RPW Column: DIRTcar Sportsman Series Opener At Airborne Captured By “Circumstances”

Column By: TOBY LANGRANGE / RPW – PLATTSBURGH, NY – The DIRTcar Sportsman season has taken the green flag all over upstate New York and surrounding areas. With nine of the 19 sanctioned tracks already open and with four more set to open this weekend, we are well on our way towards crowning the 2022 DIRTcar Sportsman track, weekly racing and series champions.

On Saturday, the DIRTcar Sportsman East and North Region Series were set to kick off their season at the Plattsburgh Airborne Speedway up in Plattsburgh, New York. The Northeastern New York college town would see 56 DIRTcar Sportsman competitors make the trek to one of the Empire States most northern tracks.

When all was said and done the winner would end up being…circumstances.

Per a release made on the track’s Facebook page:

“Officials made the decision to take the cars off the track after low visibility on the first lap of the race. At that time, the track prep crew jumped onto the track to attempt to get some moisture into the surface. After about 10 minutes with the water truck, the decision was made with driver safety in mind to postpone the remainder of the racing card and bring it back at a later date.”

A check with DIRTcar Northeast Director Dean Reynolds on Thursday morning confirmed that no date has been chosen yet, but that they would be meeting soon to select one.

The release continued, “During the off-season, new clay was added to help the low spots in turns one and two, and turns three and four. Unfortunately, sometimes this can throw off the recipe for prepping the racing surface. The track crew will take notes and make the necessary adjustments for the next event.”

Anyone that has been around racing for any length of time knows that track conditions are always a gamble, especially during the spring time.

Kudos to the DIRTcar Northeast and Airborne team for thinking of the driver’s safety even though their decision would not be a popular one.

The DIRTcar Sportsman East Region Series next scheduled event will be at the Bear Ridge Speedway on May 14th while the North Region’s next event is scheduled for the Brockville Ontario Speedway on June 11th.

The Central Region kicks off on June 29th at the Can-Am Speedway while the Western Region comes to life on May 28th at the Merrittville Speedway in Thorold, Ontario.

With the weekly tracks opening, the 2022 DIRTcar Sportsman Hoosier Tire Weekly Championship points chase is in full swing. Following the racing action on Sunday May 1st, Latham, New York’s Andrew Buff sits on top of the point standings.

The now two-time DIRTcar Sportsman Track Champion at the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park and current weekly regular at both The Ridge and the Albany-Saratoga Speedway holds a 35-point lead over Johnstown, New York’s Brian Calabrese. The duo battled it out at The Ridge in their season opener on Sunday night with Calabrese picking up the big opening day win.

Zach Sobotka, who lost most of his racing operation in a devastating fire during the winter months, currently sits in the third position following a pair of wins and three top fives in four starts. The defending Super DIRT Week Champion trails Buff by 57 points and Calabrese by 22. Chris Johnson, who is a weekly regular at Lyle DeVore’s Albany-Saratoga Speedway sits fourth with Justin Buff fifth.

The remainder of the top ten includes rookie Zach Buff, Cody Ochs, Alex Payne, David Boisclair and Brett Buono.

Taking a look at the weekly track standings, Johnson holds the points lead over Andrew Buff at Albany-Saratoga. Johnson leads Buff by three points and Tim Hartman, Jr. by eight. By virtue of their wins on Saturday at the Fulton Speedway, Matt Janczuk and Chris Mackey share the tracks points lead. Remington Hamm and Bobby Herrington hold down the second position.

A little west of Fulton you will find the Genesee Speedway. Phil Vigneri, III holds down the points lead at the Western New York oval. Brandon Michaud and Kyle Richner are seven and eleven points back respectfully.

With one event in the books at Glen Ridge, Brian Calabrese holds down the points lead over Alan Fink, Ochs, Garrett Poland and defending Limited Sportsman Track Champion, rookie Zach Buff.

Fink sits on top of the point standings at the Thunder Mountain Speedway after their season opener this past weekend. Hunter Lapp and Jordan Millard follow.

At the Land of Legends Raceway Karl Comfort holds down the top spot over Kane Bristol and Paul Guererri while out at the Merrittville Speedway Cody McPherson leads Adam Leslie and Rob Knapp after one event.

Alex Payne leads the way at the Outlaw Speedway in the Hoosier Tire division. Alex holds a 12-point lead over A.J. Lloyd at the Watkins Glen area track. Stacey Jackson sits third, 24 points back.

Other track season opening dates are as follows…Bear Ridge Speedway (May 7th), Brewerton Speedway (May 6th), Brockville Ontario Speedway (May 6th), Can-Am Speedway (May 6th), Autodrome Drummond (May 14th), Humberstone Speedway (May 22nd), Mohawk International Raceway (May 13th), Ransomville Speedway (May 6th) and the Weedsport Speedway (May 29th).

Over in the DIRTcar Pro Stock Hoosier Tire Weekly Championship standings, Albany-Saratoga and Lebanon Valley Speedway regular Rob Yetman holds the top spot. Chad Jeseo holds down the second position, trailing the many time champion by a mere 16 points.

Cousin Luke, Luke Horning used his opening day win at the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park to vault him into the third position. The Gloversville racer trails Yetman by 24 points. The father-son duo of Jason and Jay Casey round out the top five.

A look at the track standings shows Yetman holding a 20-point lead over Jay Casey at Albany-Saratoga with Jeseo and Steven LaRochelle in a tie atop of the standings at Lebanon Valley. Zach Seyerlein trails the duo by a mere two points. With his win, Horning leads the standings at The Ridge over Andy Graves.

The Can-Am Speedway will open on May 6th while the Mohawk International Raceway (May 13th) and Autodrome Drummond (May 14th) open next weekend.

The DIRTcar Pro Stock Series kicks off on Saturday May 18th at the Can-Am Speedway before moving to the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park on Sunday July 10th.

Until next time, remember to support those that support racing.

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