Makin’ Tracks – SDW Day 3 – Fairgrounds & The Hurricane

By BILL FOLEY

Day three ended with the futures on the track and there are just so many drivers who want to be part of this Finale at the Mile.

However, before that there was a bit of drama in time trials (read elsewhere), but congrats to Larry Wight and Billy Dunn with the drivers who have the title of being the last post sitters in Syracuse for the big block and small block respectively.

Well the day started out on an interesting note as word spread like wildfire that Alan Johnson was out of the Halmar 14j and hopping in behind the wheel was Jimmy Horton.

Throughout most of the big block morning practice session Dave Blaney was the quickest, but in the final minutes Billy Decker went back to the top with a 30.455. Top ten in a.m. were Decker, Blaney, Matt Shappard, Tyler Dippel, Larry Wight, Pat Ward, Carey Terrance, Keith Flach, Peter Britten and Ronnie Johnson. Jimmy Horton in his first time out in the 14j came in at 17th on the time chart.

There was a bit of controversy over track time for the big blocks, but in the end adjustments were made to allow for one last chance for practice on the track as the 358 mod session ended.

The press conference was much more than a typical session.

CEO Brian Carter wore his heart on his sleeve and his honesty was a nice change of pace from all of the events I have attended over the years at various events. (not just racing).

He talked about the frustration that the private enterprise was the lone private enterprise in the room with the politicos. It appeared that the other folks did not understand the concept or impact of what their decision was going to have on the race family community. It was the “uprising” of the fans which played a roll in keeping SDW moving along.

However, he stressed that we must move forward. But before moving forward he told everyone to really enjoy 2015. Stressing to have fun, enjoy the racing and make memories as “we’re not gonna so it again” Carter is anxious to make this one special. He is thinking ahead to next year, but not that much at this point.

World Racing Group will be running Super Dirt Week ’16 with the same team in place now. The plan is at CNYRP, but if it is not ready there is another plan in place.

He talked about “feeling the electricity” throughout the fairgrounds and he said to savor it.

The feel good moment of the day was when Jack Spano, Gary Spaid and Dave Dixon were recognized with the Buzzie Reutiman Award and my hope going into the weekend was that the past and those who dedicated much of their lives to the sport would be recognized. Great job for that deserved recognition.

Press conference brought together former winners Frank Cozze and Brett Hearn.

Cozze came to his first race in 1967 with his dad as Al Tanasdy drove for them. He talked about the meaning of winning at Syracuse and the year he was winning with 10 laps to go his crew chief told him “drive the best 10 laps you ever have driven”. He noted he got a bit nervous at that point.

He has run 33 Super Dirt Week main event and won once. He said, “I failed so many times and it is hard on you. In fact the year I won going in I said that I if I didn’t win I would never come back. It just takes so much out of you.”

Hearn came to Syracuse as a high school senior to watch and then in ’78 brought his own home built modified as he and his dad had put it together. He said, “I have a quiver in my right leg when I first went out there. I can’t say I wasn’t scared, but a little fear is a healthy thing.”

Brett had six Syracuse wins which is mighty impressive in his 37 starts, but only 12 times in all those years did he finish in the lead lap. He noted, “I heard that figure and realized how much heartbreak I have had here.” However, admittedly he noted there were “good rides and fantastic moments” at Syracuse.

One of the more interesting comments came from Hearn as he wrapped up an interview with Shane Andrews noting “I am happy just to be relevant after all these years” of racing.

Brewerton Notes

Okay so I wasn’t assigned to write anything about Brewerton as DTD had someone else. I appreciate the writing break as I was a member of the track announcing team, but I do have to say something about it as I spend all my regular season Friday nights there.

Hurricane Danny swept through and over the competition for this year’s Hurricane 100. He was fasssstttt and thee was simply no stopping him.

Second place Billy Decker said he couldn’t believe how quick the Doctor was and not only was he fast, but Danny made it look easy. Decker said, “I thought he was on his cell phone when he went by me.”

There were nearly 100 cars in Brewerton pits and it was amazing as an overflow pit was set up off turn three and I have only seen that once with several divisions on the card..last night only a two division show. I have to admit the doublestackers and haulers on steroids definitely make parking at Brewerton difficult, but Corey Reed was riding a four wheeler herding the haulers to parking spots….There were plenty of different cars in the pits from the previous night at Weedsport.

