The Super DIRTcar Series is set to close out the 2023 edition of SummerFAST at Land of Legends Raceway in Canandaigua, NY. Much like 2022, the mini-series will be a bit shorter than intended, with Fulton being washed out yesterday due to severe weather. However, the opener at Brewerton created enough storylines to make tonight just as interesting, as Mat Williamson made a dramatic last lap pass on Matt Sheppard to grab the victory. On his journey to the top spot, Williamson drew the ire of "The Doctor" Danny Johnson, who after the race, vowed to take revenge on Williamson tonight. Wiliamson is winless in 31 attempts at Land of Legends, so this feud will not make things any easier. Meanwhile, both Sheppard and Johnson come into a track where they have had incredible success over the years. Additionally, Peter Britten, who would have been one of the favorites, is on the sidelines with an injured hand. DirtVision coverage kicks off at 5:45 EST with hot laps and qualifying to follow at 6:00. It is best to wait until after qualifying to lock your DirtDraft rosters, but be careful, as the schedule calls for Opening Ceremonies and SDS heat races directly afterwards.
Part III - Land of Legends Raceway (Wednesday, August 16th)
Tim Fuller: $21,300
Tim Fuller snapped a 2-year SDS winless streak in July by picking up the Stars and Stripes Spectacular at Canandaigua and then went on to grab another series win by claiming the Canadian Classic at Brockville at the end of the Canadian swing. Outside of the SDS wins, Fuller has grabbed wins at Can-Am (2), Fonda, Thunder Mountain, and a Canadian Big Block Series win at Mohawk. The recently-inducted Hall of Famer has shoved off Father Time to continue adding to his illustrious resume. Fuller is an 11-time winner at Land of Legends and has 131 top 10s in 179 career starts, so consider him to be a driver that will be contending for the victory.
Erick Rudolph: $21,200
The 2018 track champion rolls back into Land of Legends with incredible momentum, since his Canadian Swing kick off win at Drummond on July 31st, Rudolph has posted one finish outside of the top 3 in 6 races, which was a 23rd at Brockville's SDS event. He finished 2nd in the second leg at Drummond on August 1st, picked up wins at Lernerville, Mercer, and Ransomville, while coming home runner-up at Woodhull in the $5,500-to-win "Honoring Alice" event. Additionally, Rudolph has 2 wins, 2 top 5s, and 2 top 10s, including an 8th in the "Stars and Stripes", in 7 Land of Legends races this season. Collectively, he has 11 wins on the season in 50 races and has 16 wins at Canandaigua over the course of his career. Consider Rudolph to be threat to add Land of Legends to his list of SDS triumphs.
Max McLaughlin: $20,600
McLaughlin started off his season with a bang by capturing the opening event at Volusia and producing two more top 5s at the DIRTcar Nationals. However, his season has been a rollercoaster since, as he only has 1 top 5 and 3 top 10s in SDS competition. Outside of Florida, his highlight top 4 happened to come at Land of Legends during the Stars and Stripes Spectacular in July, an event he won in 2022. Despite his struggles, it might be worth taking a gamble on a young, talented driver that could use a boost heading into the Fall.
Justin Haers: $20,200
The 2021 and 2022 track champion is winless in 2023, but still holds the points lead due to his fantastic consistency, and with Peter Britten out due to an injury, it looks like Haers will win his 3rd title in-a-row. In 11 events, Haers has finished inside the top 5 in 9 weekly events, with an 11th during the SDS race. He will be looking to win his second career SDS event and first at his home track.
Alan Johnson: $20,100
According to the Dirt Track Digest forum, "AJ Slideways" has a yearly winning streak that stretches all the way back to 1975. However, the 65-year-old Johnson enters the week in danger of losing that streak, as his runner-up at Utica-Rome on May 19th stands as his best result of the season. Statistically, it is his worst season in quite some time, but he still sits 3rd in Land of Legends points, even though he missed a race. In his lone SDS start this season, Johnson came home 26th, but his podium effort in the STSS North event at Outlaw Speedway in June still shows that he is capable of running with the big dogs on his day. I am not going to sit here and tell you that Johnson will be a threat for the victory, but this is the Land of Legends, so anything is possible.
Alex Payne: $19,800
Payne is in his second full season of modified competition and is showing that he will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come, and with two weekly events at Land of Legends left to run, the 4th man in the points standings is still within striking distance of the front runners. He holds a win at both of his weekly tracks (Utica-Rome & Land of Legends), and led the majority of the STSS North "Outlaw Showdown" at Outlaw Speedway before a last lap mistake left him in a disappointing, yet impressive 2nd place.
Pat Ward: $19,300
The 66-year-old Ward might be winless on the season, but his first win of 2022 came in September, so it might not be time to worry about snapping a 22 year winning streak just yet. In 10 weekly starts at Land of Legends this year, Ward has only finished outside of the top 10 once, with a best result of 4th coming on July 8th. If you count his 9 starts at Utica-Rome, Ward has a further 2 top 5s and 6 top 10s this season. Fellow Hall of Famer, Tim Fuller, got it done in last SDS race here in July, so Ward might have a few tricks up his sleeve to pull off a solid result, as he brought his familiar #42 machine home in 11th last year.
Kyle Coffey: $18,800
Kyle Coffey might be winless in 2023, but he has put together a very solid season at Land of Legends so far. In 11 starts, Coffey has finished inside the top 5 on four occasions and was able to add an additional four top 10s. Additionally, he has contested four SDS events this season (three non-points at Volusia) and was able to bring it home inside the top 15 in 3 of those events, including a 14th at his home circuit. I would expect Coffey to post another solid result against the best in the business.