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Lawson Tops Black Rock Feature Battle, Raabe Wins Sportsman Points War

Donnie Lawson
Donnie Lawson - Rick Young Photo

Dundee, NYOctober 24, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director

The 2009 Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship came to an end Saturday night at Black Rock Speedway and it was Donnie Lawson doing what he had done all season long to win the Owasco Beverage Labatt 30 Championship while Chris Raabe did all that he needed to capture a second straight overall season title.

As Lawson dueled with ’09 Black Rock DIRTcar track champion Todd Henderson to collect the $1,000 top-prize, Raabe kept series runner-up Ryan Susice in sight throughout the event to earn an even bigger honor when he sits at the head table during DIRTcar Racing Northeast’s ‘Night of Champions’ awards banquet in November.

“I’d have to say this is the biggest win of my career,” declared second-generation driver Lawson from Woodhull, N.Y. following his sixth DIRTcar victory of the season at the Yates County oval. “Even though we’ve won some 358 (Small-Block Modified) races, this has to rank right at the top being a tour show.”

Competing for just the third time ever at Black Rock, Raabe was content to escape with a 16th-place finish which was good enough to outlast Susice in the final points chase with only 45 marker separating the talented twosome after 17 extra-distance tour stops.

“We’ve had a lot of trouble here at Black Rock, flat tires and stuff, so going home in one piece and with another championship is still okay in the big picture,” figured Raabe, 18, after joining Steve Hall (1996 & ’98) and Russ Hefti as the only repeat Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman champions in 20 years, with Hefti (2005-06) the first driver to claim back-to-back titles. “It kinda stinks sometimes racing for points, you can’t take chances anywhere. When you get under a guy you gotta back out of it, so just finishing actually becomes more important than where you finish when its all over.”

Canadian invader Luke Carleton jumped out to an early advantage from his pole-position start and held off an early bid by third-place starter Lawson aboard his Morgan’s Auto Repair no. 11 Bath Chiropractic Associates/TEO mount. Western New York traveler Mark Chiddy got upside to bring out a rare red flag on lap 4 and on the ensuing restart it was Lawson ducking under Carleton to take the top spot exiting turn two.

Unable to qualify through his heat and the consolation round, Raabe had filled out the final row of the 30-car starting grid then watched as Susice pitted after the stoppage to replace a soft tire and rejoin the rear of the field. Going into the event, Susice needed a victory to stand any chance of stealing away the overall Mr. DIRTcar points crown, while 20th or better for Raabe would lock up the title outright for the ‘Teenage Tornado’ from Napanee, Ont. aboard owner Gary McColman’s no. 01 Scott’s Industrial Services-TyRoute Communication/TEO entry.

Back under green with Lawson moving to the point, Carleton was quickly shadowed by Henderson, Steve Gray and Black Rock regular Loren Lincoln. Susice and Raabe were mired near the back of the pack in their own battle when the lone female qualifier, Katelyn Kane, was tapped from behind in turn four by Chris Silvers to require the only caution of the race on lap seven.

Henderson closed in on leader Lawson a third of the way through and when the halfway mark was reached had moved the HR3 no. 18H Valvoline/Bicknell machine out front in pursuit of his second checkered flag of the season. Henderson used the lapped car of Jeff Hand as a moving pick, sweeping high out of the fourth corner with Lawson sandwiched in between to nose ahead as the threesome crossed the stripe to complete lap 14. Lincoln, Carleton and Gray were scored next when the scoreboard flashed 15 with radar once again showing rain in the distance.

Traffic remained thick as the leaders navigated through the open lanes. This time it was Lawson blasting high out of turn four using the lapped car of Silvers to forge the final lead change as Henderson dropped to second with 19 laps complete.

With Lawson and Henderson running uncontested in the top two slots, Gray overtook Carleton for fourth on lap 22 and set his sights on third-place Lincoln in the closing stages. Not only did Gray complete his climb up to the show position on the final circuit, Justin Wright mirrored the move as he slipped past Carleton with 17 cars finishing the distance in the 25-minute main.

“I thought (Todd) had me, I’m not good in lapped traffic and he knows it,” remarked Lawson, following his 12th victory of the season in Dundee. “I was just able to get it back this time.”

