($1,300) up from 21st on the grid; three-time STSS North Region champion Andy Bachetti of Sheffield, Mass. ($1,300); and 15th-starter Billy Decker of Sidney, N.Y., the defending North Region champion, driving Jeremy Smith’s No. 91 ($1,150).

Rob Sherlock Roofing $100 heat winners were Varin, Mahaney, Bachetti, Hearn, Craig Hanson and Sheppard. Billy Pauch Jr., Friesen and Johnson topped the consolations. Jerry Higbie took the 3-lap Last Chance Qualifier.

A split 6-lap Precision Hydraulic & Oil Cash Dash rewarded winners of two 3-lap segments. Varin and Sheppard each collected $150.

Grant Hilfiger rim-rode to victory in the accompanying 20-lap Crate 602 Sportsman feature. Hilfiger, of Canadensis, Pa., powered past longtime OCFS competitor Jimmy Johnson in the final laps to take home a $1,000 top prize.

“I’ve always been intimidated by this place,” Hilfiger said. “But I took a different approach tonight.”

Hilfiger completed his pass of Johnson with three laps to go. Johnson settled for second, followed by Leiby, Pat Reiser and Sammy Martz Jr.

The Crate 602 Sportsman event was a non-points program run under OCFS weekly rules.

HARD CLAY HAPPENINGS: Despite a huge turnout of 106 total race cars, series and track officials completed pre-race and safety inspections quickly and the event rolled off on time….

The outstanding night for Danny Varin ended two laps from the finish when he was clipped and spun in turn four. The Fonda, N.Y., driver went off on the business end of the wrecker….

Andy Bachetti caught the inside wall in the Precision Hydraulic & Oil Cash Dash, requiring his race team to scramble to make repairs in time for the main event….

Stewart Friesen was a consolation qualifier after spinning while challenging for the lead in his heat race….

Pennsylvania driver Mike Gular continued his affinity for Orange County, driving from 16th to finish fifth in the 50-lap feature….

The WELD Racing Wheels Hard Luck Award went to J.R. Hurlburt who was eliminated in a heat-race tangle before reaching the starter’s stand….

Next up for the STSS: Delaware International Speedway in Delmar, Del., presents the ‘Diamond State 50’ for the Velocita-USA South Region paying $5,000 to win for 50-laps plus STSS Crate 602 Sportsman, Delaware Super Trucks and Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Cars.

To learn more about the 2019 Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail bdmotorsportsmedia@gmail.com, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.

The Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuel, Insinger Performance, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Halmar International, Velocita-USA, Design for Vision/Sunglass Central, Rob Sherlock Roofing, ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, EIBACH Springs, Fast Axle, Fox Racing Shocks, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, HyperCo, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Land Hoe Maintenance, K&N, MJK Home Maintenance, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, QA1, Racing Optics, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO, Velocita, WELD Racing & Wilwood.

ESCAPE RV ‘HARD CLAY OPEN’ RACE SUMMARY – ORANGE COUNTY FAIR SPEEDWAY APRIL 7, 2019

Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Halmar International North Region Event No. 1 Modified Feature Finish (50 laps):  MATT SHEPPARD, Stewart Friesen, Anthony Perrego, Brett Hearn, Mike Gular, Mike Mahaney, Brian Krummel, Danny Johnson, Andy Bachetti, Billy Decker, Jimmy Horton, Danny Creeden, Chris Whitehead, Mat Williamson, Allison Ricci, Ryan Watt, Tommy Meier, Brian Gleason, Craig Hanson, Brett Tonkin, Danny Varin, Tyler Dippel, Brandon Grosso, Jeremy Smith, Willy Decker, Rick Laubach, Tyler Boniface, Jerry Higbie, Billy Pauch Jr., Matt Janiak.

Did Not Qualify: Dominic Roselli, Michael Storms, Ryan Krachun, Billy Van Pelt, Bob McGannon, Sam Martz, Roger Henion Jr., C.G. Morey, Donnie Wilson, Mike Kolka Jr., Kenny Tremont Jr., Joey Bruning, Danny Tyler, Billy Van Inwegen, Joe Falanga, Rich Eurich, Tyler Treacy, Gary Edwards, Kurt Hundeland, Joe Judge, Stan Frankenfield, Leo Fotopoulos Jr., Danny Cronk, Tim Hindley, John Ferrier, Craig Mitchell, J.R. Hurlburt, Corey Lowitt, Jeff Heotzler, Rich Eggers.

