Luke Horning added his name to two championship crowns Saturday night at Oswego Speedway.
The Gloversville, NY driver scored his first Super DIRT Week DIRTcar Pro Stock title and his first DIRTcar Pro Stock Series championship.
“I’ve been wanting this one for a while,” Horning said. “I can’t believe [the World Short Track Championship] came before this. But, man, what a season. Twenty wins (overall). Five on the Series. Won everything but the Valley.”
“Cousin Luke” entered the night as a favorite after winning one of Thursday night’s Qualifying Heats but had to come seventh to do so in 25 laps (shortened from 50 due to weather).
Leading the field to green were SRI Performance/Stock Car Steel Award winner Jay Casey and Fratto Curbing Outside Pole winner and DIRTcar CEO Brian Carter.
In their first trip through Turns 1 and 2, Casey launched ahead of the field while Carter faded. Shane Playford split the orange #6C and Jason Casey three-wide to steal second in the first turn.
Playford kept his momentum alive down the backstretch and used it to rocket alongside Casey into the next turn. By the exit of Turn 4, Playford completed his quick march from fourth to the lead.
Before he could try to build upon that, Johnny Rivers Jr. lost his right front wheel going into Turn 3 and brought out the caution on Lap 1.
When the race resumed, Playford sprung ahead of the field, towing Devon Camenga along with him. Behind them, Horning was on the move.
The blue #2H moved into third by Lap 4. Then, Jaws music.
Camenga kept the pressure on Playford lap after with the two drivers hugging the low line every corner. However, Horning wasn’t afraid to try something different. He was one of the first drivers to move to the top, finding a good launch off Turn 4 each lap.
A couple tenths here. A couple tenths more. And then a strong enough run bolted Horning by Camenga into second-place on Lap 11.
The next lap, a caution brought the field back together. Now, Horning was right alongside Playford.
When the green flag flew again, Horning hurdled his car into the first turn and soared around the outside of Playford. The two drag raced down the back stretch and into the next turn. Continuing to master the top lane, Horning powered ahead of Playford to officially take the lead on Lap 13.
From there, Horning was untouchable. He drove away to a nearly six second lead by the time the double checkered flags hit the air. First Super DIRT Week win, check. First DIRTcar Pro Stock Series title, locked.
“I was getting to those guys and I could tell Devon was a little bit faster than Shane and I was like, I could really roll over there while they were slowing down,” Horning said. “I just needed a good restart to clear. Devon got tight and that’s how I got by him.”
With his victory, Horning became the sixth consecutive different driver to win the Super DIRT Week DIRTcar Pro Stock Feature. He joins, Nick Stone, Chad Jeseo, Josh Coonradt, C.D. Beauchamp and Rob Yetman in that group.
Shane Playford and Devon Camenga rounded out the podium, both earning career best finishes.
“I mean, this guy (Horning) has been doing it forever, he deserves it,” Playford said. “He’s deserved it plenty of times. I just didn’t have the gear right for this track. I was hoping it would slick up a little bit. But it hit the chip way too early and that didn’t help me at all… My car was awesome. I just didn’t have the power.”
For Camenga, the race was his Super DIRT Week debut.
“It’s so cool, first time ever being here,” Camenga said. “It’s such a great crowd, I know the weather has been iffy all week. I couldn’t be more proud of my guys and all the people supporting me back home.”
Chucky Dumblewski won the Penske Racing Shocks Hard Charger Award, making his way from 15th to fourth.
Other special award winners were Horning (Dig Race Product Halfway Leader), Rivers Jr. (Velocita USA Last Car/Finisher Award) and Charles Mcspirit (Integra Racing Shocks Last Car on Lead Leap Award).
In the DIRTcar Pro Stock Series championship standings, Horning leaves as the new champion, Pete Stefanski finished second, Chad Jeseo third, Shawn Perez Jr. fourth and Johnny Rivers fifth.
UP NEXT: The DIRTcar Pro Stock Series will conclude its 2023 season at the World Short Track Championship, Oct. 26-28, at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (a non-points event). For tickets, CLICK HERE.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every lap of the World Short Track Championship live on DIRTVision.
DIRTCAR PRO STOCK RESULTS:
DIRTcar Pro Stock 25 (25 Laps): 1. 2H-Luke Horning; 2. 6-Shane Playford; 3. 110-Devon Camenga; 4. 7D-Chucky Dumblewski; 5. 2-Pete Stefanski; 6. 09J-Shawn Perez Jr; 7. 25-Chad Jeseo; 8. 76K-Kyle Hoard; 9. 7C-Caden Dumblewski; 10. 324-Jason Casey; 11. 322-Jay Casey; 12. 4-Dean Charbonneau; 13. 6C-Brian Carter; 14. 57-Charles Mcspirit; 15. 55-David Stickles; 16. 5B-Ian Bressette; 17. 14J-Johnny Rivers Jr