MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — They say you never forget the first time.
That will be the case this Sunday, April 6, when the New York State dirt modified season opens with the inaugural running of the Hard Clay Open at Orange County Fair Speedway.
The Hard Clay Open is headlined by the first 50-lap National Dirt Racing League Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP big-block/small-block modified event.
The $30,000-plus spectacular is a co-promotion involving Orange County operators Michael Gurda IV and Howard Commander in conjunction with special events promoter Brett Deyo of BD Motorsports Media LLC.
The Hard Clay Open at the fairgrounds five-eighths-mile kicks off the NDRL Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP, a six-race big-block/small-block Modified series offering a recently increased $10,014 to the champion from a point fund of more than $25,000.
For Sunday’s Orange County event, pit gates open at 8 a.m. Drive-in and grandstand gates open at 10 a.m. The pre-race drivers’ meeting will be called at 12:40 p.m. Hot laps are set at 1:05 p.m., with the first official green flag 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.
The program includes qualifying races and main events for both the NDRL Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP Modifieds and Dig Safely New York GRIT Series Crate 602 Sportsman. Modifieds race 50 laps for $5,000 to win, $1,000 for 10th and $500 to start plus bonuses and $2,439 in lap money that will cycle through the top-seven running positions. Crate 602 Sportsman will run 25 laps for a $1,000-plus winner’s share and $100 to take the green flag.
The ‘Hard Clay Open’ is historic for many reasons: it marks the first race at Orange County contested with high sail panels (rather than traditional windows) on modifieds; it is the debut for Midwestern sprint car-style ‘passing points’ qualifying in dirt modified racing; it marks the first foray by the National Dirt Racing League, a sanctioning group of high-paying super late model racing, into the Northeastern modified market; it is the first NDRL Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP event; and it is the first BD Motorsports Media LLC promotion at Orange County.
On Saturday (April 5), race teams will hit the track for an open practice session from 12-5 p.m. Grandstand admission is free for practice. Pit admission is $25.