SYRACUSE, NY – In just 49 days the cars and stars of the Super DIRTcar Series will take the stage at Owego Speedway for the biggest Big-Block Modified event in the country, NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLVII. Every year, the excitement builds as drivers announce their intention to strap on their big-boy shoes and take on the best in the country. This year, however, four drivers are already locked into the main event and three more will join them next month. Stewart Friesen, Max Mclaughlin, Matt Sheppard, and Erick Rudolph have all secured their spots in the granddaddy of all Big-Block Modified events, and three more guaranteed spots are up for grabs.
At the start of the season, the Super DIRTcar Series announced the additional of NAPA Super DIRT Week Qualifier races to the 2018 schedule. All events with a purse of $7,500 or higher became NAPA Super DIRT Week Qualifiers, earning the winners a guaranteed starting spot in the biggest Big-Block Modified race in the country, at Oswego Speedway on Sunday, October 7. Six events on the 2018 schedule fit the bill, and one more — the Jack Johnson Tribute race at Fonda Speedway — was added in order to further honor the career of an outstanding Big-Block Modified driver.
The first NAPA Super DIRT Week Qualifier on the schedule was the Heroes Remembered 100 at Weedsport Speedway, on May 28. Full-time NASCAR Craftsman Series Truck driver Stewart Friesen held off 18-year-old HBR driver Max McLaughlin for a flag-to-flag victory and a guaranteed starting position in the 200-lap main event at NAPA Super DIRT Week.
“The new Qualifier series is awesome,” said Friesen. “It’s something like a blast from the past. I grew up watching the Syracuse Qualifiers when I was a kid, so to have a guaranteed spot is great. You never know what’s gonna happen with that deal. That brings a sense of relief. I’m sure it gets everyone excited about Super DIRT Week, which is our biggest event of the year.”
One month later, The Big Show 10 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway (NY) saw a repeat performance on June 26. McLaughlin came up just short of Friesen, who took home the $10,000 prize, but it was enough to earn McLaughlin the guaranteed starter spot.
Friesen continued his rampage into Orange County Fair Speedway during the July 19 Battle on the Midway. Runner-up Matt Sheppard in the no. 9s was the next non-qualified driver after Friesen, so the guaranteed starting position fell to him.
“It’s nice to have,” said the defending Super DIRT Week champion. “It’s our biggest race all year. I look forward to going back there and defending our title from last year.”
And finally, on July 28, Erick Rudolph took the checkered flag at Weedsport Speedway for a $10,000 pay day and a guaranteed start in the 47th annual NAPA Super DIRT Week at Oswego Speedway. Rudolph, who sat second in points coming into the Hall of Fame 100, had been knocking on the door of a victory all season. His first Big-Block Modified win at Weedsport Speedway could not have come at a better time, as the win came with a huge check and an automatic bid for the $50,000 grand prize at NAPA Super DIRT Week XLVII.
Three Qualifier races remain on the schedule over the next month. Lebanon Valley Speedway’s $17,500-to-win Mr. DIRT Track USA on September 1 will serve up 100 laps of exciting Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified action earning the winner a spot in the NAPA Super DIRT Finale. The Labor Day Double Play 100 at Weedsport Speedway on September 3 will offer drivers a chance to get locked into NAPA Super DIRT Week XLVII. And finally, the Jack Johnson Tribute race at Fonda Speedway, rescheduled to September 22 after two previous rainouts, will award the winner the final guaranteed starting spot.
See the full Super DIRTcar Series schedule for details on the NAPA Super DIRT Week Qualifiers.
Tickets are still available online for Racing’s Biggest Party at Oswego Speedway, Oct 3-7, 2018.