OSWEGO, N.Y. — Cars don’t hit the track until Wednesday afternoon at Oswego Speedway nd already 144 of them rolled through NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week Early Bird Technical Inspection on Tuesday.
The astonishing number of cars — 31 more than went through Early Inspection last year — were lined up before 9 a.m. and continued until 6 p.m. when two-time champion Danny Johnson’s No. 27j machine was the final car to pass through the inspectors before officials had to head toward Utica-Rome Speedway for Tuesday night’s DIRTcar 358 Modified and Sportsman events. Technical inspection resumes Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.
“It’s a good crew, everybody has at least five years of experience in the tech line, all the same people all the time and it makes it go smooth, they know what they’ve got to check and they know what they’ve got to do,” said DIRTcar Technical Director Mark Hitchcock. “The teams know what’s expected of them, too.”
Of the 144 cars that went through Tuesday’s inspection, there were 51 Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds and 51 DIRTcar 358 Modifieds.
- Billy Whittaker isn’t only the sponsor of the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 for the Super DIRTcar Series, he’s also trying to win a car for a lucky fan. If Whittaker wins the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 on Sunday, a fan will win a Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux Ford Fusion from entries gathered during the event.
“I’m very proud to sponsor this race with the history of it and all the big sponsors that were a part of it,” Whittaker said. “I’m proud to be able to sponsor this and race in it. I’m just fully involved and it’s just cool.”
Whittaker is definitely gearing up to go for the win, but he knows it won’t be an easy task.
“There’s a lot that goes into NAPA Super DIRT Week,” Whittaker said. “You gotta get through tech, get to the night shows, be able to process and get it ready with a short turnaround. The challenge for us part-timers is definitely tough. The professionals do this so well. We’re going to try to make the Salute to the Troops 150, as well.
“We have our work cut out for us this week, but we’ve got really good race cars. We’ve got a good team put together and we’re gonna have some fun, hopefully. Our main goal is to get into the 200. There’s a lot of competition, a lot of guys. Qualifying is our first objective.”
- Rookie Demetrios Drellos won the most recent Super DIRTcar Series race, Sept. 21 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, and in the process guaranteed himself a spot in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200. He’ll do double-duty this week, also running the DIRTcar 358 Modified Salute to the Troops 150.
“There is pressure to qualify because you still want a good starting spot,” Drellos said. “But it does take some pressure off knowing you will be in the show no matter what.”
No doubt, Drellos is not underestimating the task ahead.
“At Super DIRT Week you have to prepare for having full fuel load for longer in the Big Blocks,” Drellos said. “You have to prepare a strategy for when you pit. It’s hard to get everyone to agree on a strategy. When is the best time to pit for us? We have to plan for when the race changes and how we adapt to that. It’s a lot more planning with the team.
“We give the cars a real good freshening up. We go through them thoroughly. We got new bodies, because you want to look nice, it’s NAPA Super DIRT Week and it’s great for the sponsors.”
- Veteran racer Pat Ward is also running the Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar 358 Modified events at NAPA Super DIRT Week.
“We went through the whole car, put some new parts on her, a new body, and we’ll send her out there and see what happens,” Ward said. “We’re prepared. We’ve done this for a lot of years. It’s a lot of work because it’s a lot of racing. If you are going good, it’s fun; if not, it’s a long week.”
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