OCFS Thursday afternoon update

Mike Gurda glanced outside the window of his offices at Orange County Fair Speedway and had to laugh. A wet snow was falling outside on Thursday afternoon, some 18 hours before the opening of the 48th annual Eastern States. The vaunted “hard clay’’ on the track resembled more of a slick, gooey mud.
Gurda, the Fairgrounds owner and co-promoter of the Speedway, said his staff has pondered many scenarios to enact given the wet weather and forecast for more over the next three days. The worst-case scenario would be a complete postponement, and one option calls for just Sunday racing.
One thing is for sure: Eastern States will not be postponed to the Oct. 23-25 weekend, nor the Oct. 30-Nov. 1 weekend due to racing events at other tracks in the Northeast. The earliest consideration for a re-schedule would be Nov. 6-8, and the event might be squeezed into two days rather than three.
The Friday schedule calls for time trials and heat races for big-block and small-block modifieds starting at noon, plus heat races and a B-Main final for the visiting Capital Region Sprint Agency. OCFS general manager Kenny Sands said the program could be pushed into the evening as necessary.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were 31 modified entries, 26 for small block, 22 sportsman, eight pro stock, 18 pure stock and 53 sprint cars. Many drivers will sign up on Friday and Saturday. Nineteen-time champion Brett Hearn is expected to appear, as will top DIRT standouts Billy Decker, Pat Ward and Matt Sheppard.
Guaranteed starters for the modified race include OCFS co-champions Jerry Higbie Jr. and Chuck McKee, Decker and any top-10 points finisher at OCFS. In 358s, McKee and Kirk Horton have spots in the field, plus any top-5 points finisher at OCFS. Frank Venezia and OCFS champ Mike Ruggiero will join any top-10 OCFS finisher in the sportsman field. OCFS champ Bill Pascual has a spot in the pro stock final.

Entries as of 4 p.m. Thursday (some drivers will sign up upon arrival Friday and Saturday):
Modified — Jimmy Johnson (1J); Billy Lowden Jr. (1L); Butch Tittle (Z); Rick Laubach (5); Donnie Wilson (7); Kirk Horton (7K); Rich Eurich (10); Chuck McKee (19); Craig Hanson (20C); Clinton Mills (21); Randy Chrysler (21K); Bob McGannon (21M); Roger Chrysler (T21); Chris Shultz (24); Mike Kolka (25); Matt Hitchcock (33); Tommy Meier (33 1/3); Andy Bachetti (34); Frank Cozze (44); Ric Hill (53); Jerry Higbie Jr. (66); David Van Horn Jr. (71); Rick Mill (73); Mel Schrufer (84); Steve Dodd (88); Craig Mitchell (93x); Jimmy Phelps (98H); Billy Eggers (157); John Ferrier (220); Mitch Gibbs (673); Colin Jackson (923)
358 modified — Billy Lowden Jr. (1L); Eddie Burgess (2X); Donnie Wilson (4B); Bobby Henstchel (4SL); C.V. Elms (6); Kirk Horton (7K); Rich Eurich (10); Jeff Heotzler Jr. (J17); Roger Chrysler (T21); Randy Chrysler (21K); Doc Young (22); Chris Shultz (24); Kevin Petrucci (24); Rich Coons (27); Frank Venezia (27); Jimmy Spellmon (28); Tommy Meier (33 1/3); Matt Hitchcock (33); Andy Bachetti (34); John McGill (62); David Van Horn Jr. (71); Mel Schrufer (84); Kevin Duryea (99K); Billy Eggers (157); Chuck McKee (211); John Ferrier (220)

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