It was surprising to see Mike Mahaney as he took a frame breaking ride the night before. His dad Jim lived up to his moniker “The Workshoe” as he spent all day welding and getting the car ready. Solid fourth for Mahaney…Ryan Bartlett somehow got his car that flipped the night before back in action, but he took the night off and Frankie Caprara was the shoe….Christine Martin was back in her sportsman at the Demon with friend Alan Fink behind the wheel. This might be a combination full time next year….Ron Davis III running Brandon Ford’s sportsman as Brandon works in Peter Brittan’s shop and surprisingly had a lot of work to do so Ron borrowed the car for a couple of nights. He was top five until something dropped him back in the closing laps…Have to admit fans saw Rocky Warner, Brad Rouse and Dave Marcucilli do battle in the main. They are three of the best. Warner and Rouse swapped the lead several times, fun to watch…Top finishing locals were Tony Finch second in fourth, Tyler Meeks fifth, Corey Barker from the consi to sixth, Davis seventh, Kevin Root eighth and though not a regular, but he will be next year Jeremy Pitcher came home in tenth…Erik Rudolph suffered mechanical problems while running in the top five of the mod main..Ryan Arbuthnot looked pretty darn good to finish seventh…Good battle with Pat Ward and Jimmy Phelps in closing stages as they finished fifth and sixth…Pole sitter Larry Wight went pit side early and came back…Ryan Godown also had problems getting collected early, rallied for a tenth before facing a bit at the end. Wight finished one spot ahead of Godown as they were 19th and 20th…Matt Sheppard always gets the job done. He started 12th and finished third. He just felt he started too far back in this one…Friends and local businesses put up $300 cash and $130 in prizes for the Ryan Baye Memorial Halfway Award which Danny Johnson collected. Ryan was Alan Johnson’s son-in-law and died tragically at a very young age. He is remembered every year at the Hurricane….Jeff Strunk was a surprising DNQ. Here is a guy with talent who is running the satellite shows and doesn’t have a ride at the mile…Among some of the drivers Brewerton fans don’t usually get to see were Matt DeLorenzo, Danny Creeden, David Hebert, Scott Ward, Gage Morin, Brett Hearn, Erik Rudolph, Ryan Godown, John Smith, Brian Gleason, Neal Williams, Gino Clair, Mario Clair, Yan Bussiere, Kyle Weiss, Mike Adderly, Ryan Susice, Chris Raabe, Boyd McTavish, Steve Bernard, Jeff Strunk, Ray Bliss, Alan Therrien, Randy Chrysler, Shawn Ward, Robbie Krull, Tommy Flanagan, Jordan McCreadie and Shawn Walker also Mike Mahaney (but he was a regular a few years ago).

Pit Stops-.Matt Guererri was involved in an incident when his car flared up at Weedsport. He noted that “I’m doing okay” and he plans to run the sportsman Futures race. I was going to meet up with him at Brewerton to do a more in depth piece, but he got caught up at the Fairgrounds and I had duties at the track so we never met. Good news is he will be okay as everyone who saw the cockpit on fire said it was scary… I would think a 15 year old sitting on the outside of the front row for the 358 is a record as Tyler Dippel impressed…The Maier 31M is yellow and blue State Police colors and remembering the late A.J. Sperr who was killed in the line of duty nine years ago. (Read story elsewhere on DTD)…First time Kenny Tremont has been in top six in ten years…As anticipated times fell like a rock toward the end of the .358’s…Billy Dunn was the only 358 under 30 seconds with a 30.838…55 cars took time…7z driver dujour is Gary Tomkins…Chris Raabe went out late in the 358’s and expected a good time, but his rear end went and he was the only driver not to get a timed lap….Race cars are parked all over the place including many outside of the track. Dirt officials are communicating with all the areas and even though there might be some delays chief steward Denis Maquin indicated he wants everyone to get the deserved opportunity to be on the track for their events…Sportsman futures roster is huge…18 USAC Silver Crown cars are entered in Saturday’s Salt City 78…Left Weedsport early the other night, but sadly Jim Spano had a car crunching flip in the main event. It has been a tough year for the 1JVS team…Told a rocker arm went on Billy Decker’s big block at Syracuse and they made pit repairs before going out for his time trial…I left the Fairgrounds prior to the big block time trials so can’t really comment, but it was evident at Brewerton that Pat Ward had a smile that wasn’t going to soon disappear as he locked in for Sunday.

Hey, what would Super Dirt Week be without rain. So Friday appears to be on hold and at the sake of Mother Nature. Saturday and Sunday look fittingly super for Super Dirt Week.

Any comments you can send along to foley395@hotmail.com