SUSSEX, NJ — On Sunday, October 12, 1980, dirt track Modified racing was changed forever when Florida driver Gary Balough, behind the wheel of a revolutionary race car, totally dominated the Super DIRT Week Schaefer 200 before a full house crowd at the New York State Fairgrounds and a national ESPN television audience.
The car Balough drove that day was unlike any previous dirt track Modified, with a wide body, a large slab roof, and serious attention to aerodynamics. With Balough, already a three-time winner of the October classic, the Batmobile (so-named for its look and black paint) easily turned fast times, started from the pole and handily won the 125-lap race.
“It made every other Modified obsolete,” says Brett Hearn, who drove a conventional 1980s style car in the race, running as high as fifth before being sidelined with a blown engine. “The sanctioning body outlawed the car from further competition, but that winter many teams—mine included—built new cars implementing several of the Batmobile’s aerodynamic ideas. Today’s dirt Modifieds owe their heritage to the Batmobile.”
The restored legendary car and its equally legendary driver will be at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Tuesday, June 25 as part of The Big Show 10 Midway attraction. Balough will also sign copies of his newly-released book, Hot Shoe A Checkered Past: My Story, co-written with Bones Bourcier and published by Coastal 181.
Fans are encouraged to come out early, see the Batmobile, meet Gary, take some photos, get an autograph or a signed copy of the new book.
Presented by Recovery Sports Grills, Halmar International, and VP Racing Fuels, The Big Show 10 is bound to be an exciting evening of dirt track racing at its very best. Fox Shocks is the presenting sponsor of the twin Sportsman races and will award the winners of each race a $250 bonus if their cars are equipped with Fox Shocks. “Thanks to our sponsors, the winner of the race will take home $10,000, one of the larger payouts on the Super DIRTcar Series tour, fans can share a $1,000 Pick-the-Quick contest prize, and our support Sportsman drivers will race for $1,000-to-win in each of their two features” says Hearn. “What better way to kick off the summer than a great race at a great race track.”
Brett Hearn is a champion professional race car driver with 904 feature race wins to his credit. He holds 91 track and series championships including seven point titles at Albany-Saratoga-Speedway and is the defending Modified division champion at Lebanon Valley Speedway. In 2013, Hearn was named “Area Auto Racing News 50 Years Greatest Driver.” Driven Marketing is Hearn’s team that promotes special motorsports events.
Racing on Tuesday, June 26 begins with warm-ups at 6:00 pm, but fans should plan to come early to enjoy the Midway activities which include an hour autograph session with all the top drivers.
Hearn may be contacted Mondays through Thursdays during business hours by media members at 973-702-0819, or go to www.thebigshow10.com or www.bretthearn.com for additional information.
-Brett Hearn/Driven Marketing Press Release
-Photo credit: Brett Hearn/Driven Marketing