American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire): Brian Krummel (seventh) & Chris Whitehead (13th)
ATL Fuel Cell Bonus ($200 Certificate): Mike Gular (fifth)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Brett Hearn (fourth) & Andy Bachetti (ninth)
EIBACH Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Mike Mahaney (sixth)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Jimmy Horton (11th)
MJK Home Maintenance Heat-Race Hard Charger ($150): Mat Williamson (ninth to second)
Racing Optics Bonus (Tear-Off Sleeve): 
Anthony Perrego (third)
Rob Sherlock Roofing Heat Winners ($100 each): Danny Varin, Mike Mahaney, Andy Bachetti, Brett Hearn, Craig Hanson & Matt Sheppard
Rock Fantasy Hard Charger Award ($400 cash): Stewart Friesen (20th to second)
Sunoco Race Fuels Bonuses ($50 Certificates): 
Stewart Friesen(second), Danny Creeden (12th) & Tyler Dippel (22nd)
Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader ($200): Matt Sheppard
WELD Wheels Hard Luck Award (FREE 5XL Wheel): J.R. Hurlburt
Wilwood ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($50 Certificate): 
Brian Krummel (seventh)

Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (20 laps): GRANT HILFIGER,Jimmy Johnson, Jesse Leiby, Pat Reiser, Sammy Martz, Matt Schultz, Jimmy Leiby, Daniel Morgiewicz, Kenny Ferrier, Will Shields, Tyler Thompson, Brian Neiger, Nick Plumstead, Jordan Lawrence, Ryan Macartney, Greg Sleight, Austin Smith, Danny Carlough, Joe Toth, Jake Mason, Bobby Flood, Jeffery Lapalme, Jared Labagh, Scott Zehnacker.

Did Not Qualify: Rich Ricci III, John Aumick, John Brown, Charles Loiodice, Brian Jones, Howie Finch, Kenny Ryder, Winter Mead, Mel Schrufer, Tighe Sherlock, Travis Billington, Eric Avenengo, Kyle Redner, Mike Talmadge, Billy Eggers, Troy Arnold, Bob Jashembowski, Aaron Doolittle, Anthony Falanga, Pat Mann, Michael Sabia, Willis Mann.

OPEN WHEEL STANDOUT LOU CICCONI, JR. LOOKING TO GET BACK IN VICTORY LANE AT SYRACUSE, NY

SYRACUSE, NY March 4, 2019 . . . When the Indoor Auto Racing Series TQ Midget drivers take their first green flag over the March 8-9 weekend inside the new Exposition Center on the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, Lou Cicconi, Jr., will rank among the favorites.

Cicconi, of Aston, PA, brings into the Syracuse event sponsored by RPM Raceway a singular distinction among all 58 entrants. The 50 year old Cicconi won the 58th and last race held at N.Y.’s Niagara Falls Convention Center, on March 9, 2002 before the building was transformed into a casino.

Shortly thereafter Len Sammons brought back indoor racing to Atlantic City, N.J. after a 24 year absence. This led to the formation of the Indoor Auto Racing Series which has promoted events headlined by the TQ Midgets the past 17 years. The Syracuse venue this weekend becomes the eighth different location hosting an event. Last year an event at Albany Times Union Center made New York the fifth different state to host a Len Sammons promoted event.

This Friday and Saturday night the cars and stars of the Indoor Auto Racing Series fueled by VP will be taking part in the fourth and final fifth round of the 2019 season. On the line will be time trials, qualifying events and a 40 lap feature event both nights with the overall season champion crowned following Saturday’s event.

Cicconi, a four-time winner at both Niagara Falls and Atlantic City over the years, is making a comeback this winter after conquering some personal health issues.

“It got to the point where I was short of breath and couldn’t breathe,” Cicconi related. “The doctor told me I was overweight and out of shape.”

As a result, Cicconi kept a low profile for the past three seasons, running a very limited schedule while fielding cars for other drivers. But for this year’s Indoor Auto Racing Series schedule Cicconi returned in a big way. He not only returned to the cock-pit full-time but also fielded other neon yellow and red No. 75 TQs for the Allentown and Atlantic City races.

“I know I will never get back to where I was,” said Cicconi, a two-time winner of Atlantic City’s Gambler’s Classics (2006, 2010). “But I want to be able to give it my best effort. You lose something by not racing regularly but I am getting my confidence back.”

Cicconi is well known in Central New York racing circles for his Supermodified and ISMA achievements. He won one Oswego Speedway Supermodified feature, in 2013, and has 20 ISMA wins as well as a championship (2013) and two runner-up title chase placings (2001, 2012).

Cicconi will field a second car for Syracuse, being driven by young Damon Paul of Stony Point. NY. 

“Damon’s a nice young kid. I like him and his father (Tim) too.  I want to give him a shot. But two cars is all I want to go to Syracuse with. I need to focus on my own deal.”

Though Cicconi is not in the hunt for it, the biggest prize in Syracuse will be the crowning of the 2019 Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Race Fuels.  North Carolina resident Ryan Flores leads the standings, with 290 after the first three races. But Flores, who works full time for Roger Penske’s Ryan Blaney NASCAR Monster Energy Cup team, will not be in the Syracuse field because of his work commitment.

