FULTON — Fulton Speedway will be dusted off to let the dirt fly for one night this season as part of the DIRTcar OktoberFAST Series.
The popular high-bank short track is one of six host sites for the six-day circuit that will serve as an alternative to the annual fall tradition of Super Dirt Week, which was canceled last month due to COVID-19 concerns. Each race will be limited to participating teams at the track, but fans can watch all six races live on DIRTvision.
Fulton Speedway has not held any races this season due to state mandates barring fans from attending — same for nearby Brewerton Speedway under the same ownership — but general manager Cory Reed said that track management was eager to oblige when approached about participating in the new series.
“I feel bad that we haven’t been able to provide them a platform but I think a lot of our Central-New York regulars, whether it be big block, small block, or sportsman, all three classes, I think those are people you’ll see,” Reed said. “I think you’ll see all the big (DIRT Series) names, but I think this gives (local drivers) a good opportunity.”
He added: “I’m sure they’ve been frustrated, built their cars up all year, and a lot of them have done very little racing, if any. We feel for them and feel bad, but it was really out of our control, so when this deal came along and we were asked if we wanted to be involved, it was a pretty easy answer.”
Fulton is scheduled to host the third day of the tour on Oct. 8, following races in Albany-Saratoga Speedway and Utica-Rome Speedway the previous nights. The series will then continue at LaFargeville’s Can-Am Speedway, Land of Legends Raceway in Canandaigua, and finish at Weedsport Speedway.
The night of racing at Fulton will feature the 358 big-block and small-block 358 supermodified cars, along with the sportsman class. The track was re-surfaced prior to the scheduled start of the season and has hosted numerous teams for private test sessions throughout the summer.
Phoenix native Larry Wight — the 2019 DIRTcar Series Fulton track champion and son of Speedway owner, John Wight — is one of the dozens of area regulars excited for the chance to race one night on their home track. Wight has competed in more than 50 races this year, mostly travelling out of state to do so.
“We’re definitely excited and looking forward to getting some DIRT-sanctioned races in,” Wight said. “To get back to some New York races is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. We definitely prefer to race on the Hoosier tire with the big-block DIRT rule package as opposed to some of the others, we’re geared up more toward the Super DIRTcar Series.”
The OktoberFAST Series was recently announced by DIRTcar CEO, Brian Carter, who stated that the organization was investing the 2020 Series’ point funds into prize money for the six-day extravaganza.
The total in purses and prize money will exceed $300,000 and each night will consist of two or three feature events. No week-long champion will be crowned.
“They’re doing it for the racers, that is really what this is all about,” Reed said. “They don’t plan to make money and it’s not about making money, they’re obviously going to try to mitigate losses, but this is a stopgap to try to help the race teams and also be something impactful.”
The Oct. 8 event at Fulton will feature a 60-lap Super DIRTcar Series feature with a $7,500 top prize and $500 for qualifying, a 40-lap feature for the 358 Modified Series that pays $4,000 to win and $250 to start, and a 30-lap Sportsman feature with a $1,000 first-place reward and pays $100 for qualifying.
“The one thing that we really noticed is it’s the same amount of money for first-place prizes and it’s shorter races,” Wight said. “It’s 60 laps instead of 100, which definitely is more appealing to the racer and the car owner so we’re not having as much wear and tear on the motor or the car, and we can get a little more life out of it and hopefully use the same car for the entire week.”
Fulton recently canceled its annual fall main event, the Outlaw 200, while Brewerton was forced to call off is coinciding Hurricane 100. Reed said that the track waited as long as it could while holding out hope that “something good would happen.”
Reed said that the cancelation of Super Dirt Week led to the dreaded decision to call off the final two regular scheduled races at Fulton and Brewerton. The opportunity to participate in the upcoming OktoberFAST became impossible to pass following the combined lost seasons.
“It’s nice to be able to put something in the books and say that you ran,” Reed said. “It would have been frustrating to not put anything in the annals of history for Fulton for 2020, so at least we’ll be able to have something. Obviously, fans can’t come to that one either, but they’ll be able to watch on Dirt Vision, and I think they’ll see a really major show.”