Utica-Rome Speedway has entered into an agreement with Thunder Mountain Speedway to create a dual championship program titled the “Backroads Battle.”

Thunder Mountain established a DIRTcar sanction on its 358-Modified and Sportsman Modified divisions during the current off-season, as well as announcing plans to switch to Hoosier Racing Tires for weekly racing. This change led to a discussion between Bill Shea at Utica-Rome and Thunder Mountain’s Karl Spoonhower — and the Backroads Battle Series was born.

A division champion will take home a minimum of $1,500. The top 10 point collectors will earn season-end rewards. The series is open to DIRTcar 358-Modifieds, DIRTcar Sportsman and the Street Stock division, with all three divisions going against one another for a single championship title. Points are awarded based on a driver’s eight best finishes at each oval, and any driver racing both tracks in a single weekend will collect a 10-point bonus.

Qualified drivers will need to post a minimum of eight starts at each track, with weather serving as the only clause that could modify that number. However, either track would have to see a large portion of their schedule wiped out to only see seven events contested. Both tracks use the 60-point DIRTcar system to calculate the rankings, and weekly track points at each track will be used to determine a driver’s eight best at each location.

“This is something different we haven’t done before,” Shea said in a statement through DIRTcar. “When Thunder Mountain decided to add the DIRTcar 358-Modifieds weekly we started having conversations and things kind of took off from there. I think we’ve come up with a pretty neat program.”

“We went out on a limb to change things up for this season with the DIRTcar and Hoosier program,” Spoonhower added. “We’ve had a lot of really positive feedback about the change. When we started chatting with everyone at Utica-Rome it just made sense. We have a lot in common. We couldn’t think of a better way to help both our tracks and to give back to our drivers by adding some extra incentives to run both tracks.”

For more information on each speedway, or to learn more about the Backroad Battle or the divisions included, visit thundermtnspeedway.net or uticaromespeedway.com.

Sportsman East Region takes shape

As discussed in January, an Eastern Region has been established as part of the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series.

The four-race region will include New York tracks Utica-Rome Speedway, Albany-Saratoga Speedway, and Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, along with Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vt. Each date will pay at minimum of $1,000 to win; the top five in the region’s point standings will share a $1,500 point fund; and $500 is reserved to the regional champion.

Bear Ridge Speedway will start the series, with local stars facing off with the touring talents May 9. This will mark the first DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series event at the oval.

Utica-Rome will host the East Region Aug. 2; Albany-Saratoga is slated for Sept. 11; and Glen Ridge puts a wrap on the East circuit Sept. 13.

In all, the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series will include 30 dates.

More information is available online at DIRTcarUMP.com.

Drummond and Airborne team up

Autodrome Drummond in Drummondville, Quebec, and Plattsburgh Airborne Speedway have added DIRTcar Pro Stocks to their weekly calendars.

All tracks signing on will include their division drivers in the weekly Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship chase. Drivers will have their top 16 weekly, series and DIRTcar-sanctioned special events counted toward the year-end point fund.

Given the close proximity of Airborne and Drummond, track officials from the two ovals have pledged to collaborate on schedules to benefit the Pro Stock driver pool.

Deery, World Racing Group part ways

World Racing Group and Tom Deery, the COO of World of Outlaws and DIRTcar Racing, have parted ways after 14 years. Deery joined WRG in February 2006.

Brian Carter will direct all competition aspects of World Racing Group on an interim basis. Carter currently serves as CEO of World of Outlaws and DIRTcar.

The official WRG statement:

“With immediate effect, Tom Deery has resigned from his position as COO of the World of Outlaws and DIRTcar Racing and he is no longer with the company. Tom… has made countless contributions during his tenure. His passion and devotion to the business of motorsports have always been clear and we wish him the best in future pursuits.

‘This is a personal matter for Tom and a personnel matter for our organization and as such, we will not be making any further comments.”

For more information, visit worldracinggroup.com.

Motorsports Expo is March 14-15

The Syracuse Motorsports Expo is planned for March 14-15 in the Center of Progress Building at the New York State Fairgrounds.

Tracks, sanctioning bodies and racers from around the Northeast, and Weedsport Speedway, will be part of the festivities.

“The tradition of the Syracuse Motorsports Expo is alive and well, and all of us at Weedsport cannot think of a better way to get the season started each year,” Weedsport Speedway promoter Jimmy Phelps said in a press release. “We will again have a full presence all weekend long with Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport Kartway, Weedsport Productions, Off Track TV LIVE and The Gearbox on site.”

Off Track TV Live will air at noon March 14 from the Weedsport Speedway area. Shane Andrews and Dan Kapuscinski will co-host the program and welcome several special guests.

On a side note, Weedsport Speedway is set to open for practice May 3.

For more information about the Expo, visit http://www.syracusemotorsportsexpo.com/.

Chris Marquart’s “Motorsports” appears each Tuesday from April through October, and every other Tuesday from November through March. Contact Chris at (315) 729-3999 or smashedempirefilms@gmail.com.

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