The inaugural ‘Hard Clay Open’ presented by United Pump & Tank, East Coast Speed/ECS Auto and West Point Golf – paying a base purse of $30,000 – heads the list of spring events for dirt Modified competitors on Sunday, March 23. The 50-lap National Dirt Racing League (NDRL) Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP big-block/small-block Modified event at Orange County Fair Speedway offers $5,000 to the race winner, but the strength of the payout is the balance throughout the 28-car starting field. Second place offers $4,000; fifth-place $1,500; 10th place $1,000; and $500 just to take the green flag!
The event, promoted by Brett Deyo of BD Motorsports Media LLC via an agreement with speedway promoters Michael Gurda IV and Howard Commander, holds added significance. The ‘Hard Clay Open’ serves as the opening round of the newly formed NDRL Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP, a six-race dirt Modified touring series offering a base point fund of $23,272.22, plus an additional $2,500 in attendance bonuses and a potential $2,500 increase via NDRL Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP ‘Super Fan Plan’ raffle ticket sales.
“Position-for-position, lap-for-lap the ‘Hard Clay Open’ is not only the richest pre-season springtime race, it’s one of the best-paying events for dirt Modified racers all year,” said event promoter Deyo, also the NDRL Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP coordinator. “A one-day show, paying a base purse of $30,000, plus all the product and cash bonuses, it’s going to be a great day for our racers.”
Lap sponsorships for the ‘Hard Clay Open’ have been on sale all winter. Each of the race’s 50 laps has now been sold – many twice – for a total of $2,371. That number could increase as laps are now being “doubled and tripled up” with lap money. The cash collected via lap sponsorships will be distributed through the top-seven running order during the 50-lap main.
Teo-Pro Car of Vernon, N.J., will reward the leader at the halfway mark – lap 25 – with a $500 product certificate in addition to the lucrative $400 Halfway Leader cash bonus posted by Rock Fantasy Smoke and Concert Shop and Pinball Room of Middletown, N.Y., and its owner Stephen Keeler.
The first Orange County Fair Speedway driver across the line in the ‘Hard Clay Open’ Modified event will receive a $250 cash prize from Simplicity Design proprietor Ryan Sacco. Should the first Orange County driver win the event, the incentive will increase to $500 cash.
Three ‘Judy Tuit Memorial’ Awards had been posted by Ray and Debbie Tuit and Mike Sparta Trucking Offering cash bonuses of $200, $150 and $150 to the third-, sixth- and seventh-place finishers, respectively, in the Modified event. According to the Tuits, those numbers could grow prior to race day.
Other cash incentives include a $210 Hard Charger Award posted by McGannon Excavating, a $50 17th-place bonus from Elmo’s Auto Body, and $200 spread amongst the final 10 finishers from Rochinski Contracting Services.
A long list of product/certificate awards will be distributed during the event, as well, from Schaeffer Racing Oil, American Racer/Lias Tire, Shiley Fabrication, DRACO Springs, Vahlco Wheels, Allstar Performance, ATL Fuel Cells, Finish Line Web Design, BFP Specialty, Bob Hilbert Sportswear and PM3 Digital Imaging.
A complete list of special awards for the NDRL Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP can be found at www.bdmotorsportsmedia.com.
Joining the NDRL big-block/small-block Modifieds are the 602 Sportsman of the Dig Safely New York GRIT Series in a 25-lap event paying $1,000 to the winner and $100 to start. The GRIT staff has secured lap money and contingency awards for the special event.
Due to high off-season demand, advance tickets – for the first time in BD Motorsports Media history – are offered. Tickets can be purchased in-person at the Orange County Fair Speedway office – located at 239 Wisner Avenue Middletown, NY 10940 – Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone sales, utilizing a credit card, can be completed during the same business hours by calling 845.343.2573. Checks, made payable to Orange County Fair Speedway, can be mailed to the speedway office address above.
Admission for the ‘Hard Clay Open’ is $20 for Adults, $18 for Seniors and $2 for Kids 12 and under. Pit admission is $35, with no license required.
Big- and small-block combinations are legal for this unique event with staggered minimum weights. American Racer and Hoosier tires are both legal, as well. Accepted tire compounds have been outlined in the race rules/information.
