In a career spanning four decades with 903 career victories, Brett Hearn has a list of favorite tracks that’s longer than most of other drivers. And while most of those track are in Northeast Dirt Modified territory, one of them is quite far away and that makes it all the more special.
Volusia Speedway Park, which hosts the DIRTcar Nationals every Florida Speedweeks in February, is the winter home of the Super DIRTcar Series. The fast half-mile hosts the Big-Block Modifieds for conclusion of the two-week event. For 2018, DIRTcar Racing has upped the stakes for the Big-Blocks by increasing the nights of competition from four to five nights.
For Hearn, who won his eighth DIRTcar Nationals title in 2017, it is news that has brightened his already famous smile.
“I love the place, it’s one of my favorite tracks, it’s a great trip, and it’s a great opportunity racing five nights in a row to really see what you’ve got,” Hearn told Speed51.com. “You never know with the weather (in FL) if you’re going to get in all five nights. Last year we only got in two out of four. It’s good to have five nights in a row. If we do get them in you’re going to have your tongue hang out by the end of the week.”
While most SDS teams will head south over the weekend, Hearn was more than half the distance to the Sunshine State on Wednesday evening, with the No. 20 team ready to test new cars for the Nationals and the entire SDS season. The two-day private test, which is on for Thursday and Friday, also came out of a new procedure for the Big-Blocks at Volusia in 2018.
“We are on our way to do some testing for two days north of Tampa. We’ve got new stuff, experimental stuff, so we’ve got some work to do and some stuff to sort out. We figure it’s in our best interest, especially with no practice this year. It’s a pretty tough gig, especially with new stuff. You’ve got to run two hot laps on a wet track and then time trial, so the pressure is on.”
Though much time has been spent on getting up to date with the latest in Dirt Modified racing, Hearn believes it will be essential if he wants to run for championships in the Super DIRTcar Series and his home tracks by year’s end. Not only will the two test days be critical for this goal, but so will the five nights of racing at Volusia.
“There’s a lot of things going on right now with the new technology and everyone trying to get level with what’s working for them. But for us to open the season with the same stuff we had last year and make it that much better was not really realistic. We really had to go back and sort some things out and go back after it. It’s going to be a big test of where we’re at for the year. It’s going to be a really big test.”
In order to be ready for the five nights themselves, Hearn and the crew have much to do with not a ton of time.
“I’ll have a much better idea (how we will do next week) after the next two days. I can’t wait to get my new stuff. We got so much to try. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Even with so much business to attend to, Hearn is still ready to go Gator hunting and have a grand old time.
“Florida’s always fun, but the racing’s first and foremost. Hey, if we don’t get rained out, we’re pretty much locked into the track the entire week, but we’re ready for that.”
Join Speed51.com starting Tuesday, February 13 for coverage of all five nights of Super DIRTcar Series racing next week from the 47th DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com