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DIRTcar Northeast

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: DIRTcar Sportsman Series Central, East Region Open 2024 Season

Zach Sobotka and Nelson Mason
Michael Fry photo

After a successful opener for the DIRTcar Sportsman Series North Region, two more regions will open their 2024 season this weekend.

The Central Region kicks off its five-race campaign at Brewerton Speedway in Central Square, NY on Friday, May 10, in a 30-lap Feature paying $1,000-to-win. 

Then, it’s the East Region’s turn, opening at Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, VT on Saturday, May 11, in a 40-lap, $1,057-to-win Feature.

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

Here’s a look at what to watch for this weekend:

Central Region

Race to the Top: With Andrew Buff moving up to the 358 Modified division, the Central Region will crown a new champion in 2024.

One of the favorites to take Buff’s place is defending Brewerton track champion Zach Sobotka. The Parish, NY driver won two of the last three races on the DIRTcar Sportsman Series Championship Trail last season, including one at the “D-Shaped Dirt Demon” during Super DIRT Week.

He’s off to a fast start in 2024, winning on opening night at Brewerton and Land of Legends Raceway.

Sobotka has finished second in the DIRTcar Sportsman Championship points in three consecutive seasons and is searching for his first overall Series title.

Nick Root, who finished third in last season’s overall standings will try to match Sobotka at every turn. The Geneva, NY driver finished sixth in last year’s championship trail stop at Brewerton during Super DIRT Week. 

Nick Root
Nick Root practices at Oswego Speedway during Super DIRT Week/Dylan Terry

Root, who competes weekly at Brewerton, finished 11th on opening night. He also earned a runner-up finish to Sobotka over the weekend at Land of Legends.

Early Season Momentum: While Sobotka is off to a fast start, Emmett Waldron is also entering the weekend with momentum. 

The Savannah, NY driver led the final 22 laps at Fulton Speedway to score his second career victory at the track. He added a third-place finish at Brewerton on Friday, giving him two trips to the podium to start the year.

Emmett Waldron
Emmett Waldron Celebrates in Victory Lane at Fulton Speedway/John Meloling

Waldron finished second in Fulton’s track standings last year and aims to be the one to take Buff’s place at the top of the DIRTcar Central Region standings after finishing ninth in 2023.

DIRTcar Sportsman Series Central Region Schedule
Friday, May 10, Brewerton Speedway

Tuesday, June 11, Weedsport Speedway
Saturday, June 22, Land of Legends Raceway
Wednesday, July 3, Can-Am Speedway

Saturday, July 27, Fulton Speedway


Defending Home Turf: Drivers traveling to Bear Ridge this weekend will have to contend with one of the toughest weekly fields in the Northeast.

Four-time and defending track champion Jason Gray leads that group of drivers after winning the track’s 57th season opener last weekend. 

Jason Gray At Bear Ridge
Jason Gray celebrates his opening night win at Bear Ridge Speedway/Creative Outbursts photo

The East Thetford, VT driver won the opening DIRTcar Sportsman Series event at Bear Ridge last year en route to finishing third in the East Region standings.

While Gray found success in last year’s event, he’ll also contend with Robert Tucker, DJ Robinson, and Max Dolliver. All three finished behind Gray, scoring top fives last Saturday at the Bradford, VT oval. 

Dolliver and Robinson also earned top fives in last year’s DIRTcar Sportsman Series East Region event, finishing second and fourth, respectively. Tucker, meanwhile, finished 13th in that event.

Another driver representing Bear Ridge in the East Region is track promoter C.V. Elms. The seven-time track champion, between the 6-cylinder Modified and Modified Coupe divisions, will compete in DIRTcar Sportsman Series competition for the third straight season.

The North Haverhill, NH driver finished fourth in the East Region in 2022 and will aim for a championship with a chance to defend his home track twice in the four-race Series.

Heywood’s Return: Defending East Region champion Nick Heywood returns to DIRTcar Sportsman Series competition in 2024 at Bear Ridge on Saturday. 

Nick Heywood
Defending East Region champion Nick Heywood battles at Brewerton Speedway/Michael Fry photo

Heywood, from Plattsburgh, NY, finished third at Bear Ridge last May, matching his best East Region finish and kickstarting his run toward the East Region title.

He also ran a Central Region event in 2023, finishing fourth at Can-Am Speedway last June.

DIRTcar Sportsman Series East Region Schedule
Saturday, May 11, Bear Ridge Speedway
Sunday, May 19, Glen Ridge Speedway
Tuesday, May 28, Afton Fairgrounds Speedway
Saturday, July 20, Bear Ridge Speedway

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