Story By: PHIL ALLAWAY / LEBANON VALLEY SPEEDWAY – WEST LEBANON, NY – Labor Day weekend is the final weekend of racing at Lebanon Valley Speedway for the Big Block Modifieds.
It’s not necessarily by choice (it’s a DIRTcar rule that Modified point championships can end no later than Labor Day).
With that comes the second visit of the year for the Super DIRTcar Series to Lebanon Valley Speedway. Unlike the King of Spring 100 back on Memorial Day, this race will be 101 laps with more money on the line.
Past years have seen the race work out to be a battle between the Super DIRTcar Series regulars and Lebanon Valley regulars. Generally, the Valley regulars have been able to conquer the tour drivers. In the last 13 Mr. DIRT Track. U.S.A. events (since 2009), Valley regulars have won 10 out of 13 and the last five in a row.
The only non-Lebanon Valley regulars to win in that time are Billy Decker (a former track regular), NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Stewart Friesen and Matt Sheppard. Sheppard does have the upper hand here since he won the King of Spring 100 in May.
The Modified championship for Lebanon Valley is complete for 2023. By showing up last weekend, Andy Bachetti clinched his fourth straight Modified title. He ended up 58 points ahead of Marc Johnson, then L.J. Lombardo, J.R. Heffner and Brett Haas.
Currently, the championship chase is a two-man race. Sheppard has a 60-point lead over Mat Williamson in the Super DIRTcar Series points. Jimmy Phelps is third, then Mike Mahaney and Tim Sears Jr. They are all more than two full races behind Sheppard.
There will be roughly 36 teams attempting to qualify for Mr. DIRT Track U.S.A. Saturday. Those drivers will have hot laps, then have two quick laps against the clock. Those laps will set the grid for the four heat races.
The top-five finishers from those heats will automatically transfer to the 101-lap main.
Everyone else will go into one of the two Last Chance Showdowns, where the top two finishers from each race will lineup on Rows 11 and 12. There will then be four provisionals for full-time Super DIRTcar Series drivers to create a 28-car starting grid.
You have a couple of different ways that you can watch the race. The easiest way is to come out to Lebanon Valley Speedway. You have the ability to order reserved tickets ahead of the race at LebanonValley.com.
Reserved grandstand seats are $30 regardless of age. Tickets for the party deck are $32. Rooftop seats are $40. Indoor tower seats are sold out. Lebanon Valley Speedway has a will call window at the Box Office where you can pick up your tickets purchased online.
For General Admission seats, those are only sold at the Box Office at the track Saturday. They are $26 for adults. Kids 11 and under are only $5.
What are you likely to see during the 101-lap feature?
Outside of Super DIRT Week, this is the longest race of the season for the Super DIRTcar Series. As a result, attrition can and will come into play. Making your car last the distance can be tricky.
There will likely be some tire issues since pressure readily builds up during a 101-lap race. Don’t be shocked if there is at least one caution thrown because of someone having a flat.
If you watched the Camping World SRX Series from Berlin Raceway back in August, then you saw the normal race procedure for cautions during Super DIRTcar Series races in play. Caution laps will count for the first 75 laps only.
Beyond that, the lap counter will stop under yellow. There will also be single-file restarts after lap 90, which is different than a regular race night at Lebanon Valley, where all restarts are double-file unless track officials believe a single-file restart is necessary.
In addition to the Super DIRTcar Series, the Pro Stock class champion will be decided in the 23-lap Bubba Tanner Pro Stock Classic.
Also, for early arrivees, the country band Whiskey Highway will be performing at the Lebanon Valley Clubhouse starting at 2 p.m. ET. Food and drink will be available for purchase there as well. Racing is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET.