The Super DIRTcar Series dropped an early Christmas gift to everyone this month, unveiling its full 2020 itinerary.

The program will include 30 tour stops. Eight of those events serve as opportunities to lock into the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at Super DIRT Week next October.

The schedule is highlighted by the return of the Eastern States Championship, with $40,000 going to the victor. The event is booked for Oct. 25 at Middletown’s Orange County Fair Speedway.

Thunder Mountain Speedway recently announced its 358-Modified and Sportsman programs will run under DIRTcar sanctions; that track will enjoy its first Super DIRTcar Series visit Aug. 4.

Bridgeport (NJ) Speedway also is back on the schedule, with the tour trying out the track’s new configuration July 29. Bridgeport is being shortened to three-eighths of a mile from the previous 5/8-mile layout.

Ohsweken Speedway will host the $10,000-to-win Whittaker Cars 200 qualifier July 6.

In all, there will be $1.3 million up for grabs in 2020.

The 2020 information comes on the heels of Mat Williamson’s official coronation as champion during the DIRTcar Night of Champions. More than $212,000 in winnings were distributed to nearly 100 Northeast talents. The year-end battle between Williamson and Matt Sheppard was one of the best ever, with Williamson edging the seven-time champion by 28 points.

The full points schedule opens April 11 at Lafargeville’s Can-Am Speedway, which has been reconfigured to four-tenths of a mile.

Weedsport Speedway follows with its annual Memorial Day weekend program, with the main feature set for May 25. There have been 68 series events contested at Weedsport, with three more races booked at the familiar Cayuga County stomping grounds in 2020.

The tour remains dormant most of June before Albany-Saratoga welcomes competitors for a Super DIRT Week qualifier in Brett Hearn’s Big Show XII June 23.

The action picks up noticeably in July. Land of Legends Speedway will host the first of its three dates with the Liberty 100 slated for July 2. The Summer Nationals at Ransomville Speedway is July 7, about a month earlier than its previous spot on the schedule.

July concludes with three races in four days. The torrid stretch opens July 26 with Weedsport’s Hall of Fame 100, paying $10,000 to the winner and standing as another Billy Whittaker Cars 200 qualifier. Orange County Fair’s Battle on the Midway 100 is July 28, and also pays $10,000 to the victor as another Super DIRT Week qualifier.

The second Land of Legends event, the Gerald Haers Memorial, is Aug. 13.

September opens with the Mr. DIRT Track USA event at Lebanon Valley. The event will offer a qualifying spot for the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 and $25,000 to the winner. Utica-Rome Speedway follows up with its annual big-block event Sept. 6. Weedsport host its third qualifier Sept. 12, during the Cavalcade Cup weekend, awarding the winner $10,000 and a Super DIRT Week starting spot. The Land of Legends trifecta wraps up Sept. 19 with a $10,000-to-win main and a guaranteed starting spot at Super DIRT Week.

Super DIRT Week is booked for Oct. 7-11, and for the fifth year in a row the action will be contested on an Oswego Speedway surface converted to a dirt track. It is capped on Oct. 11 with the running of the $50,000-to-win Billy Whittaker Cars 200.

The Eastern States 200 at Orange County Fair Speedway represents the penultimate tour stop in 2020. The Oct. 25 event pays $40,000 to the winner.

The season concludes with the Nov. 5-7 World Finals in Concord, N.C., where two features will decide the 2020 championship battle — provided it isn’t already decided at that point.

In all, more than $293,000 is on the line to tour winners alone, with a minimum of $500 to start a tour event offered at each race.

Of course, the unofficial series launch comes with the annual February action in Florida. The Super DIRTcar Series races five nights at Volusia Speedway Park. The tour will contest 40- and 50-lap non-points features Feb. 11-15. They will be running in conjunction with the World of Outlaws Late Models.

However, with all the fanfare surrounding the Night of Champions, there was a bit of coal left for Modified campaigners.

A rules bulletin issued Dec. 18 advises that for the 2020 season, 3-link rear suspensions will be permitted for competition in the Super DIRTcar Series, and weekly DIRTcar Modified, 358-Modified and Sportsman racing.

Updates were outlined, specifically to explain that a single-side, mechanical-rear-panhard adjustment will be allowed in the cockpit, with no other type of adjustment allowed (brake bias is allowed, though). Further, only double-sided torque arms will be permitted, and must ride perpendicular to the rear end; and the front torque-arm attaching point must be centered in the chassis, from left to the right.

A third item under the suspension component section of the rule book advised only conventional aluminum birdcages were allowed. They must be clamped or fixed to rear-end tubes and cannot move.

The section titled Rear Suspension Attaching (radius) Rods had two updates, with only one radius rod per side allowed to locate rear end to the chassis. Specifically, it reads “No 4-link style suspensions will be permitted.” It also states the “radius rod must be mounted in a fixed position front and rear.”

The 4-link has been tried multiple times in the history of Northeast dirt-car racing. DIRTcar is addressing growing concerns of cost, where teams were traveling with two cars, or at least two rear suspension combinations to they could adjust to what the car needed on track. Looking beyond the big-blocks, that can amount to a major expense to 358-Modified or Sportsman teams. While the advent of the Modified was built on creativity and ingenuity, the process of trying to help manage costs for competitors weighed in on the overall decision.

This could prove a turning point, though, as different tracks outside the DIRTcar sanctions may adopt different rules packages. Furthermore, different touring series may elect to go an alternate way.

At this point, DIRTcar is sticking with their no 4-link rule for 2020.

Coming Jan. 7: A look into 2020 Sportsman schedules and their regional structure under DIRTcar.

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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