Column By: JOE GRABIANOWSKI / DIRTCAR – CANANDAIGUA, NY – For the third time, Land of Legends Raceway will honor the life and legacy of Gerald Haers with the Gerald Haers Memorial (Sept. 18); a 100-lap Super DIRTcar Series Feature. But for the first time, the race will be a points-paying Super DIRTcar Series Feature, raising the stakes and prizes.
The winner will claim $10,000, potentially thousands in lap money, extra bonuses, and a guaranteed start at the 49th NAPA Super DIRT Week (Oct. 6-10) which pays $50,000 to the winner and a minimum of $1,500.
Here are the top storylines to follow:
Two editions of the Gerald Haers Memorial have been run the last two years, including a fanless 2020 event in which saw 2021 Super DIRTcar Series rookie of the year contender Chris Hile, from Syracuse, NY, come away with the win. However, that event didn’t count as a Super DIRTcar Series win. He’ll be hungry to return to Victory Lane again this year to officially earn his first career Series win and solidify his chances at the rookie of the year title.
In 2019, it was Erick Rudolph in the Victory Lane in the inaugural Gerald Haers Memorial. Rudolph, driver the #25R from Ransomville, NY, is currently seventh in Super DIRTcar Series points, still looking to claim his first Series win of the year.
With Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship bonus points added into the Series points standings, the run-up to the NGK NTK World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Nov. 4-6) is much more clear. Seven-time Series champion Matt Sheppard, who is also the current Series points leader and a multi-time Land of Legends track champion, will look to put some extra distance between himself and Billy Decker in the points standings – currently a 117 difference between them.
Decker, also a multi-time Series champion, has quietly put together a solid year, working his #91 Gypsum Racing machine up to second in the championship points order. He’s found some consistency recently, earning two top-fives in a row, bringing him to four top-fives and seven top-10s in a row.
Don’t count out Batman, too. Australia’s Peter Britten is having one of his strongest Super DIRTcar Series seasons of his career. Britten picked up his second-career Series win at Land of Legends Raceway earlier this year. With that victory, he’s a favorite going into the Gerald Haers Memorial.
Drivers will draw a random number as normal. That number sets your position in the 20-lap Heat Races. The groups are determined by the finishing order of the DIRTcar Big Block Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship points finish. The pill draw still determined your starting position but not your group.
The top-six drivers in each Heat Race will qualify for the 100-lap Feature. The top-three will go to the redraw, meaning the redraw will consist of nine drivers rather than the traditional 12. The non-transfers from the Heats will go to the Last Chance Showdowns where three drivers will make the Feature from each.
Every single lap in the 100-lap Feature has been sold as a bonus for the driver who leads the lap totaling over $5,000. Plus, the payout for taking the green flag is a whopping $1,000 and each Heat Race pays $500 to the winner. There is also a great list of bonuses for all drivers.
- Pole Position: $300
- Halfway Leader: $300
- Hard Charger: $300
- Hard Luck Award: $300
- Longest Tow: $200
- Sportsmanship Award: $200
- Lucky Dog Award: $200
- First Flat Tire: $200
- Best Appearing Car Award: $200
- Fastest Feature Lap: $150
- Move of the Race: $150
- Worst Redraw: $150 & one free Hoosier Racing Tire
- Most Laps Led: $100
- Most improved from 2020: $100
- Hometown Finisher: $100
- 3rd place in each Heat Race: $100
- Ageless Wonder: $50
- Young Star: $50
A $2,000-to-win 4-lap Dash for Cash will include the top two finishers in each Heat Race. Even the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series Central Region drivers will have a $1,000-to-win Dash for Cash of their own.
NAPA SUPER DIRT WEEK QUALIFIER
Every Super DIRTcar Series race that pays $10,000 or more to the winner comes with a guaranteed start in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at NAPA Super DIRT Week (Oct. 6-10).
So far, Stewart Friesen, Demetrios Drellos, Matt Sheppard, Max McLaughlin, Chris Hile, and Andy Bachetti have received guaranteed starter status for Racing’s Biggest Party.
If a driver wins the Gerald Haers Memorial and they already have a spot in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200, the guarantee is awarded to the next driver in the running order without one.