Erick Rudolph, Ransomville, NY, 260, and Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, LI, NY, 239, Andy Jankowiak, Tonawanda, NY, 220, and Eddie Strada, Lake Ariel, PA, 213, who are second through fifth thus become the pre-race title favorites.

A maximum of 210 points are available, 100 for a feature win and five points for quick time each night, meaning that 210 markers can be picked up by any TQ competitor over the Syracuse race weekend. Non-qualifiers earn 10 points for each night, a minimum of 20 points for the weekend. Thus the most points any driver can gain is 190.

The points chase with the TQs is so close that any one of the top 26 drivers in the standings could, in theory, win the championship.

Round 3 and Round 4 for the companion Slingshots and Champ Karts is also on the Syracuse card. Each of the two nights of racing will consist of complete programs as well for these two divisions.

Dr. Williams Lowe, a long-time supporter of TQ Midget racing, has posted $200 to the fast qualifier both nights. N.Y.’s Oswego Speedway, the home of SuperModified racing, has signed on to sponsor the TQ Midget heat races. The winner of each of the six Oswego Speedway heat races on both Friday and Saturday night will receive not only a spot in the A-Main but a $50 bonus.

Doors open at 6 PM on Friday night with racing beginning at 7:30. Doors open at 5:30 PM on Saturday with racing at 7 PM. Fans will be able to visit the pit area to see the cars and meet the drivers each night until 30 minutes before the racing begins.

The building has a different seating configuration than other venues the series stops at in that grandstand patrons enter at track level, then walk up to seating areas.

A link to purchase tickets in advance is available at www.indoorautoracing.com, at this location, spectators may select choice seats from three sections located on both the front and the backstretch. Tickets can also be purchased by calling E-Tix directly at 1-800-514-3849. Tickets will also be available each day of the event starting at 2 PM at the Expo Box Office, but prices increase by $5 each on the days of the event. Pit passes, which do not guarantee a seat, are on sale on the backside of the building on Friday from 9 am to 2 PM and Saturday 11:30 to 2 PM. After 2 PM, pit passes will be available at the box office at the front of the building. Parking is free.

Race fans can enjoy a double header weekend at the Fairgrounds with the 33rd annual Syracuse Motorsports Expo and Trade Show being held at the Center of Progress Building. This show opens on Saturday at 10 am giving everyone plenty of time to enjoy that show then walk over to the nearby Exposition Center for the races that night. The Trade show reopens on Sunday from 11 to 4 pm.

Thompson, Payne and Cicconi Amongst Entries for Inaugural Syracuse Indoor Race

OSWEGO, NY (March 1, 2019) – Supermodified racing will be represented rather well at next weekend’s inaugural Syracuse Indoor Race set to take place March 8 and 9 inside the New York State Fairgrounds Exposition Center.

Last season’s Novelis Supermodified rookie of the year, Tyler Thompson, along with Oswego winged and non-wing Supermodified feature winner Joey Payne are both registered to take part in TQ Midget action.

Joining Thompson and Payne, who are each registered for the 2019 season at the speedway, is another former Oswego Supermodified feature winner in Liquid Lou Cicconi.

Thompson, Payne and Cicconi have competed in each of the Indoor Auto Racing Championship events this year, including at last month’s Gambler’s Classic in Atlantic City, N.J. The trio sits 19th, 20th, and 24th in overall series standings, respectively.

Payne and Cicconi have a combined six Indoor Auto Racing wins while Thompson, an indoor rookie just one year ago, has already impressed. The teenage driver lead several laps in the Allentown edition of the Indoor Auto Racing Championship this past January.

Thompson plans to return to the Oswego Speedway weekly in 2019, while Payne will be back in action with the Penix Racing No. 14 after missing the entire 2018 season. His son Anthony, who is also a former Indoor Auto Racing winner, will join him in competition next weekend.

If you plan on attending either night of the Indoor Auto Racing Championship season finale, you are encouraged to purchase tickets online at IndoorAutoRacing.com. Preliminary action gets the green flag at 7:30pm on Friday evening and again at 7pm on Saturday.

The Syracuse Indoor Race will be held in conjunction with the 33rd annual Syracuse Motorsports Expo on Saturday, March 9. The Expo will run through Sunday afternoon in the Center of Progress Building. Oswego Speedway will have a booth at the Expo both days, and Barry Kingsley’s 350 Supermodified will be displayed.

Oswego Speedway’s 69th season of racing gets underway on Saturday, May 25 with Jim Shampine Memorial Twin 50’s for the Novelis Supermodifieds plus full programs for the Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supers and the 350 Supers.

An Open Practice session for all 2019 divisions will commence one week earlier on Saturday, May 18.

Those wishing to renew Classic Weekend or season ticket packages for the year have until Saturday, May 1 to contact Paul Conzone at oswegospeedway@gmail.com.

For more information on Oswego Speedway, be sure to visit online at OswegoSpeedway.com. You can also FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway or LIKE on Facebook at Facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway.