Oswego to host Super Dirt Week
A decision was finally made earlier this week as to where the NAPA Auto Part Super DIRT Week will be run this year.
After more than four decades on the mile at the New York State Fairgrounds, DIRTCar was forced to find a new location for its premiere event due to changes at the fairgrounds that called for the demolition of the mile track and the historic grandstand.
The first plan was to move to the yet-to-be built Central New York Raceway Park. After construction bogged down, DIRTCar went to plan B, putting clay down over the asphalt racing surface at another historic racing facility, the home of the supermodifieds, Oswego Speedway.
Of course there won’t be any work done on the racing surface until after the 60th running of Budweiser International Classic weekend Sept. 2 through 4 and the historic Race of Champions Sept. 15 through 17.
When the events are finished it is estimated that 9,600 cubic yards of clay will be brought in to cover the 5/8-mile asphalt racing surface and worked on over the three weeks prior to the cars and campers arriving for the NAPA 300 week from Oct 5 through 9.
I can see good and bad points to this decision.
First, whenever I think of Oswego it is supermodifieds. It is hard to think of Oswego with anything else but asphalt racing.
Putting clay down is fine and I am sure they will work it, but it will be a green track. It will be unpredictable, especially with a 300-lap feature for the big blocks after busy days leading up to the main event. You always knew the mile was going to be hard and black by the main event.
On the good side, it will even the playing field.
There may be a handful of DIRT drivers who have raced at Oswego. Being a new track and surface it will come down to who hits the right set up first.
Being on a smaller track it will be more open for drivers to use their regular rides instead of having cars specially built for one race and then put away until the next year. So that should attract more drivers.
The distance, 300 laps on a 5/8ths mile track, will be shorter than 200 laps on the mile. It comes to about 188 miles (300 x .625). The same distance the modifieds ran when they went metric for the 200 a few years ago. Of course that leads to new pit strategies.
From what I understand, the drivers will have to take what they need to their infield pits for the main event, leaving the haulers outside the track. That should give a clear view of the track.
One positive is the City of Oswego itself. They have embraced the Steel Palace and have the ability to host big events with hotels, motels and restaurants.
One thing is for certain, this could be one of the most unpredictable Super DIRT weeks.
Bobby Varin had a strong run in the Palmer Service No. 76 Tuesday in the Super DIRT Series event at Eldora Speedway.
Varin time trialed second fastest with a 17.374 lap, started 13th and led for 14 laps before suffering a flat left rear tire. He came back through the field to finish ninth.
Stewart Friesen also made his way to the front and was near the top five when he had a flat right rear tire. He came back to finish 11th.
Friesen also ran the NASCAR Camping World truck event on Wednesday and battled back from an early-race accident to be in the top five when the engine let go with 39 laps to go and finished 28th. J.R. Heffner also ran the truck race and finished in 15th on the lead lap.