CHARLOTTE, NC-DIRTcar Sportsman Regional play has concluded, with four different winners finishing on the top of the leaderboard in each region, launching the division into its Championship Series.
Andrew Buff (Central Region), Nick Heywood (Eastern Region), Cody McPherson (Western Region), and David Rogers (Northern Region) took home the top prize in the points battle for their respective division.
Buff scored a win at Land of Legends in Canandaigua, NY, on June 24, after starting on the outside of row one before jumping out in front to lead all 30-laps. Four days later, he headed to Can-Am Speedway in La Fargeville, NY where he recorded a fifth-place finish. His two solid performances gave him a 10-point advantage over second place Tyler Corcoran, making him the Central Region champion.
“It’s definitely huge (winning the Region),” Buff said. “You have to stay on top of it and try to not have bad nights and have consistent finishes.”
The Latham, NY driver has continued with that same winning consistency transitioning over into DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series competition. After a repeat win at Land of Legends on Aug. 16, and then another at his home track, Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, four days later, Buff has built attention-grabbing momentum moving towards the end of the season.
“We’ve really been consistent over the past couple months here with a lot of these races coming up, it’s all about the Time Trials,” Buff said. “You have to start the night off well; get yourself in the redraw to put yourself in position in the Feature. It really just comes down to the consistency of doing that. And, staying on top of everything during the week and planning ahead.”
Veteran driver Nick Heywood was the winner in the Eastern Region, edging out Derrick McGrew Jr. by two points. His visits to Bear Ridge Speedway and Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, two tracks he had never previously visited, netted him a top-five finish and a top-10 finish.
“There was a lot of really good cars,” Heywood said. “Bear Ridge had their weekly contenders; those guys are tough. The Buff brothers, Derrick McGrew Jr., are all really good at Glen Ridge. To come in the first time and be an outsider and be able to keep up with those guys is a feat in its own, and we were fortunate enough to be able to do that.”
While he wasn’t able to commit to running every Championship Series race due to off-track commitments, Heywood will attempt to make every remaining race starting at Can-Am Speedway on Sept. 8.
Defending Super DIRT Week Chevy Performance 75 winner Cody McPherson had a near flawless run, notching three wins in four starts. He credits his continued cycle of winning with staying locked in in his approach to racing.
“I try not to think too much when I show up to a race and just do the same thing every time,” McPherson said. “It doesn’t matter where I am or what event it is, I just want to win. That’s the whole goal. There was a lot of good talent in the West Region. But we just try to show up and do the same thing every time and see what happens.”
McPherson scored a fifth-place finish during the Championship Series matchup at Ransomville Speedway on August 22 and will continue battling for wins in the upcoming matchups before heading back to Oswego Speedway, Oct. 2-8, to defend his title at Super DIRT Week 51.
Over in Northern Region Series action, La Fargeville, NY native David Rogers reigned supreme at at the conclusion of competition, using his home track advantage to come out on top of the points battle by 12 points over runner-up Tyler Corcoran.
“It just a good feeling to know that when the Series comes to town, you’re at the top of your game,” Rogers said.
Recently a new father for the second time, Rogers will be selective going forward about what races he puts on his schedule. He’ll battle again for another win when the Championship Series makes a visit at Can-Am Speedway, on Sept. 8, and will then go westbound to Weedsport Speedway for the Sept. 9 showcase.
He does have end of the year plans to make it to Oswego Speedway for Super DIRT Week 51, Oct. 2-8, and for the World Short Track Championships at the Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, North Carolina, Oct. 26-28.
Rogers scored a win on the opening night of the 2022 World Short Track event.
“Backing off my race schedule a little bit and being more prepared when I show up to the racetrack has helped,” Rogers said. “(Being successful) has just been because of being well prepared, I think, when those big shows do approach. And just kind of having fun with it.”
The Championship Series for the DIRTcar Sportsman started at Land of Legends Raceway on Aug. 16 and will run through the fall to the World Short Track Championship in October. Along the way, the Series will stop at Oswego Speedway for the Chevrolet Performance 75 during Super DIRT Week 51 on Sunday, Oct. 8.
The Sportsman Classic at Weedsport Speedway on Sept. 10, the Hurricane Harvey 75 at Brewerton Speedway on Oct. 4, Super DIRT Week and the World Short Track Championship will be available to watch live on DIRTVision.
UP NEXT: The next stop on the DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series schedule is Can-Am Speedway on Friday, Sept. 8, for a 30-lap, $2,000-to-win, spectacular.
Championship Series Full Schedule:
Wednesday, Aug. 16 / Land of Legends Raceway / SummerFAST
Sunday, Aug. 20 / Glen Ridge Motorsports Park
Tuesday, Aug. 22 / Ransomville Speedway / Summer Nationals
Friday, Sept. 8 / Can-Am Speedway / John Burr Memorial-Showdown in September
Sunday, Sept. 10 / Weedsport Speedway / Sportsman Classic
Friday, Sept. 22 / Albany-Saratoga Speedway / Malta Massive Weekend
Wednesday, Oct. 4 / Brewerton Speedway / Hurricane Harvey 75
Sunday, Oct. 8 / Oswego Speedway / Super DIRT Week 51
Saturday, Oct. 14 / Brockville Ontario Speedway / Fall Nationals
Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 26-28 / The Dirt Track at Charlotte / World Short Track Championship
Photo: Daniel Tome