Story by Kenny Shupp Jr.
POINT BATTLES AT THE OUTLAW SPEEDWAY HEAT UP AS THE SEASON WINDS DOWN
(Dundee, NY) With just three weeks remaining in the regular season at the Outlaw Speedway it is still very unclear as to what driver will be the odds on favorite to win the track titles in each of the seven regular classes of competition.
With the abbreviated 2020 race season which began in early June due to stringent New York State Regulations relevant to public gatherings (which are still in effect) the popular yates County Speedway has been able to weather the storm over the past eleven race nights in trying to salvage some of the season.
“We have been up against it right from the get-go, stated Outlaw Speedway owner, Tyler Sri in a recent interview. Because of all the regulations surrounding the Covid 19 Pandemic we were handcuffed for the early part of the season. We lost multiple high-profile events simply because we could not open at all. Basically, half of our regular season was lost before Cuomo would allow us to at least open the pit gates. Since then we have been in survival mode.”
With no fans allowed into the grandstand seating areas at virtually all NYS speed plants, Outlaw Speedway has adhered religiously to the hand that has been dealt them.
“My girlfriend, Jordan Lynch and I have played everything by the book We have not allowed fans into the grandstands and those that choose to enter the pit area are required to wear face coverings and keep social distancing. We have plexiglass at our pit concession, have kept a limited menu and our staff is required to wear masks and we have hand sanitizer all over the place. There are other venues that have tried to do end runs around the states protocol, but in most cases, they have been shut down, lost their liquor licenses or have been threatened with fines. That has not been the case here. We have not pushed the envelope.” That according to Boss Man, Tyler Siri.
Having weathered the storm thus far by allowing pit admission plus the addition of audio and visual coverage via DirtTrackDigets.TV the track has been able to keep moving forward the best way possible and with that the show continues to roll along with the end almost in sight.
August 28, 2020 is the tentative scheduled end date for the 2020 season points in all the track’s regular divisions. With the abbreviated season it certainly has kept the point battles close within all the divisions and with just a few weeks remaining more and more focus is now on the division points.
In the Friendly Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram Modified Division Super Matt Sheppard has ruled the roost thus far. Even with a pair of DNF finishes due to mechanical issues, the 2017 and 2019 Outlaw Speedway Track Champion has been able to overcome a pair of uncommon poor finishing positions with seven wins which keep him atop the point standings. However, Super Matt need not look very hard over his shoulder as the Brothers Johnson are well within striking distance and with three point races still left on the schedule there is plenty of time for either second place point getter, Dr. Danny Johnson or 2018 Modified Track Champion, AJ Slideways, Alan Johnson to get up on the wheel and take down the potent 9s machine of Sheppard. Outside of AJ Slideways who owns two feature wins in 2020, The Hurricane, Steve Paine is the only other driver to visit victory lane thus far and currently sits fifth in points as of August 10. Second generation pilot, Kyle Coffey has been a threat all season having been a picture of consistency and still has a legitimate shot at the title as he is a solid fourth in points. Mathematically drivers like Brady Fultz, Siri, Cartwright Jr and others all still have a shot, however they are now dependent on the top five having problems over the next few weeks.
Same thing holds true in the Stan’s Not Tubes Street Stock Division as like Sheppard in the Modifieds, Glen Whritenour in the Street’s has been able to use the Outlaw Speedway as his personal sand box in 2020. The 2017/2018 Track Champion in the Division has been literally unstoppable thus far and with just a few weeks remaining looks poised to pick up his third-class title in the last four seasons. The track Bounty Money that has been put up for anyone that can take down either Super Matt or GW has continued to roll from week to week as the pair have showed dominance in their respective divisions. Jake Karlnoski, Quinn Sutherland, CJ Guererri, Aksel Jensen and Jered Hill are all in the top six going into the last three point races, but they will need some help if they have any chance of upending the high flying 15 machine of Glen Whritenour.
The Hoosier Tire Crate Sportsman Division has seen only four different drivers work their way into victory lane this season. 2019 Track Champion Will Shields as three wins this season as does Tommy Collins Jr and Zack Sobotka. Third generation driver, Alex Payne has one win in a division that finds Sobotka currently atop the point standings with Shields, Collins and Payne all within the top five. Fourth place point getter, Zach George has quietly gone about his business and still is well within striking distance of a track championship.
In the Sunrise Insulation American Racer Crate Sportsman Division, it has been a season of multiple winners. 2018 Track Champion, Chris Fisher has been nothing short of phenomenal all year, knocking down top five feature finishes almost every week. Sobotka, Shields, Payne and Ajay Potrzebowski have all made trips to victory lane as well as second generation driver, Billy Paine and veteran shoe, Dale Welty. Fisher currently leads the points, but if he has the least little hiccup the dogs are ready to pounce including 2017 Class Champion, Karl Comfort. Fisher, Comfort and Potrzebowski all focus their attention on just American Racer Tires, but Sobotka, Shields, Payne and numerous others do double duty each week racing on both American Racer and Hoosier tire brands. They get plenty of track time each week, but as the weeks are rapidly coming to a conclusion it will be interesting to see if the guys that just focus on one class can prevail over the drivers that may be stretching themselves out.
Bad Brad Smith has only one feature win thus far in 2020, but he leads the IMCA Modified Point standings with just three weeks to go. But don’t blink because one time feature winner, Kevin Smith, consistent competitor, Bumps Scutt, 2018 Track Champion and five time 202 feature winner, Rodney Morgan and Old Dick in the Dirt, Rich Karlnoski are all right there and should Bad Brad get into trouble there could be a real shake up at the top. The car count numbers may not necessarily be the best in recent years, but the competition has been incredible in the Nationally Sanctioned IMCA Modfied Division at Outlaw Speedway.
In the companion IMCA Hobby Stock Class one would think that current high point man, Wayne Ellison was trying to duplicate what Matt Sheppard and Glen Whritenour were trying to accomplish and that is to win every Friday night. With seven wins to his credit thus far the only other driver to topple the might #18 machine has been the 2017/2018 Hobby Stock Track Champion and three-time feature winner in 2020, Marc Minutolo. In fact, the only times that Ellison has been toppled by Minutolo has when he has had mechanical problems, his car has been that dominant. Oddly, enough Bruce Kinner is just a few points behind Ellison as is Jamie Eldredge, Justin Eldredge and Jeremy Trank. With only three-point races remaining only thirty-eight points separate the top five and its game on down the stretch as its still anybody’s championship.
The Mighty 4 Cylinder Division has been a two-horse race with Bob Doolittle and Jeremy Bunn taking turns visiting victory lane. Ray Hyer and Scott Lehman Jr. have been the only two others to topple the Doolite/Bunn butt whipping they have put on the rest of the competition. Jeremy Bunn leads the points by thirty-six over Doolittle with Hyer, Scott Lehman Sr, and son Jr. holding the top five point paying positions. Even though Bunn is experiencing a career year as is Doolittle, they need be reminded that if they get to wrapped up in each other, Hyer or one of the Lehman’s could snooker the top two in the class.
Last but certainly not the least the Winner’s Circle Deli Youth Bandit Division has run on a weekly basis during the shortened season. Ethan Decker has been just a picture of consistency in winning most of the events, however, give a call out to the likes of Abbey Decker, Blake Parsons, Jordan Costley and Bradley Morseman who have all seen action in the Bandit Class. They are currently holding down the top five positions in the points as the season is ending.
For a current list of all the point tallies in each class simply go to www.outlawspeedway.llc.com
Ae each race night draws nearer you can get continual updates relevant to the track by clicking on at www.Facebook.com/OutlawSpeedwayLLC/.