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WNY Auto Racing by Larry Ott: Hedman isn’t horsing around

When Bump Hedman enters the pit area for Saturday’s season-ending racing at Little Valley Speedway, he will be bringing more horses in his race hauler then in the past, about 100 more.

These horses come from under the hood of Hedman’s potent Super Late Model. The Super Late Models will co-share the limelight with the 358 Modifieds at the Cattaraugus County-based dirt one-half-mile oval.

Hedman, 47, of Sugar Grove, Pa., has been winning races at various tracks in Super Late Models for years. That includes Little Valley, where he earned a win two years ago. He is loaded for bear to try to capture his second Little Valley triumph Saturday.

“I’m coming to Little Valley with a bigger motor then I have in the past,” Hedman said. “I race a Club 29 car with a new Cornett motor. My new motor is a 430-cubic-inch, wide-bore motor. They make big horsepower. In the past I’ve raced 380-cubic-inch motors at Little Valley.

“The new engine will probably make at least 100 horsepower more than the old. I’m pretty excited about it.”

Hedman has had a busy racing season. Most weeks he can be found competing at the Stateline Speedway in Busti and the Eriez Speedway in Erie, Pa. He also has been busy hitting the road with the traveling UFO Championship Series, where he is currently second in points.

“We’ve been pretty competitive up at Stateline and have been running well,” Hedman said. “We haven’t been hitting all the shows up there so we’re not up in the points. We’ve been following the UFO series for probably the last month. Earlier this month we ended up going to Port Royal (Pa.) and Dog Hollow (Pa.), racing at those tracks, and the week before that we went to Pittsburgh Motor Speedway, all with the UFO.

“We’re also running good at Eriez. We were third in points as of last week but I went to those UFO shows so I may have dropped to fourth or fifth. We’re real consistent.”

Hedman has been a fixture in dirt track for 31 years. His racing history also includes a brief shift from the dirt to the asphalt world of NASCAR Busch North competition, which included one race each at Holland Motorsports Complex and Watkins Glen.

“I started my racing career at Stateline,” he said. “I started in the Limited Late Models and raced for three years and then I moved up to Super Late Models.

“In 1999 and 2000, I went and raced blacktop in the NASCAR Busch North Series. Up to that point on the dirt we had always built our own motors and our own chassis ourselves. Then I had an opportunity to sell everything, so I sold all my Super Late Model stuff and I started running the NASCAR Busch North deal, which I funded myself. I bought a car and then we ended up buying a second car.”

Hedman’s indoctrination into the world of NASCAR was an eye-opener to say the least.

“We did not know enough about blacktop so we were struggling with knowledge, experience and funding,” he said. “When we got out there we found out that we were racing against people like Joe Gibb’s kid and guys like that.

“They had the best of everything. We stepped out of our realm. We hauled our cars with a 28-foot trailer and we pulled into a track among 53-foot stacker haulers. I didn’t realize what we were getting into.

“I found out that I needed to spend a lot more money than I was willing to spend. I also didn’t realize how much time it was going to take.

“When we would leave to go to a track we’d have to leave on a Wednesday to get there and we wouldn’t get back home until Monday. That only gave us a day or two in between races to prep the cars. All my guys and me had other full-time jobs and had young families. It got too hard for a lot of reasons. I enjoyed a lot about it but that’s why I got out of it and got back to dirt.”

Hedman is a career two-time Super Late Model track champion, accomplishing the feat at Eriez as well as Pennsylvania’s Knox Speedway.

Hedman also had a single season about 10 years ago where he competed in both Super Late Model and Crate Late Model competition. Mainly due to time constraints, he opted to concentrate exclusively on Super Late Models.

Once a nickname, Bump has been Hedman’s legal first name since 1999. He is sponsored by Sardinia Mini Storage, Homemaid Cleaning Products and Chase Auctions.

He is looking forward to Little Valley.

“I like Little Valley because they pay a decent purse and the track’s usually in good condition,” he said. “It’s not hard on tires. There’s a lot of room to move around there. We can run three wide. Those are the main reasons I like to go there.

“Also, everybody’s nice there from the flagmen to the officials. They welcome you there. It’s a good atmosphere.”

Hail to champions

Additional season track champions crowned last weekend:

• Cory Sawyer, Street Stocks and Cole Susice, Four Bangers, Ransomville Speedway. Ransomville will decide its Novice Sportsman champion on Friday.

• Also earning titles were Brad Rouse, Sportsman and Brad Shepard, Mini Stocks, Freedom Motorsports Park. Humberstone will crown its champions Sunday.

• Lancaster will host its rain-postponed stock car championship night Sept. 22. Lancaster’s drag racing championships will be awarded Sept. 30.

email: lawrence_o_14075@yahoo.com

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