“We’re set to run, wish we would’ve picked this weekend for our opener,” smiled Wight, alluding to the forecast of 70-degree temperatures predicted the first week of April. A special Test & Tune practice session for all classes will still take place April 3 at 12noon with pit gates opening at 11:30 a.m. “You just never know this time of year.”
“I live five miles from the track and know we had about 160 inches of snow this winter. The rain finally got rid of the last pile a week ago and we were able to dig up and grade the track over the weekend. I’m counting on the weather staying good, then we’ll have everything ready to go for all the fans and racers coming in,” Wight confirmed.
Wight will be smiling even more when all the stars from the Super DIRTcar Series converge on Fulton for round two of the annual tour, each looking for the $6,000 winner’s check in the much anticipated season-opener at the Route 57 speedplant. Not only is Wight the track owner, he presides over one of the top teams on the circuit today, and his first-string driver Billy Decker captured the recent Series lid-lifter at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway in pursuit of a third overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship.
“I don’t think there’s any added pressure for Billy, he’s the kind of guy that wants to win every race no matter where he goes,” added Wight, whose Gypsum Wholesalers-Stadium International monikers join Quality Hardwoods on Decker’s no. 91 Bicknell entry. Teammates Larry Wight, Pat Ward and Ryan Phelps will be among the familiar sea of red Gypsum rides helping make up the stellar field on race day when Fulton stages the Central New York opener for Big-Block Modifieds.
Race time is 6 p.m., pit gates are scheduled to unlock at 3 o’clock with grandstands opening at 4. Warm-ups start at 5 p.m. followed immediately by time trials and the first heat race green-flagged at 6 o’clock. Modified teams are encouraged to arrive early as pre-race technical inspection will begin as early as 1 o’clock before the pits are initially cleared at 2:30 p.m.
Still in search of his first Fulton victory, all-time Series winner and defending Mr. DIRTcar champion Brett Hearn will make another visit attempting to hold off the Gypsum gang along with two-time and defending track tour winner Alan Johnson. With registered Series racers Jimmy Phelps, Michael Storms, Dale Planck, Tom Sears Jr. and Billy Dunn also ’09 Fulton regulars, the competition should be even stiffer when top travelers Matt Sheppard, Danny Johnson, Justin Haers, Gary Tomkins and Steve Paine are thrown in the mix on April 10.
Jim Witko, Chuck Bower, Mike Bowman and Mike Mahaney are more of the Fulton notables that will be in contention, joining several other invading race teams that are expected to take part in the special spring show at the home of the Fulton 200 presented by SUNY Canton in October.
When trucking magnate Wight and his wife Laura began a new era at Fulton Speedway last year, their first official order of business was to name former owner Harvey Fink as promoter. Joined today by GM Bob Connelly, Marketing Director Mike Fabery and most recently his son Larry Fink in charge of track maintenance, the elder Fink is back at the helm overseeing every aspect of the operation in 2010.
“Last year when John took over we had somewhere around three weeks to get everything in place,” recalled Fink, who sparked Fulton’s gradual climb back to prominence when he first took over the deed in 1998. Also beginning promotions at sister track Brewerton Speedway in 1991, Fulton became a member of the DIRTcar NE Racing fraternity in 1999 with the Fink family in charge. “So everything was new, even some of the faces, and everybody had a fresh, new attitude.”
“All new equipment, new track surface and new grandstands gave us a solid start. Right now we have more new plans but I don’t like to talk about things until they’re done. There’s always a lot of ideas going around, I’m more focused on what’s been accomplished. Just want to get the first race in and we’ll have a lot more to say,” remarked Fink, who along with his wife Joan, received the Leonard J. Sammons, Jr. Memorial Award recognizing outstanding contributions to auto racing during the 2006 Northeast Modified Hall of Fame ceremonies on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds.
For more information, the speedway office can be reached by phoning 315/593-6531 and the track website remains www.fultonspeedway.com. Contact DIRTcar Racing Northeast Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Joe Skotnicki (704/796-4566) or log into www.superdirtcarseries.com for additional news & notes. Be sure to sign up on http://www.twitter.com/SuperDIRTcar and receive updates throughout the season.
Story Provided by Tom Skibinski - DIRTcar NE PR Director