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DIRTcar UMP

Hoosier Tire Weekly Racing Championships Begin For Five DIRTcar Northeast Divisions

Lance Willix and Scott Webb

The battle to become the top DIRTcar weekend warrior begins this weekend.

Drivers who compete weekly at DIRTcar-sanctioned tracks throughout the Northeast and Canada can earn extra money in the Hoosier Tire Weekly Racing championship.

From now until Labor Day, the drivers who earn the most points will be crowned champions in the Big Block Modified, 358 Modified, Sportsman, Pro Stock, and 4-Cylinder divisions.

The top-16 finishes in non-series DIRTcar events throughout the season will count toward the championship, meaning drivers can travel throughout the Northeast to earn points.

Last year, five champions were crowned with Marc Johnson (Big Block), Lance Willix (358), Andrew Buff (Sportsman), Luke Horning (Pro Stock), and Daniel Joubert (4-Cylinder) each earning their respective title.

More than $45,000 will be paid out to drivers at the end of the season.

Here’s a look at what to watch for in the five divisions in 2024:

Big Block Modifieds:

Marc Johnson was a master of consistency in 2023, scoring two wins, 12 top fives, and 21 top-10 finishes between Albany-Saratoga and Lebanon Valley Speedway. The Guilderland, NY driver will make both tracks his home again this season but will have to fend off challenges from some of the top Big Block Modified drivers in the Northeast.

Marc Johnson in the pits at Lebanon Valley Speedway
Marc Johnson captured the Big Block Modified championship with a win on the final night in 2023/Tom Morris

Peter Britten earned four wins between Albany-Saratoga and Land of Legends Raceway last season, but ultimately came up short on the final weekend, finishing eight points behind Johnson.

Both will return to chase the 2024 title, along with defending Brewerton Speedway champion Tim Sears Jr., Albany-Saratoga champion Demetrios Drellos, and Super DIRTcar Series stars like 2019 Series champion Mat Williamson, Mike Mahaney, Jimmy Phelps, Alex Payne and Larry Wight are also chasing the 2024 title.

Last year, 174 Big Block Modifieds raced in DIRTcar sanctioned events.

In addition to the championship, they’ll all be chasing the $5,000 prize for being the top weekly Big Block Modified driver.

The first Big Block Modified race of 2024 will be at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Friday, April 19.

358 Modifieds:

Lance Willix used three early season wins to build momentum en route to the Hoosier Tire Weekly championship in 2023. He’s back to defend that title this season but must contend with a group of hungry drivers aiming to dethrone him. 

That list starts with Jordan McCreadie, who battled with Willix and Can-Am Speedway at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park last season. McCreadie bested Willix for the Glen Ridge championship but ultimately came up short in the race for the top 358 Modified weekly competitor as Willix scored eight wins between Can-Am, Glen Ridge, and Airborne Park Speedway.

While those two drivers will battle for the Hoosier Tire Weekly Racing title again, they’ll also receive challenges from defending Brockville Ontario Speedway champion Ryan Arbuthnot, Fulton Speedway champion Tim Sears Jr., Can-Am regular Billy Dunn, and Ransomville Speedway champion Mat Williamson.

Last season saw 140 358 Modified drivers run under the DIRTcar banner, including more than 40 cars at each DIRTcar 358 Modified Series event, showing the growth of the class each season.

The first 358 Modified weekly race of 2024 will occur at Can-Am on Friday, April 26, as part of its 50th Jubilee season opener. 

This year’s 358 Modified champion receives $3,000.

Sportsman: 

The DIRTcar Sportsman is the only one of the five divisions in which a new champion will be guaranteed in 2024.

Andrew Buff is moving up to 358 Modified competition this season, leaving the $1,000 prize up for grabs on Labor Day weekend.

That opens the door for his brother Zach, who finished second last season, to try and keep the title in the Buff family. However, he’ll face several stout competitors from across the Northeast and Canada who want the championship.

Cody McPherson, who won the weekly title in 2022, scored seven wins in 2023, along with the Merrittville Speedway title. Zach Sobotka, who won track championships at Brewerton and Land of Legends also hopes to jump to the top of the leaderboard as he tries to earn his first championship by maximizing his consistency. 

Jason Gray is another Sportsman driver who finished seventh in 2024. The defending Bear Ridge Speedway champion hopes to stay consistent after earning five wins and 16 top 10 finishes.

In 2024, 15 different tracks will host DIRTcar-sanctioned Sportsman events from now until Labor Day, boasting the highest number of drivers aiming to be champion at the end of the year.

Pro Stocks:

After a dominating 2023 season, Luke Horning is back in 2024 to defend his Hoosier Tire Weekly Racing championship.

“Cousin Luke” earned 10 wins during the weekly season and finished all 16 races that counted toward the championship in the top 10. That performance earned him $1,000 at the end of the year.

Luke Horning in Victory Lane in Oswego
Luke Horning celebrates his win at Super DIRT Week 51/Brent Smith photo

To repeat and earn another title in 2024, he’ll have to compete against Chad Jeseo (Lebanon Valley), Rich Crane (Albany-Saratoga), Gabriel Caouette (Autodrome Drummond), and Pete Stefanski (Can-Am), who each won track championships in 2023.

Ryan Christian and Tim Hodge also aim to finish in the top five for the second straight season after scoring 14 top 10s in 16 races.

4-Cylinders:

Last season, Daniel Joubert edged Alex Riley by three points to win the first Hoosier Tire Weekly Racing championship for 4-Cylinders.

Joubert earned three wins to score the championship at Glen Ridge and will return to try and earn the $500 prize again this year.

The division, which produces constant wheel-to-wheel action, will make its return in 2024, with 11 tracks across the Northeast showcasing the entry-level division.

Whoever wins the title at the end of the year receives $500.

Here is the list of tracks and divisions sanctioned by DIRTcar Northeast in 2024:

Afton Fairgrounds Speedway – Sportsman, 4 Cyl.

Albany-Saratoga Speedway – Big Block, 358, Sportsman, Pro Stock, 4 Cyl.

Autodrome Drummond – 358, Sportsman, Pro Stock

Bear Ridge Speedway – Sportsman

Brewerton Speedway – Big Block, Sportsman, 4 Cyl.

Brockville Ontario Speedway – 358, Sportsman, 4 Cyl.

Can-Am Speedway – 358, Sportsman, 4 Cyl.

Fulton Speedway – 358, Sportsman, 4 Cyl.

Glen Ridge Motorsports Park – 358, Sportsman, Pro Stock, 4 Cyl.

Humberstone Speedway – Sportsman, 4 Cyl.

Land of Legends Raceway – Big Block, Sportsman

Lebanon Valley Speedway – Big Block, Pro Stock, 4 Cyl.

Merrittville Speedway – Sportsman, 4 Cyl.
Orange County Fair Speedway – Big Block

Ransomville Speedway – 358, Sportsman, 4 Cyl.

Thunder Mountain Speedway – Sportsman

Weedsport Speedway – Big Block, Sportsman

For more on the DIRTcar Northeast, follow the DIRTcar Facebook page and the Series’ X/(Twitter) page

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