“I knew there was a guy up high, so for him to get a shot up there would’ve been hard because there was a guy blocking the top lane. I Knew if I could just ride behind —think it was the #65 car (Boyd MacTavish)— I would be alright. Still wasn’t comfortable about it, saying I was would be a lie. You just hope it’s the right choice, and I’ve made the wrong decision in lapped traffic a lot of times in my life so far,” Lawson admitted.

Winner of a tour-best five Mr. DIRTcar Championship trail races this season, Raabe chose to ride it out once the feature got underway as a Top-20 finish was all he needed to claim the overall title.

“All in all it was a great season, 20 wins, a couple track titles and a 2nd consecutive Mr. DIRT Championship, that’s pretty neat,” said Raabe, who last year became the youngest overall champion in DIRTcar’s 34-year history, and this time around is now the youngest ever to garner consecutive crowns.

“Last year we had about the same number but this season we won more bigger races. We also won out West where Ryan was probably the favorite. Going in we were really looking to match what we accomplished last year so our success this season just reinforces what we did and shows it wasn’t a fluke,” added Raabe, who already plans to be back in 2010 trying to ‘threepeat’ unless additional sponsorship support during the off-season allows otherwise.

Finishing behind Raabe (1651) and Susice (1606) in the final 2009 Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series Championship point standings are Jipp Ortiz (1494), Justin Wright (1074), Dan Wiesner (1316), B.J. Willard (1282), Adam Turner (1249), Greg Panunte (1243), Mark Chiddy (1156) and Sammy Reakes IV (1096), who won the ’09 opener at Black Rock in April.

Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series Race #17 – Black Rock Speedway, Oct. 24, 2009 “Owasco Beverage Labatt 30 Championship” Event Summary
FIN STR CAR# DRIVER
1 3 11 Donnie Lawson/Woodhull,NY($1,000)
2 8 18h Todd Henderson/Canandaigua,NY
3 5 29g Steve Gray/Middlesex,NY
4 10 2 Loren Lincoln/South Bristol,NY
5 4 19w Justin Wright/Piffard,NY
6 1 26h Luke Carleton/Port Colborne,ONT
7 7 70 Brady Fultz/Dundee,NY
8 14 66 Dan Wiesner/Geneva,NY
9 16 85h Rob Humphreys/Elbridge,NY
10 20 k38 Ryan Susice/Ransomville,NY
11 11 77jr. B.J. Willard/St.Catharines,ONT
12 15 0 Jipp Ortiz/Ransomville,NY
13 21 11j Alan Fink/Pennellville,NY
14 2 58L Jim LaRock/Seneca Falls,NY
15 9 14s Craig Gardner/Watkins Glen,NY
16 30 01 Chris Raabe/Napanee,ONT
17 18 65 Boyd MacTavish/Ransomville,NY
18 12 44 Gary Hotelling/Middlesex,NY
19 26 ff3 Rod Mullen/Rexville,NY
20 27 92 Adam Turner/Picton,ONT
21 17 24b Brett Buono/Dundee,NY
22 25 7 Chris Silvers/Elmira,NY
23 23 8 Gus Hurlburt/Canandaigua,NY
24 28 24 Rick Willsey/Elmira Heights,NY
25 24 2k Katelyn Kane/Syracuse,NY
26 29 25 Jeff Hand/Penn Yan,NY
27 6 28w Sandy Pembleton/Lewiston,NY
28 13 32 Greg Crooker/Savona,NY
29 22 m1 David Marcuccilli/Cayuga,NY
30 19 54 Mark Chiddy/Boston,NY
LAP LEADERS: Carleton (1-3), Lawson (4-13), Henderson (14-18), Lawson (19-30).
CAUTIONS: 1 (lap 7); 1 RED FLAG (lap 4).
HEAT WINNERS: Willard, Gardner, Henderson, Carleton.
CONSI WINNER: Fink.
CARS ENTERED: 36.
DID NOT QUALIFY(6)
16-Brandon Butler/Horseheads,NY
23-Tim Povoski/Elmira,NY
29-Greg Birosh/Horseheads,NY
30-Damon Walker/Penn Yan,NY
40-Josh Butler/Horseheads,NY
64-Bob Buono/Dundee,NY

