MIDDLETOWN, NY – When the Orange County Fair Speedway gates swing open on Friday morning, October 20, it will signal the start of the 56TH annual Eastern States Weekend and the headline Eastern States 200, the oldest consecutively-run championship race weekend for dirt track Modifieds. And this year’s event promises to be bigger than ever.
In front of the historic covered grandstand, upwards of 200 race teams and their drivers will compete in a full weekend of dirt track stock car action. With $35,000 going to the winner of the 2017 Eastern States 200, and $15,000 to the Saturday preliminary Small-Block Modified 100 victor, plus a $10,000 bonus for a sweep of the two races, one driver could leave the historic Middletown “Hard Clay” track on Sunday evening, October 22 some $60,000 richer. And this doesn’t include special awards like money for fast time and the pole position in the 200 and also for the outside pole slot, nor the lap money in both races to the leader of each completed circuit.
In the previous 55 Eastern States 200 races, there have been 32 different winners. Legendary Frankie Schneider won the inaugural race, then run at 100 laps, back in 1962. Schneider won twice more, becoming one of seven drivers to capture this prestigious race more than once. Stewart Friesen won the 2016 Eastern States 200, and he’s out to become the next multi-time winner of the fall classic.
Brett Hearn, Orange County’s all-time race winner and champion, holds the record for the most Eastern States 200 victories with 11, the latest in 2014. Other multiple winners include Danny Johnson (six victories), Will Cagle (four), Schneider (three), and two wins each by Gerald Chamberlain, Frank Cozze, and Jimmy Horton. Twenty-five outstanding dirt track Modified drivers have won a single Eastern States 200 race, including former Orange County point champions Jerry Higbie, Jeff Heotzler, Chuck McKee, and Rich Eurich. All four drivers are expected to be in this year’s race.
The 56th annual Eastern States Weekend presented by Halmar International, Arkel Motors, and WLR Construction Company is set for Friday through Sunday, October 20-22 at the Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, New York. Advance ticket information and weekend schedules are available by calling the track office at 845-342-2573 during business hours, or by visiting www.orangecountyfairspeedway.net.
BONUS EVENT: On Thursday, October 19, Brett Deyo’s Short Track Super Series returns to Orange County Fair Speedway with the “Hard Clay Finale,” a 50-lap romp around the historic five-eighths-mile clay oval for the combined Big-Block/Small-Block Modifieds.