The annual Super Dirt Car Series Niagara Frontier two step is now upon as the Bob St. Amand and Alex Friesen Summer Nationals at Merrittville and Ransomville Speedway's respectively. And with it, comes the battles therein. Central, NY vs Niagara Frontier, Big Blocks vs Small Blocks, series drivers vs invaders, and even a little Canada vs USA. The two race swing has become a staple in the series lineup for years and offers some of the finest racing in the area bar none. Who will take home the wins? Might we have one winner? Will we at TDN be able to get home from both shows without a traffic ticket or a dime left in our pockets after the thruway tolls? Will we blow our collective resources and sponsor cash at Casino Niagara? We have no idea. But we have a good idea of what to expect from the weekend. We'll have our own Frank Iudiciani on the scene at both places and yours truly at Ransomville so look for updates and maybe a funny video or two, so save us a beer! Let's get to it!
Matt Sheppard: Super Matt comes in here winner of five of the tour's events so far. He might not even start in the top 10, he might not even be in contention at lap 50 either night, but he's always there at the end. It's been a phenomenal season for him thus far, especially for the first season running his own team. He's got the potential to sweep, but he'll need some luck depending on surface conditions.
Stewart Friesen: Mr. Friesen will be a handful and then some having collected three wins thus far, and he's in his native Canada, and he's at the places he grew up racing on. Pretty much enough said here, we've all seen what he can do. But will the conditions favor the big or small blocks? A sweep from Friesen would surprise nobody. If you're making bets in the stands, make this one.
Billy Decker: Winless since the opener at Fulton, Decker still is hard to bet against, but it hasn't always been a easy go for him at either of these places over the years. He'll be a top five car at either track, but will need some luck to go his way to snag one of these.
Mat Williamson: Last year, Williamson delighted his home fans as he won the biggest race of his career in front of them with the St. Amand victory at Merrittville. And he's no stranger to Ransomville either having spent a good chunk of his early career there. Will he break out the small block for these....he won with one last year.
Dr. Danny Johnson: Yes, we know he's not a real doctor, though he probably pretended to play one in the backyard growing up as most of us did. Anyhow. Johnson will be in the mix if he can keep the wheels on it and has experience at both places, Ransomville in particular where he was a regular. To be honest, he's about due for a series win, the Dr. never stays down for very long.
Erick Rudolph: He's a threat to win almost anywhere, but especially here. He'll need the right set of circumstances as he won't drive away from the field at either track, but will definitely be a player in the top 10 if not top five at both places, and perhaps a surprise winner.
Ryan Susice: Diehard modified fans, we need not say more. Fans that are on the fringe or just getting into it, learn this guy's name quick, you'll be hearing about him for years to come! Pronounced (Suci) by the way. And we wouldn't count out a win here.
Tim Fuller: He's got a couple of tour wins this year and has looked reborn in 2016, it's great to see the confidence return. Could be a surprise winner.
Peter Britten: Anybody notice how much better he's been this year? The flashes of brilliance we've seen in years past are becoming consistent performances. And he does well at smaller tracks, and strangely enough at Charlotte too, but we digress. Pete could get the job done at either place and could wind up with two top fives.
And also on a good day
Brett Hearn: Been a rough year, but don't count him out
Jimmy Phelps: Recently took his first win at Sharon a couple of weeks back.
Frank Cozze: Just collected his first tour win in years this past week.
Pete Bicknell: It would be a beautiful win if it comes true. Mr. Small block, in his small block at his home track...
Mike Mahaney: He's done his home track work on some interesting tracks, not unlike the one's he's going to see this week, and he's been getting better in his SDS starts as the season has gone along. Could wind up with a couple of top 10's and maybe a top five here.
What to Expect
Completely depends on two factors, weather and track conditions. Remember this, when it's tacky, when time trials happen, the big power will have a slight advantage. When either place slicks off later on in the night, the small blocks will simply out maneuver them. The question is, how hot will it get, and how wet will it get. (wow that really sounds bad). Anyhow, if the small blocks start in the back of the field, they'll have their work cut out for them, but the task isn't impossible. If they can start near the top 10, it's more than doable. Okay, it's crystal ball time. Going to call for a split weekend here with Friesen taking the show at Merrittville, and a surprise as we see Erick Rudolph take the Ransomville victory. Don't bet your kids college fund on it, but don't be surprised if it happens.
Series Points Coming In:
1. Matt Sheppard 1134
2. Stewart Friesen 1120
3. Billy Decker 1030
4. Tim Fuller 1010
5. Jimmy Phelps 923
6. Larry Wight 895
7. Brett Hearn 887
8. Pete Britten 852
9. Danny Johnson 847
10. Frank Cozze 786
11. Pat Ward 766
12. Mike Mahaney 731
13. Max McLaughlin 669
14. Keith Flach- 641
15. Mat Williamson 607
Bob St Amand at Merrittville Speedway; Monday August 1st:
Alex Friesen Summer Nationals; Ransomville Speedway: Tuesday August 2nd