Column By: TOBY LAGRANGE / RPW – OSWEGO, NY – It is not uncommon for a driver to dominate an event, even a big event. However, when it comes on the biggest stage in your form of racing, it makes many stand up and take notice. This was the case at Super DIRT Week 50, during the Chevrolet Performance 75 DIRTcar Sportsman Championship.
Ontario driver Cody McPherson didn’t just dominate the race, he dominated the week by first setting fast time which earned him the pole position and then led from start to finish to claim the $4,000 lions share of the events purse.
McPherson had a solid game place and stuck to it, which guided him into victory lane for what would be one of his biggest wins to date.
“My game plan was to run 75 smooth laps and hit my marks,” McPherson said. “I knew as long as I did that, I would have a pretty good shot. There is a lot of good cars and you never know until you race the race. I just hit my marks, did my thing and hoped for the best.”
With track championships at the Merrittville and Humberstone Speedways as well as the Hoosier Tire Weekly DIRTcar Sportsman Championship title and the DIRTcar Sportsman West Region (Canada) title under his belt, the St. Catherine’s driver has already written a solid chapter into his personal history book.
“We have had a heck of a year and this just made it that much better,” McPherson said. “We still have one more race to go next weekend as we try to go for the (overall) DIRTcar Sportsman title.
Gloversville, New York’s Chad Edwards timed fourth quick during time trials on Friday afternoon and then backed it up with a win in the Friday night heat race. He ran inside the top ten for the entire 75-lap event and took over the second position late in the event to follow McPherson across the line.
“You come here and you want to win,” Edwards said. “There were 90 cars and we ended up qualifying pretty well. We kind of slipped back in the beginning of the race and fell back to seventh and then moved our way back up nice and easy and ended up second.”
Coming into this year’s Super DIRT Week the track conditions were a huge topic. Edwards, like every driver I spoke with, echoed how great the conditions were.
“The track is in really great shape,” last years pole sitter said. “You would never know that it is not a dirt track all year round the way the track is this year. It is night and day compared to last year. It is really fun, smooth and beautiful.”
Defending race winner and 2022 Land of Legends Raceway Track Champion Zach Sobotka rounded out the podium finishers on Sunday afternoon. He timed tenth quick however battled to a runner-up finish in his heat race. He ran a solid race to finish third.
“It feels good to be back up here (podium),” Sobotka said. “I would have liked to be two spots better but obviously being up here in the top three, even in the top five is great because all of these guys were good that were in this race. We came up on lapped cars that I contended for wins with. It definitely feels good to be up here again.”
Rome, New York’s Chris Mackey finished fourth with Matt Janczuk finished fifth.
Earlier this season Zach Buff earned his first DIRTcar Sportsman Series feature event win in a regional event at the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park. After a flat tire ruined his chances of qualifying through one of the four heat races, he would be forced to start near the rear of a consolation event. He came up just short of transferring and had to take a provisional to get in.
The rookie driver took advantage of the opportunity. From his 35th starting position he gained 22 positions to finish 13th.
Another driver making a hard charge during the event was Quebec’s Cedric Gauvreau. The DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series race winner at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in September rolled off 33rd in the 75-lap feature event. He battled through to finish 18th.
A total of 90 drivers entered the 50th Anniversary Super DIRT Week DIRTcar Sportsman Championship. This was the 23rd running of the event that started on the Moody Mile back in 1997.