The Welland, ONT driver earned a 10th-place finish in his Salute to the Troops 150 debut
Dalton Slack’s first trip to Oswego Speedway for Super DIRT Week will always be memorable.
In his first DIRTcar 358 Modified Salute to the Troops 150, the Welland, ON driver proved he could thrive on the northeast’s biggest stage, earning a 10th-place finish.
It’s an accomplishment that’s finally settling in for the 20-year-old driver and giving him a boost of confidence heading into 2024.
“I think because we had 20 minutes to get out there for the Big Block race it didn’t really settle in,” Slack said. “But to think we finished 10th against 80 cars, it was pretty incredible for never going there. I was really thrilled with the weekend with our [358 Modified] program. It was really good. I felt like everything just clicked and went together really well.
“It’s one of those track’s everyone races at once a year. So, I feel like the playing field is a little bit even, and I feel like I can make up for a little bit there. It’s pretty cool to see the pictures of racing against Billy Decker and everybody up front.”
Super DIRT Week helped put an exclamation point on what Slack called an up-and-down season. But his experience at Oswego was like what he faced all season. He traveled to many new tracks in 2023 as he learned how to adapt to places he’d never been to.
And despite being held out of Victory Lane this season, he said he felt the #3RS team owned by his dad and grandfather, Bob and Randy Slack, was moving in the right direction with the Big Block and 358 Modified.
“I feel like every season is up and down when you have two of the best guys winning every race,” Slack said. “But that’s no excuse. A lot of the racetracks I’d never been to, and we showed up with three practice laps. Victory Lane was definitely tough to get to. There’s nobody that’s slow anymore. Everybody’s got the same stuff.
“This year was good, though. We had a lot of promising runs. At the end of the year, we got our Big Block program straightened up, and we started going better. And our [358 Modified] program is good, but we traveled to places we’ve never gone before.”
As Slack looks to improve every night, he carries on the legacy of his family-owned team at the track. The #3RS has been successful for many years, scoring wins with drivers like 10-time Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard, Tim Fuller, who won the first Salute to the Troops 150 at Oswego in 2016, and Erick Rudolph, who won a Super DIRTcar Series race at Autodrome Drummond last summer.
Other notable names who drove the car were Danny O’Brien and Ryan Susice, who scored his first Super DIRTcar Series win in 2018 at Merrittville driving the car.
Slack understands the importance of the team’s legacy, and what it means when he reaches Victory Lane.
“It’s really important to me,” Slack said. “It’s definitely my number one priority. When I’ve won before, there’s a spotlight on me, but when I win everybody wins. The whole crew, the family, my mom, my dad, my grandparents. People don’t realize how much effort everyone puts into it. We might not race as much as everybody else does because we have full-time jobs and we’re busy, but it means the world to me when I can see my family smile and be happy for what we’ve accomplished. It means the world to me.”
Slack is looking ahead to 2024 and hopes to thrive even more after a year of learning new tracks and a good finish at Super DIRT Week.
“Super DIRT Week definitely built our confidence,” Slack said. “I’m really excited to see what we can do in 2024. Hopefully now that we’ve seen a lot of the racetracks, hopefully we’ll get a bigger confidence boost going there. And now we’ll just wait and see. I’m excited for 2024.”
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