Orange County Fair Speedway

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Orange County Fair Speedway
"The House of Power"
2 OCFS building.jpg
Orange County Fair Speedway Grandstand
LocationMiddletown, New York,
at 239 Wisner Avenue, Middletown, New York 10940, United States[1]
Time zoneGMT-5
Coordinates41°26′52″N 74°23′36″W / 41.44778°N 74.39333°W / 41.44778; -74.39333Coordinates: 41°26′52″N 74°23′36″W / 41.44778°N 74.39333°W / 41.44778; -74.39333
Capacity8,000
OwnerMike Gurda IV[2]
OperatorIndependent
Broke ground1857 - For Horse Racing
OpenedAugust 16, 1919 - First Auto Race[3]
Construction costUnknown
ArchitectUnknown
Former namesOgden Tract, Harry Clay Oval, Victory Speedway
Major eventsEastern States 200
Eastern States 100
Hard Clay Open[4]
Street Stock Shootout[5]
Oval
SurfaceDirt
Length0.625 mi (1.006 km)
Turns4
BankingSemi-Banked
Race lap record0:16.083 (139.899 MPH)[6] (Joey Saldana, Joey Saldana Racing, September 24th, 2008, WoO Sprint Car)
Websitewww.orangecountyfairspeedway.net/index.html

Orange County Fair Speedway is a 0.625 mi (1.006 km) dirt oval speedway in Middletown, Orange County, New York.[7] The facility holds weekly stock car races and demolition derbies during the summer months. The track was built in 1857 for horse racing at the Orange County Fair and staged its first automobile race on August 16, 1919. The fair began as an agricultural exhibit in 1843 and was permanently located in the Wallkill–Middletown area in 1857. The speedway is located at 239 Wisner Avenue in Middletown on land which was known as The Ogden Tract in the mid-1850s. It was originally a half-mile horse racing track known as the Harry Clay Oval, named after a race horse that was famous at that time. Over the years, the track was widened and lengthened to a true 5/8-mile race track.

History[edit]

In 1913, the Orange County Fair Society director, George Martin, who was an auto racing enthusiast, brought the idea of replacing the horses with automobiles to the board of directors but his proposition was denied for six straight years. Martin's idea was vetoed by the board but he was stubborn and he argued, talked and persisted until he finally convinced the board of directors to at least try it in 1919. The race was witnessed by 5,000 in attendance and was won by James Benedict driving a Benedict Special powered by a Deusenberg motor.[8] 1924 saw the track resurfaced with clay from a nearby pond, which was found to be soft enough for the horse races that still occasionally took place on the track yet tacky and stable enough for auto racing. This "hard clay" allowed for the track to gain a reputation for its speed that persists to this day.

Auto racing continued at the speedway each year until the beginning of World War II when motorsports nationwide was suspended due to shortages of gasoline, iron, steel, rubber and aluminum. Weekly stock car racing began on April 16, 1950 and has continued every week since that time.[9] In 1946, after World War II ended, the Harry Clay Oval was renamed Victory Speedway, Inc and saw the return of ARDC Midget racing. Stock car racing officially began at the speedway on September 18, 1948 as Rocky Dinatale is credited with the first-ever stock car win. The first fully contested championship season began on April 16, 1950[10] and the first race of the season was won by Tex Enright driving # 407 Modified coupe. Enright would later go on to be one of the most popular flagmen in dirt track auto racing.[11]

Today, the Orange County Fair Speedway still operates on a weekly basis from April to September. Nicknamed "The House of Power", the Orange County Fair Speedway boasts a long history of dirt track auto racing where many legendary northeast dirt track drivers have tested the boundaries of the hard clay. The speedway has been home to many dirt track modified drivers such as Frankie Schneider, Ray Brown, Will Cagle and Buzzie Reutimann and drivers of today are still testing their limits on the 5/8-mile track; like Brett Hearn, Rich Eurich, Danny Johnson and Jerry Higbie.

In addition to auto racing, the facility will begin a new era of motocross racing on a race track built in 2013 outside of turns 3 and 4.

On November 26th, 2014 speedway owner Mike Gurda announced that in 2015 the speedway will run as an independent track and end its sanction with DIRTcar NorthEast.

Eastern States Weekend[edit]

The track also hosts the annual Eastern States Weekend, where dirt Modified, 358- Modified, and Sportsman drivers race their cars in 200 (modified), 150 (358s), and 50 lap races. The weekend usually falls in mid-October. This is the end of the racing season for most regulars at the track.

The Eastern States 200 Modified race is the oldest consecutively-run championship event for dirt track Modified stock cars in the United States.

