So Many Drivers Deserve To Have Won Super DIRT Week At “The Moody Mile”
Story & Photos By: Pete MacDonald/RacersGuide.com
When you think Super DIRT Week you think of the long and rich racing history of the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse and the names that have won on it. Lets face it, if you won at Syracuse you became an instant legend. Reutimann, Balough, Bob McCreadie, Jack Johnson, Hearn, Decker, Sheppard and Friesen are all names that have been dubbed immortal by conquering “The Moody Mile”.
But that’s gone now, in the name of “progress” or whatever they want to call it. I’ll admit I cried last January when the politicians of the State of New York cheered as over 100-years of racing history was literally blown up in front of our eyes.
Back to the topic though. There are so many drivers that have deserved to win Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds that will never get the chance to. Some have been able to pick up a sprint car win or a win in small-block competition on Saturday, but never Sunday afternoon in the 200.
Tim McCreadie – When your father is “Barefoot Bob” McCreadie, the 1986 winner of Super DIRT Week, one would think that it would come natural to Tim McCreadie. Tim spent many a Super DIRT Week in those covered grandstands cheering on his father, but never would pick up the win in the Sunday 200-lapper. However, he was able to land himself in Victory Lane during the 2012, 358 race at the NYS Fairgrounds.
Dave Blaney – One of the best to ever take on “The Moody Mile,” the “Buckeye Bullet” Dave Blaney. During his career at Super DIRT Week, Blaney would run second on three separate occasions in 1989, 1994 and 1995 before heading south to compete in NASCAR. Blaney would pick up two World of Outlaw Sprint Car feature win’s in the Syracuse Nationals which were held on “The Moody Mile,” but never a Super DIRT Week Modified win.
Ronnie Johnson – Another son of a former winner Jack Johnson, who won in 1979 & 1984, Ronnie was unable to tame “The Moody Mile.” Ronnie would always be fast on Thursday in Time Trials but would never be able to land himself in Victory Lane on Sunday when it really counted. Ronnie was one of the drivers that had the most cheers come Sunday afternoon during driver introductions.
Steve Paine – The 2001 Mr. Dirt “The Hurricane” Steve Paine had his fair share of success at “The Moody Mile”. Over the years Paine would finish second in 1991 and 2000 to Billy Decker and Brett Hearn respectively. The last few years though Steve hasn’t really competed at the NYS Fairgrounds. He did win a “Win and You’re In” feature on the Saturday night before to earn a spot in the 200 at Rolling Wheels a couple years back.
Jimmy Phelps – “The Baldwinsville Bandit” Jimmy Phelps is another driver that etched his name on to the win list at the NYS Fairgrounds in 358 Modified competition by winning the final small-block race held on “The Moody Mile” but not on Sunday afternoon in the 200. Phelps is another guy that would be constantly fast throughout the week but always ended up second or third at the end of 200 laps.
Pat Ward – Pat Ward is probably one of the nicest, most down to earth drivers on the planet and you can always count on him being fast at Super DIRT Week. Pat’s best finish in the Columbus Day Weekend classic was a third in 2004. Look for the “Genoa Giant” to do doubly duty this week again at Super DIRT Week in both 358 & Big Block Modified competition.
Joe Plazek – For many years Joe Plazek tried to become the first Canadian-born driver to pick up a win at Super DIRT Week. I couldn’t tell you how many times Plazek would time trial up front, win his Triple 20 on Friday, lead a bunch of laps on Sunday but end up not winning The Super Bowl of Dirt Modified racing. Plazek did however win many times during the Labor Day Classic, which used to be held at the NYS Fairgrounds.
Billy Pauch – For many years Billy Pauch held the record for the fastest lap ever recorded on dirt, which was set at “The Moody Mile” at the NYS Fairgrounds in a 410 Sprint Car. Pauch also won one of the most dramatic races held in World of Outlaws competition over Dave Blaney that was held on “The Moody Mile”. Some say that Syracuse was Pauch’s Achilles heel. He could never win the 200, although he did win the small block race there driving the Keystone Pretzel No.126.
Gary Tomkins – Gary is another driver that deserved to win at “The Moody Mile.” Over the years whether it was driving his own car or for Jim Beachy or somebody else, he was always consistently fast. Tomkins was able to amass two runner-up finishes over the years in 2002 and 2004.
Regardless though, just making the race at the NYS Fairgrounds was a win in itself. Every driver that made the race deserved to win it. It was such a grueling deal all week, Tuesday through Sunday, dealing with every variable in the world. I could spend another five or so hours writing about guys that deserved to win it. Stan Ploski, Will Cagle, Jerry Cook, Ryan Godown, Rick Laubach, Larry Wight, Ron Smoker, Andy Bachetti, Duane Howard are just a few more names that should be on the win list at the NYS Fairgrounds.
As we get set to write another chapter in the history of Super DIRT Week, this time at the Oswego Speedway held roughly 40 minutes north of Syracuse, will another immortal be born?
Who do you think deserved to win the most on the “The Moody Mile” at the NYS Fairgrounds?
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Found on Twitter @PMacDonald51. Thanks For Reading!