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Oswego, Super DIRT Week officials say race event was a success

Payne Horning

At the first Super DIRT week held at the Oswego Speedway, fans packed the newly renovated grandstands and eagerly awaited the premiere race on Sunday. But it wasn't without a few bumps in the road.

After the race began the dirt track quickly eroded, leaving behind huge holes. The asphalt track had been covered in clay only a couple of weeks before the event and rain on Saturday only made things worse. All of Saturday's races were postponed, shortened and held on Sunday. In the end, after 200 laps, only about a dozen of the 44 cars that started the race were able to cross the finish line. That frustrated many fans like Doug Flynn.

"It was a crash-fest," Flynn said. "You know, you've got to get a better racing surface out there."

Other spectators complained about too much dirt outside the track. The adjacent campgrounds and parking lots were turned to mud pits after Saturday's rain. Yet for the most part many fans were pleased with the week, including Oswego resident Tim Annar.

"Great show, good performance," Annar said. "I think it went well overall. The track got a little rough at the end, but I think they'll continue to work on it for the next couple of years."

The race is coming back to the Oswego Speedway next year. Super DIRT Week officials say they will move the event to the Central New York Raceway Park in Hastings, where the race was supposed to take place this year, once its delayed construction is complete. However, with the tourism and tax benefits the event offers to a local economy, Mayor Billy Barlow hopes he can change that plan.

"We'll work hard in the next year to make super dirt as comfortable and convenience them as much as we can so that it's much more tempting to stay beyond next year," Barlow said. 

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.