UNDER THE LIGHTS: Super DIRTcar Series Drivers Excited For Saturday Night Running of Billy Whittaker Cars 200

The 2024 edition of the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at Super DIRT Week 52 will be a history-making night.

For the first time, Super DIRT Week’s main event at Oswego Speedway will be under the lights on a Saturday (Oct. 12), creating a new atmosphere for drivers and fans.

“I think it’ll be better from a fans point of view,” said Mat Williamson, three-time and reigning Billy Whittaker Cars 200 champion. “Obviously, with the success we’ve had over the last couple of years, I don’t like to see any change at all. But if it can get more fans there, with a rain date on Sunday, I think it’s better for the event as a whole.

Mat Williamson
Mat Williamson Celebrates his Billy Whittaker 200 win at Super DIRT Week 51/Brent Smith photo

“Hopefully, the nighttime racing makes it a little better and just putting the cream on top of the pie at that point and just making it better and better every year.”

Super DIRT Week’s main event for the Big Block Modifieds has always been scheduled to run on Sunday since the first race in 1972. However, weather has hindered that plan three times, pushing it to a Friday in 1977, a Saturday in 2005 and then to Monday last year.

Now, with the new schedule, fans are treated to a Saturday night epic and Sunday is left open for a rain date (if needed).

“They always say short track racing is at its best at night,” said Dean Reynolds, Super DIRTcar Series Director. “While it was circumstances over the years that found Super DIRT Week racing in the evening hours, it showed that is the way we need to go.

“The Clay Palace has given us some great shows when the sun went down, now we will plan for that.”

Larry Wight, the 2018 Super DIRT Week champion, has been pushing for this change ever since the event moved to Oswego in 2017.

Larry Wight and Kevin Root
Larry Wight battles Kevin Root at Oswego Speedway at Super DIRT Week 51/Daniel Tome

“It’s about time,” Wight said. “It’s not the mile anymore. At the mile, we used to run a ton of laps to get the place to rubber up for the weekend, and it didn’t matter. Now we’re on a short track, and if you want good racing, you can’t have the sun kill the track.”

Wight also said being under the lights will allow multiple lanes on the 5/8-mile dirt track’s surface.

“It makes the racing better for the fans because you don’t have the follow the leader on the bottom or through the middle,” Wight said. “It lets guys move around the track a little bit more. The moisture stays on the top a little bit more. It doesn’t just burn off against the wall, and no one goes up there.”

Three-time Super DIRT Week winner Matt Sheppard agreed with Wight on the change. The Waterloo, NY driver, who won the 50th edition in 2022, also expressed his excitement.

 “We’ve been lobbying for it for years,” Sheppard said. “It should be interesting. It should be a good show for the fans. And it gives us a little more wiggle room in case of weather.”

Tim Sears Jr. thrived in daytime conditions last year after earning his best Super DIRT Week finish (sixth). However, he’s excited about the change for more than just the track conditions.

“I think it’ll be nice not to have to get up and go to work the next day, that’s for sure,” Sears said. “Hopefully, it keeps the track a little bit better and keeps the lanes on the racetrack. Maybe we can race up a little higher and not just float around the middle and the bottom. And we hope it makes a better show for the fans.”

Along with the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 being moved, all other Features have been pushed back a day too. The DIRTcar Sportsman Chevrolet Performance 75 will run on Saturday night before the 200 and the DIRTcar 358 Modified Salute to the Troops 150 and DIRTcar Pro Stock 50 will be on Friday, Oct. 11. For the full schedule, click here.

For Super DIRT Week 52 tickets, click here.

If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision, either online or with the DIRTVision app.