By ED & BETTY BIITTIG
The DIRTcar Night of Champions turned out to be a night of heroes and memories for many as MC Shane Andrews began the night with memories of his first ever race and the significance, to him, of all the people in the room.
The first on the agenda was the awarding of Mr. DIRTcar Hometrack Championships. The hometrack champion is determined from a driver’s best 16 finishes recorded throughout the season, from January through Labor Day, this year September 4th. Drivers receive 60 points for a win, 56 points for second and so on decreasing by two points through the field. Once a driver reaches 16 races, his worst finishes are thrown out, leaving only the best results to count towards the Mr. DIRTcar Hometrack Championship title.
The Pro Stock division took center stage to begin the awards portion of the night. Rob Yetman of Castleton, NY brought home the trophy for the Pro Stock Mr. DIRTcar Hometrack championship. Later in the evening Yetman was back on stage once again picking up the trophy and money for the DIRTcar Pro Stock Series top spot. Yetman meticulously made an attempt not to miss anyone on his crew when it came to thank you’s taking out a list he had compiled prior to the night’s festivities. He said that each year he sets a schedule for the season and posts it on the wall of his garage. He had wanted to run the whole DIRTcar series other years but something always came up to put a glitch in the plan. That was not the case this season and with the help of his crew, family, sponsors and car owner he was able to accomplish it in 2017 and walked away with both titles. Yetman topped off his stellar season at Super DIRT Week by winning his fifth straight Pro Stock event. With this win Yetman has 99 career wins to his credit and he is now looking for No. 100. Yetman will also be going for the six pack at Super DIRT Week next October at Oswego. His crew wants him to go for a 12 pack. Yetman continued to celebrate throughout the night with members of his crew like, Jen Burega-Holt who was at the table when we shot this early in the evening.
Mr. DIRTcar Hometrack champion in the Sportsman division was Rocky Warner of Gloversville, NY. Rocky’s record showed 48 starts, 46 top tens, 44 top fives, and 18 wins. Rocky took home $1000 plus $750 worth of VP fuel certificates. Rocky was also the Eastern Region Champion in the Sportsman DIRTcar Series with five wins and he placed third in points in the overall DIRTcar Series events. 358 Modified Mr. DIRTcar Hometrack champion was David Hebert of St. Damase, QUE. And to no surprise, Matt Sheppard of Waterloo, NY was the Modified Mr. DIRTcar Hometrack champion with 27 starts, 26 top ten’s, 24 to fives and 14 wins. Sheppard said in receiving the award and looking toward next season, “how do I top that?”
The DIRTcar Series events also honored four divisions, Pro Stocks, Sportsman, 358 Mods and Modifieds and as we said earlier Rob Yetman was DIRTcar Series Champion in the Pro Stocks. Dave Marcuccilli, Cayuga, NY was the DIRTcar Series Sportsman Champion. The 358 Modified DIRTcar Series Champion was Steve Bernard of St. Paul Abbotsford, QUE. Once again and to no one’s surprise Matt Sheppard of Waterloo, NY was crowned DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series champion. Sheppard had quite the season, one that saw him sit out a couple weeks for an infraction but he was still able to re-group with the help of his team, family and friends to win another DIRTcar Series title.
It’s always good to recognized the new comer’s in our sport and No. 1 Speed and Motorsports Safety Systems did that with the Rookie of the Year awards in each division. Pro Stock winner was Josh Coonradt, Sportsman, Tyler Thompson, 358 Modified, Jesse Cotriss and Modifieds, Cody Bleau. According to Bleau’s Facebook page he was never notified that he was receiving the award and was not present to receive the award. Speed51 gave the award for most popular driver as determined by votes on their website and Max McLaughlin was the winner. The Chevy Performance 602 engine give away winner was Kyle Wilson.
Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vt promoters, C. V. “Butch” Elms and April May Preston were honored for their 50 years of racing under the direction and/or ownership of the Elms family. WRG, CEO Brian Carter made the presentation. We shot this photo of Carter with Elms and Preston at Super DIRT Week in October. Congratulations to Bear Ridge and the Elms family.
Earlier in the evening we ran into Pro Stock driver, Jay Corbin who had just finished his first year of running the DIRTcar Pro Stock Series. Jay said “I found myself at over a dozen new tracks which was exciting and a learning experience.” Corbin came home with an eighth place finish in the DIRTcar series points and was pleased with his first year. Jay is looking forward to next year when he plans to run the series once again and be a regular at Albany Saratoga. About mid-season, Jay made the move from Lebanon Valley, where he has three championships, to Albany Saratoga as a regular and says he wishes he had done it long ago. World Racing Group, CEO, Brian Carter stopped by to meet Jay while we were taking with him and was pleased to tell him that the Pro Stocks would be going to Charlotte, NC in 2018 to be part of the two-week World Finals events. This will be a non-point event.
Ed also spoke with Peter Britten, track champion at Albany Saratoga for 2017 and he said he will return as a regular in 2018 with his Saturday night racing at Canadaigua Speedway in Central New York. Britten will also run the DIRTcar Modified Series next season and will kick off his 2018 racing season at Volusia and the DIRTcar Nationals February 6-17 with the Modifieds racing the final five nights.
As we close we wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Ed is looking forward to the Gobbler at Accord this weekend, Saturday, November 25th.
Until next time please send all news and/or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org