Story By: NICK GRAZIANO / DIRTCAR – CANAAN, CT – Marking 30 years since his first Super DIRT Week championship, Richie “Toby” Tobias Jr. is climbing back behind the wheel of a Big Block Modified for the 50th NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week.
The 1992 Super DIRT Week champion, from Lebanon, PA, will pilot Dan Humes’s Clayton Racing Big Block Modified for the entire week at Oswego Speedway, including the Past Champions Race on Thursday, Oct. 6, and the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 on Sunday, Oct. 9.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said the 56-year-old Tobias. “It’s a great event. A lot of people. I used to tell people, when you went to ‘The Mile’ (in Syracuse) it was one of those few events, as a short track racer, that it felt like an important event. Certainly, Super DIRT Week still is that way (at Oswego).
Humes is the driver and owner of his #0 Troyer Modified and has attempted to run Super DIRT Week the last few years. But this year, due to a medical issue, was unsure if he’d be able to race – although still hopes to in a second car. So, with Humes having an open seat and Tobias looking for a ride, their mutual connection Jamie Weaknecht made the connection.
Tobias had asked to drive Humes’s car at Super DIRT Week years back, but Humes ended up making the show. Now, Humes can’t wait to see Tobias rip around Oswego Speedway in his car.
“It’s one of the most prestigious races in dirt Modifieds,” Humes said. “To put a driver who has already won that race and that event in the car is kind of a big deal to us, kind of being a small team. Like I said, if nothing else, he’s going to turn heads because he’s going to be ripping the outside, putting the car in places other people won’t dare to go and I’m fine with it.”
Humes plans to have Tobias run a #17 car with a special blue paint scheme that’s become synonymous with the Tobias family.
Tobias Jr.’s father, Dick Tobias, became the third driver in history to win Super DIRT Week – driving a #17 car. Then, when Richie won in 1992, they became the first, and currently only, father-son duo to win the Big Block event.
“People ask about the biggest wins in my career and Super DIRT Week is certainly one,” Tobias Jr. said. “Especially, being the only father and son at this point to have won the event, which is pretty cool. It means a lot to the Tobias family. It was one of the only events in our type of racing that had a great feel to it if you won. It was very special. It’s still that way. It would be very special to come back and win again.”
While it’s been about 10 years since Tobias Jr. has driven a Big Block Modified, he hasn’t retired from racing. He runs Action Track USA in Kutztown, PA, has built Modifieds and builds SpeedSTR dirt cars, which he also races about eight to 10 times a year.
He’s not worried about his lack of seat time in a Modified, knowing Super DIRT Week provides several practice sessions and he’ll get extra laps running the Past Champions Race. If possible, he’ll see if he can run Humes car before Super DIRT Week at Bridgeport Motorsports Park – a track he helped design. He’s also raced at Oswego Speedway before, but on the asphalt. This will be his first venture on the Oswego dirt track.
Tobias still expects nothing less than to compete for the win on Thursday and Sunday, targeting the special one-year-only, one-of-a-kind, Billy Whittaker Cars 200 trophy and $50,000 payday.
“I’m one of those ones that I can’t have fun unless I’m doing well,” Tobias Jr. said. “It’s a tough event and it’s what those guys do weekly. But like I said, even when I ran ‘The Mile’ the last few years, I only ran a few races throughout the year all together. I go into it with nothing to lose. I wouldn’t go into it unless I thought I could win.”
To help make this deal happen, Humes has brought on sponsorship from Quinion Lawn & Landscaping, Quinion Septic Services, Bassett Foundations, ClubWago, “Mailman on Fire,” A. Williams and Sons Concrete & Excavation, Ghetto Child Motorsports, 47 Motorsports, Troyer Race Cars and Enders Racing Engines.