Story By: NICK GRAZIANO / DIRTCAR – OSWEGO, NY – Super DIRTcar Series drivers have seven more chances to lock themselves into the Billy Whittaker Cars 200. With another day gone by, the horn has officially sounded – if you may – indicating to drivers and fans the 49th NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week, Oct. 6-10, is less than two months away.
That’s less than 60 days to purchase tickets. Less than 60 days to secure accommodations. Less than 60 days for drivers to register. And less than 60 days for Super DIRTcar Series drivers to secure a starting spot in the $50,000-to-win Billy Whittaker Cars 200 (Sunday, Oct. 10) at Oswego Speedway.
The Super DIRTcar drivers are on an every-race-matters schedule for the remainder of the season, leading up to Super DIRT Week. Every race – except the first night of the Cavalcade Weekend doubleheader at Weedsport Speedway (Sept. 11-12) – awards the winner with a guaranteed starting spot in the biggest event of the season. However, in total, that’s only seven more chances to win a spot into the Billy Whittaker Cars 200.
Drivers were recently awarded another chance to win their way into the main event with the addition of the $10,000-to-win The Demon 100 at Brewerton Speedway on Tuesday, Aug. 17.
So far, seven-time Series champion Matt Sheppard, five-time Super DIRT Week champion Stewart Friesen, 2021 DIRTcar Nationals champion Max McLaughlin, 2004 Super DIRT Week champion Tim Fuller and rising-star Demetrios Drellos have locked themselves into the main event.
“It was very exciting that we qualified for Super DIRT Week at Bristol (in April),” Drellos said. “The team and I are very proud. It definitely takes a lot of pressure off in terms of time getting our Big Block ready, and now our focus can be how to better the car for the race.”
To the 23-year-old, from Queensbury, NY, Super DIRT Week has always been a special event as a fan and driver. This year, its prestige shifts to another gear. Along with being locked in, he gets to share it with his son.
“Super DIRT Week is such a fun and exciting event,” Drellos said. “Racing is a family affair for us, and everyone, including our crew, works very hard at getting ready. So much preparation and focus go into the biggest event. This year, I get to share it with my son. Maybe one day he’ll be racing at Super DIRT Week with me.”
While teams are always putting as much effort as they can into winning every race, there’s an eagerness for those who have yet to secure a spot to be locked in for the comfortability and ability to focus on perfecting their car for the 200-lap Feature.
“I think everyone that follows this deal puts about all the effort you can muster into any of these races and so on,” said Jimmy Phelps, driver of the #98H Big Block. “It is certainly nice knowing you are locked in. If for some reason we lose some provisionals prior to that due to failures or a rough night. You’re not going to be chasing your tail. It creates a comfort level.”
From a promoter’s standpoint, Phelps has seen first-hand at Weedsport Speedway the level of excitement and passion New York fans have this year for seeing the Super DIRTcar Series in person.
“It’s been awesome,” he said. “Unlike anything we’ve seen in the past few years. If you look at the numbers, people came out in droves (for the Series race at Weedsport in May). We had a record crowd for that event. We thought, maybe we’re just early on here and people are hungry to see racing. So, when the weather gets nicer, we thought that might change. But it really hasn’t. Our event during Fourth of July weekend, they blew the doors off the place. Just a really good vibe and people are having fun.”
To help accommodate those still looking to camp near the area, Super DIRT Week has added a new camping site at Fulton Speedway for Friday, Oct. 8, to Monday morning on Oct. 11. For more information on the site, call 844-DIRT-TIX.