SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The news at the annual Super DIRT Week media lunch was good with World Racing Group CEO Brian Carter announcing that arrangements had been made with the State of New York to run the race in 2012.
Tickets will be on sale Sunday for the 41st running of the modified 200.
*Multiple winner Gary Balough was the center of a story circulating among insiders concerning his taking another lap on the famed mile Wednesday night: after track preparation was complete and in a road car. Security brought the excursion to a rapid halt but the incident brought back memories of Balough’s era, when such an incident would have been tame compared to the other things that went on. As the t-shirt says, “I only came for the Shenanigans!”
*Insiders also missed the first lady of Syracuse, Jean Lynch, stuck at home recovering from a badly broken leg suffered in a crash while returning to her western Pennsylvania home from the Knoxville Nationals in August. Jean has served as office manager, pr person, cashier and den mother to boys like me for many, many years.
*Syracuse, the second largest racing event in New York, after Watkins Glen’s NASCAR date, had more campers than ever this year, a positive sign considering the state of the economy in the region.
*Wayne Mahar, weatherman at the NBC affiliate in Syracuse, will be the grand marshal for Friday night’s qualifying program. He will broadcast live from turn four and has guaranteed good weather for the weekend, generally a risky proposition in central New York at any time but especially October.
*Teddy Christopher’s much-heralded Syracuse debut was hampered by a late arriving car that would not run when he finally got on the track near the end of hot laps. Whether he tries to qualify in Friday’s heats or the last chance race Sunday remains to be seen.
*Buzzie Reutimann’s plane from Florida was delayed and he missed the media luncheon, but other Syracuse winners on hand included Gary Balough, Kenny Brightbill, Kenny Tremont, Jr., Jimmy Horton, five-time winner Brett Hearn, Billy Decker, Matt Sheppard, Tim Fuller, Alan Johnson, Danny Johnson, Stewart Friesen and Vic Coffey.
Jack Johnson, the first New Yorker to win the classic, was on the grounds but did not attend the luncheon. There have been 22 winners in the event’s 40-year history.
*World Racing Group head Tom Deery had the last word and he said it perfectly when he told the audience that the best thing about racing in general and Syracuse in particular is that “We get to do what we love!”