Bad enough drivers reacted angrily to unsafe track conditions at Orange County Fair Speedway on Saturday. Bad enough the dusty mess forced postponement of the final two races. OCFS officials then had less than five days to have the track ready for the SuperDIRT Modified series tonight featuring NASCAR star Carl Edwards.

The task was to get a hard, dust-laden surface fixed for the most star-studded night of the season. Edwards and David Reutimann, an OCFS alum fifth in the Busch Series point standings, are racing. Jack Roush, one of the most powerful owners in NASCAR, will be on hand. So will David's dad, OCFS legend Buzzie Reutimann.

"It got to the point where it was so hard under the surface,'' OCFS director George Johnson said. "Water was not going through the surface. We had to do something radical. So we just took off and did it.''

Johnson decided to have the track dug up on Monday morning. But an old pro was needed to clean up the mess. In came Vinny Rotundo.

Rotundo worked on the track for 40 years up until 1996. He has an excellent reputation among drivers, especially perennial champion Brett Hearn.

Rotundo and his crew got started on Tuesday and were working under the lights last night. They graded it back and forth, watered it, added calcium. They basically resurfaced the track without adding clay, which would have been a major expense. As it is, the work will run in the thousands, general manager Ken Sands said, but less than $10,000.

"It's going to be good,'' Rotundo said late yesterday afternoon in the infield, fresh from wolfing down a meatball sub.

OCFS officials believe the surface should be at least as good as it had been all season until Saturday. In fact, Hearn paid a visit on Tuesday and came away satisfied.

"If Vinny continues to work on this, it will get better and better,'' Hearn said. "As far as I'm concerned, he was always the best. I don't know how fast he will get it straightened out, but I know he's working hard on it. I'm optimistic.''

Chances are Rotundo will stay on through the season. That's good news for Hearn, who said yesterday that continued problems could hasten his OCFS exit for good.

"If they didn't make a big move (hiring Rotundo) after Saturday night, I would have been really disappointed,'' Hearn said. "It gets to the point where it's sort of like gas. When the price gets to a certain point, you stop buying.

"I want to support that place. But I also gotta do what's best for my business and what's best for my state of mind.''