Syracuse, NY – October 5, 2010 – The most rugged racers and heartiest of race fans didn’t let intermittent rain throughout the day spoil their parade as an ‘early bird’ inspection unofficially launched Super DIRT Week XXXIX on Tuesday at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.
While nearly 80 race cars took advantage of the customary opening day tech activity, many more are still expected to arrive on Wednesday with the first trackside action scheduled later in the afternoon.
“Give a lot of credit to the race teams today,” remarked Bob Dini, Director of Technical Operations for DIRTcar Racing Northeast, who orchestrated the customary inspection day in the fairgrounds’ paved general parking area. Beginning just after 12noon, the DIRTcar NE tech team scrutinized racing machines until the 77th car passed through at precisely 7:30pm.
“Sure, I’m wet, just like everybody else. But I got to be under the tent here most of the day. The guys on these teams spent just about all their time out in the rain and it got a little cold after a while. Tomorrow we’ll get up and do the same thing all over again. Hopefully, the weather will break. But this is Super DIRT Week, it’s got to rain sometime,” Dini said.
Inspection for all classes in the accustomed grandstand area continues on Wednesday beginning at 9am while a special extended ‘Happy Hour’ practice session for all-open wheel —Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman— provides the first trackside activity at 3pm.
“About 75% of what we covered today involved safety. We checked over a lot of the body work, that’s always a crucial area with racers trying to maximize downforce. There’s a lot of money on the line this weekend, we’re just trying to insure the fairest playing field for everybody out there,” added Dini, who was surrounded by an experienced group of technicians comprised of Scott Fremouw, Rich Lemieux, Mark Sullivan and Joel Herne. Documenting all the findings throughout the day were Joyce Parsels and Betty Fremouw from the Central New York DIRTcar circuit.
While braving the elements under the tech tent that focused on two cars at a time, the group examined 77 entries; 42 Big-Blocks, 21 358-Modified, seven Sportsman cars and the lone Pro Stock of Eastern New Yorker Bill Smith.
“This is the best day I can remember based on how smooth everything went,” figured Parsels, now serving as Chief Registrar for the 13th time at Super DIRT Week. “The teams knew what to expect from us and the cooperation was great from everybody. Only a couple cars didn’t pass the first time through but there were just some minor issues to be addressed. Nothing that needed much work, yet everything still requires our attention as per the rule book.”
A day that had been filled with plenty of sunshine and seasonably warm temperatures the past three autumns opened with overcast skies and greeted afternoon arrivals with spotty showers before steady rain set in by dinner time. Yet despite the dismal weather conditions, Dini joined ‘Mr. Small-Block’ Pete Bicknell in the warm spotlight as the Syracuse television cameras were out in full force capturing opening day activity as SDW XXXIX got underway.
“Weather always leads the conversation this time of year, it has to rain sometime so today is better than later in the week,” figured Bicknell, a record five-time winner of the ‘Salute The Troops 150’ 358-Modified Championship at Syracuse and the overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358 points champion on three occasions. “I’ve been around here long and seen just about everything. Like snow on the back straight, rain in turn three and then sun hitting you coming down the front stretch … and that’s all on the same lap in just one race. But that’s what makes this event so big, anything can happen and a lot of guys can win. That’s why we keep coming back.”
Also coming back for another chance at instant fame and fortune are a number of past champions already registered for Sunday’s headline SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 Presented by Ferris/Snapper/Simplicity Big-Block Modified Championship. The all-star cast includes record five-time winner and reigning Hoosier-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar points king Brett Hearn (1985, 1990-91, 1993, 1995), perennial favorite Billy Decker (1998, 2000-01, 2005), all-time DIRTcar Big-Block win leader Alan Johnson (1983, ’89, 2003), ), the sensational Jimmy Horton (1987, ’94), versatile Vic Coffey (2002, ’07), popular second-generation chauffeur Richie Tobias Jr. (1992), Lebanon Valley top gun Kenny Tremont (1999), World of Outlaws Late Model Series ful-fender contender Tim Fuller (2004) and defending champ ‘Super Matt’ Sheppard.
