Weedsport, NY — July 9, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast PR Director
Last season Dan Wiesner made the commitment to follow the Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series for a second time and schedule a return trip to Canada, both of which topped his agenda in the summer of 2005.
Now holding down the top ranking in the ’08 Mr. DIRTcar Sporstman Series point standings through the opening five races, Wiesner is once again looking forward to crossing the border, this time with better results on his mind.
“I wouldn’t be making the trip to Brockville if I didn’t think it was worthwhile,” said Wiesner, 27, who scored his first career Sportsman Series win at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in May then followed up with two more top-fives at Rolling Wheels and Brewerton Speedway during the Fourth of July holiday. “I definitely feel we have a chance for the Mr. DIRT title.”
“We’ve got a lot in our favor this year and I’m confident we’ll have a really good season. Nick (Bruno, crew chief) works right with Billy Colton at Troyer as an engineer and Billy also gives us good support and provides some valuable advice, like offering ideas on set-up and gears. I certainly couldn’t do this without all the guys that put in the long hours every week and everybody has a positive attitude trying to get the job done.
Wiesner leads a hungry pack of American racers into Canada when the Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship trail continues July 10 at Brockville Ontario Speedway. The Thursday special will mark Wiesner’s debut at Paul Kirkland’s recently revamped 3/8-miler, which is also the hometrack of DIRTcar NorthEast’s winningest Sportsman Modified this season, Chris Raabe.
“This is our first shot at Brockville so I’ll probably be worried about my own situation instead of any of the other guys,” noted Wiesner, who closed out his 2007 campaign 10th in the final Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman point standings and currently owns 14 feature career wins. “We always start out to win and normally think we have a car to do it. A top-five is good at a new track but being consistent is what we’re after. I’m figuring some of the biggest competition will come from the local guys, that’s what usually happens at a place like this.”
Wiesner made his maiden voyages to Merrittville Speedway (finished 11th) and Humberstone Speedway (16th) last year after avoiding the border patrol altogether in 2006. He had intentions of following the entire Mr. DIRTcar Series in ’05 until an early season set-back altered his plans.
“We finished third at Ohsweken that year but came up light on the scales and were disqualified completely,” recalled Wiesner, who joined initial winner Curtis Friesen and fourth-place finisher Jay Mallory on the list of DSQs in what was regarded as one of the best Sportsman shows of the season. “We normally start the race at a certain weight but the track didn’t supply the required racing gas and we couldn’t bring any through customs so we took the green without a full tank. We knew it was going to be close, I think we ended with about a gallon to spare, but it should’ve never even been close as we’re always within the rules whenever we race.”
The Monroe Wheelchair Racing no. 66 Shuttleworth Asphalt Sealing/Troyer Team will have plenty of fuel when they arrive in Brockville on Thursday. Yet meeting the minimum weight requirement is the least of Wiesner’s worries going to a new track.
“With a lot of cars so close running the crate engines, getting a good draw when you first come in the gate is the biggest factor,” figured Wiesner, who actually faded as far back as 17th before rallying to capture the Rolling Wheels main on Memorial Day. “You’re usually in for a long night if you get a bad draw. And even if you grab a few spots in qualifying, you still end up in the ‘shark pit’ (12th-20th) to start the feature.”
“I’m a lot more confident after hitting those tour tracks for the first time last year and getting some good experience. This year I’m doing my best to stay consistent every time out. I might be a little a conservative starting out but that’s because I know being around at the end is more important,” said Wiesner, who only missed the season-finale at Orange County Fair Speedway last autumn, posting a 2nd-place best at Can-Am Motorsports Park during Super DIRT Week in October.
Wiesner will be out to log as much track time as possible with Brockville being his only new venture this season. Aside from Colton’s insight, the only notes the Geneva, New York chauffeur has on the place were recently gathered in conversation after parking next to BOS regular Luke Whitteker in the Rolling Wheels pits.
“We talked just a little, he asked me about the Wheels and I wanted to know some things about Brockville,” Wiesner added. “Other than learning you might need to run a hard tire, I haven’t heard much about the track because none of the guys I race against go there. Luke told me a range of gears to go with depending on what I prefer. I only hope the track isn’t too short, a big track like Rolling Wheels is still my favorite.”
For additional information, please contact Sportsman Series Competition Director Michael Sanchelli (cell 862/432-3597; e-mail email@example.com) or DIRTcar NE Competition Director Cory Reed at the Weedsport office (315/834-6606).
Be sure to log into the homepage at www.dirtcar.com to find out more about the entire circuit. For specific track information please contact the Brockville office 613/348-3998 (613/345-6324 raceday) or visit www.brockvillespeedway.com.
2008 Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE LAPS TRACK LOCATION/WINNER
Sat-Apr 5 50 Black Rock Speedway Larry Wight
Mon-May 26 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Dan Wiesner
Thr-Jul 3 20 Rolling Wheels Raceway Mark D’Ilario
Thr-Jul 3 20 Rolling Wheels Raceway Todd Town
Fri-Jul 4 30 Brewerton Speedway Chris Hile
Thr-Jul 10 30 Brockville Ont. Speedway Brockville,ONT
Mon-Sep 1 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Fri-Sep 5 50 Ransomville Speedway Ransomville,NY
Sat-Sep 6 50 Merrittville Speedway Thorold,ONT
Sun-Sep 7 50 Humberstone Speedway Pt.Colborne,ONT
Sat-Sep 13 30 Genesee Speedway Batavia,NY
Sat-Sep 20 45 Canandaigua Speedway Canandaigua,NY
Sat-Sep 27 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Fri-Oct 3 30 Fulton Speedway Fulton,NY
Wed-Oct 8 30 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Fri-Oct 10 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Sat-Oct 11 30 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse,NY
Sat-Oct 18 50 Orange Co. Fair Speedway Middletown,NY
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The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Advance Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tire and Sunoco Race Fuels. Promotional partners include AMB i.t., Rite Aid Corporation and the University of Northwestern Ohio and the contingency sponsors are Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Crane Cams, Integra Shocks, MSD Ignitions, Motorsports Safety Systems, Penske Shocks and Wrisco Industries.