The first race was run on October 28, 1962 and was won by Frankie Schneider of Lambertville, New Jersey.[12]

In 1968 the annual 100-lap event was increased to 200 laps.[13] The all-time track champion at Orange County Fair Speedway, Brett Hearn has won the Eastern States 200 a record 12 times since 1979.[14][15]

Eastern States 200 Winners[edit]

(As of 2018)

Year Driver
2018 Stewart Friesen
2017 Brett Hearn
2016 Stewart Friesen
2015 Tommy Meier
2014 Brett Hearn
2013 Brett Hearn
2012 Brett Hearn
2011 Danny Johnson
2010 Tim McCreadie
2009 Jerry Higbie
2008 Danny Johnson
2007 Jeff Heotzler
2006 Brett Hearn
2005 Brett Hearn
2004 Brett Hearn
2003 Bobby Varin
2002 Brett Hearn
2001 Danny Johnson
2000 Chuck McKee
1999 Alan Johnson
1998 Billy Decker
1997 Danny Johnson
1996 Brett Hearn
1995 Jimmy Horton
1994 Bob McCreadie
1993 Danny Johnson
1992 Danny Johnson
1991 Jimmy Horton
1990 Frank Cozze
1989 Frank Cozze
1988 Rich Eurich
1987 Doug Hoffman
1986 Brett Hearn
1985 Jack Johnson
1984 Dave Lape
1983 C.D. Coville
1982 Harry Behrent
1981 Brett Hearn
1980 Kenny Brightbill
1979 Brett Hearn
1978 Lou Lazzaro
1977 Gary Balough
1976 Gerald Chamberlain
1975 Wayne Reutimann
1974 Bobby Bottcher
1973 Gerald Chamberlain
1972 Buzzie Reutimann
1971 Will Cagle
1970 Will Cagle
1969 Al Tasnady
1968 Will Cagle
1967 Frankie Schneider
1966 Will Cagle
1965 Ron Lux
1964 Rags Carter
1963 Frankie Schneider
1962 Frankie Schneider

[14]

Weekly Events[edit]

Auto races are every Saturday night from April through September and features a variety of stock car divisions including Big Block Modifieds, Small Block Modifieds, Sportsman, Rookie Sportsman, Street Stocks, Thunder Trucks, CRSA Sprints, Slingshots and hosts an annual World of Outlaws Sprint Car race each and every May.

In addition to weekly auto racing, the Orange County Fair Speedway has built a brand new motocross track on the grounds which made its inaugural debut in 2014 with six dates of racing.

List of Track Champions[edit]

Stock car championships have been contested at the Orange County Fair Speedway consecutively since 1950 when the first Modified championship was won by Russ Dodd of Middletown.[16]

