Posts Tagged ‘osweospeedway’

After 44years of racing at the “Moody Mile” in Syracuse, NY, Super Dirt Week packed its bags and headed north to Oswego, NY. ” The Steel Palace”was built in 1951 and, has been home for the Super Modifieds as long as I remember. This historical 5/8 mile asphalt track has had well known drivers like Geoff Bodine, Brett Bodine, Richie Evans, Greg Sacks, and Jimmy Spencer stand in victory lane at the Big O.

One day after the ROC race at Oswego Speedway, 6900 cubic feet of clay was applied on top of the hollowed asphalt for the 45th running of Super Dirt Week. 

Dirt Modified Racers from all over the east coast will compete in the richest dirt track race in the world.  Sundays winner of the NAPA 300 will hold up a check for $50,000. Fans will set up camp for five days all around the spacious Speedway. 

Mid summer The World Racing Group announced that SDW 16 would be held at the Oswego Speedway. Social media was all a buzz about this event being held at a temporary dirt track. People slammed the idea and others were excited about the Chang of venue. I myself was sad that it was no longer in Syracuse, but very excited to go and cover this show at a new facility.

This race has been a huge part of my life beginning in 1973, until now. I missed a couple in the early 2000’s, but other then that the first full week in October has been spent at SDW. 

I was lucky enough to been able to cover the last ever race on the Mille last year for APEX Auto Magazine. This year I was able to cover the brand new Super Dirt Week at Oswego Speedway. 

The WRG ( World Racing Group) put in a ton of work preparing for the 45th running of SDW. From the track to making camping comfortable for the dedicated race fans. The place looked spectacular when we drove in on Thursday night. Behind the updated backstretch grands stands was where the pit area was for all of the divisions that take part in Dirt Week. 

I think this worked out well for the teams, by Friday at the mile one could hardly move with all of the haulers packed in the infield pit area. On the other hand the teams had to haul their equipment to the infield when it was their time to hit the track. The “Hot Pit” is what they called the area in the infield. Not having the big haulers in the infield was great for the fans in the stands. Fans could see all of the track from their seats with out stacker trailer blocking their view. 
Thurdsay was time trials and practice for the big block and small block classes. Matt Sheppard and Tim McCreadie put their cars on the front row for Sunday’s big race. 

Fans continued to roll into the Speedway for weekend. From what I was seeing the camping area looked pretty full by Friday. We arrived early Friday morning for our first full day at SDW 45. On the schedule for Friday was a boat load of racing into the night. Pro stock, sportsman, and futures made up most of the racing during the day. The weather was almost perfect with temps in the high 70’s and mostly sunny sky’s, but this wasn’t good for the new track surface at all. The dust was really playing havoc with the races all day. Workers could not get enough water on the track to keep it safe for the drivers. Vision was really bad forcing the WRG to postpone the remaining races until 6:30 at night. 

So everybody went back to regroup for the night racing ahead. Not only did we get to see a few of the day races under the lights but also the already scheduled qualifing races for both the small blocks , and big block cars. These races would set the field for both classes. The Salute The Troops 150 for the small blocks on Saturday,and the NAPA 300 on Sunday for the big blocks. 

Racing was awesome under the lights.  Drivers could run on the bottom, the top, and in the middle if needed. Each race had some great wheel to wheel racing, giving the fans their money’s worth. Even though the track was developing holes in the corners it was still a racy track. I am not sure if I have ever seen so many Dirt modifieds catching air as I did during the races Friday night. It was crazy, and sad all at once. There where a lot of wrecked race cars by the end of the night. 

With the combination of fast laps, rough tack, and guys trying to make it into the show, gave us some great images through out the night. This was a race photographers dream. 

Saturday was a total wash out with rain most of the day in Oswego.  This pushed everything up to Sunday. Promoters decided to shorten the races on Sunday to make sure they could get them all in for the fans and racers. I think this was a good idea for everyone. Plus the track could use less laps on it for sure. 

When we arrived Sunday morning the place was buzzing with excitement for the big races that lay ahead. With the all day rain on Saturday, and the calcium that was being applied to the 5/8’s mile,  helped keep the dust at bay all day on Sunday. When we walked into the infield Sunday morning the track looked great. The Big block modified non qualifiers race was run in the morning along with the pro stocks time trials. 

So the field was set for the NAPA 200. Teams started to make their way into the infield with the teams war wagons full of spare parts, fuel and anything else they thought they might need during the race.meanwhile both the front stretch Granstands, and backstretch stand were filling up with dedicated Dirt Car fans. I was getting excited myself about the days events. Turn one was where I planned on shooting the race from. Along with 20 other shutter bugs. The track crew was doing their best to repair and maintain the troubled spots before the race started. 

Prerace ceremonies were underway for the 45th running of Super Dirt weeks premiere race. As the drivers were instructed to start their engines you could feel the fresh new excitement in the air, it was fantastic. Teams tested their equipmet for when their car came down pit road for a pit stop. Drivers went four wide while the fans stood to cheer on their favorites. I loved it. It felt a lot light the SDW that I grew up with but with a new feel about it. 

I got into position for the drop of the green. Sheppard and McCreadie lead the field down into turn one for the first of 200 laps. T-MAC went to the top and Sheppard moved to the bottom trying to gain the advantage early on. McCreadie was looking for his first win at SDW, and had a very good chance to bring it home for the team this year. Sheppard moved up in front of McCreadie to take the lead and set sail on opening up a comfortable lead. 

Set sail he did, Matt lead every lap up until 175 or so. A whole slew of cautions flew through out the first 1/2 of the race. The track was tacking its toll on the delicate equipment. These cars are made lightweight to run on mostly smooth tracks. Drive through hole a ft deep is tough on equipment. The pace  was pretty fast through out the entire field. Drivers tried to gain positions as well as save  their cars for the end of the race. 

Hole developed in the corners making it tough to run the bottom. The high line was the safest place to run, but to make a pass they had to run through the holes and hope for the best. 

Rear axles, shocks, and tires took all of the abuse. TMac took the lead from Sheppard forcing him to make his pit stop for fuel and tires. While they made their stop the car also showed some steam as it was over heating. McCreadie had already made his stop along with Friesen, and Hearn.

With less then 25 laps left it looked like TMac was going to get his first SDW win. Hearn, Terrance, Friesen were all trying to hunt the #39 car down. Friesen made his way up to second with around ten laps to go. A late race caution flew tightening  up the field for a epic  finish. 

The crowd rose to their feet for the last few laps. Between turns one and two Stewart drove underneath McCreadie to take the lead, but a Timmy drove right past by him for the top spot again. Friesen once again took the lead on the following lap as TMac spun going into turn one bringing out the final yellow for the day. This put Hearn in the second spot with a couple laps left. 

Hearn tried to make a move but Friesen was too strong , crossing the stripe for his third win in a row and fifth all time. I was shocked that Friesen pulled it off again, but not really because he is such a good shoe. 

All and all this was a great race other then the rough track that took out a lot of the top cars through out the day. 12 cars finished, but good racing happened most of the day. 

The Small blocks and Sportsman ran their races soon after the victory lane ceremony’s were over. 

Tim Fuller started on the pole for the Salute The Troops 100 Small block race. Fuller lead all 100 laps, with Friesen, Marc Johnson rounding out the top three.

Well that’s about it for SDW 45 at Tge Oswego Speedway. We had a great time covering the races, and look forward to doing it again next October. If any if you are thinking about joining us next year I would say do it. You will enjoy it I promise. 

See you at the track,