QUALIFYING
Heat Races (8 laps, top 5 finishers transferred to feature, top 3 re-drew)
#1: Willard, LaRock, Pembleton, Crooker, Br.Buono, Hurlburt, Turner, Kane, J.Butler.
#2: Gardner, Gray, Lincoln, Wiesner, MacTavish, Raabe, Walker, B.Butler, Bo.Buono, Hand.
#3: Henderson, Wright, Lawson, Ortiz, Chiddy, Birosh, Silvers, Willsey, Mullen.
#4: Carleton, Fultz, Hotelling, Humphreys, Susice, Povoski, Fink, Marcuccilli.
Consolation Round (12 laps, top 9 finishers transferred to feature)
#1: Fink, Marcuccilli, Hurlburt, Kane, Silvers, Mullen, Turner, Willsey, Hand, J.Butler, Raabe, Walker, Povoski, B.Butler, Birosh (DNS), Bo.Buono (DNS).
Guaranteed Starter: Raabe.

Mr. DIRTcar Series Sportsman Point Standings (FINAL)
Pos. No. Driver Total Series Bonus Diff Wins Top 5 Top 10 Starts
1 01 Chris Raabe 1651 1291 360 0 5 10 12 17
2 38k Ryan Susice 1606 1246 360 -45 3 9 14 16
3 0 Jipp Ortiz 1494 1134 360 -157 2 5 9 17
4 11Jr Justin Wright 1434 1074 360 -217 1 5 11 17
5 66 Dan Wiesner 1316 956 360 -335 0 4 7 17
6 77Jr B.J. Willard 1282 922 360 -369 1 1 4 16
7 92 Adam Turner 1249 889 360 -402 0 1 3 17
8 99p Greg Panunte 1243 883 360 -408 0 4 7 12
9 54 Mark Chiddy 1156 796 360 -495 0 0 1 16
10 17K Sammy Reakes IV 1096 736 360 -555 1 2 5 11
11 67G Eric Giguere 1042 682 360 -609 0 1 3 11
12 24x Brandon Sweet 1040 680 360 -611 0 1 3 11
13 M1 Dave Marcuccilli 994 634 360 -657 0 3 3 10
14 74 Matt Billings 993 633 360 -658 1 3 4 10
15 29g Steve Gray 903 543 360 -748 0 3 4 7
16 83x Tim Sears Jr 810 450 360 -841 1 2 2 7
17 5 Don Spatorico 807 447 360 -844 1 3 4 6
18 28 Alan Fink 794 434 360 -857 0 0 4 7
19 38s Luke Whittaker 792 432 360 -859 0 0 2 8
20 55 Matt Hulsizer 752 392 360 -899 0 2 3 5
21 26h Luke Carleton 731 431 300 -920 0 0 3 7
22 777 Tyler MacPherson 726 366 360 -925 0 3 4 5
23 17D Tom Juhl Jr. 714 354 360 -937 0 2 4 5
24 20x Kevin Ridley 700 340 360 -951 0 0 0 5
25 62 Rich Bellante 699 339 360 -952 0 0 0 5
26 55c Jesse Cotriss 676 316 360 -975 0 2 3 4
27 2L Loren Lincoln 667 307 360 -984 0 1 2 5
28 1s James Spano 635 275 360 -1016 0 0 0 4
29 85H Robert Humphreys ® 607 247 360 -1044 0 0 1 4
30 14 Jermey Pitcher 603 243 360 -1048 0 0 1 5
31 13s Derek Smith 591 231 360 -1060 0 1 2 3
32 17 Marcus Dinkins 590 230 360 -1061 0 0 0 3
33 11 Donnie Lawson ® 581 221 360 -1070 1 1 1 4
34 81 Christine Martin 580 220 360 -1071 0 0 0 2
35 06J Jordan Bennett 574 214 360 -1077 0 0 2 3
36 2K Rob Knapp 565 205 360 -1086 0 0 1 3
37 7 Cody McPherson 558 198 360 -1093 0 0 1 3
38 85 John Pietrowicz 554 194 360 -1097 0 1 1 3
39 21JJ Jim Johnstone 554 194 360 -1097 0 0 1 4
40 28w Sandy Pembleton 550 190 360 -1101 0 0 0 3
41 18 Brad Rouse 550 190 360 -1101 0 1 1 3
42 4 Darryl Hilkert 545 185 360 -1106 0 1 1 3
43 18h Justin Henderson 532 172 360 -1119 0 0 1 3
44 22 Greg Cool 531 171 360 -1120 0 0 1 3
45 56 Steven Schumacher 528 168 360 -1123 0 0 1 3
46 76 Rob Bussey 528 168 360 -1123 0 0 2 3
47 06 Brandon Easey 526 166 360 -1125 0 1 2 2
48 24a A.J. Lewis 525 165 360 -1126 0 0 0 3
49 11n Ricky Newton 522 162 360 -1129 0 0 0 3
50 70 Brady Fultz 520 160 360 -1131 0 0 1 3
51 140 Mark Dixon 520 160 360 -1131 0 0 0 3

