Grueling Eastern States 200 could drastically shake up point standings as Super DIRTcar Series heads into final rounds
WEEDSPORT, N.Y. – October 20, 2014 – There’s no question as to which Modified driver has been dominant at Orange County Fair Speedway’s annual Eastern States Weekend. Brett Hearn, of Sussex, N.J., has picked up 13 Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series victories at the Middletown, N.Y., track, ten in the Eastern States 200. This year, the two-time consecutive Eastern States 200 Champion is looking to make it three in a row.
“The last couple years have been awesome for us. It’s still the track I learned how to race at first and, even though I don’t go there that often now, it still seems to come back to me fairly quickly,” said Hearn, who, in recent years, has made his weekly home at the Capital Region’s Albany-Saratoga Speedway and Lebanon Valley Speedway. “I’d still have to say that, in some respects, we still have some of that home court advantage, even though I don’t run there on a regular basis.”
For Hearn, who watched from the grandstands as racing superstars like Will Cagle and Frankie Schneider found their way to Victory Lane, winning the historic Eastern States 200 is especially meaningful.
“That race has always been the second biggest race to Syracuse,” said Hearn, who has found his fair share of success at Syracuse’s “Moody Mile” as well, most recently claiming two consecutive Salute the Troops 150 victories in the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series. “I can remember going there and sitting in the fourth turn bleachers and watching Will Cagle win the 200.”
The 2014 running of the Eastern States 200 will be especially important to Hearn, who currently is hanging onto third place in Super DIRTcar Series point standings. Point leader Billy Decker holds an 85-point advantage over Hearn and three-time series champion Matt Sheppard is 62 points ahead of Hearn. With just three feature races left in the season, each on the 150-point schedule, a strong showing at Orange County could launch Hearn to the point lead. Alternatively, a mechanical error in the grueling 200-lapper on “The Hard Clay” could mean the end of championship hopes for series top runners.
As Hearn looks ahead to the race that could be the turning point in the series, he says his Madsen Motorsports No. 20 team is focusing on tire strategy in one of the few races requiring pit stops
“It’s a race that has a lot of tire wear, so you have to manage your tire wear really well,” said Hearn, who has the reputation both for charging to first from the back of the field and for making it through the Eastern States 200 without a tire change. “That’s really the biggest thing, to either be able to go the distance or to manage the tires so you don’t wear them out before the end of the race, or if you have to change them and be able to pick your spots and come back through again.”
Eastern States Weekend at Orange County Fair Speedway kicks off Thursday, Oct. 23, with inspection for all classes running from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Pit gates open at 9:30 a.m. and grandstand gates open at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, for qualifying rounds for Modifieds and Sportsman Modifieds. Green flag for the Super DIRTcar Series Eastern States 200 is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25.
AT A GLANCE
Eastern States Weekend
DATES: Thursday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, October 25
LOCATION : Orange County Fair Speedway, 239 Wisner Ave., Middletown, N.Y.
ABOUT THE TRACK: 5/8-mile hard clay oval track
MORE TRACK INFORMATION: www.orangecountyfairspeedway.net | https://www.facebook.com/pages/Orange-County-Fair-Speedway/116644195124791
Schedule of Events:
The Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast Region is brought to fans by several sponsors and partners including Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Chevy Performance Parts, NAPA Auto Parts, and Safety-Kleen. Contingency partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio, ASI, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Edelbrock, Integra Shocks, Intercomp, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, KSE Racing Products, Mobil 1, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD LLC, Fox Shocks, Pole Position Raceway, Racing Electronics, Superflow and Wrisco Industries.