RPW Column: Busy Schedule & Big Money Events On Tap At Orange County In 2022

Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – MIDDLETOWN, NY – After the 2021 season, where half of the regularly scheduled Big Block Modified events were held on Thursdays, the Orange County Fair Speedway is reverting back to a full schedule of Saturday Big Blocks.

In addition, most of these events will have the 358 Small Block Modifieds in action as well, a change from recent seasons.

“This year’s schedule is what we would term, a return to normalcy with the Big Blocks and Small Blocks pretty much on a regular basis,” said Brett Hearn, OCFS’s Director of Motorsports. “I think that it’s important for us to realize that we are one of the last Big Block tracks, especially this far south. Many of the other tracks have gone to a Big Small Block. I think that we have great shows lined up. Obviously a lot of money is available for all divisions, including a $1,000 to win for Sportsman. With the point funds available and the ability for many drivers to race both Big Block and Small Block on the same night, I think that it’s a no brainer for drivers to want to come race here. We think that we already have commitments from 14 drivers who will try to run both Big and Small Blocks on a regular basis.”

After the banquet on March 5th and the OCFS Motorsports Show on March 26-27, on track action begins with an open practice on Friday, April 1st. Pit admission is $25 and the practice is scheduled from 6:30-9;30.

On Saturday, April 2nd, it will be the Short Track Super Series ‘Hard Clay Open’. This year’s event is part of the lucrative 6 race STSS Elite Series and it will pay $25,000 to win. It’s a great payoff for an early season event.

“What Brett Deyo has done with that series has guys really excited about it,” said Hearn. “That race is going to be well attended from a car count standpoint.”

The official OCFS Opening Night occurs on April 9th. OCFS will be honoring longtime racer Tommy Meier with the feature being 33 laps and paying $3,300 to win.

“Mr. (Chris) Larsen likes to honor some of the guys with a history here at track, like he’s done with Buzzie (Reutimann), Will (Cagle) and all these guys,” said Brett. “Tommy has been here for decades, so he wanted to throw out a special curve for opening night.”

As it was in 2021, OCFS will be having a playoff style format to determine the Big Block Champion. Race winners will automatically get a spot to make the top 12. Regular season wins will be important to secure a Final 12 spot.

After a series of regular shows through the rest of April and the first week in May, the Small Blocks have a special event on May 14th to honor Whitey Memmelaar. Whitey was a long time car owner and OCFS employee. He was much beloved around the speedway.

“Whitey was a huge part of Orange County as a car owner and in his later years as a worker here. He has roots here and Whitey worked for me for a couple of years,” Hearn said.

After a week off for a tentatively scheduled event, the Memorial Day weekend kicks off on Thursday, May 26th with an event that has really gained traction at OCFS the last couple of years and has become quite popular, the Revenge 50’s. This year’s format sees a pair of 50 lap races going to be contested with each paying $5,000 to win.

“We haven’t decided how we are going to line up the 2nd 50 yet. But people really love that event, especially the drama as we go through the draw,” Brett said.

Following the Revenge 50’s that weekend, it will be the 4X4 Triple Threat Truck Meet at the Fairgrounds on May 27-29. Based on the results from their last event at OCFS, it’s going to be a well attended event.

The following weekend on June 4th is one event that so many people circle on their calendars and look forward to every year, the fabulous OCFS Nostalgia Night. The efforts of the original creator of the OCFS Nostalgia Night and now OCFS’s General Manager, Doug Dulgarian, is second to none.

This year’s event is honoring a driver that many of his longtime fans refer to as ‘The Legend’, Rich Eurich. This year will be the 15th edition of Nostalgia Night.

It has always amazed me how after attending a Nostalgia Night that I would think that it was the best one ever and there would be no way that Doug could improve in it. But somehow, they keep getting better and better.

“I think that Nostalgia Night started as an idea to bring some old timers in and for people to get autographs and like that,’ said Brett. ” Some events lose their luster after 2 or 3 times, This thing has got legs, it’s now a yearly reunion. It’s every bit as meaningful to the people who are showing up to see the drivers, owners and officials of the past.”

