NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week
Location: Oswego Speedway, Oswego, NY | Date: 10/6 – 10/10
DOLLARS ’N DIRT
Written by: Rex Roy
From New York to Iowa, from California to the Carolinas, dirt track racing is one of the most popular genres of motorized competition in North America. Why? Easy: accessibility and affordability. There are thousands of events at some 1,500 tracks across the continent. The competition supports local competitors yet offers national recognition. Classes range from karts up to 900-horsepower open-wheel monsters. Racers can be competitive at a reasonable cost (way less than the decal budget for the NASCAR operations at Hendrick Motorsports or Team Penske). And importantly, drivers have a reasonable shot at earning a share of the purse, which at this event, was up to $50,000.
The NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week happens at Oswego Speedway, a stone’s throw from Lake Ontario by the tiny town of Oswego, New York. Weather was great over the Columbus Day weekend, and “The Steel Palace” converted annually to “The Clay Palace” hosted some great action.
Here are some highlights…
Watching the Super DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, fans loved every heat from the first through the final. Heavy contact and a challenging race surface kept shaking up the fields in The Billy Whittaker Cars 200 feature. Mat Williamson earned a $50,000 payday in a smart race where he beat 40 others who took the green flag. Williamson earned a whopping $101,100 in his Super Dirt Week effort across the entire event.
Like with every non-sprint race, drivers in the longer events must preserve their hardware to make that final run for the checker. Runner-up Billy Decker used skill and experience to bring home the $25,000 second-place finish and the Penske Racing Shocks Hard Charger award. “I was just trying to keep the wheels on it,” Decker said. “It was a true test of man and machine out there.” Decker came up just short in making his final run on the last to pass Williamson. While he didn’t win, he was in the fray when it counted. And Decker’s payday wasn’t bad either.
The competition at Oswego was just as fierce in other races, including the DIRTcar 358 Modified Salute to the Troops 150. A 150-mile race with a 40-car field was the big event for this class. Canadian Stewart Friesen took the checker after coming in second four times before. To get to that point, Friesen had to beat a seasoned cast of drivers, including the aforementioned Williamson and Decker. Friesen’s prize? A trophy and $20,000.
In the DIRTcar Sportsman Chevy Performance 75, 21-year-old Zach Sobotka drove to a Sportsman Modified win beating everybody to the check at lap 55. His win netted him $4,000 and fame in his hometown of Parish, New York. Driving with style of a more experienced driver, Sobotka steered clear of wrecks and took advantages of multiple cautions to put himself in position to win as he moved up from starting in the 10th row.
There were many other great races at Oswego as can be seen in the huge photo gallery below. But, but for those readers who didn’t have a personal favorite to follow at Super DIRT Week, what’s important about this event is that it represents the entirety of the PRI community.
Think about the hundreds of cars that competed, their engines, drivelines, wheels, tires, and so much more. Think about the race suits, the helmets, the gloves, the fire gear. Think about the sponsors, the crews, and the garages that prepped the cars. Behind every item is a company or a person who produced a needed product or provided a critical service. This is the economic ecosystem that PRI represents.
PRI is continuing with its mission to promote and protect this community with the new PRI membership drive. PRI knows there’s political and economic power in a quantifiable community, which is why PRI membership is so critical.
Check out PRI’s new membership options for individuals and businesses here. Plan to attend the 2021 PRI Trade Show in Indianapolis on December 9–11 to catch up with the latest products and services. To register as an attendee for the 2021 PRI Trade Show, visit here.