Mohawk International Raceway
Mohawk hosting WoO for rich New York event
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
John Lazore and Don Thompson wanted to make a big splash with the inaugural World of Outlaws Late Model Series event at their Mohawk International Raceway. Well, is the richest dirt Late Model show ever held at a short track in the state of New York big enough for you?
The homegrown co-owners of the refurbished North Country facility are going all out with the Battle at Eastern Door, a historic two-day WoO extravaganza on Aug. 20-21 that will be topped by a 100-lapper paying $20,000 to win.
“We want to do something special — something that’s never been done before around here,” said Lazore, a 358 modified driver who is partnered with Thompson in several businesses on the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation where the speedway is located. “Bringing the World of Outlaws Late Model Series in for a huge weekend is creating a lot of interest and excitement that’s going to help us bring more attention to what we’ve done with the racetrack.”
Lazore and Thompson have worked wonders since purchasing the former Frogtown International Speedway prior to the 2009 season. They took a rundown facility that opened in 1988 and — with an investment of an estimated $2 million — turned it into a showplace.
“It’s as nice a dirt track as you’ll go to,” said WoO regular Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., who has won modified features at the track and carried sponsorship from Lazore in the past. “Anybody who hasn’t been there in a couple years and walks in now, what they see will blow their mind.”
For all intents and purposes, the only part of the speedway that Lazore and Thompson haven’t changed is the racetrack layout itself, a circular 4/10-mile oval that has traditionally produced a fast, unique brand of action. Work crews razed the wooden grandstands and associated spectator and pit area buildings and put up brand-new structures — aluminum bleachers, modern VIP booths, concession stands, restrooms. Mohawk was also revitalized with a new homestretch wall, new safety and perimeter fencing, an enlarged pit area and the installation of a bright Musco stadium lighting system; a fire destroyed the track’s new ticket building and clubhouse earlier this year, but it has already been completely rebuilt and will be operational for the WoO weekend.
A stalwart DIRTcar-sanctioned track since its birth, Mohawk International headlines the 358 modified division on Friday nights. But Lazore’s association with Fuller’s Dirt Late Model efforts — as well as the overwhelming success in recent years of WoO LMS events in upstate New York, Ontario and Quebec — prompted Lazore and Thompson to plan a blockbuster full-fender weekend for their ever-growing fanbase.
“Our fans are really buzzing about this World of Outlaws show,” Lazore said. “We’re anticipating that it will be the biggest event in the history of the track.”
The WoO will debut at Mohawk International on Friday, Aug. 20, as part of the track’s regular weekly program, including the 358 modifieds, which just might see Fuller and some other moonlighting Outlaw stars join the field to add some excitement. Friday’s WoO competition will feature time trials and heat races.
Action will continue on Saturday, Aug. 21, with WoO consolation races and the 100-lap Battle at Eastern Door, which will boast a 24-car starting field and a total purse of nearly $100,000. A 50-lap pro stock series event and Mohawk’s bandit division will also be on Saturday night’s agenda.
The name of the event draws upon the tribal history of the Mohawk people, who are known as the traditional “Keepers of the Eastern Door” of the Iroquois Confederacy.
Fuller and his fellow former big-block modified regular and North Country native, 2006 WoO champion Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., will headline the field. Fuller has two victories on this season’s tour — both at tracks in the Northeast during a June swing — while McCreadie owns four victories and is in a tight battle for the $100,000 World of Outlaws points title with defending champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., and 2008 champ Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky.