Bookmark and Share


Snow, Ice, Cold & Frost – Force Postponement Of Orange County Fair Speedway ‘Hard Clay Open’


Harsh Winter Weather – Snow, Ice, Cold & Frost – Force Postponement Of Orange County Fair Speedway ‘Hard Clay Open’ $30,000-Plus Spectacular; Event Pushed Back Two Weeks To Sunday, April 6; Orange County Regular Season Opener Now April 12

Posted: March 13th, 2014

MIDDLETOWN, NY – One of the harshest winters in recent memory will force competitors and race fans to wait an additional two weeks for the anticipated ‘Hard Clay Open’ presented by United Pump & Tank, East Coast Speed/ECS Auto and West Point Golf at Orange County Fair Speedway.

The inaugural event – originally scheduled for Sunday, March 23 – has been postponed to Sunday, April 6 due to frost in the ground, an abundance of snow and ice on the speedway property and a slow warming trend.

Event promoter Brett Deyo, in conjunction with Orange County Fair Speedway operators Michael Gurda IV and HowardCommander, firmed the decision to postpone on Thursday, March 13.

“With early season dates, you are either a hero or zero at the mercy of the weather,” Deyo said of the postponement. “The Northeast dirt Modified community has been very fortunate with March racing over the last several years. This winter has been among the worst for snow, ice and cold.

“Michael Gurda knows his facility better than anyone. He is certain – with the current amount of snow and ice left on the track and grounds, the deep nature of the frost, and the slow temperature climb – we will not be able to hold a quality event on the 23rd. With that said, we opted to make the decision now and allow drivers and fans to adjust their plans.

“We agreed it is unfair to our racers and fans to push the issue and try to race when the facility isn’t 100-percent ready. The ‘Hard Clay Open’ is shaping up to be a huge event with a large and talented field. The last thing we want is to damage cars on a rough track and have parking issues for spectators and competitors. Now, we have an additional two weeks to ready the track and grounds and we will have the benefit of a practice session on the track April 5.”

The entire show, as is, will move to April 6. The event is headlined by the opening round of the National Dirt Racing League (NDRL) Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP for big-block/small-block Modifieds, a 50-lap main event paying a mammoth $30,000 purse plus special awards and bonuses (more than $35,000 in cash will be handed out that day). The event offers $5,000 to win, $4,000 for second, $1,500 for fifth, $1,000 for 10th and $500 to take the green flag.

Racers will compete for a long list of contingency awards and bonuses, in addition to $2,371 in lap money collected.

Joining the Modifieds are Crate 602 Sportsman in a 25-lap, $1,000-to-win event for the Dig Safely New York GRIT Series. Lap money and special awards are also adding up for ‘Hard Clay Open’ 602 Sportsman competitors.

The ‘Hard Clay Open’ postponement has prompted changes in the Orange County Fair Speedway schedule. The open practice session, originally slated for March 29, has been pushed back to April 5, the eve of the ‘Hard Clay Open’ event. The regular season opener for 2014 will now hit the track on April 12.

In Orange County’s long and storied history, there have been eight different race events completed on or before April 6: March 18, 1984 won by Larry Brolsma; March 25, 1984 won by Charlie Rudolph; April 2, 1983 won by C.D. Coville; April 2, 1983 won by Gary Iulg (heldover from March 27, 1983); April 3, 1966 won by Bill Wimble; April 4, 1959 won by Carl Van Horn; April 4, 1964 won by Bill Wimble and April 6, 1984 won by Bob McCreadie.

For the ‘Hard Clay Open’ pit gates will open at 8 a.m. Grandstand gates unlock at 10 a.m. A drivers’ meeting is set for 1 p.m., with hot laps at 1:20 p.m. and racing at 2 p.m.

Admission for the ‘Hard Clay Open’ is $20 for Adults, $18 for Seniors and $2 for Kids 12 and under. Pit admission is $35, with no license required.

Big- and small-block combinations are legal for this unique event with staggered minimum weights. American Racer and Hoosier tires are both legal, as well. Accepted tire compounds have been outlined in the race rules/information.

For the first time ever at Orange County, sail panels are permitted for the ‘Hard Clay Open’ Modified event. Sail panels must be no taller than 65 inches when measured from the ground and must mirror each other in size and shape side-for-side. A four-inch roof spoiler is permitted, as well. All other Orange County/DIRTcar body rules will be in effect. Complete race rules, weights and tire compounds can be found online at or

For qualifying, drivers will draw for their starting positions upon entry to the speedway. Heat-race finishes utilizing staggered passing points will be calculated to set the redraw participants and qualified cars from 10-lap heat races. Consolations, 10 laps each, will set the remainder of the 28-car starting field via their order of finish. The heat-race finish/passing point combination will set the starting lineups for the consolations.

The passing points system, new to Modified racing but widely used in other forms of racing including Sprint Cars and the famed ‘Chili Bowl’ in Tulsa, Okla., aims to satisfy the desires of both racers and fans by easing the consequences of a poor draw for competitors and providing heat-race excitement for fans.

For further ‘Hard Clay Open’ information, contact Brett Deyo of BD Motorsports Media at or by phone at 845.728.2781. BD Motorsports Media is on the web at “Like” BD Motorsports Media on Facebook or “follow” @BrettDeyo on Twitter.

Located at 239 Wisner Avenue Middletown, NY 10940 on the Orange County Fairgrounds, Orange County Fair Speedway is the oldest continuously operating dirt track in the United States. The first auto race was held at the speedway in 1919. The five-eighths-mile oval offers fully-covered and half-covered grandstands in addition to open bleacher seating on the frontstretch and turn one areas, with drive-in viewing on the backstretch. To learn more, contact the Orange County Fair Speedway office at 845.342.2573 or visit

The ‘Hard Clay Open’ is presented by United Pump & Tank, East Coast Speed/ECS Auto, West Point Golf, Rock Fantasy Concert, Smoke Shop & Pinball Room, Simplicity Design, 673 Racing, Mike Sparta Trucking, Elmo’s Auto Body, Zubi’s Racing, McGannon Excavating, Teo-Pro Car, Rochinski Contracting Services, Bob Hilbert Sportswear & many other fine marketing and lap sponsors.

The National Dirt Racing League (NDRL) Short Track Super Series is presented by VP Racing Fuels, Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc., East Coast Speed/ECS Auto, Rochinski Contracting Services, Allstar Performance, American Racer/Lias Tire, Art’s Radiator, ATL Fuel Cells, BFP Specialty, Bicknell Racing Products, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, COMP Performance Group, Dirt Track Digest, DRACO Springs, Driven Racing Oil, ERK Steering, Finish Line Web Design, Fox Shox, H.B. Steele & Son, Henry’s Stainless Steel Exhaust, Hig Fab Chassis, Jack’s Used Race Car Parts, Kirkey Racing Products, PM3 Digital Imaging, Quarter Master, Race Pro Weekly, Schaeffer Racing Oil, Shiley Fabrication, Sleepy Hollow Golf, Teo-Pro Car, Troyer Race Cars & Vahlco Wheels.

This article posted by Orange County Fair Speedway. Click here for more track information.