Many questions have surrounded the 45th edition of Super DIRT Week since the closure of the “Moody Mile” in Syracuse last year. While the biggest question of all, where the event will be held, has been answered with Oswego Speedway (NY), there are still many unknowns surrounding the inaugural dirt race at the track.
What will the track conditions be like and how will it drive? That is a question a lot of drivers and fans are asking themselves heading into the big weekend.
Six-time race winner Brett Hearn believes the unknowns could make for one of the most evenly matched Super DIRT Weeks in history.
“The cool thing about them doing this at Oswego is that it’s neutral territory,” Hearn said in a Super DIRT Week interview. “Nobody has any notes. We don’t have any clue on what to expect. So it’s really the most neutral ground we’ve been on in a long time.”
“What we’re going to get for a surface, whether it’s going to be smooth and slippery. Is it going to be rough and heavy? Is it going to be abrasive? That’s the curveball that we got,” Wight told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Despite the unknowns for Wight, he may be the competitor with the biggest leg up right now, having helped to truck in the very dirt that he and his fellow racers will be racing on next week.
“My father and myself are the ones that hauled in all the clay that was stockpiled at the track and we had a lot of our equipment there putting the clay down.”
Wight has also been very impressed by the progress the prep crew has made the last several days.
“So far it went down nice. We were able to get an entire week with no rain, some nice sun, and a little bit of wind to help dry it out,” Wight explained. “It laid down nice, as long as the group at World Racing Group keeps packing it together and getting it tightened up it should be okay.”
As for a possible leg up, Wight admits he just might have a bit of a head start.
“Little bit. Driving the dump truck, bulldozer, and all that around enough times by now, I kind of have an idea of the shape of it, and the banking,” Wight stated. “I at least got a ballpark figure of what we should put in the car for a setup.”
Hearn also pointed out in an online interview that while the unknowns are plentiful, there are some details that you can plan for going in, including some race conditions that teams have always faced when the race was held down the road in Syracuse.
“The race will obviously be shorter, more laps and probably more abrasive,” he said. “It will be more in line with some of the short track racing that we do at shorter tracks. As far as the preparations, as aerodynamics go, we will be concentrating more on suspension, strategy for 300 laps, which we have never done before. It’s going to put emphasis on the crew getting in and out cleanly. Those things that made Syracuse different from the rest.”
Race distance and pit stops are a challenge for all in competition, as it is still the only race on the calendar that sees such occurrences. But for rookie drivers, including Max McLaughlin, how to get pit stops down may be an even bigger question than how the racetrack will behave.
“I’m super excited, this will be my longest race so far,” McLaughlin said. “I’m excited about that and I’ve never done live pit stops, that’ll be another thing.”
Be sure to follow the progress of all the Big-Block Modified competitors at the “Clay Palace” right here on Speed51.com next week leading up to the big 300-lap feature on Sunday, October 9.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Mojo Photos