By MIKE MALLETT
With Super DIRT Week XLII drawing to a close, here are some leftover notes, tidbits and quotes from the weeklong event.
WE LIKE THE RULES: Several drivers commented on the new rules which allowed drivers to run a softer tire and more importantly the rule didn’t count caution laps after lap 175 including. Most drivers in the top five commented on that including Larry Wight, Ryan Godown (third place finisher) and fifth place runner Duane Howard.
“It made the race so much better,” said Wight of the new rules. “Everyone is not running over each other on pit road on certain cautions. It lets us get our own strategies and lets things play out.”
“I like it,” said former New Egypt Speedway Champion Godown. “Look at how many different strategies worked. That last 25 laps going all green flag laps would have been best case scenario. So many guys get stopped in last 25 laps it burns the end of the race up. Now things work out, now it’s a race.”
“I like it,” commented Howard. “I like no mandatory pit stop because it makes it interesting at the end. There were so many different strategies that played out. We didn’t have great fuel mileage, awful on that and we salvaged a fifth place finish. That’s how it should work. The race shouldn’t come down to fuel mileage, guys should have to race for it.”
WIGHT SPOT ON: Wight was oh so close to winning his first ever Syracuse 200 on Sunday afternoon. Wight ended up settling for a second place finish after pitting near halfway then again a few laps later to top off his tank with fuel. He made it to the end in the second after battling with eventually race winner Billy Dunn.
“Billy Dunn had a better car than us today,” stated Wight. “We were good, but not as good as him. I was contemplating trying to run him down but I didn’t want to run out of fuel either. I wanted to make sure we held on to second place.”
GODOWN COMES UP: Godown, who finished third, was just as excited as race winner Billy Dunn with his finish. It was Godown’s best ever finish in the 200 lap affair at the New York State Fairgrounds. He was quick to thank the people that helped get him there.
“A lot of stuff is against when we come up here from (New) Jersey,” stated Godown. “Running the Hoosiers and things, it’s tough for all of us, (Jimmy) Horton, (Rick) Laubach. I’m lucky, the support I got to get me up here I can’t thank them enough. This is dream come true to sit in top three.”
ORANGE COUNTY REP: Tim Hindley, the 2013 Orange County Fair Speedway champion, finished in the fourth position. Hindley, like Godown, was abuzz with excitement with a top five finish.
“This is the happiest fourth place crew at Syracuse ever,” said Hindley. “We all work normal jobs and have to go back to work on Monday so to come here and run fourth is great. I can’t say enough about my guys and how hard they worked. We won best appearing car and that shows a lot of pride and honestly I couldn’t be surrounded by better people.”
Hindley now sets his sights on the Eastern States 200 in a few weeks. As the current OCFS champion, there will be some added pressure on him to get the job done on Sunday afternoon.
WHO’S DRIVING?: Howard came north to Syracuse to help out young driver Kevin Albert for the week and eventually ended up driving his Big-Block car to a fifth place effort in the 200. He was very appreciative of the opportunity as he starts his off-season looking for a new weekly ride after Chad Sinon closed up shop this past week.
“This is good for the Albert family,” said Howard. “I like the kid, he runs down our way and is trying to get his career going. I came to help crew and watch in stands and it turned out to be a fifth place finish. It was a good day. It was for everybody involved. This is a rookie team and we came out with a strong finish. That really is something to say for people that work on this race car.”
IN MEMORY OF A RACER: Thursday night at the Brewerton Speedway the halfway bonus paid $500.00 to the leader in memory of fallen former racer Ryan Baye. The money was raised by friends and family members to honor the memory of Baye who was a long-time racer in Central New York who tragically lost his life this past year. Most recently he was a crew member for Alan Johnson, who was also his father-in-law.
On Thursday night, Johnson took the lead on lap 36 of the event and led through lap 58 meaning he picked up the $500.00 bonus. Needless to say the right person picked up the bonus in Johnson; a very fitting tribute indeed.
NESCOT CALENDAR: The folks from the Northeast Stock Car Old Timers (NESCOT) had their 2014 Annual Lottery Calendar available on Wednesday night at Weedsport Speedway. The calendar highlights a member of the club each month. The cost of the calendar is only $20, but there is a payoff each week. Those purchasing the calendar can win anywhere from $25.00 to $200.00 and there are more than 50 different opportunities to win.
According to the NESCOT representative you don’t need to worry about checking your numbers, if you win a check will show up in the mail.
If you are interested contact Bruce Boyle at 1319 Schodack Valley Rd. Castleton, N.Y. 12033 and he’ll be more than happy to hook you up with a calendar.