Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – MIDDLETOWN, NY – Orange County Fair Speedway has a big night of racing scheduled for this upcoming Saturday, May 21st.
The United Rentals DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds will have a pair of Twin 50 lap features on tap. Each 50 will pay the winner $5,000 with a bonus of $5,000 should one driver sweep both 50’s. The night’s sponsor is Dana Distributor’s, a long time supporter of the track.
Also on the racing card finds the Arkel Motors Sportsman. The balance of the Sportsman racing from last Saturday’s rain shortened show will be held prior to the regularly scheduled Sportsman events.
The Precision Hydraulic and Oil Rookie Sportsman will also be in action Saturday night.
With the continuing situation regarding the availability of racing tires, OCFS has announced rules regarding tire usage for Saturday’s event.
As quoted from the speedway:
“Due to the tire shortage, in this weekend‘s twin 50 big block modified races, it will be mandatory that you run the same right and left rear tires for both feature events. We will be marking both the tires when you are on the starting line for the first feature. If you choose to change your tire(s), you will start in the rear for the second feature. If you end up having a flat tire in the first feature you will be able to change that tire after the tire is inspected and maintain your position for the second feature. All tire issues, flats will be inspected by Speedway management if they are changed for the second feature.”
After 3 Big Block point events, victories by Larry Wight, Mat Williamson and Dillon Steuer have clinched their spots into the Final 12. With Wight and Williamson not being OCFS regulars, it is uncertain if they will be competing for the title. Saturday’s Twin 50’s offers 2 opportunities for Big Block racers to lock themselves in with a win.
With the probability of racers qualifying for the Final 12 via point standings, it will be vital for them to steer clear of trouble in the Twin 50’s. Currently, Max McLaughlin is on top of the Modified point standings closely followed by Danny Creeden. Billy VanInwegen, Jimmy Horton and Matt Janiak complete the top 5. Point positions 6-10 are Tanner VanDoren, Craig Mitchell, Mike Gular, Tyler Boniface and Tommy Meier. The point spread between McLaughlin and Meier is currently 59 points.
The point standings in the Sportsman are very tight with Mike Sabia and John Bockhorn tied atop the points with Grant Hilfiger, Cody Higbie and Brian Krummel all within 10 points of the leaders. Ryan Neiger is 6th, tied with Drew Boniface. Greg Sleight in 8th, Travis Green in 9th and Tighe Sherlock in 10th round out the current top 10 point standings.
You can’t win a point championship the 3rd week of May. But with double features this week for both the Modifieds and Sportsman, you can certainly hurt your chances. There could be quite a bit of movement in the standings after the points are tabulated after Saturday. With the July 2nd cutoff for the Modified Final 12 not all that far off, it will be interesting to see how this weekend’s races play out.
A newsworthy note from the Sportsman division is that Jared LaBagh will be taking over the Pat Giuliano #51 for the rest of the season. LaBagh and Giuliano have teamed up before, with Jared behind the wheel of the potent and always immaculate #51 for the Sportsman part of Eastern States Weekend.
“I want to thank Pat for giving me the opportunity to wheel this hot rod for the remainder of the season, giving me the opportunity to travel with mine and contend for both the OCFS championship in the D&M #51 and Accord championship in the Comfort Experts #38 Special,” Jared stated on his Facebook page. “I have some great people behind me. It’s shaping up to be an awesome year of racing. I can’t thank everyone enough that helps me do what I love.”
LaBagh is currently 11th in the standings, just 27 points from the top.
Good luck to Jared, one of the real hard charging drivers and to Pat, one of the really good guys in racing.
The May 21st OCFS race event schedule:
3:00 Pit Gate opens
4:00 Grandstand and Drive In gates open
4:45 Mandatory Drivers Meeting at the Scales
5:30 Hot Laps Sportsman
Hot Laps Rookies
Hot Laps Modifieds
6:15 Pre Race Ceremonies / National Anthem
6:30 Sportsman Last Chance Qualifiers from May 14th, 2 races 8 laps each, 3 qualify
Modified Heat Race #1 – 8 laps
Sportsman Make Up Feature, 20 laps
Modified Heat Races 2 & 3 – 8 laps each
Sportsman Heats, 8 laps each
Modified Driver Top 12 Redraw @ Pit Stewards Area
Sportsman Last Chance Qualifier(s) – 8 laps
1st Modified Feature Event – 50 Laps
Victory Lane / Wheel Spin/ Invert
Rookie Feature Event – 12 laps
Sportsman Feature Event – 20 laps
2nd Modified Feature Event – 50 laps
VICTORY LANE /PODIUM ALL CLASSES
Just a reminder, there is no racing at OCFS on Saturday, May 28th. But the speedway will be far from quiet. The Triple Threat Truck Meet will be in full swing from May 27th – 29th. And the Stampede Bull Riding Rodeo will also be taking place on the fairgrounds.