MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – 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 March 23 – has been postponed to 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 Howard Commander, firmed the decision to postpone on Thursday.
“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.