Season Modified 358 Modified Sportsman LM/Street Stock/Pure Stock Pro-Stock - Expert Pro-Stock - Novice Pro-Stock - Rookie
1950 Russ Dodd
1951 Harry North
1952 Ray Brown
1953 Ray Brown
1954 Bud Marl
1955 Charlie South
1956 Bud Marl
1957 Ray Brown
1958 Sonny Strupp
1959 Russ Delp
1960 Sonny Strupp
1961 Bob Malzahn
1962 Ken Wismer Sr. Jay Zanetti
1963 Frankie Schneider Billy Tanosh
1964 Frankie Schneider / Billy Deskovick Doc Norton
1965 Bob Malzahn Jerry Wilson
1966 Will Cagle Eddie Yonkers
1967 Will Cagle Stan Sherman
1968 Will Cagle Harold Wood Jack Rassiga
1969 Will Cagle Bob Dean George Kueck
1970 Will Cagle Rich Eurich George Kueck
1971 Carl Van Horn Jerry Wilson Brian DuBois
1972 Buzzie Reutimann Jerry Wilson Loren Holland Sr.
1973 Bobby Bottcher Bobby Green Bob DeLease
1974 Buzzie Reutimann Jim Horton Jr.
1975 Wayne Reutimann Harry Behrent
1976 Jimmy Horton Russ Meyer
1977 Wayne Reutimann Brett Hearn
1978 Billy Osmun Larry Brolsma
1979 Brett Hearn Ralph Heotzler Eddie Woodruff
1980 Brett Hearn Jeff Heotzler John Falcone
1981 Rich Eurich Ralph Heotzler Mike Barlow
1982 Rich Eurich Steve Bottcher Mike Barlow
1983 Brett Hearn Jeff Scaccio Tom Cox Terry Zuidema Bobby Knipe
1984 Brett Hearn Robbie Green Tom Cannizzaro Bobby Knipe Vinnie Yannone
1985 Carl Collis Gary LaBagh Bobby Knipe Emerson Cargain Sr. Ken Tompkins
1986 Brett Hearn Jeff Heotzler Cris Grispin John Finley Tommy Meier
1987 Brett Hearn Brett Hearn Bobby Knipe Ken Tompkins John Majka
1988 Rich Eurich Chuck LoPresti Steve Dodd Rob Medynski / Bobby Knipe Craig Lynch
1989 Brett Hearn Brett Hearn Eddie Redner Tommy Kuck Scott Kehr
1990 Brett Hearn Brett Hearn Ken Boniface Tommy Meier Steve Galgano
1991 Brett Hearn Brett Hearn Tommy Meier Steve Durand Ken Pettit
1992 Brett Hearn Brett Hearn Steve Birchwale Scott Kehr Jim Cancel
1993 Brett Hearn Danny Johnson Dave Werber Tim Green Mark Hufcut
1994 Brett Hearn Howie Finch Tim Hindley Scott Kehr Tim Dembek
1995 Brett Hearn Jimmy Hauser Stan Jablonka Barry Filipowski Andy Dembek
1996 Jimmy Horton Bob Hayes Jr. Tim Hindley Tom Cannizzaro John Bryson
1997 Jeff Heotzler Danny Johnson Jimmy Johnson Tom Cannizzaro Mike Pomarico
1998 Chuck McKee Andy Bachetti Tony Paes Jr. Brian Houghtaling Cliff Tinnely Willie Auchmoody
1999 Brett Hearn Brett Hearn Chris Shultz Al D'Antonio Cliff Tinnely Rob Lowe
2000 Chuck McKee Andy Bachetti Chris Shultz Ron Irvin Tom Kuck Jamie McGannon
2001 Chuck McKee Andy Bachetti Mark Hufcut Al D'Antonio Andy Dembek Pete Goydich
2002 Chuck McKee Tim Hindley Stan Jablonka Ron Irvan Tom Dembek Bob Waters Jr.
2003 Jeff Heotzler Tommy Meier Joe Dunay Al D'Antonio John Bryson Marty Pender
2004 Tommy Meier Jerry Higbie Rick Mill Greg Kurtzman Jamie McGannon Ron Carlson
2005 Jeff Heotzler Jerry Higbie Rick Mill Al D'Antonio / Ray Tarantino Sean Corr Don Williams
2006 Brett Hearn Brett Hearn Joe Morel Julius Pepin / Marty Van Neiuwland Bill Pacual
2007 Jeff Heotzler David Van Horn Rich Coons Emerson Cargain Sr. / John Hechinger Bob Waters Jr.
2008 David Van Horn Jerry Higbie Mike Ruggiero Tim McCarthy / Joel Murns Mike Dutka
2009 Chuck McKee / Jerry Higbie Chuck McKee Mike Ruggiero Emerson Cargain Sr. / Matt Burke Bill Pascual
2010 Jerry Higbie Brian Krummel Emerson Cargain Sr. Don Carlson Jason Harayda
2011 Tommy Meier Gary Edwards Jr. Charlie Donald Mike Dutka
2012 Jerry Higbie Gary Edwards Jr. Charlie Donald Mike Dutka
2013 Tim Hindley Danny Creeden Brian Krummel Stephen Kammer Jason Harayda
2014 Tim Hindley Chuck McKee LJ Lombardo Mike Vigiletti
2015 Jerry Higbie Gary Edwards Jr. Randy Sweetman Jim Maher
2016 Tommy Meier Tommy Meier Tyler Boniface Mike Vigiletti
2017 Jimmy Horton Anthony Perrego Jessie Leiby Mike Vigiletti
2018 Anthony Perrego Brian Krummel Greg Sleight Jim Maher
2019 Brett Hearn Anthony Perrego Grant Hilfiger Bobby Sleight Jr.

[17][18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Track Location". Orange County Fair Speedway. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  2. ^ Justin Rodriguez (2010-06-17). "Auto racing: Sale of OCFS not expected to affect track". recordonline.com. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  3. ^ "First Auto Race". Victoryspeedway.net. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  4. ^ Deyo, Brett. "Bang For Your Buck". Brett Deyo Motorsports Media. Retrieved 2014-03-29.
  5. ^ "The Hard Clay". Orange County Fair Speedway. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  6. ^ "World of Outlaws Sprint Car race". Ultimateracinghistory.com. 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  7. ^ "The Hard Clay". Orange County Fair Speedway. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  8. ^ Martin, Raymond (1971). The Hard Clay in Orange County: 50 Years of Speed, 1919-1969. Middletown, New York: Jimray Corporation. p. 2.
  9. ^ "The Hard Clay". Orange County Fair Speedway. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  10. ^ "The Hard Clay". Orange County Fair Speedway. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  11. ^ "Tex Enright bio". Empaonline.org. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  12. ^ Martin, Raymond C. (1971). The Hard Clay In Orange County: 50 Years of Speed, 1919-1969. Middletown, New York: Jimray Corporation. p. 137.
  13. ^ Martin, Ray (1971). The Hard Clay in Orange County: 50 years of speed, 1919-1969. Middletown, New York: Jimray Corporation. p. 174. OCLC 35245361.
  14. ^ a b "Eastern States 200 - Orange County Fair Speedway - All-Time Winners". Coracingworld.com. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  15. ^ Frank Catizone (2013-10-28). "Hearn wins 10th Eastern States 200 title". recordonline.com. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  16. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ZAJgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3G0NAAAAIBAJ&pg=2632%2C3356372
  17. ^ "OCFS Past Champions - Jeff Lambert's Dirt Track Racing". Jeffersonlambert.weebly.com. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  18. ^ "Orange County Fair Speedway track champions through the years". recordonline.com. Retrieved 2014-03-28.

External links[edit]