Mr. DIRTcar Series Sportsman Entries – October 24 (36)
Car# Driver/Hometown Team (Sponsor / Chassis)
0 Jipp Ortiz/Ransomville,NY Pizza Logs-Lee Heil-Ed’s Garage/Bicknell
01 Chris Raabe/Napanee,ONT Scott Industrial Services-Kingston RV Centre-Tyroute Communications/TEO
m1 David Marcuccilli/Cayuga,NY Barbay&Son Const-Crew Boyz Racing-Stormin/Bicknell
2 Loren Lincoln/South Bristol,NY Honeoye Auto Parts-Lincoln Fabrication/TEO
2k Katelyn Kane/Syracuse,NY Ernie Kreis & Sons Heating Co.-Leaf Racewear-CME Enterprises/Bicknell
ff3 Rod Mullen/Rexville,NY Farm Family Insurance-Steuben Vet Clinic/Bicknell
7 Chris Silvers/Elmira,NY Silvers Auto Sales-Turk’s Auto Sales/TEO
8 Gus Hurlburt/Canandaigua,NY Lupini Construction-Dusk to Dawn Trucking/Bicknell
11 Donnie Lawson/Woodhull,NY Morgan’s Auto Repair-Bath Chiropractic Associates/TEO
11j Alan Fink/Pennellville,NY JIR Motorsports-Oneidaview Pile Driving/Troyer
14s Craig Gardner/Watkins Glen,NY Swarthout Mobile Document Destruction/TEO
16 Brandon Butler/Horseheads,NY Precision Automotive-Market St.Brewing Co./Bicknell
18h Todd Henderson/Canandaigua,NY HR3-Valvoline/Bicknell
19w Justin Wright/Piffard,NY Mercer Milling Company-Yager Bros. Trucking/Bicknell
23 Tim Povoski/Elmira,NY Weese Precision Machine/Bicknell
24 Rick Willsey/Elmira Heights,NY Precision Automotive-Sammy’s Swap Shop/Olsen
24b Brett Buono/Dundee,NY Buono Racing/Olsen
25 Jeff Hand/Penn Yan,NY Marhrt’s Garage-Gleason & Sons Flooring/Troyer
26h Luke Carleton/Port Colborne,ONT Carleton Racing/Bicknell
28w Sandy Pembleton/Lewiston,NY Smokin’ Joe’s-Seneca Racing/Bicknell
29 Greg Birosh/Horseheads,NY McMichael Electrical Contractors-Irwin Industrial Tools/Birosh
29g Steve Gray/Middlesex,NY Fox’s Auto-Dar’s Auto-JSB Graphics-Beck’s Recycling/Bicknell
30 Damon Walker/Penn Yan,NY Allen Auto Sales/TEO
32 Greg Crooker/Savona,NY Crooker Racing/Speed Palace
k38 Ryan Susice/Ransomville,NY Investor’s Service Company-Philpac Packaging/Bicknell
40 Josh Butler/Horseheads,NY Precision Automotive/Bicknell
44 Gary Hotelling/Middlesex,NY Proctor Roofing-Gorham Market/TEO
54 Mark Chiddy/Boston,NY D&B Motorsports-Mullen Industrial Handling/Bicknell
58L Jim Larock/Seneca Falls,NY P&T Fabrication-Auto Value/Bicknell
64 Bob Buono/Dundee,NY Harris Logging-Buono Racing/Bicknell
65 Boyd MacTavish/Ransomville,NY Cosco Excavating/Bicknell
66 Dan Wiesner/Geneva,NY Monroe Wheelchair-Safety Awareness Solutions/Troyer
70 Brady Fultz/Dundee,NY Suzuki-Paine Motorsports/Troyer
77jr. B.J. Willard/St.Catharines,ONT CAA Niagara Battery Assist-Speck Trucking/Bicknell
85h Rob Humphreys/Elbridge,NY M&W Aluminum Products-Humphrey’s Garage/Bicknell
92 Adam Turner/Picton,ONT Paul Turner Auto Repair/Bicknell

