By MIKE MALLETT
Steve Feder was the lone Western Pennsylvania driver to qualify for either main-event over the weekend at the World Finals. Feder, a semi-regular at Lernerville Speedway, made the Friday feature and finished 13th before coming up one spot short from making Saturday night’s 40-lapper. Overall it was nothing to hang his head about as it was his first time ever at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
“I’m pretty happy,” stated Feder Saturday afternoon. “Just make to the show we were ecstatic. This is my first time down here. We’ve never had any laps. Every time we went out the track it was a little bit different. The track changes so much down here, at least for us. I’m pretty excited with the good finish. It was all about getting out there and getting some good laps, staying out of trouble and working our way there.”
As mentioned, the 36-year-old was the lone driver from his region to make the show. Others struggled or had mechanical issues during the weekend that sidelined their efforts leaving Feder as the man to represent his home area.
“This is very special, just for our family in general,” mentioned Feder. “Just to come down and make the show and to be one of the few (Western Pa/Ohio drivers) that made the show. Not a lot of us came down here this year. I feel bad because Shingledecker should have made it with me, but unfortunately his motor didn’t last the whole time. It’s very special to us.”
Feder scaled back his racing efforts in 2018 concentrating on racing locally at the Lernerville Speedway. He wasn’t an every week guy. The teams focus was attempting to get more consistent. He wanted to be a top five car the weeks he made it to the track.
“We had some good nights and some okay nights, but it wasn’t the best year we’ve ever had,” cited Feder. “We put some effort into working on our consistency. To work on our program here. Some of our stuff is getting a little older, but we are trying to upgrade shocks and things like that. We’ve been working on getting more consistent and better. We’ve had some really good runs, won some races and had some bad runs. We are trying to get consistency, get top fives.”
Because of the reduced schedule that allowed Feder to make the trek south. He didn’t beat up his equipment with the weekly grind so he was in good shape to head to his first World Finals.
“Something different, something fun to do,” he commented about coming to the World Finals. “It’s something we always wanted to be a part of. This year we didn’t get out a whole lot so our equipment is kind of saved up. We figured this would be a good chance to come down and have some fun.”
By making one of the features at the World Finals, Feder got to race his Henry Engines powered Bicknell with some of the best in Modified racing. He races a talented field in his home region, but at the World Finals he’s competing against Super DIRT Week and Super DIRTcar Series winners as well as drivers that get to run nearly 100 races a year. They also have a much larger budget than a lot of the weekly warriors out west.
“It’s a little intimating when you first get down here,” he said. “These are the guys that you read about in the paper all the time and you see whenever you watch DIRTvision. When you line up behind them that’s who it is. If you’re good enough to run with the back of them here I feel like we are accomplishing something. The next step is to get further up with them. It only makes you better running with them.”
Although he didn’t make both shows, Feder can head back to Butler, Pa., knowing that he was able to make one of the main events in his first time at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. It’s a difficult place for a newbie, especially since you don’t get a lot of practice. Feder overcame that and represented his home region well in the Saturday afternoon feature.