For the first time ever at Orange County, sail panels are permitted for the ‘Hard Clay Open’ Modified event. Sail panels must be no taller than 65 inches when measured from the ground and must mirror each other in size and shape side-for-side. A four-inch roof spoiler is permitted, as well. All other Orange County/DIRTcar body rules will be in effect. Complete race rules, weights and tire compounds can be found online at www.bdmotorsportsmedia.com or www.orangecountyfairspeedway.net.
For qualifying, drivers will draw for their starting positions upon entry to the speedway. Heat-race finishes utilizing staggered passing points will be calculated to set the redraw participants and qualified cars from 10-lap heat races. Consolations, 10 laps each, will set the remainder of the 28-car starting field via their order of finish. The heat-race finish/passing point combination will set the starting lineups for the consolations.
The passing points system, new to Modified racing but widely used in other forms of racing including Sprint Cars and the famed ‘Chili Bowl’ in Tulsa, Okla., aims to satisfy the desires of both racers and fans by easing the consequences of a poor draw for competitors and providing heat-race excitement for fans.
The ‘Hard Clay Open’ will be contested on a date that is conflict-free on the dirt Modified landscape. The Sunday afternoon lid-lifter should attract a cross-section of cars from the north, south, east and west. On Saturday of the weekend (March 22), New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway hosts an event, setting up a potential two-day swing south for traveling teams from Central New York and further north.
Fans can be assured pit-area parking will be laid out carefully to keep larger haulers toward the center, with only smaller trucks and trailers in the corners to ensure maximum visibility. The show will be fast-paced to allow fans and racers ample travel time on a Sunday night.
The GRIT Series 602 Sportsman will draw for starting positions with a redraw of top qualifiers for the main event. Heats and consolations will be eight laps. GRIT Series rules will be in effect on this event. Visit www.gritracingseries.com for further information.
For the 2014 ‘Hard Clay Open’ event, pit gates open at 8 a.m. Grandstand gates open at 10 a.m. A drivers’ meeting will take place at 1 p.m., with hot laps at 1:20 p.m. and racing at 2 p.m. Fans can expect a pre-race autograph session/meet and greet in both the grandstand and drive-in areas.
The ‘Hard Clay Open’ will mark the second earliest Orange County opener since the speedway began hosting stock cars regularly in 1948, eclipsed only by March 18, 1984 when Larry Brolsma drove to victory.
For further ‘Hard Clay Open’ information, contact Brett Deyo of BD Motorsports Media at Deyo99H@aol.com or by phone at 845.728.2781. BD Motorsports Media is on the web at www.bdmotorsportsmedia.com. “Like” BD Motorsports Media on Facebook or “follow” @BrettDeyo on Twitter.
Located at 239 Wisner Avenue Middletown, NY 10940 on the Orange County Fairgrounds, Orange County Fair Speedway is the oldest continuously operating dirt track in the United States. The first auto race was held at the speedway in 1919. The five-eighths-mile oval offers fully-covered and half-covered grandstands in addition to open bleacher seating on the frontstretch and turn one areas, with drive-in viewing on the backstretch. To learn more, contact the Orange County Fair Speedway office at 845.342.2573 or visit www.orangecountyfairspeedway.net.
In the event of inclement weather, the rain date is tentatively slated for Friday, March 28.
The regular season at Orange County is slated to get underway with an open practice on March 29 and the official Season Opener on April 5.
The ‘Hard Clay Open’ is presented by United Pump & Tank, East Coast Speed/ECS Auto, West Point Golf, Rock Fantasy Concert, Smoke Shop & Pinball Room, Simplicity Design, 673 Racing, Mike Sparta Trucking, Elmo’s Auto Body, Zubi’s Racing, McGannon Excavating, Teo-Pro Car, Rochinski Contracting Services, Bob Hilbert Sportswear & many other fine marketing and lap sponsors.
The National Dirt Racing League (NDRL) Short Track Super Series is presented by VP Racing Fuels, Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc., East Coast Speed/ECS Auto, Rochinski Contracting Services, Allstar Performance, American Racer/Lias Tire, Art’s Radiator, ATL Fuel Cells, BFP Specialty, Bicknell Racing Products, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, COMP Performance Group, DRACO Springs, Driven Racing Oil, ERK Steering, Finish Line Web Design, H.B. Steele & Son, Henry’s Stainless Steel Exhaust, Hig Fab Chassis, Jack’s Used Race Car Parts, Kirkey Racing Products, PM3 Digital Imaging, Quarter Master, Schaeffer Racing Oil, Shiley Fabrication, Teo-Pro Car, Troyer Race Cars & Vahlco Wheels.