The 2016 edition of Super DIRT Week is set to be one of the most highly anticipated races in its 45 year history. After the closing of the “Moody Mile” in Syracuse, NY, the relocation to the normally hard-top Oswego Speedway begins a whole new era for this legendary event. Naturally, all who enter want to win; rookies, veterans, and even former race winners. This list includes 2004 race winner Tim Fuller, who believes that the race is not only as big as ever, but that this year in particular could be very unique, with a permanent home for the biggest of all Big-Block Modified events still up in the air.
“I think it’s like the last race at the Fairgrounds, personally. Everyone wanted to win the last one because there would only be on person to win it, and everybody would like to win the first one at a different place. Nobody has ever experienced this kind of history where Super DIRT Week is going to be at a different race track,” Fuller told us during a Super DIRT Week media presser this week.
“I’d rank it right up there with Charlotte and Eldora. It’s an event that could become just as big as any of the other ones. We don’t know how long it will be there. We don’t know if it will be there a year, two, whatever, but I think coming out of the gate winning the first one off the Fairgrounds is about as big as it gets.”
A large Big-Block Modified field stands in his way of a second event win, but Fuller firmly believes a pair of drivers are head-and-shoulders better than the rest of the competition. He claims 2009 race winner and current Super DIRTcar Series points leader Matt Sheppard and four-time race winner Stewart Friesen stand above the rest going into the week.
“They’re the biggest challenges; they’ve been the strongest all year. With the way Friesen has been going the last few years and the way Sheppard has been going the last six or seven years and what he’s displayed this year is total dominance,” Fuller explained.
“You’ve got to look at those two guys, they’re the two leaders of this sport right now and my concern is that they’re both good on those round race tracks, Canandaigua for Sheppard and Friesen has won everything at Fonda for the last few years. They’re round race tracks and I think that’s going to be good for them (as Oswego).
“I think we’ll be able to carry some of our experience at some of those race tracks into that, but my concern is when Sheppard was on that roll, we all figured he was going to lap the field at Oswego a couple of times and Friesen is going to be right there behind him. I think they’re going to be the two strongest ones going into this week and hopefully our car will be able to compete at that level.”
As for any race predictions, Fuller believes that despite questions on the track surface, he thinks there is a chance for more side by side racing then there was at Syracuse. However, he also believes the common theme strategy will continue to play a major role in the 300-lap marathon.
“Back then in them days (2004) it was pretty much one-lane and rubbered (up), and we just had to conserve. It came down to that one pit stop there and making your tires and fuel last. I don’t think it will turn into that at Oswego, but I could be wrong.”
For more information regarding NAPA Super DIRT Week, please visit superDIRTweekonline.com. Speed51.com powered by JEGS will have live updates from Super DIRT Week from Oct. 5 – 9.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter: @Connor51CT