Pot Holes: Early morning rain then a 2-hour shower from 9:45-11:45am forced officials to scrap the customary time trials, although the top-12 heat race qualifiers still re-drew to determine the front six rows for the 50-lap finale…Track promoter Dean Hoag prevailed with his ‘make-or-break’ attitude as the untimely precipitation kept cars off the track until 3pm, nearly six hours past the original schedule that called for the first practice session to go green at 9:30am…It was certainly a challenging day from morning until night for the series front-runners as a flat tire late in the consi forced points leader Chris Raabe to take advantage of his guaranteed starter status (began 30th) while a late-race crash in his qualifying heat afforded Ryan Susice the fifth and final spot which put him 20th on the feature race grid…Despite the Ransomville, N.Y. racer required to wear a glove on his right hand after suffering burns last weekend at Brockville, Susice was the phantom ‘hard charger’ after restarting from the rear and cracking the top-10 in the near caution-free 30-lap headliner.

UPCOMING EVENTS
The 34th annual DIRTcar Racing Northeast ‘Night of Champions’ Banquet is scheduled for Saturday, November 14 at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, New York. The banquet will honor the 2009 series champions in the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman and Pro Stock divisions while track promoters and operators will convene on Friday, November 13 for the annual DIRTcar track meetings.

2009 Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Schedule
DAY-DATE LAPS TRACK LOCATION/WINNER
Sat-Apr 5 75 Black Rock Speedway Sammy Reakes IV
Fri-Apr 17 30 Can-Am Motorsports Park Chris Raabe
Thr-Jul 2 25 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park rain-cancelled
Fri-Jul 3 30 Brewerton Speedway Tim Sears Jr.
Sun-Jul 5 50 Cornwall Motor Speedway Chris Raabe
Sat-Jul 18 30 Cayuga County Fair Speedway Justin Wright
Mon-Sep 7 25 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Jipp Ortiz
Fri-Sep 11 50 Ransomville Speedway Don Spatorico
Sat-Sep 12 50 Merrittville Speedway B.J. Willard
Sun-Sep 13 50 Humberstone Speedway Chris Raabe
Fri-Sep 18 33 Canandaigua Speedway Jipp Ortiz
Fri-Sep 18 33 Canandaigua Speedway Ryan Susice
Sat-Sep 19 30 Genesee Speedway Chris Raabe
Sun-Oct 4 30 Fulton Speedway Ryan Susice
Wed-Oct 7 30 Can-Am Motorsports Park rain-cancelled
Fri-Oct 9 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park rain-cancelled
Sat-Oct 10 30 New York State Fairgrounds Matt Billings
Sat-Oct 10 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Ryan Susice
Sat-Oct 17 50 Brockville Ontario Speedway Chris Raabe
Sat-Oct 24 30 Black Rock Speedway Donnie Lawson
@Driver’s (2) worst finishes dropped through September; last (5) events count.

DIRTcar Racing Northeast main office is located in Weedsport, New York on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds, home of DIRTcar All-Star Weekend in July. DIRTcar Northeast’s crown jewel event —Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse runs annually in October featuring Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series events for Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman and Pro Stock divisions. Ticket and schedule information is available by contacting the Weedsport office (315/834-6606) during the day or logging into www.superdirtweekonline.com anytime.

The Big-Block Super DIRTcar Series is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire www.hoosiertire.com and VP Racing Fuels www.vpracingfuels.com. Promotional partners include Rite Aid Corporation www.riteaid.com, Dig Safely New York www.digsafelynewyork.com and the University of Northwestern Ohio www.unoh.com and the contingency sponsors are Bars Leaks www.barsproducts.com, Bert Transmission www.berttransmission.com, Bicknell Racing Products www.bicknellracingproducts.com, Bilstein Shocks www.bilstein.com, Brodix Cylinder Heads www.brodix.com, Ferris Industries www.ferrisindustries.com, Integra Shocks www.integrashocksandsprings.com, Intercomp www.intercomp-racing.com, KSE Racing Products www.kse-racing.com, Motorsports Safety Systems www.motorsportssafetysystems.com, Penske Shocks, www.penskeshocks.com, Racing Electronics www.racingelectronics.com, Rislone Oil Stabilizer www.barsproducts.com and Wrisco Industries www.wrisco.com. www.kse-racing.com,

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