The challenges of the 2020 racing season have been well-documented. However, with the endless list of adversities faced by tracks, series, drivers and officials, fans were able to enjoy the thrill of a points chase in the Northeast, with the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship.
Hoosier Racing Tire teamed with DIRTcar Northeast to add value to any DIRTcar-sanctioned events in New York, along with Pennsylvania and Vermont, and the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec. DIRTcar suspended point events for the touring Super DIRTcar Series and did not crown a champion in 2020. That move in turn put the focus on the Weekly Championship program, which was formerly known as the Mr. DIRT and then Mr. DIRTcar Championship). The program, at present, tallies a driver’s top 16 finishes and awards points based on finish position; the purse payout went as far down as 20th place in each division and the total monies paid eclipsed $45,000.
Stewart Friesen took the Modified laurels, winning a total of nine times while juggling a busy Gander Mountain NASCAR Truck Series commitment. He picked up wins at Orange County Fair Speedway and Albany-Saratoga, in addition to capturing the checkers on Bridgeport’s new configuration. The season-long success is worth $5,000.
Mat Williamson dominated the 358-Modified division, winning nine times and posting 14 top fives in his 16-race compilation. The bulk of those performances were logged in Canadian action, with COVID-19 travel restrictions affecting border crossings. Even with his struggles during the OktoberFAST events, his consistency constructed an insurmountable points advantage, and he will pocket $3,000 for the efforts.
Kevin Root won the Sportsman Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship. It would stand to reason, given the dominant performances he posted all season at Can-Am Speedway. When paired with wins at Utica-Rome, the lone Weedsport event and his home track Land of Legends, he seemed destined to win. However, Andrew Buff’s own gem of a campaign took the battle to the wire, with Root winning the $1,000 prize by just eight markers.
The challenge of this title chase is the vast landscape on which it is contested. Individuals are scoring points in events against other drivers they may have never seen in 2020. The DIRTcar Pro Stock battle delivered on that premise, much like the DIRTcar 358 division. Drivers in Canada put pressure on the point leaders. Ultimately, even with the wide range of tracks and drivers, the points finale was settled between drivers sharing home tracks. Luke Horning took the title by 12 points over Josh Coonradt. Horning scored wins at Albany-Saratoga, Glen Ridge Motorsports Park and Utica-Rome. Coonradt matched that, with wins at both Albany-Saratoga and Utica-Rome, and Airborne Speedway.
There will be no banquet, and posted awards will be paid by mail on Nov. 21.
LAST CALL at Charlotte
The final installments of the 2020 World of Outlaws Season were written at the Dirt Track at Charlotte during the World of Outlaws Last Call. This event supplanted the cancelled World Finals. Due to travel restrictions, the DIRTcar Modifieds were not even on the card.
Brad Sweet clinched his second straight World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink championship on the opening night of the double-header. David Gravel won the race while leading flag to flag en route to his third straight win at Charlotte. Sweet was patient and focused, racing to fourth to silence all title debate. Gravel won ahead of Sheldon Haudenschild, Donny Schatz, Sweet and Kyle Larson.
In the finale, it was Sweet and Logan Schuchart capping the 2020 campaign by mirroring the way they opened it. Schuchart picked up the win in the DIRTcar Nationals, with Sweet pocketing the mini-series title. Again, Schuchart won the race and Sweet was officially named season champion.
Shuchart won the $12,000 feature ahead of Sweet, David Gravel, Kerry Madsen and Brian Brown.
By finishing ahead of Gravel, Sweet also locked up the team championship for Kasey Kahne Racing.
On the World of Outlaws Late Model Side, Brandon Sheppard capped his third World of Outlaws Late Model Series Championship in four years. Meanwhile, Tim McCreadie posted his own notable accomplishment.
McCreadie posted his first career win in a late model at Charlotte, taking the checkers for the first time in 36 attempts. McCreadie delivered a picturesque slide job on lap 31 to overtake Ricky Weiss and then denied Brandon Overton a double-down in the late stages. The win adds another line item to McCreadie’s resume, and the 46-year old racer had previously proven he can win on the 4/10-mile oval. He did it four times in a DIRTcar Modified. Weiss held on for second ahead of Overton, Chris Madden and Dale McDowell.
Sheppard has been a full-time platinum level World of Outlaw LMS driver for four years, and won a title in three of them. 2020 offered his second straight, and the third title matches Billy Moyer and Darrell Lanigan’s title trifecta, and ranks him one season crown behind the all-time leader, Josh Richards (four titles). Driving the Mark Richards-owned Rocket machines, Sheppard and Richards have four titles together and Sheppard delivered the team’s seventh team title. Richards is the winningest team owner in WoO LMS history. Entering 2021, Sheppard has 69 wins, second only to Josh Richards’ all-time mark of 77.
Overton won the opener, holding off Dennis Erb, McCreadie, Donny Schatz and Sheppard.
STSS Cajun Swing this week
The Short Track Super Series will be racing their Cajun Swing this week.
In a season that seemed destined to never start now seems to have no end. The Series will visit Ark-La-Tex Speedway Wednesday and Thursday, in Vivian, LA before racing Friday and Saturday at Chatham Speedway in Chatham, LA racing side-by-side with the Southern Super Modifieds.
The Ark-La-Tex kick off will see a 40-lap, $4,000-to-win modified main. The Thursday event will feature a 50-lap, $5,000-to-win finale before the series heads 120 miles east to Chatham.
Friday’s Chatham card includes qualifying races for the 75-lap Mods in the Marsh event, and will feature full programs for the Crate Late Models, Limited, Street Stocks, B Mods, Factory Stocks, Compacts and Beginner classes. The stakes will be cranked way up on Saturday, where the Mods in the Marsh program headlines the marquee that again includes several support divisions. The top five modified payout in the 75-lapper is $20,000 to win, followed by $7,500 for second, $3,500 for third, $2,000 for fourth and $1,500 for fifth.
For additional details on this week’s races, visit shorttracksuperseries.com.
Chris Marquart’s “Motorsports” appears every other Tuesday during racing’s offseason. Contact Chris at (315) 729-3999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.