Tim Fuller and Tim McCreadie couldn't quite catch Matt Sheppard last year at Syracuse during Super DIRT Week as the Waterloo veteran big-block modified driver won the Syracuse 200 at the New York State Fairgrounds. This year, both Fuller and McCreadie hope they will have enough at the end to win the prestigious race.
Fuller, a Watertown-area resident, had the lead for the first 72 laps of last year's race, looking to win his second Syracuse 200. He won his first Syracuse championship in 2004.
"Nobody had anything for Sheppard at the end,'' Fuller said last year following the race.
Weather plays an important part in the outcome at Syracuse, along with crucial pit stops.
"As the race wore on last year, the track (got) slippery,'' Fuller said. ''I came in for a pit stop at around the halfway point and got fuel and changed tires. Actually, the car ran worse with the new cold tires. I was losing at least a second on restarts and couldn't hold off McCreadie.''
McCreadie said after last year's race that he wasn't sure that he could have caught Sheppard even if there were extra laps. The veteran driver was proud of one thing after last year's race. It marked the first time that he has finished the race.
Fuller says one of the new rules that DIRT Motorsports will institute for the Oct. 10 race may cause a lot of problems on the track.
"We will be having double-file restarts up to lap 190,'' Fuller said. "There could be a lot of accidents with the double file restarts especially late in the race.''
Fuller said the key to winning at Syracuse, besides pit strategy, is staying out of trouble on the track. The Edwards native said there is hardly even one groove to race on at the fairgrounds.
Neither Fuller nor McCreadie race in many big-block modified races as they follow the late model series. Last week at the Fonda Speedway, McCreadie finished second to Stewart Friesen in a 100-lap modified race, while Fuller finished 10th.
The six-day schedule for Super DIRT Week beings Tuesday with inspections.
On Thursday, time trials for both the 358-modifieds and big-block modifieds will be held. The modified triple 20s and 358-modified twin 20s will be held.
Saturday's schedule includes the Salute to the Troops 150-lap championship race for small-block modifieds. The Syracuse 200 highlights Sunday's race program with a 2 p.m. start.
Racing will also be held on Thursday at the Brewerton Speedway in the small-block modified division. The sprint car challenge highlights racing Friday night at the Cayuga County Fair Speedway in Weedsport and the 358-modifieds and sportsman are scheduled to race at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge on the same night. On Saturday night, the World of Outlaws sprint cars highlight racing action at Rolling Wheels.
Billy Dunn of Watertown and Lance Willix II of Theresa are expected to compete in the Small Engine Fuels 200 on Sunday. Dunn is eighth in points and Willix is 15th. ... Several pro stock drivers that race on a weekly basis at Mohawk International Speedway in Akwesasne will be vying for a starting position in the championship race on Sunday. ... . Dave Marcucilli of Cayuga won the sportsman championship series race Friday night at the Fulton Speedway. Marcuccilli outlasted runner-up Tim Sears Jr. of Clay by 0:103 seconds to win the SUNY Canton Outlaw 30. Ryan Suscie of Ransomville took third. Brandon Sweet of Watertown took 11th, while Watertown's Jamie Platt was 16th. Christine Martin of Wellesley Island and Josh Van Brocklin finished 26th and 30th, respectively.