One thing that has been consistent at dirt tracks throughout the Northeast is the steady increase in the car counts of sportsman division.
DIRTCar Northeast officials are counting on that growth to continue this year at Super DIRT Week XXXIX.
"I can tell you that there has been a significant increase over the past three years," DIRTcar Racing Northeast Region General Manager Cory Reed said. "Just in that time alone, we went from 42 to 56 and that was right around the time that the crate engine became mandatory. Last year, we peeked at 66, which are 10 more than we had the year before. I would like to hope we have a similar number this year. A total of 41 of the 66 drivers were eligible to run the futures event, which ended up being two events. That is a pretty good indicator for the class."
With the anticipated growth, DIRTCar officials are making changes at the New York State Fairgrounds to accommodate the class.
"We are working on the pit area now trying to expand the area all the way around into turn number two to allow enough room for everybody to comfortably pit all the race cars and their equipment," Reed said. "We have expanded it so there is better room for better pit areas for those people. So we are hoping the sportsman field is up again like last year because they are a big part of what we do."
World Racing Group also has added the World Finals in Charlotte on Nov. 4, 5, 6 to the season-ending lineup for modifieds.
"The addition of the modifieds to the World Finals shows our commitment to the Northeast modifieds," World Racing Group executive VP of special events Roger Slack said. "We have a very good relationship with New York state. Everybody was reminded that dirt racing is alive and healthy and a very big part of their economy in the Syracuse area. Hopefully, we will be racing on the mile for years to come."
However, Slack said he does not believe the addition will detract from Super DIRT Week.
"We are ahead [in camping permits and ticket sales] of where we were a year ago," he said. "It is a trend that we are seeing across the country that the monster events are really doing well this year. However, there are definitely issues on the weekly level in the industry."
Heading into the final month before DIRTCar's showcase event, one thing has changed. The main events do not have corporate names attached. The features are simply listed as the Syracuse 200 for the big block modifieds and the Syracuse 150 for the 358-modifieds.
"We are working diligently with the group up here and the group down in the Concord office on sponsorships," Jeff Hockman, Dirt Northeast director of marketing, promotions and sales, said. "We are in the middle of many conversations with different sponsors in different capacities. Moving forward with this event we are very positive that these will all come to fruition pretty soon."
Super DIRT Week XXXIX opens Oct. 6 and concludes with the running of the Syracuse 200 with the green flag dropping at 2 p.m. on Oct. 10.
Also joining the festivities this year are the World of Outlaws Spring Cars running the "King of the Mile" dash at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 8.
The Syracuse 150 358-modified championship is set for 2 p.m. Oct. 9 followed by the 30-lap DIRTcar Sportsman championship at 4 p.m.
That night, the World of Outlaws Sprint cars will be in action at Rolling Wheels Raceway.
The 25-lap DIRTcar pro stock championship will be run at noon on Nov. 10.
"No matter how you slice it [Super DIRT Week] has always been an event people want to do from a competitor's standpoint," Reed said. "There is something about racing on the hallowed ground of the Syracuse mile."
Glen Ridge Motorsports Park has dropped the DIRTcar pro stock race from its Sept. 12 race card and added a 60-lap, $1,500-to-win main event for the 602-sportsman division on Riley Mortuary/Dodson Construction Night.
It also is championship night for street stock and cruisers plus an enduro.
Gates open at noon with hot laps slated for 3 p.m. and racing at 3:45 p.m.