Decker is also the two-time defending champion of the ‘Salute The Troops’ 150 Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series title race and is back aboard the LJL Racing no. 91 Gypsum Wholesalers-Stadium Int’l-Quality Hardwoods/Bicknell entry looking to three-peat in the Salt City’s richest small-block event.
“Hopefully, we’ll see some sun soon and get a little wind to help dry out the track,” said Mark Kolceski, head of the grounds-keeping crew who spearheads track maintenance throughout the week. “This kind of weather isn’t fun for anybody, we’ll just have to wait it out for a break then get on to packing and grading. The weekend is looking good so the sooner we can get back to work the better.”
Super DIRT Week XXXIX activity continues Wednesday, October 6 with more inspection for Big-Blocks, 358-Modifieds, Sportsman and Pro Stocks — with cars checked under the main grandstand beginning at 9am. The first action trackside is slated that afternoon with ‘Happy Hour’ practice session for Modifieds staged from 3-6 p.m.
The customary ‘Media Day’ press conference on Thursday, October 7 gets Super DIRT Week XXXIX into full gear with a number of Big-Block Modified drivers joining the popular event in the John Hill Infield Conference Center that begins at 12noon. Back-to-back Bilstein Shocks Time Trials for Big-Blocks and 358-Modifieds are sandwiched by ‘Futures’ practice and main events for 358s and Sportsman before Small-Blocks head north on Route 81 for a stop at Brewerton Speedway in the annual Mr. DIRTcar 358 Series showdown.
The list of Big-Block, 358-Modified and Sportsman entries for SDW 39 also featured numerous drivers signed up for ‘Futures’ competition. Central New Yorker Tony Steiner and NY Capital District runner Marc Johnson headed the first-time BB roster with more than a half-dozen already filling the Syracuse rookie list in the Sportsman ranks … Dusting off his own open-wheel creation from year-long barn storage, 1998 DIRTcar NE Big-Block Rookie of the Year Todd Milton was back out for the first time in exactly one year. Mechanical malfunctions last October cut short his track time to just eight laps on Sunday and he his hoping more times around the ‘Moody Mile’ this year will be enough to qualify for the SEF 200 finale … When race fans see the familiar orange no. 12A arrive at the fairgrounds, the driver will be just as familiar; only this week it will be talented second-generation pilot Ronnie Johnson filling in for his legendary father Jack Johnson, a two-time winner of the marquee Modified main … Also towing in from the East is Bobby Varin, this year entered in a pair of Kenny Saya-owned no. 10 Modifieds sporting both Big-Block and Small-Block engines under the hood … With conventional cars passing in front of inspectors throughout the day, only the back-up H&H Motorsports no. 98H Wave Energy Drink-Mohawk Northeast/Troyer entry steered by ’07 SEF 200 pole-winner Jimmy Phelps provided some post-tech chatter for the media in attendance. The unique front angle view exposed the bumper covered by a fiberglass nose piece, a design that did not step outside rule book boundaries despite its uncommon appearance. While not making it out to the fairgrounds on Tuesday, Phelps will be available Wednesday at the nearby Quaker Steak & Lube to accompanying defending SEF 200 winner Matt Sheppard, , record seven-time Super DIRTcar Series titlist Brett Hearn, inaugural DIRTcar All-Star Weekend winner Ryan Phelps, current Mr. DIRTcar points runner-up Jimmy Phelps and former child actor turned DIRTcar racer Michael Storms. Along with swapping stories with some of today’s most dynamic DIRTcar Modified drivers, fans will be able to enjoy a full menu of award-winning wings and wide array of tasty finger foods. Quaker Steak and Lube is located at 3535 Walters Road in Syracuse (315/410-7504, 315/451-9464), just 10 minutes from the nationally renowned Moody Mile.
SUPER DIRT WEEK XXXIX EVENTS SCHEDULE: Oct. 6 – Oct. 10, 2010
*All tmes and events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TIME EVENT
Wed-10/6 8am Gates open for Campers and Haulers
9am Inspection for all classes (under main grandstand)
3-6pm Modified ‘Happy Hour’
10pm Pit Area Closed
7:00pm Super DIRT Week Kick-Off Party @ Quaker Steak & Lube, driver autographs.
