Danny Varin Impressive with Top-Ten Finish Sunday at Super DIRT Week XLVI Presented by NAPA Auto Parts; Tire Selection Key on Sunday With Ever-Changing Track Conditions; Super DIRT Week at Oswego is still Super
Story By: MATT NOLES / RACERSGUIDE.COM
Photos By: RACERSGUIDE.COM PHOTO STAFF
OSWEGO, NY- October 8, 2017- For the second year-in-a-row, Sharon Springs, N.Y., native Danny Varin turned some heads with his performance behind the wheel of the Ed Monger owned No. 93 modified during Super DIRT Week XLVI. His efforts culminated in a 10th place finish for the second-generation modified driver.
“That was good,” stated Varin on Sunday evening. “I don’t think anybody can complain about the racing at the end. I made the wrong call from the cockpit; the car was phenomenal but when the track rubbered up real hard there, I made the call for a harder tire and as soon as I made that call the sun went away and I couldn’t get the bite and drive I needed. If the sun stayed out, I don’t know if anybody would’ve had anything for us.”
Hindsight and tire selection being what it is, Varin was still in contention for the entirety of the event running well inside the top-ten for nearly all 200-laps.
“I can’t really be that disappointed,” continued Varin. “We were really good and we ran in the top-five for most of the day. We were running good lap times, really smooth and this HigFab car that we had here was phenomenal. If I had a softer tire on, I would’ve been up there rolling the top. I am disappointed for all my guys though; this is a long week and the last three races I’ve made bad calls. I need to make some better judgement calls I guess.”
The difference between running Super DIRT Week at the mile in Syracuse versus the Clay Palace in Oswego is night and day where the level and diversity of competition is concerned. In short, the smaller race teams with limited budgets can compete on the biggest stage of the New York racing season with the series regulars.
“If this race was still at Syracuse we wouldn’t be here,” Varin concluded. “This is nice. It gives us another race and we like how slippery it gets. We could float around all week with a sixth-place race car and it was phenomenal all week. Our results didn’t completely show what we’re capable of but we still had a great week.”
Tire Selection Makes All the Difference
When the surface rubbered up and locked down the bottom lane during the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 Sunday at the transformed ‘Clay Palace’ of the Oswego Speedway, everyone – including eventual race-winner Matt Sheppard – did what seemed logical; put on a harder compound tire.
Where most speedways stay abrasive and chew tires like a dog with your favorite pair of shoes, Sunday was apparently opposite day as far as the dirt racing God’s were concerned. The moment the harder compound tires touched the track surface in earnest, the rubber came up faster than the leaders did on lapped traffic in the opening stages of the 200-lap event.
Timing made all the difference in the final results as Matt Sheppard pitted on lap-152 and went back to the softer compound Hoosier dirt racing tires and made a magnificent charge through the field on his way to quite possibly the most exciting finish in Super DIRT Week history.
History Making Sunday
Rob Yetman – one of if not the best pro-stock pilots in the history of the division – brought home another Super DIRT Week Pro-Stock Championship 75 victory on Sunday afternoon. What’s more, it was his fifth consecutive triumph on the biggest stage for the full-fendered division. The odds of another driver equaling his dominance and consistency is simply slim to none.
With Matt Sheppard’s weekend sweep by winning both modified events at Super DIRT Week XLVI, he became the first driver to complete the double since Danny Johnson accomplished the feat back in 2006 proving how difficult it is to be that dominant in two different divisions on two different days.
Super DIRT Week is still Super
Since the untimely passing of Wes Moody’s mile after Super DIRT Week XLIV, race fans have refused to call the event ‘Super’ anything. After Sunday’s incredible display of testicular fortitude and circular insanity, hopefully their minds have been changed for the better when the wake up on Monday morning.
Though the racing on Saturday left some feeling cheated – even though Syracuse was synonymous with one-lane follow-the-leader styled racing – Sunday’s 200 was anything but boring.
I too mourned the loss of the beloved mile-long speedway at the New York State Fairgrounds – more for the mystique and the history that the speedway held than for the racing – but at some point, one must move on. Super DIRT Week XLVI was more than just super; hell, it may have been better than super. After what we witnessed on Sunday, the words ‘phenomenal’ or ‘incredible’ quickly come to mind.
2016 was certainly a strength of materials lab rather than a race track but after what 2017 turned out to be, one must wonder what next year will bring. It’s certainly something to look forward to.