Since its founding in 2014, the Short Track Super Series North Region has been ruled for the most part by Sheffield, MA Dirt Modified veteran Andy Bachetti. The driver known as “The Wild Child” won the title in 2014, 2016 and 2017. He’ll begin his journey towards a fourth championship this weekend when the STSS North begins its season with the Hard Clay Open at Orange County Fair Speedway (NY).
Recent news of the Middletown, NY track falling under the management of businessman and Modified sponsor Chris Larsen has Bachetti even more excited to head to one of his favorite tracks.
“Orange County is a lot of fun. I enjoy racing at that place,” Bachetti told Speed51.com. “I’m excited to hear that they are going to upgrade it. Chris Larsen is taking it over and I think it’s going to be a big plus for that place.”
Through the years, Bachetti has also developed an understanding of how the track behaves under almost all weather conditions, a knowledge which can help with the sometimes unpredictable nature of “The Hard Clay.”
“Depending on what the race track does during the day and if it takes rubber or doesn’t, the fast way around the place is where ever the car is good.”
But with such a hard and flat surface comes the risk of excessive tire wear, an issue that even Bachetti is not immune to.
“You’re always concerned there because it is such a hard surface, it’s real, real abrasive. Tire wear is a huge factor there,” he explained. “I hear they are going to do some work to it after this race from what I know to help going forward.”
The tricky surface has never been one to stop Bachetti, as he came back to win the 2017 season opening Hard Clay Open and nearly repeated last October in the Hard Clay Finale.
“That was a great race for us (last April). We got screwed up in the heat race, ended up hitting a muffler that was loose on the track and got a flat,” Bachetti stated. “We started real deep in the feature but I chugged my way up through the field, got another flat and came back through again. It can be one of those races that’s about attrition.”
Last year’s Hard Clay Open helped to set the tone for Bachetti over the entire season. A win this Sunday could do the same for 2018.
“You need all you can get because the (Short Track Super) Series has come on strong and a lot of guys are running it, a lot of top teams are right there.”
Despite the competition ratchetting up significantly for the season ahead, Bachetti feels confident he can make it three straight titles come October.
“Mike Garrity, Garrity Asphalt and Reclaiming, he gives me all the tools I need,” he said. “With him on board and with all my product sponsors, there’s a lot of great people behind me. My whole crew is a bunch of really good guys. I got what I need to do the job, you just need a little luck behind you too.”
Bachetti is even stepping up his season plans from a year ago, adding the full STSS South schedule to running the North tour, plus his Friday and Saturday weekly schedules.
“We’re going to run the whole south series, along with the North. We’ll chase the American Racer Cup at Afton Motorsports Park on Friday nights, we’re going to run the 358’s at Lebanon Valley Saturday’s this year with Jimmy Winchell’s car, and we’ll do some other shows that are higher paying here and there. We got a lot of good things in the works right now.”
Fans unable to make it to Orange County Fair Speedway this Sunday afternoon can watch all STSS Modified heat, consolation, and feature racing action from the Hard Clay Open free on Speed51.com as premium subscriber to the Speed51 Network. Click here to join today for just $7.99 a month or $69.99 a year.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / MoJo Photos