Thr-10/7 8am Pit Gates Open
8am-10am Inspection for all classes (under main grandstand)
10am Grandstands Open, Modified practice
11am Syracuse 150 358-Modified Practice
12noon ‘Media Day’ Press Conference – Infield Conference Bldg
1 pm DIRTcar Futures Practice/Qualifying (358-Modified, Sportsman)
1:30pm 358-Modified Time Trials (2-laps, Top-6 Qualify for Front-3 Rows)
2:45pm Modified Time Trials (2-laps, Top-6 Qualify for Front-3 Rows)
4:00pm DIRTcar ‘Futures’ Feature Events. (358-Modified, Sportsman)
10pm Pit Area Closed
7:30pm Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series at Brewerton Speedway.
Fri-10/8 8am Pit Gates Open, Sportsman Inspection Open
10am Grandstands Open, 358-Modified Practice
10:45am Modified Practice
11:30am Sportsman Practice
12noon DIRTcar Futures Practice/Qualifying (Modified, Pro Stock)
12:45pm 358-Modified Twin 20s (10 non-qualified cars advance from each)
1:30pm Modified Triple 20s (10 non-qualified cars advance from each)
2:30pm WoO King of the Mile Heat Engines and Hot laps
3:00pm Sportsman Time Trials (2-laps, Top-24 Qualify)
3:30pm WoO Sprint Cars “King of the Mile” Dash
4pm DIRTcar ‘Futures’ Feature Events (Modified, Pro Stock)
5pm Pro Stock Practice
10pm Pit Area Closed
7:30pm Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified & Sportsman Series at Rolling Wheels Raceway.
7:30pm 360 Sprint Car Challenge, Parts Plus Tri-Track Stock Car Series and Mod Lites at Cayuga County Fair Speedway
Sat-10/9 8am Pit Gates Open, Pro Stock Inspection Open
9:00am Syracuse 150 358-Modified Championship Driver and Crew Chief Meeting (in pit building)
9:20am Sportsman Drivers Meeting (in pit building)
9:30am Grandstands Open, Track open for Syracuse 150 358-Modified Final Practice
10am Pro Stock First Practice
10:30am Sportsman Final Practice
11:15am Pro Stock Second Practice
11:45am Sportsman Last Chance Qualifier
12:15pm Pro Stock Time Trials (2-laps, Top-24 Qualify)
1:30pm ‘Salute to Troops’ Syracuse 150 358-Modified Championship
2pm ‘Salute The Troops’ Syracuse 150 358-Modified Championship (150 laps)
4pm SUNY Canton Sportsman Championship (30 laps)
7:30pm Twin 25’s – World of Outlaw Sprint Cars plus “Win and You’re In” Modifieds
At Rolling Wheels Raceway (Mod Winner Earns 45th starting spot in the SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 Presented by Ferris/Snapper/Simplicity.
Sun-10/10 8am Pit Gates Open
9:15am Pro Stock Driver’s Meeting (in pit building)
9:30am Modified Driver and Crew Chief Meeting (in pit building)
10am Grandstands Open, Track Open for Pro Stock Final Practice
10:20am Modified Final practice
10:45am Pro Stock Last Chance Qualifier
11:15am Dig Safely NY Modified Last Chance Qualifier
11:45am Modified Top-30 Autograph Signing under grandstand (Top 30 in Thursday Time Trials)
12noon BNC Motorsports Pro Stock Championship (25 laps)
12:45-1:45pm Cold Pit Tour of Pit Row
1:30pm SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 Presented by Ferris/Snapper/Simplicity Pre-Race ceremonies
2:00pm SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 Presented by Ferris/Snapper/Simplicity Championship (200 laps)
Mon-10/11 -TBA- Rain Date for Saturday or Sunday events
For more photos, visit www.dirttrackdigest.com/GallerySDS