“You get those guys together, sitting around the table laughing and smiling and swapping old stories,” Doug said. “In the beginning, it was called Old Timers Night and many of the drivers didn’t want to come to it. We renamed it Nostalgia Night. It was still hard for a while. Frankie (Schneider) would say it was too far and too hot and Brett was racing at Lebanon Valley at the time. So we didn’t have our two biggest winners here for the night. But the event got bigger. More and more people wanted to come and we started getting those who wanted to bring their cars.”

And to those drivers who would like to participate in this year’s event, Doug has a message for you.

“If you raced an open wheel car here or raced in the Modifieds for 3 or more years, and haven’t raced here in 20 years, you are invited. Call and register so we know who is coming.”

Nostalgia Night. If you have never been to one, by all means come to OCFS on June 4th. It’s always a memorable event. If you love the history of the sport, you will love this event.

The following Saturday, June 11th, has the Spring Smashtacular happening. It’s a fun night of stunts, an Enduro, a Demo Derby and a burnout exhibition.

The World of Outlaws Late Models returns for a two night event on Friday and Saturday June 17th and 18th. The United Racing Club (URC) will be part of the Friday show with the Big Blocks joining the Outlaws on Saturday.

After a regular show on June 25, the Summer Championship race takes place on July 2nd. The race will be 76 laps and pay $7,600 to win.

“At the end of the Summer Championship race, the Modified field eligible for the championship will be narrowed to 12. There’s an early season conflict with a Super Dirt Series at Can Am. Those drivers who will be racing at Cam Am will have to race their way back into the top 12 by July 2nd,” said Hearn. “All the top 12 will start out even in points.”

“As we move into the top 8 and top 4, you will be rewarded for being higher in the points, but for the top 12, everyone starts out even,” Dulgarian said.

After regular shows on July 9th and 16th, the Orange County Fair will be the backdrop for two big nights of racing. The stars of the Super DIRTcar Series will be racing on Thursday, July 28th. And the Sportsman have a Twin 20’s event on Saturday, July 30th.

“Our SDS race has a little twist on it this year. It will be a 73 lap feature to honor the Ferraiuolo family. The win will be worth $10,000 and it will be a Super Dirt Week qualifier,” Hearn said.

The Modified championship field gets cut to 8 with the racing event on August 6th. It will also be the 3rd edition of the Full Fender Nostalgia Night. Much like the open wheel version, it’s a night to honor the history of full fender racing at OCFS.

August 6th is also a big night for the Street Stock division as they will be racing in the 7th edition of the Marky Traverse Memorial. This race has become a very prestigious event over the years for the Street Stock racers.

Another big weekend of racing kicks off on Thursday, August 11 with the 103rd Anniversary race. It will be a big $25,000 payday to the winner of the 103 lapper.

On Saturday, August 13th, OCFS will acknowledge those people who are so important to our daily lives with the First Responders Night. It’s always a great scene to see our local First Responders line up with their vehicles on the front stretch and get some of the recognition that they so richly deserve.

August 20 sees the Modified championship field cut to 4. And the 4 division champions will be determined on August 27 as the OCFS regular season winds up with Champions Night.

Saturday, September 17th will be the ever popular Eve of Destruction. The Eve was a sold out event in 2021. When the tickets become available, it’s a good idea to get them early..

The track will remain quiet until a scheduled open practice session on Saturday, October 15th.

And the big Eastern States Weekend will be from Thursday, October 20th – Sunday, October 23rd.

“The layout for ESW should be pretty much the same as last year. We don’t know what will be with the 358’s on Saturday yet,” said Brett.

2022 Season Passes are on sale now. They cover all touring events and Eastern States Weekend. It’s a great deal and for 2022, they are transferable. If you have a weekend that you can’t make it, the pass will be valid for someone of your choosing to use. It’s a great deal.

So there you have it. The pieces are in place for a great season at the Orange County Fair Speedway in 2022. There is an awesome schedule, many high paying events and lucrative point funds. So get out to the legendary House of Power and enjoy the excitement and action in 2022!!

 
 
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